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“When are you due?” Callah took a wicked bite out of the hard bread.

Susie’s hand left her baby bump. “Due?”

“You know…when are you going to have it?”

“It? Oh, I hope it’s more than one this time. The last litter I had, we lost all of them in the first few days.”

“Jesus…” Callah swallowed her food. “How many kids have you had?”

Susie shrugged. “You lose track after awhile.”

Callah sucked in her breath, then returned to squirreling around in her protosalad. “Are you hungry at all? I have plenty here, or I can get you something. Pregnant girls get hungry all the time, right?”

“Well, yes…” Susie grew quiet in the dark.

“Here.” Callah blindly shoved a wadded up hunk of cheese sandwich at her. “Eat that. It’s better than noshing on soap.”


"It was supposed to be bad luck to have a redhead aboard too, but we Dixons had proved that wrong for years. Like a bunch of Down East Weasleys, we'd always been ginger. Even the black and white pictures in gran's albums showed generations of freckles on milky faces and waved hair too in-between to be blond or brunet.

And let's be honest. We were moored when my brother got shot."


(Rachel's POV)

The next customer wasn’t so understanding.

“It’s about time,” he snapped when I asked if I could help him. “I want a large popcorn, a large coke, and peanut M&M’s.”


He gave me a “well, duh” look.

I grabbed a large bag just as the new batch I’d started began to pop. Figuring the guy would want the freshest popcorn, I waited for it to finish.

“Hurry it up, will ya?” he yelled just as I reached for the kettle handle to empty it.

I jumped, brushing my forearm against the hot metal.

“Dang! That hurt!” I yelped, leaping back and holding my arm out for inspection. Already an angry, red blister was forming. The pain was sharp and intense and yeah, tears sprang to my eyes. I’d managed not to cry when I’d fallen, but this I had no control over.

“I’ll… I’ll be right back,” I stammered and rushed down to the stock room where I shoved my arm under the sink. But the burn was bad enough the cold water made little difference for the pain.

“What’s taking so long?” that jerk of a customer shouted down at me.

“Just a moment,” I called back. I drew in a hissing breath as I removed my arm from the water and blotted everything below the burn dry. Trying to keep my arm from touching anything, I went back up the steps and finished filling the guy’s order.

Apparently, being injured like that wasn’t a good excuse for going slow. Sheesh, was he related to Ms. Carmichael or something?

“Twelve dollars,” I told him.

“Are you kidding me? I'm not paying that!”

I sighed and didn’t try to hide it. The guy was seriously rude and my whole body hurt and I felt like crap because my BG was high. “It’s twelve dollars for a large popcorn, a large soda, and candy. The prices are listed up there,” I pointed to the menu board, “and you can add them up yourself.”



A loud blast ricocheted into the evening. A wail inside of me fought to escape but I pushed it back knowing if I let it out, I’d be dead too.

“Vamonos,” Xochil hissed. “Get out, now!”

I stood frozen to my place, staring into the window. Jorge had moved away. My friend, our friend, was slumped over in the chair. A pink stain covered her once white blouse.

“Get up, now!” Xochil grabbed me and dragged me away.

We stumbled through the night. I ignored the sharp pain radiating on my side. Hot tears cascaded down my face but I made no effect to stop the flow.

Why did he kill Luz?
An even scarier thought replaced that one. If he could kill Luz without hesitation, would he do the same to me too?


Jeannine Garsee

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