Imani Lopez

United States

My name is Imani! I am a soccer player of 11 years, I am self taught on the piano,and I have a passion for writing. My dream is to become a screenwriter for movies one day.

Message to Readers

Recently edited. I could use someone to take another look at it to see if there is anything else I could do differently with my narrative. Grammar, spelling, word choice, or anything I should add or subtract. Thanks!

The 99

July 1, 2015

After another night of partying, smoking and drinking, I stumbled home disoriented and confused. I snuck into my house through the back door as quietly as possible, cautious not to wake my grandparents. When I finally made it to my room, I plopped on my bed and everything went dark, until a stern voice cut through the silence, bringing me back to into the light. 

"Where were you?" My grandpa said while sitting in my desk chair across my room.

"Huh?" I asked in confusion as I sat up to face him and attempted to come up with an excuse.

"Where were you?" he asked again a bit louder in his thick spanish accent.

"I was..." I stopped

"Where?" he yelled, anger in his tone

"Caitlyns! I was just at Caitlyns." I said, my voice shaking along with my hands

"How did you get home?" he asked me in disbelief.

"She drove." 

"Was she drinking?"


"Were you?"

"No..." I mumbled, looking around my room

He stood up and walked towards me "Let me smell your breath." 

"Why? Abuelito I wasn't..."

"Let me smell!" He said, cutting off my sentence.

I reluctantly pushed out a small huff of my breath towards him, turning my face away after I did so.  My grandpa's face changed from mad to infuriated.

"¡Dios joder!" he cussed to himself in spanish "You were drinking? and smoking?" He slightly yelled in my face.

I kept silent as my heavy, bloodshot eyes fell to the floor, preparing for my grandpa to drill more questions at me.

"I bet she was too! She drove like this?"

"Yes" I mumbled quietly.

"That's it. You are grounded. Give me your phone, and your laptop. You will get them back when you decide to better yourself."

"But Abuelito..."

"No 'buts!' it is two in the morning. You are drunk, and high, and let a drunk person drive home!" He paused to cathc his breath "You could have been killed mija!" He scolds me, with a strain in his voice. He sighs, "Go to bed. We will talk about this more en la mañana con su Abuela." He says he gathers my belongings and walks out of my room.

Still feeling the effects of the alcohol wearing at my energy, I didn't feel well enough to be upset over this. I stumbled to my drawer and slipped into some pajamas. I sunck into bed and slipped into a deep sleep.

Early the next morning my alarm woke me for church.

Drowzy and tired with my head throbbing, I got dressed and went downstairs to eat breakfast. I finished it quickly and grabbed some asprin and gatorade hoping it would help my headache. 

I guess you can say it all started when I began to realize the frustrating factors of my life. My dad was in and out of my life ever since I was born. When he was home, he just caused problems, but when he was gone it made me sad, wondering where my dad was. While my dad was here, he managed to make my mom lose her job by taking her car and not returning in time with it; he also deminished my mom's credit and got us evicted from our 2 bedroom apartment. 

After my mom lost her job, she never got a new one. With my two younger sisters, living off  of government money was not enough and caused many money conflicts and stress. My grandparents could see my mother's struggle and offered to take us in. So today, I live under my grandparents roof. I don't get to see my mom or two year old baby brother everyday, which leads to a depressing feeling I still feel today.

After realizing how stressful my life was, I found that getting away with drugs and alcohol somehow numbed the pain and gave me a certain happiness I longed for-until that day I went to church. 

When my grandparents came downstairs ready for church, they lecutred me on how my lifestyle was not only hurting me, but my loved ones as well. As an ignorant teenager, I brushed it off, for I have gotten that lecture many times before.

When we got to church, I went to youth service, while my grandparents went to the main one. I can't remember much of what the lesson was that day, but I definitely remember the pastor showing a video titled The 99. It was an advertisement for a walkthrough theater that had just come to town called that was supposed to show the consequences of making bad choices. 

After recieving tickets for The 99, I walked out to the main service to wait for my grandparents. When they came out, the instantly told me what I already knew about the theater and insisted that we go. I was hesitant, but I didn't have much of a choice.

Upon arriving at the The 99, which was a big red 20,000 square foot red tent, I became a bit nervous. The logo for The 99 was quite intimidating itself, and I could also hear the screams from inside, once you arrived to the front entrance. 

The theater opened with a video, which showed the leading causes of death in the USA. After, I walked into the first room, which was dark and eerie with a cage in the middle. This is where we met our "spirit guide" who was dressed in a fully black cloak, and walked us through the theater.

The next room we were led into was the "Car accident room" which made me sick to my stomach. It showed two cars that were collided together, and teenagers dead inside, covered in blood and gory gashes. This was the consequence of drinking and driving. The teens were dressed nice, as if they had just come from prom and tears welled up in my eyes as the spirit guide said "This could be you."

The next room was the "Crack House." It had screaming people, begging the audience, while on their knees, for drugs. There were teenagers doing drugs on the couch, and a small crack baby rocking back and forth on the floor. There was a boy, slumped over in a chair with a needle in his arm. His bloodshot eyes were open, but he wasn't moving or blinking. The spirit guide stood over him, and mentioned how easily could easily take your life. 

My tears were really falling at this point, as I struggled to pull myself together for the rest of the 11 rooms. 

After exiting the theater, that concluded with a prayer with a pastor in the last room, I could do nothing but think about how easily that could be me. During my prayer, I asked for forgiveness,and strength to turn myself around.

Since The 99, I have not smoked, drank, or partied. I am an average student that excels in soccer, piano, and writing. The 99 scared me into reality, and I realized I needed to change for the betterment of myself and my family.

The 99 had such an effect on me and my family, that we have sent them many emails thanking them for allowing us to go through the experience that changed my life.

Login or Signup to provide a comment.