Author: Morrow Brady

You can’t ‘business card ‘ evil lair architect. Not if you wanted a future.

Forbidden desires ooze from dark web dead drops. Desires sent by faceless ghosts that had long since twisted off the doll’s head of reality. Riches and power are like a magnet to any moral compass. And from what I’ve seen, these clients were stepping up their game solely to tickle their numbed fancy. I was Victor Frankenstein with a front-row seat to a molten, screaming stream of insanity showing me their worst nightmares and asking for them to be stitched with flesh. And I was broken enough to do it.

Air-gapped anonymity and state of the art tech kept the monsters from my door. With my knowledge of psychotic design principles and AI oversight for the trickier systematics, I would build a virtual 3D model of each evil lair. This model was then used by henchmen in black market bot-forges, that would spew an army of nano-robots, each working to atomically craft the lairs. Architect charters of such perversity would be written in blood on dried skin.

In a hotel room of another nameless metropolis, I put the final touches to a new lair design and sent the encrypted model to a darkened online corner. The crypto payment arrived and dark thoughts once again writhed free. This lair had scared me. Its rooms were so palatial yet so fortified – as if to entrap something of unfathomable terror. The brief, however, was familiar. I had designed for this patron before and their madness was evolving, while mine degenerated.

As torturous visions began to scrape mental claws, I left the hotel. Nearby, a café courtyard overlooking a cobbled street offered a comfy chair and respite. It took three bourbons to numb the horrors but as the dregs drained from the fourth, my eyes flexed upon the snakes. I immediately froze. On the building across the street, discretely etched in a cornerstone, was a cube wrapped in writhing snakes. It was my sigil, hijacked and masquerading as a foundation stone. An evil lair was here. A jackhammer started in my chest, then a deep voice sounded from behind. I shirked, as a muscled brown arm reached across to place the steaming plate of food I ordered. I composed myself and started counting snake scales. The sigil’s code told me the lair was built 7 years ago.

Barbed wire butterflies battered my insides and dark thoughts rushed the door. Evil lay here with an unquenchable thirst. Instincts screamed for me to leave, but common sense prevailed. When you’re this close to pure evil, irrational behaviour makes people suspicious. Just be cool.

I stopped and focussed. Faded memories of the lair surfaced like unearthed corpses. Floor plans mentally emerged like windswept spider webs. The strange grouping of underground triangular chambers. A hexagonal vault with its phenomenal power demand. The henchmen’s quarters leading to a glass octahedron control room. Remembering it all had calmed me a little. Given me the illusion of control. But as my mind traipsed through endless corridors, searching for the secret entrance, a mental rift tore open. And then I remembered the comfy chair and the whole picture came clear.

As the blood drained from my face, I looked up and the low glass privacy walls around my dining area went opaque, I violently twisted and fell into darkness.

In a glazed octahedron, a comfy chair swiveled and a man with muscular brown arms came into view.

“Ahh, the Architect! Finally decided to take me up on the invitation?”