Perpetual Torment




Tameka Black was tried twice in the Golden Hill Street courtrooms. The first jury of her peers was hung, and the second found her innocent. She was charged for the murder of Jose Santana, her alcoholic boyfriend from Bridgeport’s PT Barnum housing projects. The next step took place in civil court. Santana’s family wanted some type of closure for their loss.

Tameka Black claimed she was beaten every night and that he threatened to kill her if she left or told anyone about what was happening under their roof. She told the first group of jurors an incredible and almost comical tale. She said that Santana drugged her and brought her down to Wentfield Park near the Railroad Avenue side and shot her three times aiming for the chest. The jurors at the first trial bought it. However, during the second trial, the prosecutor said that according to medical reports she suffered superficial wounds, and a gun had nothing to do with it.

Black disappointed no one at the trial. She said he was drunk and he missed completely so he tried to strangle her with a Victoria Secrets bra she got free when she purchased twenty-five dollars worth of underwear. Then she felt a change taking place within her. The jurors from the second trial bought her sadness. They bought the grief and knew she suffered perpetual torment. A woman who lived in fear had the right to defend herself.

During the civil trial, the change was still in her. She was experiencing the perpetual torment all over again. Her swagger had shrunk and weakened. She paced by herself along the back of the court room, casting dark looks at Jose Santana’s family. She appeared to be succumbing to anxiety and regret. She simply looked exhausted.

Her lawyer approached her with the intent of counseling to bolster her sagging spirit. He needed to help her get her swagger back. That swagger was the source of her effectiveness; without it she could lose in civil court.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“Nope.”

“Do you want to tell me about it?”

She turned toward Santana’s family and just stared.

“Tameka?”

She strained to fight back the perpetual torment that kept eating away at her. The thought of what happened to Jose Santana was so clear and complete it was nearly a visual image. Then she had a pleasant memory filling her head. She had a young girl sitting on her shoulders, shouting and laughing with joy.

Black bent over as if she was picking up a toddler from the floor. She scooped the invisible child and hugged it tight. The lawyer was baffled for a moment, then remembered that she use to talk about her little girl. He wondered why she stopped mentioning her during the first two trials. He never brought it up because he wanted her solely to concentrate on what happened with Jose Santana.

He looked up at the judge and the judge gave him the “ready” signal.

“We’re ready to start again,” he whispered to Tameka Black.

“I killed Jose because he saw me drowning my baby in the bathtub and he tried to stop me!” she shouted.

There was a moment of stillness, a sort of inner breath taken collectively by everyone in that courtroom. It was a gathering of emotional disbelief. The lawyer could feel the air becoming crowded as it merged into one sustained gasp.

“I was high and I couldn’t get her to stop crying,” she continued as she fell to her knees. “I tried; I tried to make her stop crying. I really tried.”

Her words were bounding and crashing downward, gathering momentum like a rolling stone. It hit the hearts of everyone in that courtroom with tremendous force, shaking everyone as if they were experiencing an after shock of an earthquake.

A great cloud of anger rose in the air like smoke. Santana’s family was shocked into immobility. They stood and stared, but had trouble maintaining footing.

“I buried her in the Fairfield woods,” she continued. “I wanted to tell someone, but I couldn’t. What mother kills her own child?”

Her confession seemed to go on forever. She could feel the warmth of her lawyer’s body as he leaned over her. She was a living being, and she annihilated another living being. Her lawyer picked her up and held her close to him wondering what the hell was she thinking. He looked into her eyes which were only partly visible behind the flickering tears. Her eyes seemed sad, full of regret. At first she avoided his stare, but then she paused for a moment and looked right at him. She thought she saw pity there, but it was no pity. It was hatred, disgust, but not for her. It was self-hatred, for allowing him to defend her when he should have known something wasn’t right…





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© 2013 Frank Atanacio

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Comments 49 comments

Marlin 55 profile image

Marlin 55 3 years ago from USA

Great job, Frank, of bringing this courtroom scene to life with your writing.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean

What a complexity of emotions in this one. I heard Tameka. I saw the jury's reaction. For a second, I felt the warmth of the lawyer's body. Great job!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

Thanks Marlin55 and MsDora for visiting my torment :)


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

Very real, you are a great writer.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks Jackie


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Gasp!!! You really did make me gasp!!!

Great write here as always, dearest Frank!

Wow, never thought of a Victoria Secrets bra as a weapon, how interesting : ) I will keep that in mind . . . just in case!

Voted up +++ and sharing

God bless, Faith Reaper


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

oh thank you my dearest Faith.. now dont go choking anyone with a VS bra now you here? LOL :)


rose-the planner profile image

rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

Amazing! I thoroughly enjoyed this. You are quite talented. Thanks for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you rose :)


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

LOL, I will try to refrain from doing so, only because I know you have faith in me that I will not do so : ) LOL

Hugs, Faith Reaper


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

lol silly...:)


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

I can see the headlines now . . . southern woman who obviously talks the talk, but does not walk the walk, for she unsnapped it, then wrapped it . . . her diamond-studded, 2012 Christmas edition "Angel" VS bra - oh no, she is no angel, as she let down all (no pun)! hehehe

Okay, I'm done here. LOL

Know you are glad too : )


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 3 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Very good story. I always enjoy your stories.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

you crazy girl... LOL made my afternoon Faith


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 3 years ago from United States

wow...you brought that courtroom to life, frank.

again very vivid description. well done!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you Becky and Ruch for stopping by :)


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Frank, you take it up a notch with every new story, this was touching, shocking and masterfully executed.

Exceptional!!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Excellent, Frank. You never disappoint, and keep us on pins and needles and the suspense builds.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Came back to share and look for one of my diamond studs that went missing : )


lovedoctor926 3 years ago

Gruesome and horrific. What mother kills her own child? I know right, definitely not someone in her right state of mind. Great story, good plot. I like how you captivate your readers emotionally while keeping them engaged. voted up+++


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

toobnusiness and Genna East thank you for visiting my torment.. and Faith I'll return the stud... just held it hostage...LOL and Lovedoctor always good to get your feedback bless you all :)


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Aha! I knew I could get a confession out of you . . . oops, or me, you know how to get a confession out of someone, but there was no crime on my part yet. : )

Have a lovely day, and keep those thugs off the street!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

if you want me to keep thugs off the street, stay in doors..LOL BOOYAAAAAA!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

LOL BOOYAAAA!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

lol silly


btrbell profile image

btrbell 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

Wow, wow and wow! Great story, well written, so much impact! Thank you!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks again btrbell


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Okay, I am throwing in the towel.

Hugs, Faith Reaper aka now thug/Faith Reaper? : (

lol


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

Understood :) LOL


Sueswan 3 years ago

Hi Frank

"It hit the hearts of everyone in that courtroom with tremendous force, shaking everyone as if they were experiencing an after shock of an earthquake."

I was shocked as everyone in that courtroom. Awesome write!

Voted up and awesome


Infectionstudios profile image

Infectionstudios 3 years ago from NY, New York City

Very descriptive and emotional, great job Frank!


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

Ah Frank no one does this better than you! But, the lawyer in me says that everyone deserves good representation--but it does take something out of you to do it


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks Sueswan, Infection and Audrey for popping by bless you :)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

There you go again with that two by four to the back of the head. We never see it coming either! You write the absolutely best thrillers with the best endings.

Hmm, guess men should keep their women out of Victoria's Secrets ;)

Voted up, awesome, and interesting.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks for foot printing my pages this morning Til.. bless you


Valleypoet 3 years ago

Lots of twists and turns to keep your readers fixated right to then end here Frank...so much happens in your stories in very few words, I don't know how you keep churning out these great stories, but I'm glad that you do...great job my friend:-))


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

Thanks so much ValleyPoet for visiting my torment :)


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

Frank,

in the beginning I thought this story is about the case of domestic abuse and the retribution. However, I was completely surprised by the turn of events.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

Thanks again Vin...:)


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Liked that unexpected change in the defendant, Frank. You have a way of capturing the audience immediately, then twisting what they assumed was about to happen. Of all things, a Victoria Secret bra as a weapon. No wonder my hubby won't go in that place.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

lol silly pegcole :)


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland

Fabulous story Frank and such a rollercoaster as well!! There's always a delicious tension with many of your stories and waiting for the sting is nerve wracking but thorougly enjoyable - this wonderful story was no exception, I think my silly mouth was slung open with shock, just like those in the court room!!!!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks you Seeker7 LOL :)


Express10 profile image

Express10 3 years ago from East Coast

Really Mr. Atanacio, when are you going off to Hollywood to write? The stories you tell through a variety of means take me away from life while I'm reading them. Awesome job, love the curve ball you threw. For a moment there I was wondering why the murderous mom would be making a scooping motion.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

Express10 thank you so much for stopping by :)


Lisawilliamsj profile image

Lisawilliamsj 3 years ago

Frank, I love reading your stories, they always have me on the edge of my seat! Great job, I voted up.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Lisa :)


savvydating profile image

savvydating 3 years ago

You know someone writes well when you can't stop reading. I admire your talent! (Sigh) Such a powerful, intriguing piece. Plain and simple, you have a writer's heart. This is an awesome piece. Voting up.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you savvy for stopping by :)

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