A/N - Thanks to my SOSF buddies who greatly inspire. I do not own the characters. No profit is being made - just writing for fun and skill development.
April, 1951 - San Francisco
For a period of time, terror became commonplace in the exclusive neighborhood of Pacific Heights.
Evil took the form of one Bernard King IV, a thirty three-year-old trust fund baby who lived in the carriage house of his father's elegant mansion near Van Ness. Reclusive in nature, Bernie King was largely ignored since he chose not to be a part of the family's shipping business, King-Crest Shipping.
When not alone in the carriage house, King wondered the pathways of the nearby parks. Every so often, he would zero in on a woman alone or with a small child. Always a social outcast, at first, King simply followed the women at such a distance that they never knew he was behind them.
He then became intrigued by the idea that he could learn so much about these women by watching their habits. Soon he was confident enough to track their habits by observing their every move from a hidden spot near their home. He began to fantasize what it would be like to break into one of these women's home and overpower her. That thought soon became his obsession.
On rare occasion he would indulge himself on the north side of the Mission District finding a call girl that fit the general description of his fantasy. At first the fantasy was only about the type of woman - young, blonde and petite. Then he began acting out his aggression with the call girl. He became forceful and rough. One more than one occasion, the call girl fled King.
This downward spiral continued for months until he finally crossed the line. His first victim was a 22 year old prostitute. He took her to a hotel room, where she eagerly gave more than his money's worth. He paid her with a quick slash across the throat. Her name was Susan Sheldon. Miss Sheldon's body was found stuffed in a large trash liner in the room's closet. Curiously, there was no blood outside of the bag and the body was not discovered for several days.
The second victim was of the Pacific Heights neighborhood, a 27 year old new mother by the name of Patrice Wilkins. King had followed Wilkins home and observed the family's habits. Her husband worked and didn't come home until 7pm each evening. One afternoon, King broke into the home, raped Mrs. Wilkins and sliced her throat. Again, the body was found in a large trash liner in the corner of the room. King could hear the 2 year old child crying in a nearby bedroom as he was leaving.
Two of the three remaining victims met similar fates in Pacific Heights; the third in the Mission District. Jolynn Thompson, age 24 and Marcia Hartman, age 28 were killed in their homes. Jenni Van Horn, age 25, was killed at the same seedy hotel as Susan Sheldon. All young, petite blonde women raped and slaughtered. All found in large trash liners.
After nearly eighteen months of torment, the case was solved. A young Mike Stone was one of the police officers who cracked the murder case after linking the large trash liners to King-Crest Shipping. It was indeed this case which gave Mike a foot into the Homicide division, where he would eventually become the lead detective. The liners, which were only recently invented and commercialized, had limited industrial usage. It was solid detective work that lead to the arrest and conviction of one Bernard King IV.
Pacific Heights could sleep peacefully for many years to come, but it all came to an end in 1973.
April 1973, San Francisco
Lieutenant Mike Stone and his young partner, Inspector Steven Keller left the courthouse after the verdict was read in a domestic murder case. They had made the arrest months before - a jealous husband killed his wife after she had been seen talking to a man at a nearby bar. The homicide and resulting conviction left two young children without parental care. The children were sent to live with relatives back east.
Steve sighed as they walked down the steps of the courthouse.
"What's the matter, Buddy boy?" the older partner inquired.
"Oh, I dunno. That was a tough case - a woman killed for no other apparent reason than talking to a man. Two children are left orphaned and a jealous man will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. Nothing good came out of that. Not that it ever does, but when kids are involved, it just seems so much harder."
"Pride comes before the fall."
"Huh? What do you mean?" the young man asked.
"Pride is one of the seven deadly sins. A woman becomes a possession of a man like that. After awhile he views her only as an object. I believe you call it 'arm candy'. He's proud of her, but not in a good way. Every move she makes he starts to scrutinize. He tries to control her and then the violence begins."
"Why couldn't he have thought of his kids, though? I mean…," Steve began and then he stopped.
Mike didn't realize what caught Steve off guard. "What's the matter?"
Coming down the sidewalk was an old girlfriend, Connie Mathers. Steve shook himself back to reality. "Oh, nothing. I just didn't expect to see Connie here, that's all."
Connie smiled and waved at Steve. "Hi, Steve. Just leaving the courthouse? I heard about the trial," she mentioned. Noticing Mike, she acknowledged, "Oh, Mike, hello!"
Mike nodded and smiled.
"Yes - we heard the verdict. What brings you down to this area?" Steve asked as he twitched his head slightly. Mike learned long ago that particular body language meant that his young friend was not comfortable.
"I'm interviewing Judge Smithson. She's been voted one of the Top Ten Influential Women in the Bay Area this year."
"Oh, how nice for her." After a moment, Steve awkwardly asked, "It's been a while, everything going okay at the paper?"
"Yes, I'm doing well." Connie looked down at her watch. "I need to run, but let's catch up some time." She impulsively kissed the detective on the cheek and walked on.
"Sure," the detective replied.
Mike smirked. "I have never seen you so nervous before. I thought you broke up with her."
"I did," he replied as he looked down.
"Looks to me that you might be having second thoughts, Buddy boy." Mike continued his grin.
"Don't we have reports to write or something?" the annoyed junior detective asked as he tossed Mike the keys. "Here, you drive."
That same day…in Pacific Heights
Bobby Nelson was playing in his backyard in his home near Van Ness. The five year old was busy making mudpies using his mother's hat box. He worked hard layering the mud, grass, leaves and sticks. Used small pebbles as the nut topping.
Over the fence, a haggard middle aged man looked at the small boy. The boy caught his glance and was afraid. He got up and ran into the house, "Mommy!"
Bobby's mom walked out into the backyard and saw that no one was there. Still, she told Bobby to stay inside for the afternoon just to be safe.
Bernie hid on the other side of the fence and slowly made his way down the alley which led him to the carriage house he inhabited all those years ago.