A Rose that Grew from a Crack in the Concrete

My Indie Ink challenger this week was Shiv with ‘a rose that grew from a crack in the concrete’ and I challenged Chaos Mandy

I watched the blood seep along the pavement. The dark red thickness of it flowed through my hand as I lay there. It was losing color, turning black. Everything around me seemed to be turning gray, losing color, losing substance. There was no sound. People were moving around me but slowly, too slowly.

There were faces talking but nothing I could understand. Faces looking around for help, shouting, distressed. Someone realized I was lying on top of a boy.

It had been instinct. I had grabbed him and pushed him to the ground. It worked, the bullet hit me instead. I fell forward on to him half intent on shielding him, but more propelled by the force of the impact that ripped through my chest.

Someone was turning me over. The chill hit me as they took the boy away. His warmth gone now. I sensed more than saw him turning back and staring at me. Wondering why I had saved him. I was from the other side. I was the enemy but now there was doubt in his mind.

Why did I save him? Maybe he was me back then. He had been running out of the market with a loaf of bread under his arm that he’d stolen and the baker’s wife was running after him. I had been smiling and watching the scene when I heard the first shots.

Ma used to scold me when I came home with food that had obviously been stolen. Where else would it have come from? She had a cleaning job but it didn’t pay enough to afford rent, bills, clothes, food. Food was the easiest thing to steal. As I got older it was easier to make money. There were always errands the fathers needed doing: running drugs or money or guns. What else was there for someone like me?

Ma despaired when I got caught but I went away knowing she’d be looked after. We were part of the family now, whether she liked it or not. I took care of her now like she’d taken care of me when I was small.

It was growing darker around me. My senses faded away from the people and noise that surely must be surrounding me. The city was never this quiet. I glanced up to the strangest sight. A flower growing from a wall in the middle of a city like this? I stared at it trying to figure out how it got there. My last thought was wondering what was going to make it die but I already knew.

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16 Responses to A Rose that Grew from a Crack in the Concrete

  1. Heart stopping, heart pounding. Great job! Stopping by from II

  2. Head Ant says:

    I like the way you made this come full circle for the narrator.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I like your use of color in this piece.

  4. Diane says:

    Amazing. Simply amazing.

  5. Carrie says:

    You made his death a beautiful thing, just like the flower in the middle of concrete. Beauty surrouded by ugliness.

    Lovely piece

  6. how lovely you write. i love how you introduced us to this character at the end of his life, then brought us back to his childhood. a nice mirror into the rest of the story, and what was going on in present time. so nicely done

  7. Shiv says:

    You made it quite different from what I was thinking. And you made it very beautiful. Very creative!

  8. Karla says:

    I loved your first line, evoking the image of a rose in a crack. The line of blood courses through the entire story and comes to end on that other flower where it too shall die. Your whole narrative was so delicately tied together by this single line, it was quite poetic. Nicely done.

  9. Lovely piece Liz. I like the possible seed of doubt he planted in the boy’s mind – he was saved by the enemy, who was really just another wayward child trying to survive.

  10. I really liked this. I imagined the narrator to be a woman, but I see that others felt it was a man. I’m wondering what “someone like me” indicates–why is this person different from the others. I’m assuming that the narrator was jailed when s/he was caught and taken away. I want to know how he got out; where he is now; how much time has elapsed since then. I love the use of sensory details: the gradual loss of color; the feel of blood; the slow disappearance of sound. You raise a lot of questions in my mind with this piece, and, to me, that’s a sure sign of excellent writing. I enjoyed reading this.

  11. lizculver says:

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I hope I still did you proud, Shiv. After I found out it was a Tupac poem the whole ‘triumph over adversity’ idea changed more to being something tragic, of someone who lived, and touched a couple of people, but was flawed because of his difficult life and then the inevitable end.
    Before I knew it was Tupac I was thinking more along the lines of love triumphing over difficult circumstances or a baby surviving something harsh.

  12. Cedar says:

    Redemption in death, and with a symbol of renewal in the flower. Beautiful imagery.

  13. Tara R. says:

    Very poignant. Wonderful detail to the piece… it was like watching a entire life flash by.

  14. Pingback: Indieink | The Week In Review: September 19-23

  15. Loved this. Beautifully written with great imagery. Love the play with the color. Well done!

  16. Shiv says:

    You did me more than proud. I read it again today. You did your research. I forgot to mention last time that I really loved the picture you put there.

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