“Everyone loves the devil until they know him. Until they see him for what he really is.” Nobody ever did, even as the bodies started to pile up. But now, too late for it to matter, Audrey understands at last. The devil of Fairview has been courting her for days, and watching her for much longer than that. The murderer is her boyfriend—and he’s been killing on her behalf.
His name is Jack Maddox, but everyone calls him Mad Jack. He’s planning a party, where everyone is invited, especially Audrey’s tormentors—especially the Facebook Fifteen.
Audrey will have her revenge, whether she wants it or not.
Because, in Miss Drake’s class, the devil will have his due.
As he cleaned the knife, she fought her way back to the surface. Eventually, she managed words. “I still don’t know which parts of this were real. Or if I’m completely crazy.”
“You’re not crazy, Audrey,” he reassured her. “You never were. No more than I was. And you’re not crazy now. Just the opposite, in fact.”
When she let the silence stretch again, making it meaningful, he continued.
“Your problem is the same as mine. You see things how they really are, and it makes you sad. Makes you angry. What happened here wasn’t a hallucination. What happened here was justice—for you.”
Polishing the blade, he glanced at her sidelong, expectantly.
He’s holding a knife, she said to herself. And spoke her mind anyway. “I’m nothing like you.”
He smiled. “You’re nicer than me, that’s for sure. No contest.”
“You’re… like the devil, Jack.” Please don’t kill me. You can read my thoughts, I know it now. You’ll know if I lie. I’m being honest with you. I want the truth.
“The devil?” Jack said, chuckling. “Not sure if I believe in ‘the devil.’ Never been to the other side, either way. But I know from pictures he has red skin, pointy tail, horns, carries a pitchfork… usually has pretty big eyebrows.”
Audrey put her hand over his wrists, stopped his polishing. “No, Jack,” she said. “The devil is far too smart to look like that. Everyone loves the devil, until they know him. Until they see him for what he really is.”
They regarded each other.
“Does this mean we can’t be friends?” he joked. “Bet you never thought you’d have first period English with the devil.”
“No,” she said. “I never did.”
“By your description,” Jack said, his smile fading. “The devil was in Miss Drake’s class. But it wasn’t me.”
“Jack,” Audrey said, giving up. “I want to go home. Can I go home, please?”
“Soon,” he said, tossing the knife in the sink, turning around, and leaning up against it. “You have to do something for me first. Don’t worry. I don’t think you’ll have a problem with it. I hope not, anyway.”
Audrey narrowed her eyes. She wasn’t afraid. After tonight, she didn’t know if she had any fear left in her. “What?” she asked.
“In order for you to understand the ‘what,’” he said. “You first have to understand who Ireally am. Completely—or at least as much as I understand, myself. Time is short, so pay attention.”
various times throughout his life, he played bass guitar for the garage heavy
editorials in The Potomac News and The Freelance Star. Currently,
while not plotting his next foray into fictitious suburban mayhem, he spoils
his nieces and nephews and teaches middle school English.