He released his prey in a dark, foul-smelling alley behind the pub. Ron struggled to sit up against a wall, next to a trash can. His nose now felt numb, and he had blood all over his shirt.
"Jesus Christ, what kind of psycho are you, man? What do you want from me?"
The guy remained silent, standing in front of him, his fists clenched, his faceless head bent down in his direction. Then, he again dropped the photograph in front of Ron.
"Again? Told you guy I don't have anything to do with that girl ! Why do you think I've got to do with that anyway?"
The guy simply answered by taking another piece of paper from his pocket and tossing it at him. He unfolded it, and sighed. Ronald Davis, registered sex offender. Who happened to live not far from where Deborah was last seen.
"How did you find out so fast?" he asked. "Don't tell me you've been keeping tabs on all registered..."
He didn't finish his sentence for he saw, in the guy's quiet yet determined composure, that the answer was yes.
"Oh shit," he muttered. "Wait, so you're that guy who goes around pretending to be Batman or something? So you made the connection and found me..."
He was about to ask exactly how he found him, but his imagination easily supplied an answer: in his head, he saw the guy show up at his house, not long after the girl's disappearance made the news. Just the time it'd take to make the connection and arrive. He saw him break into his house. At that moment Ron was already at the pub. The guy would find the house empty, and begin to look around for him, searching one, two, three bars, following the trail like a goddamn hound, until he got him. All in less than an hour. Although Ron knew he was innocent, he shuddered at that guy's psychopathic determination.
"Okay," he confessed, "listen, I did things wrong with a girl, once. Only once, you hear me? I was drunk and I didn't know what I was doing..." tears began to appear on the corners of his eyes at this painful recollection. With a choked voice he went on: "there's not a single minute I spend without regretting this... I did jailtime for this... lost my wife, my job... I paid my debt, goddamnit! I'll be registered for the rest of my life, but I'm clean now, get it? I'm a normal guy who did one mistake once, I'd never kidnap a child or..."
He stopped abruptly, his eyes shining with a new light. The light of someone who just remembered something important. He looked up:
"What if I told you I know a guy who may have something to do with this?"
The helmet nodded slightly, inviting him to go on.
"Okay... there was that guy, when I was in jail... we became friends and... I discovered he'd been busted for having... the wrong kinds of videos on his hard drive. He must've felt confident with me because he confessed that he... thought of... things. Assured me he never acted upon his thoughts, but... man, the things he told me, I don't want to repeat these, it's so fucking sick! Shortly after he was transferred, they said he wasn't dangerous and just needed to be cured. We didn't see each other after that. I only learned that he'd been declared sane, and was free. Dunno if it's really him, dunno if he can really act upon his... but if it's him, you better find that girl fast. His name is Lenny Keats. Dunno where he lives."
Without a word, the guy walked away. Ron stood up with difficulty as his eyes followed his aggressor. It was only then that he noticed the CB600 parked in the alley a few feet away. The guy straddled the bike, started the engine, and roared off into the night.
"Crazy fuck..." Ron muttered, as he walked back to the pub.