Empty Silence

Fourteen year old Jimmy Williams knew it was bad when he turned the corner on James Street and saw the ambulance. He lived with his grandmother there and had been nothing but grief. He always gave her such a hard time, but she never just put up with it. She loved him and was always full of good advice.

Be a good boy Jimmy, God don’t like ugly.

We ain’t got much, but we got each other and God.

If life knocks you down boy, you stand up. If it knocks you down again, you stand up taller.

He would listen to all her morning preaches so that when she turned her back he could steal money from her purse. He had never realized that her preaching days would come to an end.

He watched and waited for about an hour and wondered what the hell where they doing in the ambulance. He did the best he could to sneak a peak. He edged up closer to the red glow of the ambulance’s emergency lights, and then he stared for a moment at the frenzied paramedics in the rear.

Jimmy Williams saw a pair of legs buckling in slow repetition and a glimmer of hope lit up in his eyes. He watched the paramedics struggle as they began working a device that greatly constricted the blood flow to the lower extremities; thereby maintaining the blood pressure in the head and torso. They were trying to hold onto life until they could get to the emergency room at BridgeportHospital.

“Going into shock!” shouted the lead paramedic.

“We can’t stabilize!”

“Don’t die on me you bastard! Don’t die on me!” the lead paramedic continued as he worked effortlessly to maintain life.

Jimmy Williams looked up and down James Street and realized something odd and sad. There were no neighbors watching, no people creating a crowd. No one there was witnessing the death of his grandmother. There was no one around but cold empty silence.

He felt his heart break and there was nothing he could do about it. He couldn’t take back all the heart-aches he caused. He couldn’t take back the stealing and he couldn’t take back her cries in the night. He couldn’t pray with her after every meal no matter how skimpy. The time he spent with her was so badly mutilated that maybe death wasn’t such a bad thing.

He was going to pray to God for the first time in his life, until he spotted a heavyset black woman carrying a grocery bag in her left hand and a large gray hand bag in her right. She was a slow walker and it wasn’t because of her weight, but her age. She saw the ambulance and she dropped her grocery bag and hand bag simultaneously as she brought her hands to her face. Her scream was piercing as it cut through the air slicing everything in its path.

“Grandma?”

She ran by him as if she didn’t recognize him and pushed her way into the ambulance. She was understandably nervous and weak as she grabbed the back of the ambulance for support.

“Are you family?” asked the lead paramedic.

“That’s my baby, that’s my grandson,” she cried.

“He was shot in the head…” he paused. “He didn’t make it.”

Jimmy Williams turned slowly around and saw a crowd of people standing in front of his porch. They were looking right through him and that’s when he realized that he was dead. There were so many people trying to comfort his grandmother while he laid in the ambulance in cold, empty silence.

© 2012 Frank Atanacio

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Comments 36 comments

parwatisingari profile image

parwatisingari 4 years ago from India

That was nice the twist particularly


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you parwatisingari


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Great twist there Frank! I did not see it coming. Good story for sure.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks again X-man for stopping by bless you :)


Highland Terrier profile image

Highland Terrier 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

I read a lot of short stories and yours are excellent.

Well done.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks Highland :)


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Man Frank, you're becoming a master at the rough streets twist. Don't know what you got until it's gone was never better expressed- especially to one on the other side. Up n awe so well deserved.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

Yeah Im getting to like these small reaction pieces.. thanks Alastar for your continued support of these quick flash crimes :) bless you


Highland Terrier profile image

Highland Terrier 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Thank you Frank, for the effort, but I'm one of lives readers. I love love reading all sorts.

Thank you for being a writer and thank you for writing on hub pages.

Regards

Carmel


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

Bless you Carmel :) and Godspeed


lovedoctor926 4 years ago

“Don’t die on me you bastard! Don’t die on me!” the lead paramedic continued as he worked effortlessly to maintain life." You're a passionate, deep and intense writer. does that make sense? yeah. I think so. I was expecting another outcome too, but this is a very good piece. voted+


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

Thanks for your support Doc.. you're still the best :)


lovedoctor926 4 years ago

still? remember the bomb? LOL...


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Bravo Frank!!.....this was stylishly done. Great twist, loved it.


LadyFiddler profile image

LadyFiddler 4 years ago from Somewhere in the West

Very lovely you got me stunned for a moment hmmmm I like the twist though its sad. I guess who don't hear does feel.

Thanks for sharing .


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

no matter Marlene you're still the bomb! and thanks tobusiness and lady for stopping by :) Frank


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

The twists and turns in the piece are perfectly executed (pardon the unintended pun). The emotions place the readers right into the scene. This is one of your very best Frank.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you Hyphen for the wonderful compliment bless you


Valleypoet 4 years ago

I wasn't anticipating that ending Frank, you manage to distract your reader's focus away from the unexpected conclusion expertly well...another great read:-))


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

Thanks Valleypoet for your read bless you bro :)


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

This is an awesome piece Frank, the depth of emotion brings your story to life.

I suspected the twist at the words “Don’t die on me you bastard! " Very well written, the sort of story I love to read.

Voting up


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

Rosemay you were dead on..:) but I bet the baby and the doggie helped you out..LOL bless you you guys :)


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

You are indeed an expert at these stories.I have said this a few times over the past week but wouldn't days be duller without hubpages .

Brilliant share as always and of course here's to so many more to follow. Have a wonderful day Frank and I vote across/up and share here..

Eddy.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

Thank you Eddy.. see you soon as I sit with you for a spell..LOL bless you


justateacher profile image

justateacher 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

Great twist - you are excellent at that - I've come to expect twists when you write!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks justateacher for checking out my empty silence :)


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

Frank, you were with me in 2011 and 2012. You taught me the new craft of poetry and fiction. Looking forward to read and learn from you in 2013.

Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

it is you who taught me and I thank you for that bless you and happy holidays to you and yours my friend Vin


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Oh, Frank. This was amazing. And I loved the twist. Wonderfully captured in such a short piece, you revealed the horror and serenity of the situation so beautifully. The remorse and the ultimate realization gave me chills all the way down my spine.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks so much pegcole :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Frank - This is so very well written. I wouldn't change a single word. It is perfect as it is. Heart - rending, but perfect. Merry Christmas!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks and Bless you PHdats7 :) Frank


ubanichijioke profile image

ubanichijioke 2 years ago from Lagos

Ya, I enjoyed it. They should find his shooter soon. Love the sequence. Good job!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you uban :)


Siddharth Kapoor 5 months ago

Bro you write very well. Might get some lessons from you......:)


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 5 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you Kapoor for stopping by

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