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Rebekka Franck - 03 - Five, Six ... Grab Your Crucifix

Willow Rose

  Five, Six ... Grab Your Crucifix

  Rebekka Franck [3]

  Willow Rose

  DMC (2011)

  * * *

  Rating: ★★★★☆

  Tags: Mystery, Horror

  Mysteryttt Horrorttt

  * * *

  The Priest is a man with a mission from God. He is to help those possessed by evil to finally become free from their stronghold. He has expelled demons for years and had great success.

  But there is one demon he never managed to cast out. And that demon has now come back to get him.

  Rebekka Franck and Sune are on a vacation in Northern Zeeland when they suddenly find themselves involved in what turns out to be their most horrifying case to this date.

  "Five, Six ... grab your crucifix" is a spine-chilling Scandinavian mystery-novel from the International Bestselling author Willow Rose. It is the third book in her series about the Danish reporter Rebekka Franck.


  By Willow Rose

  Copyright Willow Rose 2012

  Published by DMC

  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:

  To all of my dear readers. You are the reason I keep on writing.


  The main door to the dining hall was ajar when the Priest approached it. A small knot of women and men stood watching, their backs turned to him as he walked closer. They were humming, chanting. The light from the candles was flickering, the spectators casting long shadows on the bare walls. Someone was screaming. Not ordinary screams. These were screams of evil from a possessed soul, screams from the pit of Hell. In the middle the Priest spotted a figure. A young naked girl was on her knees. Crying out, screaming. Her face was deformed and almost hairless. A big lump grew out of her forehead, making her face lopsided. She was torn with pain and strained. Her eyes glowed green when they stared at the Priest. She threw herself at the floor, screaming in agony and pain, her knees bleeding from hours and hours of kneeling.

  She stared at the Priest who thought he saw the girl’s skin turning green and fuming. Then he looked at her hands. They were covered in blood. The girl lifted them and pointed at the Priest. Blood dripped from her fingers and ran down her arm.

  “YOU!” the girl screamed.

  The word hit the Priest like a clenched fist in his face and he felt himself stumble backwards. The voice was so forceful, nothing like the girl’s normal voice that the Priest knew so well.

  The Priest lifted his hand holding a crucifix. “In the name of Jesus,” he stuttered, still overwhelmed by the force of this demon that possessed the girl. “In the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ I command you to leave this girl.” But his voice was too weak; he knew that all too well. Evil spirits didn’t listen to weak voices, they needed strong forceful commandments, and they needed to be driven out of the body.

  “Filthy man. Shut up!” the naked girl screamed.

  “In the name of Jesus, I command you …”

  A loud scream followed. The girl kept staring at the Priest. Then she laughed. Not the sweet laughter of a normal twelve-year old girl. No it was the laughter of death. The Priest felt her cold breath hit him in the face. It gave him chills. The naked girl threw herself on the ground, then got up and screamed again just before she bent over and ran as fast as she could towards the wall, banging her face into it, tumbling to the floor, bleeding from her mouth and lip. She looked at the Priest with a grin, licking the blood from her lip.

  “She wants this,” she said as if the demon was talking through her to the Priest. “She invited me in; she wants to come with me. I’m taking her.”

  The Priest walked closer then lifted his hand with the silver crucifix in a chain high in the air. “NO!” he yelled. “I command you to leave this body! I command you to leave her now!”

  The girl stared at him. Then down at her body. Her skin was moving, almost bubbling, boiling underneath. The glowing green eyes were lifted and locked with the Priest’s. He fought hard to tamp down his growing fear but felt himself stagger backwards. These eyes were not of this world. The pupils were dilated and looked like black holes leading to eternity, an eternity of pain and agony.

  Like they were a gateway to Hell.

  The priest lifted the cross, trying to cover himself with its holiness, protecting his eyes, shielding them from the evil staring at him, trying to drag him to Hell with them.

  “Who are you?” he asked.

  “I’m the one who was within Cain,” the girl stated with a devilish voice. “I am stronger than death. No one is stronger than me.”

  Then all sounds were drowned out by a sudden outburst of flaming timbers falling. Windows were popping, glass shattering everywhere, flames creeping up the walls making them black with soot. The Priest stared at the girl. Her face was plastered with a mixture of grinning and agony. Soon long lashing flames were licking the girl’s legs and body. Through the hissing crackling sounds of fire the Priest could hear the girl laughing.

  The Priest woke up in his bed screaming the words:

  “She’s coming. She’s coming!”

  The priest inhaled deeply a few times trying to catch his breath, slowly realizing it had all been nothing but a bad dream. He squinted at the alarm clock in the corner. Almost midnight. There was still time to get more sleep. He considered going to the bathroom to pee, but the soft pillow held a stronger appeal. With a relieved sigh he put his head back on the pillow and went back to sleep.

  The sound of the wooden floor creaking followed by footsteps outside of his room roused him only a few seconds later. In the still darkness he reached to his nightstand and grabbed his crucifix.

  Chapter 1

  “The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round …”

  We were all singing along in the car. Even Sune who had once told me he would never sing for anyone in public again after a girl once laughed at him when he had sung a serenade written for her in his teenage years. I looked at him while repeating the verse for the fifteenth time since we left Karrebaeksminde. He was smiling as widely as I was. We had been looking forward to this vacation for weeks now. Since Christmas. I turned my head and looked at the kids in the backseat. My dad was sitting between them with an arm around each of them. He had grown as fond of Sune’s son Tobias as he was of his own granddaughter, Julie.

  “It’s right up there, you have to take this exit,” I said and pointed at the sign saying Arnakke.

  Sune took the exit and soon we were lead through a thick pine forest with nothing but trees reaching into the sky surrounding us. I rolled down the window and took in a deep breath of fresh forest air. I looked forward to leaving the city behind and getting away from everything.

  Even if Karrebaeksminde was very small for its size it was still a town with people and cars and work. Once Sune and I decided that we wanted to go on vacation together with the kids and Dad, we agreed that it had to be somewhere away from eve
rybody and especially from work. Arnakke was still on the island of Zeeland, but it was further north and far away from the area that Sune and I normally covered for the paper.

  This was going to be very relaxing, I thought to myself as Sune drove further into the deep forest.

  Arnakke was a small town with only three hundred and ninety-four inhabitants. The area around Arnakke had been inhabited since the Stone Age. The name meant “eagle’s neck” since there used to be a lot of eagles fishing in the fjord that was called Isefjorden. You could still spot them occasionally, I was told, but it was rare now. I looked up at the sky between the trees but saw only crows. The road was slippery from the wet snow. The trees covered in the white powder. We had packed the car with sledges and winter clothing. I looked forward to tumbling in the snow with Julie and building a huge snowman or a snow cabin. I inhaled the icy air deeply into my lungs. The kids complained that it was getting cold in the car so I rolled up the window. I looked at Sune. This was going to be great, I thought. Just me and the people I loved in a small cabin far from everything, taking long walks, sledging down the hills.

  Just what the doctor had ordered.

  He actually had ordered me to relax, to get away from everything. The emotional stress I had put myself through the last couple of years, had begun to wear on me. On top of it I had almost been killed six months before and I had had a hard time sleeping ever since. I kept waking up at night screaming and crying, scaring Julie who thought she had to constantly take care of me. That was not how it was supposed to be. I was supposed to hold her hand when she had bad dreams, not the other way around.

  I sighed and looked at her. She was playing a game with Tobias; they were laughing and teasing Dad who laughed happily. Julie had been so tough, so strong through all of this. I had no idea how she managed to be like that. I knew I had almost reached my limit. At least that was what the doctor had told me.

  “No one is supernatural and can do everything. You have to face that you have limits as well. You have to know these limits and learn to respect them. Otherwise you might burn out.”

  His words had scared me like crazy. I had seen numerous colleagues break down from the pressure of the job and never come back. Being a journalist wasn’t for the weak, but even the strong had limits, I had learned. I was stressed all the time and felt like I was never good enough.

  Probably hadn’t helped that I had to fight for my reputation ever since I helped overthrow the government six months ago by writing a story about the Prime Minister who allowed lobotomies performed into the Nineties on criminal teenagers that no one knew where to place or to do with since they were too young to go to prison, but kept getting themselves in trouble.

  It all occurred before she was elected Prime Minister, yes, but she had been Minister of the Health Department and that was enough for the opposition to claim that she should step down. Now a new election was on its way and I had faced everything from threats of a lawsuit filed against me to attacks on me as a person in the media exhibiting me as a bad mother leaving my sick husband when he needed me most and having an affair with my photographer who was also a criminal.

  Luckily they had left my daughter alone so far, but I was terrified that they would approach her again like they had when they tried to force me to not run the story. She had been the one persuading me to run it. I would never have done it if she hadn’t wanted me to. But she was so right. If you don’t stand up to a bully, they will bully someone else. I had no idea exactly who was behind all of these media attacks but I knew that it wore on my strength having to disavow all those rumors they kept writing about me. I wasn’t going to let them discredit me but I was just about to say that I’d had enough by now. It was so childish and wouldn’t change a thing in the end.

  I didn’t understand why they kept doing this, since the Prime Minister had already stepped down. There was no more to save. It was over. So it had to be all about getting revenge or something, I thought while Sune put his hand on my leg with a smile. I put my hand on top of his. He had been my rock in this. We had been together for almost six months now and every day seemed to get better and better. I guess I was falling for him really seriously. And it scared me like nothing else in this world. Last time I had let myself fall hopelessly in love it had ended so wrong, so bad. I never wanted to go down that road again. Would it be different this time? Sure. But it could still go terribly wrong. There was always the risk. Then everything would be destroyed. Our kids loved each other almost as much as we did. They would be devastated if we were to split up. And since Sune and I worked closely together, it would make it impossible for us to work together again. I was afraid to risk that since he was the best photographer I knew. I had realized that he was as much a part of the stories as I was. I couldn’t be this good without him. He made me good.

  Sune grabbed my hand and squeezed it lightly. “No thinking about work,” he said. “That was the deal here. We are on vacation.”

  I smiled and exhaled deeply. “I know,” I said and closed my eyes for a second. “I’m going to enjoy every second of it.”


  Sune took a turn and we went even deeper into the pine forest. We passed a sign in front of a closed gate.

  “Keep out!” it said. “Private property.”

  I remembered having seen the gate before in the news on TV. This was where the oft-discussed religious sect “The Way” had their headquarters in some old abandoned camp area where there used to be a children’s school camp. I remembered pictures of the old wooden log cabins taken by a news photographer for a paper, someone who had crossed the heavy gates and fences somehow in an attempt to take pictures of what was going on in there. Rumors had circulated about exorcism rituals and other stuff that no one knew if it was true.

  They were widely known to recruit confused young people by drawing on their weaknesses. Their leader who called himself “The Priest” had appeared in the media a few times some years ago before they clammed up and refused to talk to anyone anymore. He was quite charismatic as far as I remembered. Called himself the reincarnation of Isaiah. But other than being severely delusional he seemed quite harmless.

  The sect was big in the Nineties but I couldn’t remember having heard about it in the last fifteen years, maybe even longer. I wondered if they were in there as we drove by and turned left onto a dirt road where piles of snow made it hard to drive. Sune cursed and hit the gas pedal. The car moved again slowly, going straight up the hill. Soon a few houses, mostly small cabins appeared between the trees. I could spot the fjord in the distance. The view was spectacular. The white snowy landscape was so calm in the cold. Sune stopped the car in front of a small wooden cabin. I got out and inhaled the fresh air. The kids tumbled out on top of each other and threw themselves in the snow.

  “Put on your winter jackets first,” I said.

  But it was too late. They were soaking wet, throwing snow in the air and letting it fall on their faces, making snow angels in their sweaters and jeans. I threw their jackets at them and they got up dusted off the snow from their shoulders and hair, laughing. Then they put on their jackets and ran into the yard of the cabin while we unpacked the car.

  I looked at the wooden cabin just before I went through the red painted door. Yes this was going to be a relaxing vacation. Then I pulled out my phone and turned it off.

  Chapter 2

  Maybe he was just being jumpy, the Priest thought to himself as the silence again lingered over the cabin. He listened for more sounds coming from the hallway, but it was quiet now. It was nothing but a bad dream, he kept telling himself. A very bad dream, but nothing to worry about. It had been years since the Priest had last thought about the girl. Not that he had forgotten about her that simply wasn’t possible. Who could ever forget someone like that?

  The Priest sat up in the bed and pulled the curtain slightly. It was full moon outside. That was probably why he felt so strange inside. He always slept badly when it was full moon.

/>   “Nothing to worry about,” he mumbled to himself.

  But he couldn’t escape the feeling that someone was walking around outside his door. Could it be some of the other church members? Maybe someone was lost. They had just recruited a group of four young people. They always a hard time sleeping the first couple of days. The guilt towards their parents or friends that they had left to follow the Priest into that warm embracing hands of their God, the fear of something new. It was always hard to overcome in the beginning. But they would eventually. The Priest and his disciples would make them strong enough to resist their parent’s approach, strong enough to face them once they tried to get in contact with them and try to get them to come back. Some would cave in, and the Priest would help them fight it, get over it and persuade them that their family was here now, that those parents never did them any good.

  Most of the young people that they recruited had run away from home several months ago. His disciples found them in the streets or maybe outside a shelter nearby where they spent the night but always went outside to smoke. Then his disciples would approach them with promises of a better life. Most would run or laugh in their faces, but every now and then someone would ask to know more and then his disciples would take good care of them. Tell them they were loved. Tell them they didn’t need their parents anymore or anyone else for that matter.

  Yes, that had to be the answer. If there was someone out there it had to be one of the young ones who were lost, maybe got out of bed to get a drink of water or maybe looking for someone to talk to. It happened every now and then that they sought comfort in the middle of the night, when the nightmares and bad dreams became too overwhelming. These kids had often been through a lot, too much for such a young person. That was the mission for the Priest and The Way. To help these young people get rid of all these evil thought patterns and bad behavior. And the Priest knew exactly how to do that. First they had to accept that they had evil inside of them. That it wasn’t their fault, but evil was holding them down, destroying them with wrong thoughts, telling them to do things, evil things. Once the demon was detected in the person it had to be commanded to leave, it had to be driven out. Evil had such a stronghold upon our youngsters today. Well it always had, he thought to himself as he found a bathrobe and put it on. It wasn’t like being possessed with evil demons was anything new. People on the outside just didn’t understand. They didn’t see things the way the Priest did. He could spot an evil demon in any person at any time just by looking at the person. And he had the power to make it leave. God had granted him that power.