“Why did you do it? Why did you write that post? Why did you ruin my life? I’m going to lose everything. Everything.”

“You did this. You’re the one that took the photo.”

“But I never would have released it.” We shake as he yells and I press back, into him, away from the edge. “It was just a threat. To scare you. I never would have released it.”

“You released the one of Violet.”

“That was them. Not me!” He shoves us closer to the edge again. “That wasn’t me!”

“Calm down,” comes a voice, and it’s not Razor’s. I rip my focus away from the water and there’s a man with blond hair and a cut like Razor’s slowly approaching the bridge. His hands are up—a sign of submission. “Just calm down.”

“I said stay back!” Kyle’s voice vibrates against my back.

My pulse pounds in my ears. “Please, stay back!”

“Breanna,” Razor calls. “It’s going to be okay. I promise.”

A promise. Razor’s next to the other man and I don’t see the terror inside me reflected on him. Razor is calm, too calm, and he subtly nods at me. “I promise,” he repeats.

I swallow to ease my dry throat and nod back. Razor never makes a promise he doesn’t intend to keep. It’s then that I realize that my fingers have a death grip on Kyle’s arms. The one wrapped near my throat, the other snaked around my waist.


“Were you stalking her?” the guy next to Razor asks. Pigpen. I bet this is the Pigpen Razor has talked about.

“No!” Kyle shakes his head, bumping mine. “I drove by her house to see her and I saw her taking off. I followed her. That’s it.”

“Now you’re holding her over a bridge. How do you see this playing out, kid?”

“Get on your bikes and leave.” Kyle’s voice trembles and so does his body. “That’s what’s going to happen. I’ll let her go then and then I’ll leave. I’m not the bad guy in this. I didn’t take or put up the picture of Violet. I’m not the one!”

“Promise you won’t hurt him,” I say.

Razor tilts his head to show he’s consumed with the thought of hurting Kyle, but he remains silent as Pigpen says, “Hurting you was never an option on the table. We don’t operate like that. Hurting kids isn’t how we work.”

“I’m not a kid!”

“A man wouldn’t be holding a girl on a bridge like he’s about to toss her over. I swear on my patch, killing you is not in the Terror’s plans.”

I blink as I hear the promise and Razor raises his head for me to not tip their hand. They don’t have plans to kill Kyle, but anything else, like maybe jail time, is up for negotiation.

“How can I believe you?”

“You can’t,” says Pigpen. “But I’m not seeing your other options.”

“I’m not bad,” Kyle whispers into my ear. “I’m sorry, Bre. I promise I’m not bad.”

The desperation in his voice, the way he’s hugging me instead of holding me, causes me to loosen my grip. For months, Kyle has been this shadow of a monster haunting my life and he’s been the epitome of evil, but listening to his brokenness—he doesn’t sound much different from Zac or Paul or Elsie. He doesn’t sound much different from a scared child.

The big, strong football player who everyone knows is frightened. Frightened enough to blackmail me, frightened enough to do something that causes him to feel guilty, frightened enough to take on the Terror, frightened enough to drag both of us onto a railway bridge.

“I’m scared,” I say to him.

“I’m sorry,” he says again.

“You and I, we’ve made bad choices. It doesn’t make us good, but I’m not sure it makes us bad.”

“What have you done?”

“I didn’t love my family enough to let them love me back.”

A disgusted sound slips from his lips and a new rush of fear overtakes me, but I press forward. “I hurt people. People that I said I loved. They hurt me, too, but I’m not sure I tried to give them another chance. It’s like tearing off my arm because I didn’t want to feel the pain of a paper cut on my finger.”

Kyle doesn’t move. He doesn’t speak, either, and a wave of dizziness disorients me when a strong gust sweeps over the bridge, causing us to ease a centimeter toward the edge.

“Easy now,” says Pigpen in a smooth tone.

“I said—” Kyle starts, but I shush him.

“Listen to me, not them. We’ve both made mistakes, and the point is, what makes us bad is when we don’t know when to stop. When we keep covering for the things we’ve done wrong and never stop. If you say you aren’t bad, then prove it. Walk us off this bridge, let me go home and I’ll tell my family that they’ve been wrong, but I’ve also been wrong.”

“But you don’t understand.” There’s a break in his voice. “What has happened...what you did...what I did...everything is ruined.”

If I lie, and he doesn’t believe me, he’s crazy enough to toss us both over. “You said you wanted me to write the papers because you need out of this town, and I never thought of it until now, but that must mean you feel like you’re dying here. Maybe this is our moment. Maybe everything is gone, but maybe this is what we both need. Maybe both of us need to stop playing the parts assigned to us by this awful town and find the courage to be somebody new. Somebody different.”

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