Empty Red Shells

Anthony - San Diego, California
Entered on April 21, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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The images flashed by my eyes in a rapid succession. For each image, my eyes would receive the light, my mind would interpret it, and my heart would study it, all within the second that it was on the screen. The room was silent, speechless peers sniffled, were tearing up. They gasped at each new image, each new body or set of bodies. Mangled metal, blood, and lifeless corpses filled the screen. Motorcyclists with their faces completely gone, only open skulls and brains atop their otherwise unscathed bodies. A man completely impaled by a telephone pole, it shoving through his abdomen and into his torso, like a man-on-a-stick. I believe that drunk driving is wrong, and I have a good number of reasons.

Ennis Jackson was a paramedic that was hired by my high school to show us what drunk driving accidents were really like. I, along with the rest of my classmates and the rest of the students with religion the same period, shuffled into the lecture hall, a smaller, more intimate room than the giant auditorium. I procured a front row seat, close to the large projecting screen in the middle of the room. Ennis began the lecture with a fun role play, some laughs, and a personal joke or two. But he soon got down to business. “I am about to show you a very slideshow, I think it is something you should all see”, he warned. The lights darkened, the video began, and Ennis, faded into the corner, with a rather stoic look on his face. The video wasted no time. It went right into the blood and guts, the twisted metal and broken glass. “These are pictures that I have taken myself”, Ennis explains over the music of the video. On some faces, the eyes were still open, wide in a mystifying panic, staring off into heaven. For others, they had no face to speak of. Only empty red shells of a head. As each new body passed by, I felt that I recognized each one of them more and more. I placed my own loved ones, with the corpses on the screen. There was my sister, body parts strewn apart after her car wrapped around a tree. And there was my brother, squeezed in between the roof and the floor of a car flattened to waist hieghth. The lights came back on after a barrage of more photographs, and the short story of a woman stuck in a car that had caught on fire, permanently disfiguring her; the image of which will never escape my memory. The hall emptied, without a word.

After seeing my brother, sister, parents, and a couple of cousins’ dead bodies on screen I had made myself a pact. Never am I going to drive drunk, or get into a car with a driver that has been drinking.