“I’m sick of your nonsense.”

I say nothing.

“Don’t you have anything to say?”

“To you? No,” I say. My voice is like steel.

It cuts him. If there’s anything Piko hates, it’s disrespect. I will never respect him. Not even if he was the last person on earth.

“Why is this kitchen not clean?”

I look at him for a long time. He doesn’t turn away. He’s looking for a fight.

“You clean it,” I say.

He loses it. He lunges at me. I am too fast though. I’m like that guy in the Matrix, all bendy. His hand misses me, but manages to get hold of my vest. I manage to break free, and sprint into the lounge.

“Come back here!” he roars.

He is losing control. My heart is thumping like it’s going to explode. I will never let him touch me. Not again. I’d rather die.

He stalks into the living area like a predator.

The TV is still on, but on silent. The room is semi-dark, lit only by the lamp and TV. On the couch is a half-eaten bowl of chips. Beer bottles and an ashtray mounded with stompies sit on the cracked glass coffee table.

His eyes are cold, calculating. I know if he gets his hands on me, there is going to be serious damage. I wouldn’t put it past him to kill me, he is so angry.

We’re on opposite sides of the room. He’s watching to see where I will run next.

“I’m leaving,” I say.

“No, you’re not.”

“I am,” I repeat. “I can’t live with you. I hate you!”

“You ungrateful little–” and he runs at me again.

I try and slip past him but he trips me, cleverly. I fall to the ground, landing on my back. Before I can spring back up, he’s on top of me. He clutches my jaw in his hand.

“You can’t leave. You have nowhere else to go. Nobody would want you,” he says, looking directly into my eyes.

I snap.


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