To Be a Villain

To Be a Villain

A Story by Carmen Williams

Emily Vaux has dreamed of joining the League of Villians for years, and is finally given the chance, but while training she discovers that not everything is as it seems...


Emily Vaux sat in her room watching TV and drawing, her blonde hair hanging like a curtain, covering half of her face.  The screen showed the city’s regular news station, which was discussing the latest attempt at robbing the local bank. There had been multiple attempts in the past week, none of which were successful.  It was interesting, but it wasn’t from the perspective she wanted.  

“Emily!” her mom called from downstairs, “I’m going to take Jade to tennis practice, so you’re gonna be home alone for a while!”  “Okay!” she shouted back, trying to keep her excitement from showing in her voice, “bye!” “Bye!” A door slammed somewhere downstairs, followed by the sound of a car starting.  Emily rushed to the window and watched the small silver car pull down the driveway and disappear down the street.

As soon as they were out of sight, she turned back to the TV and punched in a code on the remote.  The screen turned black for a few seconds, then changed to show a woman sitting behind a table, similar to the person on the news. Only it wasn’t the regular news channel, it was a different one, which showed exactly what Emily wanted.  The other perspective.  

“Over the past few weeks, there have been multiple attempts at robbing The Grayman Bank, all of which have failed,” she announced, sitting up straight and proud behind her desk.  “The following villains in training have been behind the attempts.” Five pictures of young villains and their names appeared above the woman as she continued talking. “All of the following were students that were attempting to complete their final assignment to officially join the league.  Due to the amount of apprentices who’ve been caught, many league members are offering to take new students sooner than what was previously determined. Apprentices must be 16 or older and fit the usual physical requirements. The villains who are offering to take apprentices are among the following:  Mason Marquez, aka The Vulture; Scarlet Lowery, aka The Red Bandit, Michael Uglow, aka The Dark Titan-” 

The woman’s voice was interrupted by a loud squeal. Emily stood up and shouted “Michael Uglow is taking an apprentice?!”  Emily, who had just turned 17 and fit all other requirements, had been admiring his work since she’d first discovered the alternate news channel. He had to be her mentor. “To be considered for apprenticeship, please submit the form that has been sent to all our younger viewers through email. All forms are due before the end of the week. Good luck to all of you, and remember to tune in tomorrow using the following code.” Emily scribbled down the numbers for the next day, then checked her email on her phone.  

There was one new message, the form.  She started filling it out, then stopped halfway through, wondering how they even got her email. She continued to fill out the form, pushing that thought aside, then at the bottom, Emily made sure to ask specifically for Michael Uglow.  Then she just had to wait for a response.

. . . 

A few months later, after she’d completely forgotten about the form, she actually got a reply.  Emily got a letter in the mail, saying that she had been accepted for an apprenticeship. It claimed that they got her name through the school’s program, and that it was for a teaching job at an elementary school.  It was convincing enough for her mom, but she knew that it was the league. Partially because this was exactly their style, but mostly because in the corner of the letter was the League of Villains’ insignia, printed so small that unless you knew what to look for, you’d never have seen it.

A few days later she was being dropped off in front of an elementary school with a suitcase and was saying goodbye to her mom and Jade.  The letter had said that she should be gone for a few months, so they were expecting to see her then. Though Emily knew she might not come back.  This was dangerous, she’d known that since the start, but she had to try it. She couldn’t just sit and watch while others did something that she was passionate about any longer.  

After they said their goodbyes and she watched them drive away, Emily realized her mistake.  She had no clue where to go now. It didn’t say where to go in the letter, so she was stranded.  Maybe it was all a joke, and this was just to mess with her. Maybe the league didn’t even exist, and she’d just fallen victim to the stupidest scam of the century. 

Or maybe it was a test.  

Maybe they did this on purpose, to see if she could figure out how to find them.  That sounded like something the league would do. How would she even find them though? If this was a test then surely they’d have given her some sort of hint.  Even still, how was she supposed to find someone who works for a league of villains and spies? The answer, surprisingly, was really quite simple. All Emily did was walk into him.

Emily turned and started walking away when a boy probably a little older than her came sprinting down the street and ran right into her.  “Sorry,” he said, pushing past her and continuing towards the school. Then he sprinted up the stairs, only to stop and turn instead of going through the doors.  He went around the corner and disappeared into the shadow behind the building’s entrance.  

Emily stared at the spot where he’d disappeared, then walked over, just to see if a door was hidden back there, or if he was just standing there.  She rounded the corner to find the boy fishing through the pockets of his large coat, trying to find something. He didn’t see her at first, but after a few seconds he noticed her.  “Umm, do you mind?” he said, giving her a weird look. She returned the look and replied, “No, I don’t mind at all. But of course, the police might like to know about a mysterious man with a strangely large coat sneaking around an elementary school”  He scoffed, “I’m here for business, nothing more. So since I’m late and probably in trouble already, why don’t you go take you threats somewhere else and leave me be.”   

“What kind of business?” she said, “and don’t say for the school, because if you were here for that you would’ve gone inside.”  “That really is none of your business,” he said. She raised an eyebrow and waited for him to continue. “Fine, I’m picking someone up,” he said.  “You know, you’re not really helping yourself with the whole police thing right now.”.  

“Haha, very funny,” he said sarcastically, “that is obviously not what I meant, otherwise I wouldn't have told you.  Like I said, I’m here to pick someone up for business, and it will look very unofficial if they catch me talking to” he gestured to her with a slight look of disgust on his face, “you.”  Emily laughed and said, “oh you don’t need my help to look unofficial.”  

He rolled his eyes.  “Well,” she said, “would this official business involve a new apprentice?”  “No,” he said, his face turning slightly red, “and even if it was I wouldn’t tell you because it’s none of your business.”  He was lying. He was so obviously lying that she almost felt a little bad for him. Almost.  

Emily smiled, “well, I’ll leave you too it then.”  She turned and went back down the steps, leaving the boy behind her, “oh, and have fun waiting for me.”  Once she’d turned the corner, she slid behind a bush and waited. As if on cue, the boy raced around the corner, only to find that she’d disappeared.  He looked around in confusion and took a few steps forward. Emily then silently crept out from behind the bush and stood behind him. She leaned close in and said, “boo.”

“AHH!!,” he yelled, jumping and spinning around to face her.  “Don’t do that!” he said, glaring at her. They stood in silence for a few moments as he tried to calm himself, then he said, “so you’re the new girl?”  Emily nodded and stuck out her hand, “Emily Vaux.” He shook her hand, “Alec Green. You ready to meet The Dark Titan?” “Sure,” she said, “lets go.”

They arrived thirty minutes later.  She wasn’t sure exactly where they were, but that was probably the point of the dark windows in the car.  Once they were inside, Michael Uglow came out to greet them in what seemed to be the front room. Emily did her best to remain calm, and she thought she did an okay job (she really didn’t, and you could totally tell she was freaking out).  Of course, she was geeking out internally.  

“Welcome, Emily!” Michael said, walking over to them, “I’m so glad you’re here!”  He held his hand out to her, and she shook it. “Alec,” he said, turning towards him, “next time, please refrain from sleeping in and being late to pick someone up.  Also, Emily, excellent performance with Alec, that was very entertaining to watch.” “You were watching?!” they said in unison, one embarassed and the other rather proud.  “Of course,” he said, “after all, it’s my job to look after both of you now.”  

“So Emily,” Michael began, “do you have any experience or training with villainy, or are you new to all of it?”  “I’ve been doing gymnastics and martial arts since I was seven, but that’s it,” she said. Michael shrugged, “Well, that’s better than most cases that I’ve seen.  So, are you ready to begin?”

. . .

He tested her in almost anything and everything you could think of, including anything academics, archery, boxing, track, debate, swimming, and so many other things that if I listed the rest it would take up an additional page.  The tests were finally over after the end of the second week. “Great,” said Michael when they’d finally finished, “and now you get to learn, relearn, practice, and improve pretty much everything you were just tested on.” And they did.  

The first two months were torture.  Everything was extremely difficult and by the end of the day Emily was always sore, exhausted, and usually in a terrible mood.  She kept going though, and she eventually could keep up with Alec when they ran laps, raced across the lake, took tests, and practised fighting.  

Of course, he was still better than her.  After all, he had already been there for five months before she got there.  Even with the difference, it didn’t stop them from becoming friends. Emily hadn’t been close to many people.  She always felt tense around most people, but with him she could relax and be herself. Training with him always seemed more like a game that work, even with the difference in levels. Unfortunately, by the time she even got close to matching his skill, he’d left.

He left for his final test to join the league four months after Emily had started training, though it really hadn’t felt that long.  His assignment was to break into a city facility, hack onto a computer, and download all of the information they had on the league, then erase it from the city’s network.

Michael and Emily had watched from the computer (they’d sent a drone after him so they could watch and give the footage to the league after) as he went through with it.  He got into the building all right, unlocking a window and slipping inside, but he was caught on his way to the computer room.
There was usually only two guards, which was what Alec was prepared for, but for some reason that night there were ten.  It was as if they were waiting for him, like they’d known. He was sentenced to 20 years in jail since he was over 18.

She had to continue her training alone, for the most part.  Every once in a while they’d go somewhere and meet with another villain and their apprentice to train, but it was never the same person twice, so there was almost no point in trying to make new friends.  And even if she did, it wasn’t the same. She missed her best friend.

Emily continued working hard at her training.  She didn’t view Alec as a failure, but she knew that his mission was, and she would not let the same happen during hers.  She’d practice for as long as she could, which was normally until late in the night, when Michael sent her to the room he had given her to rest.  

“You don’t seem to do anything but work now,” he commented one evening when he’d found her destroying the punching bag at 1am.  She sighed and continued to practice, “what else is there to do?”

She missed Alec.  She never would’ve admitted it to him if he were there, but she did.  He usually made practice fun, and helped push her to try harder and not give up.  She still never gave up, but she didn’t enjoy training as much. It just felt empty, like something was missing and nothing would ever be okay again until it came back.  And she knew that it wasn’t coming back, or at least it wasn’t for another twenty years.  

After a few more months of training in an empty daze, Emily finally pulled herself out of the endless cycle of misery.  There was only a month left until her assessment, after which she could finally join the league. She brought herself back and forced herself to focus on the future instead of the past.  She’d dreamed of joining the league since she was ten, and now she was only a month away from finally getting there.  

“Your assignment will be the same as Alec’s,” Michael told her, “you need to get in, download the file, delete it, and get out.”  “Hasn’t someone else done that already?” she asked, “after all, it’s been months, and other apprentices must have tried.” “They did, but they were caught as well.  Some people have completely given up on sending apprentices for this task, but I believe that you can get the job done,” he told her.  

That did it.  That was all she needed to hear.  As much as she’d already wanted to complete her mission, she wanted it even more now.  She had to get this done and be the one to do the impossible. Emily studied floor plans of the building, and pieced together images and pictures to get a general layout.  

She set up one of the practice rooms to match the layout of the room and the hallway that she’d have to get into and she recorded where all of the guards would be and when they’d be there.  She had Michael’s newest apprentice, Lily, stand in as some of the guards and attack her whenever she could. She didn’t tell Michael any of her plans. She wanted her success to be so amazing and startling that he wouldn’t even know what hit him.  

Lily was happy to help.  She was only 16, but was extremely good at hand to hand combat and strategic planning.  She was short, which made everyone else, including Emily, want to protect her at all costs.  She didn’t need anyone’s protection though, she was great all on her own.  

Another thing Emily had to practice was getting around quietly.  She was naturally bad at stealth, so she’d work on this all of the time.  She’d sneak up behind Lily and Michael, and would follow them around, waiting to see how long it took to notice her.  She’d also occasionally try to scare them, which was always fun. One day she followed Michael all the way to his study without him noticing, and was about to jump out and scare him when his phone rang.  

“Hello?” he answered, “oh, yes, Emily’s progress is coming along fine.”  The mention of her name made her freeze. “She’s been practicing, so you might want to be a bit more on guard.”  He paused, and she tried to make out what the other person was saying. “No, listen,” he said, sounding annoyed with them, “we had a deal, I tell you about them, you catch them, and then you pay me.  She is not going to be caught easily so unless you want her to join the league and plot against you further, you need to catch her. Then you have one less villain to worry about, and I get paid. Got it?  Good, now make sure you have extra guards in that hallway, even more than for the last one.”

Emily sat frozen at the doorway, unable to believe any of it.  Michael Uglow, famous villain, spy, and criminal, who also was her teacher and her friend, was working for the other side?  How could he do that? He just spends months training kids so he could turn them in for money? How could he even get much money if he only trained two at a time?

Then she realized.  All of the other kids she’d trained with had been caught the night of their final test.  Whenever they were working with another villain, Michael always brought up on question. What are they doing for their test?  `He was the reason that most apprentices were caught. He was the reason that Alec was caught.  

Anger bubbled up inside her, and Emily felt the urge to run inside and scream and punch Michael all at the same time.  What good would that really do though? It wouldn’t change the fact that Alec and a bunch of others were behind bars because of him.  Not now, she told herself. Get him later.  

She waited until he was asleep, then broke into his office.  Tracing the call was fairly easy, which was a little surprising.  She called the number back and listened to it ring. No one picked up, which was expected.  When the voicemail started to record, she used her best impression of Michael’s voice, “hello, I apologize for calling at this hour but I need you to call me back first thing tomorrow morning so we can go over the details of the plan again, thank you, and goodnight.” She hung up the phone and slipped back into her room.  Before she fell asleep, she set her alarm for four in the morning.   

Once she’d woken up the next morning, she slipped into the office and hid.  Michael got up at five every morning, so she didn’t have too much time to make sure that the recorders were in place and hooked up to her tape.  Then she hid in the closet and waited.

When he got up, one of the first things Michael did was get to work on his computer.  After about 15 minutes, the phone began to ring.  

“Hello? Oh, good morning,” he said, pausing and listening to the person on the other end of the line.  Emily still wasn’t sure what they were saying, but she hoped it was enough to get Michael to say something about her test.  Hopefully that something would contain enough evidence to have him kicked out of the league.  

“What do you mean you want to review the plan?  There’s nothing complicated about it. I’ve told you when and where my apprentice is going, all you need to do is send a couple guards to capture her and then give me the money afterwards.  What else do you possibly need to know?” He paused and listened to the other person talking. As he listened, his eyes grew wide and he quickly cut in saying, “I’ve got to call you back.” He slammed the phone down and looked around the room.”  Then his eyes fell on the closet.  

He knew she was there.  He started towards the closet, but before he could open it, Emily burst through the doors and bolted out of the office, hitting Michael in the face with the door on her way out.  She raced down the hall, the recording clutched in her hands. She had to get out of there and get the recording to the league.  

She’d gotten to the door when she realized, she’d left Lily.  If she was leaving, then Lily might be forced to take her place, just so Michael could get paid.  Was it worth it to go back though? If she got it to the league before he could do anything to Lily, then there wouldn’t be a problem, but if she didn’t, Lily could be sent to juvie for nothing, and there would be no way to get her back if they so much as suspected that she was working for the league.  

Emily turned back and fled down the hall towards the rooms.  She got to Lily’s room to find that she was still asleep. Emily shook her awake and pulled her too her feet, “come on, we need to go.”  “What?” she asked, still half asleep, “wait, Emily, what going on? Please don’t tell me we have 6am practice again.” Emily pulled her into the hallway and started leading her towards the door in at a run, “no, but we need to get out now, so be quiet and follow me.”  Lily stopped, “Emily tell me what’s going on.”  

“Michael’s out to get us, so we need to get out now and contact the league before we join Alec.  I’ll explain in more detail once we’re out of here but we need to hurry before Michael catches us,” she said, pulling Lily harder and trying to get her to move.  “What do you mean he’s out to get us? Emily, explain,” she said, refusing to budge.  

“I told you I’d tell you once we’re safe.”

“Do you want to join the league or not?” 

Lily stopped arguing, “of course, that’s why I’m here.”  “Good,” said Emily, “because coming with me is the only way you’ll make it there.  Now come on.” They ran down the hall silently, making it all the way back to the door. 

 Emily started to unlock it, but was interrupted by a voice behind her. “Now where do you think you’re going?”  Michael stood in the back of the room, watching them. He began coming towards them. Emily turned back to the door, unlocked it, and rushed Lily outside.  “You need to go and find the league,” she said, slipping the tape into Lily’s pocket. “It’ll be safe there.” Lily seemed to understand what she had to do, and started running towards the garage.  

Emily turned back to Michael, “you want the recording? Well come get it.”  He ran at her, drawing a knife from his jacket. She let him get close, then dove to the side at the last minute, grabbing his hand and disarming him.  She’d knocked him off balance, but he quickly recovered and charged at her again, this time empty handed. She deflected his punch and tried to cut his leg, but he jumped back.  She tried again, aiming to cut his arm, but he caught her wrist and tried to take the knife. They struggled over the knife, and eventually Emily’s grip failed and the knife fell and slid across the floor.  

Emily dove for the knife, but Michael caught her and pushed her back.  Before he reached it, Emily stuck out her foot and tripped him, then ran for the knife.  She grabbed it, but before she could turn to attack again, Michael tackled her and pinned her down.  

He took the knife and held it too her throat, “give me the recording!”  “No,” she refused, trying to push him off. “Where is it?!” he asked, adding pressure and causing the knife the pierce her skin.  

“It’s on my phone!” she exclaimed, her voice shaking “It’s on my phone, in my pocket.”  He drew the knife back, but still kept it above her throat. He carefully let go of her other arm and reached for her phone in her pocket.  He started to unlock it when Emily pushed him off, grabbed a ceramic bowl off of the table behind them, and hit him in the head with it so hard it shattered.  

Michael fell over, unconscious.  Emily picked up her phone, which fallen out of his hand, then went to find some rope to tie him up.  She found some in the training area, then brought it back and tied his legs together and his hands behind his back.  Now she just had to wait for Lily to get the evidence to the League so she could bring him in.  

. . . 

The League had decided that the evidence was enough, and they had Michael sent to their version of prison.  Emily was allowed to officially join the league. Apparently spying on someone, tracking a phone call, fighting and beating a trained professional, looking out for other villains, and catching someone who had been a threat to the league was enough to make up for not completing her final assessment. 

Lily was given a new teacher, then later joined the league as well.  She teamed up with Emily and they became partners in crime, working together on most missions.  They eventually broke Alec out of jail, leading to him joining their team as well.

Emily had decided after everything, she wanted to become the first villain ever to die without a single loss.  She wanted to be known as the criminal they never caught. She trained with experienced members of the league whenever she could and took as many missions as possible.  As a result, she didn’t have any trouble climbing up the ranks there.  

I guess you could say that that was her happily ever after, even if becoming a famous supervillain isn’t the first thing you’d think of when you’d hear that.  They all got through it, and no one died. Or at least, no one’s died yet.

© 2019 Carmen Williams

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It's rough, I'm guessing it's a first draft? But I like the story idea. It could easily be polished up and expanded into a novel or series. A few plot holes, like that she's 17 and got dropped off at a school close enough to drive to but her family is okay with not seeing her for months? That seems odd. Maybe if she gets accepted to a faraway school or program instead? Keep going!! This has promise!

Posted 5 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


It's rough, I'm guessing it's a first draft? But I like the story idea. It could easily be polished up and expanded into a novel or series. A few plot holes, like that she's 17 and got dropped off at a school close enough to drive to but her family is okay with not seeing her for months? That seems odd. Maybe if she gets accepted to a faraway school or program instead? Keep going!! This has promise!

Posted 5 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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Added on July 2, 2019
Last Updated on July 2, 2019


Carmen Williams
Carmen Williams


Hi! I'm Carmen. So I started writing on this website about two years ago, and I've never been too involved here. Writing is one of my creative outlets. I'd greatly appreciate if you read and commen.. more..