The Initial Moment of Shock


The drive was scenic, the road winding past several lakes and a surging stream that dropped off over a small waterfall. However, the same child stared out across the rainy road way with that same confused look. His arm was still extended in that same reaching motion, palm opened and fingers slightly curled.

What crossed his mind over and over was the fact that he hit the child and didn't stop. If he did the answer to his problems would have been easier to handle. An accidental death would have been listed on the child's autopsy report. The sight of a young child sprawled across the road, his torso gutted, his neck completely contorted, his face smashed and his screams muffled under Firestone's best all weather tires froze him momentarily.

What made him take off and leave the scene of the accident was the initial moment of shock, and the child was evidence against him and taking off kept his mind away from the horror.

He was still riding parallel to streams, under the moon, among the naked leafless trees that seemed to bow when he drove by. A new feeling moved through him, it was cold and final, but he fought through it. He had to get away as far as he could.

The terrain flattened as he reached the State line. He drove slowly into a new city until he spotted a State Police Barracks. Life has always challenged him and he fought his share of battles, but he never thought he'd face this. He wanted to turn himself in. Face the music so to speak. The image of that child's last stare strangled his mind. There could be no mistaking that critical moment, the emotive crest of a guilty man's actions when his crime plays over and over in his head. If he decided to turn himself in, there would be months and years of litigation. The news headlines would call him every name in the book. They want to sell copies while there are two victims. The child he killed and the family that will grieve for years to come.


His mind was lost in confusion. Although turning himself in was what his heart wanted to do. He knew leaving the scene was wrong, but somehow he just had to. It was time to pay for his crime. He knew what was coming was exhaustion, followed by depression, and perhaps there might even be a suicide attempt. He realized that just before a man gives up life and liberty, his body would have acknowledged the defeat.

His blue eyes were glazed, his jaw was slack, his body shifted onto the driver's side door, while the seat belt buckle grinds into his side. He became physically sick, holding his stomach as if the problem was digestive. There was ten seconds of silence before he made his decision. Someday he would turn himself in, but he was hoping that the passage of time would damage the credibility of a confession...



© 2015 Frank Atanacio

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Comments 37 comments

MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean

Surprise endings are your forte and you get me every time. The driver may be traveling through the stages of grief in his own way.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton Author

yeah, yeah.. hmm good comment MsDora


christinemariezzz 18 months ago

Frank,

No Fair! You're such a good writer!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

"holding his stomach as though the problem were digestive"....great line, great story, loved the ending. It is always a pleasure reading the work of a gifted writer.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Christine, and thank you too Bilybuc for stopping by bless you guys


christinemariezzz 18 months ago

Frank,

In addition to me fragmented comment above (a glitch @ the coffee shop DOT MI:)

No fair!...Continuing....if I would only get my novel out of my head and on paper. Too busy throwing around quirky vignettes of poetry.

...same child...same confused look...same reaching motion...(Like)

...emotive crest of a guilty mans actions...holding his stomach as if his problem was digestive...(Like!)

From beginning to end you have placed this occurrence in my mind exactly as it was played put in the first place. Thank you once again for fine writing. I appreciate your site for that reason. ( Can't wait tilll its legal to plagiarize) LOL.

-christinemariezzz


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton Author

LMAO last portion of your comment.. thank you so much for the confidence you give me :) bless you.. now write the damn novel!!!!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 18 months ago from Queensland Australia

What a great story Frank, and very real to life. Same scenario could potentially happen to any of us. If it did I like to think we would make the right decision though and remain at the scene of the accident though. The guy in your story will be haunted by his conscience for years unless the police find him.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks for visiting and reading.. Jodah... we all would love to do the right thing.. but what would we really do under the circumstances.. MsDora said it best with her comment : The driver may be traveling through the stages of grief in his own way.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 18 months ago from southern USA

Please forgive me, but I have tried three times to post a comment my dear virtual friend, Frank, but they keep disappearing before I hit post for some reason!

I'm sorry I can't "complete your pages" tonight, but I will try again first thing in the morning.

Hugs and blessings always, your "stand alone" Reaper


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton Author

hey trust me dear one.. it's complete bigtime...:) and so are you


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 18 months ago from southern USA

At least I was able to share : ) ... Looks like you have christinemariezzz up there holding her own here LOL.

Let me try leaving a real comment again here now. This one is poignant and terribly tragic and in reality it certainly would take one a long time to heal in one's heart and mind knowing one is responsible for killing a child! I just could not even imagine such. It would be torturous to live with, even knowing one did the right thing at the time it happened, but even more so, if one did not do the right thing. At some point in time, one must forgive oneself, especially being it was an accident. But by not doing the right thing, may mean endless torture, I'm afraid.

On another note, that photo of that precious child up there you have posted here looks a lot like a Frank, Jr. : ) so adorable, but having it there makes this piece even more heartrending for sure.

The following paragraph is certainly fine writing at its best and honestly blew me away:

"He was still riding parallel to streams, under the moon, among the naked leafless trees that seemed to bow when he drove by. A new feeling moved through him, it was cold and final, but he fought through it. He had to get away as far as he could."

Wow, you should save that one for your next novel you publish, seriously! It is so good, Frank ...trust me!

I had to shutdown and reboot my computer, so I am hoping this comment posts before I have to hit the pillow for the night.

Okay, now, my fav sweet man from the land of nutmeg LOL ...Sweet dreams

God bless you real good always,

Your faithful virtual friend for life, the "stand alone" Reaper : )


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton Author

stand alone Reaper.. LOL, I knew the naked leafless trees would catch your attention..No, seriously thank you for your support and your wonderful comments.. you rock and God Blessed You... Bigtime


clivewilliams profile image

clivewilliams 18 months ago from Nibiru

This is one of the reasons why i am one of your followers frank. gripping, sad, pitiful, dark and intriguing. Who knows, maybe that child would have turned out to be hitler reincarnate. Life is a mystery and a circle. ALL HAIL FRANK, ALL HAIL FRANK. Love this one too, especially the part when he holds his stomach as though he could digest what happened.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks so much clive bless you bro :)


annart profile image

annart 18 months ago from SW England

We are right in that man's mind, experiencing the agony, the grief, the shock. You have an amazing ability to do that; you make your stories so real. Who knows how they would react in that situation. Terrible!

Well done.

Ann


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton Author

thank yu so much Annart for reading my shock..bless you


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 18 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

This is a sad, dark story. It portrays that animal spirit that is in all of us to escape. Your words grip the reader and pull them along the rough pavement of your story.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 18 months ago from England

This is such a sad story, and I am sure its exactly what would go through someones mind, gripping stuff!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 18 months ago from USA

I can imagine that just as there are remnants of the child's body on his car there will be remnants of what he did on his conscience forever. A sad story but it could happen.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you for stopping by and commenting mckbirdbks, Nell Rose and always Flourishanyway.. bless you guys


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 18 months ago

What a shame Frank - for the child I mean. The story was captivating. Was that one of those challenges? I voted up, shared and pinned it.

Kevin


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton Author

it would be a good challenge wouldn't it


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 18 months ago from Home Sweet Home

Is this a real story or just a fiction? Sounds so real


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 17 months ago from Shelton Author

fiction peach.. LOL.. and thanks for stopping by


James-wolve profile image

James-wolve 17 months ago from Morocco

Outstanding as always.Voted up!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 17 months ago from Shelton Author

Thanks James


Dana Tate profile image

Dana Tate 14 months ago from LOS ANGELES

Another creative masterpiece.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 14 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you Dana Tate for visiting again :)


Missy Smith profile image

Missy Smith 14 months ago from Florida

This is a sad story but good one. I'm the type that likes to put myself in other's shoes so to speak. I think about if this was me, and I just hit this child, would I do the same, how would I feel? I would feel exactly like this man, stomach churning, racing thoughts, oh god, what now feeling. However, I'm almost sure I would have stopped and called for help. I would still have those feelings, but I would've faced the consequences of the accident that happened.

Great story as always. A realistic story that happens a lot in real life unfortunately.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 14 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks so much Missy for reading ;)


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 11 months ago from london

Spell-binding stuff! These kinds of dilemma are never easy. A simple, yet difficult decision to make. Great story!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 10 months ago from Shelton Author

I agree with you manatita..bless you bro


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 9 months ago from Houston, Texas

It would be such a shock to accidentally kill a child...or any person for that matter with a motor vehicle. I would like to think that those who flee a scene of such an accident do so because of shock. But the right thing to do should at some point take over and make them do the right thing unless they are truly mentally ill or evil. Given his thought process at the end of your piece...he was already scheming how to evade punishment. "he was hoping that the passage of time would damage the credibility of a confession..."


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 9 months ago from Shelton Author

Thank you so much Peggy for reading my shock... bless you


wingedcentaur profile image

wingedcentaur 7 months ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

I'm glad to be seeing more of your range, Frank. This one is fascinating: "Someday he would turn himself in, but he was hoping that the passage of time would damage the credibility of a confession..."

In other words, this guy is like that crocodile in the Geico commercial. You know the one where the crocodile "offers to pay the bill" for the dinner party? He "reaches" for the bill, but gosh darn it, his little wittle arms are just to short to reach it. Then someone else grabs the check.

Similarly, our anguished protagonist will, someday, "offer" to "turn himself in," "face the music," and "atone," and all that; but he is hoping that all concerned will, effectively say: "You're money's no good here."

Anyway, Frank, I am impressed.

Take care, bro!

W.T.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much winged for leaving footprints on my pages :) bless you bro

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