Villain

A little short fiction piece I wrote for a competition. It takes place in the same world as my upcoming novel Dark City.

~

The dark city has no heroes…

“He killed his family,” Eli says, half in shadow, cigarette glowing a crisp red in the darkness.

The woman leaning on the bar takes his cigarette and puts it between her red lips. “I don’t give a fuck if he killed Mother Teresa. I don’t work for free.”

“I just want someone to know what he did. I want them to know how he took everything that was good in this city and he twisted it. He murdered–” Eli’s hands clench into fists, the fingernails twisting and digging into the skin of his palms.

“I get it, I get it,” the woman says. “And as soon as the money clears, I’ll bring you his head.”

When Eli hears of her gruesome death at the hands of the most dangerous man in the city, he’s disappointed, but not surprised.

~

The dark city has no heroes…

“You’re workin’ for the big man now. Know what that means?” Eddie leans back against the filthy brick wall. “That means you don’t. Fuck. Up.”

The young hustler crosses his arms, trying for unconcerned and looking like a surly teenager. “I’m not afraid of him.”

“You should be. He can walk like a cat, without making a sound. He can kill a man with a piece of string, or with just his hands.”

“Bullshit.” But this is a story the hustler has heard before, and each time it’s repeated by someone new it’s harder to unhear.

“When he tried to take over the syndicate, the old boss shot him in the heart. He died that night, bled to death right there in a back alley in the Warrens.” Eddie’s voice has the cadence of someone telling a ghost story, but like all ghost stories, in the darkness it seems true. “They had a fucking funeral for him, lowered his coffin into the ground. But he came back. And he got his revenge. They said there was so much blood they had to burn the house to the ground.”

~

The dark city has no heroes…

“My boyfriend?” Professor Greendale’s laugh is light and awkward, gentle and charming, just like the man himself. “You really want to know about him?”

The graduate student nods eagerly. “He has such an interesting name. And I saw his car. He must be loaded.”

“He is that.” The professor glances shyly down at the table. But the fond curve of his mouth speaks to an affection that can’t be bought. “He likes to bring me roses from his mother’s garden. He sings while he cooks. He loves like someone out of a story, madly, completely.”

His smile is now embarrassed, reticent. “He’s not a good person,” he says, mostly to himself. “But he’s good to me.”

~

The dark city has no heroes…only a villain.


Photo By Allied Artists (Wikipedia in English) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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