The Unlikely Villain by Riley Miller

I’m thrilled to have Riley Miller with me today! A fellow contributor/conspirator on The Big Bad 2, she’s going to share a post and an excerpt from her story with us!

The Unlikely Villain

Bad cops. Scandalous teachers. Greedy politicians. Incompetent nurses. The news is full of their stories. Ever wondered why? It’s not like we haven’t heard these tales before, or variations on the same themes.

Somehow these stories continue to horrify and fascinate us.

We call them public servants. We trust them to make things safe, to teach and guide and work for justice. And usually, they do. Like most people, they mean well. They work hard.  They do their best.

But the idea that a public servant would take advantage—well, that plays on our deepest, most human fears. We entrust them with society’s most vulnerable: the victims, the children, and the injured. Because of my profession, educator scandals in particular turn my stomach. I find myself asking, “Why? How did she let it get to that point?” or “How did he think no one would find out?”

I’ve been teaching in the public school system for ten years, and for every lazy, misguided, or (heaven forbid) predatory teacher out there, there are a hundred more who work late and care about their students so much it hurts.

This anthology made me think about the type of villain who scares me the most, the kind of person who takes advantage of their position of trust. Honestly, I creeped myself out while I was writing.

 Meet Miss Thompson. She’s an award winning teacher and a serial killer. Find her in a Biology classroom near you.

 Excerpt from “Teacher of the Year” in the Big Bad II:

 Miss Julia Thompson arrives to school at 7:05, coffee in hand, just as she has every other morning for the last eleven years. She isn’t surprised to see her colleague Paul Smith walking down the hall ahead of her. Ever since October, when she’d winked at him in the teacher’s lounge, he’s been making himself available. Showing up in the lounge while she ate lunch. Offering his help with copier jams. Starting conversations about students they had in common.

He slows his pace when he hears her, casually, as if he hasn’t been listening for the tap of her heels on the tile. When she catches up, he attempts a smile, but can’t quite manage it. He holds out the morning paper. “Seen this yet?”

“No,” she lies, and reads the headline aloud: “‘Third High School Student Missing in Two Years.’” She slows to make a show of reading the article.  “Oh no! They haven’t found Mark?”

“You teach him, don’t you?”

She gives a stiff nod, her gaze still on the paper. “I’ve taught all three of them.”


Thanks to Selah for inviting me to guest blog. I can’t wait to read the other stories late at night when I’m alone in the house and give myself a scare.

Riley Miller

Author Pic

Having given up my dream of being sexy and mysterious, I write about the mysterious and criminal. And hopefully, on my good days, stay sexy.

 On the net:

On Twitter: @rileymillertime

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