The police techs went to work in releasing the body of the young man from the restraints on his wrists that had held him suspended from the ceiling. The ball gag in his mouth and the lash marks on his back, chest, and thighs--and the fact that he was naked and a well-formed pretty boy--made clear to Cassidy what he was being subjected to when he died. He'd been entertaining one or more people who were into BDSM.
What he'd died from wasn't clear yet. From Cassidy's experienced eye, the marks on his body indicated there had been a certain amount of pain involved, but he was young and his body was in good shape. What Cassidy could see wasn't enough to show cause of death.
Such a pity. He'd been quite a good-looking young man. Hispanic, dark, sultry looks. Maybe no more than twenty years old.
Cassidy's partner, Jack, was busy at the door into the room interviewing the custodian who had called in the death. He could see that Jack wasn't getting very far with the man, but that probably was because there wasn't much the janitor could help with. He wouldn't know much about who hired him to clean this place up, if Cassidy knew anything about operations like this--a couple of dungeon rooms tucked away in otherwise abandoned buildings in warehouse districts by the river, like this one was. Playrooms for guys who got off on bondage and S&M on other guys. The janitor would be paid through a series of cutouts and wasn't the chatty type, or he wouldn't be willing to clean up the messes he found after these rooms were used--not that the mess had included a dead body before. That was pretty sure, at least where the custodian was concerned.
The custodian had called the death in, so there was a certain level of honesty about him. The river was nearby. His nightly cleanup could just as easily have entailed a short body carry across a deserted parking lot to the river. He'd probably even have found his paycheck a little heftier the next Friday, if, indeed, the owners of the building had any idea what had happened here. They probably didn't.
Cassidy made a mental note, though, to do the detailed tracing of who owned what around here.
While Jack talked with the custodian, Cassidy moved around the room, taking it all in and salting what he saw away in his brain. You never knew when some little observation at a crime scene would match something else that started the why and who unraveling.
The room--two rooms really--was about thirty feet square--the other one the same. The rooms were pretty much identical. The doors to both were out to a corridor rather than between the rooms. A large window visually connected them. Drapes could be pulled across the window on this side. Cassidy presumed such a curtain existed on the other side, too. The window was fully exposed now, though. The walls were cinderblock, painted a light gray-green color. The floor was concrete, slopping slightly from all directions to a central drain. There were hooks everywhere--in the walls, ceiling, and floor--and piles of restraint cording in the corners. The rooms probably had once been used to hang animal carcasses for curing. Mostly recently they were being used to hang an entirely different kind of meat. The cords were all a sickly green color. Cassidy had never seen them in that color before. He made a mental note to check where that could be bought.
Various S&M apparatuses were scattered about equally in the two rooms. Cube platforms, stocks, mats, X-bars, slings. Everything, in Cassidy's view, to entertain for hours. Or to make movies. There was every indication these rooms functioned as movie studios. There were no cameras or light poles--the users obviously would need to bring their own along with the smaller, more intimate toys--but there were frames around on the walls for mounting video cameras.
"OK, I've seen enough for now," he said as he breezed by Jack and the custodian and headed for the stairs. The street level was one flight down. These two studio playrooms were the only rooms in the building that appeared to be in use--in use up to now. These rooms would be stripped now when the investigation was complete.
The first order of business was to identify the victim. Cassidy had been around enough, though, to have some ideas about that. If the victim hadn't been a club pole dancer, Cassidy would be very much surprised. The gay red-light district was nearby.
"I'll wait for you in the car, Jack," he said as he moved down the stairs. Jack wouldn't be pissed or even feel pressured to curtail his interview. This was Cassidy's style--observing the scene and then isolating himself to get it all cataloged in his mind.
"If you'll work on tracing who's managing that operation, checking back through who owns the building to who they rented that space to," Cassidy told Jack as they entered the bull pen at police headquarters, "I'll work on who the victim is."
"Deal," Jack said as he moved to the homicide section. There weren't separate squad rooms in this station. It was just one big area they called the bull pen, where the detectives had to work their various specialties.
Cassidy's movement was arrested in the major crimes section as Jack continued on toward the back of the bull pen where their desks were wedged together.
"What are you watching there, Leo?" he asked, leaning down behind a seated detective and staring into a computer screen.
"Proof of snatch film from a kidnapping," Leo answered. "Pretty gruesome stuff. The family paid right up after receiving this. Kid sent back home. Now all we have to do is find out who's spending the money."
"Hey, could you run it again, please?"
Leo did so.
It was a BDSM hook-hanging scene, much like what Cassidy had just seen, which is probably what had caught his attention. It was an active session scene, though. A young guy was suspended from the ceiling, restraints binding his wrists together and dropped from a ceiling hook. His legs didn't reach all the way to the floor, though. They were pulled straight out at the hips from his sides, with ankle restraints on leads that ran to the walls on either side. The victim was facing the camera. A ball gag was in place, but otherwise the expression on the young man's face could be seen and was followed closely for short periods by the camera honing in on his face while he was being tortured.
He was a good-looking kid. Blond, on the smallish side but with a great build. He looked a little spoiled--groomed--which was in keeping with being a worthy subject of a ransom demand.
Cassidy looked away from the camera briefly to ask Leo, "How old is the kid?"
"Nineteen. He's OK, but is in the hospital for observation. His father is that automotive sales king, Franklin Dorsey. Several franchises. A regular King Midas, which is probably why they snatched his kid."
Cassidy looked back at the video, which ran for some fifteen minutes in all. Pretty grim stuff for anyone not used to seeing S&M. The dominator was a naked black guy. Powerful body, big dick, in erection throughout. He obviously was enjoying himself. He was wearing a black balaclava hood, and he must have had distinguishing tattoos, because various parts of his body were taped over to hide whatever was underneath. He held a flogging whip in one hand and an electric wand in the other.
The video started off slow and pretty tame, with the black guy dancing around the bound one and taunting him in a voice that was altered and slowed down to sound like he was talking underwater. But the action picked up, with the black guy flogging the victim and zapping him on the legs and chest, back and balls, with the zapper. The victim's nipples were clamped, with a chain running between them, which the black buy pulled on occasionally, producing whatever writhing the young victim could do within the limits of his restraints. Weights hung down from the young man's balls. The tormentor sent these swinging from time to time, which had the victim writhing again.
As the video was coming to a conclusion, the black guy was behind the victim, gripping the victim's waist, and pulling the victim's ass on and off his cock. The expression on the victim's face was in keeping with an experienced, but taxed, bottom being fucked in the ass by a big black cock--right up to near the end, when the expression changed to an intense look into the camera that Cassidy could only describe as a look of horror. Then the video abruptly cut out. It was probably this last expression on the young man's face, Cassidy thought, that had immediately opened his family's bank account.
"Can you send a copy of this to my computer?" Cassidy asked when the coverage had stopped.
"You've seen it twice," Leo said. "You starting some sort of personal faggot porn collection?"
If that stung, Cassidy didn't show it. "Just send me the fuckin' film, Leo. I have some ideas about it. Might close your case for you."
Leo clammed up and just worked the keypad for a few seconds. Cassidy had a reputation for closing cases, so he wasn't about to turn away the help. "There you go. Sent."
"Thanks. I'll let you know if anything pans out. OK if I visit the victim? Don't need to talk to his family, I don't think."
"Sure, you can talk to him if you like. He's in the hospital for at least tonight. Wasn't returned until this morning. He's at Saint Thomas'. Here's his address. He's in college and has his own apartment. The family's rich, and my impression is that he's been indulged. Has a band that plays the Blue Parrot Club."
"Where's mine?" Jack said when Cassidy finally made it back to the Homicide section.
"My coffee. I thought you'd been getting that. So, where you going now?"
"Not for coffee," Cassidy said. He hadn't sat down, he'd just transferred the video Leo sent to his desk computer to his laptop and was ready to roll again. "I'm going back out. Got to see a guy about an erection."
"Whatever," Jack said, with a laugh.
* * * *
Dean Dorsey woke with a start, taking a moment to realize he was in a hospital bed, not that there was any reason other than routine caution for him to be here. He turned over to see that there was a thuggish-looking man--a very nicely thuggish-looking man--sitting in a chair at the wall, looking at him. He looked back, seeing a strong, chisel-featured face under a buzz cut, piercing steel-blue eyes, thick neck, bulging chest and arm muscles fighting to split a white dress shirt under a black suit coat. He looked both comfortable and out of place in a suit. Better in gym gear. Better yet naked.
"So, did I die and go to heaven?" Dean said, showing a smile.
"I'm a cop," came back the answer, conveying so much to Dean, enough for him to go hard under the hospital sheeting. Not only did it mean to be wary, but it meant power and control. Threat. Violence. Strength and dominance. Dean laid his hips flat on the bed, using his elbows to pull the sheet tight across his pelvis, wanting the cop to see that he was hard. "Name's Cassidy. Just Cassidy. I've come to ask you a question."
"Yeah? OK. Shoot. Ask me the right question and the answer's yes."
"What was it you were looking at in that torture chamber. . . what did you see at the moment the camera cut out?"
"I saw the video they sent your folks. Of you trussed up. Being beaten. Getting' the shit fucked out of you. I want to know what you were lookin' at when the video was cut off."
No "How are you doing?" or "What a traumatic experience." No "Your parents and we were so worried for you and horrified by what we saw the kidnappers do to you." Just a question of what he'd seen, not what he'd experienced. Dean's eyes narrowed, and he muttered, "I'm not feeling well. Maybe you can call in the nurse for me. Just thinking about it . . . it was--"
"You liked it just fine. You're feeling good. You're coming on to me now, so it's a little late to pretend you weren't into this shit. I asked you a question. What did you see?"
"I didn't see nothin'," Dean said. He turned toward the wall.
Cassidy stood. "OK, play it that way. But I'll be back to ask the question again. In the meantime you might be getting a visit by guys who will really do for you--not just do what I saw on the video. Think on that."
When Dean turned back, the thuggish cop was gone. The sensations of desire mixed with fear flowed back into his bones. He shivered with the delicious thoughts he was having.
Stopping outside the hospital room, Cassidy flipped open his cell phone and made a call.
"Jack, It's Cassidy. Any news on our hanger's cause of death."
"Yep, Natural causes. His ticker exploded."
"Not that surprising under the circumstances," Cassidy said. "It's still a murder. He wasn't walking in the park when it happened. It's still our case."
"Yeah, guess it's still murder. But I'm glad it may not have been an intentional snuff. Any leads on who the victim is?" Jack asked.
"Not specifically. But I've got ideas."
Jack laughed. "Then it's as good as got."
"I might have something before the night's out, yes."
"Till tonight, then. Ciao."
Later that night, Cassidy showed up at the Blue Parrot Club, a seedy boy band joint on Vine, not far from the warehouse where the body had been found. He sat close up front, where Dean Dorsey, who had been released from the hospital and who was on stage singing as front man for the band, could clearly see him. Dean had no trouble picking Cassidy out, now dressed in black leather pants and a dark-blue mesh muscle shirt, and he sang directly to the cop, showing that he thought Cassidy was there for him and not in an official capacity. Dean was shirtless, proudly displaying welt marks on his chest and back.
Cassidy paid special attention to the other members of the band. A couple of them were black. Cassidy particularly liked scanning the tats on the muscular drummer.
Dean particularly liked making love to his mic as he sang directly to Cassidy.
Cassidy left though, before the set was over, and started to cruise the gay bars and clubs in the warehouse district down near the river, even closer to where his homicide scene was located. He hit pay dirt at the Brass Knuckles Club.
He was sitting at the bar, observing not just the entertainment, where, on stage, a small, cute Filipino guy was bound to a X-frame and being flogged by one black bull while he was being fucked from behind by another black bull, but also scanning the crowd.
He was able to identify about half the clientele, but most of his attention was going to Ross Strang, one of the local gang bosses, who was sitting at a table close to the stage, his eyes glued to the entertainment, and licking his lips. His usual array of thugs surrounded him.
"Haven't seen you for a week or two, Cassidy," a voice cut in from the side. Cassidy turned his head to see the club manager, Phil Davis, looking spiffy in his gray-striped suit with a red scarf hanging out of his breast pocked, standing beside him. "The bartender said you wanted to see me?"
"Yeah, Phil, I wanted to talk to you. I wondered if any of your dancers had walked off the job in the last week."
"Yeah, a couple of them. You know the dancers here. Some of them can't take more than a couple of nights--which is fine. The customers like to see fresh tail. Sometimes hard to find, though, and very expensive."
"Right, Phil. We all got problems. I've got one myself. Do you have photos of these guys who have taken a powder?"
"Sure. Back in the office. You're not here to make trouble, are you, Cassidy?"
"If I was, you'd already notice the trouble. There will be no trouble if you show me your photo book."
The two sat, slugging back bourbon neat, while Phil pulled out a photo album and Cassidy went through the mug shots--all promotional photos highlighting the young men's claims to fame.
"This one, the dark-haired Hispanic, looking like he was lookin' for fun, what's his name?"
"Oh, that's Sonny Rodriguez. Great dancer. A fine lay too, so I heard."
"So you heard?"
"OK, so I know. Sorry to lose him, but haven't seen him since last Tuesday night."
"Did you just lay him, or did you do more to him?"
"You know what kinda club this is, Cassidy. He liked what he got. He came to this club because he liked what he got."
"Did you see him leaving with anyone that night--Tuesday night?"
"No, I don't think so. Someone was askin' about him, though--what he'd do and for how much."
"Ross Strang, maybe?"
"Not direct. One of his boys, though." There was a pause and then Phil said, "You're tellin' me that Sonny's not coming back to work--ever--aren't you?"
"Yep, that's what I'm tellin' you Phil. Sorry."
"Too bad. He took it like a champ--both on stage and off. So, did you like the Filipino trick being put through his paces tonight? Want to take him for a couple of rounds? Maybe even on stage? You're a favorite around here, you know."
"Sure, don't want him tonight, though. I have another visit to make."
* * * *
Dean Dorsey answered the door to his apartment, clad only in bikini briefs, stifling a yawn, and looking drowsy eyed. The fist to the chin caught him completely by surprise and he hit the rug on his knees. Cassidy leaned down, picked the much smaller young man up, slung him over his shoulder, and propelled himself into the room, kicking the door shut behind him.
Slinging Dean down on the living room sofa the length of the cushions, Cassidy had handcuffs out, cuffing Dean's wrists behind his back and a ball gag in the young man's mouth before Dean could recovered from the surprise blow to the chin. He writhed under Cassidy, as the cop pulled the young man's briefs down and off his legs. He was thrashing his legs out at Cassidy until the detective got his ankles into handcuffs as well.
He seemed to give up and lay there panting until, stripping off his own trousers and briefs, Cassidy pulled his belt out of the pants loops, snapped it enough times to get Dean's attention, and then gave Dean a few good, but not too hard, whacks with it on the back and buttocks.
"Stop fighting it or I'll stop whipping you," Cassidy growled. "Yes, I'll stop if you resist. I know you want it. And I won't fuck you if you don't calm down and just take it. I know you want that too." Young Dorsey settled right down. He moaned and whimpered, but he held steady as Cassidy gave him a few more controlled floggings with the belt. He turned his face to Cassidy and flashed him a "yes, do me like this" smile, went up on his knees on the sofa, and widened his stance, presenting his buttocks for mounting.
If there ever had been a question that he wanted it, all that evaporated when he smiled and presented his hole for the cock.
Cassidy laughed and whacked him a few more times before sitting behind him on the sofa, grabbing and spreading the young man's butt cheeks, and burying his face in Dean's crack. Dean groaned deeply, and then even more deeply, as Cassidy reached around and grabbed Dean's hard cock. After a few seconds Cassidy's hand went to Dean's balls, which he distended down from Dean's body and crushed in his fist until Dean was writhing and sobbing. After twenty seconds of this Cassidy went back to milking the young man's cock and eating his ass out.
When Cassidy came up on his knees behind Dean's buttocks, Dean held steady, buttocks raised, as Cassidy, still reaching under Dean's waist and pulling at the young man's cock, entered Dean's ass hard and fucked him in long, cruel strokes. Cassidy made a loop in the belt with the belt buckle, pulled the loop over Dean's head, tightening the loop around the young man's throat, and then using the belt tail as reins to pull Dean's head arched back toward Cassidy's chest as he rode the young man's ass and listened to Dean gagging. He first brought Dean to an ejaculation with his hand and then withdrew, ripped his condom off, and shot his load up Dean's back.
Cassidy reached down for Dean's calves, pulled them so that the young man collapsed along the sofa cushion. Cassidy came down on top of him, and the two lay there. They would have been cooling down, but Cassidy was biting Dean on the back of his neck and had worked hands under the young man's chest and was pinching and twisting Dean's nipples, to feel him writhing ineffectually, grunting, and sobbing quietly.
The torturing wound down. When they were both breathing regularly, Cassidy pulled the ball gag out of Dean's mouth. The first words Dean uttered were, "God, that did me great. You've got one fuckin' big cock. But how did you know . . . ?"
"How did I know you took it hard and with pain?"
"I told you I watched the video. You had one hard erection throughout, and I could see it in your eyes. You were having a great time. It's how you wanted it. And how did I know you wanted it from me?"
"The same look in your eyes when you looked at me in the hospital--and then in the music hall. The erection you wanted me to see. It was as good as flat out telling me you wanted me to punish you."
"Are you going to fuck me again?" And then when Cassidy didn't answer fast enough, "I want you to fuck me again. Punish me."
"You've done something you should be punished for, Dean?"
No answer, so Cassidy continued. "I don't care about any of that. Not my business. I want to know what you saw, what made your expression change to one of surprise and horror right before the video cut off."
"Who's to say I saw anything?"
"You're to say, but I can tell you what you saw."
"Yes. You saw another young man hanging from the ceiling, just as you were and being flogged and tortured. Beaten and fucked to death."
"Fucked to death? What do you mean. The Mexican was killed?"
"He was Puerto Rican. Had a name. Sonny Rodriguez. So they pulled the curtain between the rooms before you could see that he was dead?"
"Yes. But, how did you know?"
"I was there this morning. I recognized the room from your video. Gray-green cinderblock walls and those bright green restraints on you. The same were on the stiff in the other room. You've seen a murder. There's just one thing I need you to do. I want to show you a photo and have you tell me that's the man who was flogging and fucking Sonny Rodriguez in the room beyond the window."
"Just that one thing?"
Cassidy laughed. "I'll fuck you again if you'll look at the photo and tell me the truth. I'm thinking your bed has restraints on the four corners doesn't it?"
"Yes, it does. OK, show me the photo."
Cassidy hadn't freed Dean from the handcuffs or taken the belt collar off his throat. He reached down and pulled a photo out of the back pocket of his trousers. Cassidy traveled with an album in the trunk of his car with photos of "all the likely suspects" in his area of the city. It saved a lot of time.
"Yes, that's him. Who is he?"
"That's Ross Strang, a local gang kingpin. You don't want to mess with him, and you don't want him deciding to come looking for you because of what you saw him doing through that window the other day. You want us to put him away for some time."
"OK, I've done what you asked. Now, will you--?"
Cassidy laughed. "You got a one-track mind, don't you?"
"And you got a dick and body to die for," Dean countered.
Better than restraints at the four corners of Dean's bed, Cassidy found hooks in the ceiling over the foot of the bed, as well. He trussed Dean up spread-eagled on the bed, with his arms spread and raised toward the top two corners of the bed, his buttocks on the end of the bed, and his legs raised and spread, tied off from the ceiling hooks.
Cassidy, hunched over Dean's body at the foot of the bed, pushed his left knee under Dean's right butt cheek, arched his torso down toward Dean's, with their foreheads touching. Cassidy wanted to hold the expression in Dean's eyes, watching for every indication the young man was about to come. He gripped the back of Dean's neck with his left hand, holding the young man's head in place, and, with a super-lubricated middle finger of his right hand inserted in Dean's ass, worked the young man's prostate from the inside.
"Let me come, please let me come. Stroke it with your hand," Dean cried out whenever he was coming close to ejaculation. Cassidy would, time and again, hold off in his expert manipulation of Dean's prostate, making the young man's cock burble with teased-out come, but neither bringing him to conclusion by stroking his cock or leaving him with hands free to finish himself.
Cassidy brought Dean to the brink again and again with the prostate work and then backed off, leaving Dean to whine and whimper and beg for relief. The glorious torture went on for some thirty minutes until Cassidy felt that all of the come that was going to ooze out of Dean's cock had done so. Cassidy turned, moved his cock head to Dean's hole, and pressed in.
Dean writhed within the confines of his bindings, arched his back and cried out, "Yes, yes. Nail me. Screw me. Fuck me!"
Cassidy gave him three long, deep strokes, and then pulled out of Dean's ass.
Dean whimpered. "Give it to me. Give it to me hard."
But then Cassidy left the bed and dressed, while Dean whined for the fuck to be completed.
"Oh, you're gonna be royally fucked sometime soon," Cassidy said as, dressed, he released Dean's hands and headed for the door, knowing that he'd be long gone before Dean could free his legs.
Cassidy drove to the Brass Knuckles Club. For that particular entertainment, the night was young.
"Ah, you're back," Phil Davis said when Cassidy walked up to the club's bar. "If you're here to pick up Ross Strang, he's already gone. Don't really want this brought down in the club anyway."
"I didn't come for Strang. I'm strung out. Is the Filipino still available?"
"For you, of course."
"Got a chamber free with stocks in it?"
"For you, yes. But I can fit you in for a slot on stage, if you like."
* * * *
When Cassidy entered the bull pen the next morning, Jack saw him from the other end of the big room and stood up from his desk. Cassidy gave him a smile and a thumbs up, but he stopped at the Major Crimes section and leaned down over Leo's shoulder.
"A little birdie in your ear, Leo," Cassidy said in a low voice.
"Yes? Chirp for me."
"Look for the money in your Dorsey kidnapping case. Look for the Dorsey kid with the money."
Leo gave a low whistle. "You think the kid set his parents up himself? You have reasons for--?"
"Giving you what's on the silver platter, not the platter itself here, Leo. You've got to connect the dots yourself. But I know they're there. Go visit him at the Blue Parrot Club when his band is playing. Look hard at the drummer. He's the guy doing the torture in the video. And take another look at the kid in the video. He's got a 'I'm lovin' this' hard on in the video almost to the end. He didn't just set it up; this is what he likes."
"OK, you're never wrong about these things, but--"
"No buts, Leo. The kicker is that I want him too--as a witness to the murder I'm working. He was there. Look at the video again, where it is. Then go look at the murder scene in my case. You'll see it. Same scene. We can put Ross Strang away for this--for a very, very long time. A double win."
"Sounds great to me. Anything I can do for you, I'll--"
"There is, as a matter of fact. You can investigate for a couple of days before picking the Dorsey kid up. I'm not finished interrogating him for my case yet."
Cassidy was whistling as he strode back toward the Homicide section to give Jack the good news. The test run with the Filipino and the stocks last night went real well. Dean Dorsey was sure to go wild for that treatment too.