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I Dare You

Grace Wang

Isobelle Carmody Award

for Creative Writing


The door slammed shut. Everything in the room seemed to shrink

away from the entryway, awaiting the presence of


, waiting for his

polished shoes to slice through the calm, peaceful atmosphere. I was

a statue at the kitchen table, arms balanced, legs crossed, pencil

poised for writing, not even a breath daring to escape my lips as he

walked into the room, footsteps calm and steady, perfectly normal

footsteps. He dropped his briefcase onto the floor, a natural and

ordinary action, perfectly normal in every way. He walked to the

kettle and filled it with water before flicking the machine into action,

perfectly normal. The scene appeared to be mundane, his every

movement was typical and average, his behaviour was nothing special,

nothing to be noted, but as I sat there and as he placed a teabag into

a mug, there was such an immense amount of anticipation and fear

collected in the room, it was pressing into me, forcing my body to

remain perfectly still, blocking my airways and my mind. I knew he

could feel it too.

Ding. ding. ding. The phone vibrated and blared its happy tune.

He walked out of the room and soon, an explosion of yelling and

cursing ensued. This routine was repeated like a dance sequence

everyday. I knew who was on the line. I knew what happened every

time my mother called. Almost immediately, yells of ‘When are you

coming home you useless woman?’ and ‘Your daughter is just like

you!’ bounced off the ceiling and walls to reach my ears. I cowered as

he dropped the receiver with a loud clang and stormed into the

room, his face red with barely contained fury as his eyes dart wildly

to my face. ‘You,’ he spat. I flinched at his voice. ‘Upstairs. Now.’

I dropped my pen and it slid off the table soundlessly as I scurried

up the stairs and into my room. His feet pounded after me, each step

echoing with rage and madness. Before my body registered his

presence, a slap was delivered to my face. No sound escaped frommy

lips as tears streamed down my face in a steady waterfall. The room

blurred around me into a muddle of colour and pain. I crawled

towards the doorway frantically, only to see his face, inches from

mine. ‘Running away?’ he snarled, his face contorted into a mask of

disgust. ‘Go on,’ he said, smirking, ‘I dare you.’ He dragged me by my

hair as I desperately attempted to escape his vice-like grip. He

delivered blow after blow, all whilst yelling obscenities and cursing

my mother and I to hell.

And abruptly, I felt water. Water in my eyes. Water in my nose.