The Body in Frogner Park

Photo: Nancy Bundt / / Vigeland-museet / BONO

Photo: Nancy Bundt / / Vigeland-museet / BONO

Fiction by Jennifer Moore

Vigeland’s monolith gleamed in the Oslo moonlight, towering over the semi-naked body at its base. The man lay pale and lifeless, like a stone figure fallen from the rising column of bodies above. Or perhaps, thought Jørgen, as he and his new partner, Kristoffer, drew closer with their flashlights, he looked more like a sacrificial victim, laid out along the top of the steps to appease the granite gods.

It was the third such case in as many weeks—their senior officer had flippantly referred to it as a “new trend”—and Jørgen felt the familiar stirrings of anger in his chest as he stared down at the cold body before him. Nothing but an artfully placed paper heart to protect what was left of his modesty, to keep off the chill of the Oslo night. Not that the man cared, of course. He was beyond all that now. But it just didn’t seem right, somehow.

“Why would anyone want to do this?” asked Kristoffer, running his flashlight over the victim’s handcuffs and down to the bootlaces that shackled his feet together. His legs were smooth and hairless, with well-defined calf muscles—a cyclist perhaps? No, wait—only one leg was shaven—the other was still covered in wiry blond fuzz. “It all seems so senseless.”

“Beats me,” agreed Jørgen. He shone his own light out in a wide arc, searching for any sign of movement, of shifting shadows in the darkness of the park. It wouldn’t be the first time the perpetrators had stayed behind to observe, waiting for the victim to be discovered. But there was no sign of life. Any watchers must have fled at the first glimpse of their Politi uniforms.

“He’s young,” said Kristoffer, squatting down to retrieve the abandoned cell phone that lay a few feet from the body. “Mid-twenties at most, I’d say.”

Jørgen sighed. Yes, “senseless” was the word for it, all right. The shaved eyebrow was a cruel final touch, lending the victim’s boyish face an odd, lopsided look.

“Right,” he said, talking to the man as if he could hear him. “Let’s get you covered up, shall we? Luckily we came prepared.” He took the thin foil blanket from under his arm and unrolled it, laying it down over the man as if he was tucking his young son up in bed. “There, that’s better. And now to inform the boss. She’s not going to be happy, you know…”

Kristoffer laughed. “That’s an understatement. Especially at this time of the morning.” He tossed the cell phone over to his colleague. “Here, you can do the honors.”

Jørgen caught it in one hand and switched it on. The smart screen blinked into life.

“Let’s see… Call history…” He scrolled down with his thumb. “Lisbeth… Lisbeth… Lisbeth… I’m guessing she’s our girl. Let’s find out, shall we?”

The man shifted beneath his foil blanket, groaning softly.

“Hello, my name is Officer Jørgen Andal and I’m calling with regards to your… fiancé? Would that be right? Mid-twenties, blonde hair, green eyes…? No, he’s perfectly fine, Miss, no need to worry…” He glanced down at the man beneath the monolith. “Or at least he will be, once he’s finished sleeping off the excesses of his stag night… And grown another eyebrow…”

Jennifer Moore spent some of her earliest years in Holmenkollen, Oslo, before moving to the UK. She is a freelance writer and children’s author whose short stories have appeared in numerous publications on both sides of the Atlantic, including The Guardian, Mslexia, Short Fiction, and The First Line. She has published two children’s chapter books in the U.S., with Knowonder (writing as Jaye Seymour) and is a previous winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Competition.

This article originally appeared in the May 29, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.