What with Independence Day on the horizon and the Supreme Court outsourcing the national religion, I couldn't think of a reason not to repost this:
"And I'm telling you this is the end of the line!"
And that was final. Tori found herself thrown off the bus six blocks short of her stop. Damn idiot driver, making a pregnant woman walk all that way on her own. Tori'd found more and more dark jokes popping up in her mind of late...
After pointing her in the right direction, Crystal hadn't been much help. Tori had tracked the story of the phantom abortion clinic through a dozen different people through two schools outside of her own, every time assuring them "Oh yeah, it's for this project on, uh, something."
It paid off when she found a girl who wouldn't meet her, wouldn't talk on the phone, but was more than willing to instant message the whole story - after some dancing around. The first time Tori tried to contact her, she got bombarded with "you a cop" and "i dont know you" and some gibberish she couldn't hope to understand. She wound up blocked and having to log in under a different screen name. This time she started with that odd password she'd been told to use, "i herd u liek mudkips." Things went much more smoothly from there...
Turned out she'd been on the cheerleading squad at her school and had gotten knocked up by her boyfriend of the time. She freaked out, crying and terrified of being kicked out of school for breaking the pledge but someone - she wouldn't say it was her parents or maybe her coach but Tori had gotten the impression it was someone in authority who shouldn't have been into these sorts of things - someone had "connected" her with a "group" way out in some ghetto.
Yep, some ghetto was where the bus left her. Or as close to the ghetto as that driver had been willing to get. Every TV show screamed at her this was a bad idea, especially with the five hundred in cash stuffed deep in her pocket - she'd intentionally left nothing of real value in her purse - but the other screaming in her belly convinced her to press on. She knew she could only be weeks before it started to show and then the questions would come and then she'd be out on her ass and coming back here to make a living. And Josh would keep his scholarship.
The neighborhood was surprisingly quiet. She'd expected shouts, a little breaking glass, maybe even a few shouts of "Hey, white girl!" But nothing. More surprising was the fact she wasn't the only white girl around. The steps of the decrepit buildings were populated by a seemingly equal number of blacks and whites - even a few Hispanics! How they'd evaded the mass deportations from a few years ago she couldn't begin to guess. The INS had even shaken down her school with dogs and big beetle-looking men in riot gear, all for the one custodian.
Tori followed what appeared to be the posted bus route the driver had refused to continue down - he had insisted said route didn't exist, or at least not anymore. It brought her past a pawn shop and more liquor shops then she thought were legal on the same block but she seemed to be making progress. At least she hoped so. Every building looked like it was on the verge of being condemned and the street signs not obscured by graffiti were bent out at odd angles, leaving it anyone's guess exactly where she might now be walking.
She strained to remember the street names around this place. Not that she hadn't written them done, but she feared looking too much like an outsider here. So far she'd kept calm and disinterested enough to pass for a local, but if someone saw her looking at a map — or worse, asking directions... Although she could really use some help finding her way.
She looked around, seeing the same smattering of tired people as before. Some men, some women, all old and wrapped in clothes that looked in desperate need of washing... it occurred to her she hadn't seen many people her age. Where were the teenagers? Or even little kids? Every block had felt like the times Tori visited her grandmother in the nursing home before she died.
Not that old people couldn't be helpful but... Looking around again, Tori wondered if any of them would help. They might not be too fond of what she had planned - not that there was any way they could know - or could they?
No. No, of course not. That was just the hormone-fueled paranoia talking. The paranoia grounded in the very real punishments reserved for her if she got caught. Damn...
Tori had been so caught up wondering if the locals would be willing to help or let alone talk to her, she hadn't noticed one of them coming up to do just that.
"I said excuse me," she said again, a stout and middle-aged black woman with thick glasses. "But you seemed a little lost."
"Oh, well, I mean the bus..." Tori fumbled.
The woman rolled her eyes. "Left up by the mailbox, two blocks on the other side, down the stairs next to the Seven-Eleven."
And she was gone, shaking her head and muttering "More of 'em every day."
Tori watched her leave, absolutely confused. "What? I mean - huh?" What could that be about? She didn't seriously mean...
Read the rest of the excerpt here OR buy One Nation Under God and get the full story of America after Hobby Lobby!