04-02

          “With his brother, who went to university here. So perhaps it’s a student hidey hole? We can’t have covered all of them: they’re everywhere. There’s got to be something we missed.” Davide was rejuvenated by the idea. He dug around in the pocket of his long coat, obviously hunting for something, but gave up a minute or two later after discharging a length of string, a paperclip, some coins and a train ticked that was over two years old.

          “Ugh,” said Linda, wrinkling her nose. “You don’t wash that thing very often, do you? That is really gross.”

          “Who are you looking for?” A young girl, perhaps sixteen years old, had approached them. She was obviously Northern, evident even before she spoke, because she was dressed in shorts and a vest top despite the fact that it was mid September and not warm at all. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t help overhearing what you were saying, but I know my way around here and I wondered if I could help you.”

          “It’s unlikely,” said Davide, ready to dismiss the idea. “But I’m sure you could be of some use. What do you think, Linda? Trust her?”

          “Yes,” said Linda, almost instantly. “His name is Rich, short for Richard although he never uses it, and he’s pretty athletic. He used to run a lot, you see.” She continued to describe the boy in great detail, such great detail that Davide—who had not noticed half of what she was saying—was surprised, and looked at her with raised eyebrows. “So what? I’m observant: big deal.”

          “Ah, but why?”

          Linda chose to ignore that question, turning instead to the girl. “What’s your name?”

          “Lenna,” she said, smiling. Her blond hair was almost waist length and her eyes a bright green, shining onto her pale cheeks. “Lenna Matheson.”

          “Lenna Matheson…” repeated Davide. “Where are you from? I’m sure Matheson is a Welsh name, but Lenna—I’ve never heard that one before. Is it English?” He seemed to be genuinely curious, as opposed to just trying to make conversation.

          “It’s Swedish,” she said, blushing slightly. “But you’re right, Matheson is sometimes Welsh. In my case, I’m not sure where it’s from. I’m English, but my mother is from Sweden, hence why I have a Swedish name, Lenna.” Davide nodded, absorbing the information like a sponge soaking up water.

          “And you speak Swedish?” he asked, desperate to know more about her as though it would be enough to distract him from their quest, removing the pressures and tension and allowing him to relax slightly.

          “Only a little,” Lenna admitted. “My mother was fluent in English so we rarely spoke it.”

          “Ah.” Questions answered, Davide was forced to return to the job at hand, so he turned to Linda for her opinion. How do you think she can help us?”

The End

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