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eunica otani, 2012

Here's one thing I learned: Frightening things don't always have to be lobotomy asylums or freakishly huge spiders - sometimes they're just simply disguised as none other than your humble abode. Or on my case, at least.

     Two years ago, on the very day I turned fifteen, I stood outside my house, my fists balled up. My eyes were glued to the structure that looked ever-so-haunted to me. With the old and unfriendly-looking picket fences, the unmanaged lawn many stray dogs liked to defecate on, the unpainted wooden set of stairs that led up to our threshold, and the dusty lineup of windows on both levels that seemed like they were glaring down at every passers, our house very much reminded me of the terror that was inside ­– my dad,

          School was very exhausting. Aside from the fact that our PE class consisted of three rounds of dodge-ball and seven laps of running around the whole gymnasium, I still had to do my duties as I was in detention (I was sent to detention for not attending the first three classes for three weeks – I went to school late.), and had to clean up the boys' bathroom both, second level of my building. And boy do I tell you, the stink was more than I could take.

       Beat and exhausted, all I could ever think of was my bed; that comfy, soft, and heavenly feeling of my bed. All I could ever think of – but never was something I was going to get and I knew that all too well.

         I heaved one final sigh as I opened the gate, walking my way to our threshold. Halfway, I started to hold my backpack's strap tightly – I knew there was something bad that's going to happen. There always was. And I was right. Just right before I knelt down to take off my shoes, he appeared right behind a plant stand, an almost empty bottle of beer on his hand. He looked at me, and his eyes crossed and uncrossed. Even from a fairly spaced distance, I could hear his breathing: tugged, drunken.

          What was new?

          "Your birthday," my father mumbled. "How was it?"

          Surprised that he still remembered my birthday, I just gave him one look of awe without a single hint of smileage, and didn't say anything. After a while, I bent over to get rid of my shoes, held the pair in one hand, and tried to reach for the front door, desperately wanting to pass by my father.

       Too bad, he was quick.

       His hand caught my arm, holding it into a tight grip. He looked at me, raising his other hand that held a bottle of vodka above his head, as if to toast. Unexpectedly, he laughed. Wincing at the sound of his loud, dry, and humorless laugh, I averted my gaze from his face to the ground. It was terrifying, the way he did it. It reminded me of those demonic sounds I often hear on horror movies.

         "Hey - hey, look at me," he ordered. But I did not look at him. "Are you disrespecting me?"

         I hastily shook my head no. He didn't get the gesture, I guess. Because as I've done it, he threw the bottle of beer he was holding. It fell, bounced, and finally shattered on the cold ground. I immediately took my arm off his grip and spaced a little farther from him, but he reached me and pushed me down, so I landed on the ground. I tried getting up on my feet, but he brought his left hand onto my left jaw. I lost my balance again; my back collided flatly with the tiled floor. I touched my nose with my fingers, and felt a thick liquid coming out from it - I swear to God it was blood.

      I have always hated blood. The smell, the texture - everything about it. It constantly reminded me of times exactly like this one. And times like this, I must say, I didn't want or need to remember.

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