Ok, it’s been awhile since I’ve done this but, I’m going to play along again. It is time once again for Friday Fiction, this week hosted by Julie at her The Surrendered Scribe blog. This was another entry in the FaithWriters Weekly Challenge. The topic had to do with Truth or Dare. If you would like to read more great fiction, or participate, please go to Fiction Friday. I hope you enjoy the story.
Brandon looked over the sea of faces that sat before him. The auditorium was nearly full with high school students, who frankly didn’t want to be there. They looked bored, cocky or disinterested. He saw the stares, heard the whispers and knew he’d get through to a few of them. Not all certainly, but if he got a few, then he’d done his job. He adjusted the mic as he waited for them to settle.
“Hi there. As Principal Wilson mentioned, my name is Brandon Scott. I’m here to, hopefully, get my message across. I know most of you don’t want to be here and, honestly, I understand that. I’ll try to be brief, so you can get on with your day. If you’ll pay attention to the screen above, there are pictures to accompany my story.”
“Not too long ago, I was like most of you. I got decent grades, was a star football player, had a girlfriend and was fairly popular. I had a bright future, with offers from 4 great universities for full football scholarships. See that picture above my head on the screen? That’s what I used to look like before becoming a Public Service Announcement.”
“As you can see, my life has changed significantly. Like many of you, I thought I was invincible. I thought I had it made. My life was all planned out, and it was good. What I didn’t realize, was how quickly things can change.”
“For me, that change came Homecoming night, senior year. We’d won, and were ready to party, so we did. It was a big party, lots of people and lots of booze. A group of us decided to play Truth or Dare, ‘cause you know, guys, girls how could you lose, right? After going round a couple times, it got more intense. My last turn, I chose dare. I was dared to street race from one light in our town to the next at 100 mph.”
“I accepted that dare, but asked how would I prove it without witnesses? So, 5 others agree to go with me – my girlfriend included. Here are their pictures. As you can probably imagine, I crashed. Here’s a picture of the scene. Pretty gruesome, huh? I came out of it a paraplegic, but I did come out of it. No one else in the car survived. Worse yet, I hit another car. One with a mom, her young daughter and two of the daughter’s friends. Here are their pictures. Pretty girls, huh? These young girls were having a sleepover, but begged the mom to take them out for late night ice cream. None of them survived.”
Brandon took a moment to let the words and the images set in. “Are you with me? Did you count along with me? There are 9 people dead because of my stupid, foolish and reckless behavior! Me – I did this. Because of me, all these families were shattered. I won’t call it an accident, because I chose to drink, I chose to play the game and I chose to take a stupid dare! I killed 9 people –girlfriend, friends, kids, and a mom. I did that!”
“Why didn’t I die too? I ask that all the time. My best guess is that God figured He could make something good come out of it. It was determined that I was unable to serve time in prison for what I’d done because of my condition. So I was sentenced to 5 years of telling my story. It may not seem like much to some, and honestly, I agree. But I have to live with this every day of my life and I relive that night every time I tell the story. My 5 years were up 2 years ago. I paid my debt that was meted out by the court, but I will never pay the debt I truly owe. Now I do this for my own penance, because it’s the right thing to do.”
“I’ve found I’ve been forgiven by some of the family members. I don’t know why. Others can’t, or won’t, and I understand that. I’m unable to forgive myself. But if I can get through to some of you, maybe the deaths of my victims won’t be in vain.”
“You’re young. You have your whole lives ahead of you. You’ve probably never given any thought to your own mortality. I can assure you there are no guarantees in life. You have the power to make your own choices. I beg of you, think before you do! I’ll be available to answer any questions you may have. Thank you.”
Brandon finished his speech, and looking around, figured a few of them got it. Sporadically, a few of them began to move forward to where the audience mic was. Good, he thought, if I can just prevent another tragedy, then maybe I’ll find peace.
"Yes, I'll take your question."
6 hours ago