Courtney Smith

A writer/Poet shares one of his short stories.

The hairs on Jabari Prince’s arms were nearly petrified as sterile currents of frozen air grazed them. A few
slight movements of his feet informed him his sneakers and socks were not covering his feet. He slowly moved
his right arm to feel stabbing pain shooting through it like lightening. He knew his jeans were missing after
shifting his legs, slightly. A paper-thin, white gown was the only barrier separating him from sheer nudity. A
gust of freezing air rushed between his legs and conveyed his current state of vulnerability. I don’t even want to
open my eyes, right now!
Jabari’s brown irises would be visible if enough light made them noticeable; however, pure darkness
swallowed sight of anything. It was 11:00 am when I went to convenience store. Why would it be night this
soon? How do I even know it is night? He contracted his arms before realizing something cold and hard bound
them to whatever was beneath him. How did I end up being here after going to a convenience store? If I had
known I would go through all this for a Snickers™, I would have just gotten a peppermint! Should I even attempt
to speak in this place, wherever this is? His mind became numb as his body shook and throbbed as though he
were being electrocuted. His lungs drew in breath as though they tried to absorb the whole atmosphere.
Several bright lights blinded him before his pupils adjusted to the unexpected brilliance. He blinked before his
eyes partially made out the environment surrounding him.
Jabari saw his arms and legs were bound to a steel table with fetters and shackles. Several wires dangled
from his body like tinsel from a Christmas tree. He turned his head in partial intervals to see he was surrounded
by a circular, steel wall with partially tinted windows. He could make out several figures with white, lab coats
and goggles reflecting the impartial light illuminating the room. My mother and brothers are never going to see
me, again!
Sango Yamaguchi trembled as the vibrating seat of the bus reacted to every movement it made. The sting of
tears overwhelmed her eyes because the stench of urine and feces from the man next to her was almost
unbearable. I never thought I would be happy to throw up! She glanced at both of her sides before stroking the
screen of smart phone. Her glasses reflected several black Tahoe sub utility vehicles with flashing red-and-blue
lights and screaming sirens rushing past the automobile outside of the window. Sango shrugged her shoulders as
the vehicles moved out of sight. She saw her stop approaching twenty minutes later before clutching her
backpack’s left strap as she stood. She emerged from the bus to see the same black vehicles that passed her
earlier parked around her house. Sango began walking toward her home before rethinking this course of action.
I do not know who they are or what they want. I do not see any law enforcement emblems on the side of the
vehicles verifying their legitimacy. She swiped her pleated, uniform skirt before slowly turning around walking
away from the residence. She reached the end of the street before she heard several engines behind her.
Sango glanced over her shoulder to see the black vehicles trailing her. She attempted one more step before
several men dressed in armor with automatic rifles tackled her to the ground. Her nose was flattened before
several hands pulled her up by her arms. She opened her mouth before a spray inundated her face. Then, her
consciousness slipped away.
Keisha “Peaches” Price sauntered past several pews in her iridescent, floral dress. Several men’s heads
followed her sashaying hips as she walked down the aisle in her father’s church. She looked to her left to see
the men and boys eyes following every swing of her hips, and she glanced to her right to see the snide
expressions of women cutting their eyes at her before turning their heads. She drew in a deep breath before
she reached the path’s end. Keisha handed the neatly folded paper to a six-foot-four man with wide shoulders
covered by a black robe. He smiled at her before she returned the expression as walked to her seat. She
reclaimed her spot between her best friend Trinette Parker and her cousin Keke Pratt. I am guessing this is
going to be the same routine as every other day.
“Hi, Trinette,” greeted Peaches.
“Hey girl,” responded Trinette, happily.
“Hello Keke,” said Peaches.

“Whatever,” responded Keke as she rolled her eyes.
When her eyes get stuck like that, I am going to laugh. She tugged her dress to ensure she was well covered
before directing her attention to her father The Great Pastor Price. The choir made one, uniform shuffle as they
sat in their seats behind the ministers’ chairs. One of the associate pastors walked to the pulpit before
requesting for everyone to bow their heads. They lowered their heads before a reverberating thud echoed
throughout the sanctuary. People jumped to their feet upon hearing the loud noises. The doors flew open with
men dressed in armed apparel carrying automatic weapons. Screams rose from the pews as heads were placed
between legs. Some leapt at the armed men before being struck and shots resonated throughout the sanctuary.
The marched past most of the parishioners as they wore puzzled expressions. The group walked hurriedly past
most of the pews down the aisle. One dark-skinned man in a stocking cap who was 5’9” with many tattoos and
a muscular build stood with his hands raised.
“Look! I know I have warrants! You do not have to hurt anyone here! I will come along, peacefully.”
“Not interested” replied one of the men before shoving him into the seat. They kept walking until they were
in near the pulpit and turned right. The men gathered in front of Keisha Price. They grabbed her arms and
began to walk away before a large man fell upon them. Pastor Price swung his fist before several men pulled
him into their midst. Then, several flashes and thunderous noises rose from within the circle before a lifeless
corpse replaced the lively man who was Jeffrey Armstrong Price. Kiesha struggled before Trinette leapt upon
one of the men before a single shot tore through her forehead. Kiesha shook the men off before dashing
toward and kneeling beside Trinette’s lifeless corpse. She screamed before the men raised her by her arms and
marched toward the doors before leaving with Kiesha. Keke watched her cousin being ushered out of the
church by the armed strangers before shifting her glance toward her deceased uncle in a pool of his own blood.
Then, Keke turned toward Trinette’s body before a slight smile appeared across her face. She quickly changed
her expression before anyone else noticed it.
Mario Alejandro Vasquez felt sweat and dirt accumulating around him with the fluid stinging his eyes as the
clippings of cut grass constantly grazed his face. The soreness from each jostle of his legs did not bother him
nearly as much as the emptiness of his brother and sister’s stomachs without anything to fill them. A few more
lawns and fields would help his father until the following day. The mandarin trail of sunlight slowly left the sky
with a few of its beams indicating the end of a working day. Mario pulled a small cloth from his pocket and
moved it across his face. He heard a muffled scream before he opened his eyes, again.
“Papi!” Mario screamed. Silence was the only response he received.
“Pedro!” Mario yelled. His echo did not produce an answer. He became very quiet and walked slowly
across the freshly cut field near the trees. He walked slowly toward the trees. Mario extended his before he felt
a cloth covering his face with several arms restraining him. So, this is it?! I am going to die in darkness?!

Courtney L. Smith
CEO/Editor and ChiefSpiritscribe Publishing,

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