Happy #flashfiction Friday!
Lorraine looked down at her buzzing phone and sighed. It was late and the fact that she was still up didn’t change that. She didn’t want to talk to Chad right now. He was probably drunk anyway.
When the buzzing stopped she let her head drop onto her pillow and close her eyes. A moment passed and then the buzzing started anew.
Maybe something was wrong. Maybe it was the hospital calling or something.
With a groan, Lorraine answered her cell.
“About damn time, Raine,” shouted the voice on the other end. It was Chad and he didn’t sound drunk, he sounded scared.
“Sorry, it’s late,” she muttered. “What’s wrong?”
“What’s wrong? What’s wrong!?” His voice was shrill and panicked. “Nothing except that I have a kid!”
Lorraine sat bolt upright. “Since when?”
“About half an hour ago. I really need your help.”
“So some ex told you you’re the father, we can deal with it in the morning. The courts are closed until Monday anyway. I’ll file the paternity suit then.”
“You don’t understand, Raine,” he said. “I watched it happen, the kid’s here now.”
“Yeah, she popped the kid out on my bed and left.”
“Call the cops!”
“They won’t believe me.”
“Because the kid is like three or four!”
Lorraine squeezed her eyes shut and pinched the bridge of her nose. “You’re drunk.”
“Not anymore,” there was a cry from somewhere in the background. If she didn’t know any better, she would have sworn that it was a child waking up with a nightmare. “Get over here, please.”
“Yeah, I’ll be there quick as I can,” she said absently hanging up the phone.
If it hadn’t been for the obvious sound of a child, she would have hung up on him and turned her phone off, dismissing his drunken ramblings until the harsh light of day.
That cry changed everything.
Robotically, she dressed and grabbed her stuff before she headed out to the parking garage to get her car. Normally she would have the doorman bring it around for her if she needed to go out this late, but she didn’t think she had the time to spare.
Something was wrong.
At best, Chad was having a serious break with reality. At worst, he was telling the truth.
Lorraine threaded her keys between her fingers and ran down the street to the garage and the safety of her car. Once inside, with the doors locked, she took a shaky breath and started the engine. It sprang to life with a low rumbly purr.
Carefully, she backed out of her space and threaded her way through the winding maze of the garage, watching carefully for any bums or ne’er-do-wells that might be lurking in the gaunt shadows of the sodium lights up above.
As she made her way to the trendier, part of town where all the buildings were relics from the city’s age of industrialism, she tried to talk her mind into finding some rational explanation for why a child would be left at Chad’s apartment at three in the morning. Obviously, the child’s mother wasn’t right in the head.
Custody would probably be an issue. If she didn’t want the kid, and he didn’t want the kid, they would probably become a product of the system. She’d see the kid again in just a few short years when their case got heaped on her desk with another stack of kids whose only real crime wasn’t being wanted.
Lorraine was so engrossed in thought, that she drove past his building and had to turn around before she could park on the street and make her way up to his loft space. When she pushed the call button for his unit, he didn’t even answer, he just buzzed her in.
She scrambled for the heavy door and jabbed the button for the elevator. Luckily, someone else had left it on the ground floor for her, so she didn’t have to wait. She fumbled for a second before she found her spare key and stuck it into the slot next to the button marked “P.” She turned it and punched the button.
The elevator ride was quick and smooth and gave her little time to think about what she would find when she stepped off and into his apartment. She half expected to find him passed out on the couch, drunk and childless.
When the doors opened, Chad grabbed her by both arms and yanked her into the space. His normally tanned face was pale and drawn. His eyes were wild and there was the slight fragrance of vomit lingering in the room.
“What took you so long?” he demanded.
“Uh, the laws of physics?” She looked around, unsure what she was looking for before she spoke again. “What’s going on?”
“Was I unclear on the phone? I have a kid and it’s mine and I don’t know what to do!”
“Okay, okay,” she said, easing him toward the couch. “Where’s the kid?”
“Asleep on my bed, it woke up and started screaming and I didn’t know what to do so I gave it some cough medicine.”
“You drugged a child!?”
“Only a little, it’ll be fine, I read the dosage on the back of the bottle.”
Lorraine shook her head and stamped toward his bed on the other side of the loft space. Sure enough, there was a little child about three or four years old with Chad’s curling blond hair curled up in one of his tee shirts, sucking its thumb.
She eased closer and put a hand to the child’s neck. She found the pulse and let out a sigh of relief when she felt its strong, healthy beat against her fingers. She turned and ran silently back into the living space.
“There’s a kid in there!” she shout-whispered.
“Yeah, I told you,” he said in a surprisingly normal voice. “What do I do about it?”
“How did it get here?”
“I told you already!”
“Well, tell me again, and don’t leave anything out this time.”
“Okay, well, I had a long day today, so I went out to O’Malley’s for a drink,” he began.
“You picked up this kid in a bar?”
“No, let me finish.” Chad waited for Lorraine to nod before he spoke again. “I went to O’Malley’s for a drink or three and this beautiful lady sat down next to me. She was gorgeous, the kind of beauty you only ever read about. I mean she was perfect, like Venus-”
“Venus is a fairy tale,” Lorraine said.
“You may want to rethink that statement. Anyway, we started talking and we hit it off and I asked if she wanted to come back to my place.”
“Hey, we are both consenting adults with adult needs.”
“Anyway, she came back here and we had a few more drinks before we made our way to the bed. The sex was unlike anything I’ve ever had before in my life! It was like she was some sort of goddess-”
“Okay, enough detail.”
“Fine, but it was fantastic! So, anyway, when we’re done, I assume she wants to cuddle, but she doesn’t. She just climbs off the bed and freaking gives birth right there on the middle of my rug.”
“So, you picked up a pregnant chick and somehow induced labor?”
“I didn’t induce anything because she wasn’t pregnant when I picked her up! She just popped the kid out like it was easy and painless- not like in the movies from health class- and nursed it, and I watched it grow until it looked like the thing sleeping on my bed now!”
“Okay, first, that’s not possible. Second, we should stop calling a living child ‘it.’ And third, that’s still not possible!”
“I know, it’s not, but now I have a daughter and I need your help.”
Lorraine squeezed her eyes shut and pinched the bridge of her nose again. “Okay, so tell me about the mother, does she have a name?”
“She just called herself Eostre and I didn’t get her number?”
“Easter? Like the holiday?”
“Yeah, I made that joke, she didn’t like it.”
“Okay, so you and Easter-”
“Eostre,” Chad corrected. “Her name was Eostre.”
All of the sudden there was a crack in the air and a woman appeared before them in front of the tv.
“You rang?” she asked, sounding bored. She was tall with rounded hips and full breasts. Her waist nipped in but her stomach wasn’t flat, and with an ass like hers you wouldn’t expect it to be. She wore her hair long and loose like red waves crashing upon the shore at dawn.
“Who are you?” Lorraine demanded.
“Eostre, who are you?”
“Lorraine, how did you get in here?”
“He summoned me,” she said jerking her head at Chad. “What do you want now? I already blessed you tonight.”
“Is that what the kids are calling it?” Chad asked. “I want you to take the kid back.”
She pursed her lips and shook her head. “Nope, not possible.”
“What do you mean not possible, you can’t just abandon a child here!” Lorraine spat. “I’m calling the cops.”
“No,” Eostre said and flicked her fingers in the direction of the her phone. It flew from Lorraine’s hand and shattered against the concrete wall.
Lorraine’s eyes went wide and she took an involuntary, protective step between the strange woman and Chad.
“Chad, you slept with a fertility goddess, what did you think would happen?”
“Nothing, I had a vasectomy in college!”
“Do you really think that changes anything when you sleep with a fertility goddess?”
“Will you stop calling yourself that!?” Lorraine shouted.
Eostre turned on Lorraine and smiled. “My dear, Lorraine, I blessed you with womanhood and sent you out into the world to taste of the fruit.”
“How did you know my-”
“I know all, I’m a goddess.” She smiled and padded across the concrete floor to Chad’s bed and picked up the sleeping child and carried her over to her father. “Have you found a name for our love child?”
“You can’t just dump a kid on Chad!” Lorraine blurted.
“Shh, there’s a child sleeping,” Eostre chided. “I need you to name our daughter.”
“You brought her into this world, she is your responsibility.”
“I can’t raise a daughter!” Chad’s legs gave way and he crumpled onto the couch. “I can’t have-”
“You brought her into the world, and she is the blood of your blood and the new light of your life.” Eostre padded over to Chad and gently dropped the sleeping little girl into his lap. “She needs a name.”
“You can’t expect him to-” Lorraine objected.
“Bronwen,” Chad whispered. “Bronwen Maureen.”
Eostre smiled and nodded before she disappeared.
Lorraine dropped onto the couch next to Chad and grabbed the notepad from the side table and a pen. She would have a lot to do to make it legal for Chad and Bronwen on Monday.