Quiana has become pregnant. She disbelieves, she rages, she has test after test done, cardboard tubes and needles, blood samples and ultrasound and voodoo. Each result she opens with the happy expectation of barrenness, each stripe of colour, each letter betrays her with her own fecundity, and goes tumbling or floating to the floor. Her house is carpeted with these announcements. She is angry, she is baffled, she is sterile, she is celibate. It is a year Solon has been underground, and no lovers, no amours, no tangled trystings to pass the time, and so her child is fatherless.

She reads book after book after book, on cell division, pregnancy, religious visitations, paranormal phenomena, psychology, while inside her something grows. She comes to no conclusions. She decides to have an abortion, to rid herself of this anamoly. The clinic is closed; every clinic is closed, or bombed, or too busy, and her time is running out. She flies across the country, over and over again, and arrives always too late. Trains leave, planes are delayed, cars break down, the electricity goes out. She drinks thick and bitter cups of toxic infusions and spends days retching bile and blood into the toilet. She throws herself down the marble steps of the library, arms curled protectively around her head, trudges up the long stairs, again, and again, three times for certainty, and is dizzy and bruised but otherwise unharmed. The thing survives. She cannot lose it, cannot destroy it. Her ultrasounds show a face too developed, eyes half opened and watching, a slight smile upon the colourless lips.