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

It sounded sticky and cheap when I thought of it like that.

Serialization Sunday: Hoodoo – Chapter 32

Every Sunday, Fiction365 presents a new chapter in a previously unpublished novel.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 32

“What’re you doing here?”

I jumped almost all the way out of my skin, and turned around to see who’d caught me haunting the Laban Junior High parking lot, peeking into windows.


Randall Warner, flipping Randall Warner. He’d kept growing, I guess, and working out, he looked like he could hold one of me on each shoulder. He was laughing himself silly, running out of breath, he was so proud of himself for making me jump.

“Geez, Randall. You scared me half to death. What’re you doing here?”

“I was just out for a ride on my bike. Damn, Alice, you look hot, all grown up.”

“Shut up,” I said, grinning.

“So what the fuck, Alice? What was all that shit with you? Were you like, molested?”

I laughed. Nobody had just asked me like that before. I had to laugh again, it sounded so stupid to me.

“Nope. No, I wasn’t molested, not even close,” I said, still laughing. “I was in love,” I stopped and tasted the words in my mouth. When I talked again, I was quiet, “I was in love. It was the real thing.”

“No shit,” said Randall, “With that old counselor dude?”

I nodded, looking at the empty school building, windows dark. Bobby’s window was over to the left, third one in, with the sun shining off it. I wondered whose office it was now. I nodded again.

“Nobody has any clue, Randall. No-one knows what it was like. I even, I had this idea, back then. It was dumb, but, I thought we were meant to be together, like God wanted us to be together. You know?”

Randall slid down the wall until he was sitting on the pavement. I sat down facing him.

“That’s not so dumb. You know I got kidnapped to that reform school in the canyon, right? There was this kid there? Crazy fucker, I mean dangerous violent guy, like scary. His dad came in with some other guys from his ward and gave him a special blessing, they cast out the devil. He went crazy at first, picked up one of the guys and threw him right across the room, but they kept praying, and you know? When they finished, he was just the sweetest kid you ever met. He went home that day, never had to come back. Check this, he’s gonna be a seminary teacher. So, yeah, there’s a lot of shit that happens, there’s just no other explanation for, you know?”

It was nice of him to say it, but I didn’t want to go back down that road.

“Hey,” said Randall, after I was quiet for awhile, and we’d looked at the school and looked down at the ground and I pushed the hair out of my face, “Want to go for a ride on my bike?”

For some dumb reason I’d been thinking bicycle, but we came around the corner and there was Randall’s motorcycle, huge and shining in the sunlight.

“Okay now, you have to put your arms around my waist, and hold on tight. Have you ever ridden a bike before?”

I shook my head.

“That’s okay, you’ll get the hang of it—you’re a ballet girl, right? Just lean with me, okay? When we go into a corner, you’ll want to lean away from it, ‘cause it’s gonna feel like we’re gonna tip over, but you gotta lean into it, or we will, okay? It’ll feel weird at first, but you’ll get it.”

He started the bike, and over the engine I shouted, “Where are we going?”

“It’s a surprise,” he yelled back, “I wanna show you something cool. Hold on!”

And we lurched ahead, my breath left back in the parking lot and I tightened my grip around his middle. The wind blew into my eyes and my hair’s stinging ends whipped my face, and I closed my eyes as we pushed through a whole world of smells and thicknesses of air, and pockets of warmth followed closely by chill. I started to concentrate on keeping myself upright and balanced, not slumping against Randall, trying to match each shift of his body precisely, squelching a shriek down to a mousy sigh that I hoped he didn’t hear when we rounded a sharp corner, leaning into it like he said until our knees seemed psychotically close to the road and I could see individual bits of asphalt blurring by and I was certain, absolutely certain that the wheels would slip that last inch out from under us and we’d be pinwheeling and skidding, arms and legs thrown out, bouncing and jerking into the field, every bone shattered.

But we came smoothly upright again, and soon we were on the old highway, heading south, and I wondered if Randall was planning to run off with me, a full tank of gas and a wallet full of cash, we could make Vegas by morning, gorge ourselves on a cheap buffet, a quick wedding in the Silver Bells chapel with a stuttering priest, I’d find a job as a showgirl, wearing a crown of feathers ten feet tall, and Alice would disappear forever. We’d be like Mom and Dad in the old days, Randall drinking beer every night in our double-wide, playing the slots in the grocery store, I’d smoke Parliaments, just like Mom, my butt getting fat and spreading out in my polyester pants, cig in a corner of my mouth, stained white sleeveless mock turtleneck, sitting on one of those stools, my plastic cup of quarters in one hand, pulling and feeding and pulling and feeding, not even hearing the bells and buzzing anymore.

We turned off the highway.

“Are we going to Thistle?” I shouted, sure we weren’t, Thistle just a stupid old mining town like a thousand others around the state.

Randall nodded his head, then yelled “Yup.”

As we rounded the bend, I saw why. Where Thistle had been, a smooth sheet of water filled the valley like a cup, one or two of the taller buildings in the town sticking out above the water like party hats, or islands in the stillness.

“It’s Thistle Lake, now.”

Randall stopped the bike at the edge of the water, and helped me off, my butt still buzzing from the ride. He pushed just the toe of his shoe into the edge of the water, shivering the lake at our edge, the ripples growing and softening as they moved away from the shore. He picked up a smooth, oval rock, and hefted it in his hand before skipping it neatly across the water, the stone making plashes as it hopped toward what had been the town hall before sinking under the surface.

“It’s kinda creepy though, you gotta admit. Your thing with the counselor guy.”

Randall said it without turning around to look at me. “I mean, not you. But he’s kind of a loser.”

I tried to see Bobby from the outside, the way someone like Randall would see him. He was too close. All I could see were the wrinkles around his eyes, the flush climbing his throat, those devil brows on the Jesus face.

“He’s not like that,” I said.

Randall squinted back at me, over his shoulder.

“Wait. You’re still with this guy?”

If you look at it, I hadn’t been on a real date ever in my life. Randall was just the kind of guy for me if I was in another life, if I’d never met Dr. Bob. I watched his back while he wound up to skip another rock, the sunset outlining his face. He was cute, and only a couple years older than me. Bobby would be an old man by the time I was twenty. If I squinted real hard, maybe I could kind of see what other people did. Bobby with no family, no name. Drifting around construction jobs, living out of his car. Going out with a sixteen-year-old girl wasn’t all that much better than going out with a thirteen-year-old. I could disown the whole thing, right now. Go out on a real date with Randall.

I couldn’t keep it up, though. It was like trying to climb out of my own skin.

“Yeah,” I said, the shame rising up inside me. I was still seeing him, and ready to throw away everything for him if he asked. Was it really Bobby I loved, or was I in love with a vision my brain cooked up for me, a picture of him that wasn’t real? Randall didn’t know the half of it, didn’t know how weird it really was. A homeless guy, scamming showers at the YMCA and messing around with a teenager. It sounded sticky and cheap when I thought of it like that. Like something you’d read about in the Enquirer when you’re waiting in the checkout line at the supermarket.

I wanted to dive down under that water, swim around in the drowned town, into people’s houses, all their clothes floating around me, into the drive-thru window at the burger stand, the sun coming down through the water, the town completely empty except for water and tiny fishes, all the stuff from these people’s lives floating around, towels and books and tires and pots and pans and soap and curtains, I’d swim into the school, start my own town right here, underwater, the fishes my townspeople, I’d float in the town hall and enact laws, no running, no talking, no horseplay, I’d swim until my legs grew together into a tail and scales covered my face, Alice no more, never heard of her, I’m nothing but a trout, going about my trout business, swimming in and around sunbeams, all life nothing but Now, Now, Now.


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