Chapter 13

Although the nights were cold, the days were unseasonably warm and sunny. Bert and Hank were busy cleaning the small doe Bert had killed early that morning. Megan planned to preserve as much of the meat as possible using the smoker and an old pressure canner. She had often teased her mother about her collection of antiquated pots and outdated cooking utensils. However, living in this primitive environment, she enjoyed rummaging through the 'junk trunks' in the cellar. Along with an old yellowed cookbook or two, sometimes she would run across old photographs, or scraps of paper . . notes written with her mother's hand. Now, with determination, she studied her most recent find in order to discover the proper method of preserving the meat that Hank and Bert had hung in a tree. Sandy, delighted with the old book on 'home brewing' that she had given her, had sought the aid of Mort and Eddie in gathering the plants necessary to make the first batch.

Sal knew that soon this small group would be traveling north to Monticello. Often, he sought the solitude of the open road, but for now, he was satisfied to keep watch over them. The ability of these people to work and play together without fighting amazed him. It was not long before easy going Bert fit right in with the lifestyle of the others like he was born to it. The change in Jake (he refused to refer to his friend as Jacob, even in his thoughts) was the most puzzling to him. At times, he found himself in a position where he overheard portions of the conversations between Jacob and Tyler. With an impersonal detachment, he would silently debate the issues with himself.

Just before lunchtime, Ben came running out of the motor home shouting, "There's been some kind of government takeover! I was just on the radio with a friend of mine who's a trucker. It seems he was on his way back to Phoenix and when he passed through Topeka there was a large barricade right in the middle of the Interstate. All vehicles were being inspected by armed soldiers wearing uniforms with large 'ARGUS' patches on their sleeves. I heard something about them on the shortwave, but man, I never really believed it!"

" Well, I'm not surprised." said Molly. "This has been brewing for a long time. It's sad, but I really don't think it has anything to do with us. Gaf and I have lived on the edges of society for a long time. Unless this ARGUS group intends to recruit from our little troupe, it's not likely to change our lives one bit. However, I'll be glad when we get to Monticello, there's safety in numbers. My guess is they'll be too busy gaining control in the cities to bother about blocking the highways out here in 'the sticks'."

Late that afternoon the day turned cold, all were drawn to the campfire by the delicious aroma rising from the venison as it roasted on a spit. There was considerable discussion about the overthrow of the government, however, everyone seemed to agree that it would have little effect on their lives. Regardless of what politicians did, it simply would not affect their day-to-day activities. Given the amount of chaos in the larger cities, the 'new order' would likely burn itself out attempting to arrest control. What did bother most of them was the Anarchy that would soon be on their doorstep. Tyler spoke mysteriously that this matter was not of concern to any of us. In his usual cryptic manner he said, "There is someone coming who will return order to our sad little planet. However, we must wait until he can be found."

Tyler would not elaborate and simply walked off into the forest. Realizing that they had little control over what political groups did, the conversation shifted and their mood lightened. Sandy cheerfully related a harrowing experience between a brahma bull and Mort's motorcycle while she and Eddie had been running for the fence, their pack's full of grain. After their hunger was satisfied, they settled into what had become almost a nightly ritual. Relaxing near the campfire, Sal listened to the harmony created by Megan and Sandy as they sang a mournful ballad of lost love. He glared intensely at Sandy, 'she looks sooo sweet - The Queen Bitch' he thought, stewing over their most recent run-in. 'It's fine and dandy, if Mort and Eddie want to entertain themselves by doin' for her.' His thoughts continued to rage, 'That's what women do, act all sweet and then try to run your entire fuckin' life!' Abruptly he stood and threw a large piece of wood into the fire, sending a shower of sparks high up into the air.

Sandy jumped up and brushed ashes from her hair and clothes as she shouted, "Boy, that was real smart, are you trying to set us all on fire?" The air suddenly felt heavy with anger. Everyone held their breath for a moment. Sal's increasing irritability was wearing thin and Molly walked between the two combatants, looked up into Sal's face and asked, "Want to walk with me and Jez for a while?"

"Sure, why not." Sal answered as he quickly turned and strode off into the dark. Molly, almost running in order to keep up with him, pulled a flashlight from her pocket to light the way. Jez ran off ahead, as usual. After about 15 minutes of walking in silence, Sal's stomping slowed to a comfortable pace. " You know, Sal," Molly began tentatively," it would make things easier for all of us if you could control your temper a little. Yelling at people won't solve your problem. Why don't you try a little patience?" Sal stopped in mid stride and snarled," Patience! That bitch drives me nuts! It's not enough she has that dim witted boyfriend of hers wrapped around her little finger. No . . . she's got to have Mort and Eddie running after her like love sick puppies." Molly flinched a little, but held her ground as his hands sliced through the air wildly. "Sal, your problem is not with Sandy, it's with Juniper."

"Juniper?" Sal asked , "What the hell are you talking about, she's not even here!"

"Exactly! She's not here, but she's definitely with us. She's on your mind day and night."

"Bullshit!"

"Listen Sal, sometimes we don't like to admit, even to ourselves, how we feel about a person. We think the other person might laugh or might not return our feelings. You're strongly attracted to Juniper, why else would you have come looking for us." With a twinkle in her eye she added, "I can't image it was because you wanted to get your cards read."

"OK, so maybe I have been thinkin' about her, so what? I think of a lot of broads."

"Not like you think about this one."

"Oh yeah? And what if you're right? She's like a cold fish around me."

"I know the reason she's been cool toward you, but I don't think you'll like it."

"Don't beat around the bush old lady, just tell it like it is."

"First, I want to say that Juniper does have strong feelings for you. That's why she gave you that crystal. I noticed you wear it around your neck, and so did Juniper. However," Molly added with a touch of sadness in her voice, "Sometimes . . things interfere."

"Just spit it out!"

"Juniper had nightmares for weeks after the deaths of that preacher and his followers. Although the bad dreams stopped, she couldn't forget the violence she saw and felt that night, especially when she was around you."

"But, if we hadn't shown up they would have killed all of you, Juniper included. I don't understand."

"She knows that and that's why she went away for a while. She's trying to come to terms with her emotions and her feelings for you. But look on the bright side, you two are better off than Don and Megan. At least you weren't responsible for the death of Juniper's father." Molly's words trailed off as she began pondering the relationship problems of the younger generation. After a few moments, she became aware that Sal had turned and was hurrying back to camp. She called for Jezebel as she hurried after Sal, "Where are you going?"

"To Monticello, I'll get Juniper's head straight."

"But Sal, you can't go right now." Molly advised.

"Why not?"

"Well . . it's dark, but I guess you don't care about that, do you?"

If Sal answered her question, the words were lost by the roar of the powerful motorcycle engine as he sped off into the night. Molly was pleasantly surprised by his quick response, but was a little anxious as to what Juniper's reaction would be when he arrived. The night chill was making her bones ache and she joined the others at the fire. " . . and so," Jacob was explaining in a soft voice, "I firmly believe that the Extra Terrestrials spoken of in the news today, and the Angels that 'lay with the daughters of man' in the bible. . . are of the same species. In fact, some scholars say that the practice of women covering their heads when they leave the home or enter their place of worship originated as a method of protection from these Angels. The ancient myth that on this earth there once existed a hybrid race of super humans born from these unions might be based on truth."

"That sounds pretty far out." Megan said," I've read the bible and I can't agree with you on this point. I think these women who claim they've been artificially impregnated by Aliens, who later stole their babies are mentally unstable and prone to hallucinating."

Sandy, strangely silent during this exchange, was reflecting on the episode of missing time. 'Had they been abducted?' She had thought it might be a possibility later that day. However, those thoughts had been pushed to the back of her mind by their sudden transplant from Nevada to Quartzsite. Hank was watching Sandy closely, he too was thinking about what happened in the Utah desert, and remembering the two men in the blue hats. Eddie became excited at the talk of Alien's and UFO's and jumped up telling of a strange shape that he had seen while on the road a year or so ago. "It was totally awesome! It was right above my head, lights moving in a triangle shape, but when I looked straight at it . . it became smaller and then disappeared. But, I never told nobody about it 'til now."

Tyler, usually silent, joined in, "The fact that life forms exist who are alien to our experience is not in dispute. Humans have long been under the scrutiny from other planets or dimensions."

The group became quiet at the warning of Jezebel's growls. Wary, they stood and watched as beam of light shown toward them and two shadows entered their camp. Mort swaggered over to the fire, the cloaked figure of a woman walked beside him, a flashlight in one hand and a large wooden staff in the other.

"Whatsa matter, Jez?" Mort's said. His speech was slightly slurred and the sour odor of stale beer floated through the air. "You don't wanna growl at your old buddy Mort." Then he pulled the woman forward and introduced her, "Look what I found, her name's Cassie, can I keep her?" She laughed, brushed the hood away from her long black hair and said, brightly, "Actually, my name is Cassandra, happy to meet you all. I was walking from town to where I'm camped with some friends when Mort drove by and offered me a ride. He joined us for a while and, I'm sorry to say, had a little too much to drink. I thought it would be best if I walked him home and he picked up his bike in the morning. Besides," she explained, "Mort told us so much about you that I couldn't wait to meet all of you. You must be Molly."

As Cassandra held out her hand and reached in Molly's direction, Jezebel leapt in the air between them, pushing Molly off balance. The dog stood firm, her teeth bared and watched the newcomer. Ben, who had been in the motor home talking on the radio, came outside when he heard the commotion, "What's goin' on out here?" He had a distinct impression of a threat and held tightly to the gun in his pocket.

"We have a guest, Ben." Molly said as she stroked Jezebel in an effort to calm the dog, "Her name is Cassandra, she's a friend of Mort's." When introductions were completed, Cassandra sat by the fire and engaged them in conversation of energy exchange, harmonious vibrations, and the new age to come. As she prepared to leave, she said, "We have a lot in common, Molly, Mort tells me you are a student of the 'craft'. I'm conducting a ceremony at the 'new moon' tomorrow night and I'd just love it if you all could join us, the more the merrier. Mort will show you the way." Cassandra smiled and waved at Mort, who had fallen asleep and accepted Eddie's offer to see her back to where she was camped, over the ridge on the other side of the lake. Eddie did not return until the next morning. Megan watched after them as they left, then said," That's the most beautiful purple cape I've ever seen. What do you think of her?"

"Bad dye job," Sandy quipped," Nobody's hair is that black."

"Meow," Molly laughed, "She seems nice enough. Although Jez didn't seem to like her much, that's unusual."

"What did she mean by 'student of the craft'?" Megan asked.

"Witchcraft. An ancient pagan belief system called Wicca, or sometimes Witta if you're Irish. Today, as then, many of these women are healers, or herbalists. It's a gentle religion based on harmony; balance between the Earth, her inhabitants, and the Universe. Mort probably mentioned my use of Tarot, or crystals and herbs and she assumed I was a witch.

"Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?" Sandy asked in a high squeaky voice.

Molly laughed and said, "Oh, a very good witch! Seriously, I'm not a practitioner, it's too structured for me. However, as you know, my beliefs are pagan and I enjoy paying tribute to nature with simple ceremonies using candles, crystals, or drumming.

" Megan shivered slightly and said, "The very word 'witch' or 'pagan' has always seemed ominous to me."

"I'd never thought about it before," Sandy said, "Until that night . . . I still can't believe those men were actually going to burn Molly at the stake and I saw it with my own eyes."

"And her not so little dog too," Jacob added. "Fear does strange things to people. Are you going to go to Cassandra's ceremony tomorrow, Molly?"

"I am, I love the night sky. With all the preparation for leaving, I had forgotten the moon would begin a new cycle tomorrow. I'm curious to see what kind of ritual Cassandra and her friends will perform. What about you? She invited all of us."

"Well, I'd like to go, I'm curious about her." Megan said. "I'd also like to get the pattern for that cape and make one for myself . . . shades of green, I think." She yawned, stretched and then announced that she was 'off to dreamland.' The others soon followed.

The next morning Mort was so hung over that he remembered little of the day before. He remembered giving Cassandra a ride and meeting her friends, but nothing of bringing her to camp or introducing her to everyone. Sandy teased him about being under 'a spell' and then proceeded to tease Eddie. "I saw you sneaking in here at sun up, Mister." she said, waggling her index finger with a mock expression of disapproval on her face. Eddie was unusually unresponsive to Sandy's kidding and the conversation quickly changed to day-to-day issues.

Late that afternoon, Eddie led Mort, Molly, Sandy and Megan to Cassandra's camp. Jezebel was reluctant to stay behind but, with Tyler's encouragement, she remained. As they approached, they were welcomed by several young women and two men. The air was filled with laughter and the smell of incense. In the center of the clearing was an enormous flat boulder; around it three small fires formed a triangle. Logs had been artfully arranged for seating. Much to Mort and Eddie's disappointment, Cassandra was not in sight. Introductions were made and refreshment was offered and accepted. As darkness approached the ceremony began with the playing of wood flutes. One of the men chanted softly as he drummed, inviting the four directions to participate.

Cassandra joined them with theatrical flair. She danced in a serpentine manner, threading in and around the entire gathering before leaping gracefully onto the boulder. She paused for a moment, her head bowed. Then she tilted her face to the sky and led her followers in a charming rhyme, speaking of renewed prosperity as the new moon grew toward full flower. "That little ceremony is enough for most, however, now honored guests, be witness to the power of the morning star. With him all is possible." With a sudden flourish, Cassandra reached down and grabbed a small mourning dove that was offered her. Holding it by the feet, she deftly drew a dagger from under her cape and with one quick motion decapitated the dove as she chanted, "The blood of this dove is shed in honor of the one true god. May the intent and light of Lucifer forever guide our path."

Before the head the dove reached the ground Molly was on her feet. Turning away from Cassandra she grabbed Megan with her left hand and Sandy with her right speaking as she pulled them to a standing position. "We must leave. Hurry, don't speak and don't look back." She pushed at her stunned friends until they understood what she was saying. "Now!" She shouted, kicking at the boots of Mort and Eddie who sat, staring at her with open mouths. " But . . ." Eddie began, but was stopped by Molly's hand over his mouth. " I'll explain later, just do as I say." Molly spoke and then walked out into the forest with Sandy and Megan. Surprised by Molly's odd behavior, Mort followed shrugging his shoulders. Momentarily confused, Eddie looked at Cassandra and then at Mort's back, he waved once, winked, and hurried after his friend.

A sly smile played on Cassandra's deep red lips as she continued, without misstep, the ritual she created to strengthen her personal power. When she was finished, she spoke to her followers. "Well, the old woman is our enemy. However, she has shown her weakness. Clearly, she has no power. I'll enjoy toying with her, and those spineless drones, too." Molly didn't say one word until they had reached the safety of their camp. Dizzy and out of breath from the long walk, she collected her thoughts by the fire for a few minutes before speaking to the faces that watched her. "Well, Cassandra is not a 'good witch'," she began, trying to explain what they had witnessed, "Blood sacrifice is never part of a wholesome intent. What we saw was the senseless murder of an innocent. It's best, when confronted with evil to turn your back and walk away. Words of criticism would only delay, allowing evil to respond and cloud the issue, creating cobwebs of deception."  Molly sighed deeply, "I should have been more careful."

Sandy explained to Jacob and the others what they had seen. Molly circled the camp drawing shields of light not only for protection from evil, but for clarity of thought. With the comfortable silence of a group that had been together for a long time, they shared the warmth and beauty of the campfire. Each felt reluctant to leave the others, but after a time, retired to their beds. Mort stirred as drops of ice water ran down his nose. Startled, he jumped to his feet, the knife ready in his hand. " You won't need that, Mort! Don't you recognize me?", asked Frank.

"Hey, you're dead." Mort announced, rubbing his eyes. "Check this out." He said giving Eddie a shake as he followed Frank out of the tent.

"Hi, Mort, old buddy!" Jennie exclaimed as she rose up on her toes to give him a hug. "how ya doin'?" Eddie stood outside the tent, stretching and yawning as he looked around the camp in the dim light. 'I'm dreaming.' he thought, and turned around and went back inside. "

Come back out here, Eddie." Frank yelled, "Is that anyway to greet your ole Buds?"

Molly was awakened by Jezebel's whimpering. It seemed too early for morning, but she heard voices, and could see the others in the center of camp. She put on her jacket and they went outside. Megan was also awake and followed, curious about why everyone was getting up this early. Although it was still dark, the entire camp area seemed to be glowing, and she was able to see quite clearly as she walked to where Mort, Eddie, Tyler and Jacob stood with their backs to her. Molly, Hank and Sandy were standing to the side and watched her as she approached. Megan stopped, surprised to see the two strangers.

"Megan," Molly said as she pulled the young woman forward, "Meet Frank and Jennie."

"What's up?" Ben asked. He had watched suspiciously from the back of his truck before deciding to join them. " Is it really you, Jennie?", Asked Mort sheepishly.

"Of course it's me. Now, we don't have much time so just accept what you see and listen. Frank and I were sent warn you of many changes that are about to happen." Turning to Molly, she said, "and the dangers you will be facing, such as Cassandra. But even this is only the tip of the iceberg. Earth is about to become a battle ground. All hell is literally about to break lose and it looks as if my old friends will get front row seats. Not my idea of a good time, but you wanted it that way."

"It will be difficult to accept the fact of this dream." said Frank. Looking at Mort and Eddie, he added, "It's about time you two got your act together. Jennie and I have had a hell of a time trying to make contact with either of you because your minds are usually numbed with booze. That shit has got to stop, that is, if you want to survive." Then he raised a warning finger to Eddie, "People who play with dragons get burned." Allowing no time for response, Jennie continued their assignment. "Watch and remember." She said, gesturing toward the ground in front of them. As they turned their eyes away from the couple, they found themselves seated around a small, still pool. Shifting images reflected on the mirrored surface; Gaf stood in the center of a large cavern, scratching his beard. Fog rose up from the floor and they saw an old blue car being pulled from the mud by two small men with blue hats. The fog lifted and revealed a group of business men who appeared to be plotting around a large table, one of them stood away from the others and spoke into a telephone. The table burst into flames as the image blurred and changed into a replay of that awful night when they had been almost killed. Suddenly, the pool shattered into several pieces, like shards of a broken mirror, each reflected a different picture. As they watched the nightmares of war, famine and disease, Jennie spoke, "Some of the events you see are still subject to change. Like all of you, others have chosen to come together in this time, lines are being drawn and sides chosen. The struggles you have endured together has created a bond on the unseen level. As you join the ones to the north, discuss openly with each other your dreams or other intuitive feelings. And stay together."

"And say hi to Sal for me; of course, that stubborn asshole won't believe any of this." Frank said, ". . at least in the beginning."

Mort felt as if he were falling and woke feeling breathless, like the wind had been knocked out of his body. He stared at the ceiling for several minutes before turning his head in Eddie's direction. 'Christ! What a weird dream', he thought as he left the tent in search of coffee.

The air was strangely quiet as one by one they gathered around the campfire, as was usual each morning, to discuss plans for the day. Molly was very excited about her dream of Gaf and wanted to share it, however, as soon as she mentioned Frank and Jennie, everyone began talking at once. It didn't take long for them to realize that they had all shared the same dream. Ben, as usual, was suspicious and simply refused to believe that people could share a dream. Jacob listened quietly to the conversation and seemed to accept the event without question. However, Tyler was not at all reluctant to voice his opinion; looking at Mort and Eddie, he asked, "Well gentleman, are you ready for a spiritual boost?"

"What the hell does that mean?", asked Eddie.

Looking at Eddie, Tyler said, "Your friend Frank suggested that it was time for some changes. That is, if you want to survive."

"You mean we gotta get religion, like Jacob?", Mort asked.

" Not quite that extreme," answered Tyler. "But just enough to give you some guidelines. It's obvious that in the days ahead, we will be facing some very difficult problems. It would help if we could predict how you might behave."

"Oh, sure I get it!", Mort exclaimed. Looking at Eddie he said, "He means if we party all the time and get drunk nobody knows what the hell we might do. So we gotta get on the wagon. Uh, what kind of religion do we get?"

"Well, I would suggest that the simplest approach is to follow the path of Jesus The Christ. My guess is that you already have some knowledge of him and were probably raised in a Christian home."

"Not for me," Eddie shouted, "no way! I had that Jesus crap beat into me by my old man."

Calmly Tyler turned to Mort and asked, "What about you, Mort, are you interested in spiritual growth?"

"No, I'll keep it simple." said Mort, misunderstanding Tyler's words,

"I guess I always liked what J.C. had to say. Except for that 'turn the other cheek' line. Will you teach me about him?"

"I could" said Tyler. "However, there's someone here that knows much more than I about Jesus." Tyler's statement was somewhat startling. Everyone looked around, but could not imagine who Tyler was speaking about. Then pointing in Ben's direction, Tyler said, "There's your teacher."

"Are you nuts?" shouted Ben. "How the hell am I suppose to teach this Neanderthal something I don't even understand. Besides, I'm no preacher. I never could stand those self righteous idiots."

Tyler responded quickly, "Exactly, your basic concepts haven't been corroded with dogma. In fact, your younger years were not too different than our friend Mort, here. You've been where he is now, that's what will make you his best teacher."

"He's right, Ben." Molly said, "What we all need now isn't religious structure, but strong spiritual intent. People can spend so much time studying the rules that they forget about the basic idea of love and respect, not only for others, but for ourselves. You'll be an excellent teacher."

"What's the point?" Megan said, her eyes filling with tears. "We're all good people, my parents were good people, too. If my life gets any harder, I just don't think I'll be able to stand it. It seems like such a waste, I don't understand what's happening." Unable to speak, and unwilling to hear any more, Megan turned and walked away.

"Leave her be, for now." Molly advised, as Sandy started to go after her. Understanding Molly's reasoning, Sandy said," I guess she just needs some time. She's had a real tough couple of years. Jennie's right, it's the bad times that bind people together," then thought to herself, 'or split them apart'. The excitement they felt when they realized that they had shared a meaningful spiritual experience faded as each one remembered the visions of things to come.

"I say let's eat now and talk later." Hank said.

"Good idea." Tyler said, "But before we do, each of us should write down exactly what we heard and saw, then we'll compare notes this evening. I feel quite strongly that we should get to the Monticello area as soon as possible."

"Can't be too soon for me!" Mort said with enthusiasm, "I'm ready to hit the road." His comment was punctuated by the thunderous roar of a tree being felled. " Oh, no!" Molly said, "a tree has been cut down . . a large one, too. Cassandra does not want us to leave."

"Oh come on! Do you really think Cassandra would cut down a tree to keep us here?" Sandy said.

"Man, that is one scary broad." Mort said, to no one in particular.

While Ben and Tyler went to check the road leading to the highway, the others made final preparations in order to leave. Molly's suspicion was confirmed when the men returned. A large tree was blocking the way out. Molly knew that Cassandra would not do anything in plain sight, therefore, it was decided that Mort and Jacob would guard the road while the others removed the tree. When they reached the beautiful old pine, Molly's eyes filled with tears. She recognized that this was just one incident predictive of their new lifestyle. A world without order was ripe for plucking. She knew the harvest would come, 'but who is the farmer?', she thought.

Hank opened the back door of his van and removed the chain saw from where he had packed it underneath his art work and collection of posters. Molly walked over and picked up a roll of paper that had fallen out of his van. Stunned, she held up a colorful travel poster picturing a parade of brown skinned young woman dancing through a narrow stone street. All wore the distinctive black hat of their culture. " Peru!" Molly screamed, "He's in Peru!"

Hearing Molly scream, Bert, Eddie and Ben ran over to her fearing for her safety. "What?" Bert exclaimed looking around the area, seeing no one.

"Gaf is in Peru." She answered quietly, rolled up Hank's poster and set it in the back with the others. Her body felt suddenly weak and she sat on the bumper to regain her composure before speaking, "I don't know why I didn't put together what Sal said sooner."

"You're really loosin' it, Molly." Ben said, "You just rest here and we'll get this mess cleaned up so we can get out of here."

Most of the day was taken up clearing the road. It was almost dark when they were ready to travel. Ben suggested they leave in the morning, but Molly was anxious to get on the road and put the unpleasant events of the past few days behind them. When they stopped to turn on to the highway, Eddie shouted that he'd catch up to them, waved and turned his motorcycle in the opposite direction. His mind was filled with thoughts of the exciting Cassandra. He had been hoping to spend the night with her again after the ceremony, but it had seemed best to leave with the others. 'I hope she's as glad to see me as I'm gonna' be to see her', he thought as he turned toward her campsite. The idea that she might be angry with him for leaving her 'show' was quickly replaced by his confidence regarding his sexual prowess.

The remainder of their journey to Monticello was made in good time and without incident. Traffic was sparse. No one, except for Tyler, realized they were being followed. Cassandra wasted no time sharing the information Eddie had so innocently provided regarding Gaf's location. To insure that the others would never know that this information had been revealed, she killed him. 'Besides, it's been a long time since I've eaten this well.' She thought. 'Not much of a lover, but an excellent main course.' Cassandra decided that going to the Monticello area would not only insure her physical comfort, but also provide an opportunity to sharpen her wit. Of course, she also realized that she would have to restrain the enthusiasm of her new recruits. The blood-thirsty Max and Chalky had almost ruined her plan by lusting after those two women. She promised them there would be plenty of time and opportunity for their 'games' in the future. However, she knew that it was only a matter of time before she would have to eliminate these two men also; they were much too unpredictable.