— a weave of Scandinavian folklore

Linda Wijk


Linda met Sofi’s eyes, and what she read in them coloured her cheeks even redder. She wet her lips, before saying softly. “Maybe we should’ve gone to the graduation ball together.”


Why did it have to be snakes?
Tanumshede, Sweden
Margareta Wijk, mother
Helen Wijk, aunt (deceased)


What's your name
Linda Wijk
How old are you
What do you look like
Brown shoulder-length hair, dark blue eyes, the kind of skin that goes from pale to burned, but never over to tanned. Tall, I guess
Where were you at the start of the story
Preparing to head home for the summer, I study mathematics at Uppsala University
What did you want, when the story started
Finish my masters so I can go into researching. My dream is to win the Fields Medal
Who are your parents
Mom's Margareta, she's worked long shifts as a nurse at the hospital for as long as I remember. I don't know who my father is, it was a one-night-stand, from what I understand. Until I was seven, it was just me and my aunt Helen, but Helen died in the accident that cost me my leg, so then it was just me and mom
What was your education like
Basic school years in Tanumshede and Uddevalla, then Bachelor's degree in mathematics at Uppsala University, and now a Master's degree at Uppsala
Do you make friends easily
No, I prefer a few really close friends to several shallow ones
Do you have a best friend
I used to, but Sofi and I drifted apart and lost touch when I moved to Uppsala
Can you get people to do what you want them to? If so, how
Not really, I'm not very social
Do you have scars? Where did they come from
Several, mainly from the car accident when I was seven. I was trapped in the car for four hours, and they had to cut my leg off
Can you navigate without getting lost? To what degree
Decently, I can at least read a map
Can you bake a cake
Some, though I prefer cookies
Do you know how to perform basic maintenance on a car
Very, very basic, yes
Is there something you do that most other people don’t
I know how to count the way the Egyptians did, if that counts
What is the most formative moment in your past
We had a substitute teacher when I was sixteen, who really loved mathematics. She spent the three weeks we had her teaching us interesting facts, rather than just going by the book
Do you have any phobias
Snakes. I just can't stand them
What are some of your bad habits
I smoke. Yeah, I know, but it's, well, a bad habit
Do you have a moral code? To what extent are your actions dictated by this code
I guess so. I follow the laws, and I try to be a good person


1st draft

Linda yawned, hopping out of the shower with a towel wrapped around herself and her cane firmly under her armpit for balance. She froze, staring through the open door into her bedroom, where a large snake lay coiled on the suitcase on her bed. Screaming, she stumbled backwards, to the laughter of her two roommates.

“Calm, Linda, it’s just a toy.” Henrik grinned and grabbed it. “See?”

She backed away, even though she saw that the eyes weren’t real, and the scales were plastic. “Assholes. You know how much I hate them.”

“Sorry, it seemed funny.” Susanne’s eyes glittered with amusement. “We won’t do it again, I promise.”

“Sorry.” Henrik tossed the snake into a basket with a sure arm. “We didn’t mean any harm, you know that.”

“I know.” Linda shook her head. “Doesn’t mean you’re less of assholes. I swear that if I find any toy snakes in my luggage, I will cut you.” She hopped back to her room, rubbing her arm where the cane had jammed into her. “Now shoo, I have a train to catch.” Linda closed the door and sat down on the bed to towel her brown hair dry. “I’m going to kill them one of these days,” she muttered, but a smile played on her lips. “Goofs.” With a final glance around the room, she established that she’d packed everything she needed for the summer. “My entire life in two suitcases and a backpack. Harsh.” She locked her prosthetic leg in place, flexing it a bit before slipping into a pair of worn jeans and a frilly blouse. She twirled her hair into a bun and carefully stood up on two legs.

“Henrik, can you help me carry the suitcases to the hall?” She opened the door. “You owe me that after nearly giving me a heart-attack.”

“Sure.” He grabbed the bags. “It’s going to be empty without you here, but I bet you’ll have it nice and comfortable at your mum’s.”

“Yeah, right.” She shook her head and hoisted her backpack up. “I flunked Algebraic Topology, so need to spend some extra time with that, rather than leisurely enjoy the summer. And, you know, working.”

“Better you than me. No, I’ll stick to my summer courses.” He placed the bags by the door. “Need any more help?”

“No, I got it from here.” She pulled on her oxblood trench-coat, balanced to get the backpack on and grabbed the suitcases to head out.