Mrs. Stevenson’s Seventh Grade Class, St. Christopher’s School for Boys, October 19, 2:14 AM

A group of twelve sat around the embers of a bonfire, each looking first at his hands, then up to the glowing triangle of logs before him.

“What do we do know?” Dalton said, his voice crackling into the dead air.

They were tucked into a pocket of forest behind a new development. The fire ring, the kindling, the matches, the lawn chairs—all were stolen from their neighbors’ garages, from the tool sheds in the backyards across the street.

Dalton looked across the fading glow to Parker. They maintained eye contact for three seconds before Parker stood, his hands planted on his hips, surveyed the group, and sprinted deep into the darkness.

The boys stared at Dalton, their default leader. He was expected to give them instructions, to make the big decisions, to outline a plan for their journey to anonymity.

“Run,” he said. “That’s the only way we’re not getting caught.”

A crowd blinking with terror is not apt to move without prodding, like chipmunks discovered picking through a stranger’s pile of nuts.

“We’re the first one’s they’re gonna think did it. We left DNA, a motive—hell, we even left the murder weapon right next to him with Guthrie’s fingerprints all over it. Get out of here. Spread out.”

“Where do we go?” several boys murmured, Guthrie among them with teeth chattering.

“Not here.”

Published at Goon and Darling Do Flash Fiction on July 12, 2012.

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