My favorite villains are those you’re not sure if you’d kiss or kill if you were locked in a room with them for an hour. These types of villains both terrify and excite me, and the juxtaposition of those emotions leaves me intrigued and a little bewildered.
My most infamous example from film is the character of Jareth in Labyrinth (yes, he throws snakes at you if you defy him, but can you really see beyond the fabulous, glittery hair and all that spandex enough to hate him?). Lesser known personas include Julian of the Forbidden Game book trilogy by L.J. Smith (a guilty pleasure from when I was young and the first villain I had a crush on), Sylvia (played by Monica Bellucci) in Brotherhood of the Wolf (her little revelation about poison and infidelity is delightful), and Theron, the protagonist of my newly published short story, “Catch and Release.”
From the very beginning, you’re drawn to Theron. He’s beautiful, charming, unabashedly in control of…well, everything—and that’s okay. You wouldn’t mind sitting down to have a drink with him. You laugh. He compliments you. You’re having a great time, and then you begin to realize that he’s not human, and, in fact, he’s on the hunt. He’s hungry…But he’s so handsome and beguiling that perhaps you wouldn’t mind being hunted? Just for a few minutes?
The good folks over at Electric Spec, who publish “shockingly good short works of fiction, fantasy, and the macabre,” have provided a wonderful home for Theron. Somewhere dark and foreboding. He’s in good company alongside witches, dead rock stars, and even Rumpelstiltskin in their latest issue.
Read an excerpt from “Catch and Release,” then hop on over to read the full publication FOR FREE:
Catch and Release
By Tiffany Michelle Brown
Theron never grew tired of walking into crowded bars. His presence within the threshold of any establishment, be it decrepit or sumptuous, caused a veritable hitch in the evening’s festivities. Time grew lethargic and stretched long like a woozy debutante across a chaise. Women and men alike turned to marvel at Theron’s dark, brooding eyes, olive skin, and the breadth of his shoulders, impressive beneath the immaculate tailoring of a crisp silk suit. Theron made it a habit to dress up when he went hunting.
Theron would scan the bar. Conversation, libidinous desires, murder plots, depression, and merriment hung precariously in the balance. Inevitably, a single being would flare like a ruby in the sun, and Theron knew where he would sit for the evening.
Then, the moment would collapse into itself like a hungry black hole. Patrons would turn their attention back to their gins and whiskeys, unaware anything had happened–although they did feel strangely rejuvenated, as if someone had given them the gift of an extra breath of superbly fresh air.
Theron walked carefully through the Floridian detritus that was Beach Buzz, navigating with equal care discarded peanut shells, a bachelorette wearing a hat decorated with rhinestones and penises, and wary gazes from testosterone-filled men looking for a good old-fashioned Friday night fight. All the while he hid discomfort borne from squeezing puckered skin and sharp claws into Cole Haans. They were beautiful shoes that would last Theron quite a while–a gift from Persephone–but they were quite inflexible when new.
When he reached his target, Theron slid onto the leather barstool beside her, smooth as a tango dancer. He reached a long-fingered hand across the scarred wooden bar top, lifted the woman’s glass from her grasp, and raised it to his lips. He tasted rum, vanilla, fake banana flavoring, pineapple juice, and the tiniest hint of her life force–roses blooming after a storm, fresh honeycomb, saltwater. Theron’s mouth watered…
Read the rest in Volume 11: Issue 1 of Electric Spec Magazine!