Chapter 1: 'The Apple of My I' [link]
I don’t want to die.
Not like this.
Who will find my body? And how! Naked, tied up in belts, handcuffed, muffled, in- in a pool of my own blood and vomit and – scars on my face and heel marks -- What will they think? My Maggie, my mother, how will they cope with—
“Public embarrassment? Really. Buckled up safe and ready to depart for whatever warm and cosy final destination, and that is what you’re obsessing on?”
I can hear her voice on my back, I try to shout again but it’s all I can do to stop from gagging on the smell of the ball in my mouth. My face buried deep in the dirt, and her heels piercing down my neck.
“What’s the matter, pet? You’re not one for foreplay? Is big boy ready for the climax already? We haven’t even had proper introductions yet, you rude little ****. Whatever happened to good old-fashioned manners, Daddy used to say.”
Her voice in my head, prying my thoughts. How, why, why like this, why me? I’m a good man, I’m-
“Good? That’s how we’re playing this then, pet? White and black, innocent helpless victim you? Poor filthy rich corporate man in your 36th floor office and your thousand dollar suit? And if you’re good, then by definition that makes me the villain of the piece? The bad girl. The Lady Mastermind of your demise. Or just the evil bitch who will tear your spine apart with her stiletto heels. Crunch, crunch,. Crunch. Some repressed fantasy there perhaps? I operate differently. I’m cerebral, pet. I kill with a glance, on a whim.”
Death? No, no, I’m not ready, I have too much to lose, my happy life, my wife, my family--
“Oh, cut the drama. It’s all about appearances. The illusion of success. The illusion of happiness. The illusion I wear making me every man and woman’s wet fantasy: the perfect boobs the perfect ass, the perfect shade of blonde and the bluest most cruel and taunting eyes. Your skin-tight dominatrix fantasy. The illusion I cast in your assistant’s head that she was aboard the Titanic on its maiden voyage, her body gasping for air as the cold froze her blood. Hang onto your hat."
I can see her dead body now. She’s starting to decompose, turning into dirt, flowing in the—the ground? I can smell the fresh grass growing from my carpet under my nose, the wild garden growing inside my office. I can feel my feet sinking in the mud and grass. How can this not be real? There’s a leash around my neck, choking me, as she’s pulling me on my knees. I can see her reach for a shiny red apple from the tree growing out of my oak desk.
“Just a small pit stop for munchies, pet. I get these mad cravings just before the movie starts, you feeling what I mean? I’ve been rehearsing this three-act play for a while, but something’s still off, no audience seems to survive through it. If I ever imprint it on film it’s sure to be a killer hit!”
Where am I now? The garden’s dissipated between blinks. I can hear other voices around me, ghosts of people walking down a great staircase, coming into focus one step at a time. The echo resounds off the marble floors and the massive windows illuminating the hall. A Hall? It’s the sort of mansion I dreamt of building with my Maggie. Too late now--
“If you’re getting your kicks off with this room, wait till you see the coin swimming tank in the back, you’ll burst a vein! I tended to take it all for granted, at this age. Twelve years old, spoiled sick, an arrogant high school princess."
I see the girl clearly now, arguing with her parents, saying such vile things to them, I would never dare raise such language to my own—Yet they’re so subservient, as if they fear her. But, how can this be her? This girl is so--
“Ugly. Plain. Flat. Awkward. Thankfully what I lacked in real looks, I made up in wealth and power, I could already use both to buy my way into ‘popular’. It wasn’t too long before the real power kicked in, though; I could hex my hair colour to blonde, and listen in on ‘mom’ and ‘dad’’s nightmares in my sleep. I was set to believe I was a witch inside and out, until he came along one morning in his limousine escort.’’
He? I feel the wind gust on my back, and turn to see the man blazing through the front entrance, causing the hosts to cower in --fear? Who is he? Tall, handsome, dressed in period outfit like an English Lord with his handlebar beard and-
“Breath-taking, right? Daddy dearest. He was too busy realising his Mastermind plan to raise me himself, but now that everything was ready for his triumph, he had come to take me by his side. I couldn’t take my eyes off him the first weeks.“
Why are you showing me this? All these nasty impulses and bad behaviour led you to-?
“Hush your tongue. This life you see so far. My every whim was catered to, my every need sated; I was lacking in nothing, I wanted for nothing. Until he appeared in my life, and I finally wanted something I couldn’t have. Him, my father, the handsome, regal, intelligent Jason Wyngarde, my Mastermind. I craved his love and his approval. The father’s love I had to earn. Oh, it burnt so sweet. It wouldn’t be quelled until I accepted his invite and joined him in his Hellfire Club, the degenerate underground gentlemen’s club for the truly filthy rich and richly filthy.”
The scenery change didn’t startle me as bad this time. I smell the mould on the wall, and the deep musky smell of old wine, old money and death. Some sort of catacombs. I can hear the sounds of fighting far ahead. She keeps dragging me by that leash like I’m nothing more than a dog. Something keeps troubling me, the way she says the word, love. How could she mean it? Did her father...
“Oh, please, pet. Are you really crawling down the road to Stereotype City? How did poor Regan turn bad! Was she taunted at school? Wasn’t she loved enough? Or was she loved too much? Did Daddy touch his Regan the wrong way? No, Daddy was a real gentleman towards me. I couldn’t have any of that of course; the more he rejected my... love, the more and more obsessed I became. “
I can make her out in the shadows ahead, peering into another Great Hall. Or, a prison? A row of people are shackled onto the wall. An African woman, a demon of some sorts, others with different contraptions and manacles holding them in place. And her father joined by his peers, and these gorgeous women in fetish gear, a blonde and a redhead- a gorgeous redhead in black leather and a mole on her cheek...
“By the time I had moved into the Club he was too preoccupied with his new wife, he wouldn’t give me a second look. I had to strive for his love, become as dark and interesting as those women were to compete. Isn’t it every pawn’s dream to make it to the end, become the plotting Queen and marry off with the fairytale King?”
An explosion around us! I fall through the cracks, I can’t balance myself for the ringing in my ears. They’re all gone, we’re back in my jungle of an office. The outside wall has collapsed, the floor is crumbling away! She’s pushing me to the edge; I don’t want to die; I can’t stare down the abyss!
“Tha-tha-that’s all, folks! All good things come to an end, as it goes. Return your seats in the upright condition. We hope you enjoyed flying with Air Regan.”
She’s insane... Dark and twisted and evil, she—
Her boot lodges between my ribs, and I hear a loud crack. Her voice is booming inside my thoughts:
“YOU INSOLENT VERMIN! Have you paid no attention? The apple? The garden? Where are we? WHERE?”
A- a- a garden?
“THE Garden. THE apple”
The Apple? The Garden-- of Eden!
“The Garden of original corporate sin. Eve had everything going for her, and nothing all at once. She was created as a plaything for a man. She would want for nothing all these long days in paradise. "
"Until the apple. "
"Until she saw something she couldn’t have and realized she finally wanted. And that was the root of her sin. Her Sin was Desire, the basis for every sin. For the forbidden fruit, the one she couldn’t have. It drove her wild, alive. Was she evil for wanting that apple?”
No, not evil, but--
“ Was she good then? Did she not betray the rules? The laws? How does that apply in your black and white moral scoreboard? She wanted more than what she was offered in a platter, her pre-approved predictable life. There is no good and evil. There is human nature and emotion and desire and sin. “
“Myself, I’m a compulsive sinner. “
“I’m Eve, and the snake and the apple choking in Adam’s throat. Shame and guilt were created that day to punish Eve, but they’re not real, only an illusion put in our heads. Everyone wants a bite of the fruit in their short lifetime here, it’s an ongoing war for who gets the biggest share and who gets bitten in the process. Snakes and ladders. Me? I just want to make the most of my time, have my fun, play and enjoy. Why not try everything once; a pawn, a rook, a queen, a villain, a hero, an assassin, a corpse; see how each illusion fits, then move to the next. Life’s too short and you only get one go.”
How can this make sense? How can it appeal to me? I don’t want to die. I’ve been striving for a fake dominance all my life, climbing the corporate ladder only to be kicked off the vine before reaching my fruit. And all this time barking up the wrong tree. Screw Maggie. Screw complacency. I want to learn more. I want you to learn from you, boss. When I was answering the ad, I never had imagined how really alive it would make me feel. Like you promised, all the illusions of my life thrown away... I – I love you, my Lady.
“Well, congrats, pet! Adam always did belong on his knees. I think I’ll call you Dirt, to honour your own origins. You’ll make a good addition in my stable. “
“Still eager for the old apple? “
“Go on, take a juicy bite.”
Round 1: The Descent
I was white once. Until the day that fateful TV repair job accident changed my life forever...
Who really gets to decide what evil is, anyway? And how can we tell when a person has cast away his supposedly "good" nature, choosing a life of villainy instead? Where did it all go wrong... "wrong" being a relative term, of course.
In this round, you get to answer these questions. Describe the point at which your character decided to go down his evil road, whether it lead to glory or to ruin. Sure, we've all heard origin stories before, but for this round (as with most) we encourage you to think outside the box. Perhaps we get to see your character's evil genesis from a different perspective, or maybe you have a surprise in store. Maybe the story everyone knows about your character isn't the whole story. Maybe there's something much more sinister, much more disturbing, and much earlier in occurrence that was the real inspiration behind your character's evil ways. The choices are endless, but by the end we should all have a good understanding of why your character uses his abilities to harm rather than heal, for his own good as opposed to the greater good.
In this round, judges will vote for two contestants for elimination. Of the six nominees, the two with the least amount of votes will be wished a fond farewell*. Good luck everyone.
Round begins: Monday, March 24, 12 PM, Eastern Standard Time (That means noon!)
Round ends: Thursday, March 27, 12 PM, EST (Also noon)
*Which may or may not include a long drive out into the desert where you get to practice your digging skills.
I love Lady Mastermind, and you played her more vile than I would have hoped. You played the sexiness to a perfect degree, she was indulgent and vulgar without being ridiculous. I love that we saw her from someone else's point of view, so that we don't only interpret her past but the narrator does as well, and this gave the story a new facet. It was a very cool approach and very well done. The ending was amazing.
Also, it has to be said, bonus points for being Greek. It's SVI, I can be evil like that.