Monday, 17 September 2012

The Diamond Trail of Stockholm - chapter 1 of my kindle & paperback book

Chapter One

The Retelling

Bjorn Gunnarson was on his way home from work on the train that ran along the Stockholm mainline when the lights flickered on and off causing some passengers to gasp, but the power was soon restored and everyone settled back down again. Bjorn himself was suffering from a slight cold that caused him to arm himself with plenty of tissues. The train slowed as it approached the station and many passengers got to their feet in order to leave the carriage although Bjorn wasn’t getting off yet. The train then once again closed its doors and started moving away towards the next stop along the line and Bjorn got back to viewing a book he’d been doing his best to concentrate on. A striking woman with long blonde hair suddenly sat down opposite him and the lady smiled at him causing Bjorn to respond in kind, but once he’d done so the lights once again started to flicker on and off before stabilising.
“What’s going on with the lights?” She wondered if he’d any idea.
“Search me? It’s been happening a lot since I boarded the train not that I’m in any – way responsible for it.” Bjorn looked to distance himself from this idea.
“I never thought you were. I’m Christina by the way.” She readily introduced herself to him and Bjorn realised that it would be practical to do the same since they were involved in a conversation.
“I’m Bjorn and I’m just on my way home from work.” He told her causing her to giggle slightly and Bjorn lost complete interest in his book.
“I’ve noticed you’re reading a book about Easter?” She found this a strange thing to do given the celebrating that was often done about this time.
“Sometimes it takes me a little longer to get into things. This is taking me back to when I was a child and my mother would often read to me at bedtime although not about the kind of scary violence that this book is about.” Bjorn’s choice of reading material was being questioned, but Christina had something else in mind.
“Did you happen to hear about the Black Easter Egg of Stockholm?” She wondered if this was something that had interested him, but Bjorn didn’t like the sound of it one little bit.
“What’s that?”  Bjorn took the ignorant path here feeling that it would be for the best.
“It was something that happened many years ago, some would say back in the nineteen seventies? Anyway a young man was given an Easter Egg by his stepmother, but it was all wrapped up in shiny golden paper. When the boy unravelled the Easter Egg it wasn’t chocolate it was something else.” Christina started to explain to him and Bjorn shifted uncomfortably about in his seat.
“Something else?” He found himself repeating back to her.
“That’s right. The Easter Egg had such a disgusting smell that the boy instantly dropped it onto the floor, but rather than break it instead rolled around the room. Then it stopped and something broke out of it something that was so terrifying that legend has it that if you repeated its chosen name it would be back for you too.” Christina’s attempts to get to Bjorn were obviously working and he laughed nervously as a result.
“This is a joke?” Bjorn suggested to her in hopeful fashion, but Christina’s expression failed to change and whatever else it might’ve been it was no joke.
“I’m afraid that it’s no joke. This was real and happened not that far from here actually.” Christina realised after she’d looked at the route the train was taking.
“Are you saying that this thing whatever it was killed this boy?” Bjorn sought some clarification on the subject.
“Plus another twenty people too! You see it never stayed in one place, but the thing that emerged was able to move about freely.” She explained to him although this sounded like a Hans Christian Anderson fairytale to Bjorn since it was going a little too far for his liking.
“What’s this a game?” Bjorn looked relieved about it, but she soon shook her head.
“It wasn’t a game it was a demon that emerged from the Easter Egg. That thing was the most dangerous being to ever hit the Easter celebration.” Christina thought that he should be taking things a little more seriously than this.
“A demon? Are you sure about that?” He staggered back whilst feeling that she shouldn’t go around trying to scare people like this.
“I’m not lying here Bjorn. This was real and some people think that it could well happen again. Do you want to be around when it does?” Christina suggested to him, but this wasn’t something that interested him and he looked away and out of the window.
“Have you got nothing to say?” Christina was surprised that he didn’t seem to be too interested in her story.
“I’m only counting the minutes until my stop arrives.” Bjorn wouldn’t be drawn on what she was talking about and felt somewhat letdown about it.
“If it happens to you at least you can’t say nobody tried to warn you about it?” She reminded him, but Bjorn felt that something like this was unlikely to happen to anyone let alone a grown man such as he.
“I will take your words on board, but that’s all they are for me is words.” Bjorn showed that she wasn’t bothering him just as the train arrived at his station. He moved to get off only to find that Christina was suddenly stood besides him.
“Looks like we come from the same place?” She suggested to him, but from the look on his face he wasn’t sure that was the case.
“Perhaps, but then again we view things from an altered perspective.” Bjorn wasn’t interested in folklore, urban legends or fairytales, which was in direct contrast to her.
“Take care of yourself Bjorn.” Christina called out as he got off the train and hastily travelled away from her. He placed his left hand in the air to acknowledge her call before he carried on his way while she left on the other side of the platform.

Bjorn made his way to a bus stop that was located just outside the station although his mind was now racing away with him.
“Someone on your mind? I know that look anywhere?” A man with wavy brown hair thought he knew what was bothering him.
“Trust me it’s not that.” Bjorn wouldn’t have minded if that’d turned out to be the case, but it simply wasn’t true.
“I know we don’t know each other, but you can confide in me if you want?” The man suggested to him although Bjorn was never one to confide his feelings to anyone, so he wasn’t willing to be drawn on this. His female friend walked up to him and looked to see whom he’d been talking to since she’d never met him before. 
“So who’s this then Martin?” She wondered if he could introduce them to one another.
“I don’t know his name?” Martin realised that during his spur of the moment conversation he’d not even got this from Bjorn.
“I’m Britt what’s your name?” Britt took the opportunity to quiz him and despite his thoughts on this he decided that maybe it would be the decent thing to do.
“I’m Bjorn and I’m stood here at the bus stop with you.” Bjorn told them, but Martin thought that there was more to the story than that.
“I’m Britt Salaramson and this is Martin Matveus.” Britt provided their names to him during the exchange, but Bjorn just had his eyes on the road for any signs of his bus.
“What’s on your mind?” Martin felt that given the circumstances maybe he should divulge his issue to them, but once again he was reluctant since who’d believe what Christina told him.
“Come on you might as well tell us?” Britt suggested to him and against his better judgement he shared the information with them.
“Have you ever heard of the Black Easter Egg of Stockholm?” Bjorn was certain that they would respond in the negative, but that wasn’t the case.
“That was horrendous and even today looking back it’s hard to believe that happened.” Britt shook her head in dismay while Martin looked nervously up at the blue tinted sky above their heads.
“Don’t tell me you believe in it?” Bjorn was simply amazed that they’d been taken in by this idea.
“It actually happened so yes we believe in it.” Martin confirmed that he hadn’t been hearing things although he was disappointed that he hadn’t misheard.
“You honestly think that seven foot demon arose from a small black chocolate egg and then killed everyone in sight? Don’t you think that’s reaching a little bit?” Bjorn was convinced that if they thought about it hard enough they’d come up with the right answer.
“No, we don’t.” Britt showed him that his confidence had backfired and they weren’t any - more open to his rationality than they were previously. Bjorn looked up and thanked his lucky stars that at least the bus was coming down the road towards him, he placed his arm out and the bus stopped right in front of him. Unfortunately for him Martin and Britt were also getting on the same bus and followed him upstairs.    
“You know that Easter is in just a few days time? Have you got all of your Easter eggs yet?” Britt questioned him not that he thought that this was any of their business, as they sat down behind him.
“I’ve got all the eggs I needed to buy thanks.” Bjorn told them while feeling that their attempts to put him on edge weren’t working.
“Is there anyone that you’ve upset recently?” Martin suggested to him although he couldn’t see what this had to do with anything.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Bjorn looked for some form of explanation to come back his way.
“I was just saying that if you upset someone they’re the ones’ most likely to get you a black Easter egg.” Martin informed him and Bjorn shifted about in his seat.
“So what you’re saying is unless I’ve been a good person someone will get me a black Easter egg that contains a demon and said demon will eat me?” Bjorn worked out what they’d been trying to tell him.
“That’s pretty much the long and the short of it.” Britt confirmed for him not that he was paying much mind to this.
“The only thing that would make this worse is if that lady I was speaking to on the train turned up?” Bjorn was pleased that he’d only two people to deal with instead of three, but then Christina walked over towards them.
“You are here?” Bjorn wasn’t exactly overjoyed to see her there and this was clearly evident from his expression.
“That’s right. We know each other.” Christina confirmed that she wasn’t a stranger to either Britt or Martin.
“I might’ve known you’ve stitched me up here? Why can’t you all leave me alone?” Bjorn looked for them to go away or at least talk about something that sounded less sinister.
“It’s only been about ten years Bjorn yet you still haven’t worked out that we went to school together?” Martin found this more worrying than anything else although his point raised Bjorn’s eyebrows.
“I can’t believe it? We did go to school together? How did I not realised it before now?” He was shocked that he’d failed to recognise them although they had a good reason for this.
“Probably because you didn’t really talk to us or anyone else much whilst you were at school.” Britt reasoned with him and he nodded his head.
“This Easter Demon you’re talking about is just a joke isn’t it?” Bjorn was hoping to clear this one right up.
“No, this is real. I think that when we get off this bus we’d better go somewhere that sells the eggs just to make sure nothing like this happens.” Christina’s idea wasn’t one that Bjorn shared or had any intention of following through.
“A little bizarre isn’t it? I mean to crash a supermarket and demand to inspect Easter Eggs just in case one of them contains a demon?” Bjorn put it into perspective for them.
“You’re acting like you don’t believe in folklore?” Christina accused him of being a non-believer.
“Maybe that’s because I don’t believe in it. If it was something about a lost treasure maybe I would? Who wants to go hunting for a demon?” Bjorn found the idea somewhat disconcerting and they recognised what he was getting at.
“You think that we’ve got this all wrong then?” Martin suggested to him, but as he said the words another young lady stepped forwards with a new spin on the Easter Demon tale.
“My name’s Hannah Martinson.” She told them although Bjorn already had a question for her.
“Did we used to go to school together too?” He wondered what she made of the idea, but she shook her head.
“I’m afraid not. The fairytale of the demon Easter Egg has been taken out of context spread by unscrupulous types only out to erase the real Demon.” Hannah explained to them although none of them had heard the story before.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Britt was clearly out of kilter with what she was talking about.
“The Easter Demon wasn’t a person, being or monster.” Hannah felt they needed to hear this and Bjorn smirked with a knowing look on his face since he’d suspected this all along.
“See what did I tell you?” He reminded them that he never took this for fact in the first place.
“So what was it if not a being, person or monster?” Martin wondered what she knew that they’d no idea about.
“It’s a special diamond that was once presented to the King of Sweden about two hundred years ago. It was lost whilst he was out and about in Stockholm and it only came to light after he’d arrived home.” Hannah knew a lot about this since she’d studied it at school, but those she was talking with weren’t convinced about the explanation.
“If this is a diamond then why was it called a demon?” Christina thought that she had her here.
“It was called a demon by the King who thought that the way it had disappeared was so bizarre. Inanimate objects shouldn’t move about by themselves, but he was absolutely certain this one had a mind of its own.” Hannah reasoned with them and they took this in.
“Where was it last seen?” Bjorn was suitably intrigued to ask her.
“Some say down by the river, but others thought it was in another location entirely that’s the main reason why it’s never been found.” Hannah told them in no uncertain terms. Bjorn got to his feet after noticing his stop coming up and now he had the perfect excuse not to go into a supermarket and look for something that had never been real just another urban legend that had escaped from someone’s mind.
“Where are you going?” Christina thought that he needed to hold his horses here.
“Are you kidding me? I’m going home.” Bjorn wasn’t about to let them bother him for another minute. The bus slowed at the stop and he rushed down the stairs in order to get away from them.

The bus continued on its way with Christina, Britt, Hannah and Martin still engaged in conversation.
“The idea that it’s a demon is still bothering me?” Martin felt that after all they’d heard about this for it not to be true was tough to take.
“The legend was born from the pen of a writer named Thomas Gunnarson back in the early part of the twentieth century. His work of fiction created a legend whilst the real legend was quickly forgotten about.” Hannah informed them, but the surname was creating quite a stir for them.
“Gunnarson as in Bjorn Gunnarson?” Christina looked at her while wearing a puzzled look on her face.
“That’s right Thomas Gunnarson was Bjorn’s great-grandfather. He’s the reason why I’m here today too.” Hannah dropped some more news their way.
“How so?” Martin was finding this all kind of hard to take in let alone take seriously.
“Most people believe that Thomas Gunnarson knew what happened to the Easter Demon or should we say diamond, but he never let on about it one way or the other. I’ve been trying to talk to Bjorn for some time now, but he’s always proved an elusive person to track down.” Hannah was sure she wasn’t telling them anything they didn’t already know.
“Bjorn has a habit of being like that.” Christina informed her while their stop was coming up.
“This is our stop coming up. You’re welcome to come along with us?” Britt suggested to her and Hannah was interested enough to do that.
“Where are we off to though?” She required some more information before she confirmed that she would attend.
“Just to the supermarket since Easter’s only a few days away and we need to buy some Easter Eggs for our relatives.” Christina informed her, as the driver stopped at the bus stop and they all got off the bus with Hannah for company. They made their way towards the supermarket under the glare of a beautiful looking sunset that made them stand out like silhouettes.
“So other than the fact that Bjorn’s great-grandfather had something to do with changing the legend of the Easter Demon diamond? What else do we need to know about this?” Britt questioned Hannah since she seemed to be very clued up here.
“Many people believe that Thomas Gunnarson might’ve known where the missing diamond was located? Unfortunately after the story was changed nobody ever saw the Easter Demon again.” Hannah said to them with a knowing look on her face.
“Does Bjorn even know anything about this?” Britt wondered if she felt that he knew why they were looking for this.
“I should suspect the answer to that would be no, because he’s too young to even have known his great-grandfather.” Hannah pointed out to them, as they entered the supermarket and grabbed a trolley for the eggs.
“Also he thought that this was some kind of fairytale didn’t he?” Christina reminded them that he wasn’t clued up on this.
“That’s true. He wasn’t open to what we had to say, so by the time you came along he’d really had enough.” Martin realised that Bjorn’s mood wasn’t that surprising although they were still left with questions that needed to be asked and answered.
“I feel that we still need to find out if he knows?” Hannah couldn’t see any other way round the issue not that she got any arguments out of them.

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