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Do you know the great shame that you have brought to us with this disgraceful act?" The question was followed by a resounding and forceful slap to the girl's face that had her reeling back with the force of it. Her lower lip broke and began to bleed immediately.

"Tom, please." Her mother, a timid-looking woman with dark, unkempt hair whispered feebly, her equally dark eyes darting this way and that as though searching for an escape route. She was drunk, and all she could think of was that she wanted to sleep. However, her husband wanted her here and so she had to be here. He had locked the door so that she had to stay, although she was not sure what purpose her staying there would serve.

"Shut up!" Tom roared. "Do you know the magnitude of disgrace and shame that this devil's advocate has brought to me? Oh, God! What will the congregation say when they know of this? My image will be ruined." He swayed a little, as though he was drunk, which he very often was. But at that moment, he was not drunk, at least not with alcohol. He was drunk on anger and hatred. The girl cowered in the corner, still but for the silent sobs that shook her entire frame. She was slender, with the same dark hair as her parents, but hers shone with health and youth.

"What has she done?" Her mother asked, looking over at her daughter where she cowered on the floor. She didn't particularly care about what the girl had done, but the sooner they got this over with, the faster she could go to bed, or better still go and finish up her drink.

"She went and got herself knocked up, that's what!" Tom exclaimed, almost triumphantly in the way that some people did when they were the bearers of news that other people knew nothing about. He looked at his wife to see how she was taking this news. The woman looked shell-shocked, but then she always looked shocked. She was staring wide-eyed at her daughter, as though the girl had suddenly sprung horns akin to those of the demons that she read about in her bible. However, she did not say a word but watched with that same wide-eyed stare as Tom advanced on his daughter where she cowered in the corner of the spacious room. The girl whimpered, knowing what was coming, and tried to dodge him, but there was no point. Her father grabbed her in one swift movement and began raining blows on her.

"Please, dad…" She whispered feebly, even though she knew that she was only going to enrage him further.

"I'm not your father! I cannot believe that a blood of mine would blatantly seek for my downfall and disMildred. You're no daughter of mine. Just look at you! You're only fifteen for crying out loud, but yet you're throwing yourself all over the town and spreading your legs for any imbecile who looks your way." He yelled, spittle flying from his mouth as he continued to rain blows on her.

"Mom, please, help me…" She appealed to her mother who was standing by the door and watching the whole thing with dull eyes. Even the shocked look had disappeared from the woman's face and in it was a look akin to contempt mixed with boredom.

"Your body is the temple of the living God and fornication is a sin. You knew this and we've drummed it into you right from the onset. You must be punished." Her mother said in a voice that sounded as though it was coming from a marble sculpture. Cold and distant. The blows continued to rain on every part of her body until she could hardly breathe and she was bleeding from her nose and mouth.

"I'll get rid of it, please. I'll get rid of it, but please, stop." She managed to get out.

Her father paused the beating for some seconds to look at her with fresh anger."And become a murderer? You want your soul to be damned forever? No, you will keep this reminder of your shame and you will birth it. It is bad enough that you're a fornicator, but you will not become a murderer. No, not under my roof!"

The girl thought feebly that with the way he was beating her, it was as though he wanted to get rid of the baby with his bare hands, but all thoughts soon fled from her as the beating continued. All she could think of was the pain and how she wanted it all to end. Some minutes later, she fell into blissful unconsciousness.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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