Hanne sat up straight. The two women regarded each other in what seemed like another eternal tortured silence, like a feline stand-off, but without the growling.
Just waiting for something to touch off and set the fur and claws flying.
Without breaking the eye-lock, Hanne turned the folder around and pushed it, open, across the desk towards Silja, forcing Silja to blink first.
As she dropped her gaze, Silja knew she had lost the first round, curiosity being what it is. But she was not at all ready for the next body-blow.
From the photograph which was paper clipped to a sheet of paper bearing the Life-Net logo, Silja saw herself staring back. Not quite herself, but her eight-year-old self.
Silja reeled inwardly, her eyes opened wide, staring, and unable to tear her eyes from the photo.
"Hvad i fjandanum er thetta kjaftaedi!"
Hanne barely suppressed her triumph; she knew she had her sister on the ropes. Silja was now breathing deeply, open-mouthed, not through her nose.
Her defiance instantly had been replaced by a wild panic. Hanne always hated not being in control, and she could see her sister was not much different in that respect.
While Silja was still in shock and before she recovered herself, Hanne reached forward and closed the folder, she slipped it into a drawer and locked it before Silja made a lunge for it.
Hanne knew at the first sign of a struggle Dwight would come, and she didn't want him knowing too much about the relationship she had with her sister,
let alone the explosive secrets held in the file.
Hanne stood up and stood by the window, facing Silja who was by now recovering slightly but looked as if she could possibly throw up at any moment.
Silja did stand up but was very unsteady on her feet, speechless but her eyes demanding answers.
"Sit ... down!" Hanne barked, Silja complied involuntarily.
"Hvar fekkstu thad fra..?" Silja demanded, but weakly.
"Never mind where I got it from. The important thing is what ... we ... should do." Hanne folded her arms across under her breasts and leaned back, looking down at her sister. She went on.
"So, you're the 'Perfect One'. Hmm." Hanne's haughty look barely disguised a touch of jealousy. Silja looked back, clearly puzzled.
"Can we speak English, please? I never did get the hang of Poppa's mumblings, even when he was sober!" Hanne said with disdain. Silja looked up and reprogrammed her swimming mind with English.
"The Perfect One. Or so this Doctor Phillips decided. According to what she wrote about you, you were destined for great things." Hanne tried to disguise her incredulity. "Imagine my little....
Or big... sister. The street rat. Destined to be the template for a 'master race'. It seems they were taking a great interest in Little Silja. Your mother must have been something special.
" Hanne leaned forward on the desk and stared into Silja's eyes. "Unlike mine!"
Silja sat in silence, trying to put what she was hearing into some semblance of sense.
She knew she was the firstborn maybe by about 40 years, but thanks to the vagaries of LifeNet, Hanne was the one who was in her forties while Silja was still in her teens.
But what did Hanne mean by this 'Perfect One' stuff?
Hanne could see the unasked questions. She tapped the top of the desk above the drawer that held Silja's file.
"Your DNA must be quite something. Something valuable even. IF this becomes public." Hanne paused. Silja knew that Hanne had her in her hands.
"This is shite!" Silja protested, trying to convince herself this was not happening. But in the back of her mind, she could remember Phillips.
Phillips had scared her although she never understood why.
"Sadly not." Hanne sat down again. "The dossier makes interesting reading." She paused for effect. "And I am sorry to hear about your mom." Hanne pushed some sympathy across her face for effect.
"But the fact is. IF this is true, or even if it isn't. This makes you, sister of mine, a little bit of hot property."
Hanne sat up, Silja glared, regaining some of her composure. She managed to fix Hanne with a defiant cold glare, but she knew Hanne held all the cards. And Hanne knew also.
Silja felt a lump grow in her throat, images of her mother flashed through her mind. Happy times on the farm bled into images of her mother wasting away in the camp.
Silja swallowed hard, feeling she wanted to cry, but she would not give Hanne the benefit.
"Imagine how much Fat Eric, Joe Spivey, or half a dozen others would pay for this information, hmm? How much even for your brain stem?" Hanne rolled her eyes in faux incredulity.
"But you are my sister, well, half-sister, and.... Well, family ties being what they are...."
Silja felt as if the ground was opening up under her, and she was slowly sliding into it.
"So, the question is. What to do?" Hanna leaned forward triumphantly. She had Silja exactly where she wanted her.
All these years, she had tried to get control over her sister for her father's sake. All the times Silja's defiance, her bloody-mindedness had prevailed. But now she had the right lever.
"I have a suggestion." Hanne paused for effect. Silja felt herself shaking.
"You should go somewhere safe. Somewhere where no one knows you or even cares." Hanne smiled. She had won.
"Poppa will be so pleased to have you home."
'Poppa will be so pleased to have you home?'
Silja let the words dwell. She looked into her lap at the hands wringing themselves. Her knuckles had gone white. Shock was giving way to anger.
To say she hated her father was not even scratching the surface. He was to blame for everything that was bad in her life.
He was the one who left home in a drunken stupor, abandoning her and her mother.
If he had been there, Silja was certain that the camp and everything connected to the camp would not have happened. But he wasn't. It was all his fault.
If he had been there for them, not drowning in the bottom of a bottle, not driving her mother crazy with his drunken ravings.
She remembered lying awake, listening to the arguments, to the crashing dishes, wishing the happy times would come back.
And now all he wanted was to play happy families on a remote farm somewhere in Kaibab? As if that could ever atone for the damage he had done to her.
She remembered the pathetic inebriate slob who had tried in his own way to persuade her to come back to him that day in Beau's Bar. He could hardly stand up on his own. He disgusted her.
Now, Hanne was about to force her to go back. Away from Hope. Away from the Kjaer-Spivey's. Silja watched, her hands had balled into fists. Away from Anneka!
"No!" Silja screamed. Before she realised she was the best part of the way across Hanne's desk, one hand grabbed a clump of Hanne's hair, the other was clutching her throat.
Her momentum carried her, and before she realised, Hanne's chair had toppled and they were both in a heap behind Hanne's desk with Hanne cursing her, trying to regain some advantage.
Their eyes met, matching Icelandic grey, filled with fury.
Hanne had a hold on Silja's wrist trying to stop her from throttling her while the other hand waved around desperately trying to find some purchase in order to push against Silja.
But Silja had all the advantage, she growled. She was beyond any sense. She looked down at Hanne and saw fear. She wanted to squeeze, hard!
And she probably would have, but for the strong arm that wrapped itself around her neck, lifting her clear of Hanne and dragging her from behind the desk.
Dwight had heard the commotion and immediately dashed from his desk into Hanne's office. He noticed how light Silja was as he dragged her off Hanne.
He pulled her away, stood her up, turned her around and drew back his fist.
Silja was confused, she saw the maddened eyes of Dwight, whereby a few seconds ago she was looking at Hanne's fear.
She saw the huge fist pulled back, she screwed her eyes shut and waited for the blow.
Hanne's voice barked out, and the fist stayed. He let go of the front of Silja's jacket. Silja's knees gave way.
Silja opened her eyes, the first thing she noticed was Dwight tidying the mess on Hanne's desk.
He saw her open eyes and immediately went to stand behind her, placing his huge hands on her shoulders, though without any undue force.
Hanne was back in her chair, leaning forward, supporting her chin on arched fingertips. Her eyes were cold.
"You have forty-eight hours to get your stuff together," Hanne announced coldly. "And don't think about disappearing.
Otherwise, your file goes viral and every low-life, every piece of scum, every bounty hunter will be on your trail. You will never be able to put a nose outside.
Never be able to take your dearest Anneka anywhere."
Hanne stood up, leaning forward on spread fingertips. Her face was void of any sympathy. "Clear?"
Silja swallowed hard. She would not let Hanne see her cry. She nodded. Hanne nodded back.
"Dwight. See Miss Henningsdottir out, please."
Silja felt the huge hands grasp her jacket, and she was escorted down the stairs and out into the street. She did not turn around as she heard the door close behind her.
But she ran. She ran, stifling tears. She would not cry even though her lungs burst for more air.
She ran all the way to Joe's house desperately, she fumbled the keys several times as she opened the lock. It was late, SHE was late. She hoped Joe and Kirsten were asleep.
She ran up the stairs as fast as her heels would allow, thanking providence the house was still. Finally, she made it to her room and firmly closed the door.
Finally, she let it go. For the first time that night, she let herself cry. All the fear, anger, hurt, frustration. She stifled the sound as best she could with her bedcoverings.
She hoped no one heard. She was lost. What was she to do?
What about Anneka!