Every Thursday, The Introverted Reader hosts a meme called Character Connection, where she asks people to post about a character that has really grabbed hold of their imagination and carved out a spot in their little literary hearts.
For the month of October, Ms. Introverted herself is hosting a Helluva Halloween-inspired challenge: post a Character Connection that is Helluva Halloween appropriate and win some pretty neat things...
This week, I had to write about one of the creepiest, cruelist, skin-crawlingest characters I've come across in awhile. I'm talking about The Cutter, henchman and torturer extraordinaire from Brenna Yovanoff's The Replacement.
A few times in The Replacement, The Cutter is darkly hinted at, but it's not until the end of the story that he really comes in to up the tension and scare factor. This faerie-like creature endures the pain of iron (toxic to the fey) so that he can inflict pain on others (this in itself is creeptastic, btw. How much more fearsome a character when they are so maniacal that they'll injure themselves just to strike terror in your heart and show you how bad they really are...) He is full of these little jibes and digs that are meant to let you know that he will get what he wants out of you, and what he wants is pain. Fear. Screams and blood.
He feeds off of it.
But talking about him just doesn't do him justice, so for this character connection, we're going high-tech (or as high-tech as it ever gets here on Book Rat); allow me to introduce you to The Cutter:
Note: though this is not really spoilery, I would suggest not going any further if you'd like to come across the Cutter for yourself, and have the full impact of his creepiness.
[Note #2: originally I had intended to read this to you, but my computer has since stopped working (thanks, Dell); the fam computer, which I'm on, doesn't have a webcam, or any of the many teasers I recorded. When it is backup and running, I will post a video teaser here instead of text, so stop back by! Also, all typos are mine.]
The Cutter leaned toward me, resting his forehead against mine. "Fool me once," he whispered, "Shame on you." He pressed the bridge of his nose against mine, his breath burning the back of my throat. His voice was rough and furious. "Fool me twice, and I will cut out your fucking throat."
"Hey," Roswell shouted, yanking at the Cutter's coat. "Hey, let go of him!"
The room was so murky now that I could barely focus. The only thing I was sure of were the Cutter's murderous black eyes.
He didn't look around. "Is that the trespasser talking, putting his hands all over me? You must be out of your mind."
"He's right," I muttered. "Stay out of this. He likes torture too much."
The Cutter laughed his slow, husky laugh. "Torture? No, I just want to see the blood run, cousin. It's beautiful when it catches the light."
He leaned close, laughing, and I smelled rust and under that, sickness, disease. His grin was a glowing slice of white, floating in front of me like the moon. The I blinked and there was nothing but his breath against my face.
"Cousin," he said next to my ear. "Cousin, look at me." He grabbed my jaw and wrenched my face close to his. "Look at me. I'm going to brand you with my sigil, brand it right over your heart, and you're going to meet my gaze like a man. Then I'm going to break you, and you're going to beg for mercy like a little boy."
He was so close that I could see the raw meat texture of his gums. I stared at his smile, wondering where Roswell and Drew were, waiting for him to cut me. It was what he wanted -- pain, blood, the chance to make someone beg.
"We'll start with your face," he said. The knife was long and sharp and strangely bright, like it belonged in his hand. "Your smile needs improving."
What more need be said? Skin-crawlingly fantastic, no?
[Please note: I read an ARC of this book, so the final version may differ.]