Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Vision (08/03/06)
TITLE: And I Saw
By Tisha Martin
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“Karen, this rebellion of yours will ruin you if you’re not careful. Your running with this gang will get you into trouble. I’ve told you many times, but you won’t listen. I’m going to let you find out for yourself.” Her voice carried sadness and disappointment.
“I don’t care what I do! No one can stop me from doing what I want!” I shouted and stormed out of the room.
Later that evening, I flopped across my bed, permeating the air with sulky feelings. I didn’t care what happened to me. I was perfectly happy with my situation. I like running with the gang. Brushing my hand across my forehead, I peeked over at my clock and rolled my eyes. It was near 10:30 p.m.
“Karen!” a familiar voice hissed from outside my window.
I pulled back the curtains. “What?” I grumbled.
“Hey, kid, where have you been?” Louie said to me. “We’ve been lookin’ for ya! Hey, ya wanna go have some fun?”
“What kind of fun?” I asked uneasily.
“Found this swank club that’ll let us inside and the cops won’t be there to break up any fights. A couple of us have been there a few times, but thought you’d like to come with us.”
“Where is it?” I asked.
Louie spit on the ground. “It’s the loony district. Cops avoid it like the plague.” He looked at me. “What do ya say, Karen?”
I grinned. “I’ll be right down!”
Sirens could be heard several streets over as our small gang meandered down the sidewalk. Crossing the railroad tracks, which marked the red district of the tiny town, I stared at the nightclub front. Neon lights sparkled and glowed, flirting off its name. Heavy shouting stormed through my ears as we opened the door and stepped inside.
The aroma of heavy smoking and liquor sizzled my nose hairs and made my stomach churn.
“Well, if it ain’t Louie and the gang!” a burly man greeted above the din of bouncy music being played by a large band. “Haven’t seen ya ‘round for a while.”
“Cops,” Louie responded. He pulled me over to the counter next to the man and ordered two drinks.
The name of the drink Louie gave to the lady behind the counter sounded intriguing, although I didn’t know what it was. I’d only been in the gang a few weeks, and was still shaken by the last call we’d had with the police that I’d stayed low for a while.
But now, here I was in a nightclub. As I looked around the place, a chill crept up my spine. Men and women were drinking and gambling. Some were cursing. Two men in filthy clothes barreled by the bar, punching each other. Gulping, I turned my head to watch the bartender. My eyes trained in on the contents she was pouring into our glasses. My stomach turned. I had never tasted any alcoholic beverage before. Here was my first chance to see what it was all about.
The drinks fixed, Louie handed me my glass and I took a large gulp. When the liquid reached the back of my mouth, I gagged.
“What’s the matter, kid?” Louie asked, laughing critically. . . .
The menacing voice bounced off the walls and back into my ears as I struggled with my sheets. “Oh, how horrible! How awful!” I shouted. “I don’t want any of—”
“Karen!” I felt someone shaking me. “Karen, Karen, Karen!”
I opened my eyes and stared into the face of my mom.
“Are you okay? You were shouting.” Her lips twitched nervously.
Burying my face in my hands, I let the tears course down my cheeks. The taste of liquor burned in my mouth. Breathing rapidly, I sobbed, “Oh, Mom, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. You were right. I should have never gone with Louie and the others. I’ve done something terrible!”
My mom hugged me tight. “Karen, you’re not making sense.”
Choking back my tears, I explained, “I-I went into a nightclub—”
Sitting me upright, my mom looked at me. “And when did you do this, young lady?”
“Tonight I went—”
“No, you didn’t. You were here all night. I checked on you every hour and you were sleeping in your bed,” Mom consoled.
A wave of shock slipped over my face. Lips quivering, I whispered, “Then . . . it was a dream.”
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