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18 July 2011

Literary Clash: Most Gut-Wrenching

your hostess is: Michelle Massaro

Welcome back! We hope you had a great couple of weeks and are ready to get back at it. Today we have two Gut-Wrenching excerpts for you to choose from. Please read both and vote for your favorite. Polls will remain open through Thursday evening.

Excerpt A:
Jimmy Olson lay between two garbage cans in the alley. It felt like an elephant on fire was sitting on his chest. His ears reverberated with the sound of the shot. Night Lord’s gang sped off after the retreating Japanese gang. Distant sirens grew ever fainter.
The eleven-year-old choked and coughed up a thick, metallic liquid, tears filling his eyes. He put his right hand on his chest, lifted the heavy limb away, and stared at his own life blood.
Powerhouse. Powerhouse, where were you? You promised to protect me. Powerhouse, help me. I could really use a superhero right now. I’m going to die. I’m scared. Please, Powerhouse, you could’ve stopped them. Help, somebody save me!
The world grew dim. His hand flopped against the pavement. Pastor Jones’s voice rang in his ears. “And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth.”
Clippety-clip. The noise reverberated through the alley. Someone was coming, someone wearing sandals, so not a member of the gang. An olive-skinned man stood over him.
Jimmy whimpered, “Powerhouse?”
His hero scooped him up, holding him in his arms like he was still a baby. The pain left like a bad dream. Jimmy spotted the ugly scar on his hero’s wrist and gasped. “I know you.”
Tears engulfed his hero’s cheeks. “Let’s go home, son.”

Excerpt B:

Officer Lance Edwards banged hard on the front door of the home. A cacophony of sound increased. “Saint Clair Shores PD. Open up.” Seated in the squad car, Collin Edwards watched his brother cast a quick glance back at the squad car then up and down the street.
Lance trotted back to the vehicle, opening the door. “I'm calling for back up.” He was laser focused. “Stay where you are, and keep alert.”
“Yeah. Got it.” Collin frowned as Lance barked into the car radio and activated the roof top light bars. He left the car to return to the front door.
This time the door was yanked open. A hulking, angry man filled the entrance.
“Step outside, sir.” Lance rested a hand against the butt of his gun.
Instead of answering, the man pushed open the screen door and shoved Lance out of the way. He took off and Lance gave chase.
What passed through Collin was an instinct to help his brother. That instinct overrode everything else. The man closed in on the squad car, cursing as he attempted evasion and escape. Something small and silver glinted in his hand.
A gun.
Collin opened the car door, intending to slam it into the guy.
Lance ran, shouting at Collin. “Get in the car. Stay down!”
Both men were now distracted. Lance had focused on Collin…the man looked back at Lance. The perpetrator stumbled.
The gun went off, its report filling the air like a lethal lightning circuit.
The man tumbled to the ground and cop cars began to squeal and peel, sirens flashing, strobe light filling the air. Lance went down as though flattened.
Responding officers swarmed the scene, cuffing the perpetrator, pulling him into a patrol car.
Collin fell to Lance’s side. “Lance!”
There was a hole in his brother’s crisp blue shirt—right at the heart. A red stain colored the fabric. 
Lance's eyes fluttered. He focused on Collin for a moment and tried to speak. All that came out was a wheezing sound. His eyes faded and closed. Collin's stomach rolled and pitched; his chest heaved as his lungs clutched for air, trying to drag in enough oxygen to remain conscious. A horrible, wailing cry split through him, straight from the depth of his heart.
“Officer down at 824 Lattimore. Repeat: officer down.”
            Collin heard the words and they cut him like a knife. He pressed his hands down tight against the wound but Lance's blood tracked against his fingers. Collin sobbed so hard his body shook.
            Paramedics pulled Collin away, settling him into a squad car, but only one truth remained—one unalterable fact. He had interfered and distracted them both. He had gotten in the way—against Lance's orders.
            The shooting was his fault. Trembling uncontrollably, he looked down and came upon the sight of his tightly clenched fists. Once more his stomach threatened to revolt.
            Literally and figuratively, Lance's blood was on his hands.

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Item Reviewed: Literary Clash: Most Gut-Wrenching Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Michelle Massaro