The Blood Spilt

FRIDAY JUNE 21

Iam lying on my side on the kitchen sofa. Impossible to sleep. At this time of year, in the middle of summer, the nights are so light they allow you no rest. The clock on the wall above me will soon strike one. The ticking of the pendulum grows louder in the silence. Smashes every sentence to pieces. Every attempt at rational thought. On the table lies the letter from that woman.

Lie still, I say to myself. Lie still and sleep.

My thoughts turn to Traja, a pointer bitch we had when I was little. She could never settle, walked round and round the kitchen like a restless soul, her claws clicking on the lacquered wooden floor. For the first few months we kept her in a cage indoors to force her to relax. The house was constantly filled with the sound of “sit” and “stay” and “lie down.”

Now it’s just the same. There’s a dog in my breast who wants to jump up every time the clock ticks. Every time I take a breath. But it isn’t Traja who’s inside me ready to pounce. Traja just wanted to trot around. Get rid of the restlessness in her body. This dog turns her head away from me when I try to look at her. She is filled with evil intent.

I shall try to go to sleep. Somebody should lock me in. I ought to have a cage in the kitchen.

* * *

I get up and look out of the window. It’s quarter past one. It’s as light as day. The long shadows from the ancient pine trees along the edge of the yard extend toward the house. I think they look like arms. Hands stretching up out of their restless graves and reaching for me. The letter is lying there on the kitchen table.

* * *

I’m in the cellar. It’s twenty-five to two. The dog who isn’t Traja is on her feet. She’s running around the edges of my mind. I try to call to her. Don’t want to follow her into this untrodden territory. My head is empty on the inside. My hand takes things off the wall. Different objects. What do I want with them? The sledgehammer. The crowbar. The chain. The hammer.

* * *

My hands place everything in the trunk of the car. It’s like a puzzle. I can’t see what it’s meant to represent. I get into the car and wait. I think about the woman and the letter. It’s her fault. She’s the one who’s driven me out of my mind.

* * *

I’m driving the car. There’s a clock on the instrument panel. Straight lines with no meaning. The road is carrying me out of time. My hands are clutching the wheel so tightly that my fingers are hurting. If I kill myself now they’ll have to cut the steering wheel out of the car and bury it with me. But I’m not going to kill myself.

* * *

I stop the car a hundred meters from the shore where she keeps her boat. I walk down to the river. It’s shining and quiet, waiting. There’s the faint sound of lapping water beneath the boat. The sun is dancing on the ripples caused by a salmon trout coming to the surface to eat flies. The mosquitoes are swarming around me. Whirring around my ears. Landing round my eyes and on the back of my neck and sucking blood. I don’t take any notice of them. A sound makes me turn around. It’s her. She is standing no more than ten meters from me.

* * *

Her mouth