Interesting prompt this week. We had to include the phrase “Focus on the feet.” There’s no telling what everyone else did, but the style, again, is a different form than I normally do. I haven’t really seen this style from others. So, here’s this week’s #WOW555 entry:
“Where’s my son?”
The mother’s distraught cry broke through the noise of the crowd. Picking up the debris was a slow, painstaking task as we worked as safely as possible. The cops held back most of the people who rushed in to help. They were untrained and a boy’s life was at stake here. He’d been playing by the house when the wall collapsed. There was a chance he’d be ok. Not a good chance when you have a house fall down on you, but a chance. Still, we removed the pieces. Still we looked for life. If he was to survive, the time was short.
“My boy! My boy! Where is he?”
The wail pierced each man’s heart. We had done this job too many times, but the cries of the mothers never failed to have an impact. We knew that the kids were never victims, they were some mother’s son. We didn’t have statistics; we had people’s children whom we saved, or for whom we were too late. We each prayed silently and moved a little quicker – spurred on by the grief of his mother. Three of our men had joined the unit after their children had died in similar circumstances. Earthquake country was not friendly to houses or people.
“I think I see a shoe!”
Juan’s shout rang out. The crowd hushed in anticipation. We moved cautiously but quickly towards Juan. Spurred by the hope, we pushed a little harder to remove the debris. Still, even as we pushed harder, we exercised even more caution. Two years ago we had lost one when we tried to move too fast. The boards had formed a pocket that actually protected the kid and our haste caused a collapse that crushed him. The team suffered numerous broken bones as well. We knew too well the price of recklessness. Slowly we uncovered more of the legs and soon we saw both shoes and parts of the legs. There was hope!
“How is he? Is my boy alright?”
She finally sounded as if she had hope. The problem was that she had gotten past the police line. We glanced back. The police were holding her but not pulling her back. This was trouble. VIPs had to be handled with as much care as the pile of debris. The team continued making progress, but I had to leave to talk to her. We rotated the VIP handholding job and it was my turn this month. I made my way across the pieces of the wall and stopped next to her.
“Focus on the feet, ma’am. Focus on the feet.”
If the foot started wiggling, we could expect a full recovery. First he would be alive. Second, there would be no paralysis. If the feet didn’t move as the debris was removed, chances weren’t so good. She stared intently at the feet while I put my arm around her. Her breathing almost stopped at times as her eyes never left the feet. The men brought out a stretcher and laid the kid on it. “He’s ….” The news was interrupted as the mother screamed, “Oh God!” The boy had kicked off his shoe.
I thought about leaving off that last sentence so that the ending would be hanging. Decided to include it eventually. What would you have done?