On Tuesday, January 15 the Amsterdam Stalker is published to conclude the trilogy of the Rinus Rompa book series. Chapter one below introduces the inspector’s main antagonist.
It was a sweltering Amsterdam summer night in late July. A heat wave had held the capital in its grip for almost two weeks and had no intention of letting go. The man, with his small and agile body, moved nimbly and hurriedly along the dark and deserted street. His white running shoes barely made a sound on the path of grass in the middle of Minervalaan. The rows of Caucasian walnut trees — with their low branches and thick foliage on each side of the trail — gave him a sense of obscurity. In the heat, his black t-shirt with the image of the Scream clung to his thin but muscular body. His leather shoulder belt — to which was attached a 15-inch hunting knife, a flashlight, and four plastic nylon tie-wraps — made his skin itch. The Jason hockey mask covering his face and part of his buzz cut made it impossible for him to wipe the sweat from his forehead before it reached his eyes. He stopped to poke his index finger through the right eyehole of the mask and dried the area around the socket. Before moving on, he repeated the procedure on the left side.
He approached the two-story, flat-roofed house. With its white stucco façade, big panorama windows, and natural wood paneling, it looked uncompromisingly contemporary — a typical home for the nouveau riche. By now, he knew the interior of the house and also felt an acquaintance with the couple that lived in it. The woman was small — not much taller than himself — with long dark hair, firm breasts, and an attractive body. The man was visibly older than her, had a beer-belly, and looked as though he wore a hairpiece. He wondered what attracted a beautiful woman to a man like that. Must be the money, he thought.
He heard the sound of the electric motor of one of the last trains arriving that night in the nearby Amsterdam Zuid station. He waited a minute until he heard the train depart, then crossed the street toward the house. It lay in total darkness. He expected the man and woman to be asleep upstairs, as they’d been the other night when he watched them through the slightly open balcony door to their bedroom on the second floor. On that occasion, he’d stayed strong and suppressed the impulse to enter, dominate, tyrannize, humiliate, and kill. But tonight, he would go all out. The mere thought of what awaited aroused him, and it made his thin lips form into a demonic smirk.
He entered the property and passed the black Audi A8 parked in the driveway in front of the garage. He’d seen them arrive in the car a few hours before. Walking past the dimly lit porch, he read the lavish golden nameplate with “Koning” engraved in big letters. He made his way along the narrow path to the back of the house, making sure he stayed on the stone pavers. The well-kept yard was surprisingly small, considering the size of the house. He did not waste any time. With the agility of a monkey, he swiftly and silently climbed the drainpipe to the balcony on the second floor. As one would expect on such a stifling summer night, the door to the bedroom was ajar. As he approached, he heard the sound of snoring from inside. With a hand covered in a white parade glove, he pushed the lever lock door handle up to release the mechanism. He opened the glass door, pushed the mosquito screen aside, and slid his small, lean body through. He pulled the door closed and ever-so-quietly pushed the handle down to lock it. As his vision adjusted to the dark room, he turned and gazed toward the double bed. As he approached the side of the bed from where the snoring came, he took the knife from the shoulder belt with his right hand and the flashlight with his left. He’d never attacked a couple before, but something told him the man would be more compliant if the woman were under threat. He would soon find out if this were the case.