the Composition
for Honours Class,
Howard University,

  Authors & Artists


Faces & Voices 4
Faces & Voices 5

Shara D. Taylor
Memphis, Tennessee - International Business

        The thought of going to a nightclub was one that had always disgusted her. Being in a cramped, enclosed room with a mob of hot, sweaty, smelly people did not fit her description of having a good time. There would be alcohol and drugs mixed with the dangerously high hormone levels of young people who had never been exposed to this type of environment. Nita’s mother and grandmother had warned her to stay away from these types of gatherings, but her youthful curiosity had been piqued. She listened enviously to the wild, fantastic stories of her immature and easily influenced classmates, who partied on a regular basis. Her uninformed, naïve mind was intrigued by the scandalous tales of alcohol, drugs, men, and sex. She had never heard such stories in her small, close-knit hometown of Ripley, Tennessee. She dreamed day and night about what it would be like to attend such an orgy. Against her better judgment and despite her mother’s advice, she decided to go just one time, not knowing that this would be her only time.
        She studied the contents of the small closet. Really, there was not much from which to choose. She owned only one dress which would be appropriate for her appointment; the short-sleeved, navy blue Harlena item with white trim around the collar and hemline. She clearly remembered the day she bought it; a whole paycheck blown. Sixty-five dollars.
        That was two years ago and she had not dared repeat the extravagance; in fact, it was the last dress she had bought in over two years. The garment was now a little frayed, but last night she had done a nice touch-up job with needle and thread. She slipped it over her head and stood before the cracked mirror, critically surveying herself. A strand of fake pearls, a long-ago birthday gift from a former admirer encircled her long neck.
        “Well, Nita,” she said to her reflection. “This is about the best you can do, so, girl-child, go out there and knock ‘em dead.”
        She and a group of girls from her dorm went to the party together. A handsome yet sly-looking, seemingly nice, college-aged boy greeted them at the door. He offered them all drinks, and they all accepted without hesitation. Nita quickly discovered that she thoroughly enjoyed the taste of alcohol, so she asked for another. And another. And another. She quickly became so inebriated that she could hardly stand up on her own. The young man who had met them at the door volunteered to give her a ride home. Apparently, nobody knew that he, too, had been drinking. They left together in his freshly cleaned, fire-red, two-seater Lexus convertible.
        As they rounded sharp curves and corners at extremely high speeds, she suddenly became aware of what was happening. She begged him to slow down, but he ignored her pleas and pushed the accelerator as far down as it could go. He watched the fear in her face through the corner of his eye, and an evil smirk crossed his face. He took his hand off the steering wheel in an attempt to touch her, but lost control of the vehicle and plummeted nearly 200 yards down a steep embankment that was not visible from the main road. The once beautiful car was now a heap of mangled steel and the final resting place for two people who were much too young to die.

© 2002 Howard University
(First Published in limited print edition, An Anthology of Verse, Prose & Art, by the Composition for Honours Class, Howard University, Spring 2002. Professor E.R. Braithwaite)
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