by Leslie Claire Walker
Fan knew she was fucked when she opened her mouth and nothing came out. Noth. Ing. She put her palm against her belly to search for a kick or a heartbeat through her tee-shirt and the low waistband of her khaki boy shorts, her vision gone soft-focus, not seeing the people in the check out line staring at her.
She was breeding.
How? (In the back seat of Denny Ford's Camaro, that's how.)
Why? (No birth control. It was the law.)
Mrs. Huckabee paused her scan of the macaroni and cheese, the conveyer belt running full-tilt, knocking the cans of tomato sauce and tuna against each other at the end. Clink. Whir.
She leaned forward, her freckled peach cleavage pushing against her navy polyester tunic uniform. Her even blond bangs swept into her eyes. "You all right, dear?"
Those baby blues shone at Fan. It took a heartbeat to realize Mrs. Huckabee lookedâ€”what?â€”grateful?
Fan forced her lips into a sick smile. She left the food and the Mrs. Huckabee and the faceless folks in the line. Was that Denny three backâ€”was it? He still had on his football jersey, grass and dirt dug into the left shoulder, and he was a senior and now he would never go out with her againâ€”once had been enough, hadn't it?â€”and didn't this happen to his last girlfriend too?
Her sneakers squeaked on the beige linoleum. She stepped out into the fading sunshine, the asphalt of the parking lot damp and steaming from the July rain. The steady chill of the air conditioner crept after her through the open door, swept the backs of her knees. She wanted to throw up.
The woman becomes two beings in one body, and the child takes her voice, marking her. The woman becomes part of the earth, and the earth accepts her sacrifice. The child becomes part of the Web. And the Web becomes vaster and vasterâ€”an underground network of children.
People stared. She felt it on her shoulder blades like a force.
They all knew
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"Max Velocity" is roughly 6800 words.
Leslie Claire Walker hails from the lush bayous and concrete-and-steel canyons of the Texas Gulf Coast, where she lives with dogs, cats, and harps. She is thrilled to have "Max Velocity" appear in GUD. Her short fiction has been published in Fantasy Magazine, Hags, Sirens, & Other Bad Girls of Fantasy, and Cosmic Cocktails. She is hard at work on a novel about a runaway and a rock star who ride the LA skies with the Wild Hunt. Her website is leslieclairewalker.com.