Passers By

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Will anyone ever help Colin?

Passers By


Colin had seen them in front of him, in the distance. They’d looked like pretty much any other gang of youths, mostly male but there were a couple of girls there too. He had reckoned there were about eight of them. Although they should have had no interest in him, Colin had decided to cross the road rather than walk directly past them. He was later to consider whether that simple action was what sparked off the following events, or would they have just happened anyway – the consequence of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.


Colin had crossed the road and carried on. He had not looked towards the group but resolutely kept his eyes on the road ahead. He was nothing to do with them and they were nothing to do with him. That was just how he had wanted to keep it. But it had seemed they had thought differently. Or at least one of the girls had.


He had heard her clattering across the road. Colin had decided without turning his head that she was either wearing heels too high for her to walk properly in, or was too drunk to walk steadily; the most likely reason for the staggering gait he heard was a combination of both. Whatever reason, Colin had not wanted to know, he just wanted to make it home and to bed. He had known it was already late and he had to be up early the following morning.


Well, lookie here! Aren’t you one handsome fella!!” The girl had staggered up to him and had grabbed his arm. “Come on, let’s have a look at you before you take me home.”


Colin had tried to pull his arm away but her grip was surprisingly strong. He had not wanted to be too rough or to cause any kind of scene. “Look, I don’t know you. I’m just trying to get home, okay. I don’t want any trouble.” He had tried to move away from them, to leave them to whatever they were doing, but a pair of male feet that had been running up behind him had made it pretty clear that that was not going to happen.


Mandi! Just you get your hands off of him and let me at him. You! Look at me! That’s my girl you’re flirtin’ with.”


A pair of rough hands had got a firm grip on Colin’s shoulder and had turned him around. There had been no hiding the anger, the menace. But still Colin had tried to reason with him, had tried to get away. “Look, I don’t know what you lot are playing at, okay. I’m not interested. Just carry on. All I want is to get home, I’m not after trouble.”


So you’re tellin’ me you’re not after Mandi, here?”


Colin had said, “No. I’ve never met her, never seen her before. I just want to go home alone.”


It had been at that moment that Colin had realised whatever he said would have been wrong. The guy had taken his disinterest as an insult, whether to himself or his girl, Colin had not been able to tell. It was as bad, if not worse, than if he had said that he wanted to take the girl home with him.


He had attempted to remove his shoulder from the man’s grip, to run if necessary. They could have laughed at him, he wouldn’t have cared; but the others that had gathered around, circling and flexing their muscles had made it all to clear to Colin exactly what was about to happen.


In a last-ditch effort, Colin had offered his wallet and his watch, both of which had been received with a false show of gratitude before the first hit had come. A fist straight to the stomach had doubled him up, taken his breath away. When it had been followed by a smack on the nose and a fist to the right side of his head, Colin had found himself on the ground. Seven, then eight pairs of feet had then set about stamping on him, kicking him. His entire body had become a target for a sustained and brutal beating.


* * * * *


When he regained consciousness, Colin tried to open his eyes but they, it seemed, did not want to open. Or maybe it was that they could not open. Eventually he managed to get his left eyelid to lift enough for him to make out that it was beginning to get light. He was in so much pain – every single inch of him was in agony.


Colin could feel that the ground was wet, sticky. He tried to move his hand into view but his arm wouldn’t move. The waves of pain that were now rushing over him were increasing in intensity. He felt sick, he felt dizzy and it was not long before unconsciousness claimed him again.


The next thing Colin became aware of was the sound of footsteps. He drew himself into a ball as far as he could manage, but the trembling that had taken over his body continued. Were there to be more kicks, more pain? But no, the footsteps moved away from him, carried on along the road without even slowing down.


One eye opened a bit more easily this time, the other remaining firmly shut. It was lighter now but it had to be early still. There were too few people around, virtually no traffic. Colin could see he had his cheek resting in a pool of congealed blood and vomit. He had to get away from it but he could not move himself at all. Somebody would pass soon. Help would arrive.


A vehicle of some sort was approaching. Colin could hear the tyres moving along the road, even feel the rumble through the pavement. He found himself willing it to slow, to stop, to summon help, but it did not even reduce speed. Colin shut his eyes and waited for another chance to attract some kind of aid.


Look, Mom! There’s a man sleeping on the path.” A child’s voice. Colin was no expert but he guessed it belonged to one of the kids at the junior school.


Come away, Matthew,” his Mom called, crossing the road well before they reached the prone body.


But Mom....maybe he’s sick!”


Maybe he is, and maybe he deserves to be. It’s nothing to do with us.” The voices were moving away, disappearing from the range of his hearing. Colin knew what the woman had thought – that he was homeless and drunk, or at best too drunk to make his way home.


And they weren’t the only ones. Every time Colin heard footsteps approaching he hoped they would approach him, that they would see that he needed help. But nobody came near him, choosing instead to cross to the other side of the road even if it meant that they would have to cross back again afterwards. Colin tried to call out, tried to ask for help, but his mouth would not open; his jaw was almost certainly dislocated, if not broken.


It started to rain. Just the occasional drop at first but it did not take long for it to turn into a downpour. Vehicles driving past splashed up water, some of which hit Colin in the face, or entered his open mouth. He could not even raise a hand to wipe at the rain that was now running from his left cheek down to his right. He could not wipe the drips away from his eyes. At least the rain was washing some of the blood away, and as it ran into the corner of his mouth his tongue became a bit less dry. Of course, Colin knew, if it got much harder he could choke on it, unable as he was to turn himself over.


The only movement he was capable of making was the uncontrollable shivering and shaking that was taking over his whole body. Colin could imagine what people were seeing, what sort of sight he was presenting to passers by; but surely someone would dare to approach, would see that he was beaten not drunk. Or would they? Would he, if the positions were reversed?


Colin could not speak; he could not move. He could do nothing but close his eyes and hope.


Maybe he had lost consciousness again. Colin opened his eyes to find a girl kneeling down by his side. She could not be more than thirteen, but she did not look scared or repulsed. Shocked maybe, but he had no idea of the extent of his injuries. She saw him open his eyes and she gave him a slight smile.


You’ll be okay. We’ve phoned the police and the ambulance.” The girl tentatively reached out a hand to touch his cheek. “Have you been here for long?”


Colin could not answer. He hoped his expression was conveying some of the thanks he wanted to express to this girl that had dared to approach him when everyone else had just given him a wide berth, leaving him to bleed on the pavement. She had, he realised, even taken off her coat to cover him with.


He wanted to smile, to hold her hand. He wanted to tell of his gratitude for her bravery. Colin could hear sirens a way off in the distance but they were getting closer. All he had to do was hang on just that bit longer and he would be okay.





Submitted: November 29, 2016

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Mike S.

This is so often the case, people not wanting to get involved--this could easily happen--frightening!

Tue, November 29th, 2016 8:31pm


Thanks, Mike. Again it was inspired by a news story of a 68 (I think) year old woman being attacked by a London station. I didn't want to make it too similar so I made it a youngish guy instead.

Tue, November 29th, 2016 12:49pm

Lionel Walfish

This is a brilliant piece of work, Hully. You have captured the very essence and horror of this tragedy, with words that just seem to flow from your 'pen'.

Tue, November 29th, 2016 8:40pm


Thanks, Lionel. As I told Mike, this was inspired by a true story just this September. I just made a few changes.

Tue, November 29th, 2016 12:50pm

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