Nine, Ten ... Never sleep again (Rebekka Franck #5), Page 2Willow Rose
"Sir? Are you still there? What's your emergency? Sir? Can you speak? Are you still there?"
"Yes," he said with drops of sweat springing from his forehead, sweat from excruciating pain. "Yes. I'm here."
"I'm sending an ambulance right away. What's happened?" the woman asked again.
Henrik moaned heavily while seeing black spots in front of his eyes.
"I … I think … someone removed something from inside of me."
"Do you like it?"
Peter looked at me as he opened the gate to the driveway. In front of us rose the enormous white house. It was beautiful.
"Love it," I answered. We walked towards the house with our bags. "Why is there a driveway if you can only get here by boat?" I asked.
"The lake is not very deep on this side towards the land. Sometimes in the summer when the water level is low, you can drive here. You need an SUV, since it gets really muddy. I've done it a couple of times."
"Yeah, we did it together, me and daddy when we were here last time," Julie said and ran ahead of us towards the main entrance of the house.
"Oh you did, now did you?" I said, a little dissatisfied that I hadn't heard about this before.
Peter led us to the courtyard. A broad set of stairs led to the front entrance, a massive old wooden door. It was stunning. Everything about this place was stunning. Magnificent, even. I had never been in a place like this before.
Peter found the keys and opened the door for us. "Ladies first," he said with a smirk.
Julie stormed inside and I followed her. If it was splendid from the outside it was nothing compared to what it was on the inside. It was simply breathtaking. The high ceilings that seemed endless, the marble floors, the paintings on the walls as big as Julie, the stairwell leading upstairs, the many hallways leading to unknown places. It was incredible.
I looked at Peter. "You'd better show the way," I said. "I don't want to get lost in this massive house."
Peter chuckled, then walked towards the stairs. We followed him. "Julie and I stayed in two rooms up here the last time. They were great, weren't they sweetheart?"
Julie nodded eagerly.
"How many rooms are there?" I asked.
"Fifty-two without the servants’ quarters in the back."
"You're kidding me, right?"
Peter laughed. "Of course I am. It's only forty-eight if you don't count the servants’ quarters in the back."
Peter laughed. "It's true. I'm not lying."
"That's a lot of rooms. How old is it?" I asked.
"It's very old. It was built by a bishop many years ago, in 1302. During the reformation, in 1536, it was taken over by the king who used it as a prison. It has been told that a famous Scottish Earl was put in this prison and went insane. He killed himself in here. They say that at night you can still hear the horse driven carriage that carried his body away, but I've never heard it. Later it became a mental institution for a short period from 1840 to1857. My great-grandfather bought it in 1901 when it had been empty for a couple of years. He completely restored it back to its old splendor when it used to be a Renaissance castle in the beginning." Peter walked down the hallway and stopped in front of a door. "This is Julie's room," he said. "This is where she slept the last time we were here."
"Yay," Julie said and opened the door to her room. I peeked in. It looked like a nice big bed in there. The furniture was very old and dark. Julie threw her bag and then herself on the bouncy bed. I smiled. She seemed to feel so at home here.
"Now you and I will be in the room right next to hers," Peter said.
I followed him down the hallway. "You and I, huh? You really think we're ready for that?"
Peter opened the door and showed me the most astonishing room. It was huge, almost the size of my dad's entire first floor. It had a big bathroom attached to it with a spa and, in the center, was literally the biggest bed I had ever seen. It was all very old-fashioned but astoundingly beautiful.
"Don't you think we are now?" he asked. "Don't you think we're ready to take this to the next level?"
I took off my shoes and planted my feet in the thick carpet. Then I smiled. "I think we are." I walked closer, then leaned over and kissed him. "I really think we are."
Valdemar looked up at Anna with his big blue eyes. Anna couldn't help crying, not because of the fact that he had no arms, no. She had already completely forgotten all about that and all she wanted was to take her baby home. No, she was crying because, at that moment, holding him in her arms at the hospital, she was happier than she had ever been in her life. Finally she felt complete, finally she felt like her life had a meaning, a purpose.
She couldn't stop smiling and stroking him gently across his face, putting her finger on his small nose.
The doctor kept talking about what their options were, how they would get help from the county to make their home handicap-friendly and help to take care of the baby in any way needed and that they could provide a therapist to help the family cope with this tragedy and burden that had come upon them.
Anna had stopped listening a long time ago. How could anyone ever think that little boy could be a burden to her? How could he be anything but a blessing to them?
"I'll go get the father now," the doctor said and left.
Anna hardly noticed he was gone. She kept looking at her baby boy, Valdemar, who stared back at her with his wondrous eyes. Much to her surprise, he had stopped crying as soon as he was handed to her. And ever since she had held him in her arms, he had been smiling, which was really special and surprising, since Anna had read in her books preparing to become a mother, than newborns didn't smile until weeks after they were born.
That was when Anna first realized that Valdemar was a very special child.
"Anna!" Michael stormed into the room. He was pale and looked confused. "How are you?"
She lifted her head and looked at him. His eyes were overwhelmed with fear and worry. "The doctor told me," he said.
Anna smiled. She lifted the baby higher so he could better see him. Michael smiled insecurely. "Can I see?" he said.
Anna nodded. Michael grabbed the blanket and unwrapped the boy's shoulders. He gasped. Then his facial expression changed drastically and he stepped backwards while shaking his head. "No," he said.
"Michael," Anna said. "It will be okay. We'll figure it out together. Like we always do, remember?"
But Michael didn't remember. He kept shaking his head, staring at the boy's missing arms with a strange expression to his face, which Anna didn't care for. She hurriedly re-covered the boy's shoulders with the blanket and pulled him close to her body again. Michael stared at her like he was appalled by her and the very fact that she was able to care for such a misshapen creature, like it made him feel disgusted by her.
"Michael?" she said with a shiver to her voice. "It's going to be okay. He's still our boy. He's still the Valdemar we have been waiting for."
Michael shook his head. "No. No. That is not my son."
"Michael?" Anna was crying now. "How can you say such a thing? He's still your son and will always be."
"No," Michael simply said, then turned around and walked away.
Anna cried. Her entire body was shivering in anger and desperation. "Michael!" she cried out after him, and finally he turned to face her again. In his eyes she saw something she would never forget for the rest of her life.
She saw blame. He was blaming her for what had happened. He was blaming her for giving birth to a boy without arms. She gasped and leaned back against the pillow. Never had she seen such resentment in her beloved's eyes. Never had she seen such anger and disappointment. It hurt in every bone of her body.
"Michael?" she said.
But he never answered.
"It seems that you've had your kidney removed."
> The doctor standing next to Henrik Fenger's bed looked like a pig, Henrik thought. He was big and fat and had almost pink skin. And then there was the nose. It somehow reminded Henrik of a pig with the big nostrils. He was repulsed by this person and even more by what he was now telling him.
"My kidney?" he asked. "How the hell …? Henrik felt dizzy and had to close his eyes for a second.
"It was very professionally done, so whoever did it must have tried something like this before."
"Wha …? What? How? I want to know how this could have happened. I demand to know!" Henrik had to hold back his rage. Now that he had become clearer in his head, he felt nothing but anger for what had happened and he wanted those behind it to pay.
"Well you were probably heavily sedated first. That's why you didn't feel anything. But I really feel you should discuss all this with the police when they get here."
"But what about my kidney?"
"You'll be fine with only one. Lots of people live perfect lives with just one kidney."
"But where the hell is it now? Why would anyone want to take my kidney?" Henrik was snorting in furor now.
The doctor shrugged. "I really feel you should talk to the police about the details. I don't know much about it."
"Then get the fucking police here right now!" Henrik yelled.
The doctor left and came back with a nurse who gave Henrik something to calm him down, the doctor said.
Henrik protested. "I don't want to be calm. I'm angry. I want to see these people hung and tortured for what they've done …"
"You really shouldn't get this agitated Mr. Fenger," the nurse said. "Your body can't cope with it."
"Don't tell me what to do and what not to do. I am angry and I am entitled to be very, very angry!" Henrik rose from the bed and stormed towards the nurse with his hands towards her, grabbing her around the throat, screaming and yelling. Suddenly he felt dizzy once again and, shortly after, everything went black. The last thing he heard was the nurse scream.
When Henrik opened his eyes again, he was strapped to the bed and could hardly move his hands. "I'm sorry, Mr. Fenger but we had to strap you down," the piggy doctor told him. "You attacked one of our nurses and we can't have that happening again."
Henrik tried to pull his arms and legs loose, but couldn't. He groaned and yelled in anger. "How dare you? I'm the victim here!"
"The police are here and ready to talk to you, when you're calm enough."
Henrik moaned and fought with the straps.
"I guess I can always tell them to come back later," the doctor continued.
"No. No. Please don't. I'll stay calm," Henrik pleaded, then drew in a deep breath. "I'm calm now. I'm calm."
"Good. That's better. Your body can't sustain those bursts of anger, Mr. Fenger. You have to try and stay calm."
Henrik nodded. "I will. I promise."
"Good. I'll let them know then," the doctor said and left him.
As the minutes passed, Henrik fought to stay calm, but it was really hard. This whole situation left him with such an excruciating anger, one that he usually only showed towards his wife and kid at home behind closed doors. He never lost it at work or in front of strangers. But this … this … was just too much for him to be able to restrain himself.
Two officers entered his room. They looked like idiots. Just like all other police officers Henrik had ever encountered. Was the entire police force all morons? Henrik took a couple of deep breaths to stay calm. "Yes," he said, trying really hard to smile.
The officer looked down at his notepad. He looked like it annoyed him to be there. As if Henrik's case was beneath him. It made Henrik even more furious.
"We have been updated on your most unfortunate situation by Doctor Hansen …"
"There is nothing unfortunate about my situation," Henrik said through gritted teeth.
"You said something?"
"Well, you used the word unfortunate and I didn't like that."
"You didn't like my choice of words?"
"No. My situation isn't unfortunate," Henrik said, trying really hard to restrain himself from exploding.
"Then, what is it?" the officer asked.
"It's a CRIME," Henrik yelled. "It's a fucking crime that someone has to pay big-time for."
The officer nodded. "That's what I meant. We agree, then. This unfortunate crime has to be investigated, of course, and Officer Frandsen and myself, Officer Jansson, will be the ones to do just that."
Henrik stared at the two buffoons in front of him. Christ, here I am in fucking pain, the worst trouble in my life and these are the guys I have to depend on? Freaking Starsky and Hutch?
"So what is your take on this?" He asked.
The two buffoons looked at each other. "Our take? I'm not sure I understand," officer Jansson said.
"What do you make of this? Of what happened to me? Who did this and why?" Henrik said, trying hard not to yell again.
Officer Jansson nodded. "Oh yes. Well we're probably talking about organ theft here."
"Okay. I kind of figured that out myself," Henrik said with a sigh. "Since someone stole one of my organs, that is. But what I meant is, do you have any idea who might have done this to me and, more importantly, do you have any idea how to find them and make them pay?"
Officer Frandsen cleared his throat. Henrik looked at him expectantly, hoping for just a small glimpse of hope.
"To be frank, we don't," he said. "As far as we know this is a first in this country. Organ theft is mostly seen in Eastern European and Asian countries."
"So you have no idea who took my kidney?" Henrik said, flabbergasted.
Both officers shook their heads. "I'm afraid we don't, no," one of them said. Henrik didn't care who.
"Were you alone in the room?" Officer Janssen asked.
Henrik hesitated. He could hardly tell them about the girl, now could he? The girl? Could it? Could it be her? It had to be. It had to be her. She had to have something to do with this. But he couldn't tell Starsky and Hutch here, could he? ‘Cause then his wife would find out. Then she would leave him and take Thomas with her like she had sworn she would if he ever cheated on her again. No, he couldn't risk that.
"So … what do we do next?" he asked.
The officers looked at each other again, then at Henrik. "Well first, we take your statement and then we have to get back to the station and see what we can do," Officer Frandsen said. "We will start an investigation and get in contact with our Eastern European contacts to help us. We suggest that you stay here at the hospital till they're ready to let you out and then you go on to live your life like you used to. We'll be in touch."
After they left, Henrik stared for a long time at the door. It was in those crucial minutes following that he slowly realized that it was time to take matters into his own hands.
Thomas De Quincey was looking through pictures on his computer. Pictures of a woman lying on the ground somewhere, her dead eyes staring at the photographer, her mouth stuck in a scream, her hand cut off and stuffed into her mouth making it look like she was throwing up her own hand. He studied it closely. The pool of blood gave the picture great color, but the girl didn't do anything for him. He wasn't appalled, he wasn't disgusted or delighted.
Thomas De Quincey leaned back in his chair and tilted his head slightly to look at it differently, but it still didn't do anything. The creator, the artist of this piece claimed it was worth a lot of money. Two hundred and fifty thousand, he wrote in his e-mail. With the deal, Thomas would get the girl and the hand in the mouth and that was quite unique. Thomas had never seen anything like this before. But he couldn't help wondering if the girl had already been dead when the artist put the hand in? ‘Cause that would change everything. If she was still alive, then it had the cruelty and gruesomeness that he was looking for, but if she was s
imply killed, and then the artist had cut off the hand and stuck it in her mouth for effect, then it was worth nothing to Thomas. And he simply didn't get the vibe from it he was looking for. It didn't cause the hairs to stand up on his back. It didn't have the brutality to it to make him shiver in delight. It simply wasn't there.
Thomas closed the picture and checked the chat. He had recently received a new follower, a new member who he had tutored and he was very excited to hear news from him and what he was about to do. He called himself Bill Durgin after the famous photographer whose macabre pictures were well-known to those, like Thomas De Quincey, who enjoyed the macabre immensely and lived for it.
Thomas chuckled when he saw that his new apprentice was online. He had that same feeling of excitement he used to have back when he had let Fred Einaudi, alias Allan Witt become a part of his small, yet very exclusive, club. Thomas broke a pencil thinking about how things had ended with Allan. Thomas had been very careful taking in a new member this time, in order to not make the same mistake twice. Allan had simply been too crazy and finally lost it completely. It was too dangerous to have someone that unstable as a part of the group. But, with the kind of people he attracted, it was probably hard to avoid.
This one, he was pretty sure, wouldn't let him down. He had passed all of Thomas' test and questionnaires. His fantasies were quite different from those Thomas usually encountered, since he wasn't as interested in actually killing, as he was in just simply inflicting immense pain on a special group of people. This was a new approach and very very intriguing. Thomas was extremely excited to see where this Bill Durgin was going to take it.
How did it go? Thomas wrote.
Perfect, Bill Durgin answered. It went exactly as I had hoped.
Bill Durgin went quiet, then posted some pictures. Thomas looked at them, feeling thrilled. He clapped his hands like he was applauding him, then wrote: Good. I'm so happy to hear that. Don't forget to give me my payment.