Excerpt from “The Daughter” from Portrait of An American Family Short Story Series

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“No right to what? I never really hurt you. It was all just a bad dream, remember? You say one thing about the nightmare you’ve invented and you’ll never make it to that cap and gown you ordered. This conversation is over. Take yourself up the stairs, neatly collect your things, and leave. I’ll make sure the good doctor is paid in full, and explain that you won’t be returning. You’ll be a good sister who keeps her mouth shut, and we’ll live happily ever after. Oh. And while you’re upstairs, make your bed. The last thing I need now is to hear our mother complain about your stupid sheets on the floor.”

Joe released his grip from Evey’s throat, letting her fall gasping on the floor. He turned to his plate of bacon, grabbing a slice with one hand as he wiped his brow with the other. Half crunching his bacon, half choking from his own tirade, Joe muttered “It’s cold. See what you did, Evey, you stupid whore. My bacon is cold.”

She never heard him. She was already back in her room packing her bag. It would be the last time she’d ever be back in that town, alive anyway.

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