Stuart lived past the recreation center. Billy huffed down the road. Sure, he’d be interrupting dinnertime, but big deal. He couldn’t stay in Castle Oshawee any longer.
The boiling heat of anger beneath his clothing stopped him from freezing under the clear, cold sky. Darkness was fast approaching. The sun on the horizon was bursting with colors of mauve, scarlet, and pumpkin.
The big door at the recreation center opened. Billy’s old buddies, Lonn and Dylan, strolled outside to probably have a cigarette. When they strutted away from the doors and beelined for the road, Billy stiffened. They knew he could beat their asses—especially since he outweighed them by a good fifteen pounds now.
“’Sup?” Lonn called out, slyly grinning.
“Not much.” Billy stopped. He wasn’t going to keep walking like a coward afraid of the neighborhood bullies. “Heard you both got kicked out.” Because neither rode the school bus anymore.
“No biggie.” Lon shrugged. “Y’know we were bailing when we turned the big one-six.”
A direction Billy had been heading before dumb ol’ René had turned him into one of The General’s toy soldiers in Oshawee Army.
Splashes of rebellion bubbled under Billy’s skin. He might’ve blown off telling Mr. and Mrs. O where he was going tonight, but he’d been heading for Stuart’s, and later going home right on the button of his curfew time, like a good little grunt.
He folded his arms. “What’re you doing?”
“What else? Heading for the old house.” Lonn dropped another sly smile.
Dylan nodded, also grinning.
When Billy had used to party there, they’d burned stuff in the woodstove to keep warm during the winter.
“You coming, or are you still hanging with the geek twins?” Lonn elbowed a chuckling Dylan.
“Sure, why not?” Nobody at Castle Oshawee had given a flying fuck Billy had left the house. As for René, screw him. All he cared about was following the rules and obeying the orders coming from everyone seated in the living room.