A Short Story : A Story?

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“Begging pardon, madam,” Ellie said. “But it’ll be easier if we can take turns doing the fetching and bringing out the courses, as we always do.”
There was a long pause and Ellie instantly became nervous. It was never good when her stepmother paused like this. There was a sharp whistling noise that sounded like Frances was sucking air between the gaps of her front teeth. Only when Mrs. Tuttle had gone to fetch the potatoes did Frances speak.
“Ellie, come over to the rug,” she said. “Stand behind that chair, so I can see you.”
She did as she was told, placing her hands behind her back and forcing herself to look at the odious visage of her stepmother. Everything about the woman seemed repellent; her cold, marble face and those lifeless gray eyes. She did not seem real, this statue of a woman. She did not seem to be possessed of those usual qualities of humanity: love, forgiveness, patience, and compassion.
“It is not your place to correct me, Eleanor Katherine,” she said imperiously. “When I say something, there is to be unquestioned obedience, every single time. Understood?”
Ellie bowed her head. “Yes, madam, of course.”
“You know that I do not permit back talk in this house,” she continued, eyeing her sharply. “You have a dreadful penchant for it, but I suppose that was your late mother’s inheritance. Still, such things cannot be abided. I am the authority in this house, are we clear?”
“Yes, madam.”
“Good. Now, go and pick out every single lentil from that fireplace.”
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