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moved forward, more protesters moved in behind them, standing empty-handed and blank-faced, like prisoners waiting to be executed. Then, like a slow-motion car wreck, the fi rst of the Night Riders collided with the fi rst of the black protesters, a teenaged boy with ebony skin and short natural hair. He looked enough like Rachid to make Michael look twice, blinded for an instant by panic. As soon as the hooded man made contact, the boy went down. He wasn’t pushed, Michael saw, but dove gently under his own power and did a judo roll, cushioned by a heavy sweatshirt. The Riders that he blocked stayed where they were, and the others fl owed around, careful not to step on the boy. As they in turn met resistance, they stopped, until the Riders fi lled most of the street, with gaps where black bodies lay at their feet. “Well, that didn’t work out so great,” Charles muttered. The Riders, Michael saw now, were not endless after all. They didn’t come close to fi lling the roped-off area. Michael guessed there were
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