A Wave of Claustrophobic Darkness

Updated on May 2, 2018


Several street lights were burnt out causing many shades of darkness to drape over the alleys over on East Main Street and Stratford Avenue. In one of those shades of darkness death waits. It remained quiet until someone discovered the body. A sixteen year old Puerto Rican female, just about 72 pounds. Anorexic and that was no longer an issue.

Death could wait. It was so accustomed to waiting, in fact sometimes it could wait a lifetime. However, that wasn't the case for Amelia Fernandez. Death was hovering over her like the moonlight, sensed but unseen.

A homeless man peeked down the alley and saw the body slumped down on the pavement like tossed garbage. He knew it was a body, but he was too far to be sure. He called out in a soft whisper. He knew it would carry, and if that body was alive, he could be heard.

He could check the pockets for valuables, he thought. Lord knew he could use some valuables. He haven't had a good meal in months. He looked at the body and allowed the thought to continue. He thought about walking away too. If it was a murder he didn't want to leave prints over the body.

His stomach rumbled and he tried to settle it by inhaling the dirty air. That was it, he had to inspect it closer. He had no choice. His stomach kept reminding him of that fact.

With that, he walked toward the crumbled body like a silent shadow on the wall. He hesitated when he reached the body and saw that it was a young, thin girl. She was strangled and her neck popped instantly. He could tell because of the bones sticking out of her flesh. She wasn't smelling badly yet, so he assumed she was murdered just a few hours ago.

He saw something shiny next to the body and he quickly picked it up. It was an earring still attached to a partial ear. He closed his eyes and suddenly felt a wave of claustrophobic darkness wash over him. He had to steady himself and then he was able to remove the jewelery from the severed ear,

The homeless man looked around the alley and realized her final days alive was spent in such a dreary place. The walls were burnt orange, mostly from urination, and the asphalt was dirty brown and filthy. It was the last thing she saw. Even though death was hovering, he knew that she would have never noticed the surroundings.

He reached down and removed the other earring from the ear still attached. He noticed that her jeans were ripped and pulled down to her ankles. He grimaced as he pulled them up and buckled them. He fixed her torn blouse, the best way he could and then he checked her pockets and found six dollars. He closed his eyes and shoved the money into his own at the same time. He wiped the dry blood off her face and fixed her hair. She had a watch on her extra boney wrist and he slowly removed it. He shoved it into his back pocket and sighed.

The young girl was hopelessly helpless, period. Someone probably did her a favor by killing her, thought the homeless man. How could you live knowing that you were forced upon. The violence was undoubtedly real and brutal. How can anyone live a life after it, he continued thinking.

He stood over the body hoping the religious words he was going to say would counteract the violent way she died. Perhaps her spirit would travel without the memory of what happened. He knew that despair had washed over her and cleansed whatever it could.

There was a hand graffiti cross on the alley wall and the homeless man just focused on that. He prayed her soul would find Heaven. He also prayed that the person responsible for her violent death would suffer just as violent a death. He prayed for the young girl as tears fell from his dirty face and onto the crumbled body. He said as many words he could remember from the Bible and then bowed his head for a few seconds.

He took off his jacket that was given to him by the homeless shelter and thought he'd never part with it, covered the young girl. He then made the sign of the cross and slowly walked away.

There he left the girl in blackness. The doom had ended, the violence had vanished, and the life that once filled that tiny body was no longer. However, the alley was black, and the only light there would forever be trapped in a wave of claustrophobic darkness.

© 2018 Frank Atanacio

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    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      thank you so much Yves.. for visiting my wave...

    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 

      3 months ago

      It's funny how the man was practical, but impractical...in a way. You surely do have a talent for obliging the more privileged of our species to see that life is no "bed of roses" for much of mankind.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      thanks Jack for riding the wave...:)

    • jgshorebird profile image

      Jack Shorebird 

      3 months ago from Southeastern U.S.

      The scenery is dreary. The place, suffocating. The topic, not sure. But it packs a wicked punch. It's art, to me.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      thank you Missy.. and bless you

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 

      3 months ago from Florida

      Nice one, and with a subtle feeling this time. Just a horrific crime, and assumptions from a stranger.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      LOL.. you make me laugh.. thanks for that..:)

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      3 months ago

      Ohh...You have understood my habits well...:O Bravo!

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      Yes, of course, absolutely.. what else...

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      3 months ago

      Hahaha....r u copying me for being unsure?

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      Good, I'm glad we got that straight...hmmm I think..:)

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      3 months ago

      Hahah i like bee gees...no need to take it personally, i meant when u scream. Not at all, I don't use that slang. :p

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      LOL.. yeah.. I don't have a High pitched voice... It's all Man..LOL Ms Thang is slang for smarty pants.. you do know what that means..yes?

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      3 months ago

      HAhaha...don't worry Frank...don't be self conscious about your high pitched voice. :p what is thang??? X)

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      I'm talking about the high pitched voice... don't get it twisted MS THANG! LOL

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      3 months ago

      Aww...woman you say? :0 sounds a bit bias lol

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      Oh .. you scared me, didn't see you sneaking up behind me.. glad I didn't scream like a woman..PHEW!

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      3 months ago

      Hi Frank....I'm a shadow that's here to join your claustrophobic darkness. Keep it up! :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      you made it clear in your poem Annie...:( Thanks for stopping by

    • Darknlovely3436 profile image

      Annie 

      3 months ago from NewYork

      I enjoy reading this..

      sad world in which we lived.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      Thanks for the visit to my page Vellur..:)

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      3 months ago from Dubai

      Gripping from the beginning to the end. The man covering the body with the jacket was totally unexpected.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      John thanks for visiting my Wave...:)

    • profile image

      John M McNally 

      3 months ago

      There's some first class imagery in there Frank... many shades of darkness...walked toward the crumbled body like a silent shadow on the wall. Pulls you straight in, feels like you're breathing the same dirty air.

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      3 months ago

      Hahaha...I'm sure you know how to. :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      well I like to learn how to draw flying mustaches... so yeah I agree...

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      3 months ago

      And you're trying hard to be like me too. X)

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      so you're trying to be like me...hmmmm

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      3 months ago

      Have a great weekend Frank! No way! Probably need to see a doctor for damaged or overused tear ducts ..there's such thing right? (Am i acting like you now? X) ...just kidding )or counsellor for emotional/ psychological problems. :P

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      LOL.. you are crazy....:) Have a great weekend Li-Jen... The Master Cryer... or is it Town Cryer? hmm

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      3 months ago

      LOL....definitely not me!....I don't want to have other cryers around....hahahaha.....that's a problem too...maybe I use up toilet paper before the need the cry X)

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      use toilet paper.. the rolls are longer..:) ... I mean people who cry like to have other cryers with them...

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      3 months ago

      Hahaha...now it's my turn to ask you whatcha mean? X)....By company you mean being surrounded by friends?...I wouldnt want to be seen crying lol...and wasting a whole load of tissue papers. X)

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      LOL cry-babies like company.. or is it misery likes company..hmmm

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      3 months ago

      What lovely advice...start crying?? X)....means you've been there before.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      then just start crying..:) but still give a 100% you'll get there

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      3 months ago

      Hahah...It's my pleasure to read your flash. :) Nah haha..I'm not their boss but it's a real challenge because I'm a newbie. :) I probably make their heads go round. X)

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      Good to hear from you.. hope you are knocking them dead at your new job Li-Jen.. I'm sure you are... glad you liked the flash.. wait.. you did say you liked it.. right?

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      3 months ago

      Hi Frank! Interesting title...claustrophobic darkness. :) Funny how the homeless man was egoistic and yet wish for good to happen to others as well. Thanks for sharing.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      Cynthia, thank you for checking in on my wave...:)

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 

      3 months ago from Georgia

      Ahhh, Frank. Since I usually check Hubpages in the morning, your stories are with me through the day. You have crafted yet another filled with your uniques style of unpleasant imagery. Like watching the proverbial train wreck, you have to read on. Well done. Take care. Cyndi

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      Of course... anything you want... Just be successful... :)

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      3 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hey there, Frank. Just hoping you'll allow me to quote you in the front pages of my upcoming novel. Comments you made on chapters. That's all. Maybe the mail went missing. Anyhow, let me know?

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      I do agree with you manatita..:)

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      3 months ago from london

      Gruesome that one!

      I suppose the tramp did his best under the circumstances. A tough one for any man.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      Thanks for reading my flash fiction Peggy

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      That poor girl in the alley! That homeless man tried to make amends in the only way he could, given the circumstances. In real life there would be a possibility of him being accused of the crime because of fingerprints and such left behind. Hopefully that would never happen in just such a scenario. You certainly know how to write riveting stories!

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      thanks for the visit Coffee.. bless you

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      3 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Again, you have written an inspiring and thought-provoking story Frank. I really enjoyed reading this gripping tale, thankyou.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      thanks MsDora for checking out my flash.. bless you :) Frank

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 months ago from The Caribbean

      So many emotions bundle up in this story. That's real life sometimes. Then comes the unexpected compassion in the alley that is still black. Simply masterful!

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      thanks Bill for stopping by...:)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      No one sets the stage as well as you, Frank! That opening paragraph grabs you by the short hairs and doesn't let go.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      Sean thanks for visiting my wave...

    • Sean Dragon profile image

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      3 months ago from Greece, Almyros

      You are gifted, my friend Frank. You are so gifted that any time I read one of your stories I am so close to quitting writing my short stories! Ha. Ha.

      Thank you so much for sharing. I learn a lot about writing by you.

      Gratitude!

      Sean

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      thank you Carrie for sharing your comment..:)

    • carrie Lee Night profile image

      Carrie Lee Night 

      3 months ago from Northeast United States

      Very powerful; desperation laced with sensitivity and sorrow. Well written and shared.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      thank you Peg Cole for always supporting my flash fiction.. checked my in box but didnt see the email yet...:)

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      3 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Your realistic description of the scene along with the inner thoughts of the homeless guy that found the body captivated me pushing me onward. I found myself speed reading. Sad to think that this actually happens to people. What he said about someone doing her a favor, "How could you live knowing you were forced upon?" With resilience, something she had run out of. Life can go on but one doesn't forget.

      PS - I sent you an email via HP with a question.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 months ago from Shelton

      I like that Eric.. showed all but revealed nothing... thank you for supporting my flash.. bless you bro

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Damnedest thing to find that all prevalent love in such a place of hell on earth. Hopeless and dark. This one is really good. I wonder if this makes sense; You showed all but revealed nothing. Perfectly graphic yet you did not invade my right to my own imagination. such a talent you are.

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