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The High Horse Route

Updated on February 7, 2017




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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    • johnmariow profile image

      John Gentile 5 months ago from Connecticut

      Very realistic. Nobody wants to get involved. Tragic. But those who heard her screams and watched her die will always be facing the haunting question: 'If I had phoned the police and an ambulance, would she be alive today?"

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 12 months 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.

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 12 months ago from On planet Earth

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

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 13 months ago from Shelton

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

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 13 months ago from Texas

      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
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 13 months ago from Shelton

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

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 13 months ago from Shelton

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

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 13 months ago from Shelton

      thank you so much mckbirdbks

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 13 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.

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 13 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.

    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 13 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.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 13 months ago from Texas

      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

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 13 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.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 13 months ago from Shelton

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

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 13 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.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 13 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.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 13 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?

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 13 months ago from Shelton

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

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 13 months ago from Shelton

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

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 13 months ago from Shelton

      as always John you are too kind :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 13 months ago from Shelton

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

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 13 months ago from Shelton

      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 :)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 13 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
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 13 months ago from Shelton

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

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 13 months ago from southern USA

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

    • johnmariow profile image

      John Gentile 13 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.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 13 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.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 13 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

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 13 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!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 13 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.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 13 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!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 13 months ago from Shelton

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

    • Eldon Arsenaux profile image

      Eldon Arsenaux 13 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.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 13 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.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 13 months ago from Shelton

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

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 13 months ago from Maple City, Michigan

      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
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 13 months ago from Shelton

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

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 13 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.