Masson Murder Mystery
Book 2

Rose petals adorned their bodies, glued to their flesh from head to toe, seductively posed, coordinating makeup meticulously applied… postmortem.

Solicited by the FBI, Detective Masson has no idea as to the magnitude of the slayings. The lives of three young and single women, and one FBI agent have already been claimed by one fiendish killer. Before more precious lives are lost, Detective Masson finds himself in a race against time to take down the maniacal murderer, or is it murderers?

First Chapter Excerpt
May 30, Saturday, Memorial Day weekend; it was a long weekend. Off from work, and time for the rent to be paid. Diane, young, shy and very timid, always made sure that her rent was paid on the last day of the month. She was very mindful of her bills, and always tried to pay everything on time or early. Her parents were very proud of her. There was a company picnic which she was looking forward to and spending some time with her parents.

Diane Wellington worked for a management company of a big firm which did leases for several apartment buildings. These weren’t low income apartments either. The cheapest rent was one thousand dollars a month. This was for a one bedroom, one bath with a doorman. Her father had told her he would help her with the rent each month if she needed it. She was very self sufficient and wanted to make her way by herself.

He talked to the owner of the building, and the manager, making a deal to refurbish the apartment in very tasteful colors, and they would upgrade all of the appliances. They had agreed to drop her rent to eight hundred dollars a month. She had a modest apartment on the better side of town in the city of Santa Rosa, California. She had lived there for three years and wouldn’t think about moving anywhere else.

A week had gone by, and the manager, Tom Martin, really began to worry about her. It wasn’t like her not to leave him a note on his door. The door man had been out ill and they didn’t have a replacement for him. The main door always locked to the building. You had to have a key to enter. If she hadn’t had time to leave a note she always told the door man to be sure to tell him where she was going, and how long she would be out or away. He tried calling her apartment, but the phone just went to the answering machine every time he called. This wasn’t like her at all. He even tried knocking on her door several times. There was no answer whenever he tried. He knew that in the three years she had been there, she was always very observant of all the rules. They had a very good relationship as friends.

Diane Wellington had thought of him like part of her family. When she was going to be late from work, or going out of town, even if she was going out for the evening, she always left him a note or called him to let him know where she was going, and what time she’d be back. This was very unusual for a young woman to do, but that had been the way she was raised. Because she really liked the manager, she felt comfortable in sharing, and felt safer knowing someone knew where she was at all times.

Tom decided to call her parents to see if maybe she had gone home for the Memorial weekend. He told himself he was worrying for nothing; she just forgot, or the note blew away! But in order to ease his mind he decided to call her parents. He picked up the phone, but when he started to dial the number he stopped himself before dialing the last number. He quickly hung up the receiver, telling himself he was being foolish! He sat down in his easy chair to think things out.

Finally he decided he was right in calling them. He again picked up the phone and this time he dialed the complete number. There was a voice on the other end, and he almost froze.
“Hello, this is the Wellington residence, may I help you?”

“Hi, this is Tom Martin, at the Sea Gull Apartments; may I speak to Mr. Wellington or Mrs. Wellington?”

“One minute please.”

“Hi, this is Mr. Wellington, how can I help you?”

“Hello, this is Tom, the manager over at the apartments where your daughter lives. I’m sure you remember me, right?”

“Sure Tom, how are you?”

“I’m fine. I was wondering if your daughter came home for the holiday weekend. Don’t get me wrong, let me explain, she always leaves me a note when she’s going away, or calls me if she’s working late. Well I haven’t heard from her for over a week now. The last time we talked she mentioned something about a picnic she had to go. Also she said something about maybe going home for a couple of days. I didn’t know if something was wrong or not. I’m not trying to be nosey, but it’s just unusual on her part. I’ve tried to look out for her. She’s the nicest person I’ve ever met, and a joy to have as a tenant!”

“Yes sir, she has told us all about you. We really appreciate your concern. She was supposed to come home for the weekend after the company picnic. We haven’t heard from her either! We were just thinking about calling you!”

“Boy I’m really worried now!”

“Us too! Have you gone in her apartment to see if she’s all right? We’ve also tried calling her. We just get the answering machine! We know she’s a grown woman, very capable of taking care of herself, but you know as parents, she’s still our little girl!”

“I haven’t gone in her apartment; you know she’s a young woman, and even though we have a good relationship, I respect her privacy. I’ve gone up several times, and knocked on her door, but there hasn’t been any answer!”

“Have you called the police?”

“No sir, I wanted to call you first. I wanted to see if maybe she was there. I thought maybe the note had blown away, or something, understand?”

“Well, listen; we’re only an hour away, so we’re going to start now. Call the police, and tell them we’re on our way.”

Tom hung up the phone. With shaking hands he picked up the receiver to dial the police. He was mumbling to himself, ‘what if she’s found a boyfriend? Maybe she has gone off with him. No, she would have told me about a boyfriend! She always told me about her dates, even though she really didn’t date much! She would always stop the next day to tell me how it went! Where they ate, what show they saw, the general stuff!’ He was talking to himself while on hold waiting for the police to come on the line.

“Hello, police department, what is your emergency?”

“Oh, hello, this is Tom Martin at the Sea Gull apartments. I have a tenant who has been missing for about a week.”

“Sir, is this person related to you?”

“No, I just spoke to her parents; they asked me to call you. They’re on their way here. They’ll be here in about forty to forty five minutes.”

“Why do you think she’s missing?”

“She’s lived here for three years. She always tells me, or her parents, where she’s going, and when she’ll be back. This time she hasn’t told anyone, and she’s been gone for over a week!”

“Okay sir, we’ll send a car out. Please stay on the premises until they get there.”

“Okay, I’ll be right here. I’m the manager. They can find me in my apartment with the name manager on the door. I’m on the first floor. Okay, see ya!” Tom was so nervous he knew he sounded like a blithering idiot.

When the police arrived they knocked on Tom’s door. He went through the complete explanation, and described his concerns. He told them her parents were on the way, and they should be there within the hour.

“Do you have a master key to open her door?”

“Sure, sir.”

They walked up three flights to her apartment. The manager placed his key in the lock, and turned it slowly. You could hear the tumblers turning and soon the door was unlocked. There were three dead bolts on her door, but only one was locked. The two police officers told the manager to stand aside, and to stay in the hallway.

“Hello, Miss Wellington, this is the police, hello?” There was no answer. Tom had followed them into the apartment. One of the officers turned around and saw him.

“Sir, you have to stay outside please. Let us check it out. If we need you, we’ll come out and get you, understand?”

“Yes sir.” Tom turned and walked back out into the hallway.

The apartment had been nicely refurbished. It appeared to be extremely clean. There had definitely been some type of struggle for two of the lamps on the end tables had been broken, but glued back together. Whether they were broken some time ago or just in the recent past was another question. Both officers, now uneasy, drew their weapons and proceeded with caution.

Going through the kitchen and opening closet doors, they found more evidence that something wasn’t right. The next area was the bedroom. As they opened the bedroom door the smell that came out was almost unbearable. The bedroom had a window air conditioner which was on high. The temperature in the room had to be below fifty.

Looking inside, they saw her on the bed. She was completely nude. Her body was laid out in a natural pose, her long blonde hair combed back on the pillow and posed in a fan spread. They immediately called the police station to send the detectives and the coroner. It didn’t take them long to arrive at the scene.

“Hi Eddie, how have you been?” one of the homicide detectives said.

“Fine and you Detective Johnson?”

“Doing great, so tell me what do we have here?”

“Well sir, the manager said, she has been missing for about a week. We came in and saw there hadn’t been a disturbance, so we checked out the entire apartment. When we opened the bedroom door, well, this is what we found. Her parents were called by the manager, and should be here shortly.”

“Is that the manager in the hallway?”

“Yes, we told him to stay in the hallway.”

“Do her parents live here in the city?”

“No, they’re about an hour’s drive outside the city.”

“Did you guys touch anything?” Murry and Johnson were collecting all primary information from police officers in the living room before going into the bedroom.

“No sir, we know how funny you get when we do.” Eddie began to laugh.

Detective Johnson walked into the bedroom with Eddie. “What about this air conditioner, was it on? It must be fifty degrees in here.”

“Everything is the same; we didn’t touch anything, including the air conditioner. We left it on just for you.”

“Okay smart ass, go over and turn the damn thing off. Hey, put these gloves on first.”

Detective Johnson put on a pair of gloves and walked over to the bed. He wanted to get a better look at the body of the young girl. Her hair was perfectly laid out in a spread against her pillow. Her make-up had been applied perfectly. The strange part was her facial make up had been applied to her neck down to her shoulders. There was one arm extended down by her side while the other was placed upwards against the other pillow.

The strangest part of her position was that both of her breasts were covered with dark pink rose petals. Each petal was perfectly positioned, and glued in the actual shape of a rose bloom. Her pelvis area was also covered with the same kind of petals. The rose petals on the breast and on her navel were linked together by a single line of rose petals. Her legs were together, and the ankles were crossed. Her fingernails and toenails were painted with the same rose color as the rose petals. It didn’t stop there; another trail of petals led to the bathroom all of which had been glued into place just as on the body.

The bathroom was immaculate. There was nothing out of place, and everything was shining like it was just out of the showroom. Whoever cleaned up this place did one hell of a job. Johnson turned around to the sound of footsteps coming into the bedroom.

“Hello Johnson, how the hell are you? Haven’t seen you around for at least a couple of weeks, you been on vacation?”

“Ya just got back yesterday. Bob Murry here has been covering for me while I was away. He told me nothing happens around here, and now look.”

“Well, welcome back, looks like you’re off with a bang.”

They all turned when they heard the commotion in the hallway. Closing the bedroom door they walked out to the hallway to see what the fuss was all about. It was Diane’s parents; they were giving the officer a hard time, demanding to get into the apartment.

“Detective Murry, would you like to handle this?”

“Sure, I don’t mind.” He turned and walked to where the parents were standing. They were talking to the manager.

“Hello my name is Detective Murry. We really need you to calm down. Maybe the manager could take you to his apartment.” He turned to face the manager to see if he would follow up with what he just said.

“Sure, I shall take you down to my apartment, and I’ll fix some coffee. The police will come and get you when they are ready.”

“Detective Murry, we want to know what’s going on. Why won’t anyone talk to us?” Mrs. Wellington was speaking in broken English for she was still crying.

“Mrs. Wellington, you’re going to have to wait until we’re finished with the apartment. We’ll come down, and get you shortly. Now go with the manager, okay?”

“Is my daughter in there? Is she dead? Come on man, we have a right to know!” Mr. Wellington was becoming aggressive.

“We can’t be sure of anything at this point; we don’t know if this is your daughter or not! All I’m asking you is to go with the manager to his apartment, and be patient.”

“I’m not moving! I’m not going anywhere until you tell me if that’s my daughter!”

“Look Mr. Wellington, that’s up to you, but I strongly suggest you go with your wife to the manager’s apartment for a little while!” Bob was losing his patience with him, and it was beginning to show.

Detective Murry turned, walked back inside, and partially closed the front door as he stepped inside. Once inside he tapped the officers on the arm to follow him. Inside he told them not to let anyone in that door.

About an hour had passed when they brought the gurney in to pick up the body.

The Wellingtons went back down to the first floor to the manager’s apartment. It was in the front of the building, and the windows faced the street, so they could see the action outside on the street.

The Wellingtons were looking out the window when the coroner drove up and started to back up toward the front door. Mrs. Wellington had stopped crying but then she saw them bring out the stretcher and then the tears started to flow again. Mr. Wellington began cursing, and praying all at the same time. He jumped up and ran to the door. He stood firmly, waiting until the two men were inside the hallway.

Slowly the two men with the stretcher pushed past him, and started up the stairs. He knew they would be bringing down a body. His whole body was shaking with fear and anxiety. He didn’t have to wait long for the two men were soon headed down the stairs with the stretcher. It was covered with a white sheet covering a black body bag. He was unable to see who it was. Detective Johnson was following. When they arrived at the bottom of the stairs Mr. Wellington stopped them. Detective Johnson jumped out in front of everyone, and confronted Mr. Wellington.

“Look, I know you are anxious, but please let us do our jobs. Let these men go through. I’m going to have the officers drive you and your wife down to the station, okay?”

With tears running down his checks he nodded his head in agreement. He turned to go back inside to get his wife. He knew in his heart they were carrying out his daughter!

“Hey Officer, drive Mr. and Mrs. Wellington down to the station, okay?”

“Sure Detective Johnson, no problem. Mr. and Mrs. Wellington; please come with me; my car is just over there.”

They walked down the stairs, and followed Officer Phillips to his police car. Officer Phillips drove rather slowly to the station. He was hoping Mrs. Wellington would calm down before they arrived at the station. He knew it would take about an hour to prepare the body for the viewing by the family. It was never easy for the family. Believe it or not, it was also hard on the coroner’s people too!
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