View From The Top.....
Chapter Seventeen: Murder Strikes
How to Write: Hints on Writing
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter 4-6
Chapter Five
The Studio
Chapter Eight: The Recruit
Chapter Nine: The Letter
Chapter Ten: The Stalker
Chapter Eleven: Karina
Chapter Twelve: Madeline
Chapter Thirteen: The Tattoo
Chapter Fourteen: David
Chapter Fifteen: The First Concert
Chapter Sixteen: Margaret
Chapter Seventeen: Murder Strikes
Chapter Eighteen: Vietnam
Chapter Nineteen: Serina's Party
Chapter Twenty: Norm
Angels in the world
Chapter 22 : The Fall
Chapter Six

Chapter Seventeen: Murder Strikes


With Gretchen away, protecting Tom Thompson, Stuart took charge of the horse farm. There were only three employees. Stuart, his lover Dale and the mysterious horse whispering woman, Dale referred to as the Wolf Lady. All three were determined that their employer be proud of them when she returned, so they did their best to maintain the same level of efficiency she demanded when she was present.
It would be unfair to say that they liked having their boss away, but for Stuart and Dale, it meant not having to hide their love affair. As soon as she returned , they would be forced to go back to their secret midnight rendezvous, stolen touches and knowing glances. They didn't have to hide their relationship from The Wolf Lady, because she simply couldn't have cared less. All she was interested in were the horses, period.
Gretchen was away for several weeks at a time, only returning home briefly to check on things, so Stuart and Dale decided to embark on a new venture. They had lots of free time on their hands, so they decided to supplement their incomes a little. This venture didn't involve leaving their home, but in fact could be taken care of entirely from the ranch. They decided to create a web site, devoted to internet dating. This site would be different from most other dating sites on the web, however. It was geared to sex, hot steamy, one-night-stand sex, with no strings attached. It wasn't a place for singles to meet their soul mate, marry them and live happily ever after. It was a place to find a one night sex partner, or more than one, get down and dirty, then wake up the next morning with no ties and no regrets. They called it SexLine.
Gretchen would have been mortified, had she known, but they carefully kept their secret from her. It wasn't that she was some kind of prude. She had partaken in her share of sexual escapades. Stuart just didn't think she would want her employees involved in the sex trade in any way, especially from the farm.
For a small monthly fee, charged to any major credit card, access was granted to a data base of like minded people, couples and groups, who were looking for consorts. A live chat, and instant messaging program, allowed locals to hook up on a moments notice, while maintaining as much anonymity as they desired. The client list was a who's who of the rich and famous. Once set up the site practically ran itself.
It was through the website that the pair of entrepreneurs met Madeline. She was a regular, often using the site several times each week. Older men were her thing, but she sometimes took pleasure in multiple partners, especially if they were bisexual. Stuart and Dale had met with her one night for a little fun, because Dale, who had never been with a woman, wanted to find out what it was like. Stuart, always game for anything, had set up an encounter for the three of them, which, in time, led to occasional meetings at the ranch, when Gretchen was away. The trio joked that they were trisexual, they would all try anything once.
Madeline was a sex addict. There was little doubt about it. Any time, anywhere, she was ready and willing. Before she ran across Sexline, Madeline frequented singles bars and night clubs, picking up total strangers, not even knowing their names. They had sex in allies, back seats, back rooms and back yards, anywhere. The more dangerous the spot, the better she liked it. She knew she was taking a terrible risk every night, but it didn't matter. In the morning she would tell herself that last night was the last time, but every night she was back out there looking for another partner, any partner.
Still far from being completely safe, Sexline allowed Madeline to determine when and where she would meet her partners. She often waited in the shadows, to make sure a particular person was alright before coming forward and introducing herself. She did have one hard and fast rule. She never, ever met partners at her home and she never took anyone home, or went home with anyone, until she knew them very well.
That's why what happened was so strange. Through all of her idiosyncrasies, she was still a very private person. None of her friends, or co-workers, knew anything about her secret lifestyle. That was one of the reasons she didn't take her acquaintances home with her. It saved any chance that one of her friends would show up unannounced and catch her in the act. Only Stuart and Dale knew of the secret life Madeline led.
A neighbor, Harvey Cornell, found her body early one morning. Harvey had been watching Madeline come and go for some time. He didn't know her . . . yet, but he would have liked to have know her in the most intimate ways. What he didn't tell the police, was that he had watched Madeline come home, just before midnight. She had, as she often did, been wearing, what he considered, a very provocative outfit, although jeans and a sweat shirt, were enough to make his pants bulge, on the right women. Harvey planned to jump out, grab his neighbor and take her forcefully, right then and there, but there was someone else outside, waiting. They were wearing a black jacket and carrying something slung over one shoulder. Knowing he would be seen, if he tried anything then, Harvey contented himself with a black market video showing real women and real rapists. He masturbated slowly, watching the action, imagining himself as the one doing the raping.
"I'll check on her when that person leaves," he said to himself, imagining the rape over and over in his head.
Finally around two 2:45 A.M., Harvey heard footsteps outside. He looked out, just in time to see a shadow disappear around the corner. He took ten minutes to shower and shave, before slipping on his ski mask and sneaking out, to peek in Madeline's window. He liked to be clean and smell nice for his victims. He knew that once he was inside them they really enjoyed it, no matter what they said.
Madeline's light was on, but the curtains were drawn tightly. Harvey couldn't see anything. His hopes of meeting her tonight were almost dashed, but then he noticed the light shining out through the open door. He quietly moved toward the door, making sure his face was completely hidden behind the mask.
It was 3:00 A.M.,nearly on-the-dot, when he peeked inside, just to make sure everything was alright, as he told the police. What he found would interrupt his sleep at night, for years to come.
The entire front room was covered in blood. A body, or parts of one, lay on the floor in a gory heap, consisting of two feet, two legs, two hands, two arms, a torso, in three pieces and a head. Harvey, the would be rapist, would have puked all over the floor, had it not been for his ski mask. As it was the mask contained his vomit long enough for him to get outside. He somehow managed to hide his vomit-covered mask and call the police a few minutes later.
The body parts were positively identified, from dental records and DNA testing, as that of Madeline. She had been mutilated so badly that nothing of her features remained to distinguish her. The murder had been very methodical work. Not only was the room smeared with Madeline's blood, but upon further investigation, it was in distinct patterns. Patterns that looked uncannily like Egyptian hieroglyphics.
There were no signs of forced entry and no signs of a struggle. Madeline was murdered, before she was undressed. The clothes she was wearing, apparently in the order of their removal, had been neatly folded and placed on the coffee table. If anyone had bothered to measure they would have seen that the stack of apparel was exactly one foot from two edges of the table. The rest of the apartment was untouched. Some rather expensive jewelry lay unmolested on the dresser, in the bedroom. A dozen one dollar bills and five hundreds were found in Madeline's purse, on the bar. The killer had not had robbery as a motive.
It was quickly determined that Madeline must have opened the door to her killer, making it seem likely that it had been someone she knew. Although it was difficult to tell, because of the way her body had been mutilated, it did not seem that she had been raped. There were signs of sexual activity, but investigators thought it had taken place several hours before the murder.
When the police arrived, responding to Harvey's call, they immediately took him into custody, amid his protests that he was innocent of anything, more than being a good neighbor. They had been watching Harvey fo some time and they were so sure of his guilt that they charged him, with murder, the same night. The poor man sat in jail for nearly two weeks, before there was another murder.
 The second matched the circumstances of Madeline's to a tee. The similarities were astounding. There was a note found at the second crime scene, saying simply, "You've got the wrong man. This should prove it."
The rapist was turned back out into the street, with only a warning that he was being watched.
Present at the second crime scene were the same hieroglyphic-like, blood smears, a body chopped up into a dozen pieces, a plie of clothes, neatly folded and placed away from the edge of a table, near the dismembered body, but nothing else. There were no hairs, no epithelial residue, no finger prints, no sign of forced entry, no sexual assault and nothing stolen, just like Madeline's apartment. Both piles of body parts were arranged in exactly the same order as were both piles of clothing. Both women had their faces carved up beyond recognition. The second victim's purse contained $144.00. She lived alone, just as Madeline had and the door was left open a foot. It was as though the killer wanted the bodies to be found, quickly.
When the police released Madeline's rapist neighbor, they were no closer to solving the crime then they had been the night of the murder. It wasn't until twelve days later, when a third, dismembered body was found, that investigators realized they had a serial killer on the loose.
Madeline turned was startled to hear a knock on the door. She had only just walked in from work when she heard it. Knock, knock, knock, knock then a short pause, knock, knock, knock, another short pause, then a final set of four knocks. Madeline peered through the peep hole. As she did a smile spread across her face. "Come in," she beamed, " pulling the door open wide for her visitor.
They hugged and Madeline said, "I didn't expect to see you here tonight. Why are you wearing that ski jacket? It's positively balmy out. Sit, sit. Is everything alright?"
Her visitor nodded. Taking a seat on the sofa, then placed a black knapsack on the floor.
"Can I get you anything," offered Madeline, "a drink?" She walked over and stood by a small bar in the corner of the room.
"No thanks."
"Oh . . . well . . . OK. I think I'd like one, if you don't mind. I just got in from work. It was a hectic day and look, it's midnight already."
The visitor, didn't answer.
 A shrug of the shoulders was the only indication Madeline got, as to whether she should go ahead and get herself a drink. She decided it was meant to be an affirmative answer. As she turned to pour her beverage, a cold chill went down her spine. She felt that something was dreadfully wrong. Her friend was acting strangely. It was the last thing Madeline ever felt.
Moments later she lay crumpled on the floor, bleeding from a six inch gash in the back of her head. Her assailant stood over her with an emotionless smile, holding a hatchet that had, previously been concealed in the black ski jacket.
Another blow assured that Madeline was dead. The attacker then walked to the bar, poured a shot of scotch and downed it in on pull, before dropping the shot glass in the backpack. The task then began of removing Madeline's clothes. As the garments were removed they were arranged neatly on a nearby table, bra and panties on top, in exactly the same order they had come off. The Killer then withdrew twelve large knives, from the backpack and went to work. As emotionless as a surgeon performing a routine operation, the killer executed the task of dissecting Madeline's body, carefully placing each piece in a precise arrangement.
When the job was done, and the murderer was satisfied that everything was perfect, a shadowy figure, dressed in black and carrying a backpack, stole away into the night, stopping just long enough at the door to make sure it would not go closed, before the body was found.
When Dale and Stuart heard on the news the next morning that a woman had been murdered in Madeline's neighborhood, they feared the worst. The knew, of course, of Madeline's penchant for dirty nameless sex. They had enjoyed her endless talents themselves on several occasions.
"She was the one woman I could have turned straight for," said Dale, as he read the article in the daily news paper, confirming that it was indeed Madeline who had been murdered.
"You could never turn straight. You're a bigger queer than I am," said Stuart, "and that's saying something."
"Who do you think did this," asked Dale. "Who wold want to hurt Madeline?"
"Who knows? There's a lot of sick perverts out there."
"You don't think it had anything to do with sexline, do you?"
"No," declared Stuart. "Madeline was too careful about her meetings for that. You know she never took anybody home. Besides, this article says they figure it was somebody she knew."
"Do you think we should go to the police?" said Dale.
"Only if you want to shut this little money maker of our's down. If we go to the cops, G's gonna find out about Sexline and about us. Do you want that."
"No, but I want them to catch Madeline's killer."
Stuart thought for a moment. "So do I," he said finally. "Here's what we'll do. If the cops come to us, we'll tell them the truth, otherwise we keep quiet. That is, unless you know something I don't."

Read Chapter Eighteen: Vietnam


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