Impact, page 5
Kyle studied me for a moment.
“Hey, is Mark at home?” he said. “I promised my mom I’d make an effort at school.”
Right. Like he ever cared what his parents thought.
“I know Mark is good at math,” he said. “I thought maybe he could help me out. So, you think he’s home?”
I thought about the way Tony Lofredo had looked at Mark. I thought about Kyle horsing around with him and those other guys. I thought about Kyle pointing at me. And now here he was, asking me where Mark was.
“He might be,” I said. “Unless he’s working.”
“Where does he work?”
I thought about Tony again. Then I told Kyle where Mark worked.
“Sometimes he has to work late,” I said. “Until midnight.”
“At a burger joint, huh?” Kyle said. He smiled. “Maybe I should drop by sometime. You think he’d lay out some free food for a neighbor?”
I doubted he would. Mark was totally honest. But I said, “You never know.”
“Yeah, maybe I’ll drop by sometime,” Kyle said. “In the meantime, tell Mark I said hi.”
I said I would.
One week later, Mark was dead.
My father read out his victim impact statement. Then my mother read out hers. Then the judge sentenced the guys who killed Mark. Tony and Joey got ten years, but they could be out sooner. Robert got six years. He could also be out sooner.
Kyle got the least amount of time because he didn’t actually touch Mark and because he was only fifteen when it happened, although he had been the one to lure Mark into the parking lot and he had known that Tony wanted to get even with Mark.
Then the judge dropped a real bombshell. He said that because Kyle had spent time in custody before the trial, and since he had shown progress in counseling, had cooperated and had shown remorse, he was going to release Kyle into the community, where he would be on probation.
My parents couldn’t believe it when they heard that. My mother cried. Kyle’s mother hugged Kyle before they took him away to arrange his release. As he left the courtroom, Kyle looked at me and smiled.
It was late at night a couple of weeks after the end of the trial. I was on my way home from work. I got off the bus and was walking toward my street when someone came out of the shadows toward me. It was Kyle.
“You’re not supposed to come near me,” I said.
It was true. One of the conditions of Kyle’s supervision in the community was that he wasn’t supposed to have any contact with me or my parents. But here he was.
Kyle looked hurt.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” he said. “I just wanted to tell you I’m sorry about what happened. I didn’t know Tony was going to do what he did.”
“You knew he wanted to get back at Mark for going with Shannon,” I said.
Kyle looked at me. “So did you,” he said.
I felt my stomach twist.
“I could have said that in the court,” Kyle said. “But I didn’t. I could have told them how I knew where Mark was that night. But I didn’t, because I felt bad about what happened, and I knew you did too. I just wanted to tell you that. I just wanted to say I’m sorry.”
He turned and walked away from my street. I watched him go. I wondered who else he had told—or who he might tell sometime in the future.
That night I had a dream. In my dream, I was sitting behind the wheel of my father’s car. It was late at night, when everyone was asleep. I was waiting. I waited until I saw Kyle come out of his house. Then I gunned the engine and steered the car straight for Kyle.
I had that dream a lot.
When I heard that Kyle and his parents had moved out west, clear on the other side of the country, I was glad.
But it didn’t change anything. It didn’t change what I had done. It didn’t change that I couldn’t tell anyone. And it didn’t change that I was afraid that one day Kyle would say something.
I didn’t read out a victim impact statement like my mother and father did. But Mark’s death affected me. It affected me more than almost anyone will ever know.
Impact is James C. Dekker’s second novel in the Orca Soundings series, following Scum. James lives in Toronto, Ontario, and has little impact on those around him.
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