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Authors: RB Stutz

Masked

BOOK: Masked
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MASKED

By RB Stutz

 

 

Copyright © 2012
RB Stutz

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

This is a work of
fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, businesses, events,
or locales is purely coincidental. The author has taken great liberties with
locales including the creation of fictional businesses. Reproduction in whole
or part of this publication without express written consent is strictly
prohibited.

 

The author greatly
appreciates you taking the time to read his work. Please consider leaving a
review in Amazon, or telling your friends or blog readers about Masked, to help
spread the word.

 

Author email:
[email protected]

 

 

CHAPTER 1

 

Troy, Idaho is a forgotten blip
on the map logging town nestled in a beautiful valley of rolling hills and
fragrant pines.

In 1897, it was renamed Troy
after a twenty-nine to nine vote to change the name from Vollmer, named after an
affluent businessman in town. Vollmer owned 32,000 acres of land and had pissed
off the community by foreclosing on many of the local farmers.

A Greek railroad worker suggested
"Troy," the name of
the most illustrious city in the world,
and offered a drink of whiskey for everyone who would vote to change the name.
Raymond Samuels was one of the men who got a free start on his ride to
intoxication that day.

As I beat the living crap out of
his great great-grandson, the last of Raymond’s living heirs still in the dilapidated
town, I found myself wondering if Raymond would approve of the path his progeny
had taken. I know. It’s an odd thing to be thinking right then.

If Raymond knew even a small
portion of the perverse darkness I saw in Ted Samuels, he would have needed a
few more shots of whiskey before helping me kick his face in.

I wasn’t going to kill him,
although he deserved it. I did have some restraint; however, he was going to
hurt a lot before I finally rendered the poor excuse for a sociopathic predator
unconscious.

***

The small tight knit community
was in absolute anguish at the abduction of the fifteen year old girl who they
all knew. I’d been searching the town, looking for the girl’s abductor, for
just short of two weeks and it had taken its toll.

Every other person in town
carried some degree of concern for the missing girl.

Not Ted
.

Sure, he carried on with others,
fronting the horror of it all, but within his surface level thoughts I saw the
truth. There was no real concern or shock, just a man somehow happy with life.
Early on this stuck out as off, but I never saw anything particularly dark or
corrupt, only complete happiness and content.

I was on the verge of giving up
the search, but decided that night to look once more at the happy little man
who ran one of the downtown antique shops. Ted had never settled right with me
and I’d tried scanning his thoughts several times. Either he was a heartless jerk,
unconcerned for the young missing member of his community or he was a true
sociopath. I needed to try and force thoughts out to have something more to go
on.

I watched as he closed up his
store for the night. It was a cold blustery evening and Ted put on his jacket
as he crossed the street and walked to the small grocery store owned by the
Jaspers, an older couple in town. He was still working on the jacket buttons
when he entered the store.

I followed him in only a few
seconds behind.

The store was a small space built
for a different time with a limited selection of food, a rare survivor of the
larger chain supermarkets or even larger discount stores. Somehow, the Jaspers’
store did enough to still exist, probably strictly due to those loyal patrons
like Ted.

As I entered, a bell rang and Don
Jasper greeted me with his welcoming manner. I gave a polite wave and headed
back into the store while Ted stopped at the front to talk with Don.

“Good evening Teddy.”

Even though Ted was in his late
thirties, Don, who was much older, still called him Teddy. It didn’t seem to
bother Ted any.

“How are you Don?”

Don stretched his fingers in
front of him. “I’m doing okay. Arthritis is bothering me again and this damned
weather just makes it worse. It was a great day for sales though. There are still
a lot of people in town.”

Ted nodded. “Our little town has
been bursting at the seams. I wonder how much longer they’ll keep up the
search.”

There was a pause as Don looked
down and said in a more somber tone “I hope they find her. I hope she’s okay.”

Ted lowered his head. “It’s so
sad.”

He was lying through his teeth.
He wasn’t feeling any remorse. He only wanted Don to stop yammering on so he
could get home as soon as possible.

Ted threw out more false concern.
“I saw Tim Summers out this afternoon; he’s completely beside himself about
Hannah. I can’t imagine all that he and Jessica have been going through.”

Don shook his head. “It reminds
me too much of little Lindsey Parker two years ago. I just hope this time they
find Hannah. We’ve watched both of those girls grow up. I don’t understand how
this kind of thing can happen in a community like ours. How they could just
disappear. This is supposed to be a safe place to live.”

There was a pause.

“So how is Evelyn?” asked Ted in
a more upbeat tone, trying to lighten the conversation.

That’s when I walked back up
towards the front of the store, stopping just five feet from Ted and Jasper.
Blatant in my confrontation, I focused, trying to push my mind into his. I
hoped the shock tactic was going to force Ted to finally reveal what I
suspected of him.

His initial thoughts were what I
expected. He was taking note of the rude teenager just standing there staring
at him.

He took his inventory, an
unfamiliar kid, probably sixteen, maybe seventeen, wearing faded jeans, black
boots, a navy t-shirt and light grey canvas jacket. He assessed that my hair
was not long, but untidy, dark brown and my face showed a weak attempt at
growing a beard. Compared to Ted’s shorter stature I was tall and slender with
a pale face and strong jaw.

For some reason my smoky blue
eyes, as he put it, disturbed him but it probably wasn’t as much their color,
but the fact they were intently fixed on him.

When he met my eyes, that’s when
I had him. He finally let a sliver of doubt show in the plasticine world he’d
created in his mind. He let worry show for a second to allow doubt to dissolve
the barrier in his compartmentalized brain.

It was only a small peek, but
what I saw in that sliver was diseased and corrupt.

Don cleared his throat. “Is
everything okay son?”

I smiled and kept my eyes fixed
on Ted. “I’m doing great.” I broke off and headed towards the exit.

Ted made his way out of the store
ten minutes later carrying a small bag of groceries and a six-pack of Coors. 
At a brisk pace he walked back over to where his Cherokee was parked.

He looked around for several
seconds before unlocking the doors and climbing into the driver’s seat. He
didn’t give the vehicle time to warm after starting it, despite the weather,
putting it immediately into gear and taking off.

I wasn’t sure who it was he was
looking for; after all I was in the vehicle with him, lying down in back.

Once on the road, Ted seemed to
settle some and turned on the radio to an oldies station, catching the last
half of “Good Vibrations” and a few minutes of “My Girl” before pulling into
the long drive which cut through the forest of dense fir and pine that isolated
his property.

The house was a small one-story
ranch style home with well-kept white wood siding, a red door and matching
shutters. The front yard was much the same, immaculate, trimmed and manicured
with obsessive precision.

He walked up the short path to
the front door and pulled out his key ring. Once he found the right key, he
unlocked the deadbolt and walked inside. He was still humming as he turned on
the living room lights and closed the door.

I was glad I had put on my PTD or
personal teleportation device. I know, original name. I didn’t usually wear it
much anymore, and hadn’t in weeks, but something that night compelled me to put
it on. I slipped out the back of the Cherokee and teleported directly into the
front room without a sound.

Ted’s back was to me as he headed
towards the kitchen and I hid myself behind a wall before he noticed my
presence. I heard him putting the bag of groceries on the counter.

“What would you say, that could
make me feel this way,” he belted and continued humming.

The house was filled with a fresh
vanilla scent and immaculate. For several minutes I heard him fiddling around
in the kitchen. There was the crisp pop and hiss of a beer can opening and the
banging of pans.

“MM MMM, MMMM, MMM,” he continued
to hum.

I could imagine him dancing and
flitting about the kitchen.

“My girl, my girl, my girl,” he
sang with the last “my girl” in a higher octave.

A few more minutes passed before
I heard the handling of keys, followed by the creak of a door opening. I waited
a moment before moving towards the kitchen.

At the back of the small kitchen
I saw an open door to a stairway leading down. It was a standard white interior
door fitted with two latches and now hanging padlocks. Ted was still humming as
the wooden steps creaked beneath his feet and I waited another thirty seconds
before moving to the top of the stairs to look down.

From the stairs I could see the
basement was a laundry and storage area. Wafts of detergent and fabric softener
blew up the stairs, a soapy floral odor. Keeping my steps light I made my way
down the stairs.

The room was obsessively
organized with shelves above the washer and dryer holding detergents, bleach,
fabric softeners as well as other items, lined up in a neat row. The rest of
the walls were lined with shelving as well which held a variety of objects.
Everything appeared to be well organized and stacked. There were sections of
canned food, bottled beverages, dry goods, paint cans, tools and various other
items. The floor was covered in brilliant white linoleum.

I saw Ted walk to the end of the
room, stopping within a few inches of the back wall of shelves. The section
held an assortment of canned fruits and vegetables. He reached to the back of a
middle shelf and there was a “click” as he disengaged a lock. The section of
wall creaked as he pushed it inward. Ted disappeared into the dark room.

I crept to the bottom of the
steps without a sound. A light came on within the hidden room. I continued over
to the entrance and saw the Barbie dream house from hell.

The large room was a brilliant
white, trimmed with frosting pink. The floor was white and pink checkered
linoleum. Like the house upstairs, the hidden room also smelled like sweet
confection adding fragrant texture to the frosting colored space. There was a
small white plastic circular table with four matching chairs set in the center
of the space. On the table were pink plastic place settings for four, as well
as a silver tea set.

In the left-hand corner was a
little white bed with pink and yellow ornate accents on a backboard. In the
other corner was a large white crate, approximately five feet high, with the
words “baby doll” written in pink frilly letters. The crate had a latch and
large padlock.

Ted walked over to the table and
opened the sleeve of crackers. He put six crackers on one of the pink plates
and poured a glass of water into the tea pot.

“I’ve got so much honey, the bees
envy me. I’ve got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees,” he sang as he
walked towards the crate.

“Honey I’m home.”

He pulled out his set of keys and
unlocked the padlock. The door opened without a sound and he leaned over to
look inside.

I couldn’t see into the crate
from my position, but heard a whimper as he said “glad to see me? I missed you
today. It was a busy day at the store.”

That was it!

His back was to me and he never
heard me close within a few feet of him.

“Can I borrow a cup of sugar?” I
asked calmly.

Ted turned in surprise and my
fist met his face with a crack. I threw him across the room, into the table and
chairs. The chairs scattered and the table crashed to the ground with the
propelled weight of his body. I guess Ted hadn’t been ready for an intruder in
black ski mask to be standing right behind him, ready to kick his teeth in.

From his crumpled cowering
position on the floor, I lifted the pathetic creep and threw him across the
room. He hit the wall hard and dropped back to the ground. His blood smeared
face made scarlet streaks on the bright white walls.

“Play with me you sick freak!” It
was hard to hold back. I could have easily taken my aggression over that edge
of too far. I so wanted to.

The girl screamed from within the
white box.

With blood flowing from his nose,
Ted looked up, his bright red face twisted with rage. An insane high pitched shriek
came from him as he jumped up and ran towards me with his arms outstretched.

Before he could even get close, I
grabbed his left arm, twisted it behind his back and threw him against the side
wall. As he struggled to get back up, I pushed him back to the ground with my
boot. I continued on until Ted could no longer get up. He didn’t move except
for the rise and fall of his chest.

I went over to the white box and
crouched down to look in at a young girl cowered in the back right corner, whimpering.
The pink and white lacy dress and white lacy bonnet matched the décor of the
room. Strands of her light blonde hair had fallen out of the bonnet and rested
on the side of her pale face, bruised with some dried blood above her right eye
and below her nose.

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