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HOME > Classical Novels > The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo > CHAPTER 14
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CHAPTER 14
Saturday, March 8–Monday, March 17


Salander spent the week in bed with pain in her abdomen, bleeding from her rectum, and less visible wounds that would take longer to heal. What she had gone through was very different from the first rape in his office; it was no longer a matter of coercion and degradation. This was systematic brutality.
She realised much too late that she had utterly misjudged Bjurman.
She had assumed he was on a power trip and liked to dominate, not that he was an all-out sadist. He had kept her in handcuffs half the night. Several times she believed he meant to kill her, and at one point he had pressed a pillow over her face until she thought she was going to pass out.
She did not cry.
Apart from the tears of pure physical pain she shed not a single tear. When she left the apartment she made her way with difficulty to the taxi stand at Odenplan. With difficulty she climbed the stairs to her own apartment. She showered and wiped the blood from her genitals. Then she drank a pint of water with two Rohypnol and stumbled to her bed and pulled the duvet over her head.
She woke up at midday on Sunday, empty of thoughts and with constant pain in her head, muscles and abdomen. She got up, drank two glasses of kefir, and ate an apple. Then she took two more sleeping pills and went back to bed.
She did not feel like getting up until Tuesday. She went out and bought a big box of Billy’s Pan Pizza, stuck two of them in the microwave, and filled a thermos with coffee. She spent that night on the Internet, reading articles and theses on the psychopathology of sadism.
She found one article published by a women’s group in the United States in which the author claimed that the sadist chose his “relationships” with almost intuitive precision; the sadist’s best victim was the one who voluntarily went to him because she did not think she had any choice. The sadist specialised in people who were in a position of dependence.
Advokat Bjurman had chosen her as a victim.
That told her something about the way she was viewed by other people.
On Friday, a week after the second rape, she walked from her apartment to a tattoo parlour in the Hornstull district. She had made an appointment, and there were no other customers in the shop. The owner nodded, recognising her.
She chose a simple little tattoo depicting a narrow band and asked to have it put on her ankle. She pointed.
“The skin is very thin there. It’s going to hurt a lot,” said the tattoo artist.
“That’s OK,” Salander said, taking off her jeans and putting her leg up.
“OK, a band. You already have loads of tattoos. Are you sure you want another one?”
“It’s a reminder.”
 
Blomkvist left the café when Susanne closed at 2:00 on Saturday afternoon. He had spent the morning typing up his notes in his iBook. He walked to Konsum and bought some food and cigarettes before he went home. He had discovered fried sausage with potatoes and beets—a dish he had never been fond of but for some reason it seemed perfectly suited to a cabin in the country.
At around 7:00 in the evening he stood by the kitchen window, thinking. Cecilia Vanger had not called. He had run into her that afternoon when she was buying bread at the café, but she had been lost in her own thoughts. It did not seem likely that she would call this evening. He glanced at the little TV that he almost never used. Instead he sat at the kitchen bench and opened a mystery by Sue Grafton.




Salander returned at the agreed-upon time to Bjurman’s apartment near Odenplan. He let her in with a polite, welcoming smile.
“And how are you doing today, dear Lisbeth?”
She did not reply. He put an arm around her shoulder.
“I suppose it was a bit rough last time,” he said. “You looked a little subdued.”
She gave him a crooked smile and he felt a sudden pang of uncertainty. This girl is not all there. I have to remember that. He wondered if she would come around.
“Shall we go into the bedroom?” Salander said.
On the other hand, she may be with it…. Today I’ll take it easy on her. Build up her trust. He had already put out the handcuffs on the chest of drawers. It was not until they reached the bed that Bjurman realised that something was amiss.
She was the one leading him to the bed, not the other way around. He stopped and gave her a puzzled look when she pulled something out of her jacket pocket which he thought was a mobile telephone. Then he saw her eyes.
“Say goodnight,” she said.
She shoved the taser into his left armpit and fired off 75,000 volts. When his legs began to give way she put her shoulder against him and used all her strength to push him down on to the bed.
 
Cecilia Vanger felt a little tipsy. She had decided not to telephone Blomkvist. Their relationship had developed into a ridiculous bedroom farce, in which Blomkvist had to tiptoe around trying to get to her house unnoticed. She in turn played a lovesick teenage girl who could not control herself. Her behaviour the past few weeks had been reckless.
The problem is that I like him too much, she thought. He’s going to end up hurting me. She sat for a long time wishing that Mikael Blomkvist had never come to Hedeby.
She had opened a bottle of wine and drunk two glasses in her loneliness. She turned on the TV to watch Rapport and tried to follow the world situation but very soon tired of the reasoned commentary on why President Bush had to bomb Iraq to smithereens. Instead she sat on the living-room sofa and picked up Gellert Tamas’ book The Laser Man. She read only a few pages before she had to put the book down. That made her instantly think of her father. What kind of fantasies did he have?
The last time they really saw each other was in 1984, when she went with him and Birger, hare-hunting north of Hedestad. Birger was trying out a new hunting dog—a Swedish foxhound which he had just acquired. Harald Vanger was seventy-three at the time, and she had done her very best to accept his lunacy, which had made her childhood a nightmare and affected her entire adult life.
Cecilia had never before been as fragile as she was then. Her marriage had ended three months earlier. Domestic violence…the term was so banal. For her it had taken the form of unceasing abuse. Blows to the head, violent shoving, moody threats, and being knocked to the kitchen floor. Her husband’s outbursts were inexplicable and the attacks were not often so severe that she was actually injured. She had become used to it.
Until the day when she struck back and he completely lost control. It ended with him flinging some scissors at her which lodged in her shoulder blade.
He had been remorseful and panicky and drove her to the hospital, making up a story about a bizarre accident which all the staff in the emergency room saw through at once. She had felt ashamed. They gave her twelve stitches and kept her in the hospital for two days. Then her uncle picked her up and drove her to his house. She never spoke to her husband again.
On that sunny autumn day Harald Vanger had been in a good mood, almost friendly. But without warning, a long way into the woods, he began to berate her with humiliating invective and revolting remarks about her morals and sexual predilections. He snarled that no wonder such a whore could never keep a man.
Her brother apparently did not notice that every word from their father struck her like a whiplash. Instead, Birger suddenly laughed and put his arm around his father and in his own way made light of the situation by making some comment to the effect that you know full well what women are like. He gave Cecilia a cheerful wink and suggested that Harald Vanger take up a position on a little ridge.
For a second, a frozen instant, Cecilia Vanger looked at her father and brother and realised that she was holding a loaded shotgun in her hand. She closed her eyes. Her only option at that moment seemed to be to raise the gun and fire both barrels. She wanted to kill them both. Instead she laid down the weapon at her feet, turned on her heel, and went back to where they had parked the car. She left them high and dry, driving home alone. Since that day she refused to let her father into her house and had never been in his.
You ruined my life, Cecilia Vanger thought. You ruined my life when I was just a child.
At 8:30 she called Blomkvist.
 
Bjurman was in pain. His muscles were no use to him. His body seemed to be paralysed. He could not remember if he had lost consciousness, but he was disoriented. When he slowly regained control over his body he discovered that he was lying naked on his bed, his wrists in handcuffs and his legs spread painfully apart. He had stinging burn marks where electrodes had touched his body.
Salander had pulled the cane chair over and was patiently waiting, her boots resting on the bed as she smoked a cigarette. When Bjurman began to speak to her he found that his mouth was sealed. He turned his head. She had pulled out all his drawers and dumped them and the contents on the floor.
“I found your toys,” Salander said. She held up a riding whip and poked around in the heap of dildos, harness bits, and rubber masks on the floor. “What’s this one for?” She held up a huge anal plug. “No, don’t try to speak—I won’t hear what you say. Was this what you used on me last week? All you have to do is nod.” She leaned towards him expectantly.
Bjurman felt cold terror piercing his chest and lost his composure. He tugged at his handcuffs. She had taken control. Impossible. He could do nothing to resist when Salander bent over and placed the anal plug between his buttocks. “So you’re a sadist,” she said matter-of-factly. “You enjoy shoving things inside people, is that it?” She looked him in the eyes. Her face was expressionless. “Without a lubricant, right?”
Bjurman howled into the adhesive tape when Salander roughly spread his cheeks and rammed the plug into its proper place.
“Stop whimpering,” Salander said, imitating his voice. “If you complain, I’ll have to punish you.”
She stood up and went to the other side of the bed. He followed her helplessly with his eyes…What the hell was this? Salander had rolled in his thirty-two-inch TV from the living room. She had placed his DVD player on the floor. She looked at him, still holding the whip in her hand.
“Do I have your undivided attention? Don’t try to talk—just nod. Did you hear what I said?” He nodded.
“Good.” She bent down and picked up her rucksack. “Do you recognise this?” He nodded. “It’s the rucksack I had when I visited you last week. A practical item. I borrowed it from Milton Security.” She unzipped the bottom pocket. “This is a digital video camera. Do you ever watch Insider on TV3? This is the gear that those nasty reporters use when they have to record something with a hidden camera.” She zipped the pocket back up.
“Where’s the lens, you’re wondering. That’s the great thing about it. Wide angle fibre optics. The lens looks like a button and sits hidden in the buckle on a shoulder strap. Maybe you remember that I put the rucksack here on the table before you started to grope me. I made sure that the lens was directed straight at the bed.”
She held up a DVD and slipped it into the player. Then she turned the cane chair so that she could sit and watch the screen. She lit another cigarette and pressed the remote. Advokat Bjurman saw himself open the door for Salander.
Haven’t you even learned to tell the time?
She played the whole disc for him. The video ended after ninety minutes, in the middle of a scene where a naked Advokat Bjurman sat leaning against the bedstead drinking a glass of wine as he looked at Salander, curled up with her hands fettered behind her.
She turned off the TV and sat in the chair for a good ten minutes without looking at him. Bjurman did not dare move a muscle. Then she got up and went into the bathroom. When she came back she sat again in the chair. Her voice was like sandpaper.
“I made a mistake last week,” she said. “I thought you were going to make me give you a blow job again, which is disgusting enough in your case, but not so disgusting that I couldn’t do it. I thought I could easily acquire good documentation to prove you’re a filthy old prick. I misjudged you. I didn’t understand how fucking sick you were.
“I’m going to speak plainly,” she said. “This video shows you raping a mentally handicapped twenty-four-year-old girl for whom you were appointed guardian. And you have no idea how mentally handicapped I can be if push comes to shove. Anyone who sees this video will discover that you’re not merely a pervert but an insane sadist. This is the second and I hope the last time I’ll ever have to watch this video. It’s quite instructive, don’t you think? My guess is that you’re the one who’s going to be institutionalised, not me. Are you following me so far?”
She waited. He did not react, but she could see him quivering. She grabbed the whip and flicked it right over his genitals.
“Are you following me?” she said more loudly. He nodded.
“Good. So we’re singing from the same song sheet.”
She pulled the chair up close so she could look into his eyes.
“What do you think we should do about this problem?” He could not give her an answer. “Have you any good ideas?” When he did not react she reached out and grabbed his scrotum and pulled until his face contorted in pain. “Have you got any good ideas?” she repeated. He shook his head.
“Good. I’m going to be pretty fucking mad at you if you ever have any ideas in the future.”
She leaned back and stubbed her cigarette out on the carpet. “This is what’s going to happen. Next week, as soon as you manage to shit out that oversized rubber plug in your arse, you’re going to inform my bank that I—and I alone—have access to my account. Do you understand what I’m saying?” Bjurman nodded.
“Good boy. You will never ever contact me again. In the future we will meet only if I decide it’s necessary. You’re under a restraining order to stay away from me.” He nodded repeatedly. She doesn’t intend to kill me.
“If you ever try to contact me again, copies of this DVD will wind up in every newsroom in Stockholm. Do you understand?”
He nodded. I have to get hold of that video.
“Once a year you will turn in your report on my welfare to the Guardianship Agency. You will report that my life is completely normal, that I have a steady job, that I’m supporting myself, and that you don’t think there is anything abnormal about my behaviour. OK?”
He nodded.
“Each month you will prepare a report about your non-existent meetings with me. You will describe in detail how positive I am and how well things are going for me. You will post a copy to me. Do you understand?” He nodded again. Salander noticed absent-mindedly the beads of sweat forming on his forehead.
“In a year or so, let’s say two, you will initiate negotiations in the district court to have my declaration of incompetence rescinded. You will use your faked reports from our meetings as the basis for your proposal. You will find a shrink who will swear under oath that I am completely normal. You’re going to have to make an effort. You will do precisely everything in your power to ensure that I am declared competent.”
He nodded.
“Do you know why you’re going to do your very best? Because you have a fucking good reason. If you fail I’m going to make this video extremely public.”
He listened to every syllable Salander was saying. His eyes were burning with hatred. He decided she had made a mistake by letting him live. You’re going to wind up eating this, you fucking cunt. Sooner or later I’m going to crush you. But he continued nodding as vigorously as he could in reply to every question.
“The same applies if you try to contact me.” She mimed a throat-slitting motion. “Goodbye to this elegant lifestyle and your fine reputation and your millions in that offshore account.”
His eyes widened involuntarily when she mentioned the money. How the fucking hell did she know that…
She smiled and took out another cigarette.
“I want your spare set of keys to this apartment and your office.” He frowned. She leaned forward and smiled sweetly.
“In the future I’m going to have control over your life. When you least expect it, when you’re in bed asleep probably, I’m going to appear in the bedroom with this in my hand.” She held up the taser. “I’ll be checking up on you. If I ever find out you have been with a girl again............
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