American Chimera – 22.3

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“She’d found some way to get drugs. I don’t know what kind. But the cops took her in, sent her to the VA where the shrinks tried to help her. She was gone a long time.” Stacy wiped her face, beat back tears with her eyelids. “Oh God. Oh, God, I don’t know what’s happened to Antigen on accounta me. Dani is real – you know it, I know it, but her doctors didn’t. What did they make her suffer? What did they do to her? What if I’d just let it go and never called Mom about that?”

The interrogator clenched a fist. “It’s not your fault. Your Auntie Jen is here, in a cell. I’m not a psychologist, but I think she should be able to get over some of her issues, especially when we reveal that she’s been right all this time.”

A tear rolled out of Stacy’s eye and ran down her cheek. “We’re not gettin’ out of here, ever, are we?”

“No,” the interrogator answered. She reached to a lower shelf of her side table and removed a box of clean handkerchiefs. While handing the box to Stacy, she paused, but just for a moment, before giving her the box. “You and Auntie Jen aren’t going to leave this facility for the rest of your lives. What happens to you is more dependent on politics than any sort of behavior on your parts.”

Stacy rubbed her eyes with a handkerchief, then squinted her eyes angrily. “Then why ask all these questions? What do you want from me?” She tossed the handkerchief to the ground. “You’ve got Dani under lock and key. You got her parents, me, Antigen, God knows who else. Why can’t I see Mom or Dad? What did I do wrong?!”

The interrogator closed her tablet. “This isn’t about wrong or right. It’s about what’s convenient.” She stood, offering a hand to Stacy. “Come along. Our time today is up.”

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