Kirsten's morning was not going well.
She had started the day in a benevolent mood. Yesterday had been Silja's day off, and she had decided to let Silja sleep late.
Silja had come home late and had probably had a nice evening with her friends so Kirsten had seen to breakfast.
But things had steadily begun to unwind. Anneka was in a petulant mood and Joe, well, Joe was like a bear with a sore head.
These distractions had led to burned sausages which in turn lead to Joe grumbling his way out to work and Anneka looking with disgust at the carbonised offering and refusing to eat.
Kirsten was nearing the end of her tether.
Joe had left for work early because of a call from the factory. He slammed doors on his way out, grumbling.
Why was he the only one who could make decisions? Why did the cartridge maker have to break? Why was he the only one who could order parts? What did he pay Taiyoko for anyway?
Joe's slamming doors had made Anneka cry. Where was Silja? Why couldn't Kirsten cope without her anymore?
She was close to tears of frustration, scraping burned sausages into the bin when there was a knock at the door. It was a heavy, demanding knock. Kirsten wiped her hands dry and went to answer.
Kirsten peered through the peeper, outside was a man wearing a brown duster whom she recognised as Inspector Crabbe of the NFPD. He had visited Joe on a few occasions and usually on good terms.
As much as she knew anyway.
Behind him stood three NFPD officers, scuffing their feet while looking up and down the street. Crabbe had a serious look on his face which showed more than a little impatience.
He raised his hand to knock on the door again. Kirsten opened the door a fraction. Crabbe helped it on its way before Kirsten could stop him; all four had pushed past her.
The shock and disgust showed on Kirsten's face as the four men entered the hall. This was her house, after all, and she had not invited them inside.
Kirsten fought down the morning's frustrations and opened her mouth to demand an explanation but was cut short by Inspector Crabbe.
"Silja Henningsdottir?" He barked, catching Kirsten off guard. Anneka was shouting from the kitchen just to add to Kirsten's confusion.
"My Nanny. Why?"
"Where is she?" Crabbe barked.
"Up in her room, I expect. Why?"
Crabbe motioned, the three NFPD officers went directly upstairs despite Kirsten's protestations. Crabbe's hand on her shoulder stopped her from following.
To her horror, Kirsten heard heavy footfalls, heavy banging on a door then a splintering sound as Silja's door was kicked in.
She heard Silja's startled scream, so did Anneka and she started screaming also.
There was the sound of a scuffle then a few moments later a struggling, handcuffed Silja was marched out of the door and into a waiting van. Kirsten stood, aghast.
"What on Earth?!" She demanded.
One of the Police Officers came back into the hall.
"She was err, packin' a case, Boss. Looked like she was gonna do a runner."
Crabbe nodded, and the Officer went back outside.
Inspector Crabbe looked at Kirsten, almost apologetically through his seriousness.
"We have a warrant. She's been accused of murder. Well, attempted murder at the moment. So long as the victim hasn't died yet."
Kirsten's mouth dropped wide open, she managed to get a few words past her shock. "Murder... Who?"
The shock filtered everything out of Kirsten's mind as Crabbe let himself out and closed the door behind him, leaving Kirsten rooted on the spot.
It took a few moments before Anneka's screaming got through to her.
Ten minutes later. Joe looked up from his ledger as the sound of hurried footsteps on the metal stairs and the sound of his daughter crying got louder. His office door burst open.
Kirsten looked deeply upset, frantic even. Joe strode forward and took Anneka from Kirsten's arms. Kirsten flopped into Joe's seat and blurted out the news.
The three police officer's knowledge of Icelandic expletives was expanding exponentially as they hauled Silja out of the van and into the Police Station.
The tirade only intensified as they shut the iron door to the cell.
The most difficult part had been when they removed the handcuffs.
Anyone who has taken a mean cat to the vet would recognise the tornado of teeth and claws that ensued before the Officers could retreat from the cell and close the door behind them.
Officer Dybbol sat at the coffee table later, dabbing the scratch mark on his cheek with a soft cloth while the others laughed.
"She seems to have calmed down a little." He noted, with a certain amount of irony. On the other side of the table, Officer Kopkage was frowning as he tried his best to fill in the report.
"Can anyone remember what she said?"
"She said a lot." Officer Kojarsky said, trying not to laugh but only to fail and cause complimentary chuckles around the table.
"EXACTLY what did she say?!" Inspector Crabbe barked out his demand, shocking the three policemen to attention. Dybbol's chair fell over as he stood and saluted.
"Well, err... A lot. But. We actually couldn't understand a word." He looked highly embarrassed. "She weren't speaking English, see?"
Crabbe's eyebrows raised, then his eyes closed as he sighed through his nose. "Bring her to my office."
The three plods looked at each other nervously, wondering which one of them was brave enough to go into the lioness' den.
"Well?" Crabbe was becoming frustrated, the other three exchanged glances more.
Crabbe's face flashed with frustrated anger. "For Crissakes! She's a skinny nineteen-year-old kid! Sort yourselves out. Pronto! On the double, Dybbol!"
Silja glared at Crabbe from the other side of the desk. If looks could kill, Crabbe would have been frozen to the spot by the cold Icelandic stare. Crabbe took a long toke from his ciggy.
Silja's silence was oppressive. She sat back in the chair, handcuffed hands in her lap as she had for the last half hour, just glaring at him, saying nothing.
"This is a very serious charge, young lady. You do realise you are up to your ears in shit.
" Crabbe leaned forward, stubbing the ciggy out and adding it to the almost brimming ashtray in front of him. "We know that you assaulted Miss Berg in her office earlier last evening.
What we don't know is why you returned later in the night and shot her." He paused for effect.
Silja shifted on her seat. Crabbe noticed, perhaps he was getting through to her. Behind the cold stare, Silja's mind was in turmoil, there was too much at stake.
Few people knew Hanne was her step-sister, only Hanne knew about the dossier, as far as she could tell.
Part of her wished that Hanne was actually dead, but she knew that would make her predicament even worse. She took a breath.
"I did not shoot her."
Crabbe sat back up. She had actually spoken. Progress indeed. He slid one of the desk drawers open and took out the chromed .45 automatic pistol, placing it on the desk.
The gun had a brown label tied to the trigger guard.
"We found this in your room, and a half-filled holdall,"
"You were planning to leave, escape. With the murder... sorry. Attempted murder weapon."
Silja felt as if she was drowning in a tide of circumstances.
Crabbe went on. "Can you prove you did not go back to the Ranyhyn Company office later?"
"I went home."
"Did anyone see you?"
Silja glared again, she couldn't prove otherwise.
Crabbe pushed the gun forward.
"It's a big gun. Why do you have such a big gun?"
Silja rolled her eyes.
"So what? This is fucking New Flagstaff; everyone has a gun."
"It has been fired recently" Crabbe put another piece of evidence into the mix.
Silja let her frustration vent, her nostrils flared. "I am responsible for a three-year-old girl in a violent city.
What do you expect me to carry, a damned pepper spray thu fjandinn halfviti!?!"
Crabbe sighed and lit another ciggy. Silja put the lid back on her anger.
"So. Why were you packing your bags? You just said you are responsible for a child; you are her Nanny. Yet you were preparing to leave town and your employer.
" Crabbe's face almost concealed the grin. "You were about to leave the child you are responsible for, your job. Without telling anyone?" He paused again.
Silja felt the ground opening up again, she was losing control, helpless, again.
Crabbe leaned forward and put his elbows on the table, crooking his finger under his chin. "Nothing adds up, does it? You had a fight with Hanne Berg.
You have a gun which was used in the attack. You were packed, ready to abscond." He raised his eyebrow and held Silja's stare, ready to elicit her confession.
Silja was at least thankful her voice didn't crack as she spoke.
"I did not shoot her."
Crabbe looked up and addressed Officer Kopkage. "Take her back to her cell. Let her think about things. We'll see how a night in a cold cell improves her memory."
Crabbe followed Kopkage and Silja back to the cells. As they passed the front desk, Crabbe noticed the familiar brown duster and high-tops, the domed head and the cigar.
Silja looked at the floor as she was marched past. Avoiding eye-contact.
Joe buttonholed Crabbe as he drew level. "We err, need to 'ave a little chat, Arthur." Joe took a long draw on his cigar. Crabbe knew that tone, he knew that dark look in Joe's eyes.
Arthur shut the door behind him and watched as Joe made himself comfortable in the uncomfortable chair in front of his desk.
Joe crossed his legs and folded his arms and stared at the leather-covered throne of cushioned comfort on the other side. Arthur licked his lips.
Handling an angry Joe Spivey was going to require delicacy.