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A new crime story by the winner of the Grand Caliber Award.  Read a fragment of the novel “Paradise Corner”

A new crime story by the winner of the Grand Caliber Award. Read a fragment of the novel “Paradise Corner”

After “Tęczowa Dolina” it was time for “Paradise Corner”. This is another investigation by a journalist supported by a retired policewoman and another crime story by Ryszard Æwirlej, in which big ideas are confronted with big money. There can only be one result.

Ryszard Ćwirlej is one of the most popular Polish crime novel authors. Although he gained fame for a series of novels about policemen from Poznań – perfectly set in the reality of the Polish People’s Republic, he also wrote retro crime stories with Antoni Fischer in the main role (for one of them, “Only the Dead Know”, the author won the Grand Caliber Award ), as well as a very contemporary series about the investigations of journalist Marcin Engel and retired inspector Matylda.

At the beginning of April, a new volume of this last series, “Rajski Zakątek”, was published. We publish a fragment of it below.

Description of the book from Harde Publishing House: Another rich old lady joins the congregation led by a fanatical priest. He wants to find peace and solace in the autumn of life within the monastery walls. The thing is that he enjoys them for an extremely short time. An unexpected accident interrupts her journey through the earthly realm. It soon turns out that just before her death she left her entire estate to the monastery. The handsome priest’s great surprise and his sincere gratitude for this generosity mean that no one asks anything. Except Inspector Matylda, who quite by chance knew the deceased. The astute policewoman quickly discovers that there were more sudden deaths in Paradise Corner…

Fragment of the crime story “Paradise Corner”

Doors were closed. Luckily she had the key. She stole it yesterday and hid it under a loose board on the stairs. It was there until today when she finally decided to use it. When she stole it, she didn’t think about it. It was an impulse. She spotted him on the kitchen table and couldn’t resist. She watched as if hypnotized. She knew immediately what the key was. She recognized it by the red and yellow braid to which it was attached. The key to the back door leading to a small farm yard, where there is a wood shed, a warehouse for completely unnecessary things, such as broken tools and wheelbarrows, and a brick and covered garbage bin. There were a dozen or so plastic recycling bins there, and behind them there was a gate through which these bins were placed on the road on the eve of the arrival of the garbage trucks. She had participated in this a few times, but had never been alone in the dumpster. The work was always organized by one of the elders, Maria or Antonina. She and the other younger ones worked under their supervision and did what they were told, which was to take these buckets out onto the road and leave them there. The older ones checked if everything was OK and the door was closed. The same key on the braid that was used to open the door from the building. One key is enough to get out to the small courtyard, go through the garbage can, open the gate and leave.

When she saw this key, she immediately thought it was an opportunity given to her by the Lord. She prayed to Him, asking Him to give her the opportunity to get out of here. After what she saw and what she heard, when she shared her knowledge with the person she wanted to rely on and whom she trusted so far, she couldn’t stay here. When she heard the answer, she realized that this was no longer a place for her, that she had to get away, because if she didn’t escape, she might end up like…

She promised in these prayers that she would do everything to make him happy with her, just to make him want to help her, and she would repay him by praising His name every day.

Oh Lord my God, thank you for knowing me and loving me. Your word says that to those who ask it will be given, to those who seek it will be found, and to those who knock it will be opened. Please hear my prayer for a miracle and fulfill my request. Help me trust You more than relying on my own strength, help me trust that You always do what is best for me. May Your peace, which surpasses all understanding, guard my heart and mind…

She mentally prayed for rescue and the miracle came true. She found the key, then hid it under a loose board, and today she woke up in the middle of the night and immediately knew that this was the moment.

She opened the door, trying not to let anyone hear the lock and the beating of her heart, which seemed to be beating loudly in her chest like a church bell. Not a single sound came from the dormant building. Nobody heard anything. Emboldened, she went out into the courtyard. It was the middle of the night and everything was illuminated by the moon. So she had no problem finding the right path. She stepped outside, carefully placing her feet in light sneakers. She looked around, but there was no one nearby. Suddenly her gaze stopped on two bright spots. Someone’s shining eyes were staring at her. She almost screamed in fear. Fortunately, she managed to control herself. The luminous eyes disappeared after a moment, and a cat ran across the yard. She breathed a sigh of relief. There were always a lot of cats coming to the garbage bin, probably hoping for some leftovers. He was obviously hoping for some treat, and her appearance interrupted his search. She thought she would make it up to him and open the trash can lid. Let her have it as a souvenir of her. They would never meet again, so maybe he would remember her fondly.

She crossed the yard and entered the covered dumpster. It was dark here because there was no moonlight, but she remembered where the buckets were placed. She went to the first one where the kitchen scraps were poured and opened it. A stinking cloud rose from the container, and with it the awakened flies flew out. The girl grimaced in disgust. What was nasty to her could be a real treat to a hungry cat.

Here, kitty, eat your fill, she thought, walking towards the gate leading outside.

She felt for the doorknob, then inserted the key. She turned it over easily. The door gave way. She pushed it lightly and the unoiled hinges creaked. However, it wasn’t a sound loud enough to wake anyone from sleep. She took a step forward, then two more, and was outside. She locked the door just in case. She had no idea why she was doing it, but she was sure it was necessary. After all, no one needs to know where she left. Well, in the morning, at six o’clock, if she doesn’t leave the room, they will start looking for her. She could already imagine the mother superior’s face when she found her bed made and it looked as if she hadn’t gone to sleep at all. Meanwhile, she wanted to mislead her superior. My sister will probably think that she didn’t go to bed at all and ran away before midnight. This may cause some confusion and confuse those who would like to look for it. Yes, they will try to find her. After all, you can’t just leave the meeting, let alone escape. She had broken the most important rule by getting outside, and that could only mean one thing: they would be looking for her. They will be there, but they won’t find it. Just to reach some road. She will grab the opportunity and run away from here as far as possible, never to come back here and forget about the two years she lost completely unnecessarily by getting involved with these people who turned out to be completely different than she thought. They would never see her again and she would never even think about them again. But is it possible? After all, her friend, her sister, stayed there. He will always remember her. Maybe we can somehow get her out of there? But first you have to think about yourself.

She looked at the gloomy facade of the two-story building with a sloping roof and two side wings, clearly visible against the moonlit sky, and started running ahead. She knew she had to run about three hundred meters along this road, across open space. She often looked there from the upstairs windows, where the bedrooms were. The road ran between fields, stretching to the forest wall. And the forest… She didn’t know that, but one of her older sisters said that the border with the Czech Republic was there. She had no intention of escaping to the Czech Republic. She just wanted to get into the trees, to be invisible to those who might chase her, walk a kilometer or two, maybe even more, through the forest, and when it was light, go down to the nearest town. And once she’s on the road, she’ll probably catch a car to take her away. Her plan was simple: get as far away from this place as possible.

She ran at a leisurely jog, breathing the way her gym teacher taught her at school, calmly and steadily, all the time through her nose. She knew she could run like this for up to an hour. She once thought that she could take part in a marathon because she was strong and long distances covered with a steady pace were not a problem for her. About fifty meters to the forest. She accelerated, although there was no particular reason for it. There were no disturbing signs, no one was chasing her, somewhere below she could hear dogs barking, which must have been disturbing, and the monotonous sound of car engines. But it’s all in the distance and seems unreal. There was only this broken road, the forest getting closer and the moon overhead, illuminating the entire area.

Suddenly she heard something behind her. I think someone screamed and then the engine started roaring. It was there, in the house from which she escaped, that something happened. Had her escape been discovered? And if so, what will they do to her? If they catch her here, on the road, she’ll say that she doesn’t want to come back to them, that she’s changed her mind, that she’s had enough of it all and is leaving for good. Let them go fuck themselves. He doesn’t want anything to do with them. She will never set foot in this terrible place again.

There are still about twenty meters to the forest. He’ll get there before the car hits the road. They have no chance of catching her. She sped up, surprised that she didn’t put any special effort into her haste. She runs extremely easily, even though she hasn’t practiced running for two years.

She turned her head. At the end of the road, there, near the house, the headlights appeared and floated out onto the clay surface. The car left through the main gate. There were ten more steps to the forest wall, five more. She smelled the intense scent of pine trees. She touched the first trunk and ran further, deeper into the forest thicket. Smiling, she ran forward. She already knew they wouldn’t find her. They still had a chance on the road, but here, in the forest, it was the slightest. She felt that she was free and would never again have to do what those people told her to do. The nightmare is over. No one will ever force her to do anything again.

The car drove along the forest wall, heading down the slope. And she ran forward, leaving everything bad behind. Now it could only be good. She felt that she was happy, and therefore she had to give thanks for this happiness. So she began to repeat in her mind the words that seemed most appropriate to her at that moment:

Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for being my strength and filling my heart with joy. At Your Name the mountains shake, the sea rages, creation sings with joy, and the demons flee. At Your Name every knee bows and every tongue confesses that You are Lord. In Your mighty Name I pray for the grace I need. Give me the assurance that there is nothing greater than You. Give me comfort, hope and strengthen my heart in every step I take. I ask this in Your mighty Name.

She stopped for a moment and started listening. The car stopped. Someone opened the door, someone coughed, the engine stopped.

–?She ran up there, into the forest! – he will hear

said a familiar voice and she felt shivers run down her spine. She wanted to move forward, but her shoe got stuck between the branches. She yanked her leg free. The shoe stayed. The sounds of people approaching were getting closer. There was no time to look for a shoe. She ran straight through the trees. They will never catch up with her in their lives.

-?There is! – someone shouted in a rough voice.

–?Stop!

You can scream, it went through her head. You won’t catch up with me anyway.

She was right. They had no chance in a race against a young, athletic girl. But they knew how to stop her.

She ran out into a small clearing. There was no time to circle it and squeeze through the thicket. She set out cross-country and almost made it. She was already running into the trees, already smelling the intense scent of pine needles…

And then the silence of the night was broken by the loud sound of a rifle shot.

Cover of the book ‘Paradise Corner’ mat. Harde Publishing House

Source: Gazeta

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