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Choosing the Dangerous Road
Have you ever felt one of those moments where you feel like something scary and random thing could happen like they do in the movies? Especially when people feel alone and it is dark outside. That is what I was feeling now. I was sitting in my grandparent’s living room and was completely bored out of my mind. The aged grandfather clock struck seven blaring times. The thunder was booming and intimidating, yet the rain was only light. I stared at the college football and couldn’t even tell who was playing or what the score was. I was a mindless zombie. Meanwhile, my grandfather was snoring like a bear.
“Whoosh,” I hear suddenly. My head which was facing down jerked up in one instant from being downwards to being straight up like I was interested in a conversation. Somehow, my grandfather did not arise from his deep, mysterious rest. Three boys, I could instantly tell who they were stared at me perfectly in the eyes. I backed off, laid my head down defensively. I croaked in a low voice
“What do ya want?” Lewis, one of these three musketeers, gently gives me a hand gesture to come over to him.
“Ted. Manhunt. Now. “The three of them already started walking away, assuming I would play with them with their abrupt, rude tone they used with me. It was almost as if they were officers and I was a soldier in the army. To tell you the truth, I wanted to play. It was an enjoyable game to play. I could never play that at home. I knew my father would whip out the belt if he saw me performing that “idiotic nonsense” I responded
“Um... Well... My parents don’t really want me to.” It was a very hesitant response and my triplet cousins sensed that response and ate it up for lunch. I noticed an expression creeping on to their face as if they were watching a horror movie.
“Are you kidding me? Wow Ted you really are a chicken.” My hatred towards these kinds of scenarios goes back. Way back. My face roasted on fire and the anger summoned beneath me was so powerful. I wouldn’t let these children; over two years younger than me say those words. So, I ended up lying to my mom that I was going to play ping-pong and video games at their house. I am a terrible liar so when I lie, I speak extremely unclearly and say the word um countless times. That was the case. I fell into the peer pressure of my cousins. I had learned in health that falling into peer pressure would always lead down a dangerous path. I could only wait to discover what my path was going to be.
Finally after all of that nonsense, I went to the battlefield where we would compete for the ultimate prize: absolutely nothing. My cousins would gear up by putting on their army colored jackets and pants and putting dark black hats over their head. They were well prepared for the chilly December evening. Their hats were actually masks with miniscule holes in them for their night vision. I couldn’t help but notice the big baggy pockets where they put a bottle of Poland Spring in case they got parched from all of the intense running and movement. Each of the three triplets also had a flashlight which produced a glaring beaming light which they used to seek out their foes. Oh my God! If I only had a flashlight it would assist me to see where I was running! It would also decrease my chances of hurting myself and going to the ER.
I started to feel relieved. There was no way I would get hurt because I could actually see! I was cutting myself some slack and not feeling so guilty for telling that lie to my parents. I asked the cousins if I could have the flashlight in a calm normal voice trying to make them say yes.
“Nope, the flashlights are only for the searching team, if you had one that would be cheating.” This got me so angry I couldn’t believe what I was about to say “Dude, I lied to my parents and gave up my own time to play your little sissy game and you won’t even let me have a $#@# flashlight? Can I at least be on the team that has one? “
“Nope, the teams are set. The three of us are the searchers v you and two other boys we scraped up from the neighborhood.” So, instead of my begging and pleading like a five year old, I did nothing. I felt like knocking my cousin Louis out cold or giving him a firm slap in the face. I desperately wanted to walk out, but an inner feeling in my gut kept convincing me to play.
We didn’t speak for the rest of the evening. Finally after all of this pointless mayhem, the battle was about to begin. We took our positions with our team, and we started the war not knowing what was in store for us later on.
I had no time to hide, so I plopped myself on some grass. I felt something soft and mushy as it was absorbed into my shorts. “Great, cat poop”. I didn’t even have the time to get frustrated at myself. I performed a rapid 90 degree turn with my head and barely saw two of my cousins because their suits blended in with the environment. They dashed towards me with outstretched hands and missed me by a millimeter. I could feel the wind from the swoop of their hands. I darted away, barely seeing where I was sprinting, almost as if I was running into nothingness. I could feel their chilled, wintery breath tickle the skin on my neck. Instantly, I felt this overwhelming pain. It stung even more than a bee sting and it was right near my right eye. I became petrified at the thought of being blinded. The actual pain I felt was similar to something from seven years ago, when I was just a pudgy five year old. I was cutting a chocolate chip bagel with the large silver blade called the Laser 7. I felt an instant sharp pain in my index finger. I waved me hand fiercely back and forth as a reaction to the pain, daring to situate my eyes on the finger. I finally did keeping one eye closed. I saw bright red blood dripping down the side of my finger. Medium sized, circular pools of blood formed on the granite kitchen countertop. “Oh my God! My mom is going to get so mad at me!” I started to weep for many different reasons. Knowing my mother was going to be home in moments, I ran to seize a band aid as if a serial killer was after me. I patched up the wound as best I could. Nobody knew about this act except for me and my conscience.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t dwell on the topic of my eye pain because I could feel my shoes losing grip from the wet grass. My weight had transferred from the balls of my feet when I was running to my heels because my body had encountered a full on collision with a fence. Slowly as each moment went by my weight transferred further down my shoe. I felt my shoes completely lose grip. My body was twisted in an obtuse angle except my legs and my arms were squirming around like an octopus. It finally dawned on me what was actually happening: I was falling backwards. In my peripheral vision I could see four other boys. I just had a feeling my cousins would be thinking “Nice job Ted!!!” By now, my head was about two feet from smacking the earth’s surface. Suddenly, this creepy image slithered into my brain. It was when I was watching a movie where a teenager slipped, hit his head on a rock, and got knocked out. I was instantly frightened. My arms curled up against my chest and my legs straightened out. It looked like I was doing a float in a public pool; my body was extremely straight and stiff. I gently closed my eyes and prepared myself to be knocked unconscious.
As I made contact with the surface I prayed that my head would strike grass and praying was the most important, vital act to do at this point. There was nothing I could do, what ever happened, happened. While thinking about five different topics at once, I felt a bang from where my skull struck against the floor. I sucked in a breath and exhaled slowly trying to get my body to unwind. I could feel my heart rate slow down and was feeling thankful that I was still conscious.
I ended up in the Emergency Room the next day to get stitches for what was surprisingly a minor wound. Over the next couple of months, I didn’t do any activities that were even close to being classified as dangerous. I also was never allowed to play with my cousins at night again or play manhunt even if it was during the daytime. I reflected on why all of this even happened in the first place, the only reason is that I fell into peer pressure. It led down a dangerous path and I sure did pay the price.