Iisaaq turned away, leaving Gabin deep in thought as he chatted with Kaasi. The two Greenlanders poked at the fibreglass patch, pressing the tips of rough fingers into the weave at the edges before tugging them free. Gabin left them to it and walked down to the water’s edge.
The thought had never occurred to him, nor did he feel particularly heroic about what he had done. The oft used remark that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter played through his mind as he crouched beside a lump of ice stranded on the beach. Beside it, just a little further from the water, was an oval depression like a crater the depth of his thumb. Small pebble-sized lumps of ice spotted with black sand sat in the middle of the depression. Gabin followed a series of what he thought looked like footprints for a few long strides along the beach, putting all thoughts of heroism aside.
But you can’t forget. Can you, Gabin?
He tried. He focused on the footprints, nodding to himself and exclaiming as soon as he realised the prints were what remained once the sun had melted stranded lumps of ice.
You planned the attack.
It was true, but there were more prints further along the beach. He should investigate them, prove his theory, empty his mind of all else.
But the explosion…
Several of them.
Gabin blinked at the ice prints but saw instead the flames licking at the black smoke pouring out of the stairwell leading to the lower decks of the ship. They had used limpet mines on Gabin’s suggestion, easily procured from the military. Despite the secrecy, sourcing the means to complete the mission had been easy. They could have asked for anything and they would have got it. But the team agreed that the limpet mine placed against the hull would be more than adequate to sink the ship and send a message, without blowing the ship into pieces.
There was no need for anyone to die.
But they did.
One death more than was necessary. One mine more than they needed.
“If they had just evacuated,” Gabin said, forcing the words through gritted teeth. “After the first explosion.”
But you used two mines, Gabin.
“Oui, to make sure the operation was a success.”
And was it?
Gabin ignored the question in his mind and followed the prints along the beach. The grass above the beach rustled in the wind, turning his head, and he froze at the sight of Biibi crouching in the grass, her bottom tucked against her heels, her eyes fixed on Gabin.
Gabin waved, calling for Biibi to walk with him.
She shook her head, slowly, lips pressed closed to seal her mouth.
Gabin took a step and Biibi followed, crouching then walking, pacing him from above as he walked along the sand below.
She’s stalking me, he thought. Hunting – something I need to get used to.
Wherever he went, for however long he lived, Gabin knew they would be hunting him. But none had ever gotten as close as Biibi.
“Not yet, at least,” he said, stretching his legs into the curve of the beach, searching for more ice prints.
And the girl followed.
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.