1.2: Charlie


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Ten minutes later she stopped walking and stared at something gleaming in the darkness. The sun was gone, but the stars and moon gave her enough light to see by. The skeleton of a mangled coyote was pressed into the tracks ahead. Its skull was intact and resting almost perfectly in the center between the two metal rails, its jagged bone nose pointed at her. She stepped forward then stopped again, a memory flitted through her consciousness. Something sniffing, biting, pulling at her hair. Licking her face, its breath wet with rancid stink. Staring at that skull, she almost had a clear memory and it was the most awful thing she’d ever felt. If what was locked inside her, in that black void, was anything like the feeling of being sniffed and licked by a wild animal, then she knew she was done with it all. That was it.

With a lopsided, graceless plop, she sat down between the rails and stared at the skull. It grinned up at her, clumps of ratty hair and flecks of black skin scattered across its otherwise perfectly white surface. A twisted trail of broken white bones that were once its spine and ribs sprawled out behind it. She held the bottle up in a toast and drank the rest of its contents in one long, burning swig. Her body fought it but she forced the evil liquid down, feeling her stomach protest with its spasms and squeezing.

The creature inside her kicked, sending ripples across her belly, and Charlie threw up again. This time it burned as it came out and cascaded down the front of her dress and into her lap. It burned coming out of her nose. It burned her tongue.

That sensation didn’t last long, as curtains of darkness closed across her vision and she fell backwards onto the train tracks, her legs folded under her awkward, pregnant body. 

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