Caroline needed to forget her past life and used a radio broadcast to help.
Revenge by Night
Caroline Sinclair reflected long about her 5-year marriage to Arthur, that no-good, two-timing asshole. She should have gone with her gut feelings, but friends and family members had accused her of being suspicious and paranoid in her previous relationships. They even when so far as to blame her mindset for not being married. Even after Arthur asked for her hand in marriage, and she said yes, they continued harping on her moods. It didn't take long for her to become exhausted from all of it, so she gave in.
And look what good it did. An unattended phone, a single text message, and a bald-faced lie all confirmed her suspicions. He'd been playing with his phone settings that Saturday morning and forgot to lock the display. The text from that woman couldn't be misinterpreted, and when she asked about the text, he denied ever receiving it. She couldn't believe that punk ass lied right to her face!
Well, the divorce was over now after a year and a half of grief, arguments, and hatred between her and Arthur and their respective lawyers. They tossed snide remarks and innuendoes like grenades back and forth. She thanked God there were no kids involved.
She'd wasted enough time with that person in Minneapolis. A new job in Sacramento waited for her, which is just what she needed, and to help rid her mind of her past life, she chose to drive and take in the scenery of America. Hell, other people did it all the time, and she wasn't in any particular hurry. There wasn't too much to ship to California since she and Arthur lived in a small apartment, and a new apartment, about the same size, waited for her. California's outlandish cost of living nearly made her turn down the job offer, but the perks were amazing.
The drive was worth it. The breathtaking scenery swept away any thoughts of Arthur. It wasn't until the second night while driving that Arthur made a presence. She'd grew tired of listening to Sirius XM and tuned to the radio instead. While moving the dial through the channels, she happened upon a commercial for a talk show. Those shows did nothing for her, but this self-help show dealt with helping with unresolved feelings. Maybe it was worth listening to. The discouraging part was that the show started at midnight, but she'd already decided to drive through the night and find a hotel early the next morning.
The program began at the scheduled time and she listened for a while. The host's voice remained calm, and she hoped it wouldn't make her relax too much. Even though there wasn't much traffic, she still traveled at a good click. Falling asleep was not an option.
As the program continued, the host urged the listeners to say out loud how they felt about the people or situations which bothered them, and if they had their wish, what would they wish upon anyone connected to those people. She found it odd, but she'd heard that saying something out loud, instead of keeping it locked inside, could be therapeutic.
"I hope that Arthur, and his bitch, die while they are together. That's the best he deserves. As for Mr. Brian Carlisle (Arthur's manager), that asshole knew about Arthur's relationship all along and didn't tell me about it. The numerous times we invited him to our apartment for dinner and drinks, and he still didn't have the nerve to tell me? Yeah, something horrible needs to happen to that spineless piece of shit too. The same goes for Arthur's lawyer, Mr. Warren Gordon. I can't believe he didn't think what Arthur did was wrong. Fuck him! He should die too. All of them should die!"
After her rant, the host resumed talking, as if he'd heard everything she'd said. She gazed at her radio as the coincidence seemed too weird. The host continued talking, but she was getting tired. Her outburst had zapped a nice chuck of energy she needed to stay awake. She was glad the show neared its end, but before going off, the host read off a series of names. Why? She had no idea. None of them were familiar to her. Maybe they were sponsors or financial supporters. She paid it no mind and switched back to the music playing on Sirius XM.
Months had passed since Caroline arrived in Sacramento and started her new job, and making acquaintances with a new group of people having different lifestyles was eye opening. With so many new experiences, she felt freer than she'd ever felt. Her previous life only came up when she received calls from her family. Very few of her old friends kept in touch. She wore a convincing facade of dismissing her past life in Minneapolis, but a bookmark on her home computer directed her to a Minneapolis news page, which she read every night.
One particular night, a series of news articles cause her to gasp. The first article concerned Arthur's lawyer, Mr. Gordon. Early in the morning, a drunk driver broadsided his car on the driver's side, killing him instantly. She'd never expected something like that would show up on the website. Another article concerned Arthur's boss and her former friend, Brian Carlisle. He'd been arrested and accused of embezzling funds from the company where he worked. In addition, he had an affair with a senior executive in the company's Human Resources department. Karma is a hell of a bitch!
But it was the last article near the bottom of the webpage that held her attention. Arthur had been shot to death in a murder-suicide. The article stated someone heard the shots from another apartment, and when the police investigated, they found both bodies naked and in bed. The gun was still in the woman's hands and an empty bottle of pills for bi-polar disorder were on the nightstand. Her mind drifted back to that midnight broadcast. What she'd blurted out loud that night couldn't be tied to the events back in Minneapolis, but having the three people she despised most hurt in some manner, on the same day, was uncanny!
Instead of feeling satisfied that her wishes came true, she became fearful. Those three people were connected to her, and the police may search for her to answer questions. She knew she had nothing to do with it, but there were others who knew how she felt about all three. For the next few days, she kept a very low profile as her paranoia grew.
A few more weeks passed, and no one came to her with questions about the events back in Minneapolis. She emerged from her self-imposed exile and began meeting up again with her new friends. All thoughts of her past life were dismissed.
One day, upon arriving home, she entered her apartment and discovered someone slid a note beneath her door. Nothing like that had ever happened before, but she figured it may be an invitation for an apartment get together or something similar. She set her purse on the couch, picked up the folded note and read it.
Her jaw dropped! The note read,
"I listened to that midnight broadcast also and said something out loud, just like I bet you did long ago. I heard your name at the end of my broadcast, and if that's what you did, your turn is coming!"
Taken aback, she didn't know what to do. She had never divulged to anyone that she'd ever listened to that broadcast or even acknowledged that it took place. Who could have known she had listened to it?
Fear gripped her once again, but this time, it quaked her world. She became fearful of every aspect of her life. With no knowledge of what that mysterious person said out loud, she wasn't sure if she'd be hurt or killed at any moment. All her senses were on edge whenever she drove, or took a shower, or cooked, or walked. Even the most mundane tasks held a possibility of being hurt. Fear ruled her life for nearly three weeks before she accepted the fact the someone played a cruel joke. But she still couldn't explain about their knowledge of the midnight broadcast.
No longer in fear, she eased back into her normal routine. A three-day weekend had arrived, and she enjoyed herself in the apartment's courtyard, sipping on margaritas and reading a book she meant to start a while ago. Her shoulders and legs soaked up the sun as she lounged in the folding chair.
A buzzing noise swept by her right ear, and she swiped at it. A little while later, the noise returned, and she swiped again. After turning the page, she lurched her right shoulder back when an intense, sharp pain struck her right shoulder blade. She wiped her shoulder blade with her left hand and felt something hit her fingers. She looked down to discover a yellow wasp lying on the ground. It was the first time a wasp had ever stung her.
The pain grew more intense, and she rubbed her shoulder harder. When no relief came, she stood to go back to her apartment and have a look at it in the mirror.
Her breathing became labored.
She tried to remain on her feet as she struggled to breathe, but it was no use. She fell back into the chair and clutched her throat. No air moved in or out. She tried to scream to no avail. The wispy cirrus clouds above, intersected by the fluffy white airplane contrails, were the last sights she'd ever see.