Home > The Revenge List

The Revenge List
Author: Hannah Mary McKinnon

          FRANKIE MORGAN        The worst :(        ①



      chapter one

   The sharp sound of a high-pitched scream filled the air. A noise so unrecognizable, at first I didn’t register it had come from deep within me, traveling up my throat in stealth mode before bursting from my mouth.

   The remnants of the yell reverberated around the car, forcing their way into my ears and penetrating my skull, urging me to do something. Survival instincts kicked in, and I fumbled with the seatbelt, my other hand grasping for the door handle. The need for the relative safety that solid, stationary ground would bring was so intense it made my stomach heave. A loud click of the central locking system meant my captor had outsmarted me again, obliterating my immediate plan to throw myself from the moving vehicle.

   When I looked out the windshield, I knew there was no time to find an alternate escape. The end of the road—the edge of the cliff—announced by signs and broken red-and-white-striped wooden barricades, had been far enough away seconds ago but now gleamed in the car’s headlights, a looming warning yards ahead. I couldn’t comprehend what was about to happen, couldn’t do anything as the vehicle kept going, splintering planks and racing out the other side with nothing but air below. I let out another scream, far louder than my first, the absolute terror exploding from my lungs.

   For the briefest of moments, we were suspended, as if this was a magic trick or an elaborate roller coaster. Perhaps, if I was really lucky, this was all a dream. Except I already knew there were no smoke and mirrors, no swirling track leading us through loop-the-loops and to safety. It wasn’t a nightmare I’d wake from with bedsheets wrapped around my sweaty body. This was happening. It was all terrifyingly real.

   As the car continued its trajectory, it tipped forward. The only thing to stop our momentum was whatever we were rushing toward, obscured by the cloudy night skies. Pushing my heels into the floor, I tried to flatten my shoulders against the seat. My hands scrambled for the ceiling to brace myself, but I flopped like a rag doll, my loosened seatbelt tearing into my shoulder.

   They say your life flashes before you when you’re close to death. That didn’t happen to me. Instead, it was all my regrets. Choices I’d made. Not made. Things I’d said and done. Not said. Not done. It was far too late to make amends. There would be no opportunity to beg anyone for forgiveness. No possibility of offering some.

   As the finality of the situation hit me full on, I turned my head. The features of the driver next to me were illuminated in a bluish glint from the dashboard lights. His face had set in a stony grimace; his jaw clenched so tight he had to have shattered teeth. But what frightened me the most were his eyes, filled with what could only be described as maniacal delight.

   He’d said we were both going to die. As the car hurtled to the bottom of the cliff, I closed my eyes and accepted he was right.



      chapter two

   Ten days earlier

   Seven minutes. Four hundred and twenty seconds was all it took before I gave shoving a fistful of coffee stirrers deep into my eyeballs some serious thought. Seven. As I’d begrudgingly trudged into the church hall on Chestnut Street in Portland, Maine, at exactly 6:59 p.m.—no sense being early for a torture session—I had promised myself I’d make it to thirty.

   Lack of motivation wasn’t the only problem. Before I’d arrived, I’d hoped the seating arrangements would allow me to duck and hide at the back of the room, but the counselor clearly had other ideas. She’d arranged the chairs in a circle with two dozen spots in all, so I’d chosen an empty one with a space on either side, plonked my bag at my feet, folded my arms across my chest, and abandoned any good intentions of trying to look like I wanted to be here.

   My initial and arguably naive understanding of these anger management sessions, to which I’d agreed under duress and against my better judgment, had been that they would make me calmer. Slightly less irritated, at the very least, but so far, it wasn’t working.

   “Come on, Frankie, pull yourself together,” I whispered, garnering a glare from another woman on the opposite side of the circle, a petite redhead wearing ladybug-patterned pants and dangly silver grasshopper earrings. I gave bug lady a smile, hoping it translated into something close to girls gotta stick together, and uncrossed my arms. Maybe the gesture would make me appear more receptive and approachable to the counselor, who sat a few chairs to the left. If there were extra marks to be had for a friendly attitude, I was in desperate need.

   It was a crisp evening in mid-October, a little cooler than usual on the Northeast coast, the sidewalks slippery with leaves, the trees already partially bare thanks to Old Bastard Winter making an impromptu appearance over the past few days. On any other Monday, I’d have either been at work catching up on my construction project management duties, or at home, eating dinner while reading from my out-of-control stack of crime novels. Maybe binge-watching Netflix until I woke up dribbling into a cushion and shuffled my sorry ass off to bed. I swallowed a sigh. Some people were terrified of dining alone, but with the last few weeks I’d had where I’d been inundated with work, it sounded like absolute heaven.

   My visiting a church on any day was an unusual occurrence. I only frequented them for the occasional wedding, christening or, thankfully rarest of all, funeral. While I’d never been to this particular place of worship, if memory served, it smelled the same as the others. Musty books and burnt coffee mixed with faint body odor, Grandma’s perfume, and pine wood polish. A smell not even the electric air freshener behind me, which sprayed out the occasional pffft of lavender-scented grossness destined to give me a thumping headache, could adequately hide. I wondered for how long I could hold my breath without passing out. Then again, maybe fainting was my escape plan. Definitely a lot less painful than those coffee stirrers.

   As the counselor said something about the various benefits of group therapy and what fabulous exercise we’d try tonight, I switched my brain to selective hearing. I looked around the circle, glancing at the other adults who’d joined. We were a mixture of gender, age, and ethnicity. A few actually appeared enthusiastic, making eye contact with the counselor, nodding like a gigantic set of bobbleheads. Some looked openly bored, checking their watches and sliding their phones from their pockets as often as I did. Most, as one might expect from this group, appeared angry, with scrunched-up faces and narrowed eyes, expressions filled with disdain.

   I let my gaze fall on a tall, lanky person—from my vantage point I couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman—who’d pulled an eggplant-colored hoodie halfway over their face and sat hugging their knees. Kind of comforting, knowing I wasn’t the only one wishing I could manipulate time or had a DeLorean parked outside.

   I forced myself to concentrate on the counselor for more than two seconds, dug around my memory to recall she’d introduced herself as Geraldina Hoyos. I shouldn’t have forgotten the name, considering she was a friend of my boss—who also happened to be my father—and he’d mentioned her five times at work in the past week alone. She was perched on the edge of her chair, which sat atop a stained frayed blue rug bunched beneath her black leather boots. Her smile was not only unwavering but genuine, and her gray hair cascaded past the bright orange scarf wrapped around her neck, over her narrow rust-colored jacket, and halfway to her ankle-length tangerine skirt. If I squinted a little, she resembled a giant happy pumpkin who might roam the place until Halloween.

Hot Books
» House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)
» A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
» From Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash #1)
» A Million Kisses in Your Lifetime
» Deviant King (Royal Elite #1)
» Den of Vipers
» House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2)
» Sweet Temptation
» The Sweetest Oblivion (Made #1)
» Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6)
» Wreck & Ruin
» Steel Princess (Royal Elite #2)
» Twisted Hate (Twisted #3)
» The Play (Briar U Book 3)
» The War of Two Queens (Blood and Ash #4)