Gabin carried the bucket of clay and water into Sakka’s bedroom, pressing it into the corner of the room before lying down in the dead Greenlander’s bed. He closed his eyes and chewed over the last words Iisaaq had said before giving Gabin some space.
I know what you did.
Iisaaq obviously knew enough not to press Gabin. But the question of how much he knew. That was the problem. What Gabin did made the news across the world, even as far as a tiny settlement with less than one hundred inhabitants six hundred kilometres above the Arctic Circle.
“I should have gone to the jungle,” Gabin whispered.
He sighed, felt the rough weave of the blanket covering Sakka’s bed, and considered what he knew of Iisaaq, if only to determine how he should proceed.
So far, the Greenlander had gone out of his way to collect Gabin from the mainland. The captain of the trawler who picked Gabin up from the container ship in Ilulissat said he would make a call. Iisaaq was the man he called. Gabin was used to influential people having a hold over him, but the tables had turned. Now, in the far north, it was a simple Greenlander, with little influence beyond the settlement in which he lived, who had power over Gabin. The power of life and death.
Yes, he thought. There are some who would see me killed me for what I have done.
But not the Greenlander. That thought didn’t materialise. For whatever reason, Gabin’s actions were not seen as criminal in Illorsuit. Far from it, according to Iisaaq’s manner, his generosity, and his hints that Gabin might be here for a long period of time, perhaps the rest of his life.
Do I really want to live here for the rest of my life?
Gabin opened his eyes at the sound of feet scuffing across the sandy floorboards. Biibi froze as he looked at her. Water slopped from the dirty plastic bowl she carried in her hands, agitated by small clumps of ice bobbing on the surface.
“It’s okay,” Gabin said. The bed creaked as he sat up. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
Biibi shuffled to the corner of the room. Her hair caught in the rough weave of her t-shirt on her shoulders as she twisted her head to look at Gabin. She stopped at the bucket, tipped the water from her container into it, and then fled from the room. Gabin pulled back the thin curtains to watch her scarper home across the packed dirt path. Biibi dumped the container on the ground in front of the house, scattering loose puppies, before scurrying up the steps to the front door. She paused at the railing, looking back at the house, catching Gabin’s eye.
Gabin struggled to remember ever feeling so far from the city, from the modern world and all its conveniences, than in that moment, caught in the crosshairs of an eight-year-old Greenlandic girl, her long black hair streaming in the wind, and her wild eyes fixed on his.
To be continued…
Copyright © Christoffer Petersen, 2021.
This is a work of fiction. All characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.