Johan pokes down into the glass with a finger. Ragna seizes the glass, glares at the contents, turns slowly towards me, disbelievingly, her mouth open. ‘Oh, my God. You burned the application. You’ve bloody well gone and burned the whole of my application to the nursing home!’ I’m about to protest, but immediately realize that it’s almost impossible to come up with a simple and plausible explanation that Ragna might believe. I twist the duvet around me, start to babble about trivialities to give myself time to concoct a story both of them will accept. But a glance in Ragna’s direction tells me that she sees my babbling as a sign of lies and evasion. She yawns loudly and rolls her eyes, is pale and clearly in a state of shock, grabs the collar of my nightdress with both hands, twists it round hard, presses me down into the bed. My incoherent babbling stops. I am shocked, me too; quite simply, I cannot think of anything that will explain the pitch-black contents of the glass. A wave of panic rises in my throat. I realize that I am hoist by my own petard, that my future hangs on an impossible choice between two explanations: burning the application or casting a spell on Johan.
I try to move so I can breathe, catch Ragna’s gaze, but her hands respond by twisting my collar even tighter. My