Everyone remembers their first villain. For some of us, it was an unkind teacher or an unidentified monster in the closet. Others remember villains of the curly mustache variety, terrorizing heroes and scheming evil in the otherwise wholesome worlds of our favorite stories. Then there are the more subtle villains, woven into our days so discreetly that their damange goes unnoticed: a phobia, a dreaded job, a mother’s disapproving glance.
No matter how we remember them, our villains shape who we are unlike much else. At their worst, they fueled our nightmares, our insecurities, and our doubts. At their best, they entertain us, inspire change, and spark our curiosity. This got us thinking: as publishers, we wanted to know how Slice‘s community of writers meet their villains. We weren’t disappointed. These pages offer a glimpse into what happens when our villains become our muses. The result is an unexpected mix of ugly-turned-magical, whether those villains are personified as epic comic-book characters, unrequited love, sociopaths in small-town Ireland, or subtle and obvious lines that segregate a community.
These stories, spun from the minds of emerging and established writers, will prompt you to look over your shoulder before turning the page and perhaps conjure the villains that lurk within the shadows of your own imagination.