Excerpt from Consumed

by Sanober Bukhari, Learner, Writing Workshops

Sirens blared as the paramedics pulled up to the bus stop across the street. Amy stopped in her tracks on the sidewalk nearly dropping her bags of groceries. An elderly man was lying on the ground in the bus shelter; the paramedic performing CPR sent thundering waves across the man’s pale stomach, desperately trying to revive him. Amy’s eyes were locked on this man; she couldn’t tear away from him. So she held her breath.

The next few minutes were a blur. The man was no longer being pumped. The paramedic with a grim face moved his hands away to usher another medic to the scene. The body lay limp and still. His shirt still raised above his naval now revealed a still stomach, looking deflated, defeated. The second medic wheeled a gurney in and in one swift motion they placed the body on top. How easy it was to lift this lifeless body, Amy thought remembering reading something about the body losing 21 grams after death. 21 grams. The weight of the soul…didn’t seem like much. She forced herself to blink so she could snap out of her head. So quickly the scene had cleared, so quickly the crowd that had gathered around the dying man, intrigued by whether he would live or die, lost interest and dissipated. Once you were zipped up in that body bag, double doors shut behind you, no longer were you part of the living, breathing human race. We are a cruel people. She was angry at herself mostly, because while she had just watched a man die, at the back of her mind she was very aware that there was ice cream melting in her grocery bag.

Sanober’s excerpt was written for Ann Ireland’s online workshop: ‘Short Fiction Writing – Level I’ (CWWR 410).

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