What causes a beloved son to go wrong?
The product of demanding parents who greatly mistreated him, he thinks they must have loved him at one point. But as the child of a rural community without mental health care, his young soul was on its own as their behavior twisted and shaped his irrevocably.
Without guidance or guidelines, he develops a predatory view of other humans and begins to make terrible, deadly decisions in his quest for some sense of dark justice and fairness. On his first excursion from his home community, he makes the first of many extreme remedial actions against humanity.
As the Farmer Boy Murders, as they come to be known, continue, one law-enforcement official's obsession swells to match that of his quarry. As the body count begins to grow, Special Agent Lars Peters grows more and more confounded. A creature of methodical logic, the bungling of the investigation by the local authorities does nothing to calm him. No matter what he does, the Farmer Boy always remains one step-and one brutal murder-ahead of him.
Encouraged by a big break, Peters races to the scene of the latest murder. Yet again, the Farmer Boy is gone. The only witnesses prove to be as infuriatingly inscrutable as the murderer. Once the killer realizes that he has engaged the attention of the special agent, he ramps up his game even more.
Can Peters outwit the Farmer Boy before he kills again?
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.69(d)|
Read an Excerpt
The Farmer Boy Murders
A SPECIAL AGENT LARS PETERS MYSTERY
By Maurice L. Brandon Sr.
iUniverseCopyright © 2014 Maurice L. Brandon Sr.
All rights reserved.
The Tragic Beginning
He traveled by the thumb a good portion of the way to the city. Having tired of thumbing a ride, he observed a freight train idling on a siding near the highway he had been traveling. Recalling stories of how hobos traveled, he decided that the train might be a source of getting somewhere easier. Therefore, he found an empty space in an open boxcar and snuggled down to await its leaving the area. This was how he entered the outskirts of the city, which he did not know anything about. It was just a place to allow him to escape from his previous location. It might be important to look into that situation, to better understand future activities of his.
Some months prior to hitting the highway, he was involved in a situation that caused him to want to escape, to take a road wherever it might lead him—he didn't care where. He was an only child of an elderly couple who lived on a farm far up a valley, in some mountains west of a small town named Friendly. The town claimed only a general store and two or three other buildings inhabited by elderly citizens who had been, as his parents had, trapped in the area for close to a century. Whether or not they'd ever wanted to live somewhere else was not known. They had perished in a curious manner that no one would ever question. Who cared about what happened to those two old-timers anyway? They had never ventured out enough or long enough to be recognized in the mountains anyway. Actually, that was not exactly true.
There was a man who had traded a fourteen-year-old donkey to the old man for a milk cow. The cow had died giving birth, and the man had felt cheated. Three weeks ago, the man had ventured up to the elderly couple's cabin to face the old man and get satisfaction from him about the early demise of the cow. He had arrived at the cabin and had discovered that no one was home.
Scouring the area around the buildings, he discovered a curious site. There were three places that resembled graves. Why only three? he wondered. Thinking that was strange, he first considered the situation a normal occurrence. There were two for the elderly couple, and then he remembered that a third person lived with them—he was missing. The third person was the elderly couple's son. He began a search for the young man. The youngster was missing, nowhere to be found. Could the third grave have been his? Carefully, he scanned the outside for any signs of who might have performed the burial. There were no footprints in the dirt around the graves. So ending his search, he entered the home and began a study of the interior.
In a back bedroom, one of two such rooms, he found the bed where the two elderly ones had evidently slept; it was in perfect order. The second one, likely where the young man had slept, was likewise in good order. The kitchen was clean and orderly, just as a fastidious woman would keep it. So nothing inside was out of order. In fact, it was exactly the opposite—everything was orderly. To the man, that was not normal. In the mountains where they lived and where he lived, it was uncommon to find everything in a home in such perfect order. Leaving the house, he surveyed the outbuildings without finding any inappropriate details. Then he left those buildings for a visit to the barnyard. After all, it had been his original intention to face the old man of the farm about the trade they had done. In the barn proper, he found no animals around, which was a surprise. The old farmer had often displayed pride in the way his animals were cared for. There had been another cow and a couple of horses, and he knew that the old donkey should have been around. Even the fowl were running free. The mystery deepened considerably. If those three graves were of the family members who lived there, what had happened to their animals? His search continued.
Taking a walk in the pasture just past the barn disclosed a path leading toward the far valley. The path had been recently used by the animals. There were distinct prints of someone's shoes interspersed among the animals' prints on occasion. It appeared the animals had been led or driven down the path. The neighbor man continued along the path. The valley was not wide and had a ditch where a small stream of water ran during the rainy times. The ditch had been completely dry at the time the animals descended into the ditch, following the worn path to the bottom. The visitor following their trail soon discovered a section where the water had at some time undercut the bank for some distance. That section was now lying strewn along the ditch bottom, and the animals' tracks ended at the edge of the fallen earth. The visitor examining the area discovered that the place was the burial place for the animals.
A cleverly designed grave had been the fallen bank of the ditch. Further examination of the area showed that the bank had been encouraged to cave in precisely where it did by three well-placed charges of explosives. This discovery was the shock of the visitor's life. Someone had, with determined deliberation, performed the burial. With nothing left that he could do, he left the area. With a feeling that something was terribly wrong and no idea what it was, he returned to his home.
Time marched on, and the visiting farmer mentioned the episode to a friend one day at the general store. No one had come looking for the elderly couple, which, in itself, was not strange. No one in the area had ever known them to mention having relatives. The strangest thing of all was the mystery of who had buried the three and who had used dynamite on the ditch bank to bury their animals. Another strange thing was that the chickens were alone, running free, left to fend for themselves. Later the visiting farmer and another neighbor paid a visit to the homestead to satisfy some curiosity that had developed between them. Seeing the fowl running free and alone, they decided to catch them. They proceeded to catch them and would remove them to their own farms. The two men remained at the farm for some time, speculating on what had happened. They decided to visit with the local sheriff when they had the chance. Perhaps the situation needed professional attention. They left the area with that goal.CHAPTER 2
A Rebel Is Born
After being ejected from the hotel, the young man took extreme objection to what the door attendant had done. Posh establishment or not, the city's best hotel or not, they had no idea who he was, and he became obsessed with the idea that they would someday welcome him warmly, asking him to please stay in their hotel. That would be the best day of his life, but today that door attendant was destined to pay for his rude treatment. The young man began seeking a place to operate from, a place where he could be inconspicuous and fit in without any noticeable attributes. He walked the streets and noticed persons who sat in doorways with signs that announced they would work for food. They were attired much as he was. In addition, they were unshaven, they had longer hair than his, and it was plain that these were persons not likely remembered by anyone. Sure, they might have been removed from their doorways and sent somewhere else, and that was what he wanted—that other place where they resided when not plying their begging trade. So he began to observe where they went as the day was ending.
Outside of the city, in a grove of trees that sat near a dirt road, those people lived. Some had paper buildings made of several large boxes covered with some sort of plastic wrapping, evidently to make them somewhat waterproof. Others had wooden crates; some even had the old rusted body of a vehicle that they called home. Into this community the young man came with his small backpack and the clothes on his back. His mind carried a fierce hunger for revenge against one hotel door attendant that was sufficient to mask the physical hunger pains in his body.
He walked into the community of misfits looking so pathetically lost and alone that no one paid him any attention. It was not their intent to meddle in the affairs of any person who fit into their world. He began looking for a place to call his. Past the residences of most of the members of the community, he found a small, open area under a large cedar tree. He knew the tree would afford some benefits to whomever might sit under it. In rain, it was a close second to a tent, shedding the water well unless it was a prolonged storm. Also, the needles and small limb pieces on the ground were plentiful and made great fire-starting material. Being from a farming land, it was his heritage to know how to make do with what nature provided. Soon he had a small collection of large dead branches and some sizable dead tree bodies pulled up under the tree. Proceeding to carefully arrange them, he soon had a small room constructed, where he could lie down or sit and just watch the world go by. He dug a fire pit in front and had it ready for heating or cooking as needed.
When he had completed his living quarters to his satisfaction, he began to consider food needs. His farming instincts and training now entered into that effort. He had chosen a well-wooded area near open fields like the ones he was acquainted with. In no time, he had discovered some food sources from several plants and had even discovered the presence of small animals that he could trap. He proceeded to prepare several small animal traps, set them in appropriate locations, and, following his farming habit, went to bed as the sun went down.
With his living quarters and the animal traps supplying the food, he considered the situation to be under control. He then turned his attention to planning revenge against the door attendant. What he contemplated doing was going to go against all the conventional customs of someone seeking revenge. His method was different, so using noncustomary methods did not bother him. He was going to execute the man, and no one would connect him to the act.CHAPTER 3
An Execution Is Planned
The following day, after settling down in the misfit community, he began to develop every detail of how he would execute the door attendant. There were some safety concerns that he wanted to solve prior to taking any action. Above all, he had to accomplish this deed without any chance that he would be linked to the act. To accomplish that, he would create a separate identity and disguise himself completely.
The method of assuring the completion of the execution would be the visible reaction of persons nearby, and he would secure a local newspaper to read about the demise of the man. The means of accomplishing the execution were rather simple. He was experienced in dealing death to animals on his parents' farm. His choice was a prepared solution he had read about in a magazine article. It seemed inhabitants of a far-off continent had used the solution to defend themselves for centuries, as well as using it to obtain an easy demise of animals in their jungle for food.
Being adept in obtaining materials and using his mother's kitchen equipment, it was not hard to manufacture a supply of the substance in her kitchen. He put the substance in his backpack. The method of delivery was likewise easy. He would use the same methods he had read about. A few drops of the substance administered in any solution or injected some way would suffice.
A short time later, the young man donned his disguise and took his leave of the area, using a different route than the one he had used coming. With his execution equipment secured in a safe manner in his coat sleeve, he set out for the hotel where he had suffered his embarrassment. When he arrived at the place, he approached the same door he had before, opened it, and entered the foyer of the building. The same door attendant immediately accosted him in a tone of voice that set him on edge. This time, the door attendant approached him in the same manner, as if preparing to grasp his coat to escort him from the building. The hand in the coat where death waited came out holding a common syringe like the one the farmer had used. It was easy to inject the solution. The needle pricked the arm of the door attendant as he reached to grasp the man's shoulder. The needle was quickly withdrawn and secured in the coat, and the young man held up his hand, turned, and walked out of the building, never looking back. The door attendant stood with a smile on his face—he had accomplished the eviction without exerting any effort. He turned, walked to his station, and sat down as if to read his paper, but he never saw the print.
The newspaper article came out the next day. The article was simple.
Local Hotel Doorman Dies
The sudden death of the famous door attendant of our prestigious hotel was found dead in his chair this morning. It is thought that he died of a heart attack. He was well known by many of our citizens for his unorthodox handling of persons who were not registered as guests of the hotel.
The article continued in more detail and concluded with information about his memorial and interment proceedings. The young man folded the newspaper he had just purchased at a stand and walked away.CHAPTER 4
A Change of Venue
Immediately upon arrival at his campsite, he began clearing all vestiges of his ever being there. He had accomplished his goal and had predetermined that he would leave the area for other places. So once again, he packed his few belongings into the small backpack and was on his way. His destination was not planned or even considered. However, his method of travel was. He walked to the same railroad tracks he had arrived by and sought out a place to settle down for a trip via the railroad. His choice was a slotted boxcar that reeked of animal waste. The cattle that had previously inhabited the place had left evidence all over the floor. That was no problem to the young man. He had come from a farm, so cattle dung was a normal waste and, as such, was taken care of as required. Since the cattle were long gone, he thought the train would likely be en route to some cattle-processing or -loading location for a new load. That was fine with him, so after choosing a corner, he began clearing a small area of the straw- and dung-littered floor to use. He arranged himself in that corner and fell asleep. He was confident the motion of the train's boxcar change would alert him when it had arrived at its location.
He had started on this journey before noon. The journey was now ending, and it was getting dark. The rails had stopped their click-clacking a short time ago, and he had awakened as he had thought he would. Peering through the boxcar's slatted side, he observed what he thought might be the railroad yard where trains were parked until their next destination was given to the people who ran the engines. He was not familiar with their titles or how the decisions were made and given to them when it was time to move a train. It was just logic that the train he was on would have to go somewhere else, so he decided to wait it out. The boxcar corner was sort of cozy, and he was still sleepy, so he returned to his makeshift bed. It must have been hours later when movement of the boxcar caused him to awaken. The boxcar was indeed underway again; it picked up speed until he noticed that the lights of the homes flashing by were visible only a short time. So he went back to sleep, waiting for the next time the train stopped.
It was nearly dawn when the train began to slow down, crawling along at a low speed until he saw through the slats what appeared to be a huge area of wooden fencing that held hundreds of cattle. The train let out a shrill whistle blast, likely as a signal to someone that it had arrived, as if it were not plain to anyone that a train had arrived. The young man decided that it might be prudent to exit his boxcar sleeping quarters before the train completely stopped and someone began loading cattle into the car. The train was still in motion when he exited the boxcar, dropping to the road ballast of loose stone. In his doing so, the stones were disturbed by his shoes hitting them at an angle, and they skipped or slid out from under his feet. He suddenly found himself facedown in a grove of saplings that had an infusion of briars among them. Entangled in them, he suffered scratched arms and face, and his legs took the brunt of many thorns. Finally free of the briars, he surveyed his surroundings before deciding his next move.
Excerpted from The Farmer Boy Murders by Maurice L. Brandon Sr.. Copyright © 2014 Maurice L. Brandon Sr.. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse.
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