Monday, October 1, 2012

The Evil That Men Do

“Man torturing man is a fiend beyond description. You turn a corner in the dark and there he is. You congeal into a bundle of inanimate fear. You become the very soul of anesthesia. But there is no escaping him. It is your turn now..." Henry Miller

Psychopaths. Aliens. Vampires. Demons. The cast of terrifying characters is almost endless. Each engenders their own brand of fear – in characters we create, and in the readers reading our stories. The glowing eyes of a devil bearing down on you, the glistening fangs in the moonlight, the howl of a shifter before it tears into the flesh of a fallen prey. These creatures of legend and folklore and mystery may, or may not exist. In the darkest hours of night, they populate our dreams and we scream silently as they reach for us. But they are not the most horrible . . .

What creature then, is the most terrifying of them all?


The icy cold human monster bent on terrorizing victims to serve his own purpose, satisfy his agenda. He is not the deranged serial killer, nor a perpetrator twisted by mental illness. He is the everyday mortal who dishes out torture and death for a cause, be it a philosophical one, a martial one . . . or just for fun.

A victim of these men and women knows that there is no pity, There can be no pleading, no begging for mercy, no appeal to reason. Because the person in question has an agenda. A cold, calculated reason for the acts to be visited upon that victim. And the pain and suffering, the screams of mortal agony, mean nothing to them. These cries fall upon deaf ears and cause no guilt.

When looking into the cold face of this character, the victim knows that all is lost.

Imagine, if you will, a crowd of skinheads with bats closing in, their faces full of evil delight. An inquisitor who slowly approaches with – the syringe, the cattle prod, the scalpel, the hammer or the branding iron. The assistants who haul you toward the Iron Maiden, the rack, or the foot crusher. The mobster hit man who locks the door as he picks up the ax. The covert agent who binds your limbs, chains on the anchor and drags you inexorably toward the dark, swirling water.

Envision the gang of rapists. The bangers earning their stripes. The KKK carrying out their detestable agenda. The twisted hate crimes in the name of someone’s prejudice. Hopped up teenagers looking to spill blood and break bones. The military mob prepared to wreak vengeance on a protestor. The religious fanatics with skull shattering stones.

With cold detachment these killers deal out agony and death. Their victims may be mere
innocents – unfortunate victims of fate – in the wrong place, at the wrong time. They may be the opposition. They may be targeted for their sex, their race, their color or their beliefs. They may be the weakling. Or they may simply be – an inconvenience to someone with the power to end their life.

There is no sanctuary from this cold-blooded perpetrator. Your fate has been sealed . . .

“Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself." James Anthony Froude

Lise Horton is the President of RWA/NYC, and writes everything from chilling to terrifying, but always erotic. Visit her erotica blog at


  1. Lise, what spine-chilling horror your blog plot evokes! My stomach clenches as I think about it. There are so many infamous villains of this sort that come to mind -- Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin -- the list, unfortunately, goes on and on. And of course, there are thousands, dare I say millions, more whose names we don't know or remember.
    But I must say something in defense of humankind, before I sink into utter despair. We are also capable of great things: acts of kindness and redemption. Often these are groups of people, organizations like Amnesty International which fights for human rights worldwide and Doctors Without Borders, bringing healthcare to the poor and oppressed, to name just two. There are also courageous and selfless individuals who go unrecognized but impact others on a daily basis -- teachers, firefighters, nurses, aid workers. I'd like to think that there are more people of goodwill out there than evil doers. Does anyone else have an opinion on this?

  2. Lise-- right on target as usual. Yes, man is the monster in the closet, under the bed and around the corner. Man --not God -- is responsible for salvery, the Inquisition, the Holacoust, Hiroshima, world wars... And the list goes on. But the more scary part is knowing that THAT evil is in us. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Thank GOD, that good, common sense and a mighter fist can turn tides. I hope. I pray.

  3. Man really can be the scariest of monsters, Lise! It's a darn good thing there are amazingly good people, as Lis points out, to balance the scales. I swear that's why we write, at least I do anyway, to give those good people the opportunity to beat the evil back. Makes me feel empowered in the face of frustration.

  4. As both Lis and Isabo point out - and yes, certainly the goodness in mankind is most worthy of its own post - fortunately we can rely on those bits of news that make us proud of humanity. The average person who does a good deed, the celebrity who uses their powers for good rather than vanity, the politician who stands up for something, and on and on, every day people make me proud to be among their number. Thank you all for stopping by!