Click here to Download Baby Teeth PDF Book by Zoje Stage Language English having PDF Size 2 MB and No of Pages 326.
MAYBE THE MACHINE could see the words she never spoke. Maybe they blazed in her bones. Maybe if the people in the white coats blew up the pictures they’d see her thoughts, mapped like mountains and railroad tracks, across her ghostly skull. Hanna knew nothing was wrong with her. But Mommy wanted them to look. Again. The room in the hospital’s dungeon carried the threat of needles and smelled like lemon candies tinged with poison.
Baby Teeth PDF Book by Zoje Stage
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When she was little, the machine scared her. But now, seven, she pretended she was an astronaut. The rocket ship spun and beeped and she scanned the coordinates, doublechecking her course. Through the round window, tiny Earth dropped from view, then she was in the darkness with the glimmering stars, zooming away. No one would ever catch her. She smiled. “Stay still, please. Almost finished—you’re doing great.”
The flight director watched her from his monitor. She hated all the ground control people, with their white coats and lilting voices, their playdough smiles that flopped into frowns. They were all the same. Liars. Hanna kept her words to herself because they gave her power. Inside her, they retained their purity. She scrutinized Mommy and other adults, studied them. Their words fell like dead bugs from their mouths.
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A rare person, like Daddy, spoke in butterflies, whispering colors that made her gasp. Inside, she was a kaleidoscope of racing, popping, bursting exclamations, full of wonder and question marks. Patterns swirled, and within every secret pocket she’d stashed a treasure, some stolen, some found. She had tried, as a little girl, to express what was within her. But it came out like marbles. Nonsense.
Babbling. Disappointing even to her own ears. She’d practiced, alone in her room, but the bugs fell from her mouth, frighteningly alive, scampering over her skin and bedclothes. She flicked them away. Watched them escape under her closed door. “We’ll just get everything cleaned up, it’s okay.” But Abha crinkled her nose and Hanna knew the mess was disgusting. That’s what Abha deserved, for thinking she might not be potty-trained.
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She let Abha clean her off and dress her for bed, even though Hanna could have managed it all herself. One foot over the other, she leaned against the hallway railing, eager to see Abha’s technique for cleaning up pee and poo. She knew how Mommy would do it—had even seen her do it once, when Hanna, at two, had legitimately not made it to the potty in time. Mommy had gloves and cleaning stuff stashed under every sink, but Abha didn’t know that.
Abha stood with her hands at her waist, weighing her options. “Does your Mommy have spray bottles and sponges in the kitchen?” Hanna nodded, sucking in her lips so she wouldn’t grin. It was turning out to be not such a bad night after all. She skipped after the babysitter, thrilled by her every move. Abha took off all her silvery rings and set them on the kitchen counter. Hanna took such interest in them, she barely noticed Abha anymore.
She nodded when asked a question, and let the babysitter return upstairs alone with her paper towels and gloves and cleaning stuff. There were four rings, each one enticing in its own way. But in the end she chose the smallest one, with a braided band and a reddish stone in the middle. She knew Abha would ask her later “What happened to my ring?” and she didn’t want another round of blinking-and-not-moving, so she opted to go to bed. Baby Teeth PDF Book
But first, she hid the remote control so Abha would be stuck watching loud cartoons all night. The mess was gone when she reached the top of the stairs, and Abha was on her hands and knees, scrubbing the floor. Hanna yawned and headed for her room. IT WAS A fairly long drive to Sunnybridge, through downtown traffic and out to the South Hills. She listened to WYEP on the radio, the independent alternative station.
Sometimes she glanced at Hanna, buckled in the back in her car seat, and was surprised to see her head bobbing along with the music. She’d never shown much interest in music, in spite of Alex’s valiant efforts. Whereas Suzette bought her art supplies, Alex bought her CDs, and then an MP3 player, a child-size pair of conga drums, a ukulele. She never so much as tapped a drumhead or plunked one of the ukulele’s strings.
Though she watched with apparent interest as Alex demonstrated. After she took Hanna to an audiologist and ruled out any hearing problems, they started worrying that some of her delays were a result of confusion. As a baby and toddler, Alex spoke to her in Swedish and she in English. They knew many people had successfully raised bilingual children that way, but still blamed themselves initially when Hanna didn’t speak. Baby Teeth PDF Book
When her interaction skills receded a bit, they feared she’d descended into autism, but she remained attuned to her daddy’s voice even though he couldn’t coax her into responding, either vocally or through music. An ad came on, a request for listeners to support independent radio. Suzette turned it down until it was barely audible. Alex, under his company’s name, made donations every year to support 91.3 and the local PBS television station.
She considered Hanna in the rearview mirror, safely strapped in, and out of reach, her eyelids heavy with sleep. It was her best moment to try to draw her out. Hanna lay on the bed beneath her yellow comforter in her small but sunny room. For a moment, Suzette thought she’d found her engaged in an exuberant experiment in masturbation.
Hanna’s denim shorts lay on the floor with the smiling curl of her pink striped underpants, and she could see the girl bucking and writhing beneath the comforter. But her hands were gripping it and her head was moving in such a way on her pillow like someone was thrusting against her. Suzette stood there for a moment, unsure what to do. What was even happening? Baby Teeth PDF Book
Her daughter’s knees made a tent of the fabric and she moved and sounded like she was enjoying a fine afternoon of hearty intercourse. “Stop it! What are you doing?” Hanna looked at her, neither startled nor embarrassed. She smiled as her invisible lover resumed making love to her. Suzette grimaced, inhaling with disgust even as it scared her to see her child gasp and writhe like a fully sexualized adult.
She ripped back the comforter, but of course no one and nothing was there. Hanna pulled her knees together and turned over onto her side, giggling. “What are you doing?” She snatched up the panties and shorts and restrained herself from throwing them at Hanna’s face. She dropped them next to the pillow, her hand shaking. “Get dressed.” “That’s how I get my power. From the devil, when he comes to me.”
Her voice sounded different—mature and confident. It spooked Suzette. She stumbled backward a few steps. “Marie-Anne?” Hanna sat up, covering herself with the comforter. She maintained unblinking eye contact with Suzette. “I like it when he comes to me. It feels so good. He loves me and he puts his thing in me and fills me with the world.” “Leave my daughter alone!” She didn’t know whom she was saying it to. Baby Teeth PDF Book Download
The invisible demon with his fire-hot phallus. The long-dead witch who made her daughter claim she was Marie-Anne. Her mouth went tingly and she backed out of the room. She wanted to vomit. Her daughter needed help, but not this smiling thing who writhed so happily beneath the covers. This girl needed to go away, leave them all alone. “Go, just go—go!” But it was Suzette who left, heaving, running for the bathroom.
She dusted the shelves above Hanna’s bed that held her nighttime things: her clock and flashlight, the night-light she didn’t use anymore, a few books and stuffed animals. She flitted the duster over the bare top of her dresser, then moved on to the storage shelves that held the rest of her books and all her cubbies. She shifted them to get between the cracks, then peered into each one as she swept over her things.
Hanna loved receiving the art supplies, but Suzette couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t use them. It occurred to her to raid her daughter’s supplies as a starting place for her book. But Hanna, like she did, kept her things in very specific places; she would notice if anything went missing. And thievery was beneath her. When she finished dusting, she grabbed the dry Swiffer mop from where it leaned by the door. Baby Teeth PDF Book Download
She loved Swiffering the floors. She moved with grace, like a dancer with a partner, collecting all the stray hairs and nearly invisible bits of debris. When she pushed the mop under the bed, it came out with bits of paper clinging to it. From the collage of dead people, she assumed. When she reached in again, the mop caught a barrette and three of her new paper clips. Suzette puzzled over these objects as she picked them up and wiped them off.
Hanna’s room was never in a state of disarray. She’d respected Alex’s moratorium on staying out of her room for a few days, but how had so much stuff come to be under her bed in the meanwhile? She got down on her hands and knees to get a better look. What the fuck was that? Using the Swiffer, she fished for a lumpy object that tumbled forward. A potato?
Reaching back under, she secured the rest of the detritus—small objects that couldn’t have collected in the far corner by accident. Was her daughter hoarding things? Stashing them away for some future obscure purpose? She picked up the potato from the floor and examined it more closely. Things had been stuck into it, like a real-life Mr. Potato Head. Baby Teeth PDF Book Free
It had two pencils, golden and brown, inserted at the bottom like legs, and a rudimentary partly drawn face: a smile and a mustache rendered in heavy black pen. One of her new flower erasers sat glued on top at a jaunty angle, like a hat. It had a green thumbtack for the right eye. WHEN DADDY CAME looking for her, she sent one of her rubber balls bouncing down the attic steps so he’d know where she was. She didn’t come down, and Daddy didn’t go up.
It had all turned out so badly. Mommy wasn’t supposed to end up on the bed—how could she tower over her with the hammer? And with a phone to call for help. It was a stupid mistake, and she should have stolen Mommy’s phone when she had the chance. Her feet hadn’t bled as much as she thought they would, but it still scared Hanna a little. Seeing the blood. Knowing she caused it.
It made her so grumpy thinking about it: Daddy was still fully under Mommy’s spell, but now he knew his lilla gumman wasn’t always a sweet little girl. She waited as long as she could. Cooked buttery smells wafted up, and Daddy called her name from the kitchen. She hid the hammer behind some of his books. Daddy came in from the garden with a cut daffodil as Hanna slunk into the room. Baby Teeth PDF Book Free
He glanced at her, his face closed and hard like a brick, then finished making up his fancy tray. Pancakes. Coffee. The flower. “I’ll be right back.” He carried it upstairs for Mommy. Hanna sat at the table waiting for him to come back. She was hungry. And now he was only concerned about Mommy—doing everything for Mommy. Like this wasn’t all Mommy’s fault and how could he forgive her so easily for murdering their Under Slumber Bumble Beast?
Daddy jogged back down the stairs, and she slumped in her chair, her eyes so close to the table it was just a blur. He stopped, and she knew he was watching her, but she couldn’t tell if he looked like Daddy or an imposter. Was he angry with her? Would he become more and more like Mommy—disappointed and demanding—with every passing minute? But then he came over and sat across from her.