Unlikely best friends since the age of 6, Billy and Dogge live in suburbs separated only by a highway, yet a world apart. From the outside, Dogge looks privileged: his family has a large home and plenty of money—at first. But his parents are addicts whose negligence becomes a form of abuse. Meanwhile, Billy’s family are poor first-generation immigrants unable to escape the no-go zone where they live, but their cramped apartment is nonetheless a bastion of love.
A ruthless small-time crime boss seeks recruits, and both Dogge and Billy become runners by the time they’re 12. Fast cash, easy access to drugs, and dreams of gaining status draw them in. But when Billy wants to leave the gang and finds himself trapped, the boys must face the violent rules of the adult game they tried to play.
When children commit horrible crimes, who bears the responsibility? With piercing prose and a breathless sense of urgency, Deliver Me is at once a poignant portrayal of the power of friendship and a shattering depiction of what happens when society fails to protect those that need it most. What does justice mean for these lost children, and is the law capable of delivering it?
|Other Press, LLC
|5.29(w) x 7.93(h) x 1.08(d)
About the Author
Rachel Willson-Broyles holds a bachelor’s degree in Scandinavian Studies from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. She started translating while a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she received a PhD in Scandinavian Studies in 2013. Her translations include Malin Persson Giolito’s Quicksand and Beyond All Reasonable Doubt and Ann-Helén Laestadius’s Stolen. Willson-Broyles lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Read an Excerpt
They’re playing on a hill, wearing nearly identical jeans and short-sleeved shirts, their shoes well worn and their eyes bright. One has blond hair down to his shoulders; the other, dark curls that constantly fall into his eyes. They’ll be starting school this fall, but their legs are chubby and they run so fast down the hill that their feet can’t keep up with them. First one child falls, then the other. Maybe he falls on purpose, he always wants to copy his brave friend, climb just as high, jump just as far, run just as fast. They don’t cry, not even the one who often bursts into tears at the slightest thing. There are no grown-ups nearby, no one to instruct them to check if they’re hurt. Instead, they sit there for a moment, facing each other, breathless, warm, full of laughter. As if on command they get up and keep running. Bruises and scabs won’t be discovered until hours later; right now there is too much to do.
The long-haired boy’s house is in one direction, while the other boy lives on the other side of the highway with his large family. The sun lingers close by, in a warm clearing. Beyond the hill are magical mounds of rock, desolate buildings, and endless adventures.
The world awaits them both.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6
The shots were fired, two in quick succession and then another two, at 10:55 p.m. on Thursday, December 6. The first snow of winter had just begun to fall, tentatively at first, but soon the ground was blanketed in white.
Even at this time of night, there was background noise from the eight-lane interchange. Its hum grew quieter for a few hours each night, but it was never fully silent.
On one side of the highway, everything was brown and concrete gray. There you would find the high-rises of Våringe, the skate park, the square, and the eighteenth-century church that had once been the pride of the neighborhood. The floodlights around the large sporting fields were dark, the alarms on the school armed. Balcony doors were closed, curtains drawn.
On the other side, a tract of green space shielded the residential neighborhood of Rönnviken from the roar of traffic. In Rönnviken there were four pre-schools, a wooded area with a well-lit jogging track, a grade school, and a private high school with a special program in international economics. There was also a golf course: eighteen holes with four water hazards; there was a waiting list to become a member. Adjoining the golf course was a playground. Just a mile or so away, on the slope down to the Baltic Sea, were lemon-yellow, turn-of-the-century villas with ocean views. The sea was velvety black, but Advent stars glowed softly through the many mullioned windows. Under the highway, between Rönnviken and Våringe, ran a poorly lit pedestrian tunnel, built to make it possible to walk from one side to the other. It’s easy to die in Våringe, said some sloppy graffiti on the wall of the tunnel. Someone had made a half-hearted attempt to clean up the spray paint, but the text was filled back in. Easy to die, but fucking hard to live, it said, alongside the original graffiti. The second graffitist had taken their time, filled in all the lines in tidy letters, and painted a speech bubble around the quote, not with spray paint but with what appeared to be a paintbrush and regular paint. A third someone had added a fat, bright-green arrow: Move to Rönnviken, quit whining!
Gunfire had become common in a number of Stockholm suburbs, but this was the first time it had occurred in Rönnviken. No one reacted to the sound, not even the teenager who had been forced to take the family dog out for a pee and was no more than a hundred yards away from the playground, and not far from the seventh hole on the golf course.
The shots rang out and faded. A couple fistfuls of gravel thrown into perfectly still water. And for a minute, or maybe two, it was as though time held its breath.
The silence was broken by a boy running out of Rönnviken in slippery gym shoes. He dashed out of the playground, across the small road, and down to the pedestrian tunnel. There he passed the graffiti, came out on the other side, and passed the lower section of the Våringe schoolyard. It looked like he might be on his way to the square. But all the shops there were closed, even the grocery store that used to be open nights, seven days a week.
A stone’s throw from the place where the boy stopped, a man got out of his car and tried to open the door to the private parking ramp at Våringe city center. There was a light breeze, almost mild, but the air was the sort of cold that made joints creak and pipes explode. The garage door seemed to be frozen shut; the remote wasn’t working.
While the driver stood in the falling snow, shaking the remote in annoyance, the boy took a phone from his pocket. Two of the nine streetlights he passed after emerging from the tunnel were working. One of them spread a faint glow over him. Besides his flimsy shoes, the boy was wearing jeans that were frozen stiff, a half-buttoned jacket, and a hood pulled hastily over his head. He was out of breath, his whole body was shaking, and he had trouble making the phone do what he wanted. At last he brought the phone to his ear and began to speak into it. As he spoke, he stamped his feet, making a dark patch in the fresh snow. Now and again he turned around, but there still wasn’t anyone there. His voice drifted off on the wind. As he ended the call and wiped the phone against the leg of his pants, he looked around once more. He didn’t notice the man by the garage. He started walking toward a bus stop about thirty yards on.
Just a minute or so later, a bus arrived. Right before the boy boarded it, he tossed the contents of his pockets into the trash can next to the bench. As the bus left the stop, the man finally got the garage door open, drove in, and closed it behind him.
The phone the boy had just used was still on, a faint glow filtered up through the trash. Thirty seconds passed before the screen went dark.