Page 20 of Depredation

I had more than enough money to buy hundreds of the kind of women I wanted, and I had—multiple times—but there was no excitement in that.

The thrill came from this. The kidnapping, the torture, and finally the bittersweet ending. It was delayed gratification after watching them for so long.

When I bought women from Malignant, they all begged for death in the end.

They’d gone through hell already, and just wanted everything to be over.

They were always so complaint, happily spreading their legs for me with the promise of freedom.

“J,” Minnie’s voice called through the door, bringing me back to the moment.

I checked the hamper, making sure I closed the lid before replying.

“It’s open,” I said, wiping my hands on a towel.

She opened the door and stepped inside, dressed in a tight yellow sundress.

“Are you okay?” she asked, her hazel eyes scanning the side of my face.

“I’m fine, Minnie,” I replied. “Are you ready to leave yet?”

“So you bit yourself then?” Her voice dripped with dry sarcasm.

I saw where she was looking and irritably rolled my sleeve down, brushing past her.

“It’s the Lane girl, isn’t it? Why haven’t you gotten rid of her yet?” she demanded to know, following after me, heels clicking on the newly shined hardwood. Leave it to Minnie to hit the nail right on the head. Regardless, her nagging was starting to piss me off.

“You’re getting sloppy again, aren’t you? She has to go, Jayce. You need to get rid of—”

I spun around so fast she almost collided with my chest. “You and I don’t discuss Harper. We discuss when you want extra money to splurge, or a rare night in my bed. Now get your shit, and go wait in the car.”

Looking only slightly taken aback, she placed her dainty hands on her hips and glared up at me.

“I’m just looking out for you. For us.”

“Are you?”

“Yes! I know you need to fulfil your…other needs, and I support that, but I’m also your wife. I love you, and you love me. So you should know I’m looking out for our best interest.”

I almost laughed. Loved her?

The only person I loved was myself. I used her to maintain an image to the outside world. Love was a major stretch of the imagination.

Of course, I couldn’t exactly tell her that.

“I’ve got everything under control. Now please, go get in the car.”

She puckered her glossy lips like she had a lengthy response she was ready to spew.

Fortunately, she only nodded and turned back around, walking her prissy ass out of my bedroom.

I sighed, scrubbing a hand over my face. This wasn’t the first time we’d almost discussed my newest toy.

I never spent as many nights buried inside them as I did this particular brunette, and Minnie had started to notice. She didn’t care what I did to the girls, how I fucked them, or how badly they suffured, but she did care about protecting her claim as my wife.

I couldn’t have her jealous and bitter—which begged the question: what the hell was I going to do with Harper Lane?

I couldn’t keep her long-term, I knew that now.

Walking to my closet, I opened it and retrieved the little black box I kept on the top shelf.

I sat down with it on my bed and lifted the lid.

The first thing I saw was my golden cross. Growing up in the church ensured I always had one somewhere.

Beside it was a round silver stop-watch that used to belong to my grandfather. It had a bit of wear on it, but otherwise still worked.

I lifted it out by its silver chain and clutched it within my fist.

An idea began forming in my head.

I started to shut the box, stopping when I saw a picture of my mother.

She looked youthful here, her doe brown eyes and matching long hair healthy.

This was taken a short six months before cancer won—the same damn disease that took Father.

We’d been extremely close in every way possible. She helped me explore some of my darker interests, and told me every day that not a damn thing was wrong with me.

Losing her was unexpected. However, I wasn’t upset. Death was a natural part of life. When it was time, it was time.

Beside her picture was the folded flyer with Harper’s smiling face on it.

She looked just as my mother did when the picture was taken: youthful and happy.

That was all gone now.

Letting the lid shut, I sat on the bed until I heard a horn honk from out front.

–Chapter Seventeen–

Harper

“Time to wake up.”

My eyes flew open and stared right into J’s. He had his hand wrapped around my throat, pinning me down on the floor.

It took my sleepy brain a few seconds to realize he was burning me. His other hand was between my legs, pressing the butt of a cigarette against my labia.

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