Excerpt: Hum by Natalia Hero

About the Book:


Fiction. Women’s Studies. 

HUM follows a young woman whose life is changed forever when, after being raped, she gives birth to a hummingbird. She must learn to cope with not only what happened to her, but with the bird’s persistent, agitating presence in her life.

Natalia Hero’s debut is a beautiful and tormented magical-realist novella about surviving trauma, reclaiming oneself and what it means to heal.

Read an Excerpt:

Featured in Aug/Sept 2019 Issue: Fierce Female

I  wake  up  naked  next  to  him  and  I  don’t  know  what  happened  but  I  know  he’s  been  inside  me.  My  body  feels  wrong.  It  aches  when  I  move.  Limbs  limp.  I  roll  over slowly, pick my purse up from the floor, check my phone.  Maybe  this  is  okay,  maybe  it  isn’t  so  bad.  It’s  4:03 a.m. and I don’t know where the last three hours went.  Missed  calls  and  texts  from  friends  wondering  where I’m at. I see that I sent them all the same thing around 12:30: “Help.” That’s when I start screaming. A cry that I pull from every part of my body that he touched without permission. I scream at him to call me a cab. When he gets off the phone he offers to wait with me outside. I scream at him to stay away. I run out and sit on the sidewalk. I try to control my breathing but there’s something inside me that isn’t welcome. I want it to leave. When the cab arrives I get up trembling. Vibrating. The driver is friendly. He asks, “How was your night?” and I don’t know how to answer him so I say, “Thank you,  thank  you  so  much,  thank  you.”  My  body  still  shaking. Something buzzing inside me. Something angry. When  we  stop  at  a  red  light  I  can  hear  it.  The  driver  looks up at me in the rear-view mirror.  “Is that your phone?”

“What?” I start coughing to cover up the sound. I feel it vibrating more powerfully inside my chest, thrashing around like it’s suffocating. Like it’s trying to escape. “Do you hear that? There’s a hum. Or, like, a buzzing sound. Is it the car?” “Listen, you can drop me off here, it’s just another few blocks. I think I’m gonna puke.” He stops the car and I hand him two twenties. I tell him to keep the change, thank him again, slam the door and run up the street. Pain in my chest that makes me drop to my knees. I cough and gag and scream and then finally  it  flies  out  of  my  mouth.  I  put  my  head  down  and  cry,  resigned  and  exhausted.  Empty.  Through  my  sobs I can still hear a soft little murmur. I look up and it’s there, hovering in front of my face, staring me right in the eyes.

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