Letter from Österlen

0314ILCU15_MILKarl Ove Knausgaard at Paris Review:

NOVEMBER 26, 8:55 P.M. I woke to the wail of a siren last night, got to my feet, and hurried downstairs to find out what it was. My first thought was the fire alarm, even though the sound was too loud and powerful for that. Still confused from sleep, heart pounding, I ruled out the fire alarm. I hurried to the window at the far end of the house, thinking it might be the car alarm, even though I knew the sound was wrong, but the car stood unmoved and untouched in the driving snow. The siren continued to wail and now I knew it was coming from outside. Someplace close by. It had the power of an air-raid siren but was different, it went off and on.

Then it stopped. I went around and looked out all the windows. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just snow drifting along the empty road, beneath the yellow glow of the streetlights.

The clock in the kitchen showed twenty to four. I went back up to bed and fell fast asleep. When I woke, it was daytime. The sky was covered in clouds, the wind gusting, ground snow joining the flurries that filled the air. I’ll probably never find out what kind of siren it was.

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