The Skyscraper Strangler

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Mina Washington's ex-boyfriend comes back in the picture when he tells her that the girl he cheated on her with, was now dead, and was in fact murdered. He begs her to help him figure out who killed her, and reluctantly, she says yes, but on one condition: Detective Mason Stewart is allowed to help. Mason and Mia have a history - not romantically, no matter how much Mina wished it could have been - but a friendship no less. So when the murderer starts killing again, it's all hands on deck to catch the killer before they strike again.

Mystery / Romance
Laney Noska
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

I stood up and walked around the room, trying to comprehend everything. How could Sara be dead? I mean I didn’t really like her to begin with, and the whole cheating fiasco didn’t help anything, but I never thought she would be killed!

“Did you tell the police?” I asked Bradley. He had taken a seat at the kitchen table and I started to put some water on to boil for tea.

“Yeah, but they said there was nothing I could do. The murderer didn’t leave anything behind that was unusual. I just found her sprawled out on her couch in her apartment. I walked over to her, because I thought he was just sleeping, but when I got closer I noticed that there were bruises on her neck. I tried to wake her up-” he paused, and took a deep breath, “-but she wasn’t getting up.” There were tears in his eyes now. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him, he just lost someone who he loved enough to cheat on me with. “I called 9-1-1, and when they arrived, they said that she was gone.” He was crying now. I didn’t know what to do. On the one hand I could go comfort him. On the other hand he was my ex-boyfriend. I was really torn between these two options.

“I still don’t understand why you’re here.” I grabbed two mugs from the cabinet, and started to pour the water in.

“I was hoping I could talk to your dad about all of these, but since he’s not here…” He trailed off, and I took that harder than I expected too. It had been a week since he died, but I still felt like he was going to walk into the room any minute, and give me a hug, and celebrate me moving back to New York, but that would never happen. It was because of his death that Nathan, Pia, and I were actually able to find out what actually happened to my mother, so I guess that there was a bright side, in some twisted way.

“Yeah,” I said as I looked down at my feet. “But since he’s not here, why are you still here?” I had a tone in my voice now. All I wanted to do was pack up some stuff and then leave for New York. Bradley was making this a lot harder than I wanted it to be.

“Well, when you said that you had found your mother’s killer, I was hoping…” He was cut up by me standing up, and yelling;

“Oh, no! I am not helping you find Sara’s killer!” I threw my hands up over my head. “I’m not a detective! I was only able to find Beatrice because Nathan got kidnapped, and then we got a call from Karp, saying that he was being held hostage! It was all just purely luck!”

“Come on, Mi!” Bradley stood up as well. “You have to help me! The police won’t, and now the killer is still on the loose, and who knows how many people are dead because of them!”

“I don’t work for the NYPD, and I’m not going to help you!” I yelled as I walked to the door, too hint to him that he should leave.

“Mina, please! I know how hard it was for you not to know what actually happened to your mother. Imagine how hard this is for me!” Bradley knew where to hit me, when he wanted something. My mother was at the top of the list.

I paused, and rolled my eyes, thinking about what I should do. “I’ll let you know tomorrow.” I said, and motioned for him to leave.

A huge smile spread across his face, and ran over to hug me. “Oh, thank you so much, Mina!” He said as he hugged. I just patted his back awkwardly, not wanting to hug him back.

“Yep. Not a problem,” I said, my face expressionless. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” And with that he was gone.

When I knew he was a safe distance away from my house, I walked out to my car, and drove over to Pia’s house, to get their opinion on my Bradley situation.

My dad only lived a couple of minutes away from Pia and her daycare, so when he had a day off from the library, he would go and help Pia out. He always loved children, and when he was still at the NYPD, he set up after school programs for them at the New York Public Library, so that kids had a chance to get away from everything that was going on at home or at school. It was a place to escape for them, and that was why he had a gala thrown for him. In honor of the work he did with underprivileged kids. Too bad in turned into a murder investigation before he could actually receive an award.

When I got to Pia’s house, I saw that Nathan’s car was still in the driveway, so at least I wouldn’t be facing this problem with just Pia.

“Hello?” I asked as I walked in the front door. “Pia? Nathan?”

“Mina?” Pia asked as she walked over to greet me. “What are you doing here? I thought you were leaving for New York?”

“Change of plans.” I took off my coat and hung it up. “Bradley showed up at my house.”

“What?!” Pia asked as I followed her into the kitchen. “Why was he here?”

“Sara was murdered.”

Nathan appeared in the doorway, grabbed Pia’s waist and spurred her around and kissed her, clearly not seeing me. “Mina!” Nathan said surprised, once they had finished kissing. “Did you forget something?” I could tell he was simi-annoyed that I was here interrupting his alone time with his girlfriend, but I could have cared less.

“No. She’s here because Bradley showed up at her house!” Pia said as she elbowed him in his stomach

“Ouff,” Nathan said, as he grabbed his stomach, “What did he want?”

“Sara was murdered,” I said again when I sat down. “And he wants me to help him find the killer.”

“You’re not going to go after another killer are you?” Pia had the same look on her face as she did a week ago. “We almost got killed going after Beatrice. And who knows what could happen this time.” I nodded my head. She was right, before I had a reason and a passion to go after her. I needed to do it for my father, to put my parents’ souls to rest. Going after this killer would mean helping the guy who broke my heart, and made me leave the life I loved. I was just now getting that life back, and I didn’t want to risk losing it again.

“And, besides, you don’t even know who you are going after. There isn’t going to be a gala to help out with catching this killer,” Nathan said, sitting down next to me.

“And you would be helping out Bradley, of all people. It’s not like you would be helping someone who you actually liked,” Pia said, join us with cups of coffee, at the table.

“But I don’t want anyone to feel how my father and I felt when the police said that there was nothing more we could do, and that it was just what we had to live with, even though it wasn’t right,” I said, sighing.

There was silence in the room for a minute, before Nathan spoke up.

“You have to help him.” Pia looked at him like he was crazy. “Bradley wouldn’t have come to you if he really didn’t need your help.” Nathan and Bradley were friends before Nathan and I met. He was the reason why I met Bradley. Nathan was in an art class I was taking in college, before I had to drop out, and we just kept hanging out more and more, until we decided to have our friends, from back home, meet up. I introduced him to Pia, and he introduced me to Bradley and another friend, Mason Stewart, and Bradley and I really hit it off at the time. But when I caught him cheating, Nathan stopped talking to him, and I haven’t seen Mason since last April.

“I think you’re right.” I nodded my head, as I thought about this. No one should not have an answer about something that hurts them.

“Are you two insane?!” Pia yelled and stood up. “Mina you can’t go after a murderer! Again!”

“Pia, no one should have to go through that pain. Not even Bradley.”

“You can get killed!” Pia yelled again.

“I have a friend who might actually be able to help with this problem,” Nathan said as he pulled out his phone.

“What are you talking about?” I asked, and took a sip of the coffee.

“Remember Mason Stewart?” I nodded. “Well do you remember that he is an NYPD detective?”

“Yes!” I jumped up and smiled. “Do you think he will be able to help?” I knew that the answer to this was probably a yes, but I couldn’t help but ask.

“Pretty sure. I’ll call him and ask, and let you know.”

“Oh, thank you so much, Nathan!” I ran over to him and gave him a hug, and he stepped out of the room to call Mason.

“Are you sure about this?” Pia asked again. Her face still hadn’t changed.

“Yeah,” I said as I gave her a hug. “I have to help.”

“But you would be helping Bradley. And shall I remind you that this last time you were with him, he broke your heart, and you didn’t return to New York for three months?”

“I know, but that was then. This is now. Besides, I won’t be alone with him. Mason will be there.”

“Yeah. I guess you’re right. I just don’t want you to get hurt this time.”

“Don’t worry about me.” I started to laugh, and then continued on saying, “But if someone does try to kill me, I will just play matchmaker again, to buy some time!”

This got Pia to laugh as she gave me another hug, and Nathan walked into the room.

“You’re all set. Mason can meet with you tomorrow if you want.”

“That sounds great,” I said as I went to go get my coat. “I will text you guys when I get there.”

“Bye!” Pia said to me as I walked out, but before I fully closed the door I heard her ask Nathan, “Do you think she will be okay?”

“Yeah. She’s Mina Washington. She’s got this.” I walked out to my car smiling, because I do have this! I found my mother’s killer, and I think I can handle finding Sara’s just fine.

I drove back to my house to get the rest of my stuff, and then I was off to New York. I called Bradley to tell him my decision.

“Hello,” He said once he finally picked up.

“Hey, I will help you, but…” He cut me off before I could finish talking. “That’s great! When do you want to start? I was thinking that we could…”

“You didn’t let me finish. I will help you, but you have to listen to me, and not go off on some crazy lead that doesn’t even make sense. And you have to listen to Mason and I when we tell you something.”

“Mason? Mason who? Mason Stewart?” Bradley was not pleased to hear me talk about Mason. He always thought that Mason had some sort of “crush” on me while we were dating. But that wasn’t true, I don’t think. Mason was just a nice guy, who I happened to get along with really well. And we had bonded over our love of cheese-y cop movies and our hope to one day find the world’s best hot chocolate! But he got transferred too Staten Island in April, so I haven’t seen him in a while. And then everything happened with Bradley, and then my dad got sick. I never had the chance to talk to him and see how he was doing.

“Yes. He is going to be helping out. I will see you at my place tomorrow at ten-o’clock.” And with that I hung up, not letting him get another word in.

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Sue Alba: Your writing style is the best. This story is unique and I am so hooked on the characters. It is amazing if you will continue to write because you are so talented. I would like to Inform you that NoveIStar is having a competition, you might want to join.

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