The talking of the secretary outside his door irritated John Maxims beyond words. Her constant high droning, "Sorry, he is unable see you right now," which she repeated several times a day, beat into his nerves. Finally, he called over the intercom, "Susan, is the President here? He said he would be here at two o'clock, and it's already two-thirty." A high, chipper voice answered, "He just came in now, sir. Should I send him in? John moved his jaw in frustration, "Of course you should!" He said loudly. Without another hesitation, the door opened into his large office, and the thin figures of the President, head of Financial Investments Co. and his high Executive lackeys entered the room. The President's face looked solemn, but a trace of excitement crested the sides of his mouth. "So, John, we're here." "Yes, sir." John answered. The President didn't often come to speak personally with a junior executive. "We've come to discuss a promotion." "Really, sir?" Finally, John thought. Every second devoted to the company, a divorce, and practically fatherless children were just few of many sacrifices he'd made. The Executives moved in around him. For a moment, John felt as though he were being cornered. He disregarded the notion. The President stood in front of John's desk, eyeing him darkly. "But first, are you willing to give yourself entirely to the company, in every aspect?" John smiled inwardly, "Yes, of course." The President went on, "You will sacrifice time, health, and happiness?" John nodded. So many questions! "And lastly, do you swear that you will serve the head me, myself, without any hesitation, ever?" He nodded again. The President's lip curled in an odd fashion. "Then accept your promotion." He said quietly. Confusion crossed John's face. Suddenly, the lackey standing behind placed a small box into John's lap. "An initiation present?" Pride filled his mind. Such an odd box, tinted with red and brown. "Open it." The President said softly, but John heard undertones of eagerness and impatience. John obeyed and opened the lid. A golden worm of some sort, about the length of his thumb, sat perfectly still. At the sight of the box's contents, each man in the room drew a deep breath of appreciation. "Place it on your arm." One of the Executives said, and there was no mistaking the sick glee in their words. A little frightened, John said, "Maybe later, if it's all the same to you." The President's arm moved swiftly, and grabbed the golden worm from the box, placing it on John's wrist. John pulled away, but an eerie itch, then scratching, began to grow there. The golden worm shot into his skin, and John cried out. It was crawling through his arm! He watched the bump move through his forearm, then felt it swim into his shoulder, his neck. He let out a scream, and someone behind him covered his mouth. He struggled to get free as the parasite climbed further. Oh, God, he thought, It's burrowing! The worm wriggled farther, now on the back of his neckline. Then, just as abruptly as the attack had began, it ended. John relaxed as a flow of facts and figures flowed crisply into his mind. A sense of vicious determination and desire filled and guided his thoughts. Money, power.I must have it, he thought, clenching a fist hard against the large desk. The President released his arm, and John saw a devilish golden glow enrapture his steely eyes. John knew he shared it. "Welcome, John," The man said coyly, "To the elite of the world." John smiled, knowing he was now one of the lucky few, the selected. Gifted with a desire for wealth, power, and control, what man could stand in his way? What was his 'divorce'? What were his children to him? Time? He didn't need it. No, nothing mattered now but the knowledge that he had joined the secret rulers of the world, and with them, he would gain unimaginable power.
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