With a bit of luck
Liu Yen woke around seven. She laid still in bed with her eyes closed. Golden beams of sunlight shone through the curtains and warmed her face.
Her thoughts drifted and took her to the blue skies back home, as they often did in the early hours of the day.
Knut stirred beside her. He turned around and pulled at the duvet. She didn't move. With a bit of luck he would get up soon and leave her to her dreams.
It sometimes felt like dreams were all she had ever had. Dreams of a better life somewhere else. It was her dreams that had taken her from the village to the alluring lights of Bangkok, and from the alluring lights of Bangkok to somewhere less cruel and impersonal. Eventually they had led her to the agency and a promise of a better life in the west, in a country she had never even heard of.
She could still remember the excitement she felt when they wrote to say her application was successful.
Knut grunted. He turned around and looked at Liu Yen. She was still asleep. Her bruising seemed to have gone down a little. 'Good' he thought. 'She can do the shopping then.'
He rose from bed and adjusted his y-fronts. In the kitchen he checked the coffee maker. Coffee, filter and water, all ready to go and as it should be. 'Got her well trained at last.' Knut grinned to himself as he flicked the switch.
Liu Yen hadn't exactly been his first choice mind, more like third. Still, she was pretty good around the house, cooked a decent roast, and with a little 'gentle persuasion' he could get her to do anything he wanted in the bedroom. Not a bad investment really.
Through the kitchen window Knut could see the girl that delivered the papers heading back down the drive on her push-bike. She had to swirl to avoid the cat. 'Careful,' Knut said out loud. Poor thing wasn't very well. The vet had said it was a tumour. Knut had decided to give him the best care he could to make his last months as comfortable as possible, no expense spared. 'Poor Rocky.' Knut sighed.
He picked up the morning paper and headed for the bathroom. As he sat on the toilet flicking through the pages, plans for the day started to take shape in his mind. Now that the rain had stopped he could finally get on to fitting the new gear box.
The thought of his restoration project pleased him.
The 1972 MGB GT Convertible had been in a sorry state when he bought it. But he was getting there. A bit impractical maybe, a convertible in Bergen, the city that saw more rainy days than the rain forest. But he didn't care. It was a beauty. The mere thought of it's long sleek bonnet excited him more than any woman ever could.
He got dressed, grabbed a cup of coffee and went outside.
Liu Yen heard Knut slam the door behind him. She stayed in bed for another half an hour before she got up and showered. Back in the bedroom she studied her reflection in the full length mirror. The dark purple marks on her arm formed a perfect hand-shape. The bruising around her left eye had started to subside a little and had taken on a strange green brownish colour. She would have to get some more concealer when she went out later.
She was sitting quietly at the breakfast table nursing a cup of tea when Knut called her from outside. She opened the kitchen window. 'I need some assistance here.' he shouted. His greasy overalls were bulging around his fat body. The old car was parked on the sloping driveway outside the garage.
Liu Yen put her shoes on and ran outside. It was cold. The false promise of the sun had caught her out. She turned around to go and get a jacket.
'Where are you going now?' he sneered. '
She told him.
Knut gave her a warning look. 'No time for that love, I need you here now.'
'What do you want me to do?' She was shivering.
'Right, I need you to stand there and hand me the tools when I tell you to.'
He got onto his knees and down onto the ground. One of the pop buttons on his overalls got caught as he dragged himself into position underneath the car. He swore loudly and tried to pull himself loose. 'Damn buttons. Okay, hand me the spanner.'
Liu Yen did as she was told.
Next door Kari Bergman studied them through her net curtains. She was sat in her armchair by the window. Morning paper folded in her lap, cup of Earl Grey resting on the window sill.
The sight of Knut Hansen squeezed in underneath the car almost made her laugh. But the image of Liu Yen's frail body soon stopped her chuckles. 'Goodness, she'll catch her death in that thin top.'
Kari had a fair idea of what was going on over there at number 12. But what could she do about it? She shook her head in disbelief. If old Mrs Hansen knew what her son had become she would turn in her grave.
Half an hour later Liu Yen felt as though her body had detached itself from her mind. The sun had disappeared behind dark clouds together with the dream it seemed. The clouds were hanging heavy over the mountains. Liu Yen's lips were barely moving as she was humming to herself. Her voice grew stronger as she started to remember the words her mother used to sing to her as a child. 'Be careful what you wish for, my sweet little baby, my beautiful girl, be careful what you wish for.'
Knut's growl startled her. 'For the love of God woman, shut up will you, I can't hear myself think here.'
Knut clenched his fist around the wrench in annoyance. The sudden movement caused his hand to slip. He felt a sharp pain in his thumb. Warm blood trickled down his arm inside the sleeve of his overalls. 'You stupid woman. Now look what you made me do. I'm bleeding here.'
Liu Yen stood completely still while Knut barked his instructions. 'There's some old rags in the front of the car, get me one quick. And whatever you do don't touch the bloody handbrake.'
Liu Yen opened the car door. On the passenger seat she saw a couple of old tea-towels. She leant over and picked one up. As she pulled back, her arm brushed passed the hand-brake.
She watched in silence as the car rolled down the hill and onto the main road, dragging Knut with it by the buttons on his overalls.
The bus driver didn't see the car coming. By the time he hit the brakes it was too late.
The investigation was conclusive. The statement from Mrs Bergman at number 14 coincided with the driver's account of events. It was a terrible accident.
One could only speculate as to why an experienced mechanic like Knut Hansen would get underneath a car with a faulty handbrake.
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