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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1879387-Fosters-Alley
by Jezri
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Ghost · #1879387
A woman encounters a memory from her past.
Foster’s Alley
By Lisa McCourt Hollar

It was called Foster’s Alley. Dena paused outside the wide fissure between buildings, her conscience tugging at her, before she hurried past. She glanced down the dark path, eyes searching the darkness, her memory playing tricks on her imagination. She thought she saw a figure, a skirt billowing in the breeze, though it wasn’t windy. Nothing stirred on the street.

Glancing around, Dena shivered. There had been a lot of people in the bar when last call was announced. Where had they all gone?
I should have taken George up on his offer, she thought. Finding herself pinned underneath his podgy frame wasn’t something she looked forward to, so she had politely told him no. Hell, she’d told him to find someone else to fuck his fat ass. Now she regretted her rash decision.

“It’s just a fucking alley,” she said out loud. Straightening her shoulders, she took one last look into the shadows and marched past.
A baby crying stopped her cold.

“Aww, hell.” Dena turned back towards the side street and listened. She heard it again. It was faint, but definitely the cry of a baby.

Probably only a few hours old. Those were the only kind that ended up in Foster’s Alley, babies born in one of the hovels located in the ghetto neighborhood…some from better areas, but just as unwanted as the baby born in squalor. Foster Alley was the unofficial dumping ground of the unwanted.

Dena’s conscience tugged again.

“Hell.” Dena dropped her cigarette and stubbed it out with her shoe. “I should have stayed home.” Stepping into the alley the woman cautiously moved towards the dumpster that stood against the back wall.

It was Friday the 13th, just as it had been the last time she’d been in Foster’s Alley. That was thirteen years ago.

“I should have stayed home,” Dena repeated.

The baby’s cry came again, this time louder. Stronger. Familiar.

“It's not Johnny,” Dena whispered to herself.

“Why the hell did you have to name him?” Merle’s voice screamed at her from the past, pulling her into the unwanted memory.

“He’s my baby! Why do I have to give him up?”

“You can keep him if you want, bitch, but I’m not sticking around if you do.”

“Baby, please…”

“Don’t you baby, please, me. It’s me or the brat. Choose.”

“But he’s your son!”

Merle scoffed at that. “Honey, you’ve been spreading those pretty thighs of yours all over town. That baby could be anyone’s”

“Baby, please…I mean, we have to make rent and I didn’t let anyone touch me without your say. And they all wore rubbers. You’re the only one I ever let go bare back.”

“If you think I’m going to get myself tied down to a child and a two dollar whore, you’ve got another think coming.” He’d started pulling his clothes from the closet then. Dena cried, begging him to change his mind, but he wouldn’t listen.

The baby was crying and she couldn’t think; she couldn’t let Merle leave, she didn’t want to give up Johnny, what was she going to do?

“Just shut up a minute and let me think!” She lifted Johnny from the drawer she had cleaned out; a baby didn’t need to have a fancy crib as long as he was loved. She shook him, all of her anger pouring out until the baby was limp.

“Dena, stop!” Merle was pulling Johnny from her. Why did he look like a rag doll?

“Merle…what have I done?”

“No one knows about him…do they? You didn’t call your mother and tell her?”

“I haven’t talked to my mom in years. You know that.”

“So no one knows. We’ll get rid of him. No one needs to know.”

They had wrapped Johnny in lime green sheets someone had thrown out.

“I’m sorry,” Dena whispered to her long dead boy, her voice carrying down the alley.

She had never been able to have another child. Merle left a few months later and she hooked up with another man. This one got her hooked on drugs. Her arms still carried the scars, even though she’d been clean for two years now.

Reaching the trash container, Dena looked over the edge. A baby lay inside, wrapped in lime green sheets.

“It can’t be.”

Dena reached in, pulling the child from the trash. His head lolled back, the way Johnny’s had after she shook him.

“He doesn’t belong to you anymore. He’s one of us now.”

“Who…” Dena turned around. Behind her, spread across the alley, were ten children, all different sizes; all decomposing.

“You didn’t want him.”

“I did!” Dena hugged Johnny to her, backing away from the girl that had stepped forward. Her arm twisted and mangled, she reached for Johnny.

“You threw him away.”

“I didn’t want to do it!”

A boy stepped forward. The back of his head was caved in. Gore and maggots’ oozed out of the hole. He pointed to her, “Die.”

The other children pointed too, all speaking as one, “Die.”

Dena’s eyes searched for a way out. There wasn’t one. Foster’s Alley was a dead end.

“Die, die, die…”

“I didn’t want to do it!”

“Die, die, die…”

Dena backed up, her back hitting the dumpster. In her arms, Johnny nuzzled against her, rooting, looking for something to satisfy his hunger.

“Die, die, die…”

“Leave me alone!” Then Johnny found what he was looking for, his mouth latching onto her neck. He shouldn’t have teeth; he was just a few days old when he died…

“He wasn’t dead,” the little girl said. “He cried for hours. No one came for him, so we did. He’s one of us now.”

She smiled, revealing teeth too big for a child her size. They were sharp...jagged; good for ripping flesh.

The boy smiled too, his teeth protruding from his mouth. One by one they all showed their teeth, their eyes black…hungry. Then the children surrounded her, tearing her apart as they fed.

Word Count: 999
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