Young Adult 227 pages
Cover art by Pat Evans
Young Cole Mckenna finds himself with a criminal record for stealing onions. He struggles to overcome the stigmatism by helping Officer Bradley with investigations of a burglary and later drugs in his small town high school. Along the way he discovers the dangers of police work when he's almost killed.
The man had his back to Cole, totally focused on kicking Jason. Cole sprinted on the balls of his feet. The guy looked up just as Cole drove a shoulder into his side, like blind-siding a quarterback. They both went down. Cole bounced up thinking the other guy would stay down. To his surprise the thug jumped up and squared off in a fighting stance.
They eyed each other a second, before the guy took a wild swing at Cole's head. Cole leaned back from the blow. He tried to see the face under the hoodie but the overhead light shone behind the stranger. Cole started to wade into the attacker when the guy reached in his pocket and pulled out a knife. The blade sprung from the handle. Cole stared at the weapon and stumbled back a few more paces. His own right hand dug into his pocket and closed on the lock-blade Buck. He pulled it out and fumbled to open the blade.
What am I doing? I can't get into a knife fight. I'll get killed. But he held it up for the other man to see. They circled each other. Cole's every nerve concentrated on his opponent. Fear gripped his stomach, as his brain screamed-Run! He skittered around defensively, trying to keep his distance from the attacker, and the silver blade he waved. Lurching to the side, Cole bumped into the dumpster and stumbled for balance.
An excruciating pain exploded in the back of his head. Next thing he knew he sprawled face down in the rubble. Multi-colored spots danced in his eyes. His brain refused to focus. Dizziness distorted everything. Shifting to his right side, he lifted a hand to the back of his head. It came away wet. Lying on the ground, Cole fought to remain conscious. He heard another voice behind him.
"Kill both the sons-a-bitches and let's get out of here."
A blurred pair of dirty sneakers approached Cole's head. He tried to push himself up but failed. The grubby sneakers straddled his head. Cole held his breath.
I'm going to die! His mind flashed: Mom-Mikey-.With his last ounce of strength, he lunged up and jammed his Buck knife to the hilt in the leg of the man standing over him. He heard his attacker scream. Cole tried to fight the dizziness. In the foggy distance, he heard, "Hey!" echo down the alley.
Then-a dark void.