Villainess, page 1
Table of Contents
About the Author
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Villainess Copyright © 2015 by D.T. Dyllin
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Cover Design by Lindsay Tiry of LT Arts
Cover Art (Painting: Lunar Mistery) by Cora-Tiana
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Interior book design by The Eyes For Editing
For more information visit: www.dtdyllin.com
Who is to say
who is the villain
who is the hero?
Probably the dictionary.
“I love this feeling. Why do people stop doing it as adults?”
I stared at Leila unabashedly, not bothering to school my expression since her eyes were closed. She hung upside down off of my office couch, her legs hooked over the top. Her long flaxen hair pooled on the floor catching the light like spun gold. I was momentarily dazzled. I shouldn’t be. This woman is a killer.
Her forehead scrunched up and her eyes popped open. Emerald, they’re emerald green. The shade hadn’t quite been captured in any of the photos I’d seen, and yet somehow I’d known they’d be that color. I idly wondered if they were contacts. “I asked you a question, Doc. Aren’t you going to respond? I have to say, I expected you to be…different.” She swung her legs around, righting herself. She bit her lower lip as she stared at me, her expression surprisingly guileless.
I gave myself an internal shake, pushing off of the door, striding over to my desk. I cleared my throat. “It wasn’t a real question, more rhetorical, or that’s the way it seemed to me.”
“I suppose you could have interpreted it that way.” She laughed, the sound light and airy. I found myself fighting the urge to respond to her with a smile. It tugged defiantly at the corners of my mouth.
I slid into my chair, the leather squeaking as I situated myself. “Mmmm… But it’s not the way you meant it. You wanted me to answer?”
“Maybe.” Leila’s gaze flicked around the room. I suddenly felt like the one under scrutiny, as if she was making all these judgments about me because of what artwork was on my walls and which diplomas I’d chosen to display. It doesn’t matter. Her opinion of you doesn’t matter. “Why don’t you tell me?”
“Only you know what was intended by the question. Why would I tell you if you wanted me to answer or not?”
“I don’t know, because you’re the shrink. So do some shrinking.” She paused, a small grin tipping her lips up. “I never understood that expression, or I guess it’s not really an expression but a term or slang…whatever. Do you know where it comes from?”
I shook my head. “No.” That was a lie though, I knew. I merely wanted to get a feel for her, to see if she did in fact know the answer herself and was testing me, or if she was genuinely curious. Sometimes something so irrelevant could reveal a lot about a person. I was known for my ability to read people. It was a gift. My colleagues were often amazed on what I was able to get out of patients from a few simple words.
“I Googled it once. Supposedly ‘shrink’ when referring to a psychiatrist or psychologist came from the term ‘headshrinker’, comparing the process of psychotherapy to the primitive tribal practices of shrinking the heads of enemies. But who knows if that’s the truth, just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t make it fact. I thought maybe you would know definitively.”
“Do you consider me your enemy?”
She grinned as she leaned forward to perch her elbows on her knees. “Oh, I think I like you already, Doc.”
“Why is that?”
“Because from our little exchange that’s what you pulled out of it—to ask me whether or not I think you’re my enemy. I don’t.”
I quirked an eyebrow. “You don’t?”
“Nah. You’re just here to do a job. Why would that alone make you my enemy?”
“What would make me your enemy?”
“That remains to be seen.”
Silence fell over us. I flipped open her file, ready to get down to business. I glanced at my notes, reading over them quickly before clearing my throat again. “Why don’t we start at the beginning? Tell me why you did what you did.”
“The beginning?” She smirked, her eyes glittering with mirth. “I could, but then we’d be here forever. Instead I’ll start at the beginning of this story, get to the interesting parts right away. After all, everyone knows people would skim over the boring parts anyways. No one wants to hear about my childhood or any other such mundane things. They want to know about the gruesome stuff. The stuff that landed me here in your office.”
“Is it because you’re…or were an author that makes you think of everything as a book?”
“Maybe. Or it could be because of Shakespeare. You know…all the world is a stage blabbity blah.” She waved her hand in the air. “And I’m still an author. That doesn’t just go away. Even after I’m dead I’ll still be an author. My works won’t just disappear into the ether. Or maybe they will since I’ve never actually published anything.” A mischievous grin stretched across her face. “I bet I’d be an instant bestseller if I put a book out now though.” Her eyes glazed over as she lost herself in thought.
I expelled a long breath. I knew working with Leila wasn’t going to be an easy task, but I could already tell she was being purposefully difficult. I needed to figure out just how unstable she was before her case went to trial. But if she purposefully evaded, things wouldn’t fare well for either of us.
“I’m not insane. And I’m not going to try and claim insanity as a defense,” Leila said, as if she’d just read my mind, or maybe she was just really good at reading people as well. I’d already guessed that was true before meeting her. To manipulate on the levels that she did, one had to have an expert level of understanding of human nature.
“Then why did you
She shrugged, a sad smile replacing the grin that had been on her face. “I don’t know. Sometimes things are more difficult to bear than I thought they would be. It’s hard being hated…even if I did all those horrible things for the right reasons. And I knew—I knew I’d be hated. That was kind of the point. I just thought it would be easier somehow…all of it.” She paused, sighing heavily. “I guess maybe I wanted even just one person like you to understand my true motivations. I want there to be no mistake about why I did the things that I did. Otherwise it will all have been for nothing.” She sat up, her face dropping into serious lines for the first time since I walked into the room. “At least that’s the way it would feel to me.”
“You do realize that if you are found fit for trial they’re going to seek the death penalty?”
“I’m well aware.”
“And you’re okay with that?”
“Well, no, it’s not like I have a death wish or am suicidal if that’s what you mean. But if I claim insanity…again I’ll say…everything I’ve done will be marginalized…and for nothing. The things I’ve done were for a purpose, a greater good.” She leaned back into the couch and pursed her lips. “And like any good cause…you should be willing to die for it. Being here in this situation was the worst case scenario, but one that I was prepared for from the beginning.”
I was strangely unsettled by her answers. I shifted in my chair, the leather creaking loudly. “Okay, then start at the beginning of this story.” I pulled out a notepad and pen, poised to take notes. I had a feeling there would be a lot I’d want to jot down to go over again later.
“Okay… To the real beginning of the story then.” She winked at me, and began, her voice a low hum, both riveting and enthralling.
The words suddenly dried up in my throat, stopping me short. I’d had him in my thrall, for just a moment, but unfortunately the confidence I’d been exuding was feigned. I shifted forward on the overstuffed couch, my fingers trailing over the worn leather. I sucked in a deep breath, the lingering essence of something vanilla, a candle perhaps, caused my nose to tingle slightly. My heart sped up, thrumming loudly in my ears. I needed Doctor Jonah Yoshihara to know the truth about everything. I wasn’t sure why I was driven to make him understand on an almost desperate level. I’d just met the man and yet I was already seeking his approval. It was probably one of the many reasons why he’d been the one chosen to work my case. His mere presence commanded respect, submission, and the need for him to like you. And I do. I want him to like me.
I’d been expecting someone very different from the man who had walked into the office minutes earlier—someone older, more seasoned. Not the attractive thirty-something psychiatrist who was currently sitting a few feet away from me. Doctor Jonah Yoshihara was beautiful. It was as if he’d gotten all the best features of his mixed heritage. Dark caramel skin, fine yet masculine features, slightly slanted eyes…and his body…perfection. At least I imagined it to be. He was tall, lithe, and yet I could see the definition of his muscles even though he wore a finely tailored suit. He reminded me of a young Tyson Beckford.
I flicked my gaze away from him, my cheeks warming. It probably wasn’t the best idea to be ogling my psychiatrist, especially with so much riding on our sessions. It couldn’t be helped though. I hadn’t expected my doctor to be as attractive as a supermodel. Hell, I hadn’t expected him to be under the age of fifty. Funny how I didn’t see any of this coming. I’d seen a lot of things—but not him. Not Doctor Jonah Yoshihara.
I cleared my throat and forced myself to focus. “The beginning,” I mumbled. “Right.” My gaze darted around the room, falling on a trio of water-colored butterfly paintings. Each one was different in size, shape and pigmentation, but they went together since they were hung in matching frames. “Those butterfly paintings are…nice. I like them.” I was stalling and I was pretty sure we both knew it. Although I really did like the paintings. There was something comforting about them.
“They aren’t butterflies.”
“Of course they are.”
“Nope. Each of those pictures is actually a Rorschach test.”
I should have known that Jonah would be the type of person to have a Rorschach test masquerading as a trio of paintings on his wall. I glanced up at Jonah to see he was scribbling something down in his notepad. I laughed. “I suppose the shrinking has begun. So what does it mean, that I see butterflies?”
“It could mean a lot of things, but right now I think the butterflies are telling me that you’re stalling.”
I dragged my teeth over my lower lip and tilted my head, meeting Jonah’s dark gaze head on. “I’d say you are spot on about that one.” I tucked my hair behind my ears and crossed my legs. “Fine. No more stalling… Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away…” I snickered but Jonah’s face remained stoic. I rolled my eyes. “Okaaaay, I suppose it all started on Facebook.”
“Facebook?” Jonah’s expression was incredulous. I choked back another laugh.
“Why of course on Facebook, silly doctor. Facebook is a gathering place for negativity. It’s where people rant and rave and spread hate. All social media, actually. Facebook just gives everyone more space to do it, unlike places like Twitter with its limited characters.”
“That’s a rather sweeping generality, don’t you think? Not everyone is negative on social media sites. There are—”
I sighed. “All right, not everyone sucks on social media, but it started to feel that way.” Jonah nodded, his gaze flicking back to his notebook as he scribbled in it some more. “But that’s where it started. On Facebook.”
“Care to elaborate?”
I let my head fall back so I could stare at the ceiling. “Sure.” I gathered my thoughts as I tried not to focus on cracks in the plaster in my field of vision. One would think that such a nice office would be better maintained. “As you know I’m an aspiring author. So it’s like I have to be on social media, whether I like it or not.”
“Well, I don’t know, one day I guess you could say I had an epiphany.”
“I was scrolling through the news feed one morning, all the negativity really getting to me more than usual. I myself was feeling rather angry—angry at everyone and everything. How has our world gotten to be so…ridiculous? People seem to be devolving, and no one does anything about it. People just bitch, bitch, bitch, but no one does anything. And then it hit me…” I closed my eyes and let myself get swept back to that day. It was the day everything became crystal clear. It was the beginning of everything. I just hadn’t known it at the time.
Two years earlier ~
The older song by Maroon 5 was playing in the background on my laptop. It had gone mostly unnoticed as I scrolled down through my daily dose of Facebook horrors, as I liked to call them… and then the lyrics jumped out at me as if suddenly louder than before, “Is anyone out there ‘cause it’s getting harder and harder to breathe…”
I sucked in a sharp breath as the lyrics ricocheted around in my head. That’s how it felt. Like I wondered sometimes, if anyone was really out there, and the thought made it harder and harder to breathe. My throat tightened and my heart pounded in my ears, drowning out the song that had caused it all. And yet the words kept swirling around like a haze in my mind.
“Why is this world so fucked up?” I muttered, forcing myself to focus as I slammed my laptop shut. “And why is no one doing anything about it?”
Now that was the real question. Even the people who weren’t lost in the mindless oblivion of pop culture didn’t seem to be doing anything more than flapping their gums about society’s issues. I wasn’t any better. I wrote books about the kind of people I wished I could be…heroes that made a difference. I wasn’t contributing anything to make the world a better place, not really. A knot formed in my gut. But what could I really do? I was just one little person. I
Anger rolled through my system, causing my adrenaline to pump. I stood abruptly, pacing the small space that was my office. There had to be something I could do. My mind flitted around vague ideas, nothing solid, nothing quite concrete. After what seemed like hours, I slumped back in my chair. I had nothing.
I was just as hopeless as everyone else.
I unsuccessfully tried to keep the scowl from my face. “What does that little story about Facebook have to do with anything?”
Leila’s eyes sparkled. “You said you wanted me to start at the beginning, I am.”
“And you said you weren’t going to take the insanity route, but if you blame everything you’ve done on Facebook, I’m sorry, sweetheart, but I’m—”
Leila burst out laughing, the sound cutting me off. My scowl deepened. “I’m not blaming everything on Facebook, silly doctor,” she sputtered.
“Then why…” My voice trailed off as she uncurled herself from the couch, her long legs languidly carrying her closer to me. My finger hovered over the panic button under my desk. I swallowed hard. I studied Leila for signs of hostility, but I saw none.
She paused in front of my desk for a moment before perching herself on the corner, back to me, her hands resting behind her. I had the sudden urge to reach out and touch her delicate fingers, just to feel the texture of her skin. I quickly pushed the notion aside. I was a man, driven by human needs—curiosity, but I didn’t have to give in to them.
“No one did anything when my best friend was attacked. She was attacked in broad daylight, in the parking lot of a Target, and no one did anything. No one hardly ever seems to do anything these days. I used to not do anything too. That’s what my little Facebook story has to do with all of this.”
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