Stalking down the short hallway, Brick found a door on the right slightly ajar. He shoved it open, then halted, his mouth dropping open. Ian had a syringe…
“Jesus fucking Christ, Ian! What in God’s name do you think you’re doing?”
Ian stared at the syringe, his eyes hooded, a dreamy expression on his face. “It’s all right.”
Brick watched in horror as the needle penetrated tender flesh, a dainty thumb depressing the plunger with agonizing slowness, as Ian murmured, “You’ll like me better this way. They all like me better.”
Brick flicked the cap off the pill bottle, watched it bounce and roll across the tile floor. He dumped the pill into his left palm as Ian nodded encouragement. He asked, “What happens if I don’t take this?”
The boy blanched, ducked his head, and whispered, “Papa Gilles will punish me.”
He stared for a long moment at the most beautiful face he’d ever seen. Wide-eyed innocence and lurid sin painted the man-child with the essence of depravity and the promise of salvation.
Taking a deep breath, Bricker tossed the pill back and swallowed it dry.