MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Excerpt from See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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See What I Have Done

by Sarah Schmidt

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt X
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2017, 324 pages
    Jun 2018, 352 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
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Print Excerpt

"What happened?"

Breaths were held. I sat next to Lizzie and tied my arms around her shoulders, breathed her in. An odd smell. Side by side our bodies stitched together and I felt like I was drowning in salt and sweat. The heavy drum kick of Lizzie's heart thumped along fingers and bone. She was too much for me to take. I closed my eyes, wished Lizzie would disappear each time I squeezed her.


I opened my eyes. Lizzie stared back, tried to pull away.

"Emma, let me go. You're making me feel faint." She pushed against me.

I let go of her. "What happened?"

Lizzie whispered, "Uncle is here."

That man. I scanned the room. "Why?"

"He came for a visit last night." Lizzie, almost sing-song.

"Where is he?"

"He's out running errands. He has to come back soon," Lizzie said. She chewed the inside of her cheek.

A pause, then, "Something very bad happened today, Emma," Mrs. Churchill said and sat beside me, took hold of my hand, stroked skin until it became numb. The facts were kept brief, tumbled out of Mrs. Churchill and the police officers as if they were one person:

"Someone killed your father and mother."

"Happened this morning."

"We had believed that Mrs. Borden was out visiting a relative, but . . ."

"Your sister is in shock."

"Lizzie found him in the sitting room this morning."

"Your maid and Mrs. Churchill discovered your mother in the guest room."

"Lizzie had sent Bridget to get help."

"No sign of forced entry."

I wanted something to make sense. How long had I been away?

"Emma, hold me close again." Lizzie like a cat.

The noise of voices continued. Mrs. Churchill spoke softly into my ear, " . . . I couldn't believe it was happening . . . oh . . . I saw Lizzie by the door . . . there . . . I asked her . . . we made sure . . ." I tried to shrug away sensations of pins and needles, forced voices out of my head. I caught Lizzie's tongue peeking through, swirling over her teeth. The noise it made. I smiled at my sister, stroked her temples, tried to get her to calm. Lizzie's heart beat through the sides of her head; rapid, mountainous, and cascaded into my fingers. I wanted the world to stop.

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See What I Have Done © 2017 by Sarah Schmidt. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher, Atlantic Monthly Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic, Inc. All rights reserved.

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