The Principal's Daughter

The Principal's Daughter

by Russ Katz


Publisher Dog Ear Publishing

Published in Biographies & Memoirs/Memoirs, Biographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction

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Book Description

Biography about a little girl, Kim Tuyen, growing up in Vietnam during the war, her daring escape from oppression, and how she finally found freedom in America.

Sample Chapter

Suddenly there was an eerie calmness. We were all silent. The only noise was the small machine powering the boat humming in the background. The shadows and shades of black began to open up as we left the safety of the thick vegetation along the Sông Dinh [song din] River. The rickety wooden boat creaked as salty bay water splashed against its sides, sending a mist into the thick tense air. The buzzing of the insects and chirping of crickets began to fade into the distance.

“Tất cả mọi người yên tĩnh,” [tut cah moh new-e yen teen] our scrawny ragged captain, the boat owner, our leader, calls out to all the lost souls packed shoulder to shoulder, cramped in this death trap. I sat in the middle of the crowd, fifty to sixty people cramped in this tight space hidden in a secret compartment under the boat’s precious faux cargo of fish and ice. There was no room to lie down or stretch out. My knees were tight against my chest and my arms wrapped around my legs hugging myself in false security. The smell of diesel, sweat, dead fish, and stale sea water radiated in the heat of thick humid air. He takes another puff on his cigarette to calm his nerves. Even the captains do not return home with the boat, it is their escape as well as ours on this one way descent into the high seas. Whether we reach freedom or the sea claims out souls there is no return. “Tất cả mọi người yên tĩnh,” he repeats. Everyone quiet.

The small boat creaked as it rocked a top the gentle current, slowly taking us out to the loneliness of the South China Sea. Gas lanterns along thatch houses on the banks now faded into nothingness—blackness, the unrelenting darkness of a moonless night. My heart pounded harder than I had ever felt in the past. My fingertips pulsed with every beat as a numbing fear washed over my entire self, a strange tinging feeling. Everyone was on edge. Without warning the diesel engine kicked up louder and we started moving faster. We all swayed to the back, leaning against one another. I looked out the small air vent of a window, blinded by a brilliant spotlight shining directly at us. They were right upon us, no more than twenty-five meters away. Pah pah pah pah pah we heard in rapid succession. Bullets pinged off the side of the vessel, splintering the wood through to the cabin. Still, the boat did not slow.

A man to my left at the far end was the first to panic. “Ngừng chạy, ngừng chạy, [noon choi, noon choi] STOP RUNNING!” he shouted, repeatedly pounding with his closed fist on the wodden planked ceiling. “Ngừng chạy, ngừng chạy, họ bắn vào chúng tôi, [hoe ban vow choo toy] Bạn muốn chết [bon moon chet] stop running, stop running, they’re shooting at us, do you want to die! Do you want us all to die!” he repeated over and over in a mad fury but it was no use, the engines were cracked up to full speed and the humming drowned out his voice with white noise. The captain could not hear us.

Again we heard Pah pah pah pah pah as they fired their AK47 machine guns. The sounds of bullets hitting the side of the boat echoed in my ears. Everyone jumped. The engines kicked off and the boat came to a dead stop.

“Oh my god they already caught us,” I thought, feeling as if I had to throw up. Everything seemed to fog over, I felt numb. I fell over from my hugging position onto the dirty sea-ridden floor of the boat. Fish juice mixed with unthinkable bodily fluids washed back and forth around my face. I reached my hand to my side, feeling a sharp searing pain. It was wet, my hand was covered in wetness, blood was everywhere. The shimmering brilliant lights of the spot lights and yelling faded into the background as my head became light, dizzy, and everything went black.


Excerpted from "The Principal's Daughter" by Russ Katz. Copyright © 2016 by Russ Katz. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Russ Katz

Russ Katz

Russ Katz is a graduate from the University of Maryland in Computer Science with a minor in anthropology. He currently works in the information technology field for a large online brokerage firm and national bank; also a licensed Realtor, Owner of Northern Virginia Steaks and Cakes, President of the home owners’ association, and writer. His first published work, in 2012, is a Science Fiction novel titled “Evolution.” For more information you can visit him at

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