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Seven, eight ... gonna stay up late (Rebekka Franck #4)

Willow Rose

  Seven, Eight ...

  Gonna stay up late

  Rebekka Franck series #4

  Willow Rose

  Copyright Willow Rose 2013

  Published by Jan Sigetty Boeje

  All rights reserved.

  No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from the author.

  This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.

  Cover design by Jan Sigetty Boeje

  Special thanks to my editor Jean Pacillo

  Connect with Willow Rose:

  I said, hey, girl with one eye

  Get your filthy fingers out of my pie

  I said, hey, girl with one eye

  I'll cut your little heart out cause you made me cry

  Girl with one eye, Florence and the Machine


  She was drunk. Too drunk to walk straight. Too drunk to find her way back to the tent. But she wasn't alone. The festival grounds were crowded with people staggering around too drunk to know what they were doing. That was the way it always was, especially at this late hour on the festival's first night when people had been drinking all day, some for days in a row, living up to all the expectations of looking forward to seeing all the bands on stage and just drinking without a care in the world.

  Amalie loved it. It was so real, so raw and the only time she would mingle with people that weren’t from her part of the world, who weren’t from her class. Here on the festival grounds, on the soil that was magically transformed every year from plain fields to this Mecca of vibrating music and people listening to it together. All boundaries were crossed. Rich were living in the same manner, in the same tents, as ordinary working class people. Being from the high-society jet-set of the Danish population Amalie always found it hilarious to mingle with people of lesser means, with the kind of people she never associated with during her daily life of horseback riding and golfing. The kind of people she wouldn't look at if she passed them on the street. But here, in these surroundings all walls were torn down. There was no rich, no poor, there was just people. People dancing, people singing, people peeing in all corners and people drinking and smoking. All were happy and talking to one another no matter where they came from or where they were heading.

  While looking for her own group in the sea of tents she came across all kinds of people who, not knowing who she was, dared to speak to her like she was an ordinary girl from an ordinary middle class family. She found that amusing and laughed to herself just as a guy with wide eyes and a blissful smile greeted her and told her she was gorgeous. No one would ever dare to talk to her like that had they known who she really was. No one talked to her like that in her daily life and she enjoyed it. It was fun. But then again, she had always enjoyed playing with people. To Amalie people were like dolls. Dolls you could play with and get to do what you'd like them to, then throw them away afterwards. She was like that with her friends, the few she allowed to get close to her.

  Amalie suddenly felt dizzy and staggered into a camp of people sitting outside of a tent smoking a bong. They all smiled and looked up at her when she tumbled into the side of one of their tents. Then they laughed.

  She got up and laughed at herself as well. "Sorry about that," she said.

  "No problem," one of them said. His eyes were red and bleary. "Do you want some?" he asked and pointed at the bong.

  Amalie shrugged. "Why not?" Then she leaned over and inhaled deeply from the bong. It made her body shiver in delight and the ground spun even faster than before.

  "Best be on my way now," she said laughing like a mad man.

  "See you around," the man holding the bong said.

  "Sure," she said and staggered on. The dizziness increased and soon she found it hard to know in what direction she was supposed to walk. She tried hard to focus her mind on finding the right tent but they all looked the same. For miles and miles the area continued with nothing but tents all looked the same. It didn't help her much that it was in July and one of those clear bright summer nights when the sun would hardly set at all. She still couldn't spot her tent.

  She was actually in a hurry to find it. Since she was going to watch The Mew play in about half an hour. She had told her friends that she was going to the restroom and that could usually take up to an hour because of the long lines.

  "You're not going back to go to sleep are you? Are you caving in?" her best friend Camilla asked. She was the one who brought Amalie to the festival. Just like Amalie she came from a rich high-society family that didn't care for them being in such a place, but Camilla knew how to trick their parents, making arrangements for them to go sailing, paying off the captain of her father’s yacht to tell her parents and Amalie's parents that they were both on the boat all four days the festival lasted. It was the second year Amalie and Camilla had done this. No one had ever suspected what they really had been up to.

  "No. Are you kidding me? Amalie answered. "My favorite band is coming. I'm gonna stay up very late, maybe even make it an all nighter."

  In reality she wasn't going to the restroom, she was going back for more colored pills that she had gotten from a guy earlier in the day. She had met him at a concert in one of the smaller tents where the lesser known artists played for smaller crowds. He stared at her from afar with a strange smile. He was handsome; she thought and smiled back shyly to the much older blond guy with slick hair and peculiar eyes, smoking a cigarette. She lowered her eyes and continued to dance to the music with her girlfriend feeling his eyes following her every move. She liked that. Him devouring her with his look. When she opened her eyes again he was gone. After the concert when she walked towards the restrooms he crept up behind her.


  She jumped, startled. Quicker than she could manage to turn her head, he was in front of her with a whooshing sound.

  "Looking for fun, are we?" he asked with a whispering, almost hissing voice. His eyes stared wildly at her and her body. It made her feel warm. He was flickering his fingers in front of her face. At that time Amalie had been drinking since the same morning and yes, he was so right, she was indeed looking to have some fun. Lots of fun. She was determined to do all the things she had never been allowed to do. Do it before it was too late. Before she was all grown up and supposed to live the life determined for her since her birth. Before her birth, actually.

  The man put his face very close to hers. She smiled and reached out to touch his soft, smooth skin. But it was like her fingers went straight through him. Either that or he was just moving really fast. Maybe she was just reacting slowly because she was drunk, she thought. Suddenly he was behind her. Whispering in her ear.

  "I have fun in my pocket," he said. "Do you want to see? Do you? Do you want to see?"

  Knowing how her father would be angry if he knew where she was and what she was really doing, she smiled at the prospect of really pissing him off. She nodded her head and felt the man put something in her pocket.

  When she turned with the intent to pay him, he was gone. She looked for him while taking out the pills. Then she had decided to save them for tonight's big concert.

  After several wrong turns and stumbling over a number of cords holding the tents, Amalie
finally found her own tent. She crawled in and sat on her air mattress in the dark. She pulled out her backpack and found the colored pills in the side pocket. Then she found a half-empty beer bottle and flushed a pink one down with it. She enjoyed the taste of a common beer, like the ones ordinary people drank. Ah, she thought to herself while waiting for the pill to do its job. Ah, to finally be like normal people.

  She looked up as she heard the whooshing sound of the wind. It was getting windier. She found a sweater in her backpack that she brought just in case. When she looked up she spotted a light outside the tent. A circle of light, like the beam of a flashlight was being shone towards her tent. It wasn't moving at all. Fingers appeared in the circle. Amalie tilted her head. Was it the drugs or was someone making shadow animals on the tent cloth? Amalie smiled when the fingers made a rabbit, she chuckled when they made what looked like a goat, and she even laughed out loud when they made a dog and pretended it was barking. But when they shaped a small devil with pointy ears, Amalie laughed no more.

  Chapter 1

  "Did you get a good one of him on stage?" I asked Sune. He stared at the display on the camera and showed me. I nodded my acknowledgement. It was an excellent picture of the guitarist my article was about. It was beautifully composed with the lights and colors on the huge stage. Orange stage, the biggest stage at the festival.

  We were at the Roskilde festival, an event that every year attracted some of the world's biggest bands and around eighty-five thousand people from all over the world. It was one of the six biggest annual music festivals in Europe. It was a huge event for a small country like Denmark and naturally it was documented in all the media, and since it was within our area - also by my small newspaper, The Zeeland Times.

  Sune and I didn't stay in the muddy campsite with poor sanitary conditions like all the paying visitors. As members of the press we had access to the secluded area of the festival where the press and musicians were treated more humanely. Sune and I saw this as an opportunity to spend some quality time together while working, with the added possibility of listening to some great music and meeting exciting people, like the guitarist we were doing a piece on.

  "Happy?" Sune asked while I clicked through the photos.

  Very," I said with a big smile. "It looks great."

  Sune smiled back, and then he leaned down and kissed me. I enjoyed being alone with him for once. We hadn't had much time together lately, with work, taking care of my dad and the kids coming between us.

  It wasn't that we didn't see each other. We actually saw a lot of each other every day. We had moved in together in Sune's small apartment and worked together on the paper, but still it was like there wasn't really time to be a couple, to be romantic. The kids were constantly there and if not, then it was something else.

  It was July. Four months had passed since our disastrous winter vacation in Arnakke and Denmark was showing itself from its most attractive angle. The forest was in bloom and even if it did occasionally rain now and then, the weather was behaving nicely for the festival and kept the ground from turning into a pile of mud like it usually did.

  The sun peeked out every now and then and warmed our faces and made it all just really nice. Along with the great music and the wonderful vibe from the happy, almost ecstatic people all over the festival grounds, it was an assignment we both really enjoyed.

  Peter had taken Julie the four days we were gone. She was on her summer break and I gave him permission to take her with him to Aarhus where he lived in our old house from back when we were still together. He had been back in our lives all spring now and it seemed to be going well. He had been in therapy and I was beginning to see a huge change in him. The anger issues were gone, or at least I didn't see them anymore, and neither did Julie. He seemed to have that part under control. So I slowly allowed him to come back into our lives little by little, and I enjoyed seeing how happy Julie was to spend some time with her dad. I never asked about his business, if he still worked as a mercenary for so-called "security" companies operating in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I figured he still did since he never told me otherwise. I still didn't care much for it and hoped he would never talk to Julie about it. So in the beginning I allowed him to stay in Karrebaeksminde at a hotel and take Julie out on weekends, later she was allowed to stay in his hotel room with him the entire weekend. Julie was ecstatic naturally to finally have her father back in her life and I didn't mind to occasionally have a weekend of my own. The problem was that Sune didn't have any possibility of someone taking Tobias out of the apartment, so it wasn't that we had time to ourselves even if Julie was out of the house.

  But we managed okay, I thought to myself as I kissed him back. Living together had made everything a lot easier. If only I wasn't so guilt-ridden about leaving Dad. He hadn't been feeling well lately, if it was due to the exposure to radiation four months ago or if it was just him getting older and missing us in the house, I didn't know. Maybe it was all of it. We tried to visit several times a week, but it was getting increasingly difficult to find time in our busy schedules. Julie had gotten really serious about horseback riding and went there three times a week, and I, well I had my job and my editor had begun demanding more and more from me. The newspaper had expanded and I had been promoted to cover more than just Karrebaekminde-stuff. I traveled all over Zeeland now and did stories. It was great for me career-wise, but left me with less time on my hands. Dad was the one who suffered because of it. He would never say it to my face, but he was disappointed that I chose to move out of his house. I knew it, I could tell on his face. I knew he had enjoyed having us in the house, especially after Mom died, but I had a life to live too. Julie would occasionally spend the night at his house and let him spoil her rotten, but she too was growing older and getting a life of her own. She had made a lot of new friends who were also into horses and riding and along with Tobias they could spend hours and hours on the riding school.

  "Where did you go?" Sune asked and kissed my nose.

  I chuckled. "I'm sorry. I was just thinking about Dad. I hope he's alright alone in that big house. I won't be able to visit him until Tuesday."

  "He'll be alright," Sune said.

  A couple of young guys staggered drunk past us, yelling happily. Sune greeted them with a friendly nod. "Don't do this again," he said.

  "Do what?"

  "Don't turn what is supposed to be a great couple of days for us into a guilt-trip so you can't enjoy us finally being alone together."

  I bent my head in shame. "You're right. I always do that, don't I?"

  "Over thinking everything, yes," he said and removed a lock of hair from my face.

  "I'm sorry. I'll stop right away."

  Sune chuckled and kissed my forehead. He knew as well as I, that I wasn't capable of leaving it alone after the thought first entered my mind. But I was determined to not let it destroy my trip with Sune. "I can't do anything about it anyway, right?" I continued. "Well, maybe I could call him and ask if he's alright." I looked up at Sune. "Later," I said. "I'll call him later."

  Sune smiled, and then kissed my lips. "Wonderful. 'Cause we have a schedule. There are a lot of smaller bands that I really want to see, but I have two big ones that I am not going to miss. Björk is on in half an hour and Saturday night is the big night."


  Sune nodded eagerly. "The Boss himself. I’ve been looking forward to this for months. Nothing's going to keep me away. I don't care if the world comes to an end; I'm watching him on stage."

  "Well we better hope the world stands a little longer, then," I said and patted his stomach. "Let's grab something to eat first, and then head over to see the eccentric Icelander."

  Chapter 2

  Amalie was still groggy when she woke up. Her head was hurting badly. She tried hard to remember what had happened. She remembered taking the pill, then seeing the shadow fingers on the tent and then ... then what? A face, a set of eyes. She recognized him right away when he stuck his head
in the tent. He was the same guy who had given her the pills. Had she pushed him? Yes, that was it. She had tried to push him out, thinking he came to reclaim his payment for the pills, thinking he thought he was going to get lucky with her because he had treated her to a little something.

  She had pushed him amicably to let him know that he wasn't getting anywhere near her. Even if he was handsome, he was way too old for her and she was not about any of that. She made it very clear to him. Then she had told him, that her friends were on their way. They would be here any moment now. That was when he began laughing. Then what? Amalie touched her head, there was a bump, several actually. He hit her with something. Something big and hard. It had hurt like hell. Still did. He had swung what she now believed was a big flashlight again in the back of her head, smashing it against her skull, and again, this time behind her ear, then a succession of blows followed. She had tried to scream and drag her body towards the entrance of the tent, but she knew the noise from the concerts and the drunken people walking to and from the stages, yelling and screaming in joy would drown out her cries for help.

  Amalie touched the back of her head again and thought about her dad. He would kill her once he found out where she had been. When he came to get her. He was going to get her, wasn't he? she thought suddenly with desperation. Of course he was. He always found her. But what if he didn't this time? What if he couldn't?

  Amalie stared into the empty darkness in front of her. She had to find a way to get home before he found out she wasn't on the boat with Camilla. Where was Camilla anyway? She had to find her in a hurry, so they could get their stories straight. She felt sick to her stomach, probably from the drugs. Her pants were wet. Had she wet herself while unconscious? How gross. How humiliating.