This is a work of fiction and in no way draws on the lives of any specific person or persons. If there is any similarity to any real persons or events it is entirely coincidental. Some license has been taken with places as well.
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Billy arrived at work early. He needed some time to think alone, when it was
quiet. Perhaps the puzzle would sort itself out, if he just let it. His first task was to find out who had the phone number listed in the BAR
advertisement. That was easy enough, he called the phone company, and they
quickly provided him with the name and address of the company. It turned out to
be a nonprofit organization with the initials COPAET, a church of some sort. The
mailing address was on Mission Street, in the 500 block. That was the first
piece of information that correlated to the crime, the location. That alone was
enough to send his blood racing. If it was the kind of church that he thought it might be, he couldn't very
well have Donna check it out. And being a police officer, he couldn't check it
out himself, not without giving away some vital information. He wouldd call Ralph when he was sure that Ralph was in the office, he'd have to
do it. And he'd have to do it without Donna knowing about it too. If she found
out, she'd be sure that something was wrong. He didn't want to alarm her, if it
wasn't necessary, and even then, it would have to be Ralph who told her about
his involvement in the case. He wouldd wait and call Doug at ten, just to check and see if he remembered
Billy arrived at work early. He needed some time to think alone, when it was quiet. Perhaps the puzzle would sort itself out, if he just let it.
His first task was to find out who had the phone number listed in the BAR advertisement. That was easy enough, he called the phone company, and they quickly provided him with the name and address of the company. It turned out to be a nonprofit organization with the initials COPAET, a church of some sort. The mailing address was on Mission Street, in the 500 block. That was the first piece of information that correlated to the crime, the location. That alone was enough to send his blood racing.
If it was the kind of church that he thought it might be, he couldn't very well have Donna check it out. And being a police officer, he couldn't check it out himself, not without giving away some vital information.
He wouldd call Ralph when he was sure that Ralph was in the office, he'd have to do it. And he'd have to do it without Donna knowing about it too. If she found out, she'd be sure that something was wrong. He didn't want to alarm her, if it wasn't necessary, and even then, it would have to be Ralph who told her about his involvement in the case.
He wouldd wait and call Doug at ten, just to check and see if he remembered anything else.
Turner was busily keying data when Darryl came in. He looked up, surprised to see Darryl in a suit. That was different, he thought.
He was looking forward to his date tonight with Jamison. They were going out for dinner.
Darryl wore a suit to work, as he was going to call Charles and see if he wanted to have lunch. He wanted to tell him about John and Doug. That should stir his interest, he thought. Charles always appreciated something new.
John was anxiously waiting word from Darryl on his studies. He still was a bit fuzzy about what had happened at the meeting he had with Darryl. But more curious than worried.
Darryl took out the card he had on John and dialed the work number. He wanted John to come to the service tonight, as long as Charles was in town. They could use him as the offering as Tim had been last week, but with Charles there to see that nothing went wrong.
"John Spencer, please," he said. He waited while the operator rang John's number.
"Hello," John said as he picked up his phone.
"Hello John, this is Darryl."
"Good morning, how are you?" John asked excitedly.
"Just fine. Say, are you busy tonight about seven-thirty?" Darryl asked.
"No, I'm free," John answered.
"Good," Darryl said, "A friend of mine is in town and I want him to meet you. And as long as you're available, you can be part of the service too. I'll explain about it tonight," Darryl said.
"At your office, then, at seven-thirty?" John asked.
"That's right. I'll see you then."
Darryl was pleased. He knew that Charles would be too. He didn't have to call Charles because he had no more than put down the phone from talking to John when it rang.
"Darryl?" Charles said when Darryl picked it up.
"I was just going to call you," Darryl smiled. "Did you have an interesting evening?"
"So, so," Charles answered, "You know how I am. And you?"
"Pretty good actually," Darryl said. He told Charles of his contact with Doug, without mentioning a name. Then he told him about John, briefly, saying only that he had invited him to be the offering tonight at service, and that it should be something to see.
"Sounds as if you've found something in him," Charles said, then asked, "Are you free for lunch?"
"Yes, of course, that's why I was going to call you."
"Is twelve-thirty okay?"
"That's fine. Shall I meet you there?"
"All right then twelve-thirty at your hotel."
"Ralph? This is Billy. We've got to talk. Can you get away for awhile?"
"Give me half an hour," Ralph said.
"Good. I'll pick you up in front of your office then." Billy hung up the phone, and immediately dialed Doug's number.
Doug was still lazing in bed when the phone rang.
"Hello?" he said as he picked it up.
"I hope I didn't wake you," Billy said.
"No, I was just being lazy," Doug said. His face brightened as he recognized Billy's voice.
"Have you thought of anything new since we talked?"
"Not really," Doug said. With all that had been happening, it was hard to keep things straight.
"Okay," Billy said, "You just keep trying, and I'll call you later."
"Okay," Doug said sounding a little disappointed.
"You're okay aren't you?" Billy asked.
"Sure," Doug tried to brighten his voice, "I'm fine."
"Good," Billy said, "I'll try to get away early today, maybe I can stop over"
"I'd like that," Doug said.
Billy hung up the phone. Why did I say that, he asked himself? Wasn't it enough that he'd been involved with Doug once? He put it out of his mind, as he made a note to himself about dinner tonight. He and Jimmy were to go out with Cal and his lover Jerry.
He looked over at Donna who was busy working on the final report for the Simpson case and just finishing. He hoped that she and Ralph wouldn't split up over this. Actually he hoped that it would turn out that Ralph wouldn't have to tell her about himself, and wouldn't actually have been involved with Tim's death at all.
"I've got to go out for a while, Donna," he said. "I'll call you." He was glad that she worked well with him. It made it so much easier that he didn't have to tell her every detail of what he was doing, and even more that he didn't have to tell lie to her about he was doing.
He stopped in front of the building where Ralph had his office. He unlocked the door and Ralph climbed in.
"What's up?" Ralph asked.
"I've got an assignment for you, if you think you can handle it," Billy explained what he had in mind, "Now you don't have to do it if you don't want to. But if you help me with this, I'll do everything that I can to keep you out of this mess."
"Fine with me," Ralph said. "You know I don't want Donna to find out about it."
"Good, I thought you'd feel that way." Billy paused, "You realize that it could be dangerous."
"I suppose," Ralph said thoughtfully.
Billy explained what he needed him to do.
"When you fill out the forms or give out information, use your office number. Tell them that you can't give out your home number because you have a lover who wouldn't understand, and don't use me as a reference. We don't want to let them know that the police are in any way interested in them.
"God knows what they're up to. And take it slow. But try to get involved as fast as possible without seeming to rush." Billy knew it was a lot to ask of someone not used to police work, but it was his only chance to get someone inside. He wished that he actually knew someone who was already inside, someone that didn't have to lie about his past.
"I'll be careful," Ralph said.
"Good," Billy said; "Oh yes, if you have to get in touch with me, call Jimmy, he'll relay any messages for you. That way you won't have to chance letting Donna know you're working with me. Okay?"
"Fine," Ralph was excited. He and Billy went over the details of what he was to say, and do in certain situations and about his past, and so forth. Billy had a vague idea of the kinds of information they would be likely to ask about, and he wanted Ralph to be ready for most questions.
Billy dropped Ralph off back at his office, and drove back toward Larkin Street to stop at Doug's. As he walked up the street towards the building, he almost hoped that Doug wouldn't be there.
When he pushed the buzzer, he heard the click of the latch and walked up.
"I'm glad you could come," Doug said looking wistfully at Billy as he stood in the doorway.
"You sounded a little down when we talked on the phone, and I thought that I'd better check on you," Billy said. It wasn't quite true; he wanted to see Doug almost as much as Doug wanted to see him.
Doug was dressed only in those skimpy shorts that he wore the last time. His body glistened from the oil he used on it. Just the sight of him set Billy's blood to boiling. He could almost feel the warm body next to his.
"Come in," Doug said.
Doug closed the door. He inhaled the scent of Billy cologne and felt the tingle across his body from the effect.
"Want something to drink?" he asked.
"No," Billy said looking at him. Doug could see the protrusion in Billy's pants as he looked at him. The reaction on his body was beginning to show too.
Ralph called the number Billy had given him Ralph explained that he had been out of town and just gotten back. He told him that he was very anxious to learn more about the rituals and other things. He set up an appointment for that afternoon for the interview.
Darryl was at first puzzled by the call, but considering what the man had said, supposed that the guy was just horny, and thought that this would be a quick way to get off. Well, it didn't quite work that way, he thought, not quite!
John worked eagerly trying to get things finished for the weekend. He didn't want to have to come in tomorrow. He was looking forward to the events coming up this evening. His mind raced as he tried to concentrate on what he was doing.
Charles waited for the time to go down to meet Darryl for lunch. He liked Darryl, and wished that there were more between them than just friendship. He thought back to the time that he first introduced Darryl to the Egyptian rituals....
It had been five years ago. He had just returned from Europe where he'd gotten involved himself in the practices of the ancient cult. It was not so much different from the early Christian practices, a blend of the pagan with the new. A male oriented cult, it almost denied the necessity of women. In perfection, the belief was, man would never die, and therefore had no need for women to continue the species.
Sex, they taught was for worship, not for pleasure. Sex with women was an abomination Certain sex acts with other men were considered undesirable, but not forbidden, especially those involving anal intercourse, which afterall was just a substitute for not having women. It was something to be avoided if possible, as it was just a reminder of the past, and the fall of man....
Darryl left his office and walked the short distance down to the hotel where Charles was staying. It was a nice down for walking, and the street was crowded with the lunchtime shoppers. It was also the height of the tourist season.
Doug lay quietly in Billy's strong arms; the afterglow lay upon him like a mantle. He felt that Billy was uncomfortable with their relationship, and wished that there were some way that he could convince him, that it was okay.
Billy felt the tenderness of Doug's being; he hoped that he could get over what he was feeling for this boy. No good, he felt sure, could come of it. He hated himself for indulging. What he and Jimmy had was good, and he didn't want to loose it. But neither did he want to give up what he felt for Doug. He told himself that once this case was over, and Doug was back to normal, it would all end, of that he was certain.
Ralph made the necessary adjustments in his schedule, and hurried off to keep his appointment with Darryl, what the man had told him his name was. He wished that he'd worn something different today; the pants to the suit were a bit too tight. With women clients, having them that way was an interesting asset. Only very occasionally would anything ever happen, and then it was usually just a touch, a promise of things to come, but never realized.
He caught the bus downtown, and had to stand most of the way. He was delighted with the fact that he could still arouse interest in young men; just by the way he looked. A couple on the bus gave him interested glances, and fidgeted in their seats as they watched his body standing so close, and yet so far away, his arm up raised holding onto the overhead railing, giving them a good view front and back. He felt the slight rushing in his groin as he caught their stares.
He got off at Sixth Street and walked down to the middle of the block.
Darryl had excused himself from Charles and had hurried back to his office for his one-thirty meeting with the prospective member. He was almost glad he was wearing a suit, as that might put the guy off, since he'd sounded as if he were another one of those sex-only types.
He had just gotten organized and a new folder set out when the buzzer sounded announcing the man's arrival. He got up and went to the door.
Ralph unconsciously adjusted his tie and waited. He hoped that the fact he was dressed in a suit wouldn't detract from his image.
The door opened and he was ushered in. The man's light blue suit gave him a comfortable feeling.
"I'm Ralph Abbott," he said.
"Come in, Ralph," Darryl said, "I'm Darryl Brackens." I could have been mistaken, he thought, this man's gorgeous!
"Won't you have a seat? Would you like some coffee or tea?"
"No, thank you," Ralph answered smiling warmly at Darryl's admiring glances.
He sat down and positioned the chair so that Darryl would have a good view of what he was apparently interested in. Perhaps that would speed up the process a bit.
"There's a questionnaire which you have to fill out," Darryl said handing it to him. "I'll leave you alone for awhile while you do that, it's just a formality."
That's good, Ralph thought. He began answering the questions on the first page, the way the Billy had suggested he do. But when he turned the page he was surprised at some of the things that we asked. He used his imagination to color his responses, making them as suggestive as he thought he could get away with. He made his lover sound jealous and older, much older than he was.
Darryl returned and found that Ralph was finished. He looked over the answers and found them to be quite interesting reading in themselves.
He looked up when he finished and smiled.
"We're having a service tonight and I'd like you to take a small, but useful part in it."
"I'd like that," Ralph answered.
"If you can, I'd like you to be here at seven-fifteen exactly," Darryl said.
"All right," Ralph answered, "Seven-fifteen."
"And you can dress casually. Until then." Darryl stood up. They shook hands and he showed Ralph out.
Ralph returned to his office. He debated on calling Billy. If he called and Billy was out, Donna would likely answer the phone. Then there would be questions on why he was calling. No, he thought, it would be better to wait until Billy called him.
Billy dressed hurriedly and left Doug's apartment. Once again he felt degraded by his actions. But he was powerless to resist the desire that he had for him. Perhaps, he told himself, it was just the sympathy he felt for his situation that made him reaction that way. Perhaps, when this mess was cleaned up, he could back to his own self again.
He wondered if Ralph had had any luck with the Egyptian thing, but decided to wait until he was back at his office to call. He looked at Doug who was still sitting on the bed. He wished that there were some way that he could just tell him that they couldn't see each other again.
"I'll see you, Doug," he said.
"Okay," Doug sensed that Billy was unhappy about what they had done. But why, he asked himself, Why shouldn't they be together? They liked each other, and enjoyed doing what they were doing, didn't they? It wasn't as if he were asking Billy to give up his lover. All he wanted was to be with Billy when Billy wanted it. That wasn't too much to ask, was it?
The day was drawing to a close, and once again John found that he was thinking more about tonight than what he was doing. Strange, he thought, how something like this gets into your system, and won't allow anything else to exist. He was glad that he didn't have any current projects that needed immediate attention. Next week he'd get down to business, and really push to get things done.
Darryl made mental notes on what the ritual would be like tonight, his excitement grew as he contemplated what it would look like: two men suspended before the altar offering themselves to Ba! He could hardly believe it!
Donna was away getting coffee when Billy dialed Ralph's office. He waited while the secretary buzzed him.
"Hello, Billy," Ralph said, "I'm glad you called."
"How's it going?" Billy asked, "I gather you made contact."
"Yes," Ralph said excitedly, "I had an interview with a Darryl Brackens. He's apparently the leader of a group that's into ancient Egyptian rituals. It's a men only group, and from what I was able to learn, is into some sort of sexual experience.
"They're having a meeting tonight, and he invited me to be a part of it. What part, I have no idea," Ralph said.
"Now," Billy said, "I don't want you to get yourself into anything dangerous. We don't want you to end up like Tim."
"I don't see how it could be," Ralph said thoughtfully, "But then, one never knows. Anyway. I don't know of anyway to find out what goes on there, without going there to see."
"Well." Billy said, "Do be careful."
"I will," Ralph said.
"Oh," Billy asked, "Where's it being held?"
"At the building where the office is, that's where he wants me to be, at seven-fifteen, exactly, he said," Ralph answered.
"Okay," Billy said, then asked, "Where is the office located?"
"It's on the fifth floor just to the right of the elevators, the door marked private, is where I went in. That's all I know, Billy. I'm sorry I don't know anything more yet. But after tonight, I expect that I'll know more."
"Okay. Like I said, be careful. I'll wait outside until you come out, then I'll follow your car until I'm certain you're not being followed and then I'll make contact. You can fill me in on the details then."
"Okay," Ralph said, "I'll see you tonight."
Ralph went home a little early. He wanted to be there when Donna got in. Friday nights were usually reserved for going out for dinner, but tonight they wouldn't, there wasn't time. He showered and shaved, and dressed as if for a client meeting, and put his casual things in the car trunk, he'd have to switch clothes after he left the house. He was used to that sort of thing.
Just before he knew that Donna was going to be leaving her office, he called her.
"Hi Honey," he said when she picked up the phone.
Hi," Donna instinctively knew that he was going to say that dinner was off for tonight, but she didn't feel well anyway, her period was coming on and she had a headache.
"I've got a meeting at seven, so we'll have to do dinner tomorrow," Ralph explained.
"Good, I feel rotten anyway," Donna said.
"I'm sorry," he said, "I mean about the way you feel. I hope it's not serious."
"No, it's just my damn period," she said.
"Well," Ralph said, "I'll be here when you get in. We can have a drink, if you like, before I leave."
"I need one," she said, "I'm going to take a hot bath and go to bed."
"Okay," Ralph then asked, "You're leaving soon?"
"Yes, I'm just locking up now. Should be home in half an hour."
"Okay, see you soon. Love you," he said hanging up the phone.
John poked about the refrigerator looking for something quick to eat. He didn't want anything heavy. He decided on an egg sandwich.
After he finished he rinsed the pan and the dishes and hurried to shower. Already his blood was racing in anticipation for the evening's events.
At six-fifteen he was out the door and on his way into the city for his seven o'clock meeting with Darryl.
Darryl's dinner would have to wait. After changing into his more comfortable sweats, he took the elevator to the basement and hurried to the back of the building. He unlocked the door marked COPAFT Storage and went in. He laid out his own robe for tonight's service, the heavy black satin with gold trim. Then he took out two of lightweight robes, one for John and one for Ralph. They were of black filmy nylon with a simple gold piping and symbols. The heavy white socks completed the dress.
He went to the heavy bared door and unlocked it. Inside the scent of incense still lingered, the flickering of the votive lights provided the only light in the room. He took in the fresh candles, seven tall black candles, and a fresh votive lamp.
A second trip to carry in the vessels for the service, the gold chalice, the gold tray and basin for washing, the incense burner and incense, the heavy ceremonial sword, the small gold knife, the gold braid binding cords, and the black linens.
When everything was in its place, he looked around once again to make sure that everything was ready. Then he bolted the door and went back to anteroom. He took out the masks and hoods and laid them on the offering robes. Satisfied that all was now ready, he turned the light down low and went back up to his office. He secured it for the night, and then he rode the elevator to the lobby to wait for Ralph. He'd have to work fast when he arrived, he had just fifteen minutes between the time that Ralph arrived and when John was due, and fifteen minutes more before the members would begin arriving. The service was fifteen minutes after that. Timing and punctuality were the hallmark of his organization.
A car drove up outside and parked; he recognized Ralph and opened the door for him as he approached.
"Good evening," Darryl said.
"Hi, I hope I'm not late."
"No, right on time." Darryl pushed the button on the elevator. The door opened and the two men got in.
Ralph was surprised when the elevator went down instead of up, but he didn't say anything. Darryl led him down the well-lighted hallway to the room that Darryl had prepared only minutes before.
The dim lights inside the room and the musty smell, heightened the sense of mystery.
"We have to hurry," Darryl said taking Ralph to one of the two rooms used for dressing the offerings. It was almost like a cell, Ralph thought, a small bunk-like place to sit, a small wooden table on which lay the black garment, a mask and hood of some sort. What had he gotten himself into?, he asked himself.
"You can remove all your clothes and put on the robe and the heavy socks. I'll be back later to help you with the rest. It'll be half an hour before we start, so you can lie down and meditate until I come for you. Okay?"
"What'll I be doing? During the service, I mean?" Ralph asked.
"You won't be doing anything," Darryl smiled, "Everything will be done for you. You won't be harmed, or hurt in anyway, and nothing will be done, that you haven't already done for yourself before."
"Okay," Ralph said sounding a little confused. When Darryl closed the door, he began undressing putting his clothes in the place where the robe was. When he was naked he pulled the thin robe over his head and adjusted it. Well, he thought, it covers me, but it sure doesn't hide anything, you can see right through it. He heard the sliding of a bolt across the outside of his door. Well, I'm locked in, he thought, I might as well relax, like he said.
Darryl hurried back up to the lobby to wait for John. The little red car pulled up and parked right behind Ralph's. John got out and came to the door, which Darryl pushed open as he approached.
"I'm glad you here on time," Darryl smiled, "How are you?"
"Fine," John answered, "A little nervous, perhaps."
"Don't be." Darryl touched his arm reassuringly. The elevator door opened and they got in. When the door closed and the elevator started down, John looked surprised.
Seeing the look, Darryl said, "Oh, we're having our service in the Main Temple tonight. We use it on special occasions." John didn't say anything.
As they were about to go into the anteroom, Darryl said, "It's important that we're as quiet as possible down here. So we talk in low voices or whispers."
Darryl led John to his cell, and explained that he should dress as before and relax on the bunk before the service.
John recalled the last time. He wondered if it would be the same sort of thing. He got undressed and put on his robe and socks. He'd leave the mask and hood for Darryl. He heard the slide of the bolt on his door. His heart jumped momentarily but decided not to worry. Nothing happened last time, and nothing was likely to happen this time either.
With the offerings almost ready. He went back up and waited for the members. They assembled in the lobby, and he waited until all had arrived before taking them down to the anteroom. He explained that there would be two offerings tonight: one would assist in the first, and then would be offered himself. It would, he explained, be very exciting.
Charles smiled, knowing, he thought, what Darryl had in mind. Everyone knew what to do once they got inside. There was silence, and they dressed in their robes and socks. When all were dressed Darryl would position them in the Temple where they would wait. Charles would assist Darryl in the service as required, holding the Book and vessels when necessary. When Charles wasn't there, another member would act as assistant to the High Priest, Darryl.
Darryl opened the Temple when all were dressed and led them inside. There were seven in all tonight,counting himself, plus the two offerings. It is a good omen, he thought, there could never be exactly ten, if the total count added to ten, one was sent away.
Charles went about and lighted the candles, as Darryl went back to prepare the offerings. First he went to Ralph's cell.
"You will be the first offering," Darryl whispered. "Try not to be nervous. I know it's difficult when you blindfolded and bound, but there is nothing to worry about, and I think you'll enjoy it, actually I'm sure you will." Darryl smiled reassuringly. "Just wait inside here, someone will come and lead you into the Temple in a minute or so."
Darryl closed the door but didn't lock it, and went to John's cell. He positioned John's mask, blindfold, and hood.
"You'll be assisting me with the first offering tonight," Darryl explained. "I'll whisper your instructions as necessary, so you won't have to worry."
"Okay," John said. Already his excitement was beginning to show.
"Good," Darryl smiled, seeing the outline of John's rising sex. "You remember how what happened last time and what you felt?"
"Yes, " John answered.
"Well, that's what you'll be doing for the first offering, so try to remember how it felt, and do what comes to mind." Darryl examined John's garb, adjusting the robe a little so that it was even, marvelling at the vibrant body under it. "We're ready," Darryl said.
To be continued ---
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