In order to have a full grasp of the setting in which the rest of my fiction is set, I recommend that you read this short prologue (“The Beginning”) and the information on the city of Preston.
“Let me get this straight,” said the Governor as he leaned forward in his posh chair. “You want me to help you turn Preston into your own personal pet project?”
Lucas Budd leaned forward a bit himself, looking the official directly in the eyes as he replied. “I’m not sure the term ‘pet project’ is quite appropriate, but for want of a better replacement, yes.”
A silence fell over the Governor’s den as if the two were playing a game of mental chess, anticipating each other’s next move. The Governor took a sip of his brandy and leaned back in his seat. “You are a brazen son of a bitch, aren’t you, Budd?”
A wry smile came over Lucas’s face. “I pride myself on it.”
With an almost-impressed chuckle, the Governor went straight to the bottom line. “What’s in it for me?”
Now it was Lucas’ turn to look nearly impressed. “I like a man who cuts right to the chase. It makes things go much more smoothly.”
The Governor spoke again, “Well, this is a tall order… not something that’s going to be easy to pull off, especially in today’s politically correct world. Even if I agreed to play a role in the grand scheme of things, there’s a lot more people you’ll need to convince before your experiment can become a reality.”
“Well now, that’s my problem to deal with, isn’t it?” Lucas’ ego was on full display. He knew exactly how to handle the others, just as he knew exactly how to handle the Governor. He was a master at this sort of thing. Manipulation was second-nature to him. He knew he had to let this blow-hard think he was in control. That was the key to dealing with men like him.
“I suppose so,” said the Governor, “but you still haven’t answered my question. What’s in it for me?”
“Security,” Lucas replied simply.
“That’s right. Security.” With that, Lucas produced a manilla envelope from within his duster and tossed it onto the table. Before the Governor could even open it, Lucas began his explanation. “It seems your youngest son has been a bad, bad boy. You see, he came to Preston about a couple days ago for some big party out at the lake. Did himself a lot of drinking… and other things.”
Now visibly angry and more than a little suspicious, the Governor growled, “What kind of ‘other’ things?”
“The kind of ‘other’ things that would get him quite a few years behind bars and sully your family’s mostly-pristine reputation. I think the photos in the folder will tell the tale far better than my blabbin’ will.”
The Governor sunk into his seat in despair and utter defeat. “That stupid little bastard,” he muttered to himself as he gazed upon the stack of photos.
“There’s no need to fret, Governor,” Lucas said in a chipper, self-satisfied voice. “I’m sure I can smooth things over with the girl’s family and convince them to stay quiet about the whole ordeal. These things can be contained.”
Realizing what Lucas was driving at, the Governor mumbled, “In return for my support, right?”
Lucas rose to his feet. “Your words, not mine. But, hey… I’m all about mutual back-scratching.” With a wink, he sat down the wineglass and said, “I’ll show myself out.”
He left the upset man alone with his thoughts, knowing fully that he will ultimately help him out with passing the new laws. Best of all, he was certain the Governor had no idea that his son was set up by Lucas himself. The elaborate plan had paid off.
“One down, six more to go,” Lucas mused as he exited the house and stepped into his inconspicuous blue sedan. The others would be just as easy to “convince”. Within a year, Preston would be a patriarchal utopia the likes of which the world had never seen.
How it Came to Pass
Preston began its existence as a knock-about little railroad town on the American Midwest. But when a major railroad company called OKT made its headquarters there, the town began growing, bristling with activity and prosperity. During the second World War, Preston gained another boon: a massive ammunition plant just southeast of town. This drew families to the area in drives, as jobs were plentiful by that point. During this time period, the population reached close to 20,000. All in all, everything seemed to be going well.
But it wouldn’t last.
After the war, the ammunition plant slowed down drastically, putting many people out of work. To make matters worse, 1957 saw OKT moving its offices to Texas, leaving the Preston station a shell of its former glory. In 1971, the Urban Renewal program was voted in by the city muckety-mucks, resulting in the demolition of nearly two-hundred buildings, many of which were landmarks that gave the town its character. Most of this was simply to create parking lots for a new shopping plaza which actually blocked off Main Street for two blocks. The impact was that many local businesses were lost.
All these factors took their collective toll on Preston. By the early 2000s, the population had dipped to just over 10,000 with no end in sight. Jobs were hard to find, the city government was corrupt and crime ran rampant. Preston was clearly a city in crisis.
Enter Lucas Budd.
Lucas Budd was a self-made multi-millionaire from South Carolina, who had impressive political connections, undeniable charm and a bit of a dark side. Further, it has been said that he can do certain things—subtle things—that normal people couldn’t even dream of doing. Some say it’s true of everyone with Budd blood.
Budd wasted no time maneuvering himself into a position of power, first as the county Sheriff and then as the Mayor of Preston (all the while retaining his badge, an unprecedented feat). He pulled many strings in high government to bring about some drastic citywide laws. How he managed to pull this off is anyone’s guess, though citizens whisper that blackmail, threats and favors played a role. The truth will likely never be known.
When the dust settled, Preston was a strictly patriarchal society and Lucas Budd ruled over the whole kingdom.
That brings us to the present. Lucas Budd’s laws have been in effect for five years now. The city is growing rapidly, with new businesses and families moving there like gangbusters. Sure, many citizens left Preston, unable to cope with the new way of things. However, the number of new citizens more than made up for it. It turns out that a lot of people have been looking for a change; a return to a simpler time when men were men and women were women… and women knew their place. Of course, not all of the women have come to the city of their own free will, but that’s another story altogether.
For his part, Lucas Budd is far from a despot. In fact, most of the citizens adore him. He has singlehandedly restored faith in Preston’s prosperity and has made great strides in eliminating homelessness, helping those who are in need and bringing the community together with numerous activities and festivals. Furthermore, he and his hand-picked police force have cracked down on crime as well.
But make no mistake, there’s another side to Lucas Budd; a darker side that few Prestonians are privy to. He thirsts for control and will go to any lengths to maintain it. He may greet his populace with a wink and a wry smile, but he’s always looking closely to ensure that no one is in position to threaten his power. And if he finds that someone is, he will pluck them like a weed in a freshly mowed lawn. Even with his depravity, Budd has limits; namely in that he doesn’t believe in rape. In fact, when he catches a rapist, they will just… disappear. Ironically, he has no problem manipulating women and twisting their minds so that they actually want to have sex. What can we say? He’s a complex man. Who knows what goes on in his brain?
In general, all women in Preston must be owned by a man. Unowned women are technically owned by the city government and are housed in one of five shelters throughout the town. These shelters are buildings that consist of a slew of tiny, but nice, apartments. Guards are on duty around the clock and the women must be back by 10:00 at night or they are locked out and punished.
Men are the kings of any household. The women a man owns are expected to do exactly what they are told. Men are given a great deal of leeway when it comes to devising the rules of their household; just about anything but drastic physical abuse and rape is fair game. The man of a given household is allowed to force his women to dress however he wishes, as long as he abides by the citywide dress code.
The town laws include a strict dress code that women must follow. First of all, they must always wear skirts or dresses in public; never pants or shorts. Second of all, flat shoes are absolutely forbidden. Third, hosiery is expected to be worn. And finally, all women must don an ownership collar around their neck that tells who their owner is.
Preston has several training facilities with different programs to help teach errant women their place. The most popular training programs are the Baby Program, the Bimbo program and the Lady Program. These centers even offer tutors who will come into the home and help train women whose owners would rather they remain in the house rather than at a center.
As of 2016, Preston boasts 18,890 citizens, which is nearly as many as it had during the 1940s. More importantly, these numbers seem to be growing every week. New businesses have set up shop in recent years, including an abundance of clothing stores, both normal and fetishistic.
One prominent business that deserves a special mention is Simms’ Baby Palace. Proprietor Pete Simms is a craftsman when it comes to woodworking and when he started the business, he simply made cribs and high chairs for “little ones” (women who are forced to live as toddlers and babies). With an increase in demand for high-end merchandise of that nature, he expanded his operation to include playpens, bouncers, changing tables, wooden horses and more. His wife, Samantha, more recently started selling high-quality “baby” clothes as well and they are preparing to open up a factory that produces disposable diapers of unprecedented quality.
The plaza that once blocked off Main Street was removed soon after Lucas Budd’s rise to power, revitalizing the downtown shopping area. New shops opened their doors and now the area is incredibly vibrant.
There are two neighborhoods of note that are vital to Preston’s “flavor”. The first is the area known as the “Wye”. Back when the railroad was the lifeblood of the city, the Wye (named for the way two sets of train tracks formed a “y” through it) was where many of the railroad workers lives. It was a matter of convenience given its proximity to the job site. Rent was relatively affordable, too, thanks to the fact that it was so far from the main part of town. The Wye remains a blue-collar neighborhood, though it has seen better days. In the last two years, it has started to see a resurgence. This may have been caused by the Sons of Chaos, a motorcycle-club-gone-straight that has moved into the area, opening up a garage as well as a bar called the Raven’s Nest. The club has become pretty tight with Lucas Budd and are considered by most to be pillars of the community.
Another neighborhood that must be mentioned is the Bottoms. It was once a wild and dangerous neighborhood filled with crime. Since the Budd regime has taken power, however, it has been cleaned up. Budd has poured a jaw-dropping amount of money from his personal coffers to make it a neighborhood to be proud of.
The Budd Family
The patriarch of the family is Lucas Budd. He’s got that classic “southern charm” down to an artform, but not all of it is put-on. He’s may be a dark soul, but he’s not without his good points. He is loyal to a fault, especially to his loved ones, and he really is trying to make the town a better place in his own twisted way. Beneath it all, he is rather sadistic and he feels that the world would be a better place if men ruled it completely.
The family matriarch is Lucas’ wife, Shyla, a spirited woman who nonetheless understands her place in the grand scheme of things. She is submissive to Lucas and men in general, however she does speak her mind. Truthfully, Lucas wouldn’t have it any other way. Shyla is a beloved figure in Preston, largely because she oversees all manner of charity drives and community projects.
Dante is Lucas and Shyla’s oldest son. He is a physical specimen; astoundingly strong and resilient. While he’s certainly a "man’s man, he lacks his father’s aspirations of power. He’s content enough with his life and doesn’t go out of his way to change it.
Alexander is Lucas and Shyla’s youngest son and he is possibly one of the smartest people on the planet. He thinks scientifically to the point that he has trouble conversing with people of normal intellect. His greatest discovery is a collection of serums that can genetically alter people (which proves most useful to his father). They can drastically increase breast size, cause nymphomania, force people to “babytalk”, and so much more.
Melanie is Lucas and Shyla’s eldest daughter and is easily the most nurturing of the lot. She is a gentle soul without any of the darkness possessed by Lucas. Some say she can heal even the most grievous of wounds in a matter of seconds, but this hasn’t been substantiated.
Miracle is Lucas and Shyla’s youngest daughter and is a “little one”. Standing just over four feet tall, she looks like a little angel, but make no mistake: she’s her father’s daughter through and through. In fact, her sadism eclipses Lucas’.