I was struggling to breathe. Sweat poured from my blushed face. My legs were aching but I knew I couldn’t stop. I had to keep going. I had to get home. Fast. Minutes later I arrived in my driveway, my face cherry-red. My unopened letterbox was stuffed with week’s worth of soggy papers. I didn’t have time to even consider bringing them inside, I knew I was already late.
As I approached the front door, I noticed the once bright green paint, peeling away and the brass doorknob had grown cold and rusty. I took a deep breath before opening the door, trying to calm myself before facing the man who’s supposed to care for me the most. The door was stiff and needed to be nudged to open. A loud creak echoed throughout the nearly empty house. I crept down the thin damp hallway, praying not to be noticed. My brother’s door was wide open, I heard bright chirping from his Nintendo console. He lay on his bed with console in hand, fixated on his game. “Nick, do you know if Dad’s still here?” I asked hoping he had gone out to get some more milk or something. No response. Feeling unwanted, I continued to walk down to my room.
My room was at the end of the hallway, only a couple of doors down from my brothers. Without hesitation I forced myself inside, threw my bag down on the floor and shut the door. “Where the hell have you been all afternoon?” boomed a deep, husky voice. My heart stopped. I turned around. Sitting on my bed was a broad, unshaven man holding nearly empty bottle of whisky. I knew what he was about to do. “I stayed after school to catch up on my maths work.” My voice was shaky, I was trying to hold back the tears but could feel them start to race down my hot cheek.
“You can start telling the truth Laura! No-one that thick would be stupid enough to stay after school.” Whisky wafted along my father’s drunken breath. He stood up, head almost hitting the high ceiling. His stained shirt was made more apparent. I stuttered, I didn’t know what to say.
He dropped his bottle onto the floor. It shattered into pieces on my wooden floor. “You don’t want me to hit you again, don’t ya’ Laura?” He came towards me. I began to panic. I turned to open my door but he just slammed it before I could leave. As I looked back it him his fist was in the air, ready to launch on top of me. Before I could even remember to breath; I felt his bony knuckles lashing down on my fragile face.
The sun poured through the window onto my bruised face. My right eye was still stinging and my eyelids were filled with tears. As I rolled over onto my side, a thought streamed through my head. I knew what I had to do. I couldn’t continue being used as my own father’s punching bag. It was time to do something.
As I walked into the kitchen, I could hear my father was slurring what sounded like swear words at the TV. I quickly made him a ham and cheese sandwich and I quietly rubbed it on the floor under the fridge, where my dad had put the rat poison. The top of the sandwich came out looking a dark blue colour so I turned that side facedown on the plate. As I crept into the lounge, he watched the television as if I was not there. “Here, Dad” I put the plate down on the table in front of him and turned to leave.
“What’s this blue crap? You giving me a mouldy sandwich you little brat!” I scurried back towards him trying not to make eye contact, took the plate and left before he could think about harming me again.
By morning I had another plan. The medicine cabinet in the bathroom was full of all sorts of pills. With the amount that my dad drunk, he wouldn’t even know what hit him. I grabbed three different, unusual shaped bottles and poured about a dozen pills onto the chopping board and begun crushing them. The fridge was filled with all different brands of alcoholic drinks. I couldn’t stand the smell of alcohol. I tried to brush the crushed pills into the bottle but most of it missed and fell onto the floor. My dad was still on the couch slumped in the same seat. He probably hadn’t even moved since he’d sworn at me. The only difference was now my brother was sitting next to him with a bored, emotionless look on his face staring blankly at the screen.
I put the beer down on the same table as I had with the sandwich. My hand was shaking, I just wanted it to be over. My father gestured to me, “Wait.” I was startled, I hadn’t expected him to say anything. My stomach wrenched. Had he worked out what I was trying to do? His wide eyes stared through me. “Don’t cha’ think Nick is old enough for his first bear?” He grinned from ear to ear and looked over at my brother who had sat up on the couch, eager with anticipation. I panicked. I swiftly nodded and walked as fast as I could back into the kitchen to grab a beer out of the fridge and dashed back into the lounge. I put the new bottle down down on the end of the table closest to my brother. My father lazily leant over, picked up the bottle infused with crushed pills and passed it to Nick. Before I could open my quivering mouth, my brother had the drink lifted the bottom lip and sculled down a large mouthful. My heart stopped.