TITLE: UNEASY GRACE
GENRE: YA contemporary mystery
After practice, his whole body ached. The only thing that helped was to walk. Let his mind go blank. Forget about the complicated plays that Coach had made them run today. Forget that the game on Friday might be his chance to catch the attention of a college scout on the lookout for a running back who could also play defensive safety.
He knew that Reid and the rest of the gang expected him to come by the patio behind the gun shop. Reid always expected something of him. Not today. He needed to make moves that would ease him out of the gang and their plans for what they called “pranks.”
At the edge of the park, he hesitated. The path was narrow and rocky. A challenge he relished.
When he stumbled, he caught himself before he hit the ground. His hand felt the hard metal before he saw it. A glint in the gathering gloom. When he picked it up, some of the corroded metal flaked off in his hand. “What’s this?”
“Who’s there?” A gruff voice. Close by. Not friendly.
He raised the pipe ready to use it as a weapon against the shadows that surrounded him.
The punch to his back was sudden and swift.
He doubled over.
“I’ll take that,” the voice said.
He tried and failed to hold his grip as he felt strong hands wrestle the pipe away.
The first blow grazed his shoulder.
After the second blow, everything went black.