B.T. walked over to the far wall and rapped on it lightly with his knuckles to test its thickness. He grinned happily, the wall had been well-constructed and was nearly soundproof. If the professor tried to make a commotion, it would do him little good. B.T. picked up a framed photograph and held it in front of the pale professor. "Is this the lovely Miss Linda Joyce?"
"Yes, that's her."
B.T. whistled with lusty appreciation. "You did pretty well for yourself there, Kenny. She looks like she could give you a real good workout in the rack. Does she moan and groan, or does she like to hold it all in until she explodes all over your ass?"
Ken dropped his chin and closed his eyes. Whatever happened to him at the hands of this madman, he knew it was going to be much worse for Linda. B.T. kicked the professor in the left shin with the pointed toe of his cowboy boot. The pain sent shock waves up Ken's leg and he cried out.
"I asked you a fucking question, Kenny."
Tears rolled down Jarvis' face. He cleared his throat and spit at his inquisitor's bearded face.
"You can go fuck yourself!"
B.T. smiled a lunatic grin and let the spittle dribble down his left cheek. "There you go, Kenny. Show 'em that you got a pair of balls. Yes siree. Go down swinging, that's what I always say. I bet you're learning a lot about yourself today, aren't you?" B.T. patted the professor on the shoulder. "Well, I've enjoyed our little talk, Kenny. I really have. But now it's time for me to go. I have lots of work to do."
B.T. reached over and grabbed the teacher's right ear lobe and squeezed it between his fingernails. When Ken opened his mouth to scream out in pain, B.T. jammed it full of wadded-up bandana. Ken desperately tried to work the cloth rag out of his mouth with his tongue, but B.T. quickly wrapped another bandana around the man's head, securing the gag in place. He held a syringe in the palm of his hand and looked at it lovingly.
"What we have here, Kenny, is some uncut heroin – enough to kill a goddamn horse. Just remember your words of defiance. That was Ken Jarvis at his best, and anything else you said would just be anticlimactic."
Ken's eyes pleaded for mercy as tears streamed down his face. When he felt the stinging touch of the needle on his inner arm, he jerked backward and pissed himself; his recoil so powerful that he almost knocked the chair over. But the needle slid home like an icy splinter. Within seconds he could feel the first hot flash rushes of the morphine mainline; after that, Ken Jarvis ceased to care any more. The world became one of sensual sensation, and conscious thought was just a minor background noise in the sweet symphony of pleasure.
B.T. watched analytically; to die from heroin was to die from too much pleasure. It made for great theater. The victim knew he was dying, but it felt so damn good that it really didn't matter. B.T. almost cried when he saw Ken smile. It was like the professor was thanking him for the gift of eternity.
"You're welcome, Teach." He stroked the soft grey hair of the dying man, took out his small switchblade, and flicked it open. He gingerly cut off a hank of hair and then pocketed the key to The Ritual. B.T. spread his hand on the top of Ken's head and squeezed lightly. He could feel the blood racing through Ken's overloaded brain like liquid electricity. Ken's eyes rolled back in his head as he looked up at B.T. like a grateful dog, and at that instant his heart went red-line. He was dead at forty-six, another casualty of the drug war.
B.T. unhooked the handcuffs. He removed the bandanas and arranged the body so that it looked like Professor Jarvis was just taking a little nap. He deposited an empty heroin ampule next to the dead man's hand. He took in his handiwork, making sure he had left nothing unplanned for the police to discover, and looked at his watch. It was 12:45. He would probably be a little late, but the stop in Cedar City had been worth the time. Now that he knew the girl's whereabouts, he didn't have to bother with poking around Fredonia. House Rock Valley Road was on his way to the Paria; he might just get lucky and run right into her. Now he knew what she looked like; the next time they met, he was going to ring her pretty little neck – slowly. They were going to be neighbors. Maybe he'd see if she wanted to go out on a hot date. Yeah. That would be a lot of fun. After all, she was a lover of predatory birds, so she'd be just crazy about The Ritual.