I stand before the rows of tubes, people naked as the day they were born lined up in each. Each of them has a potential, each of them destined for evil. They are the weeds of society and I have carefully plucked them for my special bouquet though only one will be my shining glory, the weed I place as my centrepiece.

I run my hand along the first tube, she is a pretty young thing, all bone and sinew, agile but tough. She is a 'street rat', constantly on the wrong side of the law and this has caused her to refine those hunting skills until….

I grin, the corners of my mouth turning up at memories of the goons she so delectably slaughtered in the bar I found her in. She was crouched on a table and her lips were drawn back in a feral scowl. Those lips, red and bloody lips they are and I press a kiss to the glass in homage of them. If she were awake she'd smirk and slice my face off. That's why I love her.

I move to the second, my warrior king. He's all muscle from his bicep, the size of my head down across his chiselled chest to his feet, and we all know what big feet mean. I look out of curiosity's sake, they're not wrong. I found this one as he was attacking my carriage with his horde, his axe sliced the side of my ride and he leant inside, trying to subdue the women who rode with me. The small stiletto to his jugular disarmed him nicely and he was left… exposed. His horde is now my horde and they wait outside this room, waiting for my decision. They are the lucky ones, the others I have plans for. People are right to fear my plans.

The third in the line is a goddess, all proud lines and narrow angles even her nose is pointed and her brilliant sapphire eyes could lead the greatest army known to man. They draw you in and I lean so close I don't realise my face is pressed to the glass until I breathe and the warm condensation runs over my lip. This one was stolen from beneath her corrupt father, such a waste of a mind beneath that arrogant man. She had designed the torture of one thousand three hundred and fourteen slaves, each of their number broken in a different pattern and broken under her exact hand. It was delicious to listen to the mad ramblings of one of the slaves who escaped… you really do have to let one escape or you never become known, and the dark man never takes you away to give you life.

The forth is a relation, a dangerous bet on my part, but possibly an asset, depending on how much he is willing to play the part. He is my clone in all but the scars that run across his chest and the obvious black he likes to wear. It makes him stand out and that is dangerous in his line of work. His tight crop of blonde locks looks different, more homicidal, on him and his jaw looks tighter when he's dressed in those stuffy assassin's robes he comes to family dinners in. Choosing him would be a gamble especially if he melted back into the shadows just to backstab me. Better just to kill him now and chose another. So I do, turning up the heat in the oil, watching as it catches fire burning the unconscious body inside until only a charred and blackened corpse remains. Time to inspect the fifth then.

My fifth villain I know well, for we have shared the same bed before twisted in silken sheets, his hands everywhere on my body until I am liquid in his arms. He used to write my story, he was the reason I woke up in the morning. Maybe that gives me a good enough excuse to treat him the way I am now, sticking these little tubes in him so he stays alive and unconscious, the mind altering drugs that will make him so pliable coursing through his body.

Heck, they're all drugged, each of the now four is being pumped with a custom concoction that will change their very being to something that will inspire fear and respect. I need that in them if I am to succeed in ruling the world through them. I eye off my old lover again, his old countenance the only thing I have changed, unlike the others who fit their old skins so well. The lover before me now is still the silken creature I used to love; only I have taken that sexy little body and given him the mould he and I used to joke about. Stretched out in that tube is the image of an incubus, its glorious wings furled behind it an image ready to tempt me into submission just from looking at him. Chosing him now would show my true colours and that means, even with his dream so close all I can do it let him go free and hope he comes to me all of his own.

I walk to the end of the line, where the switches the 'evil genius' had lined up for me – right before I slit his insane head from its less than sane shoulders. He had said that all I needed to do was to pull the levers and my chosen one would be released. He had also told me that the little red buttons would do to the unworthy what had happened to my cousin. Cleansing fire.

I pull two levers, and press two buttons at random. So many variations only two of which I can handle. I hear the hiss and the sounds of flame and gushing water, and the coughing of two sets of lungs. I turn and I her the scream of a person who wants my blood splattered across the walls of this room. I slowly look up, into the eyes of….

Before me are not who I expected, I pick up my hammer, sliding down the shiny helmet on my head. I must clean up this mess and start again. The tears block my vision as I purge the evil from the room, the tangy smell of blood suffocating me as I 'clean up'. Here on the White Plains a hero's work is never done. I must find myself a villain again.