AN EXCERPT FROM THE SHORT STORY "PAIN KILLERS"
The Murder Of 17-Year-old Vince Jacobs Jr. (2007)
My body feels numb. Who would shoot me? Why would I be the target of someone’s rage? I could still see the Nike sneakers and the blue scarf hanging out the pocket of the shooter’s pants as he ran toward the subway station. The butter I had purchased from Mrs. Scott’s grocery store lay beside me on the ground. My blood feels warm as it flows steadily from the back of my head. I feel a feeling of peace I find difficult to describe. I imagined death to be painful or maybe scary. At this moment I feel neither frightened nor pain. Panic and anxiety paint the faces of the people fighting to save my life. “Stay with me kid. You’re going to be ok,” a man says as he holds my blood-covered face. I can hear women crying as if I were their son dying on this warm sidewalk in New York. “Call the ambulance!” one woman screams repeatedly. It is becoming too late. I know I am dying, but I appreciate the effort from so many strangers. I feel saddened as I think of how broken my parents would be once they’ve found out their son is dead. The pain they would have to endure burying their 17-year-old son a week before my high school graduation. I pray for my mother as I await death. God, I asked you to give her the same peace I feel at this moment. I had plans to do great things in life. Dreams I wanted to pursue would have to die with me. My body is beginning to feel cold. It is time to go. The man holding my face must sense the angel of death as well because he’s yelling, “No kid! No, not now kid! Wait a little longer.” I feel a pull like a magnet.
I try to hold on to life as tight as I can. I’m looking up at the blue sky, and I say, “God save me.” I’m now falling into the light.
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