A simple premise; a bold promise
To present one story per day, every day—
providing exceptional authors with exposure
and avid readers with first-rate fiction.

Today's Story by Caitlin Myer

The three of us at the center of the world.

Serialization Sunday: Hoodoo – Chapter 46

Every Sunday, Fiction365 presents a new chapter in a previously unpublished novel.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 46

I didn’t have anything ready to say to him. I’d come all this way, and I didn’t know what to say. He looked at me and blinked, then ran a hand over his hair. His eyes dropped down to my stomach. I opened my coat, exposing my roundness. The baby was awake, throwing out an elbow, or a foot.

I took Bobby’s hand and put it on my belly.

Color leaked into his cheeks and I felt blood in mine. The baby lurched under his hand. I felt a shudder in the air around us, our three bodies vibrating in unison. Something was happening. I guess we were wrong, I guess it was wrong of us, but I couldn’t un-love, I couldn’t unstick him from my heart. His hand turned hot on my skin, through my tent of a maternity dress. He looked up at me, and opened his mouth, and a voice from inside the apartment behind him, a woman’s voice, stopped his breath in its tracks.

“Honey? Who is it?”

I stepped back, breaking the link between us. Who was I to judge? But it hurt. The sidewalk tilted under my feet. I stepped back, and a sick feeling spread out from between my legs. I was wetting myself, I was flooding. My water broke, splashing onto concrete. I wasn’t due for a week, but a contraction hit hard, startling a bark out of me. I held onto my cane to keep from keeling over. It passed, and I looked up to see Bobby had stepped closer, pulling the door almost shut behind him, closing away that voice. He was barefoot. He looked ready to catch me if I fell. The baby was coming, I felt her moving down, pressing out, and I had the urge to squat right where I was and push. My mind blanked, shut down, and all I could think was hospital, people in white smocks and shining clean capable hands and I’m tottering out toward the street and Bobby is next to me and then he isn’t, but I can see the car, I just have to make it to the car and another contraction just about knocks me to my knees and I’m almost there and then I’m there, sliding in behind the wheel and keys in and motor on and I gotta drive, I gotta clear my head and look out the windshield and drive.

I look out, and there are people in their Sunday clothes, on their way to church. They’re all stopped, they’re looking in the same direction, at the driveway to Bobby’s apartment building, at two men, Bobby and someone else, Bobby and Mike. It’s Mike, my brother Mike, the thought takes a minute to click into place, Mike must have followed me all the way from Lemuel, and the two are holding onto each other like they’re dancing, and Bobby lifts Mike right off his feet, but Mike gets himself free, I can’t tell what happened, it was fast and vicious, but they’ve separated, I’m watching, my feet resting on the pedals, and Mike ducks under, he ducks his head and rams Bobby in the stomach, and I feel it, no, it’s another contraction, a bad one, and it’s a second before I know my foot’s jammed on the gas, the car jumps ahead as Bobby stumbles back into the street. He sees the car, he sees me, and he holds up his hands, like he’s going to give a blessing to the hood of the Olds. I’m rushing toward him, I’m running into his arms or running at him or running him down. The bumper is almost at his knees before I hit the brakes but it’s too late, he’s down.

The baby was coming for real now and I just had time to get my feet over to the passenger side so she could tear her way out.

A vast silence. The earth stopped rocking, the sky righted and fixed in space. I reached out for my baby and brought her close. She was slippery and squirming, her mouth open but nothing coming out, the cord in her belly still connecting her to me. I remembered then, you have to clear the gunk out so she can breathe. I put my fingers into her mouth and opened up her throat, and the sound of her little lungs sucking in breath was sweeter than a hymn. The first screams were coming out of her and I was jolted by a movement, a face at the window. It was Bobby. He was looking in, smiling, his hair sticking up. A door slid open at the back of his eyes and I saw into him and through him to wheeling infinity, a live spark lighting up the space between us. The baby’s lips moved against breast and I opened my dress to her. She closed her mouth around my nipple and pulled the spark through my body, the three of us at the center of the world. Bobby smiled while a siren came screaming. He turned to the sound and the back of his head was a matted clump of gore. He looked in again at me, the muscles in his face pulling his mouth into a smile, a trickle of blood sliding down his neck. His eyes went dark, rolling upward to look – but there was nothing left inside to do the looking. He straightened up and tipped, stiff as an ironing board, and fell out of sight.


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


To comment on this story, visit Fiction365’s Facebook page