The school yard was empty. The afternoon breeze rustled a discarded chip bag across the asphalt, the brightly hued bit of litter scraping and dancing along until the chain link fence arrested its path. The phone call had been so brief, so easy to make – now there were no more games, no shouts of kids at play. The tennis balls were left to one side of the court, abandoned by the fleeing team.

He stood just across the road, waiting, hood low and hands stuffed into the front pocket of his sweatshirt as he watched the school building. Any moment now, they’d find it. They’d know it was him – he’d taped a picture to the classroom door, a blurry picture of him flipping the bird. Inside, Troy and his final project waited, one duct-taped to the other and both rigged to the door.

He glanced around, studying the other handful of onlookers as the police warned everyone to stay back.

The rumbling blast made him smile, and he walked away as the crowd gasped in horror. That was the last time Troy would ever bully him.

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