I saw him ahead of me, turning onto the gravel road along the railroad tracks that run under the viaduct. I couldn’t figure why he went that way, but I followed. He kept turning around to see how close I was. Every time he did, his bike wobbled in the loose gravel and he struggled to keep it upright. The last time, he turned to face forward again too quickly and oversteered the bike. He careened back and forth a few times before going down, taking a header in the gravel not far in front of me.
I stopped my truck and got out. He was out cold, lying crumpled on the ground with one side of his face right down in the gravel. His forehead had a dirty smudge above the temple. A shallow cut in the middle. He’d have a good goose egg popping out soon.
I rolled him onto his back. He was breathing okay. I fished in his pockets for the knife. All I had to do was take it and leave him there. He didn’t know who I was. Maybe the knock on his head would screw with his memory, or be enough to cast doubt on whatever story he told. Then he started moaning and pushing my hands away. Damn it.
“I know all about the knife, old man,” he croaked out from down there in the gravel. “You’re the one who killed that Baker kid, you godammn perve. Leave me alone.”
Maybe I could’ve left him there. Just drive away. Drive and drive and keep on driving, up into Canada and then just disappear from there. But he could’ve describe me. He could’ve identified my truck. Even if I’d made it to the border, I’d never have gotten across.
So I got down on my knees, the gravel pushing sharp and deep through my pants, holding the kid as he started to struggle again. I wrapped my right hand behind his head, cupped his jaw in my left. Then I pulled hard and snapped his scrawny neck.
Everything went quiet, just the sound of the gravel shifting and some distant traffic as I got back up and took one last quick look at what I’d done.
Like I said, I never wanted to kill anyone. But what choice did I have?
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish