The Chain by Adrian McKinty Read Online (FREE)
Originally published: July 9, 2019
Author: Adrian McKinty
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological thriller, Hardboiled, Psychological Fiction
Part One – All the Lost Girls – 1
Thursday, 7:55 a.m.
She’s sitting at the bus stop checking the likes on her Instagram feed and doesn’t even notice the man with the gun until he’s almost next to her.
She could have dropped her school bag and run across the marshes. She’s a nimble thirteen-year-old and she knows all the swamps and quicksands of Plum Island. There’s a little morning sea fog and the man is big and clumsy. He’d be nervous about pursuit and he’d certainly have to give up the chase before the school bus came at eight o’clock.
All this goes through her head in a second.
The man is now standing right in front of her. He’s wearing a black ski mask and pointing the gun at her chest. She gasps and drops her phone. This clearly isn’t a joke or a prank. It’s November now. Halloween was a week ago.
“Do you know what this is?” the man asks.
“It’s a gun,” Kylie says.
“It’s a gun pointed at your heart. If you scream or struggle or try to run, I’m going to shoot you. Do you understand?”
“All right. Good. Keep calm. Put this blindfold on. What your mother does in the next twenty-four hours will determine whether you live or die. And when…if we do let you go, we don’t want you to be able to identify us.”
Trembling, Kylie puts on the padded, elasticized blindfold.
A car pulls in next to her. The door opens.
“Get in. Watch your head,” the man says.
She fumbles her way into the car. The door shuts behind her. Her mind races. She knows she shouldn’t have gotten into the vehicle. That’s how girls vanish. That’s how girls vanish every day. If you get in the car it’s over. If you get in the car, you’re lost forever. You don’t get in the vehicle, you turn around and you run, run, run.
“Put her seat belt on,” a woman says from the front seat.
Kylie starts to cry under the blindfold.
The man climbs into the back seat next to her and puts her seat belt on. “Please, just try to keep calm, Kylie. We really don’t want to hurt you,” he says.
“This has got to be a mistake,” she says. “My mom doesn’t have any money. She doesn’t start her new job until—”
“Tell her not to talk!” the woman snaps from the front seat.
“It’s not about the money, Kylie,” the man says. “Look, just don’t talk, OK?”
The car drives off hastily in a slew of sand and gravel. It accelerates hard and moves up through the gears.
Kylie listens as the car drives over the Plum Island bridge and with a wince she hears the tubercular grumble of the school bus go by them.