I hope you enjoy the following, and stay tuned over the next couple of months for more information not only about Among the Missing but two other surprise releases slated for Late Spring/Early Summer 2011.
An entire street full of cars. The sounds of late autumn in the air.
Beyond, 5 o’clock traffic races down the interstate. First shifters coming home. The late retail crowd heading in. But here, there is no traffic, no rush of cars against the wind. Here, parked outside the brick-faced houses that line this avenue, they are still. They are empty. Except for one.
Down the street, at the basketball court, a group of kids play Horse in that manner children do. Each calls an impossible shot and fails to pull it off. Bobby’s on H. He sank a three pointer. He calls it skill but everyone knows it was a lucky shot. Anton’s been trying to dunk all day. At 4’8”, he’s a bit shy of the rim.
In the not-empty car, a shadow turns the ignition. It’s a quiet car. The perfect kind. It’s non-descript: Four doors, bluish-grey. Or was it brown? It’s hard to say. Y’know, it might be a hatchback. Or a sedan.
Mick tells Anton to stop messing around and take the shot already. Willie sits on the paintline, book in hand. He’s tired of sports. Anton tells everyone to chill. It’s happening. He can feel it.
Bobby gloats about his H. Calls himself the King of Park Street. Mick tells him to stuff it. “Besides,” the boy says, “you live on Vine.”
“Yeah, but the court’s on Park and that’s what matters.”
The car pulls out of its spot. It rolls slowly around the bend, toward the boys playing ball. Just past the court is a church. Small, white, wooden cross on top. Black sign in the front with the hours of Sunday’s service.
Anton rushes, jumps, and lets loose the ball. It spins around the rim before teetering in.
“Dunk!” Anton shakes his butt at the other kids. “Kiss it! Kiss it! Kiss the dunk master’s butt!” he says.
“So not a dunk,” Mick says, chasing the ball.
Anton says it was so. Says he’ll do it again.
Mick scoops up the ball. No way Anton’s getting it again.
Mick offers it to Willie but the boy says he’s not playing anymore. He passes to Bobby but the place the older boy once stood is now empty. All three look around, but no one can see him. No one knows where Bobby went.
“He probably went home”, Anton says.
Mick spins in place, scanning the area. “That’d be kinda fast. How’d he skip out without us seeing?”
“Maybe he cut across the churchyard.”
“Yeah, maybe.” Probably. Best way to Vine Street.
Anton shrugs, tells Mick to throw it to him. They have just over an hour before the streetlights come on and today’s the day he’s gonna prove he’s the dunk champion.