BURN THE GIRLS - Chapter 2
The girls spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening in the throes of normalcy. Like every other weeknight, Constance set the dinner table while Delilah prepared the meal and Abigail pretended to complete her homework in her bedroom. Constance could hear Abigail giggling and singing in her room, evidence of the younger girl’s lack of focus and productivity.
While Constance feigned dislike before setting the table, a small part of her reveled in the organization and accomplishment. Every plate, fork, knife, napkin, and drinking glass had its place. Each setting appeared nearly identical to the next. From empty to set in minutes, the completion of another task felt like a small achievement to put behind her before moving to the next.
This behavior ran counter to what Constance observed of Abigail. Upstairs, the girl hid away, avoiding any real achievement or accountability. Each night, she’d sit on her bed with her textbooks, pencils, and her notebook splayed before her. However, the pages of the notebook contained doodles and scribbles of imaginary scenes rather than cursive writing or progressively expanding equations. Constance would never be confused for class Valedictorian, but she always completed assignments, academic or otherwise. She focused, she progressed. Abigail chose distractions over requirements whenever possible.
She was probably having a conversation with some imaginary friend. That’s exactly what it sounded like to Constance, the muffled discourse of a one-sided conversation between Abigail and whoever she invented in the moment.
“Connie, would you call your sister down for dinner?” Delilah asked, stirring the pot of macaroni and cheese.
Constance hated that nickname. “Got it.” She dropped the last cloth napkin on the table and walked briskly to the stairs.
Behind her bedroom door at the top of the stairs, Constance heard Abigail engaged in an animated exchange.
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