The night was warm and relentless. It felt like it would never end. The young men and women were sitting around the fire, passing a flask around—whiskey anyone?—and a bottle of black liquid that no one seemed able to name. I had brought a friend. Not a boyfriend exactly, but a special friend…the kind you bring to sleepovers but not home? Like that. At that moment, sitting around the fire with all the boys laughing and joking, he felt like my guardian.
The friend who had invited me—Hannah—had since abandoned my friendship and was currently rolling around in the lap of the oldest man—he was in his forties, and married with some kids. None of them were around though, and he was sneaking quick grabs under her shirt and down her pants as I squirmed on my side of the fire. I was afraid to leave her alone with them, but not very interested in staying either. If my boy-toy hadn’t been there, who knows what would have happened. I ignored Hannah, focusing instead on my toy. He was laughing and listening to the boys’ stories.
Hannah needed to pee. She insisted on this in a very loud voice, while trying to untangle her legs from around Bob’s—the old man—thighs. When she fell the first time, everyone just stared and didn’t bother doing anything. It was hard to look at her as anything other than a tramp. I hadn’t seen my friend in almost seven years. This was the first I’d seen in all that time, and I was not proud of it. I was not happy that she treated herself so disrespectfully.
The second time she fell, Bob got off his stump and helped her up. He led her out into the woods, and we sat around the fire. It felt cold to me, and I got shivers up and down my arms. All I could think was of whatever he was doing to her out there. Was he being buddy-buddy and letting her know she was a good kid and deserved the best and he was a friend? Was he saying all that while shoving his dick up her ass? It made me want to gag.
Ted, one of the cuter boys, was leaning his shoulders and neck against a tree, with the rest of his body along the ground. He had drank an entire pint of some kind of hard whiskey, and was speaking in mumbles and accentuating his fs. If I had left my boy at home, Ted was the one I’d be after right then. Alex, Hannah’s ex, was sitting opposite Ted, with his own assortment of drinks and the chicken legs he hadn’t finished sloughing down. When I saw Hannah again, she told me all about how good it was when Alex gave her anal. I had had to literally change the subject in the middle of her thought when she brought it up. It could not be handled by I.
Alex was gangly and he had a crew cut. His teeth looked rotten in his mouth, with sticky excess climbing the once-white teeth like thick roots. He laughed like a hick. His whole manner gave me the creeps. The only reason I had agreed to come out was for the campfire and a game of paintball in the morning. I hadn’t thought of all the uncomfortable sensations I’d need to get through first.
When Bob came back dragging Hannah with him, I jumped up to help. I wanted her to sit near me and away from all the boys. They weren’t safe. But he said we needed to lay her down on her stomach so she wouldn’t choke, so we did, downhill, so it would slide that way. Bob threw some water in her face and she spit at it and mumbled. He threw more until she opened her eyes and hurled. I stepped back, not interested in participating any further in this. Alex threw a plastic bottle at her head, still as it was on the ground. Bob held her hair back as she hurled.
After that she fell asleep and I took my toy to bed. We got into my tent, fooled around a little, and went to sleep. Well, he fell asleep. I laid awake for what felt like hours, wondering how my friend had gotten to be so submissive and easily used. I wondered who had started her on this trend, and if there was anything I could do to save her from herself.
I was being shaken. I opened my eyes but couldn’t see anything except the shadows of branches above my tent. The wind was wild and the tent felt like it might come loose from the hooks we’d plunged into the ground. I looked at my toy, but he was still asleep. When I shook him, his breath didn’t skip a beat. I lay back down and thought about sleep, but the shaking continued and I realized I had to pee. I got on my hands and knees and climbed out of the tent.
The moon made everything bright and very easy to see. Hannah was no longer lying on the hill. I couldn’t see her anywhere. Bob was sleeping on a chair by where she’d been hours ago. I turned around and her face was right in front of me. I jumped back, tripped on something and fell. She didn’t try helping me up. She didn’t move at all. The wind kept whipping the trees and branches, and her long red hair was tying knots on itself. She stared straight ahead, not looking at me. I got up and looked back at her. It was like she wasn’t really there.
“I’m pregnant,” she said unnaturally. I should have been more surprised, or shocked, but I wasn’t. And her tone didn’t imply a need for concern.
“Shouldn’t you do something about that?” I said, wiping the dirt that I’d fallen in from my butt.
“I’m pregnant by him,” she said, looking past me at Bob.
“What? When? God, Hannah…” I didn’t know how to respond. What if he heard us?
She looked at me for the first time. “I don’t want the baby to know that THAT was his father.”
She was staring at him again, with real hatred in her eyes. “I just wanted to make Alex jealous. But he doesn’t care.”
“You deserve better than these assholes,” I said, reaching for her hand, but it looked like my hand went right through hers.
“He made me pregnant back there,” she said, motioning behind her. “I just wanted you to know… I wanted you to be here to see that I did something good. I can do something right.” She walked past me and I saw a bottle in her hand. She raised it to Bob’s lips and poured it into his mouth.
“What are you doing?” I asked, not moving.
But she continued to pour. I heard some gurgling and a slight sigh, then she smiled and dropped the bottle in my lap. “Now he’ll never know.”
I woke up with my toy snoring in my ear. It was quiet outside. I unzipped the tent and stood up, only in a t-shirt and a pair of boxers. Hannah was lying on the hill next to Bob’s chair. He was still sitting there. I saw her move. She sat up and looked over the water. Her hair was gnarled and greasy from the night before—from the alcohol and people touching it, and twigs breaking off in it, and from vomiting on it. She turned and looked at me. She smiled.
When Ted came out of the tent he yipped and started shaking the other tents. I heard my toy cry out in alarm. Ted pushed Bob out of his chair and the man just lay there, unmoving.
“Hey you shit, I thought I was the alarm!” someone said, coming over, but I don’t know who. It wasn’t important. Bob was still, too still.
I looked back at Hannah, and she was still smiling. I could see that look of triumph in her eye and even in her posture. I knew she wouldn’t be bending over for another person unless she called the shots. And I was proud of her.