This is a small excerpt from Everything beyond the sea translated to english. At the bottom you will also find a synopsis. If you prefer to read in a text editor or print it, you can download the files here. Please contact Silje Mella if you are interested in acquiring foreign rights to this novel. Thank you for reading.

Kind regards, Lasse W. Fosshaug


Lasse W. Fosshaug
Everything Beyond the Sea

Novel, 2017

Translated from the Norwegian by Rosie Hedger

© Lasse W. Fosshaug
Translation © Rosie Hedger


Pages 146-155

I lay on the sofa, apathetic. On the television screen, Russian tanks rolled along the border with Ukraine, and an agitated CNN reporter explained that the situation had reached a critical point after Russia’s bombing of US-sponsored rebels in Syria. Putin had appeared before the UN, his milky eyes surrounded by botox-bloated skin, and had insisted that the international community stand united in the same way it once had against Hitler. Afterwards, he and Obama had engaged in dialogue. ‘After so many years of cool relations, it was incredible that they were able to set aside a whole hour,’ one reporter commented dryly. I turned my back to the screen and pulled the wool blanket up to my chin.
    I awoke unexpectedly to a deep rumbling that caused the walls of the house to tremble before a shockwave threw me from the sofa, the cups tumbling from the shelf above the sink and smashing on the floor tiles below. Car alarms wailed out on the street. The glass window panes had cracked. Slowly I crawled along the floor and cautiously lifted my head to peer out of the window. The factory was nowhere to be seen above the rooftops, but I knew at once what had happened. It had gone up in flames. The silhouette of yellow, red and ice-blue tongues could be seen against the mountainous backdrop. I looked at the clock. It was a little after five in the morning. The night shift workers were on their way home, with the morning shift on its way in. I pulled on some clothes and raced downstairs. The streets were filled with people in dressing gowns, pyjama bottoms, some in nothing but their underwear, all gazing into the valley, where enormous black clouds of billowing smoke spewed upwards into the twilight sky. I ran through gardens and clambered over verandas. Every dog in Øvre was barking, and the barks mingled with the sound of sirens, they were on their way, the two ambulances, the police car and fire engine, but it was nowhere near enough, at least sixty people were in the building, and if it was the LPG tank that had gone up, then half of them would be dead, the rest deaf, blind, bleeding, injured. The wooden houses closest to the site were on fire, as well as some of the trees on the hill above. I hopped over the barrier and sprinted towards the office building, wanted to run in and pull people out, but the heat forced me back to the security cabin. By the barrier, a cluster of people had gathered, others who had come running. Among them was Silje, her eyes wide-open, her mouth agape. She ran in my direction as soon as she spotted me.
    ‘Finn’s in there!’ she cried, pointing at the electrolysis shop.
    I met the heat head on and sprinted towards the car park, then over to the right of the main building, trampling over the ‘Keep off the grass’ sign that had been sent flying across the lawn. I ran around the corner and over to the staircase. At the top of the steps, I pressed my back to the wall and cautiously reached out for the door handle. It was warm to the touch. I crouched down and placed my hand on the doorstep to feel for draughts or heat, but there were no indications of a blaze directly within. I entered the code, pushed the door gently and then, still crouching, shuffled inside and onto the platform above the shop. Flashes of blue lightning shot up from between the furnaces. The eastern wall was pocked with craters after several blasts, and a supporting pillar had crashed to the ground, short-circuiting the power rail. Sections of the roof had followed suit, overturning a forklift truck on their way down. Dirty, silver-grey aluminium flowed freely, reflecting the light, red, blue, yellow, and an arm stuck out from beneath the vehicle, just visible, the hand partly immersed in the liquid metal. I had to make it down from the platform before it became live; I ran towards the opposite end of the shop, the area that had been closed off for maintenance for the month, then found a staircase, climbed onto the handrail with my feet on either side and slid almost ten metres to the cement floor down below.
    ‘Finn!’ I called, but I could barely hear the sound of my own voice. The fire alarm, the explosions from the furnace, the sirens outside. ‘Finn, where are you?’ I called again.
    Then I caught sight of Petter. He staggered out from between two pallets of building materials. ‘Petter! Are you OK?’ I cried.
    He pointed at his ear and shook his head, blood streaming from a cut on his arm. I grabbed his other arm, pulling it over my shoulder and supporting him as we moved as quickly as possible towards the emergency exit, where I kicked open the door and laid him on the ground a little way away. The ambulance wasn’t far off, and I managed to signal to one of the paramedics, who came to Petter’s aid. Back inside and at the other end of the room, towards the worst of the chaos and the damaged wall, the sheets of aluminium snaked their way further into the space like the branches of an ancient oak tree. The soles of my shoes stuck to the red-hot floor and caused me to trip, and I just managed to stop myself from hitting my head on a large pipe running along the floor. Finn must be in his office, it was on the second floor of the building, closest to the gas tank. It was a brick structure, so it was possible that he might have survived if he hadn’t been standing by the window, or no, could he have done? The houses closest to the factory had been set ablaze, the jet flame from the explosion must have been enormous, and I noted the breeze, blowing with some force in the direction of the sea, cool from the mountains, sweeping through the factory site and out towards the water. The breeze was the very same I had anticipated when I had still wanted to blow up the LPG tank with plastic explosives.

Members of the fire brigade were on their way into the corridor of offices wearing smoke diving equipment and refused to let me past.
    ‘It’s too dangerous,’ one of them shouted from behind his mask. I barged past him and into the stairwell. He tried holding me back, but I shook him off. On the first floor, I was met by a veil of thick smoke that only grew darker and thicker the further upstairs I managed to climb. It was too much for me up there. It was impossible to make it any further without a mask and oxygen, so I scrambled back downstairs, bumping into the smoke diver as I went.
    ‘Get out, let us do our job!’ he cried, brusquely pulling me out of the way.
    ‘There’s someone up there called Finn, third office to the right!’
    ‘We’ll find him, get out!’ he cried, almost shoving me back down the stairs. I hurried back to the barrier, unable to do anything else, covered head-to-toe in soot, the legs of my trousers frayed. I coughed and hawked up a glob of black slime, spitting it out on the ground. Silje was standing with her hands over her mouth.
    ‘Oh God,’ she said, looking at me. ‘Where’s Finn?’
    ‘The firemen will find him. I couldn’t get far enough inside.’
    She stormed past me in the direction of the office building.
    ‘Finn!’ she shrieked. ‘Finn…’
    Just before she made it inside the building, a fireman grabbed onto her, holding her tight. After a brief struggle, I saw her body collapse in his arms and down onto the grass, where she lay sobbing as he headed back inside to look for survivors.
They never did find him. When all of the fires had been extinguished and the power plant in the mountains had been shut down, bringing a halt to the blue flickers of lightning that flashed in the electrolysis shop, cooling the furnaces and leaving the aluminium on the floor like ice in a dirty skating rink, when water trickled from the ceiling and down the walls from the continuous gush of the hosepipes and pumps that kept the roof and walls cool and damp to prevent the flames from flaring upwards once again, when the majority of those who, according to the shift plan, had been at work when the tank exploded, 56 men all in all, had been found, just 8 of them alive, only then had Finn’s face appeared on the news. At least one missing after catastrophic explosion in Årdal. Police have not yet ruled out the theory that this may have been a terrorist attack. They speculated whether it could be an Islamic terrorist attack, IS, maybe; they asked the policewoman in the studio if it could be the work of Islamic State, and she replied at least twice that it was far too early to draw any conclusions, and that they could not confirm whether this was an accident or a terrorist attack for the time being.

Silje’s eyes were bloodshot, the skin around them ashen, puffy. Her face was pale with an almost blue-ish tinge.
    ‘They’ll find him, I’m sure of it,’ I said.
    ‘Not alive, not now,’ she said.
    ‘Maybe,’ I said, even though I knew it was impossible. A whole day and night had passed, then yet another day. We’d spent the first night with others who had been affected at the crisis centre they’d established in the school gym hall. I’d gone home with her later the following day, back to their white living room.
    ‘No. I can only picture him as ash. Like a dark stain on the office floor.’
    I moved close to her and placed an arm around her shoulders.
    ‘Don’t sit there imagining such things,’ I said.
    ‘Can you stay tonight as well? Sleep in the guest room?’
    ‘Of course,’ I replied, but we never did go to bed. Instead we sat in the living room and stared out of the window. Silje wept and I held her. A few hours later, she fell asleep curled up at one end of the sofa. I laid a white blanket over her. Got up to check that the door was locked.

Ronny leaned precariously against the table at The China. A few of us others sat around, staring first at him and then back at the pints in front of us. They seemed out of place.
    ‘Shit, I should have been there…’ he said. Slowly he shook his head. ‘It should have been me, not them… Mikael, Bent, Stian… now they’re all just charcoal, the lot of them.’
    A few of the other boys sniffed and took long swigs of their beers. Ronny had invited us to a debrief, as he had called it. He’d been contacted by Hydro central, who had provided him with advice on what to do in these kinds of situations.
    ‘A load of shite, the lot of it,’ he’d said. ‘Call in a psychologist, bake a cake, join hands in a circle.’ He’d crumpled the leaflet in one hand and thrown it in the bin, choosing instead to invite us to join him at The China. There was enough space for everyone there now.
    He took a deep breath. ‘I’m sorry,’ he said. ‘It’s just not easy to find the right words. 49 colleagues, gone. I knew them all well. Picked half of them out for the job myself. Good folks, fine lads… and now there’s hardly anything left of them to bury. The police keep saying they’ll find who’s responsible. They’ve got him on film at the entrance and the petrol station. But none of that helps us. If they catch the bastard and drag him through the courts, I’ll never get to wring his neck with my own two hands and throw his body in the sea.’
    He sat back down. The man beside him slapped him on the shoulder, and Ronny forced a smile. After a while, everyone around the table began chatting, and the beginnings of laughter could be heard here and there. Happy memories and anecdotes mingled with stifled cries and anguish, ending in the measured relief of loss and anxiety. And perhaps it all helped slightly. It had to. None of the other nonsense did anything to help these lads, not the singalongs nor the get-togethers for coffee in the gym hall. They needed to let off steam amongst themselves, but this was only ever partly successful; they found no peace. Øvre was packed with journalists and investigators, buses from the national broadcasting agency with satellite dishes aimed at the sky and microphones pointed at everyone who had no desire whatsoever to say anything but who was unable to express that fact, and so who instead would mutter something along the lines of everything being awful, not knowing what they could do, and their sorrowful platitudes would subsequently end up on screen, broadcast to the nation, the world. Norway hit again, Ein weiterer Schlag gegen Norwegens Unschuld, Norwegian Minister of Justice suspects Islamic terror and Fuel tank explodes, kills 49 were just a few of the headlines that materialised in the days that followed.
    ‘What do you reckon?’ Ronny asked me.
    ‘About what?’
    ‘Do you think it was a Muslim attack?’
    ‘I don’t think so.’
    The man beside Ronny leaned towards me, clearly annoyed.
    ‘My God, who else do you think it could be? Who else’d do such a thing?!’
    ‘A lot of people,’ I said. One in particular, but I’d forced the thought from my mind. He’d have been here long ago if that were the case. ‘Isn’t it best that we leave all this to the police?’
    ‘They know who’s responsible just as much as we do, it’s just…’ He was interrupted by a journalist who had meandered in carrying a large red microphone, making his way through the door with an apologetic smile before approaching one of the boys. They stepped outside together and set up on the pavement outside the restaurant.
    ‘Bloody hell!’
    Ronny got up in such a hurry that his chair tipped over and he stormed out, where he stood between the microphone and our man. We could hear him giving someone a hard time through the glass window. The journalist did his best to cut him off, to direct the conversation, or whatever in God’s name it was that he was trying to do, but Ronny was reasonably intimidating, and eventually he yanked the microphone from the man’s hand and lobbed it down the road with all of his might. The boys slapped him on the back when he returned inside.

I slept in Finn and Silje’s guest room for the rest of that week. Silje mainly lay on the sofa watching news broadcasts. Finn was gone. Everyone presumed that his body had disintegrated, pulverised, so close to the gas tank that there was nothing left of him.
    ‘Maybe it’s time to give up hope,’ she said one evening.
    ‘Maybe,’ I replied. We’d talked about it for days, about what might have happened, about just how hot it had been, and the other bodies, which were barely identifiable even though they were further from the blast than Finn’s must have been. The television was showing a transmission from the national broadcaster, NRK. The police were due to hold yet another special press conference at 18:00.
    ‘They might have something new to share.’
    ‘Maybe so,’ she said.
    The investigation into the explosion at the aluminium works in Årdal has reached a point where it is now possible for us to state that this was a deliberate attack. The National Criminal Investigation Service has found traces of plastic explosives, and everything suggests that these had been attached to the LPG tank that provided gas to the furnaces.
    Silje was unresponsive, staring apathetically at the screen.
    ‘Are you OK?’ I mumbled.
    ‘I don’t know,’ she said, the corners of her mouth moving, a smile that never reached her eyes.
    ‘I need to go home and fetch some clean clothes. Do you want me to come back after that?’
    ‘Yes.’
I’ve only pissed myself out of fear once before in my life. It happened on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, long before I was with Aleksej. I was driving through the forest just north of the city; the van I was driving was filled with spirits, I’d been to collect provisions for a nightclub I worked at as a student. It started to get dark, and I’d barely passed a soul in the hour that had gone by. The light from the van’s headlights was almost non-existent, and large pine trees lined the road in dense rows. At the occasional bend in the road, I could just about make out the moon above the treetops. All of a sudden, an animal appeared in the middle of the road, it was fifty metres ahead of me, maybe, it couldn’t be any further than that or I wouldn’t have spotted it in the headlights, and I wrenched the steering wheel to the right. The demijohns in the back of the van weren’t strapped down, and the weight shift caused the van to flip over, sliding across the tarmac until sparks flew. The bottles in the back were 60% alcohol. When the wreck finally came to a standstill, I found myself hanging by my seatbelt, alcohol vapour stinging my eyes. The door was completely stuck. I managed to free myself from my seatbelt and fell down onto the passenger side, where I began to kick the windscreen, harder and harder each time, until the pane came loose from its frame. I rolled out onto the ground and stood up, tripping over just a few metres from the vehicle and falling onto the tarmac below, where I remained. I heard the van burst into flames behind me, and felt the warmth as it moved up my legs and across the back of my neck. It felt almost as if I was dozing off when something rolled me over onto my back. I opened my eyes and found myself gazing up at a wild boar. Long, sharp tusks. It slobbered on my face, its huge eyes staring at me. I knew what these animals could do, they were capable of killing much larger creatures, creatures that walked on two legs; they attacked walkers, mushroom foragers, hunters, just ran straight at them at knee height, and when they hit them they’d lift their heads so that their tusks slashed the leg all the way from the knee to the groin, the main artery, and people would bleed to death as the boar stood by watching, patiently waiting, and now it was me lying there beneath such a creature, its tusks just centimetres from my throat, and in the same moment that I realised there was no reason for it not to kill me, I pissed myself where I lay on the ground, barely noticing my lower half growing warm and wet, and now the same thing was happening again, I had lost control, and for a brief moment I saw the wild boar that had simply sniffed at my crotch before waddling back into the forest once again, something that this man in a balaclava, the same man who had attacked me as I had opened the door to my apartment, undoubtedly wouldn’t do, given that he was straddling me and holding the barrel of a gun to my mouth, hushing me with his index finger pressed to my own lips as the urine seeped through my trousers and began to saturate his.
The boat I was sitting in was dilapidated. The boathouse was dimly-lit and probably smelled strongly of salt and fish, though I wasn’t able to tell through the duct tape, snot and tears. I could barely breathe. The sea sloshed against the outside walls of the boathouse. My wrists were secured behind my back with cable ties. The right side of my head was tender and swollen; I remembered that he’d threatened me, forcing me to make my way outside and into the passenger seat of a car before swinging his arm and the hard pistol at me, beating me until I passed out. My temples throbbed. One eye was hazy, half-closed from the pain. I could hear the shrieking of owls outside, the baying of stags, maybe even the sound of porpoises, a dull rippling of the water as something broke the surface tension, followed by a quiet snorting sound.

Someone mumbled behind me, I jumped, instinctively leaning as far forward as I could to avoid yet another blow, but nothing came; the mumbling grew more intense, I turned to see who it was, and sitting behind me in the boat on the other thwart was Finn. He was in a much worse state than I was, blue-black rings around his eyes, blood trickling from several face and head wounds. Snot and blood caused a gurgling sound as he inhaled. I wriggled free from the rope that bound my legs, it fell heavily in the bottom of the boat, and I was just about to make a start on the cable ties when I heard the crunching of gravel outside. The heavy rustling of chains, the click of a lock and then the doors, pushed open wide. The low morning light blinded me. The sweat in my eyes created rainbows around the figure in the doorway, and it took several seconds for me to grow accustomed to the light and to make out exactly who was standing before me.


EVERYTHING BEYOND THE SEA
Synopsis

A man from totalitarian future Russia arrives in a small village on the west coast of Norway. He brings nothing with him but dark memories and a vague hope of making a difference, for himself as well as for others. He wanders through the majestic, wild Norwegian terrain, breaking into cabins and boats, but leaving everything as it was – his actions are motivated not by ill will, but by necessity. After a few days on the road, he reaches the centre of Årdal, with its narrow streets, petrol station, Chinese restaurant and small number of shops. The only thing left to remind him of his homeland are the uneven roads and the lingering gazes of the people he passes, but any looks he receives here are filled only with curiosity; they neither monitor nor denounce him, at the very worst they disparage him.
Ivan Ivanovitsj, as the man is known, moves into a small hotel, Sitla, and spends a few days catching up on sleep, stifling his nightmares, enjoying the hot shower and eating breakfast in the dining room each morning. He gets to know the hostess, indulges in cups of coffee and, for the first time in a very, very long time, he lives something resembling a normal life. But Ivan has not come to Årdal for the purposes of rest and relaxation.


Ivan gets a job at the aluminium works, the cornerstone firm. The works employs large numbers of villagers, producing high-quality aluminium for export around the world. The works is owned by Norsk Hydro, and it soon becomes clear that Hydro has a chequered past with regards to the sale of technology to totalitarian regimes. Without a thought for anything but their profits, the company sold heavy water technology to Romania under Ceausescu, for example. Something lies beneath the surface, something that ties the history of Årdal to a future Russia in ruins.


The boys at the factory are a nice group. Days at work take their course, characterised by camaraderie, friendship, and simple and meaningful relationships – people say what they mean and take care of one another regardless. Ivan starts to feel happy. He moves into a basement flat with his boss, and the two share a beer now and then, watch football together and go to the firing range, where Ivan reveals a surprising degree of knowledge and skill where guns are concerned. Why is he so accomplished at handling weapons? And why does he always make sure to sit where he can see the door?


When Ivan is well-established in the local community, the second part of the novel begins. The reader quickly comes to understand that what they had assumed to be a flashback was, in fact, a foreshadowing of events, in both time and space. The story moves to dystopian Russia in the relatively near future. The feared System has taken control and governs the city centre with an iron fist. The action unfolds in Moscow, with the city entirely sealed off to homosexuals, journalists, Muslims and other foreigners, anyone with rebellious tendencies, attitudes, religious beliefs or nationalities – dissidents, in short. Drones patrol the streets. Big data ensures that The System knows where everyone is at all times, as well as what they’re doing, who they’re with, what they’re buying, who they’re in love with and what they’re dreaming about. If these actions aren’t in line with The System’s vision, they take brutal action, after which life goes on as if nothing has occurred.


This is what happens to Ivan and his partner Aleksej. In better times, when it was still possible for two men to walk along the street together without anyone raising an eyebrow, Ivan worked as an intelligence analyst for the FSB. However, as the net gradually began to tighten, he realised it was only a question of time – in spite of everything, he knew all there was to know about everyone, and his position within the FSB was the only reason that he and Aleksej continued not to be exposed. One day, he downloads all of the data he has access to onto a hard disc and leaves his office. We meet Ivan and Aleksej after this: the pair have left the city and made it to the outskirts, where dissidents reside, small parallel communities have emerged and members of the militia hunt for homosexuals and black residents under the cover of darkness.


They live a life of sorts in Midd, a small community located amidst old Eastern bloc towers. The paintwork is peeling. The water supply has long since dried up. Roofs and windows leak. Nobody troubles anyone here since everyone is equally detested by the rest of society. They can never feel safe, far from it, in fact, but if they keep their heads down then things generally work out for them. They make friends with two gay men named Anatolij and Vlad who live in the same tower block. Together the four eat rotten cabbage, regale one another with anecdotes, and very occasionally share some bad wine. Friendship. Loyalty. Camaraderie. One day, however, Aleksej finds Vlad hanging from a window frame, his body beaten and raped. Anatolij has disappeared. Ivan and Aleksej pack their belongings and escape via a tailrace channel beneath the city streets. There they find Ana and realise that he bled to death; he never made it out.
All that’s left for them to do is to decrypt the data that Ivan has stolen from the FSB; he knows there is information there that could overthrow The System.


The action moves underground. A post-apocalyptic scenario unfolds, revealing people living at stations and in tunnels. The subway lines into the city are sealed off with no trains operating so far out, leaving people to walk along the tracks and occupy the platforms. It’s dark. Only a few locations have a sufficiently good electricity supply to allow for the lighting of a lamp or two, which causes people to burn oil, coal, anything they can get their hands on, all for a little light and warmth. The people living in the tunnels roam with sooty faces and greasy hands. Ivan and Aleksej’s life keeps them on their toes; the pair see terrible things, and the reader senses their revulsion. Through flashbacks and digressions, the reader gradually comes to understand how the situation came to be this way. The relationship between Ivan and Aleksej takes a dark turn. Ivan preserves his humanity in spite of the darkness, the gunshots, the bodies and the screams. Aleksej’s self-assurance begins to reveal itself, his formerly childish side now toned down as he begins to understand the gravity of the situation. However, he moves too far in the opposite direction, ultimately fading away and losing touch with himself, and with that, becomes yet another angry man with a gun. The two men drift apart. When they finally make it to the machine that they’ve fought so hard to reach for several months, Ivan must make a decision. As the time machine counts down and Aleksej prepares to travel back in time to alter the path of history, Ivan realises that things are unlikely to go well with a vindictive assailant at the forefront of events. He leaps forward and pulls Aleksej out of the way. With that, Ivan finds himself at the start of the action depicted in the first part of the novel.


The third section of the book transports us back to Årdal, and the present day. We remain unaware of Ivan’s mission, but we gain the impression that this is something significant that must occur in order to prevent everything encountered in the second part of the novel. Ivan makes a new friend named Finn, an engineer. The boys on the floor don’t often mingle with white-collar workers such as the management team or researchers at the facility, but Finn and Ivan quickly hit it off, taking fishing trips and walks in the mountains together. Nature plays a significant role in the novel, with doubt and hope flourishing amidst sheer mountain precipices and ferocious waterfalls. The role of technology soon becomes clear. Ivan has moved out of his boss’ basement flat and is now living in a bedsit filled with computing equipment. He monitors everything happening at the works and closely observes Finn, who has an important role in the narrative. Ivan reads all of his messages and emails. At the same time, the reader becomes aware that Ivan harbours some doubts. Has he opted for the best solution? Will he be able to prevent a catastrophe by taking Finn’s life? Is it acceptable to kill one person in order to save the lives of many?


He spends too long mulling things over and lowers his guard, falling into an everyday routine and inwardly becoming convinced that he’s built a good life here; there is nothing he can do for all of the others.


And then it all goes off.


The entire aluminium works is razed to the ground and the reader finally understands the action depicted in the prologue. Many people die. The inferno is depicted in intense scenes that unfurl over several pages, with the reader almost able to feel the heat of the blaze.
When the situation is under control, the rescue teams find several wounded and injured individuals, as well as many dead bodies. Nonetheless, one man is missing. Finn. Everyone believes him to be dead, his body burned. Even Ivan believes this to be the case. He sits at home with Silje, Finn’s wife; the three became good friends, with Ivan spending a good deal of time with them both, sharing meals and taking walks together. Silje is inconsolable. Pregnant. She and Finn were expecting their first child together. All Ivan can do is to cook for her and tuck a blanket around her when she falls asleep on the sofa in the evenings. The whole population of Årdal is in shock, and nobody can understand what might have brought about the events that took place.


Ivan pops home to fetch a change of clothes. Whilst there, he is attacked, thrown in a car, driven away and tied up inside a wooden boat in a boathouse down the road. A few hours pass before he comes around, realising that his hands are tied behind his back. He sees a figure in the doorway. Aleksej. An older Aleksej, his hair peppered with grey, filled with more hate and looking more muscular than ever before. Behind him in the boat, Ivan can hear whimpering. He turns around. There sits Finn, battered and bruised, tied up with thick rope. The men’s mouths are taped shut. He can do nothing but listen to Aleksej’s story, becoming fully aware of his hate and the motivation behind his visit.


They row out across the fjord. The ice-cold water drips from the oars. The boathouse is barely visible in the distance. The gulls circle overhead. Aleksej has ripped the tape from Ivan’s mouth and the two engage in a heated argument. Aleksej stands up to kick Ivan in the face, but he loses his balance and falls on top of Finn, who unexpectedly stands up. The two men fall into the water. An altercation breaks out. Finn can barely do a thing, with both his clothing and the rope weighing him down. Aleksej can’t let go of Finn, who possesses vital information. Together they sink into the dark water. Ivan leans over the gunwale and gazes into the empty darkness. After a few minutes, he sees Aleksej fight his way to the surface, alone, his eyes wide, panic-stricken. Just before he breaks through the surface of the water, he is struck by cramp and sinks slowly back underwater, leaving Ivan alone in the boat in the present day, floating on the calm fjord.