Gage stepped to the bar and poured himself a drink, while Max looked on, silently awaiting instructions by the hallway. Gage took a sip, not because it did anything for his thirst, but because it was simply one of the quirks he had developed before he had been bound. No, he would slake his real thirst soon. For the time being he was simply satisfying an old habit.
“When is my father arriving?” he asked after another sip.
“I think his car was coming up the hill on the north drive just a moment ago,” answered Max.
Gage looked at him over the top of his glass. “By the way,” he said. “I don’t suppose you put anybody out in the pool area, did you?”
“No, sir,” Max replied with a shake of his head. “With it being fenced off and all, I didn’t worry too much about it.”
“Then you can stand out there yourself, idiot,” snapped Gage. Max nodded his head and went outside without saying a word.
“Stupid brute,” thought Gage. If it were not for his single-minded devotion and the fact that he was effective (even if slow-witted), Gage would have gotten rid of him a long time ago or at least sent him back to Sir Roderick.
Gage stood for a moment listening to the throbbing hum of the music from the party below the house. He relished the Harvest Party and the boon it always proved to be for his conquest of young people. In and of itself, the event would have been insignificant except that it was a token of what was actually an enormous program utilizing top music bands. What was happening here in this little, out-of-the-way town was being multiplied thousands of times over year round on stages in every major city. The Harvest Club was itself a part of a huge network of clubs wherein young people were introduced and proselytized into the culture that Gage was using to nurture them into a generation of rebels.
This particular event was also the outward expression of the private, little party that Gage held for himself every year. It was his Crimson Harvest that was truly his secret delight as a ritual that he had established to worship himself. Each year, he would go above and beyond his normal feedings and select a special subject that he would bind to himself. He always chose a girl in her early twenties or in her teens because she was young and tender. He preferred one that would be something of a challenge and need extra coaxing, especially if she was part of a churchgoing family: He loved to bait her into the role of Judas. His victory and sense of being godlike was far more pronounced when he could steal for himself worship and/or devotion from God and turn some “good girl” into a weapon in his hand against those hypocritical Christians.
Then at his Crimson Harvest, when his choice was sufficiently overcome with a lust for blood, he would often present someone to her that she had once loved or had been close to . . . sometimes a friend, sometimes a family member. The horror and fear emanating from the victims as they became the food of their sister, daughter, or friend amused Gage’s wickedness immensely.
This year had provided him a special challenge, however. At first, he had thought there would be nothing notably different with Jillian. She was a fairly easy catch with Rich already being under his power because of his heroine and Oxycontin addiction. Yet Gage was intrigued by the idea of also ensnaring her friend Heather, who he had heard attended church “religiously.” He had had no specific plan exactly except perhaps to bind Heather and then have her feed on Jillian or maybe have them both feed on Heather’s mother or father . . . or both.
But things had changed. Heather had not responded as most girls did.
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