The High Horse Route




The scream silenced everything around the immediate area. The residents of The Clinton Avenue Housing Project were awakened abruptly, and they assumed that because the scream was so piercing only a major catastrophe could cause that level of panic and pain.

The breeze was soft, but strong enough to carry the scream through all the opened windows. The screaming had finally stopped, but the panic swayed precariously as if it had obligations. The fear had seemed snipped for only a few minutes as it continued floating freely in the early morning hours.

A young black woman was on the alley way ground crumpled into a ball. Her clothes were ripped off and she guarded her nakedness with her arms and legs. The blood beneath her seemed to be cooling rapidly. She felt rather than actually heard the words “help me,” that vibrated in her throat.

She was still except for the strands of hair that the morning breeze brushed against her face and it stuck there because of the blood and tears. Pain was emanating from every part of her body and there was nothing she could have done to sooth it. The panic in which she believed was inevitable held its grip.

For several minutes, the people living in the building were too stunned to react. No one called 911. However, they all had the need to know bug biting at them. They needed to know what was going on. Some of the residents were moving briskly down the stairs and onto the sidewalk, which was congested not only with trash cans, but recycling bins that have been picked thoroughly by the homeless in search of returnable bottles and cans.

The young woman stayed completely still. Her exposed nipples along with her lean muscled legs and firm buttocks attracted several male passersby, but still no one called for help.

The gatherers just stood around and watched the young woman suffering as their brains were being pickled by stupidity.

After a while death was secure and it didn't need public approval. Death saw an opportunity and took it. It just simply took over life and it didn't even have to embellish. She was truly dead and death took the high horse route.

An old man moved in behind the dead woman and placed his hands on her bare shoulders, his intense, empty eyes stayed fixed on her as though he was waiting for her to jump out of a deep sleep.

“Is she dead Horace?” a woman asked from the left side of the building, trying to stay as far away from the body as she could.

“I think so,” he replied.

Horace had dark rings around his sunken eyes, proof of how tough his life was, but it was still in progress as the young woman's life ended violently. He thought about just that as he released his hold on the woman. He turned to the woman who had interrupted him and shouted, “she's dead for sure.”

“What do we do Horace?”

“Call the police,” he answered.

“I'm sure someone already did that, with all these eyes on that poor thing,” she replied in a half whisper.

She was wrong. No one was called. No one.

#

© 2016 Frank Atanacio

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Comments 37 comments

Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia

Wow! A sad reality that many people will not help or even call the police to report a violation. So sad. Wonderfully described by the master of this genre.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 months ago from Shelton Author

Thank you Jodah for being the first to ride the high horse.. bless you my friend :)


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 3 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Just a simple anonymous phone call is all it would have taken. This leaves me feeling sad and lonely. Good story, Frank.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 months ago from Shelton Author

that's all it would have taken, right Cam.. maybe she would be alive


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

This is a gritty look at the inner city, where everyone looks out for themselves, and danger is just one open door away. Beautifully written, buddy.


Eldon Arsenaux profile image

Eldon Arsenaux 3 months ago from Cooley, Texas

You're very prolific in profiling murder, Frank. Each story is stark and solemn and detailed enough to keep up the intrigue. Keep em coming',

-E.G.A.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 months ago from Shelton Author

Thank you so much Billybuc, and EGA for taking in the high horse..bless you guys :)


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 months ago from The Caribbean

We can hardly blame anyone for thinking that someone else would call. Your stories bring to light the details that life could make us forget. Have mercy!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 months ago from Southern Illinois

Nobody does it quite like you Frank. You wrote the stark reality of a neighborhood where it's dog eat dog, how very sad that is.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 3 months ago from london

A true reflection of how cold life can be, my friend. I saw a man trying to jump from a building once. The police was there all right, and so were the fire engines. But many of the youths and passers by were chatting and smiling and too busy with their cells taking pictures, to think of anything else.

It seemed a form of entertainment for them. I felt so sick, that I turned around and took a different route to my destination.

A well-written, succinct and sad tale, reflecting more of where we are as humans, than anything else. Excellent Hub!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 months ago from southern USA

Dear Frank,

You have, once again, written a tale like only you can write a tale ...and we can always count on you to take us to that side of life that none of us want to admit is there, but it is quite a hellish reality for far too many poor souls.

I'm at the doctor's office waiting and thought I'd read this graphic, tragic and woefully dismal tale of indifference.

My favorite line is, " ...the panic swayed precariously as if it had obligations." Truly a brilliant line.

I agree with all here, and Eldon, in that, you are prolific at writing these crime scenes.

These tales are necessary to wake up the apathy so prevalent in today's society.

Blessings


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 months ago from USA

This diffusion of responsibility is so sad. Reminds me of the Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody quote. So sad that no one acted. She was someone's daughter.


johnmariow profile image

johnmariow 3 months ago from Connecticut

Very tragic. Very sad. Someone should have called the police.

Excellent story. Well written. Gripping from the first phrase to the last.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 months ago from southern USA

Oh, meant to add that your titles are always great too.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 months ago from Shelton Author

MsDora, Always Exploring and manatita, thank you guys for checking out the high horse route...


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

So well done Frank. I read it yesterday and came back today to read it again. I am working on a story where the victim of a shooting was left to die for about 25 minutes with cops all around. Bleak comes to mind.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 months ago from Shelton Author

Faith you are so good for my ego.. you're like that badly needed cup of coffee in the morning to make the day start off right.. God Bless you big time girl :)


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 months ago from Shelton Author

Flourish it's always good to see you thanks for dropping by


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 months ago from Shelton Author

as always John you are too kind :)


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 months ago from Shelton Author

Faith you like my titles? LOL thank you dear one.. now get off your high horse! LOL kidding


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 months ago from Shelton Author

Eric thank you for sharing your comment.. bless you Frank


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 months ago from Houston, Texas

Very sad tale on many levels. How can people be so thoughtless and heartless to react in such a manner?


Dana Tate profile image

Dana Tate 2 months ago from LOS ANGELES

Death, in all its gruesomeness, is still a morbid curiosity. We live in a time when a high-profile person gets into a car crash, you have the paparazzi snapping photos of that persons lasts moments.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 2 months ago from Victoria, Australia

So well-written and so believable. We all try to shirk our responsibility at difficult times and just hope that someone else will do what is necessary when it really should be us that does something.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 months ago from Shelton Author

Peggy W, Dana tate and BlossomSB.. thank you so much for stopping by and visiting my High Horse


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello Frank - That is quite a dark snapshot you describe. The lens is just out of focus. The people lurking in darkness, mere shadow and voice. And the curtain closed ever so slowly on the young lady, as her life puddled around her for the audience.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 months ago

Frank, this reminds me of the poem.

This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job.

Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done

*

*

I would have called at the first scream

Well done my friend


savvydating profile image

savvydating 2 months ago

Sadly, it's not always the neighborhood. People don't like to get involved, which is contemptible. Even dogs try to find help, for crying out loud.

Another heartbreaking piece, Frank. And all too relevant.


Missy Smith profile image

Missy Smith 2 months ago from Florida

Unfortunately, this could be the reality of something like this. These days people are too scared to get involved with anything violent.

Good story, Frank.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

Such a sad and lonely way for a life to end. "The gatherers just stood around and watched the young woman suffering as their brains were being pickled by stupidity." is a great line and all too common in today's world. Your last line, Frank, has a powerful impact. Well done.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much mckbirdbks


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 months ago from Shelton Author

never looked at it from that old saying's point of view..:) thank you shyron..


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 months ago from Shelton Author

Savvy good seeing you again, thanks for dropping by..:)


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 months ago

Frank, I came back to look for this one line, I knew that I read it on one of your articles and told myself to remember it and I did remember that it is here in this one, "The gatherers just stood around and watched the young woman suffering as their brains were being pickled by stupidity."

You are a fantastic writer.

Blessings my friend.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 months ago from Shelton Author

Missy, Phylis and Shyron thanks for stopping by and checking out my high horse route...


LadyFiddler profile image

LadyFiddler 7 weeks ago from Somewhere in the West

Hey Frankie ...How are you? it's been ages, hope all is well.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 7 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

Frank, this spellbinding tale happens far too frequently. I was once told that if I ever needed help, to scream "Fire!" Never, "Help!" Because all too often, no one will come to your aid. I think this is one of your best stories; the darkness that surrounded her as her life ebbed away in that cold alley was reflected in the eyes that watched, yet did noting.

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