This is a scene of Basil’s first night out as a Harvestor, hanging with Drakar and Pam:
Half an hour past ten p.m., knuckles rapped against his door. An obscure driver escorted him to a limousine. Drakar would travel in style.
His joyful mood waned the moment Pam rolled her eyes at him. “I knew it.”
Basil settled on a seat. The driver pulled away from the curb. “What?”
Pam shook her head in disapproval, much like his father used to. Remembering his parents sobered his thoughts, quieted his mind. A few minutes ride brought them to the highway. Hazard lights flashed in the near distance. Two shadows loomed near the vehicle.
“Driver,” Drakar called. “Pull over. Looks like those folks are in need.”
The driver nodded and slowed. Tires bumped and rumbled onto the shoulder.
White teeth flashed when Drakar smiled mischievously. “Forget the casino, Pam. Lessons start now.”
The corners of her lips dipped into a neon frown, pink lipstick bright and shiny. But she held her pout in check.
A couple held their hands up to their faces, blinded by the limo’s headlights. “Pam, take the guy. You know the drill.” Drakar instructed. He turned to Basil. “If memory serves me correct, overprotective mommy never let you within a foot of a girl’s lips, so we’ll have to improvise.”
Basil chewed his bottom lip, both embarrassed and angered by the truth of Drakar’s words. Heat flooded his cheeks. The tips of ears even tingled.
“What is it we’re doing here?” Basil grabbed an apple from the fruit bowl, rubbing it against his jeans.
“Siphoning,” Pam answered.
Basil stilled, playing the word in his head again. They were in a limo. They had more than enough fuel to get to Atlantic City and back ten times over. He knew she had to mean something else but he didn’t want to risk sounding more useless, pathetic.
Drakar snatched the apple from Basil.
“This will do.”
His grin spread wider. “Worked out well for Adam and Eve.”
As a kid, Basil learned the story of the first woman and man and the forbidden fruit. And it most certainly didn’t work out well. This shook his nerves even more, but he stayed quiet.
Drakar called to the driver. “Go find out what is wrong.”
Once the driver left, Drakar placed the green apple in one hand and held his other palm a hand’s breadth from the stem, chanting, “Receive to consume. Animo.” He spoke the words several times until the skin shone brilliant, inviting and very tempting.
Consume. Animo. Basil remembered the second word was another way to say soul. The gears in his mind reached a conclusion he tried to deny. The real meaning of siphoning.
Drakar broke into his train of thoughts, handing him the apple. “Give this to the woman. It will absorb her soul energy, act as a container since you’re sorely behind in social skills.”
Pam giggled aloud. “What a waste. I’m ready, Master.”
Basil bit back the comment that she was probably always ready, knowing it would only earn another snide remark.
The driver tapped the rear passenger side window and Basil opened the door. “They don’t need much,” the driver said. Having a little trouble changing the tire in the dark is all. I’ll help them, if that’s okay with you.” Drakar nodded. The driver returned to the couple’s vehicle.
Pam shoved Basil out onto the gravel. He stumble-shuffled but kept upright. She stuck one leg then the other out of the door with the grace of a feline. Her face glowed beneath the moonlight, beautiful without her pesky smirk.
She took Basil by the elbow and swayed her hips seductively as they approached the couple. Her performance wasn’t lost on the guy. Or the woman.
Pam whispered in Basil’s ear, “Give your apple to the woman first. I’ll handle the rest.”
He wracked his brain for a good reason anyone would accept a piece of fruit from a complete stranger. He got nothing. Pam shot him a glance, noting his silence, then took over. “Hope you two haven’t waited for help too long out here.”
“A short while, but it’s okay,” the woman responded, lacing her arm with her husband’s. Moonlight glinted off their matching wedding bands. “People are understandably leery. We’re thankful you stopped.”
Pam’s smile curled into something malevolent. “Don’t thank us yet. Now!”
Basil slapped the apple into the woman’s hand. She stood stock still. Her arms fell to her side, fingers gripping the fruit tightly. Her eyes widened and glossed over. At the same time, Pam reached up and jerked the man’s face down. Her lips bound to his. He squawked in protest half a heartbeat then loosened like Jello.
The woman’s face paled, thin lips bared over clenched teeth. The apple’s shine was gone, the job of tempter now fulfilled. When Basil pried her fingers from the fruit, the last thing he expected was for her slender form to crumple to the ground. The same happened when Pam withdrew her lips from the man. Husband and wife laid side by side like heaped rag dolls.
A weighted shiver rolled down Basil’s spine, though not from the night air. He took solace in watching their chests rise and fall, in knowing he hadn’t taken a life. The driver’s gasp and the clank of the tire iron pulled him from his thoughts.
“Oh my God! What have you people…” The driver couldn’t finish, try as he may. Not when the odor of decay surrounded them.