Hellbound: Hellbound Series Book 1
Hellbound: Hellbound Series Book 1
Hellbound: Hellbound Series Book 1

Hellbound: Hellbound Series Book 1

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There is a price for cheating death…

Wren, Shrike, and Lark are three, very special siblings with one unusual calling. Raised by a father gifted with the ability to sense impending death, his visions allowed them to save people’s lives. But they never imagined meddling with fate would have horrific consequences…

Now their beloved father is dead, murdered by one of the people they saved. And the Rose siblings have unearthed a terrifying secret: those who were meant to die have become hosts for demonic spirits from beyond. Ghostly apparitions who feed on misery and pain. And who delight in torturing their human victims…

Shocked by the devastation wrought by these sinister forces, the three vow to put an end to this evil reign once and for all. And to do it, they will have to kill every last victim they saved… every soul whose destiny they altered.

But repairing the damage done turns out to be far more difficult than they thought. And when an exorcism goes horribly wrong, the fallout sets a new enemy on their trail…

195 pages


Chapter 6

Wren rummaged through the ‘kit’ as they hurried down the sidewalk. There wasn’t much to it. A short list of instructions, a tin of salt that Lark now fiddled with, and a small vial of clear liquid. He pulled the vial out again, holding it up to the fading sunlight to better see the flecks that had gathered in the bottom. The multiple colors suggested that there were a few different ingredients. But they were all too ground up for him to even guess what they were. The store owner hadn’t written the recipe down.

“I would have preferred to do this with some sunlight,” Lark said.

“We can wait until dawn,” Shrike said, nervously eyeing the houses around them.

Interior lights cast shadows over the drawn curtains.

“We can’t just leave it alone to do what it wants for the night,” Lark insisted. “It could hurt someone. We have to end this now.”

“It doesn’t seem smart to do this at night,” Shrike insisted.

“We’ve seen the shadow demon during the day,” Wren said. “The fact that it’s bolder at night doesn’t necessarily mean it’s stronger during those hours. And at least this way, we’ll have some cover.”

“I still don’t like it,” Shrike muttered.

“Well, winter days are short, and you guys took forever,” Lark said.

“That wasn’t our fault,” Shrike said.

Wren pushed his glasses up his nose. “Well, it was kind of your fault.”

“How?” Shrike demanded. “They had no right to hold us.”

“Exactly. All you had to do was keep your mouth shut and we would have been out of there in an hour. But, no. Every time we were just about to leave, you’d get into another pissing match with Barsotti and give him just enough to hold us until he ‘checked something out’.” He tucked the bag under his arm to do the appropriate air quotes.

“It’s like he was doing it on purpose.”

“He was, Shrike,” Wren huffed. The last of the daylight died, and darkness took hold. “This is why Dad always tells you to let us do the talking. Because you are the most easily manipulated person on the plant.”

“Guys,” Lark cut in.

They turned to her, and she motioned with her chin down the quiet suburban street. Trent’s house was just ahead. Wren felt the shift as they settled into their well-honed roles. Habit drove their hastily forged plan, and he hoped that it would be enough. His stomach churned as he followed his sisters into the shadows between the houses. They knew the layout from the previous stalking sessions and, in a small twist of luck, none of the neighbors had gotten new pets or set up security lights. They moved as shadows from one yard to the next, drawing closer to Trent’s house.

Wren fought against all the thoughts crawling through his mind. The last time he had been here, the darkness had made him feel safe. There was a certain power to it. A sense of control in knowing that he would only be seen when he chose to reveal himself. Now he felt like the darkness had eyes. The hair on the back of his neck rose and, with every step, it became harder to breathe. They jumped over the last fence and dropped into Trent’s backyard. A single unstable light escaped the dark interior of the house. Everything was quiet.

The siblings paused in a final silent check with one another. Lark held up the box of salt. Shrike unzipped the top of her jacket just enough to expose the thick cord of rope she was carrying. Wren pulled the fishing line from his pocket.

“You’re sure you can pronounce the words correctly?” Shrike whispered. “I’m not even sure that’s a language.”

“The store owner wrote it phonetically,” Wren replied.

“You have to repeat it three times, right?” Lark asked.

“Yes.”

Shrike nodded, placed a hand against her chest, and took a slow breath. Wren felt compelled to mirror the motion, feeling his pulse beat rapidly against his fingertips. They shared one last glance before Shrike led the way to the kitchen window. Their father had rigged it months ago to ensure that they would have a point of entry when the time came to intervene. Trent could have noticed and replace the broken latch. Wren held his breath as Shrike carefully inched the window open. It rattled against its frame. Shrike gave it a hard shove. With a soft crunch of frost, the window slid open. They paused. No lights flicked on. No alarms blared. Trent had the day off. They hadn’t been able to track him today, given Barsotti’s interference. If he wasn’t home now, he would be soon. But the house remained silent and dark.

Waiting a heartbeat longer, Shrike slipped through the window. Wren lingered until she motioned for them to follow then pulled himself through the gap and onto the kitchen counter. The house was deathly cold. The doorway to the living room was across from him. Light flickered through the threshold, making shadows dance across the walls. Shrike crept silently over the tiles and peeked into the living room. She waved to him, and he motioned for Lark to enter. His fingers had grown numb before all three of them were inside. Dad had always insisted that they never go anywhere without an exit strategy, and Lark’s encounter at the bus had reminded them to take his advice. They left the window open and gathered in the living room.

The glow of the streetlights illuminated the drawn curtains. A fire crackled in the hearth, but it offered little warmth. Wren’s brow furrowed as he tiptoed further into the room. The room looked like he remembered. The half-burned Christmas tree had been left to rot in the corner, still dressed in the charred baubles. He hadn’t even cleaned up the fire extinguisher foam, leaving it to dry and flake.

He never cleaned up, Wren thought. How long did the demon wait before taking him?

A soft creak snapped him out of his thoughts. His breath caught in his throat as he looked to the front door. It took another sound for him to realize the noises were coming from inside the house. He turned to the pitch-black hallway that led to the bedrooms. Nothing stirred.

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