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The First Glimmerings of Dawn

Updated on December 21, 2013



Chris Boyd looked out the second floor window of his prison cell and saw the first glimmerings of dawn striking the barbed corrugated metal chain linked fence. New Haven could be beautiful, he thought to himself, but there was nothing beautiful about a man with so much life left in him, that he couldn’t explore the country as he cowered in a metal enclosure. He was to remain in a cell without free access, for the lack of a better word, a cage.

The trees, which loomed over the prison walls like giant broccoli, were honestly beautiful, but in his eyes they hold an unsettling mystery about them. They stood tall watching life draining slowly from the young men at The Connecticut State Correctional Center.

Perfect trees in perfect rows, all the same, but it didn’t look natural. Boyd remembered his last day of freedom. It was a cold day in January. He stepped out into the bracing frigid air of the early morning and gripped his winter jacket tightly around his shoulders. His breath came in steaming spurts, intermingled with the early morning frost. Boyd sensed rather than saw eyes peering at him from around the corner. He stood perfectly still to see if they would expose their position, but they did not.

Then suddenly someone shot by swinging a baseball bat at him and nearly clocked him in the back of the head. Then he heard more sounds of footfalls. Glancing over his shoulders, he saw two more young boys wielding baseball bats coming toward him. The first bat caught him in the shoulder and spun him around. The last thing Boyd remembered was twisting awkwardly in the air and wondering how much it would hurt when the cold numbness wore off. The second bat swept his leg out from under him and he fell hard to the ground. One of the boys stood over him with bat in hand almost looking apologetic, but Boyd wasn’t so lucky. The bat caught him on the bridge of the nose knocking him out cold. Freezing rain pelted the sidewalk and quickly covered him with a January frost.

When he came to, he felt his bruised head cradled on someone’s lap. He searched the ground around him with his left hand for something he could use as a weapon. Luck had finally turned his way he thought; one of the boys must have dropped a Phillip screw-driver. With all the strength he could muster, he swung the screw driver in an upward motion catching the person cradling his head in the neck. He felt the screw-driver ripping into skin and hitting a major artery.

The person cradling him sat as still as a silent tree trunk. The wind had died down, and the freezing rain had lessened to a misty drizzle at best. Boyd was drenched and tired, but he was determined to live. Everything around him turned quiet and peaceful. He watched the frost dissipate with the first rays of the morning sun.

The peaceful freezing morning was suddenly broken up by the sounds of emergency vehicles and sirens splitting the air. He blinked in amazement, as if he never expected to hear another human voice again. The words he understood permeated the first glimmerings of dawn like a dense fog.

“You have the right to remain silent…”

He had the right to remain silent kept replaying in his head over and over until he stopped it with a savage scream.

When he looked up again at the female cradling his head, he noticed that it was a nun from the church directly across the street. She had warmed him with her over coat and called the police for help with his cell phone, and as she waited she tried to keep him from freezing. Boyd took a deep breath to calm down…


Boyd ambled slowly around his prison cell thinking about that grimly cold morning. He looked at the tiny barred window and wondered how much of this he could take. He heard people walking on the floor above him in the stillness of his cell. Those hollow footsteps were the last things he heard when the noose around his neck finally tightened enough to drain his life.

“We got a hanger!” shouted a guard. “How the hell did he get a rope?”

The guard that sold Boyd the rope could imagine the many explanations the warden would have for an inmate to hang himself. The small, dark haired man strode toward Boyd’s body, looking as if he wanted to chew everyone’s head off.

“That damn ass,” the warden whispered. “They retrieved footage from a surveillance camera from one of the stores and proof of everything he said was factual, and the killing of that nun was accidental. He was going to be a free man…”

The guard that had sold Boyd the rope grimaced…



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© 2013 Frank Atanacio

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    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      thanks so much Flourish :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      I enjoy the detail you add -- the broccoli effect of the trees. In a way, he sought his own freedom, took matters into his own hands, literally. Great story.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you sweetie1 :)

    • sweetie1 profile image

      sweetie1 4 years ago from India

      Very interesting story. Liked it, voting it up. You really put your thoughts very well on the paper.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you Eddy :)

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      All your stories are wonderful Frank with this one being no exception!!Loved it and voting up.

      Eddy.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      aaawww thank you so much lovedoctor926.. bless you

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      "The trees, which loomed over the prison walls like giant broccoli." Vivid imagery. You make a story come alive in a readers imagination. You never disappoint Frank.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you wayne barrett :)

    • wayne barrett profile image

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      I'm sure in his mind he would have never been free anyway. Great story Frank. Up and sharing!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      Seeker7 thank you so much for your comment and as always very good to see you Valleypoet..bless you bro :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you so much tobusiness and Vincent Moore, and you too Rosemay for reading my First glimmersings

    • profile image

      Valleypoet 4 years ago

      There was no shortage of surprises in this one Frank...I always enjoy wondering which way your stories are going to go, but I rarely guess right...A great read once again my friend:-))

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      OMG what a shocker!! I know you do have great twists in your stories Frank but this was one of the best yet! I'm consoling myself with the fact that at least this poor guy is definately free now!

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      This is an awesome write Frank. You are one great story teller.

    • profile image

      Vincent Moore 4 years ago

      You always have the most amazing twists with your work. Like an Alfred Hitchcock or Stephen King, we are drawn in for the surprise, that's the sign of a great writer my friend. I enjoy your work always when I finally get here. You stir a readers soul with your visual imaginative mind. Again you left us hanging in the end, no pun intended. Well done my fine writer friend.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      From strength to strength, this man can write!!...Touching and so sad, but there are times when life just sucks.

      Excellent work Frank.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      THank you for stopping by my Glimmerings Mhatter, and thank you Sandcastles for reading my flash fiction, also Good to see you MsDora, and of course the charming faithfully charged Faith Reaper bless you all :)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Starts out of freedom and interestingly paints that picture of the giant broccoli! Then . . . such graphic and brutal details ending with that unexpected twist at the end.

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      What a tragic turn of events! Actually, it was tragic from the beginning, but ended with more people than it started. The quality of your work is as good as ever--regardless of the subject.

    • profile image

      SandCastles 4 years ago

      Boyd accidentally killed a nun thinking it was one of the creeps beating him up; that's horribly sad. And the nun kept cradling him in her arms even though she knew she was dying. She forgave him.

      Why the heck did the guard sell Boyd a rope? Did he feel sorry for Boyd and was helping Boyd kill himself? If that was so, why sell him the rope? Why not just give it to him? What a mercenary, wanting to make a little money on the side. Good story; very descriptive. Poor Boyd.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Beginning and ending with the same picture added drama to this "tortured" scene. great job. thank you

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      aaawww thank you so much Express10

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      I have run out of words to describe how awesome your hubs are. You should be a writer for movies, plays, and/or t.v. Your hubs can take us on an interesting or thrilling ride that usually has unexpected twists.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      thanks Becky Katz :)

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Very interesting and sad. I can imagine this happening all over the world.