I glared sullenly out the window at the pouring rain, before turning back to the bowl in my hands. I mixed the cupcake batter.
The cupcakes were for my fifteenth birthday tomorrow, but that wasn't anything to be happy about. There was never anything to be happy about anymore.
Not for me. Not with all the constant teasing and torture I had to endure from all those called my classmates.
It wasn't about anything in particular - it just everything that made me different from all of them. I wasn't the smartest; I wasn't athletic; I wasn't artistic.
I wasn't pretty, or musical, and I didn't care about fashion. I wore glasses and had too much frizzy hair.
All of those were fodder for my so-called peers. It wasn't always like that though. In elementary school, it was fine. I was happy. I wasn't best friends with anyone, but I was friendly.
But it all changed in middle school. People turned vicious, and brutal.
I tried to deal with it. For years, I put up with it as best I could. But by now, it was too much. And they would pay for what they did.
The thought made me smile, not from joy, but grim satisfaction. I added the final ingredient to the batter, the very thing that made my revenge possible.
It was a little thing. Just some salt. A special kind of salt, called sodium cyanide. It's very safe to cook with. In fact, it's only deadly if... eaten.
Ten minutes after I put the cupcakes in the oven, the mouthwatering smell of them baking began to permeate the room. I breathed in deeply the smell of my retribution.
I was glad almost - no, more relieved - that my moment of vengeance was so close at hand. It gave me something to live for, some variation in the long, drawn-out torture that my life had become.
Because soon, soon that was going to end.
The next morning, I packed up my backpack as normal. I had done my homework, most of it anyways, despite that there was hardly going to be a need.
I took the cupcakes - enough for my entire first period class. I figured the cyanide was so fast acting, I wouldn't be able to give it to any of my other classes.
So they couldn't all be punished. But hopefully, their friends dying would make them think twice before they made fun of someone again.
As I walked to school, one of my usual tormentors fell into step with me.
"Happy birthday, Bridget," Alicia squealed. I stared at her warily. Was she being... nice? To me? No, I decided quickly. She was just playing mind games with me.
"Are you having a party? Can I come?" she continued. I shook my head, unnerved.
Even if I were having a party, why would she come? She was the reason I was always miserable - her and Carrie and all their other friends.
Alicia's face turned mocking. "Well, good. I wouldn't want to come to one of your loser parties anyways. Especially not to celebrate you living for another year!" She ran off.
My vision got blurry as tears welled up in my eyes. Then I took my hurt and I twisted it into anger.
"Well, then it's a good thing you won't have to worry about it next year," I muttered under my breath. I hated Alicia. And her stupid friend Carrie too.
Everyone who laughed at their jokes about me. And that was all of them. The whole world hated me, and believe me, I hated it right back. And that was never going to change.
At least Carrie has first period with me, I tried to console myself. It didn't work, but soon enough it wouldn't matter.
When the bell rang, I placed a cupcake on every desk.
It was an oddly cheerful sight - the vanilla frosted chocolate cupcake, sprinkled with brightly colored dots, centered on a pretty "Happy Birthday!" napkin.
It tugged at the corners of my mouth, but for the ominous promise I knew it held. There was certain death in all of the cupcakes. Every. Single. One.
The custom was for the class to sing before eating. About three people hummed half-heartedly, while the rest talked and laughed. They laughed. I hated that.
I hated it! How could they do that, ignoring me completely? This would get their notice!
I watched avidly as the song ended, and people picked up their treats. I focused in on my least favorite - Carrie. She brought it to her mouth, closer and closer and closer.
Time seemed to slow down as her berry-glossed lips met the frosting. I leaned forward on my desk, staring as she bit down through the cupcake. She chewed, swallowed.
Then I looked away. I saw everyone else poised to take a bite of their cupcakes.
"Happy fifteenth birthday," I whispered to myself darkly, as I picked up a cupcake of my own.