Love Returns to Alhoma
By Chad Carroway
“I assumed it was going to be a quiet holiday on the beach...?”
Scanning the scene…a strangled victim; male-mid-30’s, discovered on the shore of Alhoma, a small island of the Stockholm Archipelagos. No definitive clues, just a faded photo in his trousers. Inspector Ebba Persson shares the picture of a newborn with staff at a nearby hospital concerning the blanket swaddling the child. The red rose embroidered on the corner of the blanket stirs memories…pink...donated by a local church during the winter of 2013. Noting the date stamp on the photo, Persson requests a list of all babies born around the date. Specifically the female children wrapped in those particular blankets.
The DNA confirms the deceased to be 34-year old Alex Nilsson – apparently strangled -time of death approximately 1230hrs local time. According to the lab, lung tissue revealed all salt water absorbed post-mortem. Note: Deceased was reported missing from Alhoma Island on December 3, 2013, but never found.
Immediately Nilsson’s file is pulled, startling to say the least. Alexander Nilsson: Missing December 3, 2013, mother died mysteriously in 2015, COD: “Accidental fall” due to faulty porch rail at family home. In 2017, father was fatally injured on job site in Uppsala.
Only one official witness account concerning the night of Alex’s disappearance. A man Lars — a vagrant, no known address — the case notes reads as follows: ——— 12/03/13 — Alexander Nilsson was standing aside a skiff with a duffle, wearing a longshoreman, arguing nervously with Lennart Gustaffson. Once Nilsson boarded the skiff and left the harbor, Gustaffson walked to a vehicle waiting for him accompanied by another man in the back. The vehicle left the area. ——— Lennart Gustaffson, now 34 years old — one of the youngest CEO's in Swedish history. Widower to the late Ann-Christin Hellstrom-Gustaffson; father to Lilly Gustaffson (age 17). His wife perished due to brake failure (automobile accident) midsummer 2014. He later assumed control of Hellstrom Holdings in 2019. Hellstrom Holdings is a global company, founded by Henning Hellstrom, father of the late Karl Hellstrom. Karl drowned while swimming the bay of Alhoma. Though odd, a daily regimen of exercise for the eccentric Swedish tycoon. The autopsy reports revealed cardiac arrest contributed to the drowning. Inspector Persson takes the ferry to the mainland, driving to the headquarters of Hellstrom’s in Stockholm. She is intercepted by private security and encouraged to make an appointment in advance. While trying to reach Gustafsson’s office by phone, she reviews case files, facts, jotting down a timeline...
“The blanket…wait…the babies!”
Inspector Persson consults her list — baby number three...
*Lilly Hellstrom DOB 12/03/2013
*A. N. Disappeared 12/03/2013
*A. N. departs on skiff 12/03/2013
*Lennart Gustaffson departs in car after arguing with A.N.
*2nd person in car?
*Mrs. Nilsson dead (2013)
*Ann-Christin dead (2014)
*Mr. Nilsson dead (2015) Nilsson family is exterminated!
*Karl Hellstrom dead (2019)
*Lennart Gustaffson >>> becomes the sitting CEO (2019)
Inspector Persson makes the connection. She approaches the local judge and acquires all of the necessary search warrants. The teams are put in place, an army of Swedish law enforcement storms to the headquarters of Hellstrom's Corporation, without an appointment! The CEO is apprehended without incident and the needed evidence is gathered. Once the team finishes the investigation, all findings are passed along to the litigators.
The case against Lennart Gustaffson was laid before the court, the evidence was overwhelming.
DNA quickly confirmed that Alexander was Lilly’s biological father, daughter of Ann-Christin Hellstrom. This confirmed the original motive. Karl Hellstrom despised Alex, called him “Island trash” and forbade his daughter to see him. When it was discovered that Alex was the father of Hellstrom’s grandchild, the powerful tyrant went mad. The late Karl Hellstrom conspiring with Lennart Gustaffson, forced Alexander Nilsson to leave Alhoma. Alex was concerned that his entire family would face certain prolonged turmoil if he stayed. Being a young, vulnerable and loving soul, he allowed the compassion he possessed for his family, his sweetheart and newborn daughter to tear him away. Accepting an unjust ultimatum, Alex assume a low-ranking job on Hellstrom’s Foreign Shipping Lines.
After Alex was reported missing and never returned, Lennart Gustuffson swooped in and made his move on Ann-Christin with some coaxing by her father. Lilly Hellstrom became the legal child of Gustaffson, making him the de-facto heir to assume the role of CEO when Karl Hellstrom’s time was up.
Throughout the years, Alex attempted to reach his daughter and Ann-Christin. As the attempts increased, so did the deaths and cover-ups. Mrs. Nilsson received word about Lilly shortly after Alex’s disappearance and began asking questions around Hellstrom’s office. Likewise, Mr. Nilsson, Alex’s father approached Lennart Gustaffson in 2017. This threatened Gustaffson's future, being his General Forman at the time, Lennart was able to rig a crane accident, ultimately ending Mr. Nilsson’s life. Gustaffson was promoted to Corporate staff weeks later.
Just before the death of her grandfather, Lilly Hellstrom began to ask questions about Alex Nilsson. She never would say exactly why, only that her mother would talk about him from time-to-time. Mr. Hellstrom noted this fact in his journal, which he kept in his study. Gustaffson was aware of the journal. He would secretly read it as a way to “keep up with Dad”. Shortly after this discovery, Karl Hellstrom mysteriously faced his demise like the others in Gustafsson’s path.
Under oath and prior to his sentencing, Gustaffson testified that Alexander Nilsson returned to Alhoma seeking only his daughter — this enraged Gustaffson. With much hubris, he admitted murdering Nilsson because couldn’t lose Hellstrom Holdings, HIS empire was too important. Ultimately, five deaths occurred…four of them abscent of malice.
As fate would have it, the founder, Henning Hellstrom, made a special stipulation in his last will and testament which was revealed in the raid of “Gustaffson's Empire”, that prepared his company for situations such as this. Several weeks ago, back in Uppsala, Inspector Persson reached her desk after a long day in the field. She noticed an envelope addressed to “Ebba”. A business card was all that it contained...it was sleek and simple.
——————————————————- Lilly Nilsson – CEO Nilsson Corp. Corporate Headquarters — Stockholm, Sweden ——————————————————— (On the reverse side, handwritten)
Thanks Ebba, please return to Alhoma! ———————————————————