BLOOD & SWINE: A Comedy of Terrors
(2009, unpublished) - a novel by A.R.Yngve - Sample Chapters
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PROLOGUE: Rising Star
The old boss said: "From the moment I first met you, Jack, I knew. You'd rise to the top in our company."
"Oh? How come, Hollister?"
"You're ruthless... you think on your feet... you never take the blame for anything... you're a wizard at charming the customers... you live for the job... you've got the drive to succeed..."
"I'm impressed. Did you see all that from the moment we first met?"
"No. I saw that, most importantly, you have good hair."
"Do go on." Jack bared his full set of white, strong teeth in a pleased, cocky grin.
"A star executive, he's got to have it. Good hair. The kind that looks like steel wool. Turns gray but grows rich. Like the mane of an aging alpha male gorilla. It conveys natural kingship. Some guys, they even try to fake it. That doesn't work. Only the real thing will do."
"Boss. You did not invite me into your home to talk about hair. So tell me what I came to hear. Tell me... my future."
"Ha ha... you always keep your eye on the goal, Jack. Okay. Tell you a secret: In three years, I'll retire. I need to spend more time with my wife. And I want you to succeed me."
Jack stopped smiling and closed his thin lips. He looked his boss in the eye. "Three years... that's not soon enough. I'll have to get a better offer."
Gently, quietly, Jack took hold of Hollister's arm and pressed five fingernails into the man's hand. There was a slight sting, but Hollister barely noticed it. Hollister's broad frame stiffened; he stared in surprise at Jack.
"What? You mean you'll ""
"You sound drunk. You had too many drinks during dinner." Jack's gaze turned vaguely inhuman. His entire shape changed, like the way a shadow darkens. "You drink too much. Don't you, Hollister?"
Hollister's gaze could not get away from Jack's predatory stare. It transfixed him. "Jack... your nails are going into my hand."
"Listen up, Hollister. I speak and you obey. Say 'Yes, Grand Poo-Bah.'"
"Yes... Grand Poo-Bah..."
"There is your boat. Get in the boat, take a trip straight out to sea, all the way to the horizon. Beyond the horizon lies the fulfillment of all your wishes. Everything you could ever want is there. Go. And have a few more drinks on the way."
Smiling, Jack released Hollister's arm, walked him to the pier and led him aboard the boat. He waved to the boss as Hollister started the powerful motor and drove off in a spray of water. "Have fun!"
Jack Drasco, Vice President of Hogoration, Inc., walked away from the pier and up the path to Hollister's mansion. The only person left in the mansion was Hollister Bannon's wife. She should be asleep; it was 1:10 in the morning.
Mrs. Bannon, wearing her bathrobe and underwear, came out through the patio door. She made a rush for the pier. Jack caught her hand, hard, and stopped her. Mrs. Bannon spun around and her curly blond hair fell over her distraught face.
"Jack!" she cried. "Where's Holly going in the boat? At this hour?"
Jack pulled her closer. "I don't want to tell you this, Tatyana, but... Holly confided in me that he's going to leave you. He took a long trip to think things over, he said. Heading for 'new horizons,' he said."
"Wh-what?" Tatyana Bannon sounded shocked and hurt. "He can't mean that... he was going to take more time off from work..." She pulled up a cell phone from her bathrobe. Jack grabbed her other wrist. With a yelp, Tatyana dropped the phone.
His fingernails pierced the skin of her wrist. Her struggle to break free of his grip weakened, breath by breath, until she was breathing lightly and had a dazed look in her eyes.
"Forget about Holly," Jack said softly into her ear. He led her back indoors. "Let's go upstairs. I must have a word with you, alone."
"Word..." she repeated. And she went along without resistance. Outside, by the horizon, a storm was building up. Distant flashes of lightning flickered over the horizon.
An hour later, Mrs. Bannon's phone rang. It lay discarded on the patio. The caller rang twelve times before he drowned and his boat sank. From the upstairs bedroom came hoarse, rhythmic female moans...
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