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Today's Story by Caitlin Myer

I was pregnant.

Serialization Sunday: Hoodoo – Chapter 44

Every Sunday, Fiction365 presents a new chapter in a previously unpublished novel.  Our first serialized novel, the taut thriller City of Human Remainscan be found in full here

Our current novel, Hoodoo, tells a story of visionaries, heretics and lunatics in Utah, centered on the life of Alice Lott, a twelve-year-old girl  who believes that God wants her to have an affair with her junior high school counselor. 

Find earlier chapters in Hoodoo here.

Chapter 44

I was pregnant. There was no miraculous knowledge this time, no almost-seen images in the mirror, nothing like that. My period was late, but at first I thought that could happen when you’ve been beat up. My nose was broken and three ribs were cracked. My eye was swollen shut and I had a huge knot on my jaw. I had scrapes and bruises everywhere. While I healed up, my walking cast came off, and I traded down to a brace. I mentioned that I was late to the doctor, and he raised his eyebrows at me, and asked if I wanted a pregnancy test. Sure, I said.

The father could have been just about anybody. I told Dad and he turned disappointed eyes on me and said he’d help however he could.

I was okay with the idea of being an unwed teen mother. It kept me busy. I shaved down the mohawk and started letting my hair grow out, and one of the Relief Society ladies told me I could call her if I had questions about anything. She’d had eleven kids, so she knew the score by now.

“Do you think I was raped?” I asked her.

Her eyes flicked to the side like she was looking for a way out. “Well,” she said, “Those bruises.”

“That didn’t have anything to do with this,” I put my hands on my belly. It was starting to stick out. It felt weird and deformed to me. “Get it straight,” I told her, and picked up my retard cane and walked out. I guess she was just trying to help, but I was sick of pretending.

Randall called and asked me out on a date. We went to Taco Bell after the dinner rush. We were the only ones left in the place, just a kid in a paper hat with a push broom, sweeping the floor. Ice was melting into my Pepsi while I sat sideways in the booth, my feet up on the bench, my cane resting by my hip. I felt like I’d been talking for hours, the whole story coming out of me like a magician’s trick, like Randall pulled on the end of a string that was sticking out of my mouth, and it all came up out of my throat hanging off that thread, flags and old shoes and tires and stuff.

“It’s gonna be hard for you, taking care of a kid,” he said.

My cup sweated onto the table, and I pushed the water around with my fingers, making pictures.

“I’m not really worried about that. Maybe I should be.”

“Listen…you wanna get married?”

I smiled up at him. He took me by surprise.

“Shit,” said Randall, quietly, almost to himself, then: “Shit! Is that Johnny Cash? Hey!” he yelled at the kid with the broom, “Turn it up!”

Randall looked at me across the table, bobbing his head in time to the music.

“My name’s Sue! How do you do!”

He was singing along, pounding the table to the beat, grinning at me, eyebrows raised.

I grinned across the table at Randall, his hands on the table, long muscles running up his arms, that scar curling over his eyebrow like a decoration, I could see it all: wedding reception in the backyard, twinkle lights hanging on the bushes. A place in downtown Lemuel, Randall and me and the baby, I could see another Alice, the Alice I might’ve been if I’d never seen that light shining out from Bobby, an ordinary Alice, as ordinary as I could be.

But I kept thinking about that dream, about Bobby climbing in my bedroom window, the same window Randall used to tap tap a thousand years ago, Bobby’s lips on my ribs, my cheek. No pain where he touched me, warmth spreading from where he placed his hands, where his skin met mine.

The school year ended, and my baby grew. Every week, Randall took me out to dinner. Every week, he asked me to marry him. I told him no, but he kept asking, until it almost turned into a little joke, just between us.

I remembered Bobby coming in through my window like a spirit, like the Angel Moroni appearing to Joseph Smith. Most dreams fade, but this one seemed to grow more vivid, bigger and truer every day. The baby anchored me to this world, to what I saw and smelled and tasted, but she still held fragments of heaven between her tiny fingers. I got quiet, listening close for her heartbeat. I felt her move and I thought: Bobby.


Founder of the Portuguese Artists Colony in San Francisco, Caitlin Myer regularly reads her work at Why There Are Words, Quiet Lightning, and other established reading salons in California.  Her one woman show on Simone de Beauvoir was produced in Seattle. 

Read more stories by Caitlin Myer


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