The Initiation

Written With Sarah Tagert

This city needs God not more gangs! Grandma had screamed to him in her thick Russian voice before he had left. She had found out about the Initiation and was at home on her knees praying. 

The gun felt heavy in his hand, and he got a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach.

Don’t forget why you are doing this, they took Collin away from you, now it’s their turn to pay. That’s the only reason you joined this gang, blood for blood.His finger lay on the trigger, he never shot a person, he had been hunting with his Dad, and those Rifles of his, but this was different. Blood for blood. The words echoed in his mind.


I’m not cut out for this. He thought again. But his brother, his best friend had been the victim of a drive by, now it was time for payback.

Revenge. What an ugly word, his Grandma had spoke of God’s love and forgiveness and now he was welding a gun, taking a life.

The park, why had they chosen the park to do this? Why did the Initiation have to be in such a public place, the cheerleaders from school came here after practice. The place was so public little children played on swings at one end of the park, while girls from the high school sat on benches, drinking bottled water and diet Snapples.

The shot rang out followed by the thud of a body hitting the pavement but the person laying on the ground, was Melinda, her auburn hair spread out above her head and a pool of crimson rushed from her side. A soft gurgling sound came from her back as she arched her back in pain.

It was sadly strange, how no one around him really reacted. A testament to the fact that he lived in a violent world, and he was going to become another statistic of the ghetto.

The other gang members, the one wearing the green bandana’s on their head, with 7th Street tattoos covering their arms, like ugly blank ink spots fled. No way were they going to be caught, he felt one pull at them, but he couldn’t leave. Had he just killed the most beautiful girl in school?

What did I do Lord? He asked crying out to the God, he thought had forsaken him the night he had heard about Collin, three years ago, he was only thirteen then, now at sixteen, he was heading in the direction everyone prayed he wouldn’t.

Jacob I have so many dreams for you, you are going to go to college, you’re going to marry a nice Christian Woman, you are going to have a beautiful family. He remembered the words his Grandma had spoken, not that long ago, and now here he was throwing his life away, he had just shot someone, just shot Melinda, the most beautiful girl in school, that wasn’t supposed to happen.

He saw his Grandma when he closed his eyes, that thick accent that told of her birth place in Moscow, she had come to America, to search out a better life for her children and grandchildren, when she was a young woman, now one grandson was buried and another was about to get killed himself or he was going to become a prisoner.


Jacob should have ran, but he had to stay by her, he dug the cell phone out of his pocket, the one his Grandma had saved so long to get him for his sixteenth birthday and called for help. The paramedics knew the park, they knew it all too well, the 7thStreet gang hang out here, and he had almost become one of them.

Lord don’t let her die. Jacob had fallen to his knees, and watched as crimson blood, feel to the ground, in an ugly and angry puddle.

Lord forgive me, I repent, I am an evil and ugly sinner, wash me clean Lord. Jacob cried out, while on his knees, Melinda’s blood coloring his jeans.

He waited by Melinda, everyone around them oblivious to what had just happened, or perhaps, they were only pretending to be oblivious. It was sad thing when people became so used to violence, that it became a natural thing.

This city needs God not more gangs! Grandma had screamed to him in her thick Russian voice before he had left. She had found out about the Initiation and was at home on her knees praying.

He knelt down beside Melinda, praying she wasn’t dead. He was no better than the gang banger who had shot his brother now he thought momentarily, then his focus became that of Melinda. She was alive he was relieved when he heard her whisper “help” her violet eyes, full of pain, pain he knew he had caused.
Jacob looked down at his blood soaked pants, and felt sick, he had done this, if Melinda died it would be his fault, all because he was stupid enough to believe that joining a gang would be payback for his brother, but this was not the answer Grandma had been right, and he was an idiot, he was a homicidal idiot.

Lord don’t let her die.“Why?” Melinda asked and that one word question was a lot for her to get out, she was suffering, the blood was pouring from a wound in her back and from a gash on her head she had got from falling.


“I’m sorry it wasn’t meant for you.” Jacob said stupidly. “I am just an idiot.”

“I forgive you.” Melinda managed and Jacob sat there wide mouthed. He shot her and she was forgiving him, and yet he was after blood from his brother, his brother who had been at the wrong place at the wrong time, the big brother that had been such a role model, he would be sick if he knew what Jacob was doing, because that just was never Collin he did not believe in the violence. Violence was just a waste of time a waste of life. Jacob should have listened to what he said more often, and to his Grandma who was probably still at home praying.

“How can you forgive me I did this to you?”

“Because Jesus wants us to forgive.” She said weakly and then fell silent, the sirens coming closer made Jacob feel as if he could breathe again, he was more than grateful for that, more than grateful for the fact that someone was coming to help, he was praying harder and more fervently than he had ever prayed, Melinda had to be okay, he did not want to be a murderer.

Lord I know you gave me a brain and I haven’t been using it, I have been letting myself be filled with hate, and now a young innocent girl, a school mate is laying in a pool of her own blood, because I was stupid, because I thought joining a gang would be payback for loosing Collin, it was just stupid Lord and I know that, so forgive me.Jacob decided he had to stay with Melinda and he had to be honest with the authorities he would no doubt face time in Juvie if not worse, but it was what he deserved. He had pulled that trigger and now an innocent person could very well die. If she died he would not be able to live with himself. Melinda had never hurt him, it wasn’t her fault that his brother had been in the wrong place at the wrong time, he would never stop kicking himself for falling into the violence that had taken his brother.


Collin you would be so ashamed of me right now, I can’t believe I sunk this low. I don’t know what got into me, you and I made a promise a long time ago that we would not be part of that violence, but after you were shot, after I watched what that gun did to you, you may not be dead physically, but your mind is not the same, you depend on everyone for everything, it makes me angry.His parents, His grandmother could not handle the constant care of Collin after he died, so he was put into a nursing home, where he still was, his brain function was very low, and the brother that used to help him with his Math homework, now Collin couldn’t even go the restroom on his own, it was hard just to see his brother. The Collin he knew was dead, and it was because of a gang bangers bullet. They didn’t care who he was, just that they felt like they needed to shoot someone that night.


I am no better than they are, I shot Melinda.“I don’t hate you.” Melinda said, before they loaded her onto the stretcher. “I knew Collin, I know what made you do this.”


Jacob didn’t know where Melinda was getting the strength to talk, nor did he understand why she felt the need to comfort him, but that is exactly what she was doing. She was the one shot, laying on a gurney now she wasn’t angry with him, she was offering him comfort when it should be the other way around

“I don’t understand why you don’t hate me.” Jacob said.

“Because I know you did this out of anger.” Melinda managed as they loaded her into the ambulance. “Jacob I forgive you.”

Before long the police came, as Jacob sat there staring at his blood soaked pants. He felt sick at what he had done.

How could I shoot anyone? He asked himself over and over again. It wasn’t supposed to be Melinda.Jacob knew it didn’t matter who it was supposed to be, the second he pulled that trigger he was no better than the monsters that killed his brother.


I forgive you Jacob.Why couldn’t he just have learned to forgive instead of letting the hatred eat him up. He’d sunk to a level he had never wanted to sink.


I thought things would be different in America, I thought my children and grandchildren would be safe. I did not think I would ever have to bury my sixteen year old grandson, and then watch my other grandson turn to violence for his brothers death.As Jacob remembered those things he found himself thinking on how he wished he had listened to his Grandmother. She was older and wiser, and he had been taught to respect her, but right now he was going against everything she had taught her.


Jacob you are only going to bring more blood down on this house. “Forgive me Grandma.” He whispered.


As the Police officers handcuffed him and put him in the squad car, he felt like a monster. He had just shot someone he was no better than the monsters who had shot his brother.

“I don’t understand but Melinda Jensen doesn’t want to press charges against you. I don’t understand how you could have shot her.” The officer said.

“It wasn’t supposed to be her.” Jacob said, even to his own ears it sounded stupid.

“I remember when your brother was killed, I know what you are doing, but he would not want you to do this.”

“I know, I was just being stupid. I can’t believe I did this.”

“I’m a monster, I nearly killed her.”

“You aren’t a monster, just a confused kid, who needs help. In my line of work I’ve seen plenty of monsters, and I would not use that word to describe you.”

“Thank you for saying that.”

“You’re welcome, but Jacob you do need help, when you get out of here you need to talk to someone, I know loosing your brother had to be hard.”

Why is everyone being so nice to me? I deserve everyones hate after what I did.Sitting in a jail cell, wondering what was coming next gave Jacob a lot of time to think.

You can let hate eat you up, or you can learn to forgive, they choose to forgive.

What made me so stupid, what made me ever come up with the stupid idea to get into a gang?




CopyrightMichelle R Kidwell,Sarah. L.Tagert

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