Prologue

1.4K 97 49


"Get in the car. We're leaving."

It was dark, and that was all anyone cared about. It had to be dark to do what they were doing. No one committed crimes in broad daylight except for the trained professionals. Four eighteen-year-olds who had just barely graduated high school were not in the running for trained professionals.

Eddie Hadden started the engine in his battered 1992 Buick LeSabre, gesturing for the other three to climb in. They listened, jumping in the car and slamming the doors shut before Eddie took off out of the woods.

"Don't your parents have money, Hadden?" Victoria Marcum asked from the backseat, "Why do you drive this thing?"

"You know that I don't feel comfortable taking money from them." Eddie muttered as he squinted at the dirt road ahead of him, "I don't want them to have any pull over me."

"Shut up." Neil Conrad ordered from the passenger seat, "You're going to make my headache worse."

"Oh, poor Conrad with a headache." Erin Green's voice joined the rest of theirs, "I'm still angry that we went through with this at all."

"Shut up, Erin." Victoria retorted, "I don't even see why I had to come at all. You all made me an accessory."

"Stop saying things like that." Neil snapped, "You don't know who could be listening."

"I didn't think that was going to be a problem anymore. Didn't we specifically ensure that it wouldn't be a problem anymore?"

"No, I ensured that it wouldn't be a problem anymore." Neil told Erin, "You all just stood there. I actually did it."

"You didn't have to do it." Erin muttered.

"Oh no? And what would have happened? Did you want everything getting out? Everything we know about our families? Things that even we don't know about our families?"

"That could have been a bluff."

"It wasn't a bluff." Eddie shook his head, "We've learned the hard way that it doesn't bluff."

"Thank you." Neil said, "See?"

"I still think there was a better solution," Eddie commented as they pulled out onto the main road, "But what's done is done."

"What's done didn't have to be done while I was there."

"Victoria."

"Whatever."

It was an odd entourage, the four of them: Eddie Hadden had been captain of the football team in high school and had briefly dated Erin Green, an up-and-coming socialite with a schedule fuller than a chapel on Christmas Eve. Neil Conrad had been one of the lower-lying characters of Barnum High, never in the spotlight but occasionally known to get detention due to talking back to a teacher or spray painting the outside of the building. Victoria Marcum, despite being one of the few Barnum students from a low-income family, had made a name for herself as a cheerleader—albeit a pretty awful one—during her junior and senior years.

The four would never have been four expected to see each other outside of the school hallways, and yet there they were: in the car at 3:00 in the morning in the beginning of June, barely graduated from high school and already returning to their old ways.

Or rather, going much further than their old ways ever insisted.

The four families were at the core of every secret and every scandal in the city of Easton, Maryland. Everything they did was noteworthy, and the many members of the four families ensured that nothing was ever quiet for very long.

Killer InstinctRead this story for FREE!