After Mike skips out on meeting his friend Sal, he is stunned to find out that Sal has been stabbed to death near his high school. Even though there were lots of kids nearby, nobody will come forward to say what they really saw. So Mike starts asking some questions of his own and finds out that Sal was hanging around a girl who recently left a gang. Are they responsible for killing Sal? How can Mike find out the truth when nobody will talk?
Scholastic Canada Ltd.
ISBN 978-0-545-99411-8 PBK
Ages 12 to 14
4 3/16” x 6 ¾”
“Are you’re saying it was my fault, Rebecca?”
“No. I’m just saying . . . ” She hesitated, like she was searching for the right words. “I’m just saying that I understand how you feel. I mean, you’re probably thinking that if you hadn’t forgotten my book at home, things would have been different. And maybe that’s why you’re so mad at everyone.”
“I’m mad at everyone because nobody did anything to help Sal,” I said. “And because probably someone who goes to our school — or maybe even a whole bunch of kids who go to our school — killed him, and so far nothing is happening.”
“I understand,” Rebecca said. “Which is why I think it would be a good idea for you to talk to someone. It could really help.”
I had to bite my tongue. I like Rebecca. I like her more than I’ve ever liked any girl. Maybe I even like her more than I’ve ever liked anyone, period. But she was driving me crazy. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I just wanted the cops to find out who had killed Sal. I wanted them to arrest that person and put him in prison for the rest of his life — except that if it was a kid, if it was Teddy, for example, that wasn’t going to happen. No way he’d get that long. He’d be out in a couple of years — assuming the cops got their act together and caught him in the first place. But Sal would stay dead forever.
It wasn’t fair. None of it was.
Then . . . wait a minute.
“How did you know that I was planning to go downtown with Sal?” I said. “I don’t remember telling you.”
“You didn’t,” Rebecca said. I saw a flash of something in her eyes — like she was mad I hadn’t told her. “Imogen mentioned it.”
“Imogen? You talked to Imogen?” The only good thing about Imogen was that she had transferred schools this year, so I didn’t have to see her face every day.
“I called her after it happened,” Rebecca said. “And I talked to her at the funeral.”
“You called her? What for?”
Rebecca took her hand off my arm and looked closely at me.
“Didn’t Sal tell you about Imogen?” she said.
I started jamming stuff into my locker, mainly so I wouldn’t have to look at Rebecca.
“Tell me what?” I said.
“Imogen said he was going to tell you.” She touched my arm again and gave it a little tug so that there was nothing else I could do — I had to look at her. “Sal was going out with her again, Mike.”
I looked at her and said, “What are you talking about? Imogen tried to get me arrested. She spread all kinds of rumours about me. She accused me of beating up Sal. She practically accused me of — ” I shook my head. “I can’t believe you called her.”
Rebecca stood up straighter now. Her cheeks turned pink.
“She was going out with Sal,” she said. “They’d been seeing each other since the summer, and Sal was trying to get up his courage to tell you.”
“His courage? Now you’re saying Sal was afraid to talk to me?”
“Well, I guess he knew how you’d react . . . ”
“I can’t believe you called her, Rebecca.”
Rebecca drew in a deep breath. I could see she was working hard at staying calm. “I knew she still liked him, Mike. I knew she was upset when they broke up. So I called her to see how she was doing. And I don’t need you to yell at me about it.”
“I wasn’t yelling.”
“Yes, you were. You’re mad at me and I don’t know why. I didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Oh, and I did, is that it? If I hadn’t lost my history book and hadn’t borrowed yours and then forgotten it at home, Sal would still be alive? Isn’t that what you said?”
“That’s not what I meant,” she said.
“But it’s what you said. You think this is all my fault.”
“No, I don’t,” she said. She seemed stunned by the suggestion.
I slammed my locker door. The bang reverberated up and down the hall. A lot of people turned to look.
Rebecca stared at me for a moment. Her lower lip was trembling and her eyes got all watery. But she didn’t cry. Instead, she pulled herself up straight and slung her backpack over her shoulder. She didn’t say a word as she turned and marched down the hall.
Geeze, what was I doing?
I jammed my lock through the loop in my locker door and chased after her.
“Rebecca, wait,” I said.
But she was already halfway down the stairs.
I ran after her — and collided with Mr. Gianneris.
Terrific. I waited, but he didn’t get mad at me the way he usually did when he caught me breaking some stupid rule — like, no running on the stairs. Instead he said, “Slow it down, huh, Mike?” and let it go at that.
By the time I got outside, Rebecca was gone.
From Dead Silence. Copyright © 2008 by Norah McClintock. All rights reserved.
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