Emily and the Bruiser

My story about domestic violence, mental illness, and unrequited love appears in this month's issue of Beyond Imagination. After twenty-two rejections (only two close to being acceptances) and four years of submitting this tale, it's great to see "Emily and the Bruiser" finally greet the masses. I was close to giving up on this one, but I'm glad I didn't. "Never give up, never surrender!" (Galaxy Quest

Here's how it opens:

He was hitting her again. It seemed to come in waves. Weeks would go by, and she'd have no excuses, no extra make-up. But then something would set him off, some dormant hate for her mother that would overwhelm him, and all he'd see were her demeaning eyes in his daughter's face, and he'd have to beat them out of her. 

"It's nothing," she said over a burger and shared order of fries. 

Nelson made the mistake of reaching for her swollen cheek under a generous strand of blonde hair. She slapped his hand away, and he dropped it into his lap. 

"Doesn't look like nothing, Emily..." 

"Don't start." She took another bite of her burger. Nelson had finished his already—both of them.