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Red State, Chapter Five: A Rainbow Road

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A hundred plus years ago runaway slaves escaped to the North, pursued by their owners and the federal marshals. I was teaching my law students about the legal battles over the runaway slaves when I suddenly realized that this was what the world could be like if the Court overturned the abortion decision, and the states divided, slave and free. As the pro-choice majority of the Supreme Court has dwindled to a few old Justices, legal scholars predict a world eerily like America before the Civil War, with women fleeing anti-abortion states, the authorities a few steps behind. I wrote about that very real prospect in the Washington Post.

But there's nothing like fiction to engage the heart. What would it feel like to live in the world like the one the law professors coldly imagine? Starting with Lucy hiding in the claustrophobic confines of her brother's gem safe, and continuing every Tuesday and Friday until the heroine meets her fate, I will publish at this site an installment of her adventures and an imagined, terrifying, but not unthinkable America in the time after Roe. View previous chapters here.


Chapter Five

When she woke up again she felt better. Maybe she'd pretend to be sick still so she could stay longer.

There was a knock and the woman walked in with a tray.

"Do you feel like a little lunch?" she asked. "It's just soup for starters."

Perhaps she did have a concussion; they were saying something to her, but she kept drifting back to sleep. The next time she woke, the whole house was dark. It must be night, she thought. Her bladder was bursting, but she didn't want to bother them to take her to the bathroom. She swung her legs over the side of the remade bed and tried to stand up. Okay, I can stand up, she thought. She found a lamp by the bed, but it was just a tiny light and she couldn't see what might be a bathroom door. Nothing. She looked around a little. She was in a tiny room, just a bed and a chair and the little lamp. No windows at all. She walked to the door and opened it. Strange, it opened into another room, bigger and with a window. It was dark out and the room had no light at all. She walked through the next door and found herself in a hall.
At last.

She went into the hallway and slowly walked down, pushing gently on the doors as she went by. She felt a little strange doing this in someone else's house, but she really had to go. At least she wasn't so sick and dizzy any more.

The door swung open and a man sat up in bed, blinking at the light from the hall. Then the man in bed with him sat up. "What, what?" Two faces turned toward her, two short haircuts, one brown, one light.

"Oh, I'm so sorry, I was looking for the bathroom. I didn't mean to open this, I'm so sorry, so sorry." Two men? In bed? Omigod, gays. Was she in the hands of gays? No wonder they had "It's Raining Men" on their cell phone. She hastily pulled the door closed and made her way into the hall, walking as quickly as she could. Of course, the bathroom was the very next door.

When she came out Brown Eyes was standing there.

Taking her arm, he walked her back through the empty room to her tiny room and sat down in the ladder backed chair by the bed.

"I don't care what you do," she said hastily. "I don't know or care. Just help me get out of here, please. I'll never tell anyone, I never saw anything." She was babbling. She knew about men who slept with men of course, from the time before the Agreement when it was not a crime, but she had never met one. That she knew of. It was forbidden in Virginia now. Big time. Reeducation or the death penalty if you kept it up. She thought all the homosexuals had gone to the Blue areas while they still could. She couldn't resist asking him, "Why didn't you leave?"

"What would you be doing now, if I had left?" he asked.

Good point.

"You're walking around, so we can probably move you. Tomorrow we will try to get you out. It's gotten a lot harder since they search cars on the slightest pretext. They know girls are running away, and they know someone is helping them. But we don't think they've identified us yet. If we can't drive you out, we'll have to walk out."

"Walk out? Isn't it really far?"

"We'll drive you to another station closer first. Now go to sleep and we'll see how you feel in the morning."