Open Grave: A Mystery
his hip and an arm, opened an ugly wound in his belly, with inflammation and blood poisoning as a result, an injury which after five days in the hospital in Uppsala would prove to be fatal.
    Gregor was then thirteen years old. His father had decided that his son should be educated as a control assistant, he would work with livestock but unlike his father he would not need to toil as a cowhand in the animal stalls. Everything was prepared for him to start in the secondary school in Uppsala, as a lodger with a cousin of his father, a childless widower who was foreman at Nyman’s bicycle factory.
    There began the long migration that led to the university. A path he actually had not chosen himself, and which in retrospect he looked back on with mixed emotions.
    He had been helped along, with the combined exertions of a whole family and later with scholarships, and he realized already during the first month of secondary school, when it turned out that “things come easy to him,” that he would never need to tramp along the roads and beg for a cup of coffee and a sandwich, perhaps an odd job.
    At the same time, the absence of his father, of the odors of his childhood, sat like an aching wedge in his body. In times of worry it was as if someone struck a blow and drove the wedge a little further into his chest.
    *   *   *
    He woke from his slumber and sat up. Perhaps it was the overwhelming events of the past twenty-four hours, with the Nobel Prize and Bunde’s unexpected appearance, that made the associate professor dream about strange things. In his dream his parents had appeared, but also the old people at the estate, Bj ö rks in Sandbacken, where he got to go to buy eggs, the smith who was called “Phew Pharaoh,” his grandfather who outlived his son by twenty years, and many others, in a cavalcade where the dead appeared and talked about the sorts of things they had never been allowed, or even wanted, to talk about when they were alive.
    He knew that it was time to get up, that lingering on the bench was not a good idea. Once the shabbily clothed started wandering it was time to get up and do something else.
    He decided to have his afternoon coffee in the tower, ordinarily an effective cure for melancholy, so he brought a package of cookies from the kitchen and started the climb up the stairs.
    The seesawing flight of a green woodpecker caught his attention. He had always liked woodpeckers and had left behind a stump from a pear tree as an intended food source and perhaps nesting tree and been rewarded. Every day the woodpecker came to visit.
    From the pear tree the associate professor let his eyes wander over to Bunde’s and then to Lundquist’s. Immediately he caught sight of the figure crouching behind the overgrown honeysuckle. The man, because of course it must be a man, was standing completely still. The associate professor could only glimpse parts of his back and legs, and perhaps something that might be a dark cap.
    “Strange,” said the associate professor to himself, and looked quickly toward Bunde’s.
    He was right, thought the associate professor, there is someone sneaking around here. Should he go downstairs and call the police? No, that would seem almost silly. What would he say? That there is a man standing in his neighbor’s yard? He would be laughed at.
    The coffeemaker hissed and the associate professor left his lookout point to pour a cup and take out a cookie.
    The whole maneuver did not take many seconds, and when he returned to the window the figure was gone. He quickly checked the surroundings but no stranger was seen anywhere.
    He did not like that. He did not like obscurity and mysteries. There must be a reasonable explanation. Perhaps it was as he himself had said to Bunde, that this concerned hired gardening help. The honeysuckle really needed pruning, and not just that. All of Lundquist’s yard needed a proper facelift. But the honeysuckle stood undisturbed, not a single branch was

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