Mind Hacks: The Druid

Copyright © 2014 z119z. All rights reserved. This story may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author.

Every time Roger rounded the bend on the parkway and saw the clock tower of the Chesterville town hall looming over the trees, it provoked an instant feeling of well-being and contentment in him. It was almost as if his eyes sought the tower out, and seeing it triggered a release of endorphins inside his mind. It meant he was almost home. The exit was only a minute away now, and from there it was a short drive to their house. Thankfully the trip from Hartford had been quick. It was still early enough that there was almost no traffic. He rolled his shoulders to try to get some of the stiffness out. He had persuaded to let him begin work very early since it was Friday. It took him eight hours of solid work, but he had finished the audit by 12:30 and had been able to get away shortly after 1:00.

God, what a week. He hated living in motel rooms and sleeping on a strange bed. Well, trying to sleep, he corrected himself. His boss at Winston Accounting Associates was on another economy kick, and the person in charge of travel arrangements had booked him into a cheap motel a half-block from the I-91 and under the flight path for the airport. It must also have been near a hospital. Just about every time he finally fell asleep, an ambulance would race past, sirens screaming. He hadn't had a good night's sleep the whole week. Plus the client had been super-nervous about something. He had spent the entire week hovering as if he expected Roger to uncover evidence of criminal activity. It had been annoying and distracting. Maybe that was what the client had hoped to accomplish—distract Roger so that he wouldn't notice the irregularities. Well, he had found both stupidities and irregularities, and he had lectured the client about those. They would be in his report. The client had to clean up his accounting procedures if he hoped to find an investor willing to lend the amounts of money he wanted.

He needed a drink—and Tim. What he really needed was what Tim called a "good workout." Tim had ways to make him feel so wonderful. His partner's skills in hypnosis had certainly improved his sex life. Tim once told him that he was the "perfect subject"—easily tranced, capable of visual hallucinations, responsive to post-hypnotic suggestions, able to follow elaborate scenarios. Roger didn't know if Tim's claims were true, but he did know that his susceptibility to hypnosis pleased Tim, and he liked pleasing Tim. The results were incredible. Sometimes the scenarios Tim had him experience while he was under seemed almost real. He had felt funny about it at first, but Tim had talked him past his inhibitions and introduced him to the joys of hypnosis-enhanced sex. Roger suspected that he was becoming addicted.

Plus Tim was such an enthusiastic bottom. Tim loved it when he got a bit rough. In fact, Tim encouraged it. For a second a mental picture of Tim kneeling on all fours with his ass lifted to welcome the next stroke of the flogger and begging for even harder blows flashed through Roger's mind. Before he met Tim two years ago, he hadn't known that this side of him existed, let alone given it expression. He hadn't especially thought of himself as either a top or a bottom. Now he couldn't imagine enjoying "vanilla" sex ever again. He owed Tim so much. He still couldn't follow Tim everywhere Tim wanted to go, however. There were dark corners—extremely dark corners—in Tim's mind that exceeded his "limits," but they had talked it over and Tim had agreed to respect those.

Too bad Tim wouldn't be home for at least another four hours or so. He could do with one of Tim's workouts to help relieve the tension and make him forget all about his week for a few hours.

He should do something to get Tim in the right mood. After all, Tim had been working all week and needed to relax too. Maybe grab some beer or some wine and later order one of those Margherita pizzas from Pazzi Pizza that Tim liked so much. He could ask Tim to call when he was about 15–20 minutes from home so that he could order the pizza and get a salad ready. That would give Tim time to change and have a drink—unwind a bit—before the food arrived. It would give them both some fuel for the workout.

"Phone Tim."

"Phoning Tim." A light on the dashboard console blinked.


A wave of relaxation swept through Roger as he heard his partner's lovely, deep, comforting voice. "Tim, hi. I just about to get off the parkway. I'm going to stop at the liquor store and get some beer and wine. Do we need anything else? I was thinking about ordering a pizza later."

"Playdate mode on."


The basement suited the Druid's purposes admirably. Tim obviously didn't use it much. A pile of cardboard boxes was slowly disintegrating in one corner, but that was the extent of the usual basement clutter. Tim must be one of those people who discarded stuff as soon as he had no further need of it. The boxes were filmed with dust. The Druid inserted a gloved finger under one flap of the topmost box—he must be careful not to leave smudge marks in the dust to attest to his presence—and lifted it. The box held Christmas decorations. He let the flap fall back into place. Christmas was months away, and Tim wouldn't be visiting the basement any time soon to retrieve his tree lights and ornaments. The basement also contained the furnace and hot water heater, but it was unlikely that Tim would have reason to check them that evening. If anything, Tim would turn on the air conditioners when he arrived home from work, and the Druid thought a failure of the hot water heater unlikely. The Druid was reasonably sure that he could wait in the basement without fear of discovery. Tim would have no reason to suspect that someone was lurking below him.

The Druid had entered Tim's house two hours earlier. He always gave himself plenty of time to scout out the target's home, find a good hiding place, and plot a route of escape. He didn't expect to need an emergency escape plan, but meticulous preparation was the key to success. Far better to have a plan in place and not need it than have to invent one on the spur of the moment.

The Druid had planned his approach to Tim's house carefully. He left his car a mile away, in the pay lot by the train station. It wasn't unusual for passengers to leave a car overnight or longer. Someone might check to make sure that he had left the parking lot ticket on the dashboard, but that would be the extent of notice paid to his car. He would have to chance it that the attendant who collected the parking fee the next morning might remember him, but he doubted that she would. He was too ordinary looking, and his car had nothing to distinguish it from the hundreds of other cars she saw every day.

He had stolen the New York plates that morning from two different cars in the long-term parking garage at Kennedy. He had pretended to be an arriving passenger heading toward his car and walked briskly around the structure with his wheelie bag bumping along behind him. He quickly identified two targets—a car just pulling into a spot in unlit corner and, close by, another with a couple removing suitcases from the trunk. He memorized the locations and then waited half an hour before stealing the front license plates from both cars. Each car faced toward a wall, and no one would notice the missing plate, least of all the owners when they returned. He stowed the plates and his tools in his wheelie bag and strode purposefully into the airport like any other departing passenger. Ten minutes later, he left through another door and retrieved his own car. He affixed the stolen plates over his own plates in a park-and-ride lot just a few miles outside Chesterville. No one ever noticed that the front and back plates were different. Upon arriving in Chesterville, he stopped at a local bakery and bought a cup of coffee and a muffin. He tossed the paper bag on the back seat and left the coffee in the cup holder between the two front seats. Both items displayed the distinctive logo of the bakery. To anyone glancing into his car, it would appear to belong to a resident of Chesterville who had left on a train and was staying somewhere else overnight.

He had hurried into the station as if he were rushing to catch the inbound 2:18 train. Fortunately the station was no longer manned, and passengers had to buy tickets from machines. The waiting room was empty. Four people were waiting outside on the platform for the 2:18. As the Druid stood at a machine and pretended to buy a ticket, he saw them glance in unison to the left. A second later he heard the sound of the approaching train. The Druid ducked into the men's room and locked himself in a stall. He waited while the train stopped and then pulled away. He gave himself what he felt was a reasonable amount of time before exiting the bathroom and then left the station through the doors on the side away from the parking lot. Anyone who saw him would think that he had stopped in the toilet after arriving on the train. No one would find his presence odd or pay him enough attention to be able to describe him in any but the most general terms later. No one would remember that he was carrying a black fabric case for a laptop. It was such a common sight—businessman carrying a laptop—and the case was surprising spacious. It contained everything he needed for his visit to Tim.

Google Maps and Street Views had simplified planning so much. He had been able to examine the area around Tim's house without ever visiting it. No one would be able to tell the police about a strange car that had been cruising the neighborhood. No one could describe a stranger who had been walking around the quiet streets, peering at houses and backyards.

The Druid walked steadily. He appeared to be, and was, a man with a clear idea of where he was going. It was best not to display hesitation. He had to seem to be a resident familiar with the town. He walked three blocks to the park and took the diagonal sidewalk that led past the baseball diamond and merged with the jogging path through the trees at the back. In mid-afternoon, the park was almost deserted. An elderly couple sat on a bench in the sun, but his path led behind them and they did not turn around and look at him. There were a few moms with small children near the play area at the other end of the park, but the Druid was far enough away that he did not have to be concerned that his presence might raise an alarm in a wary mother.

As he had guessed from a close examination of the satellite view and the pictures on the Chesterville municipal website's page on the town's park system, the undergrowth in the trees at the back of the park was quite thick in places. When he was out of sight of the others, he stepped into the trees and walked in the direction of Tim's house. About twenty feet in, he stopped and looked back. He couldn't see the path. Nor did he think he could be seen from the path. He had carefully chosen dull-colored clothing; he wore nothing that might be seen as stray flashes of a bright color moving through the trees.

It was remarkably quiet in the trees. If he didn't know better, the Druid might have thought he was deep in a forest, miles from the nearest habitation. Well, Chesterville was ideal for his purposes. It was a commuter town. By mid-afternoon its streets were deserted. Its inhabitants daily traveled into the city for work, its children went to school, the few stay-at-home moms kept themselves busy with caring for infants, shopping, and cooking. It was large enough that no one expected to know everyone—it wasn't at all unusual to see someone you didn't recognize—and peaceful enough that a neatly dressed member of the middle class would not generate worry or concern. It was the sort of town where pedestrians greeted one another, even people they didn't know. A pretense of friendliness was expected, but it needn't be anything more than a nod and a casual "hi." And a minute later no one remembered the stranger they had just greeted.

The Internet made the pursuit of his hobby so easy. The men in the chat rooms on Playdate.com were so willing to give away casual information about themselves. Take Tim, for example. After chatting Tim up for several nights in a row, the Druid had skipped a night. The next night he apologized to Tim and explained that he had had to work late. He had bitched about his boss's expectations that he could stay on and work evenings just because he wasn't married and didn't have a family. Tim had been so gratified to be able to confess that he never had to work late. Tim didn't even notice that in his haste to prove his situation superior to the Druid's he revealed that he took the 5:32 train from the city each day and arrived in Chesterville around 6:45 "like clockwork." When the Druid had objected that Tim had to spend over two hours each weekday commuting, Tim had said, "But it's worth it to live in Chesterville. My backyard ends at a thick grove of trees at the rear of one of the municipal parks. And I live on a cul-de-sac and have a wedge-shaped lot at the end of the street. My backyard is enormous, and it's very private. I had the backyard fenced in, and I've planted bushes all around the lot line and let them grow tall. No one can see in. It's very quiet and peaceful. It's a haven from work."

Tim's description made his house easy to locate on Google Maps, and the satellite and street views confirmed the isolation of Tim's backyard. The Druid could almost count the number of bushes Tim had planted. Armed with the address, the Druid had located the property in Chesterville's online property records and discovered that it was owned by Timothy Stephen Williams, whose "homesteader's exemption" confirmed that he occupied the house.

In other conversations, Tim revealed that he lived alone and preferred that. He reassured the Druid that "at this point in his life" he wasn't looking for a LTR or 24/7/365—just the occasional date. It would be nice if he found someone to see on a regular basis, but he really didn't want to live with anyone. He "valued his privacy" and his time alone. "Maybe in a few years" he would re-think his situation, but for now he lived by himself. He didn't even hire a cleaning or lawn service because he didn't want other people inside or around his house.

When the Druid asked if deer ever jumped the fence in Tim's yard, Tim said that he didn't have to worry about that. The fence wasn't that high, but there weren't any deer in the park, which was good because that meant Tim didn't have to worry about "Lyme disease." Also Tim was allergic to dog and cat dander. He didn't know if he was also allergic to deer dandruff or even if deer had dandruff, but he would rather not find out. Luckily, his immediate neighbors did not have dogs, although one had a cat but it was never allowed outside. That told the Druid several things. He wouldn't have to climb a tall fence, and he didn't have to worry about dogs barking at him or finding Tim's home guarded by a snarling canine sentry.

When the Druid had complained of the kids yelling next door, Tim had been only too happy to tell the Druid that he didn't have that problem. Only one of the families on his street still had children at home, and all his immediate neighbors worked during the day. So there would be no one about during the afternoon.

When the Druid told an amusing story of how he had inadvertently tripped his home security system, Tim had said he didn't have one. Chesterville was such a crime-free community that locks on the doors were enough. It was as if Tim were intentionally making things easy for the Druid. Almost as if he were asking for what was about to happen to him.

The thicket of trees on the west end of the park provided cover for the Druid's approach. He stopped at the fence and waited for fifteen minutes. A squirrel ran across the yard, and a few birds pecked at the lawn. In mid-afternoon those small animals were the only visible residents of the neighborhood at home. Nor did anyone appear to be in Tim's house. The shades on the windows on both floors at the back of the house were open, and the Druid saw no movement inside. The Druid was reasonably sure that it was safe to enter the house.

The backdoor was in the middle of an enclosed walkway linking the garage and the house. When the Druid was satisfied that no one was around, he pulled on latex gloves, stepped over the fence, and walked quickly to the door.

The deadbolt on the backdoor yielded quickly to the Druid's lock pick gun. A peek into the garage revealed that Tim's car was gone. The garage door had an automatic opener. Good, Tim would undoubtedly trigger the opener as he drove down his street. The noise of the machine would give the Druid a few seconds' notice to ensure that he was safely out of sight when Tim arrived. For the Druid it was a sign that all would go well.

Tim hadn't bothered to lock the door from the walkway into the house proper. He had trusted that locking the backdoor and the garage would be enough. The Druid eased the door open a few inches and held his breath while he listened for a sign that anyone was home. Through the gap, he could see a washer and dryer and metal shelves holding cleaning products. A mop and a broom hung upside down from clamps on the wall. It had to be a utility room off the kitchen. Most of the floor was covered by a throw rug. Good, that would mask sounds. The Druid gently pushed the door open and stepped onto the rug. He listened intently for a moment. He could feel that no one was there. Somehow he always knew when a house was empty. An unoccupied house felt hollow, and his presence was not enough to disturb that feeling. When he was sure that he was alone, he turned the deadbolt lock in the back door. When Tim arrived, he must find no evidence that someone had entered his house.

The Druid loved going through his victims' houses. He loved violating their privacy. He loved reading their letters and checking their bills. He loved touching their clothes. He loved finding their secrets. He thought of it as a prelude, the initial invasion of the victim's space, the forerunner of things to come.

Tim kept his house clean and neat. The Druid was grateful for that. The Druid wanted to leave no record of his passage. He didn't have to worry about dislodging anything or remembering where he had found something. The kitchen held no surprises. The Druid found the usual things in the refrigerator and behind the doors of the cabinets. At the back of Tim's odds and ends drawer was a yellow plastic margarine tub filled with keys. It didn't take the Druid long to find a key to the backdoor. Tim had written "BD" on it with a black felt-tip pen. There were several such keys in the container—Tim wouldn't miss one. The Druid took that as another omen of success. He would be able to lock the backdoor when he left. If Tim called in the cops, at least initially how he had got in would be a mystery. Tim was making things so easy for him and providing him with everything he needed.

The door from the kitchen led into a dining room at the front of the house. The Druid had to edge past a table that occupied most of the space in the room to reach the large doorway opening onto the central hallway. The table might be a hazard in the dark. He would have to be careful not to bump into it or the chairs surrounding it. Once Tim was safely asleep, he might be able to use his penlight to navigate the room. He guessed that Tim was the type of person who would pull his drapes at night. He could risk the focused beam of his penlight. If Tim left the drapes open, there should be enough light from the street to allow him to pass through the room noiselessly. In any case, once he had finished playing with Tim, he wouldn't have to worry about making noise. The neighbors wouldn't hear him, and Tim would no longer care.

The remainder of the front half of the house was taken up by a large living room on the other side of the hallway. A staircase led from the hallway up to the second story. Also located along the central hallway at the back of the house were a small half-bath, a larger room that housed Tim's television and sound system, and a small room that served as his office. The Druid kept well away from the windows as he took stock of the furniture in each room. He had to be confident of finding his way around in the dark, if necessary, without bumping into the furniture.

There wasn't much to see. The living room and the dining room looked almost like display rooms. Tim clearly did not spend much time in them. The TV guide section of the Sunday newspaper on the arm of the sofa in the TV room was the first evidence that Tim actually used the ground-floor rooms in his house. The Druid checked—the guide was for the current week. The sofa faced a large, wall-mounted TV screen. Tim's sound system and his collection of CDs dated from at least a decade earlier. He appeared to have lost interest in music, or he had begun downloading it from the Internet to his phone or computer. Perhaps he just kept the sound system out of inertia.

Tim's laptop and printer took up most of the desk space in his office. Given the couple of hours each night the Druid had spent chatting with Tim over the past few months, the Druid guessed that Tim spent most of his weekday evenings sitting in his office staring at his laptop. The small room had only one window and the curtains were made of some heavy fabric. The Druid guessed that someone approaching Tim's house from the back at night would see only this dimly lit window. The rest of the house would be dark.

Upstairs were three bedrooms. Tim's bedroom had an attached bathroom. The Druid opened the medicine cabinet—nothing unusual there. Tim didn't take any medications, or, if he did, he didn't keep the bottles in the cabinet. Under the sink, there were only the usual spare rolls of toilet paper and cleaning liquids. Tim's electric razor was recharging on the sink. His comb was clotted with wiry strands of brown hair. Perhaps Tim was going bald. The wire caddy hanging over the shower spout in the bathtub held a shampoo with a conditioner advertised to make hair look thicker. Tim used a scented soap. The Druid identified the smell as sandalwood. The clothes hamper held only a pair of black dress socks and a red thong. The Druid knew from his conversations that a large part of Tim's fantasy life revolved around brightly colored underwear, preferably scanty and sheer. Tim liked "knowing that I'm wearing sexy underwear under my business suit."

The bed was king sized and solidly built of some dark wood. It was neatly made. Tim had taken the time to get the pattern on the quilt aligned with the sides of the bed. Tim had tucked the quilt under the pillows and then taken the time to position two throw pillows neatly against the headboard. Luckily the bed posts at each corner extended several inches above the mattress. Those would come in handy later. The bed faced an older-model TV with a built in deck for DVDs and tapes. The Druid speculated that Tim had moved the set upstairs when he bought the newer set downstairs.

A row of closets with folding doors extended along one wall. The Druid slid the doors open. Tim's clothes were well-organized. Suits and sports coats at one end, followed by slacks and then casual pants, next to shirts arranged from long-sleeve dress shirts to knit shirts at the far end of the closets. His shoes were neatly placed in pairs, toes pointing forward, with shoetrees in the better pairs. The shelf in the closet was stacked with boxes. The Druid found Tim's porn stash in an Amazon box. If the Druid hadn't already known of Tim's interest in BDSM, his collection of videos would have made that clear.

The drawers of the dresser showed the same attention to neatness and organization visible throughout the house. Briefs in one drawer, socks in another, both arranged by type and color. White T-shirts on the left side of another drawer, colored T-shirts to the right. The Druid lifted the stacks carefully. Tim hadn't hidden anything beneath them.

The nightstand on the right side of the bed held Tim's a box of condoms. The Druid counted them—Tim had used only one. The condoms would prove useful later. Of course, he would wear his own condom. That way he knew it was safe—you could never tell with people like Tim. The condoms might have been sitting in that drawer for years. Just another of Tim's fantasies.

There was another bathroom off the small landing at the top of the stairs. A guest bathroom, the Druid thought—no need to investigate it closely. He could guess what it held. The small bedroom next to the bathroom looked unused. The bed looked made up, but underneath the neat spread, the pillows and mattresses were bare. The closet held winter clothes stored in large plastic containers. The third, larger bedroom held more clothes in the closets and dresser. Tim had enough clothes for two people. Oddly the underwear in the dresser in this bedroom was more conservative than that in the master bedroom. The Druid noted that the clothes in this room were more the sort of things he might wear. The bed was in the same state as the bed in the second room. A spread concealed a bare mattress and pillows.

In the ceiling of the hallway was a door to the attic. The Druid pulled on the cord and a set of stairs attached to the upper side of the door unfolded. He climbed up it enough to peer into the attic. There was nothing there. The air was hot and stale.

The attic wouldn't make a good hiding place. He would be over Tim's bedroom, and Tim would hear any noise he made as he moved about. The spare bedrooms were possibilities. He could force his body under one of the beds or conceal himself in a closet. Tim didn't appear to use them often, but the Druid couldn't be sure that tonight wouldn't be the night that Tim decided he needed to vacuum those rooms. The Druid was certain that he could overpower Tim if Tim discovered him, but he didn't want to do that. It would spoil his plans. He hoped to find a better place to hide, but in a pinch he could conceal himself under one of the beds.

The Druid went up and down the stairs several times. They were carpeted, which would help dampen any noise he might make. Three of the steps creaked when he put his weight on them, but they weren't loud. If he crept up carefully and paused between steps, he wouldn't wake Tim up.

He rejected the hall closets on the ground floor as hiding places. They looked used, and in any case were too full of junk to permit him to stand there for several hours. He could hide behind the living room sofa. He couldn't imagine why Tim would look there, but it would be uncomfortable, and he wouldn't be able to stretch and move about. He discovered the door to the basement under the stairs to the second floor.

The Druid waited until 6:00. He used the downstairs bathroom one final time, being careful to leave no trace of his presence. He sat on the floor of the basement with his back against the wall near the furnace so that he could quickly hide behind it if necessary. He ate the two energy bars he had brought with him and carefully folded and stowed the wrappers in the laptop case. He took a sip of water.

Just before 7:00, he heard the garage door opening. A minute later he heard footsteps overhead and then the stairs creaking as Tim went upstairs. A short time passed. A toilet flushed and water ran. Tim came down the steps a few minutes later and walked through the house to the kitchen. The refrigerator door open and closed. The Druid identified a humming noise as the sound of the microwave. A few minutes later it beeped. The Druid waited motionless while Tim finished his meal. It didn't take long. Shortly afterwards, Tim turned on the TV and listened to the news.

Just after 8:00 the Druid removed his tablet from the case and powered it up. He logged onto Playdate.com under his Roger alias. As usual Tim was already waiting. As soon as he saw the Druid's screen alias appear in the list of members online, he opened a private chat window.

"Hello, Roger."

"Good evening, Vic, how was your day?" Online the Druid kept up the pretence that he didn't know Tim's name. Tim probably thought his screen name was a private joke. The Druid suspected that Vic-Tim liked to think that he was cleverer than the people he chatted with. The Druid had found that appeals to Tim's vanity always worked. Tim was only too happy to reveal things about himself when he thought he was impressing someone else.

"Fine, Roger. And yours?"

"Another hot day here in Phoenix. I drove past a clock on a bank at lunchtime, and the sign said the temperature was 98. I'm sure it's even hotter now." As he did every day he spoke with Tim, the Druid had checked the weather in Phoenix. He made sure to drop at least one Arizona reference into every conversation. The previous weekend he had even pretended to take a short trip. "I decided I just had to get out of town. So I hopped in the car and drove to Sedona. I'm talking to you from the Desert Breeze Motel." If Tim checked, he could easily find the motel's website, just as the Druid had. It was so easy to maintain the fiction that he lived in Phoenix.

At least once every time they chatted, Tim bemoaned the fact that "Roger" was so far away. He wished—oh how fervently Tim wished—that Roger were closer and could make his fantasies come true. The Druid was careful to nurture the expression of that wish. Each time Tim regretted the distance that separated him from his dream lover, the Druid matched Tim lament for lament. Let Tim think himself safe. In truth, the Druid suspected that part of Roger's attraction to Tim was that he was safely so far away. Tim no doubt believed that he would never have to dream up a plausible excuse to prevent Roger from visiting. The distance and the Roger's "dad, who requires so much looking after even though he's in an assisted-living center" would always keep Roger a titillating fantasy.

The Druid knew that a major part of Roger's attraction to Tim was his ability to spin out detailed scenarios for Tim's fantasy. The basic story remained the same every night. As usual, the two began by chatting about their day. The Druid always let Tim broach the subject. Sooner or later, Tim would tentatively mention sleeping or his bedroom or how isolated and dark his house was. That was the Druid's cue to begin steering the conversation toward Tim's fantasy. Tim would grow more and more silent till his remarks dwindled to an occasional "ah" or "aaah" as Roger described what he was doing to Tim in minute detail. Over the past few months, the Druid had questioned Tim about his neighborhood and his house and particularly his bedroom. Roger's nightly fictions incorporated so much of Tim's real life that Tim had become addicted. The Druid knew exactly what path he had to follow from the backdoor through the house to the stairs. He knew about the squeak in the bedroom door. He knew to avoid tripping on the quilt that Tim carelessly tossed over the bottom of the bed. He knew what color sheets were on the bed that week.

Tim loved it. "I've been talking with guys on here for four years, and nobody does this better than you, Roger." Tim ended every session with profuse thanks. He was so happy to have found this playmate. His only regret was that they couldn't have regular playdates.

The Druid was grateful for one thing. Tim was in the habit of being in bed by 10:00 so that he could catch the 6:25 train into the city every morning. The Druid could wrap the chat up by around 9:30. Gratifying Tim's fantasy was getting boring. Satisfying Tim wasn't the reason he trolled Playdate.com for his own victims. Lately, Tim had shown signs of wanting to prolong the chat. On several occasions the Druid had had to insist that Tim get a good night's sleep. The more the Druid fed Tim's addiction to his fantasy, the more demanding Tim was becoming. It was time to put a stop to that.

That evening as he sat in the basement, he kept chatting until the usual time. He waited for a few seconds after Tim's last comment before typing. "Sorry, Vic, I was just tending to something in the kitchen. My dinner's ready. I gotta go. I'll talk with you again tomorrow night."

"Too bad. We were just getting started."

"I know, Vic, I know. You should see the size of my hard-on. But I gotta eat dinner and you have to get to bed."

"I wish I could see the size of your hard-on. Maybe I should visit Phoenix."

"That would be great, Vic. Listen, I really have to go. Talk to you tomorrow. Bye."

The Druid logged off the site without waiting for Tim's reply. Tim always tried to ensnare him in further conversation. Cutting him off abruptly was the only way to deal with him. He wasn't sure whether Tim actually had the nightly orgasms he claimed to have. Typically, the more the Druid typed, the less Tim responded. Eventually he would hold down a key so that a string of letters appeared on the screen to signal that he was coming. The Druid did the same a minute or so later.

In truth the Druid didn't have orgasms online. He preferred to have them in person.

Upstairs, he heard Tim flush the downstairs toilet. He followed footsteps overhead as Tim walked into the kitchen and briefly did something there. Maybe Tim was one of those organized and methodical people who got the coffee machine ready the night before so that all he had to do was flip the switch in the morning. Once Tim finished whatever he was doing in the kitchen, it sounded like he walked around the house checking that all the doors and windows were locked.

When Tim had closed up the house for the night, he went upstairs. The water gurgled in the pipes. Tim was taking a shower. After he finished, the hot water heater came on, and a dim bluish light filled the basement. The Druid knew that it was Tim's habit to read for a half-hour or so before turning out the light and settling into bed. He claimed that he was usually asleep around 10:30.

The Druid logged onto Playdate.com again, this time under the screen name of Sergeant Briggs. JM found him a minute later, and the Sergeant began fulfilling JM's interrogation fantasy. That kept him busy for almost half an hour. Luckily JM climaxed more quickly than Tim. But the Druid wasn't yet sure if JM would be worth the travel time.

When JM left, the Druid logged off and then logged on again under the name of Jake. Jake's chat partner, Apollo, was already waiting. They talked until almost midnight. Apollo claimed to be a top. Perhaps he was. The Druid assumed that all the members of Playdate.com were hiding behind fake personas, and he doubted that Apollo was telling the whole truth about himself. In fact he was sure that the name owed more to wishful thinking than to reality. But the Druid enjoyed talking with Apollo. He and Jake traded information about their past victims. They had even fantasized about a joint operation. The Druid didn't care whether Apollo was or was not a top. He was a source of ideas and information. The Druid had learned a lot from him. He also knew Apollo's real name and enough information about him to pay a surprise visit to Apollo's home in north-central Massachusetts. The Druid was still trying to decide if he should drop in on him. It was always satisfying to top a top, but it would probably mean the end of their conversations. The Druid wanted to extract all that he could from Apollo before—well, before extracting the anal virginity Apollo claimed for himself.

When he finished talking with Apollo, the Druid shut down his laptop and stowed it away in the case. Before creeping up the basement stairs, he pulled a sheer black nylon hood over his head. It was a nuisance, but he didn't want Tim to see his face. In the light, a distorted version of his face was visible under the hood, but in the dark his head would appear to be covered. Tim wouldn't even be able to say how his hair was cut. Luckily he had found a hood that only slightly restricted his vision. Nor was it so tight around his neck that it left marks. It was a bit hot to wear, but he could survive that.

At the top of the stairs, he slowly eased the basement door open and listened carefully for any sounds of Tim stirring. Tim's bedroom was mostly over the kitchen. A random noise downstairs would probably not penetrate his consciousness, but still it was best not to take chances. No noise was better than even a slight noise.

Once the Druid was satisfied that his presence in the house remained undetected, he slid his feet out of his shoes and stripped off his outer clothes. He draped them carefully over the back of a chair so that he could dress quickly. The black body suit made him invisible. His final task downstairs was to creep through the house and slowly unlock the door to the backyard. The bolt turned almost silently. Tim wouldn't have heard the noise.

At the base of the stairs to the second floor, he retrieved a plastic bag from his laptop case. Enough light came from the street that he could see the syringe inside. He removed it from the bag and pulled off the cap covering the needle. The next five minutes were the most dangerous part. Holding the syringe with the needle up and his thumb on the plunger, he moved up the stairs one by one, pausing between each step. He kept as close to the wall as possible to minimize the noise. Once again he thanked Tim mentally for carpeting the staircase.

He had to traverse a few feet of hallway to get to the door to Tim's bedroom. He could hear Tim breathing. The breaths came regularly. The bedroom faced the back of the house, and the light from the street didn't penetrate it. The Druid had to call on his memory of the room and its layout. The white underside of the quilt draped over the bottom of the bed showed up as a faint patch in the dark room. Beyond it, he could barely make out Tim's body sprawled across the mattress. Tim lay face up, his arms and legs outstretched. Thankfully he had been telling the truth about sleeping in the nude. He had pushed the blanket down so that it covered only his lower legs and the sheet was bunched around his midsection. His right arm was exposed.

The Druid had to risk a light. He needed to see in order to inject the drug into the right place. He pulled the penlight from the leg pocket of his bodysuit and held it in his left hand. He positioned the syringe in his right hand over Tim's upper arm near where he guessed the best injection site was. He flicked the light on briefly. Good, he had guessed correctly. The needle was one of the finest gauges. A conscious person would barely feel it. A sleeping person wouldn't register it at all. In one smooth motion, he inserted the needle into Tim's arm and depressed the plunger. It was the work of a few seconds.

Tim's breathing faltered and then resumed. He swallowed and shifted slightly on the bed. The Druid stepped back into a dark corner. The drug needed time to circulate and begin working. He could wait. He was a patient man. He gave himself thirty minutes.

He didn't bother to be quiet as he walked downstairs to retrieve his other equipment. It didn't matter if Tim heard him. Tim couldn't escape now. He no longer had control of his voluntary muscles. In fact the Druid wanted Tim to wake up and realize that someone was in his house. The Druid wanted Tim to know that there wasn't anything he could do about it. Tim's terror was part of the fun.

The Druid put the cap back on the needle and stowed the syringe back in its plastic bag. It went back into the case. He pushed down the pants of his body suit. He was already hard from the excitement. He put on a condom and then pulled his pants back up. He was ready. He whistled as he went back upstairs.

Tim was awake. He was trying to protest against what was happening to him. His limbs trembled from his efforts to move them, and grunts of alarm came from his throat. The drug was wonderful. It severed the links between the brain and the larger voluntary muscles, but it left the victim alert. Tim would experience everything, and the Druid could take his time. The drug would not begin to wear off until around 5:00 and he would be out of Tim's house before that.

The Druid paused in the door to Tim's bedroom. He knew that Tim would see only a large dark figure blocking the dim light from the hallway. He kept on whistling. He wished he could remember the name of the tune. He always whistled it on the nights he visited his Playdate partners. It really was inane the way he could never forget that tune. He suspected that after tonight Tim would never forget it either. The Druid smiled at that prospect.

The Druid decided he needed more light. He closed the bathroom door until it was open just a crack and then turned on the light in the bathroom. A beam of light spilled across the carpet and onto the far wall. He stepped away from the light until his eyes adjusted. That was better. He could see enough for his purposes. An added bonus was that Tim could see better too.

The Druid pulled the quilt from the bed and tossed it in a corner out of the way. He jerked the top sheet and blanket off and added them to the mound. He removed the four lengths of unused rope he had draped around his neck. He rolled Tim over onto his stomach, stretched out his limbs, and quickly secured Tim's wrists and ankles to the bedposts.

Tim grew even more agitated. He couldn't form words, but there was definitely a pleading noise coming from his mouth. The Druid turned Tim's head to one side. It wouldn't do to have him suffocate. No, Tim needed to be conscious of what was happening to him. For once, Tim's playdate was going to be up-close and personal, not an online fantasy spun out over months.

But first, a bit of mayhem to set the scene. Tim needed time to think about what was going to happen to him. A slow build-up of accelerating violence culminating with an assault on Tim's body.

The Druid grabbed Tim's wallet off the top of the dresser and took the money. He folded it and stuck it into a pocket. He pulled out Tim's credit cards and rifled through them, letting them fall onto the dresser top and even spill onto the floor. He knew without looking that Tim was watching him. He yanked open the top drawer of Tim's dresser. He grabbed a handful of socks and tossed them on the floor as he mimed a search. When the sock drawer failed to yield anything of value, he pulled it all the way out and shook the rest of the contents out. He even jerked out the lining paper covering the bottom of the drawer before dumping the drawer on the floor. He did the same with the other drawers, as if he were searching for hidden valuables. The closet got the same treatment, as did the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. By the time he had finished rampaging through Tim's possessions, the room was littered with clothes and the contents of the medicine chest and closet. He pushed the boxes off the shelf in the closet and noisily rifled through each one. When he found Tim's stash of porn, he gleefully read off the titles in a snide voice. He slammed one into the VCR and turned the machine on. When the sex noises started, he turned the volume up. "Something to keep you entertained, faggot," he sneered. "I should have known. You don't even have any tapes worth taking."

He returned to the bed and opened the nightstand. When he found the condoms, he laughed and tossed them on the bed in front of Tim's face. "Maybe I can find a use for these," he snarled.

When he finished in Tim's bedroom, he invaded the other upstairs rooms, making even more noise. In the second bathroom, he grabbed the metal wastebasket from under the sink and tossed it into the bathtub. It bounced about with a satisfying crash. When he was certain that Tim would think his house was being vandalized in the intruder's search for loot, he stormed back in the bedroom and smacked Tim hard on the butt. He grabbed the tape out of the VCR, tossed it on the floor and stomped on it until the plastic case shattered.

"Fifty lousy bucks. Is that all you got? Where do you keep the good stuff? Downstairs? Is it downstairs? You gotta have more than this. A place like this, you gotta have more than a few bucks." The Druid grabbed a belt from the floor, folded it in two, and viciously slashed it across Tim's butt. The figure on the bed shuddered from the violence and uttered panicked grunts and inarticulate cries. It sounded like Tim was trying to say "no." The sounds came out as a series of na na nas.

Time to amp up the violence. The Druid grabbed Tim by the hair and jerked his head back. He knelt down and stuck his face into Tim's. Only an inch separated them. "Tell me," he shouted. He knew full well that Tim couldn't speak yet. He wouldn't be able to form words for another two hours or so. When Tim failed to answer, the Druid picked up the belt again and brought it down repeatedly on Tim's ass, each time yelling at Tim and demanding that Tim tell him where the "good stuff" was.

When the Druid saw tears of panic rise in Tim's eyes, he tossed the belt aside. "I know how to make you talk," he growled. He had practiced for weeks to get that voice right. God, he was even frightening himself. The effect on Tim was even more gratifying. Tim seemed to know what was coming. If Tim could talk, he would be pleading right now.

The Druid grabbed one of the condoms from the bed. He pushed down the waistband of the body suit, exposing his groin. He tore open the package. His cock was hard and erect, throbbing with the excitement of the violence he had just unleashed. The Druid unrolled the condom but then paused. He knew he had Tim's attention now. His victim had just realized that his fantasy was about to come true. Tim's cries became even more frantic as he tried to struggle against the ropes that bound his limbs to the bed.

The Druid tossed the unrolled condom onto Tim's face. It lay across his nose and mouth. It must feel clammy against his skin. "I hate these fucking things," he hissed. Let Tim wonder if on top of everything else, he was going to get a disease. As if he would risk getting a disease from Tim or leaving a DNA sample for the cops.

He leaped onto the bed, straddling Tim's legs. He knelt over Tim's torso, supporting his body with his left arm. With his right hand, he guided his cock between Tim's ass cheeks, rubbing it up and down over the ass crack until he felt the flesh give slightly. He rammed his cock into Tim's ass in one fierce motion. Tim's body bucked and heaved under him. He grabbed Tim by the hair again, and with each thrust he shoved Tim's head deeper into the pillow, in a mounting crescendo of physical violence.

"Tell me, you motherfucker, where do you keep the good stuff?"

Tim's struggles only excited the Druid more and more. God, how he loved fucking idiots like Tim. He exulted in his victim's helplessness. He could smell Tim's fear and his pain. This was his reward for all those nights of chatting Tim up and listening to the silly man pretending to jerk off and his fantasy of being assaulted by a prowler. All those hours of feeding Tim's safe little "masturba-story" of being assaulted by an imaginary midnight burglar, of leading Tim by small increments to imagine more and more violent scenarios. Assault was Tim wanted. Assault was what he deserved. Assault was what he was getting. With each thrust, Tim gave a silent scream. That was wonderful. Each time he screamed, the muscles in his abdomen contracted and squeezed the Druid's cock.

He stopped worrying about Tim. Tim didn't matter anymore. All that mattered was his cock powering into his helpless victim. Eventually he let himself go, pounding ferociously into the flesh of the body. He came with a scream of victory and collapsed onto Tim's body.

The Druid allowed himself a minute's rest. Tim wasn't going anywhere. He still had ample time to get away, and he loved the feeling of an inert, spent victim under his body. As often happened, Tim's body spasmed from time to time. It was like getting an added gift. The Druid lazily thrust his cock in and out a few more times, prolonging the enjoyment. A pity he had to wear the body suit. He would have liked the feeling of skin against skin, but he needed to leave as little trace evidence as possible. He nuzzled Tim on the back of the neck and then pulled himself out.

The Druid removed the condom carefully and dropped it into his trash bag. He would incinerate it later. He pulled up the tights of his body suit. Tim was breathing normally. His eyes were open, and he was following the Druid's movement about the bedroom. Good, the drug was wearing off. Tim would be able to move about soon. The Druid snapped the light off in the bathroom. He cut the ropes securing Tim's wrists to the bed. When Tim had control of his muscles again, he would be able to untie the knots around his ankles and release himself. Tim said something. He still couldn't control his voice very well. If the Druid hadn't known better, he would have thought Tim was saying "thank you," but that didn't make any sense.

The Druid moved swiftly now that he was finished. He put his street clothes back on downstairs and let himself out the backdoor, locking it behind him. He would keep the key as a souvenir. The sky was already beginning to show a bit of light in the east, but perhaps that was just the glow from the city. He strode across the backyard and climbed over the fence. He waited just inside the trees at the back until he saw the light in Tim's bedroom come on. Good, Tim had freed himself. He would be OK.

The Druid moved through the trees in the park, avoiding the paths. Chesterville was the type of place that had early morning joggers, and he preferred not to meet anyone on a dark path, someone who might remember a stranger. He emerged on the far side of the park and strode down the street to the railway station. He caught the first outbound passenger train to Albany at 5:46 and rode it to Kingston. There he waited for a few minutes and then got on the next inbound passenger train. The train was on time. It pulled into Chesterville at 6:25.

The Druid was the only passenger to get off. On a Saturday morning only a dozen people were waiting to board—a few business types going to work on Saturday, a group of women who looked like they were headed into the city for a day of shopping and maybe a matinee.

The Druid looked forward to his chat with Tim that night. Would Tim tell all? Some of his victims did. Others kept the experience to themselves—out of shame the Druid supposed. He could never predict. What he could predict was that Tim would soon lose interest in Playdate.com. Now that Tim had experienced the real thing, he would find chat unsatisfactory. The Druid would offer him an excuse—perhaps he would say that his father had died and that he wouldn't be around for a while. Tim would be glad to accept it as a reason for abandoning their conversation.

That was the gift he gave to his chat partners on Playdate—he helped them live out their fantasies. So few people actually got to do that. Really, he was performing a service. He was benefitting his playdates. Most of them cherished the memory of his visit. Of course, they were terrified while it was happening, but that was part of the fun, both for them and for himself. A win-win situation for both.

The Druid retrieved his car. He used the money he had taken from Tim's wallet to pay the $22.50 he owed. He would drive north for an hour or so before he stopped for breakfast. He could set the GPS for his next stop then. Oh, and he needed to find a place to remove the stolen license plates. He mustn't forget to do that and toss the plates into a river.

The phone chimed. "One text message. Would you like me to read it?"

The Druid automatically answered "Yes." He couldn't think who might be calling.

"Playdate mode off."


"Hey, sleepyhead, you'd better wake up. It's past 2:00. You won't be able to sleep tonight if you don't get up soon."

Roger stirred on the bed. A cup of coffee appeared in front of his eyes. He stretched and sat up. "Ohh. How long have I been asleep?"

"Since you got back this morning. You drove in about 7:00 and just collapsed on the bed. I didn't have the heart to wake you up earlier." Tim sat down on the bed beside Roger and gave him a hug. "Here, drink some coffee. That will help wake you up."

"I'm so sorry about last night, Tim. I was hoping to leave Hartford around noon yesterday. I even checked out of the motel, but that guy's books were such a mess. I worked all night. I didn't want to spend another day there. So I kept working until I finished. It was after four by the time I finally got away. I hope you don't mind. I know you had a big date night planned." Roger set up in bed and looked around. "Were you re-arranging your clothes? It looks like a tornado's gone through the bedroom."

"Don't worry about that. I decided that as long as you were gone, I'd clean out my dresser and throw away some of the older stuff. I was working on that when you got home this morning, and I just left everything as it was because I didn't want to disturb you. I'll get everything put back in place shortly. And then we can plan a workout for later. How does beer and pizza sound for dinner? You can make one of your famous salads."

For a second Roger felt disoriented. Hadn't he had beer and pizza and salad last night? He couldn't remember what he had eaten. It was odd. All of last night was a blur. He must have been more tired than he realized. When he noticed Tim looking at him strangely, he smiled to reassure his partner. "Sorry, still half asleep. Beer and pizza sounds good. Hey, did you hurt yourself?" Roger pointed at a red welt along the outside of Tim's wrist.

Tim looked down at his wrist in surprise. "Weird. I wonder how I got that. Must have had something wrapped around my wrist that chaffed it. Nothing to worry about. It will be gone in a day. Hey, you must be starving. I'll make you something to eat. You need to build your strength up for what I have planned for tonight. You just relax and drink your coffee. I'll be right back."

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