He left the eagles to make coffee, fumbling with the controls of Petra’s coffee machine for a few minutes before giving up and boiling water in her kettle. He dumped several spoonfuls of coffee grounds into a filter and let the water seep through it as he searched the bookshelf for a suitably thick science fiction novel. The meagre selection of books he owned combined with new opportunities now that he lived in the city, gave Maratse a purpose for the day.
“Library,” he said, pushing a well-read and tattered book back onto the shelf. He took his coffee with the ravens and left the apartment half an hour later.
Maratse caught the bus into the city centre, walked through the pedestrian area to the library, pausing at the hunter’s market, searching the plastic fish trays for something interesting, before wandering over to the richer, darker seal and whale meats. He left with the familiar scent of blood in his nostrils.
Maratse buried the sudden thought of his team of dogs on the beach in Inussuk, telling himself that midsummer in Nuuk was midsummer father north, that there was no ice, that the dogs were resting, that Karl…
Maratse pictured his older neighbour, the gravedigger, the hunter.
Friend, he thought, swapping the smell of blood for the smoke of cigarettes as he two old men smoking on the street. Prince. Karl’s brand. Maratse nodded at the men and moved on, enjoying thoughts of his friend, following the thread across the short stretch of beach, up the stairs to Karl’s deck, then into his house, where Buuti placed a steaming pot of narwhal stew on the dining table.
Maratse stopped at the steps to the public library, felt his stomach growl, and clapped his hands across the front of his dirty jacket to stop it.
“You look lost, Constable.”
Maratse turned and nodded as Sergeant Gaba Alatak strode towards him. The sun caught the sergeant’s newly shaved head, and together with his height and his firm grip as he greeted Maratse, Gaba exuded strength and vitality, as he always had.
“Gaba,” Maratse said.
“I heard you came with Petra, but I had to see it to believe it.” Gaba tucked his thumbs behind his belt buckle and studied Maratse. “How’s city life?”
Maratse shrugged as if there was nothing more to say.
“You’re still wearing your jacket.”
“Still not ready to give up on being a policeman.”
“It’s what I know.”
Gaba nodded. “Police work and hunting.”
“It’s the same thing, Maratse.” Gaba leaned to one side and nodded at a café behind Maratse. “Come on, Constable. I’ll buy you a coffee and you can tell me about your romantic trip to Antarctica.”
“That’s what Petra called it. Although,” Gaba said, as they walked towards the café. “I heard different. She won’t say much about it, despite Atii pumping her for information, but the headlines.” Gaba laughed. “Yes, Constable, the headlines reached as far as Nuuk.”
“There’s not much to tell.”
“No? So, the death of a Chinese spymaster and his protégé – now gone rogue – loose on the streets…”
“Xiá is suffering,” Maratse said. He followed Gaba up the steps to the café entrance. “She’s misunderstood.”
“Aren’t we all,” Gaba said, as he opened the door.
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.