Kyle Rivers wakes up before the others. He takes in his surroundings. The sun is just rising, and except for Charisa, Tim, and himself, there is no one else around.
Yawning, Kyle gets up from his uncomfortable position and stretches. Then he looks down at the others. They’re both still fast asleep.
His hand reaches out involuntarily to smooth a strand of Charisa’s curls out of her face. Her soft, innocent face.
He’d kill Jin Yin before letting him get anywhere near her again. And he’d die if necessary to get her back to the safety of her father.
The father who is totally going to kill him now.
Sighing, Kyle pulls away and stands up before making his way out of the gazebo and toward the edge of the park. He needs to get his bearings. At the street, he studies a sign. The street is familiar- he’s fought crime here before. They’re a lot closer to home than he had assumed last night.
A grin spreads across his face. His house is just a few miles from here.
Kyle doesn’t think- he runs. And he doesn’t stop until he stands just outside his house.
Using the spare key, he lets himself into his small home. His hearing focuses on the gentle rise and fall of his mother’s breathing upstairs; the gentle thud of her heart; the awareness that she’s here and alive and well and needs to know he is too.
His heart in his throat, he moves toward the stairs.
But then his eyes fall on a printed missing persons posters lying on his mom’s desk.
Kyle picks it up and studies it. The poster contains three detailed sketches. One obviously depicts Tim; one depicts Charisa; and one depicts Kyle himself.
And sketch though it is, Kyle couldn’t help but notice that his looks good.
The poster is dated to have been uploaded to the internet yesterday, by Jin Yin. Three columns of text- one next to each sketch- describe Tim’s, Charisa’s, and his features in words. A paragraph at the bottom of the poster says:
Missing: three adopted children of Jin Yin: Tom Yin; Karl Yin; and Carrie Yin. If anyone has information about their whereabouts, call this number- or this email-
“Great,” Kyle mutters. Not only were there people who would be looking for them, but also Jin Yin couldn’t even get their names right. How insulting.
They can’t go back home now- the sketches and the names were too close. It would be impossible to inconspicuous- especially with Tim tagging along. Someone would contact Jin Yin, and he’d come for them; then he’d find not only them, but also their families.
Kyle slams his fist into the wall, accidentally leaving a slight dent. Then he takes a deep breath.
If the three of them were going to be on the run until they could find and bring Jin to justice, then they’d need a few things.
He creeps up to his room and finds it neatened. Grabbing his back pack, he begins throwing necessities- like money and toothpaste- into it.
When he finishes, he returns in the hall and pauses.
Should he tell his mom he’s fine but has to leave for a while? Or should he leave things as they are? Which would be easier for her?
He should tell her. She deserved the truth…
But how can he leave her once she sees him?
Kyle slings his back pack over his shoulder. He needs to get back to the group.
But that’s not all he needs.
“Be back soon, Mom,” he whispers before stepping back outside.