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But he wouldn't let go of the subject. He told the man how he'd gone to the police about it several years ago but they hadn't taken any notice of him. The cops had received a million tip-offs and he'd only been a boy when it happened, so maybe it was—

'Leave me alone,' the man muttered.

'What?'

'I don't know what you're on about,' the man said angrily. 'Just leave me alone!' Then he got up and stamped out of the bar.

He'd been left sitting there, hardly able to get over the coincidence that it was the same guy. He was still marvelling at the fact when he staggered outside himself a few minutes later and headed for home. By the time he reached Lindargata, the snow was so impenetrable that he could barely make out the next street light as he hurried across the road, thinking that he would have to inform the police as soon as possible. Just as he was about to reach the other side, his befuddled senses registered that he was in danger. His surroundings were lit up by a sudden dazzling glare, and over the noise of the wind he heard the roar of an engine approaching at speed. The next moment he was flying through the air, an agonising pain in his side, then he crashed down head first onto the pavement that had been swept clear of snow by the storm.

The booming of the engine receded and everything grew quiet again, apart from the screaming of the wind. But the blizzard went on raging all around him, the stinging flakes pelting his exposed flesh and penetrating his jacket. He couldn't move, his whole body was a mass of pain, his head worst of all.

He parted his lips to call for help but couldn't emit a sound.

Time passed but he was no longer aware of it. He couldn't feel the pain any more, or the cold. The alcohol had dulled his senses. His thoughts drifted back to the man in the sports bar, then even further back in time to the hot-water tanks on Öskjuhlíd hill, where he'd loved to play, and the incident he'd witnessed there as a boy.

He was absolutely sure. They'd met once before.

It had been the same man.

There was no doubt in his mind.


3

Konrád opened his eyes at the sound of his mobile phone ringing. He hadn't been able to get to sleep, but that was nothing new. Pills, red wine, rather aimless meditation—nothing made any impression on his insomnia.

He couldn't remember where he'd put his phone. Sometimes it was on the bedside table, sometimes in a trouser pocket. Once he'd lost it for several days, only to find it at last in the boot of his car.

He got out of bed, went into the sitting room, then followed the sound to the kitchen, where the phone was lying vibrating on the table. Outside, the autumn night was pitch-black.

'Sorry, Konrád, I know I've woken you,' whispered a female voice at the other end.

'No, you haven't.'

'I think you should come over to the mortuary.'

'Why are you whispering?'

'Am I?' The woman cleared her throat. Her name was Svanhildur and she was a pathologist at the National Hospital. 'Haven't you heard the news?' she asked.

'No,' Konrád said, wide awake now. He had been going through some of his father's old papers and this time his insomnia could partly be blamed on that.

'They brought him in at around eight o'clock,' Svanhildur said. 'They've found him.'

'Found him? Who? Sorry, who are you talking about?'

'Some German tourists. On Langjökull. He was in the ice.'

'On Langjökull?'

'It's Sigurvin, Konrád! Sigurvin's turned up. They've found his body.'

'Sigurvin?'

'Yes.'

'Sigurvin! No, it . . . what are you talking about?'

'After all these years, Konrád. It's quite incredible. I thought you might want to see him.'

'Is this some kind of joke?'

'I know it's hard to believe but it's him. Beyond a doubt.'
...

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