Chapter 14: Anya Dardanos, age 17

"You're so beautiful," he whispered, breathing hard, like he's been running five miles or something. Not that this guy could, with his beer gut, even if he had the Terminator chasing after him. "You're so beautiful, baby, you know that? You feel so good…"

Yeah, I knew that. It wasn't exactly the first time I'd heard it, or even the first time from this guy. But it was best to stay wide-eyed and incredulous, to lean into him with shuddering breaths and tentative clinging hands and let my tits "accidentally" press against his chest. It was a lot more fun that way, later.

"You're so beautiful," he muttered for the fifth time in two minutes, like there's not one other compliment in the entire English language he could think to give me. With this guy and his obviously limited intelligence, it was probably true. And once his dick stole away all his blood from his brain- and it did, I could feel him against my leg- then what few brain cells he had were going to be down to nada in less than half a second.

His huge, callused hands were too hot, and sweaty too. It was really kind of disgusting, but he touched me pretty gently, like he really was trying not to hurt me and thought he could make me feel good. Oh jeez, is this one of those who actually is serious about what he says? Did he seriously think he loved me? Oh, for fuck's sake, this one really is a loser. Of course, everyone is when you get to the heart of them, or even, just scratch past surface a little.

He rubbed at my shoulders with one hand, kissing me all the while. I could tell he wasn't exactly used to being a Casanova. He wasn't cocky and fast enough with the moves. He wasn't a horrible kisser, no bad breath or accidental biting or weird stabbing tongue movements, but it's not like I give a damn even if he was a black belt champion French Kisser, if such a thing existed. Kissing is overrated. It bores me. Probably the only person I'd really want to kiss is me, just to see what it is about my technique that gets everyone all stirred up. For me though, kissing is necessary to get people in the right mode to play with or screw over, and I've become pretty damn good at it since I figured out just what a handy weapon it is.

I moaned into his mouth, rolling back my eyes like I was completely in ecstasy at his "powerful skills." I went limp against his hands like I could barely even stand because his touch made me so freaking overwhelmed I went weak in the knees. Really I had to dig my nails into my palms to keep from laughing, because this really was so damn funny.

"So beautiful…Anya, you're so beautiful," he said for yes, the sixth time, and his hand trailed slowly up my shirt, fingering my tit through my bra, and then around the back, fumbling to unhook it. The guy is never gonna be able to actually go through with it, he had already got to the point where he was practically hyperventilating just from touching my boob. Damn, who knew guys in their twenties could still be so damn cute?

I let him play with my tits a while and slide his hand down my stomach, still doing the panty girly moaning shit. Then, when he started to undo the button of my jeans, still muttering shit about how beautiful I was, I snapped into the really fun part of it all, the part I'd been waiting for- the counterattack.

Shoving his hand away, I took on an outraged, shocked expression, like I was the purest, most virginal girl around. Like I was Mother Teresa herself and he was trying to get peep at me under my habit. I scooted against the other side of the truck as far away from him as I could get, pressing my back against the door, and started to yell at him as loudly and shrilly as I could.

"Don't touch me! You pervert, you pedo, what is wrong with you, why are you trying to touch my private parts?! I don't know you, you dick, you bastard cocksucker son of a bitch! I'm only eleven years old! Get off me- I'm only eleven years old!!!"

Of course, the loser was shocked. I couldn't remember his real name, or I would have made sure to include it in my outburst, loud and clear. "Pedo-Man" would have to do for not, and it got the message across.

Pedo-Man sputtered, his eyes bulging, looking around fast, like he was afraid someone might hear me. It wasn't' an unreasonable concern. We were in the public parking lot, even if it was dark outside. It's not like night joggers or cops never came by. Then he tried to go into reasoning, which of course, no one can ever successfully use against me.

"But…but Anya…you were wanting…you said…you…you said you were 16!"

"You're a fucking liar, Pedo-Man!" I hollered, and he was doing a double take, staring at my tits, like he was trying to gauge whether what I was saying had possibilities. I crossed my arms quickly, still trying not to laugh or smile as I yelled. It was harder to do that then than it is for me now. "I am only eleven! Let me go, don't touch me! Get out of here!"

"Anya," he gasped, and he swallowed, still looking at me all pale and blinky, like I just blew up his world, which I probably could have, if I tried hard enough. Literally and figuratively. "Anya, let's-"

"Get out!" I screamed, hitting my fist onto his chest. "Get out or I'll scream! Get out or I'll call the police, and you'll be ass-fucked by some 300 pounder called Bubba! Get the hell away from me, Pedo-Man!"

"Anya, this is my truck!" he protested, but I put my hands over my ears and started to scream. A couple of panicked looks around again and he jumped out the car and started high tailing it down the road. I waited until he was over 100 yards away before I stopped screaming, letting a grin slowly spread over my face as I began to look through his glove box and behind and beneath his seat for anything worth taking. That was entirely too easy. It usually was.

There was one thing out of all I'd said all night that was true, and that was what made it even more satisfying. I really was only eleven. But then, I'd never let my age stop me from doing and being exactly whoever the hell I wanted.

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For all you shrink types out there, or those of you who just watch too many episodes of Psych, I can already see your minds whirring, trying to come up with some fancy diagnosis for a kid who would do something like that and get off on it. Everyone wants some neat, orderly explanation for why everything and everyone is because then their world all makes sense and they can go to sleep at night thinking they're safe and nothing will ever happen to them since they understand so damn much about life. Hate to break it to you, but some things just are, and they don't have to make sense. Some things just happen, and no one is safe from them. Some things, like people like me.

I'm not a nymphomaniac. I'm not bipolar or psychotic. I'm not insane in any way, shape, or form. I wasn't raped or beaten or neglected or abused in any way. I grew up in a three story house on a lake with parents who gave me whatever I asked for and more, as well as providing me with private school education, piano and painting lessons, and exposure to "culture." Maybe they weren't the warm and fuzzy types who like to get down on the floor and wrestle with kids or tell them they love them on a daily basis, but it's not like it mattered to me anyway. As far back as I can remember I never gave a shit if they loved me or even liked me. It was irrelevant as long as I continued to get what I wanted out of life.

Nope, hate to break it to you, but there was no big thing of terrible nature in my life to change me from a good little girl to an evil bitch. I always was one. I'm a sociopath, born, not bred. And since I'm a damn smart one, my life goes pretty much exactly how I want.

I don't think anyone's ever taught my anything. If I want to learn something, I do it, and I do it fast. I could read before kindergarten, and write, add, and subtract too. Without all the time learning stuff takes in school, it gives me a lot of time to watch people, learn what makes them tick. And then, it gives me time to practice taking them apart.

Even back when I was five years old I remember making it a game to see how many kids a day I could make fight or cry without hitting or hurting them physically, and without getting caught or tattled on. I think my record back then was ten in one day, in a class of 17. And no, I never did get punished. Pretty impressive track record for a kid who just learned to tie shoes, huh?

I'm almost seventeen now, and to this day no one has ever outright caught me in a lie or scheme. They've suspected me, yeah, even accused me to my face. But even back when I was a kid, just starting out, they never had proof. I always covered my tracks too well for them to point the finger at me exclusively. Kind of helps with that if most the time all you do is talk, and use your words to get people to carry out whatever results you're going for. If you don't' actually lift a finger to do the dirty deeds themselves, what exactly can you be accused of, being influential? And it makes it that much more satisfying to watch other people screw their own selves over, with just a little nudging on your part.

I think the closest I ever came to being caught is the time my second grade teacher called my parents in for a conference and told them that she thought I was "manipulative" and showed signs of becoming a "bully" or "emotionally disturbed." I don't know how the hell she figured because I was a fucking angel in that class. I did my work and stayed quiet and kept the puppetmaster behaviors underground. Who knows, maybe she was a wannabe shrink and read too much into my spelling sentences. Or maybe some loser was slipping her stories after all. Whatever the case, I stood and listened at the door as she told my parents that maybe I should be "evaluated."

Of course, my parents blew her off. The daughter of Richard, aka Dick, for obvious reasons, and Judy Dardanos, aka as MF for Minty Fresh and obviously hilarious reasons in my own head, who were a wealthy stock broker and dentist, does not even have the capability of being less than normal. Richard and Judy Dardanos, do not produce defective children or lesser products, and there was of course absolutely nothing wrong with me. Imagine the shame of having a kid locked up in a padded cell- no fucking way. Anya Angelina Dardanos, next heir to Dardanos Corporation, was absolutely and completely fine.

They were right, obviously, even if they didn't really know the extent of what they were saying. There isn't shit wrong with me, and if everyone else was more like me, they'd understand why. All those people wanting to hold on to their weak, stupid little consciences, those people with their stupid brains and crippled egos, they go through life bowing to authority and peers and end up being crippled and weak by their own sheep-like passive mentality. They only way to be in charge of your life and your future and to end up having and doing everything you want in life is to just not give a shit about anything but yourself. What you want, and what it takes to get it. You've got to look out for number one or you're gonna end up number two, if not considerably lower on the big scale of things.

The other time, I guess I was around 11, still at the age where I wasn't totally mature on my strategies yet, and Dick and MF got called in to conference about me again, this time because I was being a little too much of a smartass for my own good. I had just started middle school, and what I thought would be hilarious, since I was switching classes now, would be to show up for every class, every day, with a different personality. If I was shy and stuttering in one class, I would be loud and flirty in the next, a total brain in the next, and the next day I'd reverse. It was a scream to see how bewildered the dumbasses were not knowing who to expect to turn up for the day. I guess I went a little overboard though, because they started talking meds and doctor appointments and therapy, and even though Dick and MF were sounding like they had a hard time believing them, I decided it wasn't worth the hassle. It was getting boring anyway, and it was pretty amusing to see how everyone reacted when I started acting like a "normal girl" again.

Other than that, though, adults seem pretty damn oblivious, and even most kids don't know what hit them to the full extent when Hurricane Anya blows by. And damn, is it a thrill to watch someone unravel because of you.

It's all the emotion that fascinates me. The way people are so intense, so passionate about things that seem to go completely against logic, I just don't understand. It all seems like such a waste of time and energy to me, completely self defeating, and a way to make you screw up or be weak. Not to say I don't find it useful. I don't feel like everyone else. I'm never sad or lonely or afraid, nervous or worried or embarrassed. I don't lust or rage, not really, and I definitely don't love. But I watch it in others…I get off on it like most people get off on someone's naked body. And I can copy it, act like I feel it, by doing the things they do to show it.

It's a good way to fit in, seem more like everyone else when it fits my purpose. It's a good way to get people to do the shit you want too. If they think you understand and feel the same, or think you feel something and want to counteract it, they'll go to huge lengths sometimes to make it "better." It's unbelievable what raising your voice, making a few faces, or turning on tears can do to work people over.

They are all so fucking stupid.

I don't believe in any of it. Love, virtues, sacrifice, the good of man, the soul, and I sure as hell don't believe in any higher power. What point does any of it have except to make people feel like a better person? Who the hell cares about being good as long as you get what you want out of life? Being good would directly contradict that.

That's another reason why I don't get the big fuss people make over death. It happens. Get the hell over it. As long as it's not yours, who cares? And anyway, it's a pretty awesome thing to see if you actually watch it. Watching how one second something could be living and moving and breathing, with beating heart and working brain cells, and the potential to do anything, and the next it's all just stopped, it's a fucking beautiful thing, the biggest mystery of all time. It's the only thing other than emotion that I don't have the answer to, and I want to see it again and again until I understand. I want to see it in a human, without a tv screen separating us. I want to be there, right up close.

I was never sure if I'd actually get the chance or not, at least not while I was still a minor and in my parent's house, keeping up a semblance of a cover. But then, Dick and MF had the kid.

He was an accident if I ever saw one. I was fourteen by the time he was born, and it's not like Dick and MF were so eager to spend family bonding time with me. I was sort of stunned to get evidence they were still having sex once in a blue moon even.

Babies are pretty much the most uninteresting people alive. You can't get them to do shit except scream or sleep, and what's so interesting about that? There is literally no point to them or anything of use they can do except grow up, so after my first glance or two at the ugly little scrunchy thing that was supposed to be my brother, I couldn't care less what was done with him as long as he was quiet and mostly out of my sight.

It wasn't like Dick and MF were hitting me up every weekend to be the kid's babysitter anyway. By that time, even if they didn't know exactly why, I'm pretty sure they were kind of scared of me. They were home even less than usual and seemed totally uneasy around me, like they thought I might flip out and start climbing the walls, or making out with them or something. Which would have been a pretty funny thing to do just to see their faces.

Maybe it was the thing with the school when I was eleven, maybe over fourteen years things were starting to add up. Maybe they just realized I was ten times smarter than they could imagine, which scares people as it is. Whatever the case, they didn't say so, but they didn't trust me with the kid. They hired a nanny, and on her days off, they never left me alone with him.

Until.

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I was in my room on a Thursday afternoon after school had let out, eating a mini bag of popcorn, drinking a coke, and flipping through the movie channels on my TV. I didn't expect anything good to be on; all the violent stuff, the movies with stabbings and explosions and torture, were usually later in the day, and I didn't care about reruns of lame shit like Seventh Heaven or Friends, the sappy kind of shows that show me just how pathetic other people really are, and how superior I am to them. I was sitting up, about to find something else to do, when someone knocked on my door and called out to me hesitantly.

"Anya? Can I speak with you, please?"

It was Sheena, aka Mary, as in Poppins, the nanny Dick and MF had hired for the kid. What did she want with me? Of course, since I had no interest in the kid, our paths rarely crossed if I could help it, but if they did, she always smiled at me and was friendly. I always went out of my way to dazzle her with my act of being a typical teenage girl, only, of course, much sweeter and more polite. I even managed to display signs of affection towards the kid in front of her. You never know when it might come in handy to have someone like Mary on your side, I've learned.

"Sure, come in," I told her, turning off the TV, and Mary opened the door but didn't actually come in. She stood in the doorway, gripping the frame with one hand and biting down on her lip. She looked worried, I thought, and it took me a second to notice the kid standing mostly behind her, gripping her other hand. He was two by now but still shitting in his pants and barely talking, so still of zero interest to me.

"I'm sorry to bother you, Anya," she started, running a hand through her hair as her eyes darted from me back to the kid to me again. She was a little overweight, in her late twenties, and never struck me as being all that smart, even compared to "normal" people standards. One of those incomprehensible types who actually likes to look out for snot-nosed shit-assed brats. No matter how much I watch them, I'll never get it.

"No, it's okay," I told her with a smile, "is something wrong? Is James all right?"

James is the name of the kid. I hadn't given him a nickname, because he wasn't worth the effort of thinking one up.

"Oh no, James is fine, he's very active today," Mary said quickly as the kid whined and pulled at her hand, trying to take off down the hall. She didn't let him go and he whined some more. If the little shit threw a tantrum right here in my room…

"No, it's just…I hate to do this, but if you don't mind, if I could ask you for a favor…it's just…"

"What do you mean, Sheena?" I asked like I actually cared, even as inside I was getting pissed. Favor? Who the hell was she to ask me for a favor, she was the nanny here, what the hell was she trying to pull?

"It's just, my sister, she just called and she's been in an accident, she needs a ride and no one else can come…"Mary started, trying to keep the kid from running down the hall with one hand and gesturing helplessly at me with the other. "You don't have to, of course, but if you wouldn't mind…watching James for just an hour or so….of course, you don't have, and I'm so sorry for asking, Anya, but-"

"No, it's okay," I interrupted, giving her my best version of the Anya Cares smile. "No problem. I've got it."

So I let the kid run around for an hour. If he broke shit or scribbled on the walls, Mary Poppins would take the blame. I didn't have to do anything different, and if she thought it made me so great, what did I care.

"Oh thank you, so much, you're such a good kid, Anya, I really appreciate it," Mary gushed, flashing her overbite at me even as she thrust the kid where I didn't have any choice but to take him. "I'll be right back, soon as I can."

She took off down the hall, and once she was down I set the kid down fast, not wanting him to get his disgusting, grubby little hands on me. What the hell would anyone want a kid for?

I shoved him out into the hall but kept my door open while I stripped down and put on my bikini, deciding on impulse to go sunbathing out at our pool. I wasn't worried about him seeing me naked. Even if he knew the difference, which he didn't, it would be a bonus treat and good education, because just one of my many pluses is that I've got a damn good body. Then I stepped out into the hall in my bikini and raised my eyebrow at him.

"Hey James, want to go to the pool?"

He nodded excitedly, beaming and starting to chatter in his incomprehensible kid talk as he toddled after me down the hall. I didn't even have to hold his hand. Obviously the kid liked the pool enough that he didn't need encouragement.

I didn't set out with the idea that he would die. I didn't' even think that kids that age, when they go in pools, generally have some kind of flotation device, or someone holding them up. Didn't occur to me, until we were already there, nor did it occur to me or care that he wasn't' in swim clothes, just his regular clothes. But by then we were there, and I didn't give a shit. Besides, it ended up working out in my favor that way.

Out by the pool I stretched out on one of the lawn chairs, half closing my eyes, basking in the feel of the sun on my exposed skin. Last thought on my mind was the kid. As long as he wasn't screaming or climbing on me, he could run into the street for all I cared.

I swear it was less than two minutes before I heard the splash. I sat up slowly, opening my eyes, and there it was. The kid, like a total moron, had jumped into the deep end of the pool with all his clothes on, even his shoes.

He had sunk immediately, of course, since he had all those heavy clothes on. His head was underwater and he was kicking and waving his arms, his clothes heavy, weighing him down. His mouth was open like he was screaming, bubbles floating to the surface, and his eyes were wide open.

It was the most interesting thing I'd ever seen the kid do since he was born.

Most people would have jumped in after him. Most people would have toted him up, gave him CPR, took him to the ER. But I think you know by now that I'm not most people.

I stood up and walked to the edge of the pool, as close to him as I could get, sat down on my haunches, and watched. I had never seen someone drown before, except on TV. I had never seen someone die. This was my first chance.

I watched how the way he kicked his and moved his arms got slow and jerky, then stopped entirely. I watched his eyes bulge, the way his hair floated up over his head a little, and how his whole face went still and blank, like a mask or mannequin. Then he sank all the way down to the bottom and kind of settled there, like a doll someone set down.

It was the most fucking awesome thing I've ever seen in my life.

For a few minutes I kept watching, riveted. Then I slowly stood up and walked into the house, getting my story straight in my head.

I changed back into normal clothes, took my cell phone, and went outside, taking a few minutes to compose my face. Then I dialed 911, fixing my voice too.

"911, what is your emergency?"

"Hello, help, someone, please help!" I nearly screamed, expertly feigned sobs breaking apart my voice into the operator's ear. "My baby brother fell into the pool, I think he drowned, I think he's dead! Oh god, somebody help, please…"

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"It's not your fault," the paramedics told me as I sobbed, face buried in my hands, as much to hide the impulse I was fighting not to laugh as to convey the depth of my grief. "These things happen with toddlers all the time. Take your eyes off them for one minute…"

They patted my back and shoulders, speaking to me in soft, gentle voices, treating me like the shocked, bereaved, guilt-stricken teenage girl who had dearly loved her brother that I so clearly was to them. It continues to amuse me how gullible people are. Cry a few tears and they think you're sincere. Don't they know that just because you're not some chick on the cover of People doesn't mean you don't have skills too?

They bought my sobs and stutters and my woe-stricken story about falling asleep on the couch and waking up to find the kid dead in the pool. They did all they could to assure me that I'm a normal person and not terrible for having such a lapse, that it could have happened to anyone. They tripped all over themselves not to overburden the poor broken heart of a grieving little girl with quite attractive heaving breasts.

Except, surprisingly, Dick and MF. When they got in, not too long after the medical guys, and saw the kid's body and my display of flamboyant emotion, they didn't freak out or rail to God and man. They didn't move to comfort me and assure me like everyone else either.

Instead they looked at the kid with these still, shattered looks, like they physically hurt. And then they looked at me, and their faces changed. They looked cold, stiff, even angry, a way they had never looked at me before, and I knew their slow little brains must finally have connected some dots. Only took nearly seventeen years…and that, the way they looked at me like I was a monster but they couldn't say a word, that was probably the best part of it all.

They thought I killed the kid, probably. That I shoved him in or held him under or something. I don't' have to do that. It's people who do impulsive shit like that, shit without planning, that get caught. I didn't want the kid to die, necessarily. But if the possibility arose it was too good to miss.

The way Dick and MF looked at me though, I doubted they saw a difference. Screw them. What did I care?

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I'm not stupid. I think we've established that pretty well by now. So when Dick and MF said that we were going on a little ride in the car, I knew better. They were going to put me away in some mental place.

I know how my parents' minds worked. Once they thought they knew the truth about me and the kid and how he died, they couldn't just accept that I was what most people would think of as evil. Oh no, their little normal minds won't wrap around that, so instead they label me as insane. It's the only way that they can live with knowing who I am.

And after all, it's not like they could give me up as a foster kid, or put me up for adoption. What would the neighbors think? With no proof, they couldn't send me to jail or juvie, and if they thought I was crazy, they wouldn't feel right putting me in a boarding school where I could murder everyone in their sleep. Nope, the only way they could think of to get me out of their sight was to put me in a mental ward. Their talk about going for a ride didn't fool me. The Dardanos "family" didn't even talk, let alone go for a leisurely family drive two days after their second kid drowns.

I could have resisted, of course. I could have blackmailed them, or found a way to arrange their seemingly accidental deaths. I could have taken off and managed on my own without any problem. I could have made them so scared of me that they didn't dare let anything at all go against my will.

But I thought about it…and the truth was, I'd never met a real crazy person before, or a shrink either for that matter. It would be a more interesting and educational experience than anything I could learn in the remainder of my school years. And even better, the possibilities of manipulation and amusement with people who were already crazy…it was endless. It was fucking exciting to think about.

I followed them out to the car with a genuine smile curving my lips, already thinking ahead. Wherever I ended up, I knew I was going to have a ball.

The end