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 were 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 blueish 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.
Excerpted from The Revenge List by Hannah Mary McKinnon, Copyright © 2023 by Hannah McKinnon. Published by MIRA Books.
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