This story is by Kalyn Gray and was part of our 2021 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
There lay 15-year-old Jakeem O’Meer lying cold, confused, suffering in silence, and alone. Hurt and betrayed by his own he lies crying and lifeless while waiting for his last breath to let go. He cries remembering his Mama, his baby sister, and the life he leaves behind from past mistakes. One mistake took his life away and takes him away from the ones he loves the most and he’ll never see again. There lies his bomber jacket “The Blues” disgusted by the jacket he turns to his side screaming in pain and tries to crawl away to be seen for help. He yelps when a branch scrapes his side from the dried-up woods, and spots hunters not far from where he lies.
He reaches to grab a rock to throw in their direction to cause a snap or possibly be seen. His wounds open wider as he crawls in their direction causing him to rest against a tree and sit up. He holds down on his stomach pressing as hard as he possibly can to pressure it, he fights to close his eyes forever and looks around the woods to find anything or anyone that could help him. “Oh, my god!!” he heard as he still struggles to keep his eyes as open as he can. He spots the two hunters sprinting towards him with all their gears. They struggle as they rush to put everything down and help the poor lifeless boy,
“Quick, grab his arms I’ll grab his legs!”
“Thank you!” the boy says as they pick him up and rush him to their pickup truck. They start the truck and rush towards the hospital as fast as they can. He starts to replay voices he’s heard and replay everything that happened in the past hour and gets madder as he realizes the betrayal he’s witnessed and prays to God he’ll get through this and make it home to his family and get the justice he deserves. The hunters rush through the woods onto the road and speed down to the nearest hospital they could find.
Jakeem fights to every bone in his body to keep his eyes open and alive, “Don’t worry son, you’ll make it I promise!” he hears as tries to move around to keep alive and moving. They arrive almost 20 minutes later and one of the hunters rushes in to call for help, while the other carries Jakeem to the door and pushes through to get him help. “He needs help HELP HIM!” the hunter yells as he places Jakeem on the stretcher and they rush him off to the ER. “What’s your name son?” asks a doctor as they cut off his shirt and search for his wounds. Jakeem struggles to answer as he starts to close his eyes losing his battle and giving up from the pain and hoping the doctors will figure out what they need to save him. “Jakeem,” he says as he closes his eyes one last, and the flatline beeps as his heart stops and he died.
“CLEAR” you hear echo throughout the room as they press the defibrillator against his chest, again and again, and again. Until finally deep breath echoes through the room and Jakeem looks around the room to see himself stitched up and…. alive and breathing. “Thank you!” he whispers to the doctors breathing heavy and crying with him. The hunters rush into the room hugging and comforting Jakeem as he thanks them with warm and welcoming hugs back. Hours later as Jakeem heals and is resting comfortably on his hospitable beg as both hunters walk in.
“May I know the name of the two men who saved my life?” laughter fills the room as they answer.
“My name is Henry, and this is my son Mason!”
“May I borrow a phone from one of you, I believe someone is on the other end worried” Henry hands Jakeem his phone, and Jakeem rushes to type in the numbers into the phone. “Hello?” he whispers through the phone and sobbing fills the room with Jakeem crying to his Mama and begins to tell her what has happened. Minutes later Jakeem hangs up the phone and hands Henry the phone back as he begins to speak softly.
“My mother is on her way down!” he says as he stares blankly at Henry and Mason. “I don’t know how I could thank you two enough he starts and sobs quietly. “God has given you a second chance to right your wrong and that is all I could ever ask of you!” states Henry. Mason smiles softly as Henry walks softly towards Jakeem and hugs him as Jakeem sobs softly into his shirt. “Pardon me!” they hear as an officer trudges through the door towards Jakeem. Henry backs away towards his son as the officer seats next to Jakeem. Jakeem signals it’s okay as Henry and Mason head out of the room into the waiting room.
“My name is Officer Jenkins!” he starts. “I am here for your case!”
“Oh, ok” Jakeem starts. “Could you tell me what happened today?”
“If I am gonna be honest with you sir, everything has been quite a blur” Jakeem states.
“Could you start to tell me, who does this jacket belong to?” Officer Jenkins holds up a jacket and Jakeem’s mouth goes dry and his eyes start to tear up. “It’s, it’s mine!” Jakeem starts. “Brunswick, Georgia isn’t necessarily the smallest but also not biggest town of Georgia.” “You know where it’s from, you know owns it, now you know why I am where I am!” Jakeem states as he gets angrier. “Okay son, I understand!” “Do you know who could have done this?” “I made a mistake, I joined something I never wanted to part of to fit in and I can’t get out!” he sobs “I’m stuck and now I almost died because of it and I know who did it but I can’t say because I can’t die!” by now Jakeem bursts out into tears and can no longer speak on his own. “Ok, ok, take a breath and talk to me. I understand your worry but now that I know I can help and I will help. I care and I want you to know that!”
“I can’t, I’m scared. I can’t leave my Mama and my baby sister!”
“I can’t leave them alone!”
Jakeem’s mother runs inside and screams “JAKEEM” “My baby, are you okay? I’m so sorry” she sobs and hugs her son as tight as she possibly could and struggles to let go. “Hello, my name is Officer Jenkins!” “I’m on your son’s case!” “What happened to my son, why was he left to suffer alone in the WOODS?” “Why wasn’t their park rangers, why did HUNTERS need to find my son?” “What if they weren’t there, what if he was alone and he wasn’t found?” “My son would be DEAD!” “Mama, they found me. Henry and Mason found me, they were the guardian angels God had sent me and saved my life” “I am here, and breathing Mama that is all that matters and all that ever will matter!”
“I know, I know. I’m so sorry, I just want to take you home and cuddle you to sleep and know you are safe!”
“And you will… but I need to talk to Mr. Jenkins!” “Of course, of course!” “Your sister is in the waiting room, we’re gonna head down and grab you and us something to eat!” “Ok, Mama!” Mrs. O’Meer heads out of the room and Jakeem and Officer Jenkins begin to talk. “Talk to me Jakeem, I’m here and I’m listening!”
As Mrs. O’Meer and Jasmine head down to the cafeteria to get food, they are interrupted by sudden sirens going off around the whole hospital. Doctors, nurses, and patients’ cries and screams fill up the hall as Mrs. O’Meet and Jasmine confused and scared start to scatter around to figure out the problem. They run up the hospital steps and crash into Jakeem’s room to find Mr. Jenkins lying on the floor… covered in blood and screaming in pain. Jakeem sits on the hospital bed motionless and stares at his Mama and sister as they fall to the ground in horror wondering what came over the innocent, loving boy they once knew. Minutes later Mrs. O’Meer and Jasmine are rushed out of Jakeem’s room and rushed out of the hospital by officers cuffing and arresting Jakeem. Mrs. O’Meer is sat outside of the hospital on a bench as she watches her beautiful once innocent and caring son being shoved into a police car as her baby girl is left crying in her arms scared, worried, and terrified. And Jasmine is left frightened and alone as she watches her big brother whom she once looked up to and admired as a baby forced into a police car with tears formed in his and her eyes. “I’m so sorry” he whispers.