Shared Stories: “Sweetness” by Donna D. Vitucci

Posted on 12 November 2010

Here’s a creepy one for your weekend: “Sweetness” by Donna D. Vitucci, which appears in Storyglossia. It’s about a minister who is a little too enthusiastic about his youngest parishioners.

I have a creepy-male-protagonist story, too — “The Ballad Solemn of Lady Malena.” It’s about a man who develops a rather, shall we say, unhealthy interest in a 15-year-old figure skating star. He’s scheming and dangerous and has totally bad intentions, but there’s something a bit redeeming about him, too.

Okay, “redeeming” is too strong a word, but still, there’s more to him than his  dark and disturbing side.

A few beta readers developed very different interpretations of the end of my story and even got into some heated discussions about the protagonist’s intentions and what he ultimately wanted. I found this fascinating since I thought it was fairly clear after a certain scene near the end (not that the character himself is always easy to figure out…he’s a disturbed/confused predator, after all).

Anyway. You can be creeped out by my character when Living Arrangements comes out next year, if you so choose. Or! You can be a little creeped out right now, with “Sweetness.” Here are the opening paragraphs. The full story is available online here.

As a minister he wouldn’t even say “kisses” in front of them. “What are they?” one small girl asked, and he couldn’t believe in this age of television and blaring advertising that she didn’t know. He smiled and called them “silver-tops.” He cast a handful across his lap—a flash on the thirty pieces paid Judas—suggested she come over to his side of the desk and pick the ones she wanted. Her hands were like tiny starfish as she reached, for what child is not enticed by candy, and by the slow invitation in a kind man’s voice? He had a register that pleased the ears of the innocent, and he used it. No more than four years old, she wouldn’t even remember.

Candy from the drawer he withdrew for just such occasions. Candy. What could be wrong with that? Sweetness. Children were the sweetness of God’s holy world.

Photo: lincolnblues

1 Response to Shared Stories: “Sweetness” by Donna D. Vitucci

  • Averil Dean says:

    I think it’s interesting to consider the deeper motivations that propel a child predator. Too often he’s a one-dimensional monster that writers are afraid to explore with any real understanding, so I’ll be lining up for my copy of Living Arrangements and I’ve got a bookmark over Sweetness.

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