Our saga continues as the murder mystery begins to unfold like a three graders Oragami project. Hertz sees up close what a sicko this killer really is. Its enough to make you order out for pizza.
What might happen if Wallander met The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and they both lived in Minnesota.
Excerpts from the soon to be released fictional blockbuster:
The Girl who could just be a’Lyon
Published by Pass the Swede, Bro’ Ltd publishers
“….and now you’re North Central Lakes Region Vacation Gateway Forecast, for today remaining mostly cloudy with chance of flurries, highs today reaching 28 degrees and dropping down to a chilly 8 tonight. Chance of snow flurries 20% but no accumulation is expected. Wednesday look for partly cloudy skies and a warming trend with temperatures reaching into the mid to upper thirties, chance of precipitation only 10%. Wednesday night clear and letting that temperature drop back in the mid-teens for lows. For Thursday, more sun than clouds and highs will burst into the low forties so maybe time to get your shorts and summer gear out. But don’t rush to put your winter duds away, this weekend we are looking a possible major snow event so stay tuned to WLNY your Looney talk radio station for updates. Well that would at least brighte — click—-. Hertz switched the channel to a oldies rock and muttered out loud to himself, “Oh ja I’ll run out and make sure I got plenty of sunscreen on hand… yoddamn global warming it can start any time dare don’t ja know.”
He was driving to the morgue to meet with Oskar and Lieutenant Krumbkakken to review the two corpses found the day before. He took a circuitous route to the Milacky morgue to clear his head and work out all the information from yesterday. He also liked to see the open country with its sandy dunes and forests that dotted the area and maybe he get lucky and see a bald eagle in flight.
Hertz went first thing this morning to fitness club he was a member in but in had been months since he had been there. The winter inactivity had put some pounds on a middle age frame that was losing its war with gravity more each year. It felt good to have a workout Hertz admitted to himself, but he knew he would be paying for it with achy muscles and joints came tomorrow. He did some Stairmaster work and some muscle exercising machines; it seemed so dull and monotonous. The long winter was getting into his head and he craved for warm days to just hike or kayak or do anything but reps on some weight machine.
His mind quickly returned to the murders; Oskar had left a message earlier that the body found at Walleye Whacker was definitely a murder as well. Neither seemed like anything Hertz had come across in his eight years in homicide. There was no obvious evidence nor did either victim have any personal identification, seemingly not committed at the spur of the moment, left in basically plain sight or least not concealed for the long term and both left on golf courses with one “decorated” with Lyon Forrest golf paraphernalia.
Hertz really didn’t know what to think. He certainly had heard about Lyon Forrestts being in the area doing some different fundraisers. He thought one was a golf polo event using snowmobiles and shorten golf clubs and fluorescent colored golf balls; Another where teams competed on Lake Crappie golfing on the ice and then maybe some simulator golf challenge where Lyon gave lessons and tips to members of Pannenkokken Kountry Klub. But God knows he couldn’t imagine how these bizarre murders tied in to Mr. Forrestt.
He saw off in the distance the top of Suay Bui Bui and felt the immediate pain of yesterday, dropping off his dad with hardly a goodbye, but leaving the work of getting him checked in to his daughter Belinda. He hated that his job overwhelmed the other parts of his life, but he was thankful that he was so busy with this new case he didn’t have time to dwell on it further.
Well his trip was leading back into the Milacky city limits and shortly Hertz pulled up to the County Courthouse building that housed the morgue among the various county agencies. He went down the marble stairs inside the Courthouse to the basement level and the marble stairs ended and the antiseptic sterile white vinyl tiles began, demarking the public areas of the courthouse from the private employee’s only areas. The morgue and medical examiner office was down the long dimly lit corridor that only leant a more eerie feel to the grim storage area of the dead.
Hertz punched in the security code and opened the door in a room he never really enjoyed visiting. The smells and cool air hit Hertz immediately like the smell of Uncle Erik’s breathe at holidays when he come to family gatherings pickled and when he left was almost fully fermented. The grayness of the morgue and autopsy room was only broken by the warm yellowish light of the balanced armed lamp Oskar used to illuminate his “patients”. There were three people around the examination table and they turned their heads to see who had come in.
“Hey Hertz, glad you could join us. As they say misery likes company.” Oskar less than cheerful greeting echoed in the room sounding as dead as most of the inhabitants there within. Joining Oskar was Lieutenant Kristen Krumbkakken, and also there was Oskar’s autopsy technician, morgue janitor and county building mail clerk Gunner Carlson.
“Hey, guys. So I take it this is the victim taken from Walleye Wacker huh? How did you get her defrosted?” He approached the table to see the fully nude body of the formerly entombed body. She was pale to the point she almost self illuminated and her body showed signs of bruising and trauma.
“Well she sure wasn’t going to melt in here anytime soon, so last night we took her up to the cafeteria kitchen and left her next to the ovens with their doors open. Glad no one from the health department walked in during our defrost cycle.” Oskar replied.
I got some Headstone frozen pizzas to cook up so we didn’t let all the heat go to waste,” cracked Gunner.
There was some short laughs, half hearted giggles but the immediate scene didn’t afford much levity. “ Kinda ironic there, Gunner.”
“Don’t get ya dare Hertz, I just kinda like the Headstone brand, and I was starving having to miss dinner and …”
“Never mind Gunner, so what do you think guys, do we have a second victim and is it tied to the other?”
“That would be a double ja sure dare Ballbrakker.” Krumbkakken lifted the victims head and revealed a symmetrical pattern of golf tees and metal divot tools impaled in a shaved circular section of the victims head.
“Holy sand wedge …. I wasn’t ready for that”, winced Hertz.
“Weird, one could almost say wacky”, the lieutenant smiled slightly and held back a laugh knowing the time for humor was inappropriate and she gently lowered the victims head to the table.
Hertz felt a chill run through his body and goose bumps formed on his arms. This was a very sick prep they were dealing with. This was a killer who staged their victims with some sick purpose in mind.
“What was the actual cause of death?” Hertz asked Oskar, who had turned away when Kristen showed the victims head wounds.
It looks like strangulation, if you don’t mind Gunner, can you show Sergeant Hertz the marks on her neck. It appears to be manual choked and there are other signs of trauma on her face and body. But to answer your question, it was the strangulation that killed her.”
“Any idea how long she’s been dead?”
“Well being in frozen animation of sorts, its tough to tell but I think not more than a week or so. I think they buried her about the day or so before we got that blast of ten inches of snow. The city removes the snow off the golf cart path and she was well covered up until we had those couple day of forty degree weather. She is in pretty good shape all things being equal.”
“Oskar you said ‘they’ … you know, they buried her, why did you say they.”
“Hmmm, I didn’t realize I had said they, but probably I think all the work going into the staging the death, the remoteness of the death site, the lack of evidence, I have a hard time thinking this is an act of a single person. But that’s not my job to speculate.”
“No problem Oskar, we value you insights and help,” Krumbkakken enjoined.
“I think you might be on to something….” Hertz said and let the thought trail off as he visually scanned the body for the slightest clues that may reveal more of who she was. About five foot, five with pale skin, probably accentuated by her demise; fairly attractive probably about mid to late twenties, blond hair that was being bleached to its more pure blond appearance, probably a more “dirty” blond in a natural state. Her fingernails had fake nails applied, a couple now chipped off during her death struggle or during the removal from the golf course.
“Do you think you got any tissue or DNA from her fingernails?”
“We took samples but I don’t see many signs of struggle. It’s like she got hit hard enough to immobilize her, probably by surprise and got choked to death while unconscious.”
Hertz just took in the information and knew he didn’t have much to work with at this point. Being well past the first 48 hours of the crime being committed he knew he was facing an uphill battle finding the murderer. However, he was given a second opportunity to find clues with the victim from Viking Village Links. “What can you tell me about the woman found in Viking Village?”
“It feels like the same person or persons did that one. I mean no ID, killed elsewhere than where she is found, strangled by ligation and obviously staged with golf related materials, like Miss Walleye here. Miss Viking fairly new; though I say she was killed within 72 hours of us finding her.”
“ He or they is taunting us aren’t they?” Hertz muttered aloud.
“Or sending a message to someone, it just seems too weird to be murders in the same basic time frame, placed on golf courses and using not just golf products in the staging of their deaths but specifically Lyon Forrestts’ related merchandise and on top of that Lyon has been here at these golf courses during the same timeframe. How long before the press connects them dots I wonder dare?” Krumbkakken pondered.
Well we can be mum on the golf details but still it points to some connection to Mr. Forrestts doesn’t it? Oskar can you get Ms. Viking out so I can see her wounds as well.”
“Gunner could you help Hertz and the Lieutenant out here, I think that Headstone pizza isn’t sitting too well with me this morning. Urp. If you’ll excuse me Lieutenant and Sergeant…” Oskar said rapidly as he headed for the hallway and presumably the men’s room.
Hertz and Kristen made eye contact and both shook their heads knowing that Oskar weak constitution was being tested by the dual homicides and not the aftermath of a cheap frozen pizza. What made Hertz sick was how well executed the murders were and how little he had to go on at this time, and how good a Headstone pizza would taste just about now.