Friday, March 12, 2010

Dawning

She did not have identification on her, so police made a public appeal for help. Video from a nearby traffic camera showed a slight woman jogging across the street in the shadowy dawn. Quick moments later, a tractor trailer sped through the 30 mile an hour spot.

Officers believed the truck driver did not realize he had struck and killed someone.

“I always carry my ID now. Ever since that jogger was hit by the bus last month, I...well, just in case, ya know?” This from a  bystander speaking to the local media. Other residents roused from slumber by the commotion came outside hoping to be on the morning news programs. They shook their heads and complained that they just knew this would happen again.

“We've demanded the city install a traffic light at this intersection,” one woman said. “But they ignore us.”

The police did not have much information to pass along to television viewers. Just a description of  a white female approximately in her thirties, wearing dark exercise clothes, brightly colored sneakers with violet laces, and three crystal filigree bracelets on her right arm.

Apparently, she was listening to music as she ranthe earphones a possible explanation of why she may not have heard the vehicle turning onto her path.

Across town, a woman drinking a last cup of coffee before leaving for the office saw the televised appeal for any information, and gasped as she thought she recognized the jewelry displayed on camera. It reminded her of the ones her work colleague wore every day.

Half an hour later, news readers reported that, “Police have identified the victim but are withholding her name until the family is notified.”

*  *  *

The officers parked the cruiser in front of a darkened house a few blocks from the site of the accident. One of them checked the address and nodded to his partner. They walked the short path to the door, rang the bell, and waited.

Inside the house, a man was turning on the kitchen light and opening the back door to let out the dog  when he heard the doorbell followed by sharp knocking at the front of the house. He looked at the shelf under the clock and saw his wife's keys hanging on its special hook. She's locked herself out again, he thought.

“Okay, be right there!” he called out when the bell buzzed once more. He walked to the hall.

“Is mommy back?” The little boy stood yawning at the top of the stairs on the second floor.

“Yes,” his dad said. “Come down and give her a good morning kiss.”

He turned and opened the door.

46 comments:

  1. Well written! Chilling and tragic. Those last sentences are heartrending. You displayed the different attitudes/voices well.

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  2. My heart just bumped. Powerful ending.

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  3. :-(

    The matter-of-fact way you delivered this made it all the more chilling and sad.

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  4. Another excellent story. All the flashes are so sad today.

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  5. Marisa - well done. Imagining the story behind the headlines is a favorite pasttime of mine as well...So very sad for this family. I'm comforted a bit by the fact that it's fiction but sadly things like this happen every day irl.

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  6. Oh Marisa, this is so sad. You nailed the last part, all of it in fact. Great job!

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  7. Ouch. The edge of heartache. Nice work.

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  8. Took my breath away!

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  9. Oh, my God. Heart, meet floor. The distance you use works very well with this subject and you show the tragedy without making it gratuitous. I'm glad you stopped when you did. It was the right place to stop, and also I couldn't have handled witnessing more.

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  10. So sad. Full of power and emotion.

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  11. oooo, heartbreaking! So well delivered, though. I'm speechless and now must take a break to clear the tears before I can read more flash. Well done.

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  12. I'm afraid my eyes teared up as well as I simultaneously thought, "Oh shit!" I can't think about it, it will make me unbearably sad, especially thinking of the little boy. Very, very well done.

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  13. p.s. Excellent, but heartbreaking, title.

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  14. ohmigawsh. My heart hurts after such a short read. Wow.

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  15. I think Mazzz in Leeds hit the head on the nail. This is a very emotional piece but the reason the emotion seeps through is because it was written in such a a flat matter of fact way. So nice choice on the tone, it really holds the story together and makes it work.

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  16. Sad yet riveting. I hate this kind of stuff, but keep reading because I want to see what happens next and I want to see justice served. Hey, I'm a happy ending kinda guy. Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Have a great weekend.

    Stephen Tremp

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  17. Heartbreaking ending.... and you know I loved the part about the bracelets :) Enjoyed this, so many truths about safety and driving and dangerous intersections - could be a story told in our city too. Scary...

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  18. Such a tragic ending. It reads like a magazine piece, as mazaz put it, "matter-of-fact", which works to make the ending all the more painful.

    Excellent writing.

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  19. Quite sad. I imagine this is how many people find out about such a sad occurrence in their lives. Very well written.

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  20. Brilliant.

    Got me choked up it did.

    You are amazing

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  21. So sad. I choked up a little.

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  22. This one made my misty-eyed. So sad. Great dramatic ending!

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  23. Chilling, and so sad. Very strong ending.

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  24. This happened just last week in my town. Only, it was a man walking along the train tracks listening to his iPod. He never heard the train that hit and killed him. Tragic tale well told.

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  25. Oh, so sad. You captured this moment well. So many everyday common events that take place, then in a moment, it all changes drastically.

    It is tragic when sudden, quick events take lives - it seems senseless and impacts so many. You left a lot for me to imagine - well-done!

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  26. Well done, though you about killed me that last paragraph! But you wrote it well and made it very powerful!

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  27. Well that was thoroughly depressing. You left quite a mar on my day.

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  28. Wonderfully moving stuff. So simple and yet affecting.

    marc nash

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  29. Great work!
    You got my heart bounding - yes I agree with those that said chilling

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  30. You were a reporter, weren't you? Just the facts, ma'am. Effective. Powerful.

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  31. Ah, this was sad enough and then you had to put the little boy in at the end? SO sad now.

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  32. Sad story. Puts a hitch in your heartbeat.

    Helen
    Straight From Hel

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  33. Oh my! Great [emotional] piece. It's really one of my worst nightmares -- that knock on the door.

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  34. I like the order of events, how the victim was slowly identified. So true how so many appear and have an opinion once cameras start rolling.

    This felt too real. Heartwrenching, but strong writing.

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  35. Now I need tissues... so well written, Marisa, wonderfully sad (the ending killed me).

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  36. Wow. That hit hard. The whole piece is really tight. Not a spare word anywhere. Beautiful, deft writing.

    And that ending - perfect.

    Really well done.

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  37. Oh crap, that ending, the husband, the boy... you want to yell to him, "DON"T OPEN THE DOOR..."
    Men, though, they never listen...
    Gooooood story, Marisa, good, good, good.

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  38. Powerful, tragic, and very well written. Painful to read. Well done, excellent emotion in this.

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  39. Ouch. (cringes) Excellent story.

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  40. I often think about the objects we leave behind, most especially the things that really become "ours". The things which become unique to us such as shoes and glasses. So your very well-written story certainly hit a nerve with me, and I thought the photograph was a wonderful and haunting companion to the piece. It is a sad story, but it's real, and that is what I like to read because it reminds me of the important things.

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  41. You were one I read on the mobile Marisa so sorry for the late response. One, you have a picture of the sneakers! Two omg. I was cringing while reading this. It's brilliant!

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  42. You were one I read on the mobile Marisa so sorry for the late response. One, you have a picture of the sneakers! Two omg. I was cringing while reading this. It's brilliant!

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  43. Me again - I've got an award for you over at my blog :)

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  44. Ow! My heart. Well written and thought provoking piece. And oh, that ending.

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  45. I call these "turning point" stories, a realistic renderingi of the moment one life ends and another begins, for all of the characters. Nicely done, Marisa.

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