Chapter 5|Freyja’s journal

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Wednesday

The ornithologist was outside the flat again this morning, with his binoculars round his neck. He gives me the creeps. Luckily he was gone before I went to work, but I could still taste him in the air outside. I wish I didn’t have to go out at all when he’s around. I wish I didn’t have to work. I wish M could just be here with me. M understands what he’s like. Sometimes I don’t think anyone else even notices him. Nobody else seems to be bothered by him hanging around anyway.

Morning train crowded for some reason. A horrible man sat next to me and tried to talk, but I just pretended to be listening to music. Second creepy man of the day. Yuck!

Work was crap, as usual. J won’t even consider letting me do something that suits me better. She is obsessed with me doing the job I’m supposed to do, even though it must be obvious that I hate it. Why can’t she just appreciate what I’m actually good at? And why do I have to go to meetings? They are so pointless. I don’t even know what everyone was going on about today. I just shut down for the whole hour.

Lunch: cheese and pickle sandwich (yummy!)

The train home was better. No one sat next to me, which was good.

Evening: takeaway pizza, trashy TV, crossword (10:32)

magpie

Kate skims through a few more entries, which are interspersed with detailed drawings of plants, animals, bits of buildings. Most of the weekday entries are similar – comments on the train journey, always a mention of lunch (invariably either a cheese and pickle sandwich or a lentil pastie, either of which is bound to be ‘yummy’, it appears). Freyja does a crossword most days, and seems to record how long it takes her to complete it.

Freyja’s weekends are usually spent wandering around the countryside, but the journal entries are strangely non-specific about locations. Her focus is instead on tiny details, and she seems extraordinarily curious about patterns and repetition, especially in nature.

The few people she mentions in her journal are usually referred to by single initials, with ‘M’ and ‘J’ appearing most often. Since J appears to be someone Freyja works with – probably her boss – it’s possible that M is a colleague, though M could also be a relative or close friend.

The main exception is ‘the ornithologist’, who is always given this soubriquet. He turns up fairly frequently outside Freyja’s flat and near her work, with his trademark binoculars. It sounds to Kate as though Freyja has a stalker, and she shudders at the thought that he could have had something to do with today’s disturbing turn of events.

The last entry in the journal is for another Wednesday – yesterday – though the last line is written on the following page, using a different pen from the rest.

magpie

Wednesday

Slept in a bit again. No time for breakfast. At least there was no sign of the ornithologist when I looked out of the window. No telltale metallic odour on the street when I went to get the train either.

Uneventful commute this morning.

Work was all right. I’m really, really trying to concentrate on doing my job. I think things will be OK for a while, as long as I can keep this up without burning myself out.

Lunch: lentil pastie (yummy!)

Almost fell asleep on the train home because I was so exhausted.

Evening: takeaway pizza, crossword (22:55 – ouch!), early bed

Looking forward to seeing M at the weekend. It’s been such a long time, and there’s so much to talk about.

If you’re reading this, tell them I’m OK. (At this time, anyway – no shit!)

magpie

Jude opens the door of the tiny waiting room and sits down beside Kate, who is visibly shaken. She puts a supportive arm around her.

Kate tells Jude about the young woman on the bridge, and how she decided to turn back to check that she was OK. (She leaves out the embarrassing bit about a crow almost knocking her off her bike!) She tells Jude about finding the bag and worrying what might have become of the woman, who she then found out was Freyja. She shows the journal to Jude, who skims through it for herself, remarking on the precise handwriting and Freyja’s clear artistic talent.

Jude closes the journal and returns it to Kate. As she does so, a business card slips out onto the concrete floor. Jude picks it up. It belongs to Freyja. Now they know where she works, they can find her, return the bag and stop imagining the worst.

Both women try to put the last line of Freyja’s journal out of their minds as they set off from the station to Freyja’s workplace.

Read Chapter 6 |

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