Mason realized he had to time it right arriving when the night security shift was checking off duty. Not cause for suspicion, try and act natural. Cater to their need to finish up and go back to their homes. Let the day team take over. Mason knew their schedules, and planned to arrive at the Stadium between six-thirty and seven. He had the credentials ready, but expected them to only give the documents a cursory glance before nodding him into the ground. Same on the way out. No one would be worrying about him leaving. No security issue there.
The kids were drugged again. Hallucinating at times when awake. He had thought about killing Jake, but a double homicide appealed to him more. And he wanted the girl. Desperately. Anna would be something to savor after his masterpiece, her young body ripe for plunder. And he would do just that. He would indulge his bulge until he was completely drained, and then every internal organ would be cut out and put on display. Jake would watch, he’d see to that. Cut off his eyelids, Apache style, so he had nowhere to hide. Maybe he would tell Anna that when he got back.
Satisfied that he had covered all bases, he concentrated on the final leg of his masterpiece. It hadn’t been easy. If it had, it wouldn’t have been a masterpiece, just a regular routine massacre. No one could do it better.
His good mood continued all the way to the stadium gates. He had timed it perfectly. Then things got difficult. His delivery wasn’t on their schedule, according to one of the night guards. Mason was told to wait for the early morning crew, maybe it was on theirs. Mason sat and fumed in his cab. The later it got, the harder it would be to gain entrance. There would be a cavalcade of vehicles setting up marquees and stalls. And teams of workmen erecting staging for the fireworks display, let alone the marketing and media gurus plugging cables into every available socket. He would be low priority, that was if he could persuade them to let him in. They could even tell him to return the following day.
Negative thoughts. Coach Mason didn’t have any. Successful teams were built on positive thoughts, an air of invincibility. He calmed himself down and focused his mind.
The bluff worked. He told the crew that every blade of grass had to be green. His fertilizer would ensure that. National TV exposure demanded perfection. The night shift must have mislaid the delivery instructions. Did they want to be held responsible? Told them he’d get Tom Kennedy out there in person. The crew leader didn’t want that. Not this day. The biggest in recent history. Opened the barrier and waved him in.
Mason busied himself setting up the tanker pump and attaching the hose to the sprinkler tank, using a heavy duty spanner. For obvious reasons the pump room was housed at the far end of the stadium and out of sight from the main activity areas. The door was high security hardened steel, as were the barred windows, but the weak point was the padlock. Civilian amateurs. It was simple enough to snip though it using bolt cutters, and he was in. He examined the system map on the wall. It showed that underground pipes fed the flow of water to the sprinklers, which were robustly cemented and spaced out along the side of the running track, and facing the pitch. A costly set-up, but necessary to keep the grass in good condition throughout the dry months. The tank registered empty just as he had been informed, so no problems there.
He went back to the truck and switched on the pump, and then returned to the pump room to watch the tank gauge move from empty to half-full.
“What the fuck’s happening?” said a voice behind that Mason recognized. Head groundsman, Eddie Nicholls.
Mason wasn’t going to socialise. He picked up the spanner, turned and crashed it across Nicholls skull. The man went down. Mason hammered him again to make sure. He went to the door and took a look around. He lugged the body back to the truck, loaded it behind the front seats, and covered it with a blanket.
He waited for his tanker to fully discharge the fuel, and then programmed the sprinkler system to kick-in at eight fifteen that night. Locked it on automatic, dismantled the manual over-ride, and then ripped off the fluorescent light switch, leaving the live wires dangling. The family fairground and firework display were timed to begin after the atmospheric floodlight game had finished. Enough leeway, should they run late. Any spark, even some guest of honor smoking, would ignite the fumes and set the staging ablaze.
Satisfied he had it all covered, he replaced the cut padlock with a Sargent and Greenleaf 951C padlock that he had purchased at a Coleman outdoor gear store, and pocketed the keys. Now that was high security; the US military would approve. They’d have to blow a hole in the wall to get in.