Black Rose

The Black Rose

I can remember the horror I endured at the age of sixteen as if it was yesterday. The internet had just become available and though computers weren’t affordable for the general population, I, by no means, fell under that category.

Though technology has vastly changed over the last twenty years, human nature has not. Some men are born with cruelty in the very marrow of their bones and, on this day, I would witness it firsthand. Though the pack of wolves had no access to computers to flaunt their sadism, they had brought a video camera to ensure longevity.

I hid behind the crates in a back alley, watching in horror, as a local street gang viciously beat a man to death. I could hear their jeers, yelling, “Are you getting this?” directed towards the youth holding a camera, taping their horrendous act of violence. They were recording it all just for the sport of watching it with other gang members at a later date. Each kick to the head, each brutal blow, and every single bone, which could be heard cracking as it broke, was caught on tape along with the horrifying screams I was certain could be heard by neighbors who share the same code of conduct: don’t get involved with crime. The true horror came when the man gave into his plight and his agonizing screams ceased. In that second, I feared they had succeeded in snuffing out his life.

My heartbeat thundered so loudly in my ears, I was certain they would hear it, but they were too busy jeering each other on with the vicious beating. I don’t believe there is a more brutal way to kill a human than beating them to death. Unlike a bullet, or even a knife blade, it is so much more personal in its cruel delivery. It was much like a train wreck in that I wanted to look away, but I could not peel my eyes away from the horrid scene unfolding right before me.

Everything in me wanted to do something to help the victim, but the pack of wolves tearing into the man’s flesh far outnumbered me. I could never remember not just feeling, but actually being, so helpless. How could anyone be so cruel and brutal?

Finally, when I felt I could stand no more, the vicious pack of boys dispersed and made their way down the alley, laughing and high fiving one another as if they had just won a high school football game. I waited for a moment to be certain they were gone before I came out from my hiding place. I cradled the man’s head in my lap and remained with him until he breathed his last breath. A complete stranger died in my arms that day. I felt like I owed him that—I couldn’t let him die alone. I will never forget the look of pleading in his eyes. Though he never spoke a word, he begged me not to leave him abandoned in that alley, and so…I stayed.

When I visualized him move on to eternity and I was certain he had gone from this world and to a place much better, I gently laid the man’s head down and exited the mouth of the alley a changed being. I had entered as a boy, but emerged as a man. That was the day I vowed to myself I would never be an innocent bystander to the cruelty of mankind again. That was the day I became…Black Rose…

An excerpt from ‘Black Rose.’
Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/suzannesteele
©2014 Suzanne Steele

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