Beware the Ides of…

Chess piece

… January? Because it’s really freaking cold here. I’m not a fan of this.

But seriously, you all know the rest of the real statement. It just wouldn’t feel right to forgo a mention of March 15 when I’m posting a blog on this day.

Anyhow, down to business. Coming soon – and I do mean soon – I will have something great to share with everyone.

And that is the final cover for my upcoming book, Villain (releasing May 2018).

It is being worked on and I cannot wait to reveal it. Beware THAT post, because it points to a lot of clues about the nature of the story. I’ve already hinted that Villain touches upon good and evil, how DID alters (no pun intended) my life and the lives of those around me, and how it’s hard to know the distinction between truth and lies when you’ve lost most of your life to a brain injury that resulted in retrograde amnesia. But there’s more. And with that, keep one question in mind:

Are you the pawn in your own life, or are you something greater?

*

This week, I want to share another excerpt from Villain. And based upon the response I received from my editor (a nice person with a lot of patience, because he had to slog through multiple voices and points of view to edit this book), as well as from readers of my first book, Shattered, this long-awaited excerpt comes from the alter they most want to hear from:

Ruby.

Is she the villain in the story? Maybe. But that’s not up to me to decide. If she is here to protect me, to rid the world of injustice, is that good, or is that manipulative? If she was willing to conduct a relationship with someone – and I had no knowledge of the event – was she looking to destroy my marriage, or simply looking for love?

In this section, she talks about her thoughts regarding her beloved Starlight Boy with our psychologist several years ago. And yes… she was angry. Has she calmed down yet?

I guess you’ll have to read Villain to find out.

*

“Ruby,” Dr. E said. “When you say that you’re going to kill Starlight Boy, do you actually mean it?”

“Define ‘mean it.’”

“Are you going to show up at his door with a gun?”

I laughed and rolled my eyes. “That’s something Johnny would do. Not me. I don’t like guns. He doesn’t even love guns. Plus, if I really wanted to kill him, do you think I’d tell you about it?”

It’s not that I heard Dr. E sigh as much as I envisioned it – could see her chest rise, the air move as she parted her lips in a motion of relief. Ruby won’t do it, she must have thought. But then again, she didn’t know me as well as she believed she did. I wouldn’t actually kill him, anyway. Would I have felt free to admit that if those had been my plans?

“Anyhow,” I added, “I don’t know where he lives. And I don’t want to know. I don’t care.”

“But you must care,” Dr. E said. “To have the desire to kill someone, even as a fantasy, means that you care. Ruby, it’s OK to care. But it’s not OK to kill.”

“No shit that it’s not OK to kill,” I said, leaning forward in the chair. I bounced my foot on the worn blue carpet. What a fucking ugly office. Weren’t psychologist’s offices supposed to be, you know, calming? This one wasn’t. It seemed like it was perpetually under construction, and it was always cold. I hated being there. But I knew things that no one else knew, and I had to speak up.

“Then you’re going to mentally kill him in the system,” Dr. E said. “You’ll remove his memory.”

Her words were statements, not questions, and that confused me. They should have been questions. Did she know how our system worked? She wasn’t from here. I was.

And I was certain it didn’t work like that.

“I can’t completely erase him,” I said. “It would take another fucking head injury to, you know, get rid of him like that for everyone. But I want him dead. I want the satisfaction of seeing it – of letting everyone see it – so that they can know he isn’t worth it. That the way he lied, he cheated, he raped… it just wasn’t worth it.”

“What do you mean when you say that he raped?”

“Fuck.” I’d meant to tell her, but not in this spillage of words. I had the whole thing calculated out, laid down like a good story. It was more compelling that way. Now, it was going to sound emotional and painful, and I didn’t want that shit. That wasn’t my show. Not this time.

“Did he rape you, Ruby?” Dr. E asked.

“No,” I said. “He raped seventeen-year-old Shilo.”

I told her about what had happened, and she listened, not even stopping to jot down the notes she usually took. She just listened, and when I finished the story, she continued to stare at me.

“How do you feel about what he did to her?” she asked.

“How do I feel? He raped her. He triggered her to come out when I didn’t want to have sex with him. She said no, and either he didn’t hear it or he didn’t want to hear it. How do you think I feel? He hurt her!”

“He hurt you.”

“No.” I shook my head. This was not my show. How many times did I have to explain it? I didn’t want to talk about her emotional, painful bullshit. I was just here to deal with it, to close the chapter, and to talk about the homicidal thoughts I wasn’t even going to act upon.

What a stupid fucking choice to present. Four years after Shilo’s rape, and now, we were all reliving it in the host’s brain again.

“But he did hurt you,” Dr. E said. “He hurt you, and Shilo, and Madeline, and the whole system. And her. He hurt the body and the mind. No wonder you want to kill him. You want to destroy him as he destroyed you – in the same way that he betrayed you after saying that he was in love.”

And that clicked. That fucking clicked, because that was exactly it. I didn’t want to see Starlight Boy dead; not really. I wanted to destroy him. I wanted to make him suffer, and to make him feel as betrayed as all of us had.

I wasn’t evil. I wasn’t the devil in disguise. I was simply pissed, and I was pissed for all of us, and for all of the times we’d been hurt. And I was pissed by all the people who’d harmed us and who had never been brought to justice.

Lucy, Johnny, and I are big fans of vigilante justice. The only problem is that we know where the line must be drawn to keep the host functional, so the justice is carried out internally. But it’s probably better that way.

“Yeah,” I finally said. “Yeah, I want to kill him because he betrayed me. Because he hurt me. Because he raped Shilo. Because he’s a fucking liar.”

“I think it’s incredibly unethical that a man who knew that the host, as you call her, has Dissociative Identity Disorder and other mental and physical health conditions – as well as a monogamous relationship – would still have sex with you. Yes, I think that’s wrong, and it’s hurtful. What he did to Shilo is absolutely rape. But what he did to you? Was that what you wanted at the time?”

“Maybe. But I still feel like killing him.” I reached for the cigarettes again, but Dr. E noticed and shook her head.

“Don’t escape this now,” she said. “Tell me. How would you do it? How would you kill him?”

“What?”

“If you want to remove the power he has in your system, then kill him – fictionally, of course. You can’t really do it, but do it here. Free yourself by making him a character in your life. Strip him of his role. How would you get rid of him?”

For a moment, I was terrified. What if she wrote it all down? What if she reported me and had us locked up after seeming to be on our side? How did I know I could really trust what seemed like a giant set-up?

But fuck the questions, I thought. She’d asked.

Now she’d get her answer.

*

–For more excerpts from Villain, as well as the cover design reveal and other information, please visit this blog every Thursday at 10 a.m.

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