by Eric Curtis
My inner voice – Is there a voice in your head that speaks to you, that encourages you to go forward or warn you to slow down? For example, have your homies ever asked you to do something, but a voice in your head told you not to do it? Did you listen to that voice? If not, what happened? Where does that inner voice come from? Does that voice still talk to you even now? What does it say?
For over an hour, Kevin was trying to talk James into breaking into someone’s house. James knew if he didn’t go through with it, Kevin probably wouldn’t want to hang out with him anymore. On top of that, Kevin might tell everybody at school the next day about how scared James was. That would be the worst, James thought.
Over the past summer, the two of them had done a lot: broken into a couple of cars, even set a few fires, but that was nothing compared to what Kevin wanted to do today. Twice James went home to use the bathroom, and twice James thought about not coming back. But he did.
“You ready for this?” Kevin asked.
“I, I guess so,” James managed to get out.
“Him,” Kevin said. “I’ve seen this guy before, he lives alone, and he’s always buying nice things. I know he has a lot of money in his house. Just think of all the things we could buy.”
“I, I guess,” James stammered again.
James could feel them getting closer; he was not sure how he knew, but he just did. And just when he was about to tell Kevin that he did not want to do this, Kevin pulled him down behind the car.
“He lives right over there,” Kevin said. “Look at the size of that house.”
“I see it, but I don’t want to do this, Kev. What if something goes wrong?”
“Nothing is going to go wrong, there’s no one home.”
“How do you know?” James asked.
“Because it’s Tuesday and he works during the week.”
“Come on James, don’t be scared,”
“I’m not scared, I just…”
Kevin didn’t wait for an answer; he pulled James by the arm and took off at a run. They ran to the back of the house, where once again they duck down to wait. Moments later, Kevin pulled out a very large screwdriver. He went and jammed it into the back door. Surprising James, Kevin worked like he was and old pro at the back door. Within two minutes, he was pulling James into the house.
“Kevin, there’s someone here. I hear something.”
“It’s just the radio now, come on.”
James was too nervous to pay attention to how nice the house was. It was twice the size of his mom’s house, but he could feel that something was not right.
“Kev, we have to get out of here.”
“Will you be cool? Now go over there to that shelf and look for some money.”
Before James moved, he looked back at the door they came in. It looked a mile away.
James finally did as Kevin told him. There were pictures on the shelf: a man and woman, three kids that looked the same age as James, but he didn’t recognize them, so they didn’t go to his school. James found a silver necklace laying there, a ring to match, but no money. He put both in his pocket, and turned to see where Kevin was. That’s when he threw up all over the floor.
There was this unbelievable loud noise that came from somewhere in the house. Just as James was about to call out to his friend, he heard a man shout, “I got you, you little shhh.” Realizing that the voice was not Kevin’s, James ran towards the open door in which they came.
As James ran over a mile to his school, he cried all the way there. He could think of nowhere else to go. It was still early, so he was hoping that everyone would think he was there all along. He knew his friend was dead. He could feel it.
It was third period when he reached school. His teacher could clearly see that something was wrong with James, but he lied and said his mother was mad at him for something he had done. When it was time for him to do his class work, all James could do was put his head down and continue to cry.
The news came quick. Kevin had broken into someone’s house and was killed. The vice principal came into fourth period and informed Ms. Lucas. This brought a fresh round of tears from James. His heart was ready to pump out of his chest while they talked, but there was no mention of James.
At thirteen, that night, James actually slept with his mother. He couldn’t tell her that he was there, so she thought he just needed to be comforted over the loss of his friend.
A few months had passed, the tears stopped, and James was hanging out with other friends. He vowed to never break into another house as long as he lived. But the way he lived and his surroundings never changed. James was still dealing with living in a neighborhood, going to a school that barely taught him, and dealing with a mother that had to work too much.
As James got older, his attitude got worse, and he hated everything and everybody. Was it because of the loss of his friend? He wasn’t too sure. But James kept committing crimes, until he ended up with two life sentences in prison.
You may be going through hard times right now. You may not even like where you are right now, but you can teach yourself anything. That means you can do anything you want to do in life.
Peer pressure is a strong thing for any inner-city youth, but if you don’t think your life can change, it never will. This was a true story. Many people have been killed going into other people’s homes, and it still happens today. This was an actual event, but the reason I am telling this story in this form is because I fell in love with writing and telling stories.
This is one of the things I thought to myself, and I want the same thing for those that are a part of The Beat Within. Everyone has a story to tell, it’s all about how you tell it. In the end, people like me always have to strive to do better. If not, prison is where we’ll be forever. Just something to think about…