It was just a dare, a childish little game we played all the time.

It all started out with trivial tasks: wearing another person’s glasses, prank calling somebody, swapping clothes, simple things. As the game went on, we continued to one-up each other. Trivial things slowly grew in size and intensity, turning into crazy stunts and insane trials.

But none of us ever thought the game would last this long. We all assumed somebody would eventually crack under pressure from a crazy dare and take the loss.

Amanda stared down at the ground, her face stuck in a twisted state of shock. Her eyes started to fill with tears, the clear drops trickling down her cheeks.

She slowly brought her gaze up to me. “Sydney, what the fuck?” Amanda growled. “What the hell were you thinking?”

That was the thing, I wasn’t thinking. I simply acted. As the game went on for such a long time, I started to learn how to control my sense of reason, learned how to completely get rid of any fear I had. My first few dares made me think about the consequences if it went wrong: broken limps, burnt hair, destruction of my favorite possessions, breaking friendships. I was afraid of losing any of that. Because of my cautious behavior, the game quickly became boring for me and everybody else.

I saw how my friends were just playing the game, barely taking a second thought when tasked with something crazy for a dare. Whether it was licking a pile of salt, shoving a fork into an electrical socket, or even drinking an entire bottle of vodka, they all did it with a laugh. I learned from their example and followed, learning how to block out any kind of reasoning. I learned just to act without question.

And this dare was no exception.

The faint ringing was still in my ear. I was able to clearly hear what Amanda said to me, what she shouted at me, but something just didn’t sit right with me. Amanda’s entire expression was the complete opposite of what I expected for doing the dare, and I couldn’t understand why—why wasn’t she praising me? I opened my mouth to answer but I couldn’t think of anything to really defend myself from her outburst.

“What the fuck could you possibly say, Sydney, huh?”

I felt the cold weight in my hand, looking at it. The barrel was covered in a splash of red, coating the front of the gun. The back chamber was out, a sign that the last bullet was emptied from the magazine. In this case, the last bullet was the only one.

I brought my attention back to Amanda, trying to understand why she was upset. “I did the dare, right?”

Copyright © 2019 by Luka Tatsujo

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