THEY PARKED IN the cover of the trees and made their way across Jasper Park, out over its baseball diamond, through the foreboding shadows on the other side. There was scant light here, a few lampposts lining the bike path, some safety lights on at the red-brick shelters. Dark of the new moon, no illumination visible through the cloud cover in the sky, no pulse of stars.

On edge, Tommy and Richard milled about. The wooden bat hovered in Franklin’s two-handed grip.

Tree frogs were croaking in the river birches overhanging the water—the exfoliating bark on the trees looked like peeling skin at this distance. Besides frogs, a chorus of crickets could be heard chirring in the dewy grass, their evensong waning, getting weaker with the cold. That sound alone was heartbreaking to Richard, signified the inescapable death of summer, an oncoming winter.

Tommy noticed the way his friend throttled the bat, the way he stared to the left, the right.

“Come on,” Rich murmur
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