The Villain Institute - Megan Linski

Chapter One


I’d often heard the world was black and white, but I didn’t believe the lies. Bad things happened to good people all the time. There were no rules when it came to what was fair and just. We lived, we died, and everything else just was. Right, wrong— it didn’t matter, as long as you made it to tomorrow.

Right now, two hundred bucks would get me a hell of a long way toward tomorrow. Rent was due, and if I didn’t want to end up on the streets again, I had to find a way to come up with the money.

Hustling assholes down at Flying Phoenix Inn, a pub on my side of Detroit, was a sure-fire way to make the money. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how the owners managed to fit so much ego into one building. The place attracted quite the arrogant crowd.

I entered the pub, and a musty scent covered by beer hit my nose. I stepped in a puddle of something wet and sticky— someone’s spilled drink. To be honest, I’d be surprised if the floors were clean in this dump. The place was almost deafening with chatter and music, and sports-enthusiasts complained loudly at the game on TV. Someone bumped into me and kept on walking, as if being blind made me invisible.

I didn’t like to drink— I had to keep my head clear— but it was part of the con. I had to blend in. I ordered a whiskey and took a seat close to the dart boards, sipping on my drink to make it look like I was busy.

Three sets of footsteps approached, and each fell in a heavy, overly confident beat.

Target acquired.

The tap of beer bottles being set down on a table nearby met my ears.

“Who wants to lose first?” the first man asked while cracking his knuckles. He had a deep, smug voice.

“If you go up against me, you’ll be the first to lose, bud,” his friend said, clapping him on the back.

“Oh, really?” the deep voice responded. “We’ll see about that.”

A chair screeched across the floor, and the third guy laughed as he sat. “He’s not wrong, you know.”

“Shut up,” the first guy snapped. “Challenge me to darts any day, and I’ll kick your ass.”

His friend laughed. “Oh, I’m sure you would… after I won.”

“You’ll be eating your words once this is over.”

The third friend was obviously amused by their trash talk. “How about we let the score speak for itself, huh?”

The guy with the deep voice huffed. “Fair enough.”

The men scuffled around, until they retrieved their darts. They went quiet, and heavy footsteps walked up to the starting line. The man took aim, and the dart flew from his fingers. I knew the second it began spinning through the air, because I could feel the flutter of current coming off the fletching.

I didn’t know how I could do it, but I could feel things in the air that other people couldn’t. It was almost like my body was making up for my lost vision by tuning into the smallest shift of air current around me. I could feel every person as they moved through the bar, just by the shifts in the air currents around them. I could feel the air as it moved around items, feel what took up space. You could call it my own personal echolocation, just with air instead of sound. It was how I got around so easily and fooled people into thinking I could see.

The dart landed somewhere near the corner of the dartboard, and the guy groaned. His opponent laughed. “Better luck next time.”

“Screw you,” he responded.

The game continued like that— nothing but trash talk. Neither guy was any better than the other. It was like watching two losers compare dick size when they both had a micropenis. It was honestly a total bore to listen to… until one comment caught my attention.

“You’re so bad, even a blind guy could beat you,” one of the friends said to the other.

The man with the deep voice chuckled. “Too bad there’s no one around to test that theory.”

I smirked and set my whiskey aside. “I’ll give it a shot,” I offered.

The three men turned to me. The first guy must’ve been sizing me up, because he scoffed a moment later. “You think your blind ass could beat me at darts?”

I shrugged. “I’ll bet you a hundred bucks I can hit the bull’s eye.”

All three of the men laughed, but the man with