Instead of singing in the shower, I would write out the lyrics of my favourite songs, the ink would turn the water blue or red or green, and the music would run down my legs.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)
Age is a terrible thief. Just when you're getting the hang of life, it knocks your legs out from under you and stoops your back. It makes you ache and muddies your head and silently spreads cancer throughout your spouse.
Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants)
The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody'd move. You could go there a hundred thousand times, and that Eskimo would still be just finished catching those two fish, the birds would still be on their way south, the deers would still be drinking out of that water hole, with their pretty antlers and they're pretty, skinny legs, and that squaw with the naked bosom would still be weaving that same blanket. Nobody's be different. The only thing that would be different would be you. Not that you'd be so much older or anything. It wouldn't be that, exactly. You'd just be different, that's all. You'd have an overcoat this time. Or the kid that was your partner in line the last time had got scarlet fever and you'd have a new partner. Or you'd have a substitute taking the class, instead of Miss Aigletinger. Or you'd heard your mother and father having a terrific fight in the bathroom. Or you'd just passed by one of those puddles in the street with gasoline rainbows in them. I mean you'd be different in some way—I can't explain what I mean. And even if I could, I'm not sure I'd feel like it.
J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)
And he leans in, so carefully. Breathing
and not breathing and hearts beating
between us and he’s so close, he’s so close and I can’t feel my legs anymore. I can’t feel my fingers or the cold or the emptiness of this room because all I feel is him, everywhere,filling everything and he whispers
He says “Please don’t shoot me for this.”
And he kisses me.
His lips are softer than anything I've ever known, soft like a first snowfall, like biting into cotton candy, like melting and floating and being weightless in water. It’s sweet, it’s
so effortlessly sweet.
And then it changes.
He kisses me again, this time stronger,
desperate, like he has to have me, like he’s dying to memorize the feel of my lips against his own. The taste of him is making me crazy; he’s all heat and desire and peppermint and I want more. I've just begun reeling him in, pulling him into me when he breaks away.
He’s breathing like he’s lost his mind andhe’s looking at me like something has brokeninside of him, like he’s woken up to find that
his nightmares were just that, that they never existed, that it was all just a bad dream that felt far too real but now he’s awake and he’s safe and everything is going to be okay and
I’m falling apart and into his heart and I’m a disaster.
Tahereh Mafi (Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2))
There either is or is not, that’s the way things are. The colour of the day. The way it felt to be a child. The saltwater on your sunburnt legs. Sometimes the water is yellow, sometimes it’s red. But what colour it may be in memory, depends on the day. I’m not going to tell you the story the way it happened. I’m going to tell it the way I remember it.
— Great Expectations (1998) directed by Alfonso Cuarón
He flipped himself onto his side and kissed me. "You're so hot," I said, my hand still on his leg.
"I'm starting to think you have an amputee fetish," he answered, still kissing me. I laughed.
"I have an Augustus Waters fetish," I explained.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
Dying was nothing and he had no picture of it nor fear of it in his mind. But living was a field of grain blowing in the wind on the side of a hill. Living was a hawk in the sky. Living was an earthen jar of water in the dust of the threshing with the grain flailed out and the chaff blowing. Living was a horse between your legs and a carbine under one leg and a hill and a valley and a stream with trees along it and the far side of the valley and the hills beyond.
Ernest Hemingway (For Whom the Bell Tolls)
The mouthful of turkey sandwich I’d bitten off caught in my throat when Ren rested his hand on my leg, his fingers exploring the curve of my thigh. I coughed and snatched the bottle of water from his other hand, taking several desperate swallows before swatting his fingers from my leg.
“Are you trying to kill me?” I choked the words out. “Keep your hands to yourself.
Andrea Cremer (Nightshade (Nightshade, #1; Nightshade World, #4))
Everything in him recoiled. The water was cold against his legs. His body had gone numb and yet he could still feel the wet give of his brother's rotting flesh beneath his hands. It's shame that eats men whole. He was drowning in it. Drowning in the Ketterdam harbor. His eyes blurred. "It isn't easy for me either." Her voice, low and steady, the voice that had once led him back from hell.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
I used to love the ocean.
Everything about her.
Her coral reefs, her white caps, her roaring waves, the rocks they lap, her pirate legends and mermaid tails,
Treasures lost and treasures held...
Of her fish
In the sea.
Yes, I used to love the ocean,
Everything about her.
The way she would sing me to sleep as I lay in my bed
then wake me with a force
That I soon came to dread.
Her fables, her lies, her misleading eyes,
I'd drain her dry
If I cared enough to.
I used to love the ocean,
Everything about her.
Her coral reefs, her white caps, her roaring waves, the rocks they lap, her pirate legends and mermaid tails, treasures lost and treasures held.
Of her fish
In the sea.
Well, if you've ever tried navigating your sailboat through her stormy seas, you would realize that her white caps
are your enemies. If you've ever tried swimming ashore when your leg gets a cramp and you just had a huge meal of In-n-Out burgers that's weighing you down, and her roaring waves are knocking the wind out of you, filling your lungs with water as you flail your arms, trying to get someone's attention, but your
back at you?
And if you've ever grown up with dreams in your head about life, and how one of these days you would pirate your own ship and have your own crew and that all of the mermaids
Well, you would realize...
Like I eventually realized...
That all the good things about her?
All the beautiful?
It's not real.
So you keep your ocean,
I'll take the Lake.
I thought leaving you would be easy,
just walking out the door
but I keep getting pinned against it
with my legs around your waist and it’s like
my lips want you like my lungs want air,
it’s just what they where born to do so
I am sitting at work thinking of you
cutting vegetables in my kitchen
your hair in my shower drain
your fingers on my spine in the morning
while we listen to Muddy Waters, I know
you will never be the one I call home
but the way you talk about poems
like marxists talk of revolution
it makes me want to keep trying.
I’m still looking for reasons to love you.
I’m still looking for proof you love me.
Clementine von Radics
Over your breasts of motionless current,
over your legs of firmness and water,
over the permanence and the pride
of your naked hair
I want to be, my love, now that the tears are
into the raucous baskets where they accumulate,
I want to be, my love, alone with a syllable
of mangled silver, alone with a tip
of your breast of snow.
Okay there, Ty?"
"Yes, sir," Ty answered with a grimace. "Bad leg. Old football injury. Tripped over the water boy. There was Gatorade everywherem it was horrible.
Abigail Roux (Stars & Stripes (Cut & Run, #6))
Age is terrible thief. Just when you're getting the hang of life, it knocks your legs out from under you and stoops your back
Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants)
But as I stand here in the ocean that stole you away from us, I wonder if any molecule here witnessed your death, if any water splashing against my legs filled your throat as you struggled to breathe. I
Adam Silvera (History Is All You Left Me)
Take it all back. Life is boring, except for flowers, sunshine, your perfect legs. A glass of cold water when you are really thirsty. The way bodies fit together. Fresh and young and sweet. Coffee in the morning. These are just moments. I struggle with the in-betweens. I just want to never stop loving like there is nothing else to do, because what else is there to do?
Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries--stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.
Herman Melville (Moby Dick)
With every step I took away from her, the movement at my heart and between my legs grew more defined: I felt like a ventriloquist, locking his protesting dolls in to a trunk.
Sarah Waters (Tipping the Velvet)
Trying to wake you,” Bones answered crisply. “I cut you, threw water on you, slapped you, and set a lighter to your legs. For future reference, which one
of those do you think worked?”
“Good God,” I hissed. “No wonder I thought you were Death incarnate in my dream, and that made me run toward Gregor at first!
Jeaniene Frost (Destined for an Early Grave (Night Huntress, #4))
Between the three of us, we have five legs, four eyes & two & a half working pairs of lungs.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
He was like a heart that was beating in every pore of my body. His heart was beating in my heart. His heart was beating in my head. His heart was beating in my stomach. His heart was beating in my legs. His heart was beating in my arms, my hands, my fingers. His heart was beating in my tongue, my lips. No wonder I was trembling.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World (Aristotle and Dante, #2))
A water snake glided smoothly up the pool, twisting its periscope head from side to side; and it swam the length of the pool and came to the legs of a motionless heron that stood in the shadows. A silent head and beak lanced down and plucked it out by the head, and the beak swallowed the little snake while its tail waved frantically.
John Steinbeck (Of Mice and Men)
Coal-black is better than another hue,
In that it scorns to bear another hue;
For all the water in the ocean
Can never turn the swan's black legs to white,
Although she lave them hourly in the flood.
William Shakespeare (Titus Andronicus)
Without thinking, I knelt in the grass, like someone meaning to pray.
When I tried to stand again, I couldn't move,
my legs were utterly rigid. Does grief change you like that?
Through the birches, I could see the pond.
The sun was cutting small white holes in the water.
I got up finally; I walked down to the pond.
I stood there, brushing the grass from my skirt, watching myself,
like a girl after her first lover
turning slowly at the bathroom mirror, naked, looking for a sign.
But nakedness in women is always a pose.
I was not transfigured. I would never be free.
I don’t know how we made it to the bed or if the water was ever turned off in the shower. But we were together, our bodies slippery, our wet hair soaking the sheets we were tangled in. And then we were tangled, our legs and arms. His hands were everywhere, paying reverence to the many scars on my body. His lips followed, and I grew reacquainted with the hard muscles of his stomach, the feel of him.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Apollyon (Covenant, #4))
I don’t …” I sound like I am being strangled. “My family is all dead, or traitors; how can I …”
I am not making any sense. The sobs take over my body, my mind, everything. He gathers me to him, and bathwater soaks my legs. His
hold is tight. I listen to his heartbeat and, after a while, find a way to let the rhythm calm me.
“I’ll be your family now,” he says.
“I love you,” I say.
I said that once, before I went to Erudite headquarters, but he was asleep then. I don’t know why I didn’t say it when he could hear it.
Maybe I was afraid to trust him with something so personal as my devotion. Or afraid that I did not know what it was to love someone. But now I
think the scary thing was not saying it before it was almost too late. Not saying it before it was almost too late for me.
I am his, and he is mine, and it has been that way all along.
He stares at me. I wait with my hands clutching his arms for stability as he considers his response.
He frowns at me. “Say it again.”
“Tobias,” I say, “I love you.”
His skin is slippery with water and he smells like sweat and my shirt sticks to his arms when he slides them around me. He presses his
face to my neck and kisses me right above the collarbone, kisses my cheek, kisses my lips.
“I love you, too,” he says.
Veronica Roth (Insurgent (Divergent, #2))
3 whole Catfish, Wrapped separately
Veet (It’s for Shaving your legs Only you don’t Need A razor. It’s with all the Girly
six pack, Mountain Dew
One dozen Tulips
one Bottle Of water
One Can of blue Spray paint
John Green (Paper Towns)
There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them. Whenever I’m sad I’m going to die, or so nervous I can’t sleep, or in love with somebody I won’t be seeing for a week, I slump down just so far and then I say: 'I’ll go take a hot bath.'
I meditate in the bath.The water needs to be very hot, so hot you can barely stand putting your foot in it. Then you lower yourself, inch by inch, till the water’s up to your neck.
I remember the ceiling over every bathtub I’ve stretched out in. I remember the texture of the ceilings and the cracks and the colors and the damp spots and the light fixtures. I remember the tubs, too: the antique griffin-legged tubs, and the modern coffin-shaped tubs, and the fancy pink marble tubs overlooking indoor lily ponds, and I remember the shapes and sizes of the water taps and the different sorts of soap holders.
I never feel so much myself as when I’m in a hot bath.
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
Some Hindus have an elephant to show.
No one here has ever seen an elephant.
They bring it at night to a dark room.
One by one, we go in the dark and come out
saying how we experience the animal.
One of us happens to touch the trunk.
A water-pipe kind of creature.
Another, the ear. A strong, always moving
back and forth, fan-animal. Another, the leg.
I find it still, like a column on a temple.
Another touches the curve back.
A leathery throne. Another, the cleverest,
feels the tusk. A rounded sword made of porcelain.
He is proud of his description.
Each of us touches one place
and understands the whole in that way.
The palm and the fingers feeling in the dark
are how the senses explore the reality of the elephant.
If each of us held a candle there,
and if we went in together, we could see it.
Rumi (A Year with Rumi: Daily Readings)
L'union libre [Freedom of Love]"
My wife with the hair of a wood fire
With the thoughts of heat lightning
With the waist of an hourglass
With the waist of an otter in the teeth of a tiger
My wife with the lips of a cockade and of a bunch of stars of the last magnitude
With the teeth of tracks of white mice on the white earth
With the tongue of rubbed amber and glass
My wife with the tongue of a stabbed host
With the tongue of a doll that opens and closes its eyes
With the tongue of an unbelievable stone
My wife with the eyelashes of strokes of a child's writing
With brows of the edge of a swallow's nest
My wife with the brow of slates of a hothouse roof
And of steam on the panes
My wife with shoulders of champagne
And of a fountain with dolphin-heads beneath the ice
My wife with wrists of matches
My wife with fingers of luck and ace of hearts
With fingers of mown hay
My wife with armpits of marten and of beechnut
And of Midsummer Night
Of privet and of an angelfish nest
With arms of seafoam and of riverlocks
And of a mingling of the wheat and the mill
My wife with legs of flares
With the movements of clockwork and despair
My wife with calves of eldertree pith
My wife with feet of initials
With feet of rings of keys and Java sparrows drinking
My wife with a neck of unpearled barley
My wife with a throat of the valley of gold
Of a tryst in the very bed of the torrent
With breasts of night
My wife with breasts of a marine molehill
My wife with breasts of the ruby's crucible
With breasts of the rose's spectre beneath the dew
My wife with the belly of an unfolding of the fan of days
With the belly of a gigantic claw
My wife with the back of a bird fleeing vertically
With a back of quicksilver
With a back of light
With a nape of rolled stone and wet chalk
And of the drop of a glass where one has just been drinking
My wife with hips of a skiff
With hips of a chandelier and of arrow-feathers
And of shafts of white peacock plumes
Of an insensible pendulum
My wife with buttocks of sandstone and asbestos
My wife with buttocks of swans' backs
My wife with buttocks of spring
With the sex of an iris
My wife with the sex of a mining-placer and of a platypus
My wife with a sex of seaweed and ancient sweetmeat
My wife with a sex of mirror
My wife with eyes full of tears
With eyes of purple panoply and of a magnetic needle
My wife with savanna eyes
My wife with eyes of water to he drunk in prison
My wife with eyes of wood always under the axe
My wife with eyes of water-level of level of air earth and fire
André Breton (Poems of André Breton: A Bilingual Anthology)
In the years that followed, Tsula would find that she could not recall that walk to the edge or the thrust of her legs into the air. Her clearest memory more than twenty years later is of the long, breathless wait as she fell, seemingly forever, and the water swallowing her at last. When she burst from its surface, unhurt, her mind noisy and electric, she grabbed for Jamie and kissed him hard.
C. Matthew Smith (Twentymile)
Water splashed over my jeans, and I yelped as something burned my skin.
We examined my leg. Tiny holes marred my jeans where the drops had hit, the material seared away, the skin underneath red and burned. It throbbed as if I’d jabbed needles into my flesh.
“What the heck?” I muttered, glaring into the storm. It looked like ordinary rain—gray, misty, somewhat depressing. Almost compulsively, I stuck my hand toward the opening, where water dripped over the edge of the tube.
Ash grabbed my wrist, snatching it back. “Yes, it will burn your hand as well as your leg,” he said in a bland voice. “And here I thought you learned your lesson with the chains.”
Embarrassed, I dropped my hand and scooted farther into the tube, away from the rim and the acid rain dripping from it. “Guess I’m staying up all night,” I muttered, crossing my arms. “Wouldn’t want to doze off and find half my face melted off when I wake up.
Julie Kagawa (The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1))
But, oh, sweet holy Lord, I would ride that one-legged pony all the way around the corral.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
they're good fighters, i think proudly as i watch them duke it out. But as the oldest male in the house, it's my duty to break it up. I grab the collar of Carlos's shirt but on Louis's leg and land on the floor with them.
Before I can regain my balance, icy cold water is pored on my back. Turning quickly, I catch mi'ama dousing us all, a bucket poised in her fist abouve us while she is wearing her work uniform. She works as a checker for the local grocery store a couple blocks from our house. It doesn't pay a whole heck of a lot, but we don't need much.
"Get up" she orders, her fiery attitude out in full force.
"Shit, Ma" Carlos says, standing
Mi'ama takes what's left in her bucket, sticks her fingers in the icy water, and flicks the liquid in Carlos's face.
Luis laughs and before he knows it, he gets flicked with water as well. Will they ever learn?
"Any More attitude, Lous?" She asks.
"No, ma'am" Louis says, standing as straight as a soilder.
"You have any more filthy words to come out of that boca of yours, Carlos?" She dips her hand in the water as a warning.
"No, ma'am" echos soldier number two.
"And what abot you, Alejandro?" her eyes narrow into slits as she focuses on me
"What? I was try'in to break it up" I say innocently, giving her my you-can't-resist-me smile.
She flicks water in my face. "That's for not breaking it up sooner. Now get dressed, all of you, and come eat breakfast before school."
So much for my you-can't-resist-me smile
Simone Elkeles (Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry, #1))
This explains so much," she said, clucking her tongue in mother-hen fashion. "You're compensating for this withered appendage."
Withered appendage? What the devil was she talking about? He shook his head, trying to clear it. Colin's dire predictions of shriveled twigs and dried currants rattled in his skull. Wide awake now, he fought to sit up, wrestling the sheets.
"Listen, you. I don't know what sort of liberties you've taken while I was insensible, or just what your spinster imagination prepared you to see. But I'll have you know, that water was damned cold."
She blinked at him. "I'm referring to your leg."
"Oh." His leg. That withered appendage
Tessa Dare (A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1))
I can dive", Sophia said. "Do you know what it feels like when you dive?"
Of course I do," her grandmother said. "You let go of everything and get ready and just dive. You can feel the seaweed against your legs. It's brown, and the water's clear, lighter towards the top, with lots of bubbles. And you glide. You hold your breath and glide and turn and come up, let yourself rise and breathe out. And then you float. Just float."
And all the time with your eyes open," Sophia said.
Naturally. People don't dive with their eyes shut."
Do you believe I can dive without me showing you?" the child asked.
Yes, of course", Grandmother said.
Tove Jansson (The Summer Book)
Having fins in the water was useful to travel quickly, but the bulky appendage left much to be desired for exerting dominance. Something about being unable to sit, legs open, left me feeling feminine.”
Brenda Pandos (Everblue (Mer Tales, #1))
In Brueghel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster, the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green water,
And the expensive ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
Are we just going to keep having sex so we can avoid talking about what we need to talk about?"
Prophet pulled back and looked between Tom's legs.
"Just checking to make sure you still have a dick."
"Same one that fucked you through the wall while you begged for it," Tom pointed out, and Prophet eyes grew heavy lidded with lust again. "You're so easy, Proph."
S.E. Jakes (Long Time Gone (Hell or High Water, #2))
Sometimes it seemed like the truth was a bandy-legged soul who dashed from one side of the world to the other and I could never find him.
James McBride (The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother)
There's something satisfying about going faster than you can on the legs you were born with.
Laura Silverman (Girl Out of Water)
I love her bare legs from a distance. When she's standing by a pool. When she's facing the water, thinking. Her legs are white as watermelon rind, veined blue from cold. There's that 'H' shape behind her knees. The H trembles softly with the swimming-water cold.
Jaclyn Moriarty (The Ghosts of Ashbury High (Ashbury/Brookfield, #4))
A girl stood before him in midstream, alone and still, gazing out to sea. She seemed like one whom magic had changed into the likeness of a strange and beautiful seabird. Her long slender bare legs were delicate as a crane's and pure save where an emerald trail of seaweed had fashioned itself as a sign upon the flesh. Her thighs, fuller and soft-hued as ivory, were bared almost to the hips, where the white fringes of her drawers were like feathering of soft white down. Her slate-blue skirts were kilted boldly about her waist and dovetailed behind her. Her bosom was as a bird's, soft and slight, slight and soft as the breast of some dark-plumaged dove. But her long fair hair was girlish: and girlish, and touched with the wonder of mortal beauty, her face.
James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
Hear me, Daenerys Targaryen. The glass candles are burning. Soon comes the pale mare, and after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun's son and the mummer's dragon. Trust none of them. Remember the Undying. Beware the perfumed seneschal."
"Reznak? Why should I fear him?" Dany rose from the pool. Water trickled down her legs, and gooseflesh covered her arms in the cool night air. "If you have some warning for me, speak plainly. What do you want of me, Quaithe?"
Moonlight shown in the woman's eyes. "To show you the way."
"I remember the way. I go north to go south, east to go west, back to go forward. And to touch the light I have to pass beneath the shadow." She squeezed the water from her silvery hair. "I am half-sick of riddling. In Qarth I was a beggar, but here I am a queen. I command you-"
"Daenerys. Remember the Undying. Remember who you are."
"The blood of the dragon." But my dragons are roaring in the darkness. "I remember the Undying. Child of three, they called me. Three mounts they promised me, three fires, and three treasons. One for blood and one for gold and one for . . ."
"Your Grace?" Missandei stood in the door of the queen's bedchamber, a lantern in her hand. "Who are you talking to?"
Dany glanced back toward the persimmon tree. There was no woman there. No hooded robe, no lacquer mask, no Quaithe.
A shadow. A Memory. No one.
George R.R. Martin (A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5))
Love walked in the door like a dusty cowboy, and I looked that cowboy dead in his eyes and said, “I thought I shot you.” And his eyes never blinked, wavered, or watered as he said, “You did. You shot me in the leg. But you can’t kill love that easily. And today you’re going to learn how deadly Love can be.” That was over four years ago, and I’m still alive. So that was his plan all along, to serve me up a super slow death. Sort of like torture, only imperceptible and more pleasant.
Jarod Kintz (Love quotes for the ages. Specifically ages 18-81.)
I am the woman at the water’s edge,
offering you oranges for the peeling,
knife glistening in the sun.
This is the scent and taste
of my skin: citon and sweet.
Touch me and your life will unfold
before you, easily as this skirt
billows then sinks,
lapping against my legs, my toes
filtering through the rivers silt.
Following the current out to sea,
I am the kind of woman
who will come back to haunt
your dreams, move through your
humid nights the way honey
swirls through a cup of hot tea
I was desperate. I had to keep Annabeth alive. I imagined all the bubbles in the sea—always churning, rising. I imagined them coming together, being pulled toward me.
The sea obeyed. There was a flurry of white, a tickling sensation all around me, and when my vision cleared, Annabeth and I had a huge bubble of air around us. Only our legs stuck into the water.
She gasped and coughed. Her whole body shuddered, but when she looked at me, I knew the spell had been broken.
She started to sob—I mean horrible, heartbroken sobbing. She put her head on my shoulder and I held her.
Fish gathered to look at us—a school of barracudas, some curious marlins.
'Scram!' I told them.
They swam off, but I could tell they went reluctantly. I swear I understood their intentions.
They were about to start rumors flying around the sea about the son of Poseidon and some girl at the bottom of Siren Bay.
Rick Riordan (The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2))
Sentimental memories were like sugar-water icicles.
Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All)
Morphine hits the backs of the legs first, then the back of the neck, a spreading wave of relaxation slackening the muscles away from the bones so that you seem to float without outlines, like lying in warm salt water. As this relaxing wave spread through my tissues, I experienced a strong feeling of fear. I had the feeling that some horrible image was just beyond the field of vision, moving as I turned my head, so that I never quite saw it. I felt nauseous; I lay down and closed my eyes. A series of pictures passed, like watching a movie: A huge, neon-lighted cocktail bar that got larger and larger until streets, traffic, and street repairs were included in it; a waitress carrying a skull on a tray; stars in a clear sky. The physical impact of the fear of death; the shutting off of breath; the stopping of blood.
William S. Burroughs (Junky)
I could never understand the purpose of my kind. They are cruel, heartless beings. And the way they obtain legs is even crueler still. But what can be said about a being who is heartless even though they possess one?
Amy Astorga (Waters of Change)
If Sawtooth could put words to the brambled knot forming in his throat, he would tell her: Girl, don't go. I am marooned in this place without you. What I feel for you is more than love. It's stronger, peninsular. You connect me to the Mainland. You are my leg of land over dark water.
Karen Russell (St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves)
Suddenly I came out of my thoughts to notice everything around me again-the catkins on the willows, the lapping of the water, the leafy patterns of the shadows across the path. And then myself, walking with the alignment that only comes after miles, the loose diagonal rhythm of arms swinging in synchronization with legs in a body that felt long and stretched out, almost as sinuous as a snake…when you give yourself to places, they give you yourself back; the more one comes to know them, the more one seeds them with the invisible crop of memories and associations that will be waiting for when you come back, while new places offer up new thoughts, new possibilities. Exploring the world is one the best ways of exploring the mind, and walking travels both terrains.
Rebecca Solnit (Wanderlust: A History of Walking)
Marya put down her fork. “Why are you doing this, Koschei? I have had lovers before. You have, too. Remember Marina? The rusalka? She and I swam together every morning. We raced the salmon. You called us your little sharks.”
The Tsar of Life held his knife so tightly Marya could see his knucklebones bulging. “Were any of them called Ivan? Were any of them human boys all sticky with their own innocence? I know you. I know you because you are like me, as much like me as two spoons nested in each other.” Her husband leaned close to her, the candlelight sparking in his dark, shaggy hair. “When you steal them, they mean so much more, Marousha. Trust me. I know. What did I do wrong? Was I boring? Did I ignore you? Did I not give you enough pretty dresses? Enough emeralds? I’m sure I have more, somewhere.”
Marya lifted her hand and laid it on her husband’s cheek. With a blinking quickness, she drove her nails deep into his face. “Don’t you dare speak to me like that. I have worn nothing but blood and death for years. I have fought all your battles for you, just as you asked me. I have learned all the tricks you said I must learn. I have learned not to cry when I strangle a man. I have learned to lay my finger aside my nose and disappear. I have learned to watch everything die. I am not a little girl anymore, dazzled by your magic. It is my magic, now, too. And if I have watched all my soldiers die in front of me, if I have only been saved by my rifle and my own hands, if I have drunk more blood than water for weeks, then I take the human boy who stumbled into my tent and hold him between my legs until I stop screaming, you will not punish me for it. Are we not chyerti? Are we not devils? I will not even hear your punishment, old man.
Catherynne M. Valente (Deathless)
Find a printer paper and imagine a full-grown bird shaped something like a football with legs standing on it. Imagine 33,000 of these rectangles in a grid. (Broilers are never in cages, and never on multiple levels.) Now enclose the grid with windowless walls and put a ceiling on top. Run in automated (drug-laced) feed, water, heating, and ventilation systems. This is a farm.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Eating Animals)
About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
Arya, What are you doing?"
"Syrio says a water dancer can stand on one toe for hours." Her hands flailed at the air to steady herself.
Ned had to smile. "Which toe?" he teased.
"ANY toe," Arya said, exasperated with the question. She hopped from her right leg to her left, swaying dangerously before she regained her balance.
"Must you do your standing here?" he asked. "It's a long hard fall down these steps."
"Syrio says a water dancer NEVER falls.
George R.R. Martin
Fuck, what he’d give to be the one to run her a bath at the end of the day with all that smelly gunk chicks liked to dump in the water and then carry her naked to the bathroom and submerge her weary body into the water and then maybe he’d—grow a new set of balls, since the ones he had between his legs had turned him into a royal, fucking pussy.
V. Theia (Filthy Love (Renegade Souls MC Romance Saga #4))
Marsh is not swamp. Marsh is a space of light, where grass grows in water, and water flows into the sky. Slow-moving creeks wander, carrying the orb of the sun with them to the sea, and long-legged birds lift with unexpected grace—as though not built to fly—against the roar of a thousand snow geese. Then within the marsh, here and there, true swamp crawls into low-lying bogs, hidden in clammy forests. Swamp water is still and dark, having swallowed the light in its muddy throat. Even night crawlers are diurnal in this lair. There are sounds, of course, but compared to the marsh, the swamp is quiet because decomposition is cellular work. Life decays and reeks and returns to the rotted duff; a poignant wallow of death begetting life.
Delia Owens (Where the Crawdads Sing)
Early Morning in Your Room
It's morning. The brown scoops of coffee, the wasp-like
Coffee grinder, the neighbors still asleep.
The gray light as you pour gleaming water--
It seems you've traveled years to get here.
Finally you deserve a house. If not deserve
It, have it; no one can get you out. Misery
Had its way, poverty, no money at least.
Or maybe it was confusion. But that's over.
Now you have a room. Those lighthearted books:
The Anatomy of Melancholy, Kafka's Letter
to his Father, are all here. You can dance
With only one leg, and see the snowflake falling
With only one eye. Even the blind man
Can see. That's what they say. If you had
A sad childhood, so what? When Robert Burton
Said he was melancholy, he meant he was home.
Robert Bly (Stealing Sugar from the Castle: Selected Poems, 1950–2011)
Oh, but this,' I think I say, 'is perfect! This is all I have longed for! What are you gazing at? Do you suppose a girl is sitting here? That girl is lost! She has been drowned! She is lying, fathoms deep. Do you think she has arms and legs, with flesh and cloth upon them? Do you think she has hair? She has only bones, stripped white! She is as white as a page of paper! She is a book, from which the words have peeled and drifted--
Sarah Waters (Fingersmith)
Well,' said Can o' Beans, a bit hesitantly,' imprecise speech is one of the major causes of mental illness in human beings.'
Quite so. The inability to correctly perceive reality is often responsible for humans' insane behavior. And every time they substitute an all-purpose, sloppy slang word for the words that would accurately describe an emotion or a situation, it lowers their reality orientations, pushes them farther from shore, out onto the foggy waters of alienation and confusion.'
The manner in which the other were regarding him/her made Can O' Beans feel compelled to continue. 'The word neat, for example, has precise connotations. Neat means tidy, orderly, well-groomed. It's a valuable tool for describing the appearance of a room, a hairdo, or a manuscript. When it's generically and inappropriately applied, though, as it is in the slang aspect, it only obscures the true nature of the thing or feeling that it's supposed to be representing. It's turned into a sponge word. You can wring meanings out of it by the bucketful--and never know which one is right. When a person says a movie is 'neat,' does he mean that it's funny or tragic or thrilling or romantic, does he mean that the cinematography is beautiful, the acting heartfelt, the script intelligent, the direction deft, or the leading lady has cleavage to die for? Slang possesses an economy, an immediacy that's attractive, all right, but it devalues experience by standardizing and fuzzing it. It hangs between humanity and the real world like a . . . a veil. Slang just makes people more stupid, that's all, and stupidity eventually makes them crazy. I'd hate to ever see that kind of craziness rub off onto objects.
Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All)
On May 26th, 2003,
Aaron Ralston was hiking,
a boulder fell on his right hand,
he waited four days,
he then amputated
his own arm with a pocketknife.
On New Year’s Eve,
a woman was bungee jumping,
the cord broke,
she fell into a river
and had to swim back to land
in crocodile-infested waters
with a broken collarbone.
Claire Champlin was smashed in the face
by a five-pound watermelon
being propelled by a slingshot.
Mathew Brobst was hit by a javelin.
David Striegl was actually
punched in the mouth by a kangaroo.
The most amazing part of these stories
is when asked about the experience
they all smiled, shrugged and said
“I guess things could’ve been worse.”
So go ahead,
tell me you’re having a bad day.
Tell me about the traffic.
Tell me about your boss.
Tell me about the job you’ve been trying to quit for the past four years.
Tell me the morning is just a townhouse burning to the ground and the snooze button is a fire extinguisher.
Tell me the alarm clock
stole the keys to your smile,
drove it into 7 am
and the crash totaled your happiness.
Tell me how blessed are we to have tragedy
so small it can fit on the tips of our tongues.
When Evan lost his legs he was speechless.
When my cousin was assaulted
she didn’t speak for 48 hours.
When my uncle was murdered,
we had to send out a search party
to find my father’s voice.
Most people have no idea
that tragedy and silence
often have the exact same address.
When your day is a museum of disappointments,
hanging from events that were outside of your control,
when you feel like your guardian angel put in his two weeks notice two months ago
and just decided not to tell you,
when it seems like God
is just a babysitter that’s always on the phone,
when you get punched in the esophagus by a fistful of life.
two million people die of dehydration.
So it doesn’t matter if
the glass is half full or half empty.
There’s water in the cup.
Drink it and stop complaining.
Muscle is created by lifting things
that are designed to weigh us down.
When your shoulders are heavy
stand up straight and call it exercise.
Life is a gym membership
with a really complicated cancellation policy.
you will survive,
things could be worse,
and we are never given
anything we can’t handle.
When the whole world crumbles,
you have to build a new one
out of all the pieces that are still here.
you are still here.
The human heart beats
approximately 4,000 times per hour
and each pulse,
each palpitation is a trophy,
engraved with the words
“You are still alive.”
You are still alive.
So act like it.
Rudy Francisco (Helium (Button Poetry))
Not wanting to be stuck on the boat with lobster dwarf and his jerky-eating brother, I swung my legs overboard. The waist-deep water was so cold I imagined I would be singing soprano for the rest of the week.
Rick Riordan (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1-3))
I deliberately ignored the sight of lean brown body cutting through the aqua water, glistening powerful arms dipping slow and steady in perfect rhythm with the strong kick of his long tanned legs.
I was going to have to work on my ignoring technique.
- Tim trying to ignore Jack in the swimming pool.
Josh Lanyon (Cards on the Table)
I had never seen her naked, I was embarrassed. Today I can say that it was the embarrassment of gazing with pleasure at her body, of being the not impartial witness of her sixteen-year-old's beauty a few hours before Stefano touched her, penetrated her, disfigured her, perhaps, by making her pregnant. At the time it was just a tumultuous sensation of necessary awkwardness, a state in which you cannot avert the gaze or take away the hand without recognizing your own turmoil, without, by that retreat, declaring it, hence without coming into conflict with the undisturbed innocence of the one who is the cause of the turmoil, without expressing by that rejection the violent emotion that overwhelms you, so that it forces you to stay, to rest your gaze on the childish shoulders, on the breasts and stiffly cold nipples, on the narrow hips and the tense buttocks, on the black sex, on the long legs, on the tender knees, on the curved ankles, on the elegant feet; and to act as if it's nothing, when instead everything is there, present, in the poor dim room, amid the worn furniture, on the uneven, water-stained floor, and your heart is agitated, your veins inflamed.
Elena Ferrante (My Brilliant Friend (My Brilliant Friend #1))
The High Mariner says Pontus created our islands and the people on them. He scooped salt from the ocean tides for strength. Into that was mixed the cunning of a bull shark and the beauty of the moon jellyfish. He added the seahorse’s fidelity and the curiosity of a porpoise. When his creation was molded just so—two arms, two legs, a head, and a heart—Pontus breathed some of his own life into it, making the first People of the Salt. So when we die, we can’t be buried in the ground. We slip back into the water and are home.
Erin A. Craig (House of Salt and Sorrows (Sisters of the Salt #1))
Amo amas amat amamus amatis amant amavi amavisti amavit amavimus amavistis amaverunt amavero amaveris amaverit… Everything was love. Everything will be love. Everything has been love. Everything would be love. Everything would have been love. Ah, that was it, the truth at last. Everything would have been love. The huge eye, which had become an immense sphere, was gently breathing, only it was not an eye nor a sphere but a great wonderful animal covered in little waving legs like hairs, waving oh so gently as if they were under water. All shall be well and all shall be well said the ocean. So the place of reconciliation existed after all, not like a little knot hole in a cupboard but flowing everywhere and being everything. I had only to will it and it would be, for spirit is omnipotent only I never knew it, like being able to walk on the air. I could forgive. I could be forgiven. I could forgive. Perhaps that was the whole of it after all. Perhaps being forgiven was just forgiving only no one had ever told me. There was nothing else needful. Just to forgive. Forgiving equals being forgiven, the secret of the universe, do not whatever you do forget it. The past was folded up and in the twinkling of an eye everything had been changed and made beautiful and good.
Iris Murdoch (A Word Child)
I made the mistake of looking down when I got ready to wash his legs. The water in the lagoon was clear enough to see that he had a hard-on sticking up in this shorts. "TJ!"
"Sorry." He looked at me sheepishly. "I cant hide this one."
Wait, how many have there been?
I suddenly didn't know where to look. It wasn't his fault though; I had forgotten what would happen if you rubbed a seventeen-year-old all over with your hands.
Or any man, actually.
Tracey Garvis Graves (On the Island (On the Island, #1))
Just when you're getting the hang of life, it knocks your legs out from under you and stoops your back. It makes you ache and muddies your head...
Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants)
He was short, but he sprawled his legs out like a giraffe at a watering hole. I had an immediate fantasy of shoving him aside on the train so I could sit.
Sarah Gailey (Magic for Liars)
His biceps were simply mouth-watering, and those legs! I could imagine having those wrapped around me in a hot steamy bath. Alexis, I think you just drooled on yourself.
K.M. Golland (Temptation (Temptation, #1))
Please stop shaking your rain water in my direction. What next? Are you going to come over here, cock your leg and urinate upon my person?
Stephen J. Day (Horizontal - The Recumbent Adventures of Philias Switchmoat)
Standing naked on the beach with all of my secrets between my legs, I look out into the water and up deep into the stars. I beg the sparkling lanterns of light to cure me of myself…
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
There was nothing left for me to do, but go.
Though the things of the world were strong with me still.
Such as, for example: a gaggle of children trudging through a side-blown December flurry; a friendly match-share beneath some collision-titled streetlight; a frozen clock, a bird visited within its high tower; cold water from a tin jug; towering off one’s clinging shirt post-June rain.
Pearls, rags, buttons, rug-tuft, beer-froth.
Someone’s kind wishes for you; someone remembering to write; someone noticing that you are not at all at ease.
A bloody ross death-red on a platter; a headgetop under-hand as you flee late to some chalk-and-woodfire-smelling schoolhouse.
Geese above, clover below, the sound of one’s own breath when winded.
The way a moistness in the eye will blur a field of stars; the sore place on the shoulder a resting toboggan makes; writing one’s beloved’s name upon a frosted window with a gloved finger.
Tying a shoe; tying a knot on a package; a mouth on yours; a hand on yours; the ending of the day; the beginning of the day; the feeling that there will always be a day ahead.
Goodbye, I must now say goodbye to all of it.
Loon-call in the dark; calf-cramp in the spring; neck-rub in the parlour; milk-sip at end of day.
Some brandy-legged dog proudly back-ploughs the grass to cover its modest shit; a cloud-mass down-valley breaks apart over the course of a brandy-deepened hour; louvered blinds yield dusty beneath your dragging finger, and it is nearly noon and you must decide; you have seen what you have seen, and it has wounded you, and it seems you have only one choice left.
Blood-stained porcelain bowl wobbles face down on wood floor; orange peel not at all stirred by disbelieving last breath there among that fine summer dust-layer, fatal knife set down in pass-panic on familiar wobbly banister, later dropped (thrown) by Mother (dear Mother) (heartsick) into the slow-flowing, chocolate-brown Potomac.
None of it was real; nothing was real.
Everything was real; inconceivably real, infinitely dear.
These and all things started as nothing, latent within a vast energy-broth, but then we named them, and loved them, and in this way, brought them forth.
And now we must lose them.
I send this out to you, dear friends, before I go, in this instantaneous thought-burst, from a place where time slows and then stops and we may live forever in a single instant.
Goodbye goodbye good-
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
I was desperate. I had to keep Annabeth alive. I imagined all the bubbles in the sea—always churning, rising. I imagined them coming together, being pulled toward me. The sea obeyed. There was a flurry of white, a tickling sensation all around me, and when my vision cleared, Annabeth and I had a huge bubble of air around us. Only our legs stuck into the water. She gasped and coughed. Her whole body shuddered, but when she looked at me, I knew the spell had been broken. She started to sob—I mean horrible, heartbroken sobbing. She put her head on my shoulder and I held her.
Rick Riordan (The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson & the Olympians))
no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well
your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.
no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
and even then you carried the anthem under
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.
you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough
go home blacks
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off
or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
or the insults are easier
than your child body
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
your survival is more important
no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here
Behind her leg a shy little girl - Grace - smiling up. "Dad?" It was a kind hope. But his dreams spoke to none of that: when he slept he dreamt of darkness, or of people he did not recognize, or of water closing slowly, almost gratefully, over his head.
Anthony Doerr (About Grace)
Every Sunday afternoon he dresses in his old army uniform,
tells you the name of every man he killed.
His knuckles are unmarked graves.
Visit him on a Tuesday and he will describe
the body of every woman he could not save.
He’ll say she looked like your mother
and you will feel a storm in your stomach.
Your grandfather is from another generation–
Russian degrees and a school yard Cuban national anthem,
communism and religion. Only music makes him cry now.
He married his first love, her with the long curls down
to the small of her back. Sometimes he would
pull her to him, those curls wrapped around his hand
He lives alone now. Frail, a living memory
reclining in a seat, the room orbiting around him.
You visit him but never have anything to say.
When he was your age he was a man.
You retreat into yourself whenever he says your name.
Your mother’s father,
“the almost martyr,
can load a gun under water
in under four seconds.
Even his wedding night was a battlefield.
A Swiss knife, his young bride,
his sobs as he held Italian linen between her legs.
His face is a photograph left out in the sun,
the henna of his beard, the silver of his eyebrows
the wilted handkerchief, the kufi and the cane.
Your grandfather is dying.
He begs you Take me home yaqay,
I just want to see it one last time;
you don’t know how to tell him that it won’t be
anything like the way he left it.
Warsan Shire (Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth)
Sebastian left the bed and went to the washstand on unsteady legs. He felt dazed, uncertain, as if he were the one who had just lost his virginity instead of Evangeline. He had long thought that there was nothing new for him to experience. He had been wrong. For a man whose lovemaking was a practiced blend of technique and choreography, it had been a shock to find himself at the spontaneous mercy of his own passions. He had meant to withdraw at the last moment, but he had been so mindless with desire that he’d been unable to control his body. Damn. That had never happened before. Fumbling with the clean linen towel at the washstand, he made a project of dampening it with fresh water. By now his breathing had returned to normal, but he wasn’t at all calm. After what had just happened, he should have been satiated for hours. But it hadn’t been enough. He had experienced the longest, hardest, most wrenching climax of his life…and yet the need to have her again, open her, bury himself inside her, had not faded. It was madness. But why? Why with her?
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3))
Pain. It’s there for a reason. Whether your’e shredding your legs on a raspberry bush, scalding your hand in hot water, or taking an arrow to the chest in the forest, I got bad news for you, brother: That’s gonna hurt. Yes, when our bodies take blows, those powerful jolts make us cry salty tears, run for the hills, or crashland in hospital beds with limbs hanging everywhere.
Neil Pasricha (The Book of (Even More) Awesome)
When he heard light, rushing footfalls, he turned his head. Someone was racing along the second-floor balcony. Then laughter drifted down from above. Glorious feminine laughter.
He leaned out the archway and glanced at the grand staircase.
Bella appeared on the landing above, breathless, smiling, a black satin robe gathered in her hands. As she slowed at the head of the stairs, she looked over her shoulder, her thick dark hair swinging like a mane.
The pounding that came next was heavy and distant, growing louder until it was like boulders hitting the ground. Obviously, it was what she was waiting for. She let out a laugh, yanked her robe up even higher, and started down the stairs, bare feet skirting the steps as if she were floating. At the bottom, she hit the mosaic floor of the foyer and wheeled around just as Zsadist appeared in second-story hallway.
The Brother spotted her and went straight for the balcony, pegging his hands into the rail, swinging his legs up and pushing himself straight off into thin air. He flew outward, body in a perfect swan dive--except he wasn't over water, he was two floors up over hard stone.
John's cry for help came out as a mute, sustained rush of air--
Which was cut off as Zsadist dematerialized at the height of the dive. He took form twenty feet in front of Bella, who watched the show with glowing happiness.
Meanwhile, John's heart pounded from shock...then pumped fast for a different reason.
Bella smiled up at her mate, her breath still hard, her hands still gripping the robe, her eyes heavy with invitation. And Zsadist came forward to answer her call, seeming to get even bigger as he stalked over to her. The Brother's bonding scent filled the foyer, just as his low, lionlike growl did. The male was all animal at the moment....a very sexual animal.
"You like to be chased, nalla, " Z said in a voice so deep it distorted.
Bella's smile got even wider as she backed up into a corner. "Maybe."
"So run some more, why don't you." The words were dark and even John caught the erotic threat in them.
Bella took off, darting around her mate, going for the billiards room. Z tracked her like prey, pivoting around, his eyes leveled on the female's streaming hair and graceful body. As his lips peeled off his fangs, the white canines elongated, protruding from his mouth. And they weren't the only response he had to his shellan.
At his hips, pressing into the front of his leathers, was an erection the size of a tree trunk.
Z shot John a quick glance and then went back to his hunt, disappearing into the room, the pumping growl getting louder. From out of the open doors, there was a delighted squeal, a scramble, a female's gasp, and then....nothing.
He'd caught her.
......When Zsadist came out a moment later, he had Bella in his arms, her dark hair trailing down his shoulder as she lounged in the strength that held her. Her eyes locked on Z's face while he looked where he was going, her hand stroking his chest, her lips curved in a private smile.
There was a bite mark on her neck, one that had very definitely not been there before, and Bella's satisfaction as she stared at the hunger in her hellren's face was utterly compelling. John knew instinctively that Zsadist was going to finish two things upstairs: the mating and the feeding. The Brother was going to be at her throat and in between her legs. Probably at the same time.
God, John wanted that kind of connection.
J.R. Ward (Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #4))
She thought, He's afraid I'll make a mess of it. She was sure she had been careful to think that on the safe, private side of the silent border, but Ebon turned on her and said, Don't ever think that. About anything. You're my heart's sister, even if you are a funny shape and walk on your hind legs all the time and rattle away out loud like a donkey or a bird. I'm frightened because you're frightened, and because it's hard-it can be hard-the first time going into the Caves, and you're old for it-you can't do ssshuuwuushuu and the ssshasssha will be like...being thrown in a cold dark lake when you can't swim and you've never seen water before.
Robin McKinley (Pegasus (Pegasus, #1))
She walks into my life legs first, a long drink of water in the desert of my thirties. Her shoes are red; her eyes are green. She's an Italian flag in occupied territory, and I fall for her like Paris. She mixes my metaphors like a martini and serves up my heart tartare. They all do. Every time. They have to. It's that kind of story.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Bread We Eat in Dreams)
Lily opened her hand and looked at her three willstones. Rowan had been right. She was changed forever.
Lily sat up and saw a glass of water on the bedside table. A tiny card was propped up against it. It said, THIRSTY? in bold uppercase letters. Lily realized that she'd never seen Rowan's handwriting before. She stared at it, sipping her water, memorizing every swoop and curve.
She swung her legs out of bed and noticed that she'd somehow struggled out of his robe while she slept. Rowan had left a stack of clothes on the floor next to her, with its own accompanying card that read NAKED? Lily laughed quietly to herself...
Josephine Angelini (Trial by Fire (Worldwalker, #1))
And instead of singing in the shower I would write out the lyrics of my favorite songs, the ink would turn the water blue or red or green, and the music would run down my legs.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)
Age is a terrible thief. Just when you're getting the hang of life, it knocks your legs out from under you and stoops your back.
Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants)
We forgot about them, but they never forgot about us. They always knew that somewhere out there they had competition, strange and soft and walking on two legs and defenseless in the water. Most of all, they never forgot that we were delicious.
Mira Grant (Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep, #1))
My legs carried me away form that girl, desperate to leave her behind. My stride picked up, and the tears streamed with the water and sweat. I cried for the little girl who lost he father but never had a mother. I cried for the girl who only wanted to be accepted, but was never enough. I cried for the girl who suffered unfathomable pain at the hands of hate. I cried for the girl who deserved to be loved but didn't know how.
Rebecca Donovan (Out of Breath (Breathing, #3))
A little boy was tugging on his pant leg.
'Teacher, I have to pee.'
Avila woke from his skating dreams and looked around, pointed to some trees by the shore that grew out over the water; the bare network of branches fell like a shielding curtain toward the ice.
'You can pee there.'
The boy squinted at the trees.
'On the ice?'
'Yes? What is wrong with that? Makes new ice. Yellow.
John Ajvide Lindqvist (Let the Right One In)
Movie directors often shoot funerals in the rain. The mourners stand in their dark suits under large black umbrellas, the kind you never have handy in real life, while the rain falls symbolically all around them, on grass and tombstones and the roods of cars, generating atmostphere. What they don't show you is how the legs of your suit caked with grass clippings, cling soaked to your shins, how even under umbrellas the rain still manages to find your scalp, running down your skull and past your collar like wet slugs, so that while you're supposed to be meditating on the deceased, instead you're mentally tracking the trickle of water as it slides down your back. The movies don't convey how the soaked, muddy ground will swallow up the dress shoes of the pallbearers like quicksand, how the water, seeping into the pine coffin, will release the smell of death and decay, how the large mound of dirt meant to fill the grave will be transformed into an oozing pile of sludge that will splater with each stab of the shovel and land on the coffin with an audible splat. And instead of a slow and dignified farewell, everyone just wants to get the deceased into the ground and get the hell back into their cars.
Jonathan Tropper (This is Where I Leave You)
every time they substitute an all-purpose, sloppy slang word for the words that would accurately describe an emotion or a situation, it lowers their reality orientations, pushes them farther from shore, out onto the foggy waters of alienation and confusion.
Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All)
Emotions I’ve been working hard to hold back all summer start to spill out of me as I pull Elliott’s mouth toward my own. I’m so eager and impatient that our noses bump and teeth knock together before our lips slide into place. The frigid water is still lapping at my legs, but I can’t feel it anymore. My entire body is flush with heat, with desire. If it weren’t for the faintest hint of dance music from the clearing, I’d think that the two of us were completely alone.
I wish the two of us were completely alone.
Paula Stokes (This is How it Happened)
In the cage is the lion. She paces with her memories. Her body is a record of her past. As she moves back and forth, one may see it all: the lean frame, the muscular legs, the paw enclosing long sharp claws, the astonishing speed of her response. She was born in this garden. She has never in her life stretched those legs. Never darted farther than twenty yards at a time. Only once did she use her claws. Only once did she feel them sink into flesh. And it was her keeper's flesh. Her keeper whom she loves, who feeds her, who would never dream of harming her, who protects her. Who in his mercy forgave her mad attack, saying this was in her nature, to be cruel at a whim, to try to kill what she loves. He had come into her cage as he usually did early in the morning to change her water, always at the same time of day, in the same manner, speaking softly to her, careful to make no sudden movement, keeping his distance, when suddenly she sank down, deep down into herself, the way wild animals do before they spring, and then she had risen on all her strong legs, and swiped him in one long, powerful, graceful movement across the arm. How lucky for her he survived the blow. The keeper and his friends shot her with a gun to make her sleep. Through her half-open lids she knew they made movements around her. They fed her with tubes. They observed her. They wrote comments in notebooks. And finally they rendered a judgment. She was normal. She was a normal wild beast, whose power is dangerous, whose anger can kill, they had said. Be more careful of her, they advised. Allow her less excitement. Perhaps let her exercise more. She understood none of this. She understood only the look of fear in her keeper's eyes. And now she paces. Paces as if she were angry, as if she were on the edge of frenzy. The spectators imagine she is going through the movements of the hunt, or that she is readying her body for survival. But she knows no life outside the garden. She has no notion of anger over what she could have been, or might be. No idea of rebellion.
It is only her body that knows of these things, moving her, daily, hourly, back and forth, back and forth, before the bars of her cage.
Susan Griffin (Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her)
I want my life to be a celebration of slowness.
Walking through the sage from our front door, I am gradually drawn into the well-worn paths of deer. They lead me to Round Mountain and the bloodred side canyons below Castle Rock. Sometimes I see them, but often I don't. Deer are quiet creatures, who, when left to their own nature, move slowly. Their large black eyes absorb all shadows, especially the flash of predators. And their ears catch each word spoken. But today they walk ahead with their halting prance, one leg raised, then another, and allow me to follow them. I am learning how to not provoke fear and flight among deer. We move into a pink, sandy wash, their black-tipped tails like eagle feathers. I lose sight of them as they disappear around the bend.
On the top of the ridge I can see for miles.... Inside this erosional landscape where all colors eventually bleed into the river, it is hard to desire anything but time and space.
Time and space. In the desert there is space. Space is the twin sister of time. If we have open space then we have open time to breath, to dream, to dare, to play, to pray to move freely, so freely, in a world our minds have forgotten but our bodies remember. Time and space. This partnership is holy. In these redrock canyons, time creates space--an arch, an eye, this blue eye of sky. We remember why we love the desert; it is our tactile response to light, to silence, and to stillness.
Hand on stone -- patience.
Hand on water -- music.
Terry Tempest Williams (Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert)
Does a caterpillar sit on the same leaf when it's a butterfly? No! It goes for a little fly and sees something of the world. Does the tadpole stay in the same pond once it's a frog? No! It stretches its legs, goes for a jump, explores other waters. Did Cinderella go back cleaning hearths once she married the prince? ... Transformation means moving forward. If a butterfly stays on the same leaf and a frog stays in the same pond, then they may as well have stayed a caterpillar or a tadpole. There was no point in metamorphosing.
Holly Smale (Model Misfit (Geek Girl, #2))
I don't know anything about this guy except that his eyes make my mind fuzzy, and his muscled arms make my mouth water, and the things he keeps saying... they burn – beginning in my flushed cheeks, blazing through my blood, and curling between my legs until I feel like I have to squeeze them together just to keep from combusting on the spot.
Cora Carmack (All Lined Up (Rusk University, #1))
All around me, the dead are risin.
Another leg bone bobs to the muddy surface. Then a skull. A arm bone. They swing lazily. The current grabs 'em an carries 'em away.
Wreckers must of used the dry riverbed as a mass grave an now the heavy rain's churnin it all up.
I snatch my hands from the water, hold my arms high, outta the way. Slowly I turn in a circle, blinkin the rain away from my eyes.
Ohmigawd, I says. Ohmigawd ohmigawd ohmigawd.
The river's alive with dead men's bones. It's thick with 'em.
My breath's comin shallow an fast.
I feel somethin touch me. I make myself look down. A skellenton's wrapped itself around my chest. The skull grins up at me.
I shove it away. But when I pull my hands up agin, the whole top half of the skellenton comes with 'em. I'm stuck in the ribcage. The skull's right in my face.
I scream. Shake myself loose. Scramble to git away. Lose my footin.
I fall. I go unner.
An the current sweeps me away.
Moira Young (Blood Red Road (Dust Lands, #1))
(..) I'd write "Ha ha ha!" and instead of singing in the shower I would write out the lyrics of my favorite songs, the ink would turn the water blue or red or green, and the music would run down my legs (..)
Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)
Forty feet long sixty feet high hotel
Covered with old gray for buzzing flies
Eye like mango flowing orange pus
Ears Durga people vomiting in their sleep
Got huge legs a dozen buses move inside Calcutta
Swallowing mouthfuls of dead rats
Mangy dogs bark out of a thousand breasts
Garbage pouring from its ass behind alleys
Always pissing yellow Hooghly water
Bellybutton melted Chinatown brown puddles
Coughing lungs Sound going down the sewer
Nose smell a big gray Bidi
Heart bumping and crashing over tramcar tracks
Covered with a hat of cloudy iron
Suffering water buffalo head lowered
To pull the huge cart of year uphill
The inability to correctly perceive reality is often responsible for humans' insane behavior. And every time they substitute an all-purpose, sloppy slang word for words that would accurately describe an emotion or a situation, it lowers their reality orientations, pushes them farther from shore, out onto the foggy waters of alienation and confusion.
Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All)
Jason and Ferrin turned. Aram, face shiny with sweat, pulled a small pair of pants over his skinny legs. His shrunken hands trembled.
Ferrin struggled not to smile. He was unsuccessful.
Ferrin's involuntary grin forced Jason to bite his lip to keep from laughing. Ferrin noticed and began to shake, eyes watering.
Aram hastily pulled on a shirt. Then he folded his arms, glaring grumpily up at the others. "Go ahead, let it out, have a good laugh."
Feeding off each other, magnified by the knowledge that their laughter was so inappropriate, their mirth was uncontrollable. Ferrin buried his face, attempting to compose himself. Jason stared at the ground, trying to summon sober thoughts.
"We need to go," Aram said indignantly, clambering up onto his suddenly oversized horse. Atop the huge stallion, he looked like a little jockey.
Jason coughed out a final laugh.
Ferrin shook quietly, wiping tears from flushed cheeks.
"Finished?" Aram asked. "You two are ruthless." He looked down at himself. "I guess it's quite a contrast."
"We don't mean to rub it in," Jason apologized. "We've already seen you both ways. It isn't that big of a deal."
"It doesn't help that you're so shy about it," Ferrin tried to explain. "It was more your expression than anything."
"Let's leave it behind us," Aram said, nudging his horse with his heels. The stallion didn't respond.
Ferrin buried his face in the crook of his arm. Jason ground his teeth.
Brandon Mull (Seeds of Rebellion (Beyonders, #2))
They had chains which they fastened about the leg of the nearest hog, and the other end of the chain they hooked into one of the rings upon the wheel. So, as the wheel turned, a hog was suddenly jerked off his feet and borne aloft. At the same instant the ear was assailed by a most terrifying shriek; the visitors started in alarm, the women turned pale and shrank back. The shriek was followed by another, louder and yet more agonizing--for once started upon that journey, the hog never came back; at the top of the wheel he was shunted off upon a trolley and went sailing down the room. And meantime another was swung up, and then another, and another, until there was a double line of them, each dangling by a foot and kicking in frenzy--and squealing. The uproar was appalling, perilous to the ear-drums; one feared there was too much sound for the room to hold--that the walls must give way or the ceiling crack. There were high squeals and low squeals, grunts, and wails of agony; there would come a momentary lull, and then a fresh outburst, louder than ever, surging up to a deafening climax. It was too much for some of the visitors--the men would look at each other, laughing nervously, and the women would stand with hands clenched, and the blood rushing to their faces, and the tears starting in their eyes. Meantime, heedless of all these things, the men upon the floor were going about their work. Neither squeals of hogs nor tears of visitors made any difference to them; one by one they hooked up the hogs, and one by one with a swift stroke they slit their throats. There was a long line of hogs, with squeals and life-blood ebbing away together; until at last each started again, and vanished with a splash into a huge vat of boiling water. It was all so very businesslike that one watched it fascinated. It was pork-making by machinery, pork-making by applied mathematics. And yet somehow the most matter-of-fact person could not help thinking of the hogs; they were so innocent, they came so very trustingly; and they were so very human in their protests--and so perfectly within their rights! They had done nothing to deserve it; and it was adding insult to injury, as the thing was done here, swinging them up in this cold-blooded, impersonal way, without a pretence at apology, without the homage of a tear. Now and then a visitor wept, to be sure; but this slaughtering-machine ran on, visitors or no visitors. It was like some horrible crime committed in a dungeon, all unseen and unheeded, buried out of sight and of memory.
Upton Sinclair (The Jungle)
Age is a terrible thief. Just when you're getting the hang of life, it knocks your legs out from under you and stoops your back. It makes you ache and muddies your head and silently spreads cancer throughout your spouse.
Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants)
The door is cracked
We used to meet
like water does land
more like when skin touches skin
or when air escapes a lung
and is felt across the world
I've leapt over cracks in sidewalks
and swallowed away troublesome back pains
that could only be fixed with someone else's pills
We met by your house one stray day
and you drove me to the bay
where we sat and kissed like it was yesterday
And here you told me that you loved me
and that you always loved me
and that you would always love me
the wind blew and I held you
You rested your head on my shoulder
and the wind blew warm
Later, in your big red truck, we smoked some green
and I kissed you harder
and held your breasts, and felt between your legs
and with a gasp
you told me you were in love with me
And then you drove me back
and we promised it wouldn't be the end
not this time
The quill and inkwell on your foot
I'm a writer and you are my greatest art
I returned to my hell and dreamt of you once more
Dave Matthes (Strange Rainfall on the Rooftops of People Watchers: Poems and Stories)
Dante, Dante, Dante. He was like a heart that was beating in every pore of my body. His heart was beating in my heart. His heart was beating in my head. His heart was beating in my stomach. His heart was beating in my legs. His heart was beating in my arms, my hands, my fingers. His heart was beating in my tongue, my lips. No wonder I was trembling. Trembling, trembling, trembling.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World (Aristotle and Dante, #2))
The Akielon march into the fort was the flow of a single red stream, except that whereas water swirled and swelled, it was straight and unyielding.
Their arms and legs were crudely bare, as if war was an act of flesh impacting on flesh. Their weapons were unadorned, as if they had brought only the essentials required for killing. Rows and rows of them, laid out with mathematical precision. The discipline of feet marching in unison was a display of power, and violence, and strength.
C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince: Volume Two (Captive Prince, #2))
If things fall, it is due to this slowing down of time. Where time passes uniformly, in interplanetary space, things do not fall. They float, without falling. Here on the surface of our planet, on the other hand, the movement of things inclines naturally toward where time passes more slowly, as when we run down the beach into the sea and the resistance of the water on our legs makes us fall headfirst into the waves. Things fall downward because, down there, time is slowed by the Earth.
Carlo Rovelli (The Order of Time)
He felt her shift her weight, felt them both teeter, and then they were tumbling into the pool beneath them.
Locked together, they went to the bottom, their mouths clinging to one another, their shared laughter in their minds. He kicked his legs strongly as she wrapped hers around his waist. Their heads broke the surface, sending rings of ripples skipping over the water.
She was laughing, catching his face in her hands. “You are so incredibly romantic, Jacques, I can barely catch my breath here.”
His hands moved up to catch her buttocks, to massage suggestively. He raised one eyebrow. “Are you saying this was my fault? Woman, I never lose my balance. I needed to follow you into the water to keep you from embarrassing yourself.
Christine Feehan (Dark Desire (Dark, #2))
It's a wonder they can sit down at all, and when they walk, nothing touches their legs under the billowing skirts, except their shifts and stockings. They are like swans, drifting along on unseen feet; or else like the jellyfish in the waters of the rocky harbour near our house, when I was little, before I ever made the long sad journey across the ocean. They were bell-shaped and ruffled, gracefully waving and lovely under the sea; but if they washed up on the beach and dried out in the sun there was nothing left of them. And that is what the ladies are like: mostly water.
Margaret Atwood (Alias Grace)
Not easy to state the change you made.
If I'm alive now, then I was dead,
Though, like a stone, unbothered by it,
Staying put according to habit.
You didn't just tow me an inch, no-
Nor leave me to set my small bald eye
Skyward again, without hope, of course,
Of apprehending blueness, or stars.
That wasn't it. I slept, say: a snake
Masked among black rocks as a black rock
In the white hiatus of winter-
Like my neighbors, taking no pleasure
In the million perfectly-chisled
Cheeks alighting each moment to melt
My cheeks of basalt. They turned to tears,
Angels weeping over dull natures,
But didn't convince me. Those tears froze.
Each dead head had a visor of ice.
And I slept on like a bent finger.
The first thing I was was sheer air
And the locked drops rising in dew
Limpid as spirits. Many stones lay
Dense and expressionless round about.
I didn't know what to make of it.
I shone, mice-scaled, and unfolded
To pour myself out like a fluid
Among bird feet and the stems of plants.
I wasn't fooled. I knew you at once.
Tree and stone glittered, without shadows.
My finger-length grew lucent as glass.
I started to bud like a March twig:
An arm and a leg, and arm, a leg.
From stone to cloud, so I ascended.
Now I resemble a sort of god
Floating through the air in my soul-shift
Pure as a pane of ice. It's a gift.
Sylvia Plath (Crossing the Water)
I want a woman, Dad. I want somebody to love me. I wanna to be free again. I wanna walk in the backyard on the grass. I wanna put my bare feet in the ocean. I wanna run along the sand and feel it on my feet. I wanna stand up in the shower with the hot water streaming down my legs, in the morning...I wanna explode, Dad. I wanna get out of this fucking body I'm in. I wanna be a man again...I just wanna be a man again.
Ron Kovic (Born on the Fourth of July)
When his creation was molded just so - two arms, two legs, a head, and a heart - Pontus breathed some of his own life into it, making the first People of the Salt. So when we die, we can't be buried in the ground. We slip back into the water and are home.
Erin A. Craig (House of Salt and Sorrows (Sisters of the Salt, #1))
Augustus Waters,” she said. “Um, maybe?” “Oh, my God. I’ve seen him at parties. The things I would do to that boy. I mean, not now that I know you’re interested in him. But, oh, sweet holy Lord, I would ride that one-legged pony all the way around the corral.” “Kaitlyn,” I said. “Sorry. Do you think you’d have to be on top?” “Kaitlyn,” I said.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
You can tell a lot about a person from seeing them in the water. Some people freak out and spaz their way around like giant insects, others slide in like seals, turn over, dive down, effortlessly. Some people kind of tread water with big goofy smiles, others look slightly broken-armed and broken-legged or as if they are in some kind of serious pain.
Lidia Yuknavitch (The Chronology of Water)
They just sat there looking back at me. The orange queen was clacking her typewriter. Cop talk was no more treat for her than legs to a dance director. They had the calm weathered faces of healthy men in hard condition. They had the eyes they always have, cloudy and grey like freezing water. The firm set mouth, the hard little wrinkles at the corners of the eyes, the hard hollow meaningless stare, not quite cruel and a thousand miles from kind. The dull ready-made clothes, worn without style, with a sort of contempt; the look of men who are poor and yet proud of their power, watching always for ways to make it felt, to shove it into you and twist it and grin and watch you squirm, ruthless without malice, cruel and yet not always unkind. What would you expect them to be? Civilization had no meaning for them. All they saw of it was the failures, the dirt, the dregs, the aberrations and the disgust.
Raymond Chandler (The Little Sister (Philip Marlowe, #5))
She sits and listens with crossed legs under the batik house-wrap she wears, with her heavy three-way-piled hair and cigarette at her mouth and refuses me - for the time being, anyway - the most important things I ask of her.
It's really kind of tremendous how it all takes place. You'd never guess how much labor goes into it. Only some time ago it occurred to me how great an amount. She came back from the studio and went to take a bath, and from the bath she called out to me, "Darling, please bring me a towel." I took one of those towel robes that I had bought at the Bon Marche' department store and came along with it. The little bathroom was in twilight. In the auffe-eua machine, the brass box with teeth of gas
burning, the green metal dropped crumbs inside from the thousand-candle blaze. Her body with its warm woman's smell was covered with water starting in a calm line over her breasts. The glass of the medicine chest shone (like a deep blue place in the wall, as if a window to the evening sea and not the ashy fog of Paris. I sat down with the robe over my; shoulder and felt very much at peace. For a change the apartment seemed clean and was warm; the abominations were gone into the background, the stoves drew well and they shone. Jacqueline was cooking dinner and it smelled of gravy. I felt settled and easy, my chest free and my fingers comfortable and open. And now here's the thing. It takes a time like this for you to find out how sore your heart has been, and, moreover, all the while you thought you were going around
idle terribly hard work was taking place. Hard, hard work, excavation and digging, mining, moiling through tunnels, heaving, pushing, moving rock, working, working, working, working, panting, hauling, hoisting. And none of this work is seen from the outside. It's internally done. It happens because you are powerless and unable to get anywhere, to obtain justice or have requital, and therefore in yourself you labor, you wage and combat, settle scores, remember insults, fight, reply, deny, blab, denounce, triumph, outwit, overcome, vindicate, cry, persist, absolve, die and rise again. All by yourself? Where is everybody? Inside your breast and skin, the entire cast.
Saul Bellow (All Marbles Accounted for)
I let myself into the cellar, locked the door behind me. The cellar was cold. I found the whisky, let myself out of the cellar and locked it, turned all the lights out, gave Mrs McSpadden the bottle, accepted a belated new-year kiss from her, then made my way out through the kitchen and the corridor and the crowded hall where the music sounded loud and people were laughing, and out through the now almost empty entrance hall and down the steps of the castle and down the driveway and down to Gallanach, where I walked along the esplanade - occasionally having to wave to say 'Happy New Year' to various people I didn't know - until I got to the old railway pier and then the harbour, where I sat on the quayside, legs dangling, drinking my whisky and watching a couple of swans glide on black, still water, to the distant sound of highland jigs coming from the Steam Packet Hotel, and singing and happy-new-year shouts echoing in the streets of the town, and the occasional sniff as my nose watered in sympathy with my eyes.
Iain Banks (The Crow Road)
Ow! That…” A little ball of fur chewed on my slippers, not caring that my feet were still inside. I’d never seen another creature like it. It had the auburn- colored body of a lion cub, but it also had nubby horns, wings, and a dragon’s tail. Its little black talons scratched at my leg; then it stared at me with accusa-tory ice- water blue eyes.
“No pixing way! Prince Kato?
Betsy Schow (Spelled (The Storymakers, #1))
In the lobby, an old woman with legs wrapped in elastic bandages mopped the floor with filthy water. She kept missing the same spot, over and over. There was the overpowering smell of disinfectant, bad tobacco, and wet wool. This was the smell of Russia indoors, the smell of the woman in front of you on line, the smell of every elevator. Near an abandoned newsstand, dozens of overcoats hung on long rows of pegs, somber and dark, lightly steaming, like nags in a stable.
David Remnick (Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire)
But he wanted to smile. He would have done, if he'd been able. Surely that had to be the most important thing.
The jabbing at his leg stopped for a bit, then started up again. Then there was a lovely, short pause, and then-
Damn, that hurt.
But not enough to cry out. Although he might have moaned. He wasn't sure. They'd poured hot water on him. Lots of it. He wondered if they were trying to poach his leg.
Boiled meat. How terribly British of them.
He chuckled. He was funny. Who knew he was so funny?
"Oh, my God!" he heard Honoria yell. "What did I do to him?"
He laughed some more. Because she sounded ridiculous.Almost as if she were speaking through a foghorn.Oooorrrrhhhh myyy Grrrrrrrrrd.
He wondered if she could hear it,too.
Wait a moment..Honoria was asking what she'd done to him?Did that mean she was wielding the scissors now?He wasn't sure how he ought to feel about this.
On the other hand...boiled meat!
He laughed again,deciding he didn't care.God,he was funny.How was it possible no one had ever told him he was funny before?
Julia Quinn (Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet, #1))
When the wind blows here, it is your wind; and when the water gurgles among the rocks, it speaks only to you. The mountain stands so that only your eyes can view its glory, and the hill for only your legs to challenge its upward slope. Upon this land you took your first steps, and upon it you swear to take your last. It is always to this place that you feel compelled to return—home.
Michael Puttonen (Sanyel)
Nana and I had to take off our shoes, roll up our trouser legs, and wade into the cottage. Fortunately the double bed we shared had tall legs, so we slept about two feet above the muddy water. . . . But the cottage was also fun. When the flood receded, mushrooms would spring up under the bed and in the corners of the room. With a little imagination, the floor looked like something out of a fairy tale.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
He watched her face, and her eyes never shifted; they were with him while she moved out of her clothes and while she slipped his jeans down his legs, stroking his thighs. She unbuttoned his shirt, and all he was aware of was the heat of his own breathing and the warmth radiating from his belly, pulsing between his legs. He was afraid of being lost, so he repeated trail marks to himself: this is my mouth tasting the salt of her brown breasts; this is my voice calling out to her. He eased himself deeper within her and felt the warmth close around him like river sand, softly giving way under foot, then closing firmly around the ankle in cloudy warm water. But he did not get lost, and he smiled at her as she held his hips and pulled him closer. He let the motion carry him, and he could feel the momentum within, at first almost imperceptible, gathering in his belly. When it came, it was the edge of a steep riverbank crumbling under the downpour until suddenly it all broke loose and collapsed into itself.
Leslie Marmon Silko
The boy’s last—only—thought was that he had been punched in the stomach. The breath was driven from him in a sudden rush. He had no time to cry out, nor, had he had the time, would he have known what to cry, for he could not see the fish. The fish’s head drove the raft out of the water. The jaws smashed together, engulfing head, arms, shoulders, trunk, pelvis, and most of the raft. Nearly half the fish had come clear of the water, and it slid forward and down in a belly-flopping motion, grinding the mass of flesh and bone and rubber. The boy’s legs were severed at the hips, and they sank, spinning slowly, to the bottom.
Peter Benchley (Jaws)
Dave once asked me what blind people dream about. Mostly in sound and feeling, I replied. At night I fall in love with a voice, and then wake to a feeling of physical loss. Sometimes I close my eyes to a chorus of “Happy Birthday!” The smell of cake and the sound of feet under the table. I awake in a body that’s too big. I also dream in motion and sensation. My father’s boat and the snore of the mast; the rough fabric of the safety harness and the rip of Velcro. The sun on my legs. And endless stretch of water impossible to imagine.
Simon Van Booy (The Illusion of Separateness)
If I had the capacity to withstand instantaneous physical pain, I think I would have even considered taking a razor to my leg. Because after so long of living in that hole, I would have rather felt pain than nothing at all; I just wanted to feel something again. You reach a milestone in such illnesses when denial lifts and you realize that the things you do are truly damaging both to yourself and to others. By then, however, you learn to not care and you embrace the notion that this method of self-harming is both deserved and satisfying.
Leanne Waters (My Secret Life)
When I was around Sunny, there was no time to dream about some easier, prettier, more comprehensible, less fucked-up existence. Now was all we had: Sunny lifting her eyes to meet mine. Cupping water in my own hands to rinse the blood off her head. Sunny’s tongue on my nose, her tail thudding on my leg. The reach of my hand across her spine. The words of comfort and rage and fear and sadness and hope that I spoke only in her presence.
Shannon Kopp (Pound for Pound: A Story of One Woman's Recovery and the Shelter Dogs Who Loved Her Back to Life)
I have a boy problem,” I said.
“DELICIOUS,” Kaitlyn responded. I told her all about it, complete with the awkward face touching, leaving out only Amsterdam and Augustus’s name. “You’re sure he’s hot?” she asked when I was finished.
“Pretty sure,” I said.
“Yeah, he used to play basketball for North Central.”
“Huh,” Kaitlyn said. “Out of curiosity, how many legs does this guy have?”
“Like, 1.4,” I said, smiling. Basketball players were famous in Indiana, and although Kaitlyn didn’t go to North Central, her social connectivity was endless.
“Augustus Waters,” she said.
“Oh, my God. I’ve seen him at parties. The things I would do to that boy. I mean, not now that you’re interested in him. But, oh, sweet holy Lord, I would ride that one-legged pony all the way around the corral.”
“Kaitlyn,” I said.
“Sorry. Do you think you’d have to be on top?”
“Kaitlyn,” I said.
“What were we talking about. Right, you and Augustus Waters. Maybe…are you gay?
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist. Piggy, saying nothing, with no time for even a grunt, travelled through the air sideways from the rock, turning over as he went. The rock bounded twice and was lost in the forest. Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back across that square, red rock in the sea. His head opened and stuff came out and turned red. Piggy's arms and legs twitched a bit, like a pig's after it has been killed. Then the sea breathed again in a long, slow sigh, the water boiled white and pink over the rock; and when it went, sucking back again, the body of Piggy was gone.
William Golding (Lord of the Flies)
But maybe this is what Hannah has always wanted: a man who will deny her. A man of her own who isn't hers. Isn't it the real reason she broke up with Mike--not because he moved to North Carolina for law school (he wanted her to go with him, and she said no) but because he adored her? If she asked him to get out of bed and bring her a glass of water, he did. If she was in a bad mood, he tried to soothe her. It didn't bother him if she cried, or if she didn't wash her hair or shave her legs or have anything interesting to say. He forgave it all, he always thought she was beautiful, he always wanted to be around her. It became so boring! She'd been raised, after all, not to be accommodated but to accommodate, and if she was his world, then his world was small, he was easily satisfied. After a while, when he parted her lips with his tongue, she'd think, Thrash, thrash, here we go. She wanted to feel like she was striving cleanly forward, walking into a bracing wind and learning from her mistakes, and she felt instead like she was sitting in a deep, squishy sofa, eating Cheetos, in an overheated room. With Oliver, there is always contrast to shape their days, tension to keep them on their toes: You are far form me, you are close to me. We are fighting, we are getting along.
Curtis Sittenfeld (The Man of My Dreams)
i am dead but i know the dead are not like this."
the dead can sleep
they don’t get up and rage
they don’t have a wife.
her white face
like a flower in a closed window lifts up and
looks at me.
the curtain smokes a cigarette
and a moth dies in a
as I examine the shadows of my
an owl, the size of a baby clock
rings for me, come on come on
it says as Jerusalem is hustled
down crotch-stained halls.
the 5 a.m. grass is nasal now
in hums of battleships and valleys
in the raped light that brings on
the fascist birds.
I put out the lamp and get in bed
beside her, she thinks I’m there
mumbles a rosy gratitude
as I stretch my legs
to coffin length
get in and swim away
from frogs and fortunes.
Charles Bukowski (Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame)
This morning it was, on the pavement,
When that smell hit me again
And set the houses reeling.
People passed like rain:
(The way rain moves and advances over the hills)
And it was hot, hot and dank,
The smell like animals, strong, but sweet too.
What was it?
Something I had forgotten.
I tried to remember, standing there,
Sniffing the air on the pavement.
Somehow I thought of flowers.
Flowers! That bad smell!
I looked: down lanes, past houses--
There, behind a hoarding,
A rubbish-heap, soft and wet and rotten.
Then I remembered:
After the rain, on the farm,
The vlei that was dry and paler than a stone
Suddenly turned wet and green and warm.
The green was a clash of music.
Dry Africa became a swamp
And swamp-birds with long beaks
Went humming and flashing over the reeds
And cicadas shrilling like a train.
I took off my clothes and waded into the water.
Under my feet first grass, then mud,
Then all squelch and water to my waist.
A faint iridescence of decay,
The heat swimming over the creeks
Where the lilies grew that I wanted:
Great lilies, white, with pink streaks
That stood to their necks in the water.
Armfuls I gathered, working there all day.
With the green scum closing round my waist,
The little frogs about my legs,
And jelly-trails of frog-spawn round the stems.
Once I saw a snake, drowsing on a stone,
Letting his coils trail into the water.
I expect he was glad of rain too
After nine moinths of being dry as bark.
I don't know why I picked those lilies,
Piling them on the grass in heaps,
For after an hour they blackened, stank.
When I left at dark,
Red and sore and stupid from the heat,
Happy as if I'd built a town,
All over the grass were rank
Soft, decaying heaps of lilies
And the flies over them like black flies on meat...
Doris Lessing (Going Home)
There were two things about this particular book (The Golden Book of Fairy Tales) that made it vital to the child I was. First, it contained a remarkable number of stories about courageous, active girls; and second, it portrayed the various evils they faced in unflinching terms. Just below their diamond surface, these were stories of great brutality and anguish, many of which had never been originally intended for children at all. (Although Ponsot included tales from the Brothers Grimm and Andersen, the majority of her selections were drawn from the French contes de fées tradition — stories created as part of the vogue for fairy tales in seventeenth century Paris, recounted in literary salons and published for adult readers.)
I hungered for a narrative with which to make some sense of my life, but in schoolbooks and on television all I could find was the sugar water of Dick and Jane, Leave it to Beaver and the happy, wholesome Brady Bunch. Mine was not a Brady Bunch family; it was troubled, fractured, persistently violent, and I needed the stronger meat of wolves and witches, poisons and peril. In fairy tales, I had found a mirror held up to the world I knew — where adults were dangerous creatures, and Good and Evil were not abstract concepts. (…) There were in those days no shelves full of “self–help” books for people with pasts like mine. In retrospect, I’m glad it was myth and folklore I turned to instead. Too many books portray child abuse as though it’s an illness from which one must heal, like cancer . . .or malaria . . .or perhaps a broken leg. Eventually, this kind of book promises, the leg will be strong enough to use, despite a limp betraying deeper wounds that might never mend. Through fairy tales, however, I understood my past in different terms: not as an illness or weakness, but as a hero narrative. It was a story, my story, beginning with birth and ending only with death. Difficult challenges and trials, even those that come at a tender young age, can make us wiser, stronger, and braver; they can serve to transform us, rather than sending us limping into the future.
Terri Windling (Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales)
A lush-bodied girl in the prime of her physical beauty. In an ivory georgette-crepe sundress with a halter top that gathers her breasts up in soft undulating folds of the fabric. She's standing with bare legs apart on a New York subway grating. Her blond head is thrown rapturously back as an updraft lifts her full, flaring skirt, exposing white cotton panties. White cotton! The ivory-crepe sundress is floating and filmy as magic. The dress is magic. Without the dress the girl would be female meat, raw and exposed.
She's not thinking such a thought! Not her.
She's an American girl healthy and clean as a Band-Aid. She's never had a soiled or a sulky thought. She's never had a melancholy thought. She's never had a savage thought. She's never had a desperate thought. She's never had an un-American thought. In the papery-thin sundress she's a nurse with tender hands. A nurse with luscious mouth. Sturdy thighs, bountiful breasts, tiny folds of baby fat at her armpits. She's laughing and squealing like a four year-old as another updraft lifts her skirt. Dimpled knees, a dancer's strong legs. This husky healthy girl. The shoulders, arms, breasts belong to a fully mature woman but the face is a girl's face. Shivering in New York City mid-summer as subway steam lifts her skirt like a lover's quickened breath.
It's nighttime in Manhattan, Lexington Avenue at 51st Street. Yet the white-white lights exude the heat of midday. The goddess of love has been standing like this, legs apart, in spike-heeled white sandals so steep and so tight they've permanently disfigured her smallest toes, for hours. She's been squealing and laughing, her mouth aches. There's a gathering pool of darkness at the back of her head like tarry water. Her scalp and her pubis burn from the morning's peroxide applications. The Girl with No Name. The glaring-white lights focus upon her, upon her alone, blond squealing, blond laughter, blond Venus, blond insomnia, blond smooth-shaven legs apart and blond hands fluttering in a futile effort to keep her skirt from lifting to reveal white cotton American-girl panties and the shadow, just the shadow, of the bleached crotch.
Now she's hugging herself beneath her big bountiful breasts. Her eyelids fluttering. Between the legs, you can trust she's clean. She's not a dirty girl, nothing foreign or exotic. She's an American slash in the flesh. That emptiness. Guaranteed. She's been scooped out, drained clean, no scar tissue to interfere with your pleasure, and no odor. Especially no odor. The Girl with No Name, the girl with no memory. She has not lived long and she will not live long.
Joyce Carol Oates (Blonde)
The chip you carry has to do with being born and raised in Oakland. A concrete chip, a slab really, heavy on one side, the half side, the side not white. As for your mom's side, as for your whiteness, there's too much and not enough there to know what to do with. You're from a people who took and took and took and took. And from a people taken. You were both and neither. When you took baths, you'd stare at your brown arms against your white legs in the water and wonder what they were doing together on the same body, in the same bathtub.
Tommy Orange (There There)
My second crush,
don't know, who you are,
by thinking of you,
my day pass.
The things, the things, the things changed,
forgot the first, second begins.
The second crush,
my second crush,
don't know who you are,
but, by thinking of you,
my day pass.
Who you are, i don't know,
but seeing you shed tears.
My feelings drop, water stops,
in my eyes.
The things, the things, the things changed.
I fall in love, are you goddess or what.
As i came near you,
my heart beat rise.
Want to stop my legs,
but they attracts.
Like your tears attract the sand,
when they are falling on land.
My heart, my heart, my heart beat rise,
you came, you came, you are closer to my eyes.
I see tears fallen on the ground,
my love rotating around you round and round.
Now, you are the first,
you are the last,
that i told you my sweet heart.
When i see you first time,
it was my last time,
to fall in love, my dear valentine.
The second crush,
my second crush,
don't know who you are,
but, by thinking of you,
my day pass.
The things, the things, the things changed.
Now, crush end,
now, you are my life part.:-)
Abhishek Singh Sikarwar
At first, the woman thought she had snagged her leg on a rock or a piece of floating wood. There was no initial pain, only one violent tug on her right leg. She reached down to touch her foot, treading water with her left leg to keep her head up, feeling in the blackness with her left hand. She could not find her foot. She reached higher on her leg, and then she was overcome by a rush of nausea and dizziness. Her groping fingers had found a nub of bone and tattered flesh. She knew that the warm, pulsing flow over her fingers in the chill water was her own blood.
Peter Benchley (Jaws)
I found myself drawn to biology, with all its frustrating yet fascinating complexities. When I was twelve, I remember reading about axolotls, which are basically a species of salamander that has evolved to remain permanently in the aquatic larval stage. They manage to keep their gills (rather than trading them in for lungs, like salamanders or frogs) by shutting down metamorphosis and becoming sexually mature in the water. I was completely flabbergasted when I read that by simply giving these creatures the “metamorphosis hormone” (thyroid extract) you could make the axolotl revert back into the extinct, land-dwelling, gill-less adult ancestor that it had evolved from. You could go back in time, resurrecting a prehistoric animal that no longer exists anywhere on Earth. I also knew that for some mysterious reason adult salamanders don’t regenerate amputated legs but the tadpoles do. My curiosity took me one step further, to the question of whether an axolotl—which is, after all, an “adult tadpole”—would retain its ability to regenerate a lost leg just as a modern frog tadpole does. And how many other axolotl-like beings exist on Earth, I wondered, that could be restored to their ancestral forms by simply giving them hormones? Could humans—who are after all apes that have evolved to retain many juvenile qualities—be made to revert to an ancestral form, perhaps something resembling Homo erectus, using the appropriate cocktail of hormones? My mind reeled out a stream of questions and speculations, and I was hooked on biology forever. I found mysteries and possibilities everywhere.
V.S. Ramachandran (The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human)
His life was absurd. He went all over the world accepting all kinds of bondage and escaping. He was roped to a chair. He escaped. He was chained to a ladder. He escaped. He was handcuffed, his legs were put in irons, he was tied up in a strait jacket and put in a locked cabinet. He escaped. He escaped from bank vaults, nailed-up barrels, sewn mailbags; he escaped from a zinc-lined Knabe piano case, a giant football, a galvanized iron boiler, a rolltop desk, a sausage skin. His escapes were mystifying because he never damaged or appeared to unlock what he escaped from. The screen was pulled away and there he stood disheveled but triumphant beside the inviolate container that was supposed to have contained him. He waved to the crowd. He escaped from a sealed milk can filled with water. He escaped from a Siberian exile van. From a Chinese torture crucifix. From a Hamburg penitentiary. From an English prison ship. From a Boston jail. He was chained to automobile tires, water wheels, cannon, and he escaped. He dove manacled from a bridge into the Mississippi, the Seine, the Mersey, and came up waving. He hung upside down and strait-jacketed from cranes, biplanes and the tops of buildings. He was dropped into the ocean padlocked in a diving suit fully weighted and not connected to an air supply, and he escaped. He was buried alive in a grave and could not escape, and had to be rescued. Hurriedly, they dug him out. The earth is too heavy, he said gasping. His nails bled. Soil fell from his eyes. He was drained of color and couldn't stand. His assistant threw up. Houdini wheezed and sputtered. He coughed blood. They cleaned him off and took him back to the hotel. Today, nearly fifty years since his death, the audience for escapes is even larger.
E.L. Doctorow (Ragtime)
Couldn’t we camp down by the lakes?” Nynaeve asked, patting her face with her kerchief. “It must be cooler down by the water.”
“Light,” Mat said, “I’d just like to stick my head in one of them. I might never take it out.”
Just then something roiled the waters of the nearest lake, the dark water phosphorescing as a huge body rolled beneath the surface. Length on man-thick length sent ripples spreading, rolling on and on until at last a tail rose, waving a point like a wasp’s stinger for an instant in the twilight, at least five spans into the air. All along that length fat tentacles writhed like monstrous worms, as many as a centipede’s legs. It slid slowly beneath the surface and was gone, only the fading ripples to say it had ever been.
Rand closed his mouth and exchanged a look with Perrin. Perrin’s yellow eyes were as disbelieving as he knew his own must be. Nothing that big could live in a lake that size. Those couldn’t have been hands on those tentacles. They couldn’t have been.
“On second thought,” Mat said faintly, “I like it right here just fine.
Robert Jordan (The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, #1))
Eyes closed a knee in his back hand at his neck forcing his face into the floor of the elevator rough under his cheek smell of vomit and matted fur "God don't hurt me" struggles against indignity his pajamas pulled down around his knees a needle sunk deep into his thigh twists moans and all of it loose like water flowing salt tickles inner edges of his eyes into his mouth twists onto his back arms over his head raw wails of anguish break off in pieces hurt his ears "Baby it's okay" Leo is over him lifts coaxing "Let's get up off the floor huh?" arm around his waist sags heavy his wrist aches where Leo holds him dragged along the watery dark he rolls off Leo's shoulder to the bed eyes closed hands folded in prayer between his legs can't look "God don't hurt me. Please.
There was a faint, barely perceptible movement of the water as the fresh flow from one end urged its way toward the drain at the other. With little ripples that were hardly the shadows of waves, the laden mattress moved irregularly down the pool. A small gust of wind that scarcely corrugated the surface was enough to disturb its accidental course with its accidental burden. The touch of a cluster of leaves revolved it slowly, tracing, like the leg of transit, a thin red circle in the water.
It was after we started with Gatsby toward the house that the gardener saw Wilson’s body a little way off in the grass, and the holocaust was complete.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
Oh yes," said Randolph stretching his legs , lighting a mentholated cigarette, "do not take it seriously, what you see here: it's only a joke played on myself by myself... it amuses and horrifies... a rather gaudy grave, you might say. There is no daytime in this room, or night, the seasons are changeless here, and the years, and when I die, if indeed I haven't already, then let me be dead drunk and curled, as in my mother's womb, in the warm blood of darkness. Wouldn't that be an ironic finale for one who, deep in his goddamned soul, sought sweetly the clean-limbed life? bread and water, a simple roof to share with some beloved, nothing more.
Truman Capote (Other Voices, Other Rooms)
If she’d had any doubts he was a real deal country boy, they disappeared when he unabashedly stripped down to nothing—the sun had kissed his arms to mid-bicep, although his torso wasn’t without a faint tan. She’d thought lazily that maybe he had a pond. She’d like to go skinny dipping with him. Leap onto his back and wrap her legs around his lean hips. Hold on to his broad shoulders and press her naked breasts into his back and drift into the cool water together.
As he opened his button-fly jeans, revealing snug briefs underneath, she’d whispered for him to stop. He was hard and sinewy in all the right places, with shadows and valleys she wanted to explore with her mouth and hands and eyes, but her touch first went to the line where dark faded to light on his arm, neatly following the curve of his muscles. “Nice farmer’s tan.
Zoe York (Between Then and Now (Wardham, #0.5))
In India they tell a fable about this: There was once a great devotee of Vishnu who prayed night and day to see his God. One night his wish was granted and Vishnu appeared to him. Falling on his knees, the devotee cried out, "I will do anything for you, my Lord, just ask."
"How about a drink of water?" Vishnu replied.
Although surprised by the request, the devotee immediately ran to the river as fast as his legs could carry him. When he got there and knelt to dip up some water, he saw a beautiful woman standing on an island in the middle of the river. The devotee fell madly in love on the spot. He grabbed a boat and rowed over to her. She responded to him, and the two were married. They had children in a house on the island; the devotee grew rich and old plying his trade as a merchant. Many years later, a typhoon came along and devastated the island. The merchant was swept away in the storm. He nearly drowned but regained consciousness on the very spot where he had once begged to see God. His whole life, including his house, wife, and children, seemed never to have happened.
Suddenly he looked over his shoulder, only to see Vishnu standing there in all his radiance.
"Well," Vishnu said, "did you find me a glass of water?
Deepak Chopra (How to Know God (Miniature))
I’m about to take a shower because I smell like an all-nighter, then I think I’ll take a bath so I can have a faucet orgasm. After all, I didn’t get any last night. A faucet orgasm is pretty much the same principle as a bidet orgasm except upside-down. When we were growing up we had bidets in all the bathrooms and when I was about ten I accidentally discovered one of the things they were good for. After that I used to spend hours on the damn thing. This dump we rent doesn’t have a bidet so I have to get in the tub and slide up toward the front, running my legs up the wall on either side of the faucet. Turn on the warm water and smile. Actually, you’ve got to get the water temperature just right first or you could really be in for a nasty shock. I’ve made that mistake a few times. This time I get it just right and I come three times before I get around to actually taking a bath.
Jay McInerney (Story of My Life)
One night he sits up. In cots around him are a few dozen sick or wounded. A warm September wind pours across the countryside and sets the walls of the tent rippling.
Werner’s head swivels lightly on his neck. The wind is strong and gusting stronger, and the corners of the tent strain against their guy ropes, and where the flaps at the two ends come up, he can see trees buck and sway. Everything rustles. Werner zips his old notebook and the little house into his duffel and the man beside him murmurs questions to himself and the rest of the ruined company sleeps. Even Werner’s thirst has faded. He feels only the raw, impassive surge of the moonlight as it strikes the tent above him and scatters. Out there, through the open flaps of the tent, clouds hurtle above treetops. Toward Germany, toward home.
Silver and blue, blue and silver.
Sheets of paper tumble down the rows of cots, and in Werner’s chest comes a quickening. He sees Frau Elena kneel beside the coal stove and bank up the fire. Children in their beds. Baby Jutta sleeps in her cradle. His father lights a lamp, steps into an elevator, and disappears.
The voice of Volkheimer: What you could be.
Werner’s body seems to have gone weightless under his blanket, and beyond the flapping tent doors, the trees dance and the clouds keep up their huge billowing march, and he swings first one leg and then the other off the edge of the bed.
“Ernst,” says the man beside him. “Ernst.” But there is no Ernst; the men in the cots do not reply; the American soldier at the door of the tent sleeps. Werner walks past him into the grass.
The wind moves through his undershirt. He is a kite, a balloon.
Once, he and Jutta built a little sailboat from scraps of wood and carried it to the river. Jutta painted the vessel in ecstatic purples and greens, and she set it on the water with great formality. But the boat sagged as soon as the current got hold of it. It floated downstream, out of reach, and the flat black water swallowed it. Jutta blinked at Werner with wet eyes, pulling at the battered loops of yarn in her sweater.
“It’s all right,” he told her. “Things hardly ever work on the first try. We’ll make another, a better one.”
Did they? He hopes they did. He seems to remember a little boat—a more seaworthy one—gliding down a river. It sailed around a bend and left them behind. Didn’t it?
The moonlight shines and billows; the broken clouds scud above the trees. Leaves fly everywhere. But the moonlight stays unmoved by the wind, passing through clouds, through air, in what seems to Werner like impossibly slow, imperturbable rays. They hang across the buckling grass.
Why doesn’t the wind move the light?
Across the field, an American watches a boy leave the sick tent and move against the background of the trees. He sits up. He raises his hand.
“Stop,” he calls.
“Halt,” he calls.
But Werner has crossed the edge of the field, where he steps on a trigger land mine set there by his own army three months before, and disappears in a fountain of earth.
Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See)
Dawn had passed and it was most of the way to morning when the baby emerged into the world, looked around, and burst into tears.
“You get used to it,” the Sister told the infant, and handed the child to Marra, who stared at it with intense horror. It was bloody and wrinkly and reddish gray and looked like the sort of thing you would drive back to hell with holy water. “Um,” said Marra.
“Is it…Is…” The mother was panting and could hardly breathe. “It cried. It’s alive, right?”
“Oh, yes,” said Marra hurriedly. “Very alive.” She stared at it, trying to find something else to say. “Had arms and legs. And, uh…a head…”
“That’s good,” said the mother, and began giggling with high, hysterical laughter. “Oh, that’s good. You want them to have heads.”
“Lady of Grackles have mercy,” muttered the Sister Apothecary, but as she was saying this directly into the birth canal, no one but Marra heard.
T. Kingfisher (Nettle & Bone)
You’re just going to leave me here?” I shout after her.
“I’m not leaving you here, Emma. You’re keeping yourself here.” She leaves me with those crazy words, and then she’s gone.
I am paralyzed on the beach in my school clothes. I can’t help but feel that I’m in huge trouble. But why should I? She was babysitting me, not the other way around, right? It’s not like I can chase her down and follow her. Her fins have already gone a distance I can’t cover with my puny human legs. Besides, these are my favorite jeans; the salt water would be unforgiving.
Except…There is that shiny new jet ski sitting there. I could close the distance between us, put my foot in the water, and find her. She would sense me, come back to see why I was in the water. Wouldn’t she? Of course she would. Then I could talk her into staying here, not leaving me alone to drive myself crazy. I could manipulate her into feeling sorry for me.
Unless she’s the complete sociopath I think she is.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
When I said I wasn’t with another girl
the January after we fell in love for the 3rd time,
it’s because it wasn’t actual sex.
In the February that began our radio silence,
it was actual sex. I hate the tight shirts
that go below your waistline.
Not only do they make you look too young,
but then your torso is a giraffe’s neck attached to tiny legs.
I screamed at myself in the subway
for writing poems about you still.
I made a scene. I think about you almost
each morning, and roughly every five days, I still
believe you’re there.
I still masturbate to you.
When we got really bad,
I would put another coat of mop water on the floor of the bar
to make sure you were asleep when I got to my side of the bed.
You are the only person to whom I’ve lied, knowing
I was telling the truth. I miss the way your neck
wraps around my face like a cave we are both lost in.
I remember when you said being with me
is like being alone with company.
My friend Sarah wrote a poem about pink ponies.
I’m scared you’re my pink pony.
Hers is dead. It is really sad. You’re not dead.
You live in Ohio, or Washington, or Wherever.
You are a shadow my body leaves on other girls.
I have a growing queue of things I know
will make you laugh and I don’t know where to put them.
I mourn like you’re dead. If you had asked me to stay,
I would not have said no.
It would never mean yes.
Being afraid reminds us how alive we are. What makes you afraid, Stasia?” I felt my legs get wobbly.
“Nothing scares me,” I said with as much confidence as I could muster. He definitely terrified me, but only because I didn’t trust my body to function correctly around him.
“Nothing at all?” His gaze intensified.
“Nothing at all.” I straightened and held my chin slightly higher to prove it.
“You’re not a good liar.” He leaned in closer and I could feel his breath on my cheeks.
“What makes you afraid?” I whispered. I was having trouble breathing. His answer was another slow smile. If I moved forward even an inch, his mouth would be on mine. Trying not to hyperventilate, I noticed when his eyes glanced down at my lips. His smile disappeared abruptly and he took a step back. As he turned his attention to the water, I tried to figure out what had just happened. My entire body, humming with electricity, was instantly cooled by the distance he’d put between us.
Kristen Day (Forsaken (Daughters of the Sea, #1))
You struggle because you’re locating all of the magic in your life outside of yourself. When you are loved, then you are lovable. When you are left behind, you are unlovable. When you “arrive” at some point of success and fame as a writer, you will be worthy. Until then, you are worthless.
As long as you imagine that the outside world will one day deliver to you the external rewards you need to feel happy, you will always perceive your survival as exhausting and perceive your life as a long slog to nowhere. Instead, you have to savor the tiny struggles of the day: The cold glass of water after a long run. The hot bath after hours of digging through the dirt. The satisfaction of writing a good sentence, a good paragraph. You MUST feel these things, because these aren’t small rewards on the path to some big reward; these tiny things are everything. Savoring these things requires tuning in to your feelings, and it requires loving yourself instead of shoving your nose into your own question marks hour after hour, day after day.
You are not lost. You are here. Stop abandoning yourself. Stop repeating this myth about love and success that will land in your lap or evade you forever. Build a humble, flawed life from the rubble, and cherish that. There is nothing more glorious on the face of the earth than someone who refuses to give up, who refuses to give in to their most self-hating, discouraged, disillusioned self, and instead learns, slowly and painfully, how to relish the feeling of building a hut in the middle of the suffocating dust.
If you can learn to be where you are, without fear, then sooner than you know it, your life will quite naturally be filled with more love and more wonder than you can possibly handle. When that happens, you’ll look back and see that this was the most romantic time of your whole life. These are those terrible days, those gorgeous days, when you first learned to breathe and stand alone without fear, to believe not in finish lines but in the race itself. Your legs are aching and your heart is pounding and the world is electric. You will have 30 years or 50 years, or maybe you’ll be gone tomorrow. All that matters is this moment, right now. This is the moment you learn to be here, to feel your limbs, to feel your full heart, to realize, for the first time, just how lucky you are.
My vagina was green water, soft pink fields, cow mooing sun resting sweet boyfriend touching lightly with soft piece of blond straw.
There is something between my legs. I do not know what it is. I do not know where it is. I do not touch. Not now. Not anymore. Not since.
My vagina was chatty, can't wait, so much, so much saying, words talking, can't quit trying, can't quit saying, oh yes, oh yes.
Not since I dream there's a dead animal sewn in down there with thick black fishing line. And the bad dead animal smell cannot be removed. And its throat is slit and it bleeds through all my summer dresses.
My vagina singing all girl songs, all goat bells ringing songs, all wild autumn field songs, vagina songs, vagina home songs.
Not since the soldiers put a long thick rifle inside me. So cold, the steel rod canceling my heart. Don't know whether they're going to fire it or shove it through my spinning brain. Six of them, monstrous doctors with black masks shoving bottles up me too. There were sticks, and the end of a broom.
My vagina swimming river water, clean spilling water over sun-baked stones over stone clit, clit stones over and over.
Not since I heard the skin tear and made lemon screeching sounds, not since a piece of my vagina came off in my hand, a part of the lip, now one side of the lip is completely gone.
My vagina. A live wet water village. My vagina my hometown.
Not since they took turns for seven days smelling like feces and smoked meat, they left their dirty sperm inside me. I became a river of poison and pus and all the crops died, and the fish.
My vagina a live wet water village.
They invaded it. Butchered it and burned it
I do not touch now.
Do not visit.
I live someplace else now.
I don't know where that is.
Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues)
One day the girl is taking a bath and calls out. The widow comes into the tiny bathroom and the water surrounding the girl’s legs is clouded with crimson. She slaps the girl in the face and smiles and kisses her on the cheeks. She says, “May you bloom.” The girl doesn’t flinch. The widow tells her, “This is the first language of your body. It is the word ne. When you bleed each month, as when the moon comes and goes in its journey, you leave the world of men. You enter the body of all women, who are connected to all of nature.” The girl asks, “Why is it the word ne?” The widow responds, “When you bleed, this word is more powerful than any word you could ever speak. It is a blood word. It binds you to animals and trees and the moon and the sun. Where men take blood in the world in hunting and war, women give blood. It is the word ne because it closes the room of a woman’s body to men.” The widow places her hands into the water and says, “Good. You are alive. You and I are alive.
Lidia Yuknavitch (The Small Backs of Children)
Everyone in yuppie-land — airports, for example — looks like a nursing baby these days, inseparable from their plastic bottles of water. Here, however, I sweat without replacement or pause, not in individual drops but in continuous sheets of fluid soaking through my polo shirt, pouring down the backs of my legs ... Working my way through the living room(s), I wonder if Mrs. W. will ever have occasion to realize that every single doodad and objet through which she expresses her unique, individual self is, from another vantage point, only an obstacle between some thirsty person and a glass of water.
Barbara Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed)
There is no getting away from a wave that has got your name on it. The tide will come in whether you want it to or not. And there really is not a damn thing you can do to stop it, reverse it, or even delay it. Forget it. You have to plant your feet solidly in the sand and get yourself anchored. And then you have to be ready to take some direct hits from the water. You loosen your body and move with each wave. You get salt in your nose and mouth, and the ocean racks sand and stones over your feet and legs. Your eyes sting, and you feel so tired. But there is really nothing else to do. The tide will come and go. The sun will be warm again, and the salt on your skin will remind you of what you have done. And you will rest your tired body on the shore, falling into that delicious sleep that comes from knowing you are right.
Martha Manning (Undercurrents: A Life Beneath the Surface)
There are Navajo teachings about how a car works. This vehicle is very much like a horse, operating on the same principles. The automobile is considered more "intelligent," and we think of it in such terms. The automobile is mad eof iron and steel taken from the earth. This iron is the earth's spirit, which has been made into the body of the automobile. The trees, as vegetation, were also taken from the earth and made into rubber for the tires. The air, or spirit, is the same as that of a horse's breath of life, instilled in its body. The arms and legs of the auto makes it move. Then there are the dark storm clouds and heavenly bodies like lightning, which are found inside the auto to give it power. This is exactly the same power the horse has.
Water, which comes from the earth, is put into the auto for its cooling system. Oil from the earth is similar to the fat from the earth a horse receives. Just as gasoline comes from the earth as fuel, plants are in a horse's body to make it operate. Therefore, horses and cars are the sam in every way.
John Holiday (A Navajo Legacy: The Life and Teachings of John Holiday)
The first arrow struck Semian in the leg, just above the knee. Semian howled, staggered and fell back into the water. The second arrow struck one of the other riders in the back. The third arrow hit the wounded dragon in the neck, which only made it hiss and snap. Kemir didn't stop to fire a fourth; instead he jogged a little deeper into the forest and then turned and followed the path of the river. The knights wouldn't follow him into the trees, he was quite sure of that, and the dragons would never find him in the dark. Not killing Rider Semian, he discovered, was immensely satisfying. Killing him was something he could do only once. He smiled to himself.
Stephen Deas (The Adamantine Palace (The Memory of Flames, #1))
At the Slavemarket:
“How is her disposition?”
“Meek as meek can be; we tried training her in the care of sheep, but they bullied her, and drove her to tears.”
Iayd turned to Fudail’s henchman Falih. Falih was a bald, fat man charged with keeping the slaves in line. His face bore scars that seemed to indicate that he had just recently tried to rob an eagle nest whilst the eagle mother was still at home. His legs stood knock-kneed and he held his groin as if something serious was amiss with the heirlooms entrusted him.
“I swear to you, she is an angel sent to earth to spread kindness,” Falih said, his voice somewhat out of pitch.
Something must be wrong, thought Iayd.
August Renfelt (Fate, as Water)
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago--never mind how long precisely--having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this.
If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.
There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs--commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.
Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall, northward. What do you see?--Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks of ships from China; some high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better seaward peep. But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and plaster--tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks. How then is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they here?
But look! here come more crowds, pacing straight for the water, and seemingly bound for a dive. Strange! Nothing will content them but the extremest limit of the land; loitering under the shady lee of yonder warehouses will not suffice. No. They must get just as nigh the water as they possibly can without falling in. And there they stand--miles of them--leagues. Inlanders all, they come from lanes and alleys, streets and avenues--north, east, south, and west. Yet here they all unite. Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the needles of the compasses of all those ships attract them thither?
Once more. Say you are in the country; in some high land of lakes. Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries--stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick or, The Whale)
I’ve never skydived, bungee-jumped, or parasailed. As I remove the headset, I try to calculate the fall and can’t. Maybe my brain is protecting me from myself and what I’m about to do. I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but I’ve heard hitting the water from such-and-such height feels like hitting concrete at such-and-such miles per hour. In other words, it’s a bone-shattering experience. I seriously doubt those calculations are based on the Syrena bone structure though. In fact, I’m counting on it.
“No lower, okay?” Dan says, looking out his window to the water below. “Oh, you see sharks! Wow, it looks like a feeding frenzy down there. Hey, don’t touch that!”
I grip the handle harder, but the door won’t budge. Leaning back, I get in the mule-kick position.
“Emma, don’t!” Toraf yells. “Those are sharks, Emma!”
I take a deep breath. “Wait until I have them under control before you jump.” A joint effort from two half-Syrena legs sends the door flying to a watery grave.
“They want proof?” I grumble to myself as I lean into the wind, “I’ll show them proof.” Right before I hit the water, I can still hear Toraf screaming.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
A few years ago, Ed and I were exploring the dunes on Cumberland Island, one of the barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and the mainland of south Georgia. He was looking for the fossilized teeth of long-dead sharks. I was looking for sand spurs so that I did not step on one. This meant that neither of us was looking very far past our own feet, so the huge loggerhead turtle took us both by surprise. She was still alive but just barely, her shell hot to the touch from the noonday sun. We both knew what had happened. She had come ashore during the night to lay her eggs, and when she had finished, she had looked around for the brightest horizon to lead her back to the sea. Mistaking the distant lights on the mainland for the sky reflected on the ocean, she went the wrong way. Judging by her tracks, she had dragged herself through the sand until her flippers were buried and she could go no farther. We found her where she had given up, half cooked by the sun but still able to turn one eye up to look at us when we bent over her. I buried her in cool sand while Ed ran to the ranger station. An hour later she was on her back with tire chains around her front legs, being dragged behind a park service Jeep back toward the ocean. The dunes were so deep that her mouth filled with sand as she went. Her head bent so far underneath her that I feared her neck would break. Finally the Jeep stopped at the edge of the water. Ed and I helped the ranger unchain her and flip her back over. Then all three of us watched as she lay motionless in the surf. Every wave brought her life back to her, washing the sand from her eyes and making her shell shine again. When a particularly large one broke over her, she lifted her head and tried her back legs. The next wave made her light enough to find a foothold, and she pushed off, back into the water that was her home. Watching her swim slowly away after her nightmare ride through the dunes, I noted that it is sometimes hard to tell whether you are being killed or saved by the hands that turn your life upside down.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Learning to Walk in the Dark: Because Sometimes God Shows Up at Night)
This is meant to be in praise of the interval called hangover,
a sadness not co-terminous with hopelessness,
and the North American doubling cascade
that (keep going) “this diamond lake is a photo lab”
and if predicates really do propel the plot
then you might see Jerusalem in a soap bubble
or the appliance failures on Olive Street
across these great instances,
because “the complex Italians versus the basic Italians”
because what does a mirror look like (when it´s not working)
but birds singing a full tone higher in the sunshine.
I´m going to call them Honest Eyes until I know if they are,
in the interval called slam clicker, Realm of Pacific,
because the second language wouldn´t let me learn it
because I have heard of you for a long time occasionally
because diet cards may be the recovery evergreen
and there is a new benzodiazepene called Distance,
anti-showmanship, anti-showmanship, anti-showmanship.
I suppose a broken window is not symbolic
unless symbolic means broken, which I think it sorta does,
and when the phone jangles
what´s more radical, the snow or the tires,
and what does the Bible say about metal fatigue
and why do mothers carry big scratched-up sunglasses
in their purses.
Hello to the era of going to the store to buy more ice
because we are running out.
Hello to feelings that arrive unintroduced.
Hello to the nonfunctional sprig of parsley
and the game of finding meaning in coincidence.
Because there is a second mind in the margins of the used book
because Judas Priest (source: Firestone Library)
sang a song called Stained Class,
because this world is 66% Then and 33% Now,
and if you wake up thinking “feeling is a skill now”
or “even this glass of water seems complicated now”
and a phrase from a men´s magazine (like single-district cognac)
rings and rings in your neck,
then let the consequent misunderstandings
(let the changer love the changed)
wobble on heartbreakingly nu legs
into this street-legal nonfiction,
into this good world,
this warm place
that I love with all my heart,
anti-showmanship, anti-showmanship, anti-showmanship.
Getting tired already, minnow?” Toraf taunts as he wraps strong arms around Galen’s neck in a choke hold.
Galen promptly flips him forward and onto his back. Toraf bounces once with the force. “You must have been drinking salt water,” Galen returns, “to have delusions like that.”
Toraf kicks Galen’s legs out from under him, and the scuffle is taken to the floor. Just when I wonder how long this can really go on, the older Syrena steps into the dining room and confirms his identity with the authority in his voice. “That’s enough. Get up.”
Toraf scrambles to his feet and steps away from Galen, who reluctantly complies. “Yes, Highness. Sorry, Highness,” Toraf says, breathless. There is not a small amount of shame on Toraf’s face.
In fact, even Galen looks conscience stricken. “Apologies, King Antonis,” he says quickly. “I didn’t see you there.”
King Antonis. Mom’s dad. My grandfather. Holy!
Antonis lifts his chin, satisfied. “I didn’t think so.”
Mom steps over the dish debris and embraces her dad. “Thank you for interrupting. It was getting a tad boring. It was obvious no one would win.”
Mom is such a dude sometimes. Grom winks at Galen, who shrugs.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
Screens of tumbling water, breaking the world beyond them into glittering lines and smeared shadows. Kellhus had ceased trying to penetrate them.
“Power,” Anasûrimbor Moënghus said, “is always power over. When an infant may be either, what is the difference between a Fanim and an Inrithi? Or between a Nansur and a Scylvendi? What could be so malleable in Men that anyone, split between circumstances, could be his own murderer?
“You learned this lesson quickly. You looked across Wilderness and you saw thousands upon thousands of them, their backs bent to the field, their legs spread to the ceiling, their mouths reciting scripture, their arms hammering steel … Thousands upon thousands of them, each one a small circle of repeating actions, each one a wheel in the great machine of nations …
“You understood that when men stop bowing, the emperor ceases to rule, that when the whips are thrown into the river, the slave ceases to serve. For an infant to be an emperor or a slave or a merchant or a whore or a general or whatever, those about him must act accordingly. And Men act as they believe.
“You saw them, in their thousands, spread across the world in great hierarchies, the actions of each exquisitely attuned to the expectations of others. The identity of Men, you discovered, was determined by the beliefs, the assumptions, of others. This is what makes them emperors or slaves … Not their gods. Not their blood.
“Nations live as Men act,” Moënghus said, his voice refracted through the ambient rush of waters. “Men act as they believe. And Men believe as they are conditioned. Since they are blind to their conditioning, they do not doubt their intuitions …”
Kellhus nodded in wary assent. “They believe absolutely,” he said.
R. Scott Bakker (The Thousandfold Thought (The Prince of Nothing, #3))
When I was a young woman with four children, I was always living ahead of myself,” she said. “Everything I was doing was projected toward the future, and I was so busy, busy, busy, preparing for tomorrow, for the next week, for the next month. Then one day, it all changed. At thirty-eight years old, I found I had breast cancer. I can remember asking my doctor what I should plan for in my future. He said, ‘Diane, my advice to you is to live each day as richly as you can.’ As I lay in my bed after he left, I thought, will I be alive next year to take my son to first grade? Will I see my children marry? And will I know the joy of holding my grandchildren?” She looked out over the water, barefoot, her legs outstretched; a white visor held down her short, black hair. “For the first time in my life, I started to be fully present in the day I was living. I was alive. My goals were no longer long-range plans, they were daily goals, much more meaningful to me because at the end of each day, I could evaluate what I had done.
Terry Tempest Williams (Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place)
Doc was collecting marine animals in the Great Tide Pool on the tip of the Peninsula. It is a fabulous place: when the tide is in, a wave-churned basin, creamy with foam, whipped by the combers that roll in from the whistling buoy on the reef. But when the tide goes out the little water world becomes quiet and lovely. The sea is very clear and the bottom becomes fantastic with hurrying, fighting, feeding, breeding animals. Crabs rush from frond to frond of the waving algae. Starfish squat over mussels and limpets, attach their million little suckers and then slowly lift with incredible power until the prey is broken from the rock. And then the starfish stomach comes out and envelops its food. Orange and speckled and fluted nudibranchs slide gracefully over the rocks, their skirts waving like the dresses of Spanish dancers. And black eels poke their heads out of crevices and wait for prey. The snapping shrimps with their trigger claws pop loudly. The lovely, colored world is glassed over. Hermit crabs like frantic children scamper on the bottom sand. And now one, finding an empty snail shell he likes better than his own, creeps out, exposing his soft body to the enemy for a moment, and then pops into the new shell. A wave breaks over the barrier, and churns the glassy water for a moment and mixes bubbles into the pool, and then it clears and is tranquil and lovely and murderous again. Here a crab tears a leg from his brother. The anemones expand like soft and brilliant flowers, inviting any tired and perplexed animal to lie for a moment in their arms, and when some small crab or little tide-pool Johnnie accepts the green and purple invitation, the petals whip in, the stinging cells shoot tiny narcotic needles into the prey and it grows weak and perhaps sleepy while the searing caustic digestive acids melt its body down.
Then the creeping murderer, the octopus, steals out, slowly, softly, moving like a gray mist, pretending now to be a bit of weed, now a rock, now a lump of decaying meat while its evil goat eyes watch coldly. It oozes and flows toward a feeding crab, and as it comes close its yellow eyes burn and its body turns rosy with the pulsing color of anticipation and rage. Then suddenly it runs lightly on the tips of its arms, as ferociously as a charging cat. It leaps savagely on the crab, there is a puff of black fluid, and the struggling mass is obscured in the sepia cloud while the octopus murders the crab. On the exposed rocks out of water, the barnacles bubble behind their closed doors and the limpets dry out. And down to the rocks come the black flies to eat anything they can find. The sharp smell of iodine from the algae, and the lime smell of calcareous bodies and the smell of powerful protean, smell of sperm and ova fill the air. On the exposed rocks the starfish emit semen and eggs from between their rays. The smells of life and richness, of death and digestion, of decay and birth, burden the air. And salt spray blows in from the barrier where the ocean waits for its rising-tide strength to permit it back into the Great Tide Pool again. And on the reef the whistling buoy bellows like a sad and patient bull.
John Steinbeck (Cannery Row (Cannery Row, #1))
In the morning it was raining. A fog had come over the mountains from the sea. You could not see the tops of the mountains. The plateau was dull and gloomy, and the shapes of the trees and the houses were changed. I walked out beyond the town to look at the weather. The bad weather was coming over the mountains from the sea.
The flags in the square hung wet form the with poles and the banners were wet and hung damp against the front of the houses, and in between the steady drizzle the rain came down and drove every one under the arcades and made pools of water in the square, and the streets were dark and deserted; yet the fiesta kept up without any pause. It was only driven under covers.
The covered seats of the bull-ring had been crowded with people sitting out of the rain watching the concourse of Basque and Navarrais dancers and singers, and afterward the Val Carlos dancers in their costumes danced down the street in the rain, the drums sounding hallow and damp, and the chiefs of the bands riding ahead of their big, heavy-footed horse, their costumes wet, the horses’ coats wet in the rain. The crowd was in the cafés and the dancers came in, too, and sat, their tight-wound white legs under the tables, shaking the water from their belled caps, and spreading their red and purple jackets over the chairs to dry. It was raining hard outside.
Ernest Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises)
The shells had landed on the cobblestone road.
"Sonsofbitches," Wiseman muttered.
We looked up and grinned at each other.
"Here they come again!"
Sitting in an inch of water. I closed my eyes, gritted my teeth, held my breath, and clutched my elbows with my arms around my knees.
Three more shells came in, low and angry, and burst in the orchard.
"They're walking 'em towards us," I whispered.
I felt as if a giant with exploding iron fingers were looking for me, tearing up the ground as he came. I wanted to strike at him, to kill him, to stop him before he ripped into me, but I could do nothing. Sit and take it, sit and take it. The giant raked the orchard and tore up the roads and stumbled toward us in a terrible blind wrath as we sat in our hole with our heads between our legs and curses on our lips.
David Kenyon Webster (Parachute Infantry: An American Paratrooper's Memoir of D-Day and the Fall of the Third Reich)
I had recently read to my dismay that they have started hunting moose again in New England. Goodness knows why anyone would want to shoot an animal as harmless and retiring as the moose, but thousands of people do—so many, in fact, that states now hold lotteries to decide who gets a permit. Maine in 1996 received 82,000 applications for just 1,500 permits. Over 12,000 outof-staters happily parted with a nonrefundable $20 just to be allowed to take part in the draw. Hunters will tell you that a moose is a wily and ferocious forest creature. Nonsense. A moose is a cow drawn by a three-year-old. That’s all there is to it. Without doubt, the moose is the most improbable, endearingly hopeless creature ever to live in the wilds. Every bit of it—its spindly legs, its chronically puzzled expression, its comical oven-mitt antlers—looks like some droll evolutionary joke. It is wondrously ungainly: it runs as if its legs have never been introduced to each other. Above all, what distinguishes the moose is its almost boundless lack of intelligence. If you are driving down a highway and a moose steps from the woods ahead of you, he will stare at you for a long minute (moose are notoriously shortsighted), then abruptly try to run away from you, legs flailing in eight directions at once. Never mind that there are several thousand square miles of forest on either side of the highway. The moose does not think of this. Clueless as to what exactly is going on, he runs halfway to New Brunswick before his peculiar gait inadvertently steers him back into the woods, where he immediately stops and takes on a startled expression that says, “Hey—woods. Now how the heck did I get here?” Moose are so monumentally muddle-headed, in fact, that when they hear a car or truck approaching they will often bolt out of the woods and onto the highway in the curious hope that this will bring them to safety. Amazingly, given the moose’s lack of cunning and peculiarly-blunted survival instincts, it is one of the longest-surviving creatures in North America. Mastodons, saber-toothed tigers, wolves, caribou, wild horses, and even camels all once thrived in eastern North America alongside the moose but gradually stumbled into extinction, while the moose just plodded on. It hasn’t always been so. At the turn of this century, it was estimated that there were no more than a dozen moose in New Hampshire and probably none at all in Vermont. Today New Hampshire has an estimated 5,000 moose, Vermont 1,000, and Maine anywhere up to 30,000. It is because of these robust and growing numbers that hunting has been reintroduced as a way of keeping them from getting out of hand. There are, however, two problems with this that I can think of. First, the numbers are really just guesses. Moose clearly don’t line up for censuses. Some naturalists think the population may have been overstated by as much as 20 percent, which means that the moose aren’t being so much culled as slaughtered. No less pertinent is that there is just something deeply and unquestionably wrong about killing an animal that is so sweetly and dopily unassuming as a moose. I could have slain this one with a slingshot, with a rock or stick—with a folded newspaper, I’d almost bet—and all it wanted was a drink of water. You might as well hunt cows.
Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail)
What you have heard is true. I was in his house.
His wife carried a tray of coffee and sugar. His
daughter filed her nails, his son went out for the
night. There were daily papers, pet dogs, a pistol
on the cushion beside him. The moon swung bare on
its black cord over the house. On the television
was a cop show. It was in English. Broken bottles
were embedded in the walls around the house to
scoop the kneecaps from a man's legs or cut his
hands to lace. On the windows there were gratings
like those in liquor stores. We had dinner, rack of
lamb, good wine, a gold bell was on the table for
calling the maid. The maid brought green mangoes,
salt, a type of bread. I was asked how I enjoyed
the country. There was a brief commercial in
Spanish. His wife took everything away. There was
some talk of how difficult it had become to govern.
The parrot said hello on the terrace. The colonel
told it to shut up, and pushed himself from the
table. My friend said to me with his eyes: say
nothing. The colonel returned with a sack used to
bring groceries home. He spilled many human ears on
the table. They were like dried peach halves. There
is no other way to say this. He took one of them in
his hands, shook it in our faces, dropped it into a
water glass. It came alive there. I am tired of
fooling around he said. As for the rights of anyone,
tell your people they can go f--- themselves. He
swept the ears to the floor with his arm and held
the last of his wine in the air. Something for your
poetry, no? he said. Some of the ears on the floor
caught this scrap of his voice. Some of the ears on
the floor were pressed to the ground.
So we would say in yoga that the subtle precedes the gross, or spirit precedes matter. But yoga says we must deal with the outer or most manifest first, i.e. legs, arms, spine, eyes, tongue, touch, in order to develop the sensitivity to move inward. This is why asana opens the whole spectrum of yoga’s possibilities. There can be no realization of existential, divine bliss without the support of the soul’s incarnate vehicle, the food-and-water-fed body, from bone to brain. If we can become aware of its limitations and compulsions, we can transcend them. We all possess some awareness of ethical behavior, but in order to pursue yama and niyama at deeper levels, we must cultivate the mind. We need contentment, tranquility, dispassion, and unselfishness, qualities that have to be earned. It is asana that teaches us the physiology of these virtues.
B.K.S. Iyengar (Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom (Iyengar Yoga Books))
As I speak, his fingers trail down my arm. I’m just so relieved he’s willing to touch me after I’ve told him this. He turns my hand over and traces the fine lines on my palm. “And?” He looks up beneath heavy lids. “What else should I know about you?”
“My skin—” I stop, swallow.
He leans down, presses his lips to my wrist in a feathery kiss. “What about your skin?”
“You know. You’ve seen it,” I rasp. “It changes. The color becomes—”
“Like fire.” His gaze lifts from my wrist and he says that word he said so long ago surrounded in cold mists, tucked on a ledge above a whispering pool of water. “Beautiful.”
“You said that before. In the mountains.”
“I meant it. Still do.”
I laugh weakly. “I guess this means you’re not mad at me.”
“I would be mad, if I could.” He frowns. “I should be.” He inches closer to me on the couch. We sink deeper into the tired cushions. “This is impossible.”
“This what?” I clutch the collar of his shirt in my fingers. His face is so close I study the varying color of his eyes.
For a long time, he says nothing. Stares at me in that way that makes me want to squirm. For a moment, it seems that his irises glow and the pupils shrink to slits. Then, he mutters, “A hunter in love with his prey.”
My chest squeezes. I suck in a breath. Pretty wonderful, I think, but am too embarrassed to say it. Even after what he just admitted.
He loves me?
Studying him, I let myself consider this and whether he can possibly mean it. But what else could it be? What else could drive him to this moment with me? To turn his back on his family’s way of life?
As he looks at me in that desperate, devouring way, I’m reminded of those moments in his car when he tended the cut on my palm and ran his hand over my leg. My belly twists.
I glance around, see how seriously, dangerously alone we are. More alone than in the stairwell. Or even the first time together, on that ledge. I lick my lips. Now we’re alone with no school bell ready to rip us apart. Even more alarming, no more secrets stand between us. No barriers. Nothing to stop us at all.
I hold my breath until I feel the first press of his lips, certain I’ve never been this close to another soul, this vulnerable. We kiss until we’re both breathless, warm and flushed, twisting against each other on the couch. His hands brush my bare back beneath my shirt, trace every bump of my spine. My back tingles, wings vibrating just beneath the surface. I drink the cooler air from his lips, drawing it into my fiery lungs.
I don’t even mind when he stops and watches my skin change colors, or touches my face as it blurs in and out. He kisses my changing face. Cheeks, nose, the corners of my eyes, sighing my name it like a benediction between each caress. His lips slide to my neck and I moan, arch, lost to everything but him. In this, with him . . . I’m as close to the sky as I’ve ever been.
Sophie Jordan (Firelight (Firelight, #1))
You appear at the foot of the bed with a bottle of champagne, and I have no idea why. I search my mind desperately for an occasion I've forgotten - is this some obscure anniversary or, even worse, a not-so-obscure one? Then I think you have something to tell me, some good news to share, but your smile is silent, cryptic. I sit up in bed, ask you what's going on, and you shake your head, as if to say that nothing's going on, as if to pretend that we usually start our Wednesday mornings with champagne.
You touch the bottle to my leg - I feel the cool condensation and the glass, the fact that the bottle must have been sleeping all night in the refrigerator without me noticing. You have long-stemmed glasses in you other hand, and you place them on the nightstand, beside the uncommenting clock, the box of kleenex, the tumbler of water.
"The thing about champagne," you say, unfailing the cork, unwinding its wire restraint, "is that it is the ultimate associative object. Every time you open a bottle of champagne, it's a celebration, so there's no better way of starting a celebration than opening a bottle of champagne. Every time you sip it, you're sipping from all those other celebrations. The joy accumulates over time."
You pop the cork. The bubbles rise. I feel some of the spray on my skin. You pour.
"But why?" I ask as you hand me my glass.
You raise yours and ask, "Why not? What better way to start the day?"
We drink a toast to that.
David Levithan (The Lover's Dictionary)
I flip up my collar and turn my back to him as I pick my way back up toward the cliff base. I don’t think I can watch him disappear into the water. It will break my heart.
Puck’s scrubbing her eyes busily as if she has something in them. George Holly bites his lip. The cliffs tower above me and I try to console myself, I will find another capall uisce, I will ride again, I will move to my father’s home and be free. But there’s no comfort in my thoughts.
Behind me, the ocean says shhhhhhhh, shhhhhhhhh.
There’s a thin, long wail. I keep walking, my bare feet slow on the uneven stones.
The wail comes again, low and keening. Puck and Holly are looking past me, so I turn around. Still at the shoreline, Corr has noticed my going, and he stands where I left him, looking back at me. He lifts his head again and keens to me.
The irresistible ocean sucks around his hooves. But still he looks over his withers at me and he wails, again and again. The hair on my arms stands with his call. I know he wants me to go to him, but I can’t go with him where he needs to go.
Corr falls silent when I do not come to him. He looks back out to the endless horizon. I see him lift a hoof and put it back down. He tests his weight again.
Then Corr turns, stepping out of the ocean. His head jerks up when his injured leg touches the ground, but he takes another labored step before keening to me again. Corr takes another step away from the November sea. And another.
He is slow, and the sea sings to us both, but he returns to me.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Scorpio Races)
Are you unwell, Paige?”
“Fine. My uterus is just confirming that it will not be growing a baby this month. With good reason,” I said, “since a tiny, defenseless human is not really what I need while I’m on the run from agents of tyranny.”
“You are menstruating.”
“I am menstruating,” I confirmed gravely.
“I see.” His eyes darkened. “Is it very painful?”
“I’ve never had to describe it before,” I said, musing. “I suppose it’s like having all my lower organs crammed right down into my pelvis, then soaked in boiling water, so they’re sore and swollen. It’s a heavy, aching…downward-ness. But then it also feels like I’ve been kicked in the back. And the stomach. And the legs. Oh, and I’ve got a splitting headache.”
Arcturus had stopped plunging the coffee.
“And you feel able to train,” he said, after a long pause. “While experiencing those sensations.”
I rubbed the corner of my eye. “I’m grand.
Samantha Shannon (The Mask Falling (The Bone Season, #4))
Shubha let me sleep for a few moments in your violent silvery uterus
Give me peace, Shubha, let me have peace
Let my sin-driven skeleton be washed anew in your seasonal bloodstream
Let me create myself in your womb with my own sperm
Would I have been like this if I had different parents?
Was Malay alias me possible from an absolutely different sperm?
Would I have been Malay in the womb of other women of my father?
Would I have made a professional gentleman of me like my dead brother without Shubha?
Oh, answer, let somebody answer these
Shubha, ah, Shubha
Let me see the earth through your cellophane hymen
Come back on the green mattress again
As cathode rays are sucked up with the warmth of magnet's brilliance
I remember the letter of the final decesion of 1956
The surroundings of your clitoris were being embellished with coon at that time
Fine rib-smashing roots were descending into your bosom
Stupid relationship inflted in the bypass of senseless neglect
I do not know whether I am going to die
Squandering was roaring within heart's exhaustive impatience
I'll disrupt and destroy
I'll split all into pieces for the sake of Art
There isn't any other way out for poetry except suicide
Let me enter into the immemorial incontinence of your labia majora
Into the absurdity of woeless effort
In the golden chlorophyll of the drunken heart
Why wasn't I lost in my mother's urethra?
Why wasn't I driven away in my father's urine after his self-coition?
Why wasn't I mixed in the ovum-flux or in the phlegm?
With her eyes shut supine beneath me
I felt terribly distressed when I saw comfort seize Shubha
Women could be treacherous even after unfolding a helpless appeareance
Today it seems there is nothing so treacherous as Women and Art
Now my ferocious heart is rinning towards an impossible death
Vertigoes of water are coming up to my neck from the pierced earth
I will die
Oh what are these happening within me?
I am failing to fetch out my hand and my palm
From the dried sperms on my trousers spreading wings
300000 children are gliding toward the district of Shubha's bosom
Millions of needles are now running from my blood into Poetry
Now the smuggling of my obstinate leg is trying to plunge
Into the death killer sex-wig entangled in the hypnotic kingdom of words
In violent mirrors on each wall of the room I am observing
After letting loose a few naked Malay, his unestablished scramblings.
Malay Roy Choudhury (Selected Poems)
...and then pops into the new shell. A wave breaks over the barrier, and churns the glassy water for a moment and mixes bubbles into the pool, and then it clears and is tranquil and lovely and murderous again. Here a crab tears a leg from his brother. The anemones expand like soft and brilliant flowers, inviting any tired and perplexed animal to lie for a moment in their arms, and when some small crab or little tide-pool Johnnie accepts the green and purple invitation, the petals whip in, the stinging cells shoot tiny narcotic needles into the prey and it grows weak and perhaps sleepy while the searing caustic digestive acids melt its body down. Then the creeping murderer, the octopus, steals out, slowly, softly, moving like a gray mist, pretending now to be a bit of weed, now a rock, now a lump of decaying meat while its evil goat eyes watch coldly. It oozes and flows toward a feeding crab, and as it comes close its yellow eyes burn and its body turns rosy with the pulsing color of anticipation and rage. Then suddenly it runs lightly on the tips of its arms, as ferociously as a charging cat. It leaps savagely on the crab, there is a puff of black fluid, and the struggling mass is obscured in the sepia cloud while the octopus murders the crab. On the exposed rocks out of water, the barnacles
John Steinbeck (Cannery Row (Cannery Row, #1))
This is the heart of it, the scared woman who does not want to go alone to the man any longer, because when she does, when she takes of her baggy dress, displaying to him rancid breasts each almost as big as his own head, or no breasts, or mammectomized scar tissues taped over with old tennis balls to give her the right curves; when, vending her flesh, she stands or squats waiting, congealing the air firstly with her greasy cheesey stench of unwashed feet confined in week-old socks, secondly with her perfume of leotards and panties also a week old, crusted with semen and urine, brown-greased with the filth of alleys; thirdly with the odor of her dress also worn for a week, emblazoned with beer-spills and cigarette-ash and salted with the smelly sweat of sex, dread, fever, addiction—when she goes to the man, and is accepted by him, when all these stinking skins of hers have come off (either quickly, to get it over with, or slowly like a big truck pulling into a weigh station because she is tired), when she nakedly presents her soul’s ageing soul, exhaling from every pore physical and ectoplasmic her fourth and supreme smell which makes eyes water more than any queen of red onions—rotten waxy smell from between her breasts, I said, bloody pissy shitty smell from between her legs, sweat-smell and underarm-smell, all blended into her halo, generalized sweetish smell of unwashed flesh; when she hunkers painfully down with her customer on bed or a floor or in an alley, then she expects her own death. Her smell is enough to keep him from knowing the heart of her, and the heart of her is not the heart of it. The heart of it is that she is scared.
William T. Vollmann (The Royal Family)
You. Man at the machine and man in the workshop. If tomorrow they tell you you are to make no more water-pipes and saucepans but are to make steel helmets and machine-guns, then there's only one thing to do:
You. Woman at the counter and woman in the office. If tomorrow they tell you you are to fill shells and assemble telescopic sights for snipers' rifles, then there's only one thing to do:
You. Research worker in the laboratory. If tomorrow they tell you you are to invent a new death for the old life, then there's only one thing to do:
You. Priest in the pulpit. If tomorrow they tell you you are to bless murder and declare war holy, then there's only one thing to do:
You. Pilot in your aeroplane. If tomorrow they tell you you are to
carry bombs over the cities, then there's only one thing to do: Say NO!
You. Man of the village and man of the town. If tomorrow they come and give you your call-up papers, then there's only one thing to do:
You. Mother in Normandy and mother in the Ukraine, mother in Vancouver and in London, you on the Hwangho and on the Mississippi, you in Naples and Hamburg and Cairo and Oslo - mothers in all parts of the earth, mothers of the world, if tomorrow they tell you you are to bear new soldiers for new battles, then there's only one thing to do:
For if you do not say NO - if YOU do not say no - mothers, then: then!
In the bustling hazy harbour towns the big ships will fall silent as corpses against the dead deserted quay walls, their once shimmering bodies overgrown with seaweed and barnacles, smelling of graveyards and rotten fish.
The trams will lie like senseless glass-eyed cages beside the twisted steel skeleton of wires and track.
The sunny juicy vine will rot on decaying hillsides, rice will dry in the withered earth, potatoes will freeze in the unploughed land and cows will stick their death-still legs into the air like overturned chairs.
In the fields beside rusted ploughs the corn will be flattened like a beaten army.
Then the last human creature, with mangled entrails and infected lungs, will wander around, unanswered and lonely, under the poisonous glowing sun, among the immense mass graves and devastated cities.
The last human creature, withered, mad, cursing, accusing - and the terrible accusation: WHY?
will die unheard on the plains, drift through the ruins, seep into the rubble of churches, fall into pools of blood, unheard, unanswered,
the last animal scream of the last human animal -
All this will happen tomorrow, tomorrow, perhaps, perhaps even tonight, perhaps tonight, if - if -
You do not say NO.
Water was not my element. It dragged at my clothes as I swam. A little farther, I told myself. I could hear him coming, his arms stronger than mine from a lifetime of lifting marble. I felt the water shiver near my foot where he had grabbed and almost caught me. I looked back, and saw how close he was and how far the shore behind. Then his hand seized my ankle and yanked, pulling me to him like a rope, hand over hand, and then he had me up and by the throat, his face pressed to mine.
I think he expected me to fight and claw. I didn’t fight. I seized him close around the ribs, holding my wrists so he could not get free. The sudden weight pulled us both under. He kicked and flailed back to the surface, but I was heavier than he had thought, and the waves slopped at our mouths. Let it be now, I prayed.
At first I thought it was just the cold of the water. It crept up my fingers and my arms, which stiffed around him. He struggled and fought, but my hands were fused together and nothing he tried could break them. Then it was in my legs too, and my belly and my chest, and no matter how he kicked, he could not haul us back up to the air. He hit at me, but it was watery and weak and I felt nothing, just the solid circle of my arms, and the inexorable drag of my body.
He had no chance, really. He was only flesh. We fell through the darkness, and the coolness slid up my neck and bled the color from my lips and cheeks. I thought of Paphos and how clever she was. I thought of her stone sister, peaceful on her couch. We fell through the currents and I thought of how the crabs would come for him, climbing over my pale shoulders. The ocean floor was sandy and soft as pillows. I settled into it and slept.
Madeline Miller (Galatea)
A cowboy is someone who loves his work. Since the hours are long—ten to fifteen hours a day—and the pay is $30 he has to.
What's required of him is an odd mixture of physical vigor and maternalism. His part of the beef-raising industry is to birth and
nurture calves and take care of their mothers. For the most part his work is done on horseback and in a lifetime he sees and comes to know more animals than people. The iconic myth surrounding him is built on American notions of heroism: the index of a man's value as measured in physical courage. Such ideas have perverted manliness into a self-absorbed race for cheap thrills. In a rancher's world, courage has less to do with facing danger than with acting
spontaneously—usually on behalf of an animal or another rider. If a cow is stuck in a bog hole he throws a loop around her neck,
takes his dally (a half hitch around the saddle horn), and pulls her out with horsepower. If a calf is born sick, he may take her home,
warm her in front of the kitchen fire, and massage her legs until dawn. One friend, whose favorite horse was trying to swim a lake with hobbles on, dove under water and cut her legs loose with a knife, then swam her to shore, his arm around her neck lifeguard-style, and saved her from drowning. Because these incidents are usually linked to someone or something outside himself, the westerner's courage is selfless, a form of compassion.
Gretel Ehrlich (The Solace of Open Spaces)
Those who visited that exhibition-room found an auto-de-fé of immense skies in ignition, globes blotted out by bleeding suns; hemorrhages of stars, flowing down in purple cataracts over tumbling tufts of clouds. Against this background of terrible din, silent women passed, nude or appareled in jeweled stuffs, like the bindings of the old Evangelists; women with hair of shaggy silk, with pale blue eyes, hard and fixed, and flesh of the frozen whiteness of milk; Salomes holding, motionless upon a platter, the head of the Baptist, which shone, soaked in phosphorus, under the quincunxes with shorn leaves, of a green that was almost black; goddesses galloping on hippogriffs and streaking, with the lapis lazuli of their wings, the agony of the clouds; feminine idols, in tiaras, upright on thrones, at the top of stairs submerged in extraordinary flowers, or seated, in rigid poses, upon the backs of elephants with green-mantled foreheads and breasts strung with pearl-ropes like cavalry bells, stamping about upon their own heavy image, reflected in a sheet of water and splashed by the columns of the ring-circled legs!
Joris-Karl Huysmans (Downstream and Other Works)
They loved the sea. They taught themselves to sail, to navigate and read the weather. Without their mother's knowledge and long before she thought them old enough to sail outside the harbor, they were piloting their catboat all the way to the Isles of Shoals. They were on the return leg of one such excursion when the fickle weather of early spring took an abrupt turn and the sky darkened and the sun vanished and the wind came squalling off the open sea. They were a half mile from the harbor when the storm overtook them. The rain struck in a slashing torrent and the swells hove them so high they felt they might be sent flying--then dropped them into troughs so deep they could see nothing but walls of water the color of iron. They feared the sail would be ripped away. Samuel Thomas wrestled the tiller and John Roger bailed in a frenzy and both were wide-eyed with euphoric terror as time and again they were nearly capsized before at last making the harbor. When they got home and Mary Margaret saw their sodden state she scolded them for dunces and wondered aloud how they could do so well in their schooling when they didn't have sense enough to get out of the rain.
James Carlos Blake (Country of the Bad Wolfes)
Men frequently say to me, "I should think you would feel lonesome down there, and want to be nearer to folks, rainy and snowy days and nights especially." I am tempted to reply to such—This whole earth which we inhabit is but a point in space. How far apart, think you, dwell the two most distant inhabitants of yonder star, the breadth of whose disk cannot be appreciated by our instruments? Why should I feel lonely? is not our planet in the Milky Way? This which you put seems to me not to be the most important question. What sort of space is that which separates a man from his fellows and makes him solitary? I have found that no exertion of the legs can bring two minds much nearer to one another. What do we want most to dwell near to? Not to many men surely, the depot, the post-office, the bar-room, the meeting-house, the school-house, the grocery, Beacon Hill, or the Five Points, where men most congregate, but to the perennial source of our life, whence in all our experience we have found that to issue, as the willow stands near the water and sends out its roots in that direction. This will vary with different natures, but this is the place where a wise man will dig his cellar…
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
Patriotism,” said Lymond, “like honesty is a luxury with a very high face value which is quickly pricing itself out of the spiritual market altogether.
[...] It is an emotion as well, and of course the emotion comes first. A child’s home and the ways of its life are sacrosanct, perfect, inviolate to the child. Add age; add security; add experience. In time we all admit our relatives and our neighbours, our fellow townsmen and even, perhaps, at last our fellow nationals to the threshold of tolerance. But the man living one inch beyond the boundary is an inveterate foe.
[...] Patriotism is a fine hothouse for maggots. It breeds intolerance; it forces a spindle-legged, spurious riot of colour.… A man of only moderate powers enjoys the special sanction of purpose, the sense of ceremony; the echo of mysterious, lost and royal things; a trace of the broad, plain childish virtues of myth and legend and ballad. He wants advancement—what simpler way is there? He’s tired of the little seasons and looks for movement and change and an edge of peril and excitement; he enjoys the flowering of small talents lost in the dry courses of daily life. For all these reasons, men at least once in their lives move the finger which will take them to battle for their country.…
“Patriotism,” said Lymond again. “It’s an opulent word, a mighty key to a royal Cloud-Cuckoo-Land. Patriotism; loyalty; a true conviction that of all the troubled and striving world, the soil of one’s fathers is noblest and best. A celestial competition for the best breed of man; a vehicle for shedding boredom and exercising surplus power or surplus talents or surplus money; an immature and bigoted intolerance which becomes the coin of barter in the markets of power—
[...] These are not patriots but martyrs, dying in cheerful self-interest as the Christians died in the pleasant conviction of grace, leaving their example by chance to brood beneath the water and rise, miraculously, to refresh the centuries. The cry is raised: Our land is glorious under the sun. I have a need to believe it, they say. It is a virtue to believe it; and therefore I shall wring from this unassuming clod a passion and a power and a selflessness that otherwise would be laid unquickened in the grave.
[...] “And who shall say they are wrong?” said Lymond. “There are those who will always cleave to the living country, and who with their uprooted imaginations might well make of it an instrument for good. Is it quite beyond us in this land? Is there no one will take up this priceless thing and say, Here is a nation, with such a soul; with such talents; with these failings and this native worth? In what fashion can this one people be brought to live in full vigour and serenity, and who, in their compassion and wisdom, will take it and lead it into the path?
Dorothy Dunnett (The Game of Kings (The Lymond Chronicles, #1))
Please Call Me By My True Names
Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow— even today I am still arriving.
Look deeply: every second I am arriving to be a bud on a Spring branch, to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings, learning to sing in my new nest, to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower, to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, to fear and to hope. The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that is alive.
I am a mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river. And I am the bird that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.
I am a frog swimming happily in the clear water of a pond. And I am the grass-snake that silently feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks. And I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.
I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am also the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.
I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands. And I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to my people dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.
My joy is like Spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth. My pain is like a river of tears, so vast it fills the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names, so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once, so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names, so I can wake up and the door of my heart could be left open, the door of compassion.
Thich Nhat Hanh
The Legend of Rainbow Bridge by William N. Britton
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge
When a pet dies who has been especially close to a person here on earth, that pet goes to a Rainbow Bridge.
There are beautiful meadows and grassy hills there for all our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is always plenty of their favorite food to eat, plenty of fresh spring water for them to drink, and every day is filled with sunshine so our little friends are warm and comfortable.
All the pets that had been ill or old are now restored to health and youth.
Those that had been hurt or maimed are now whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days gone by.
The pets we loved are happy and content except for one small thing.
Each one misses someone very special who was left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one of them suddenly stops and looks off into the distant hills.
It is as if they heard a whistle or were given a signal of some kind.
Their eyes are bright and intent.
Their body beings to quiver.
All at once they break away from the group, flying like a deer over the grass, their little legs carrying them faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you hug and cling to them in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.
Happy kisses rain upon your face.
Your hands once again caress the beloved head.
You look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet so long gone from your life, but never gone from your heart.
Then with your beloved pet by your side, you will cross the Rainbow Bridge together.
Your Sacred Circle is now complete again.
Sylvia Browne (All Pets Go To Heaven: The Spiritual Lives of the Animals We Love)
The things about you I appreciate
May seem indelicate:
I'd like to find you in the shower
And chase the soap for half an hour.
I'd like to have you in my power
And see your eyes dilate.
I'd like to have your back to scour
And other parts to lubricate.
Sometimes I feel it is my fate
To chase you screaming up a tower
Or make you cower
By asking you to differentiate
Nietzsche from Schopenhauer.
I'd like successfully to guess your weight
And win you at a fête.
I'd like to offer you a flower.
I like the hair upon your shoulders,
Falling like water over boulders.
I like the shoulders too: they are essential.
Your collar-bones have great potential
(I'd like your particulars in folders
I like your cheeks, I like your nose,
I like the way your lips disclose
The neat arrangement of your teeth
(Half above and half beneath)
I like your eyes, I like their fringes.
The way they focus on me gives me twinges.
Your upper arms drive me berserk.
I like the way your elbows work.
On hinges …
I like your wrists, I like your glands,
I like the fingers on your hands.
I'd like to teach them how to count,
And certain things we might exchange,
Something familiar for something strange.
I'd like to give you just the right amount
And get some change.
I like it when you tilt your cheek up.
I like the way you not and hold a teacup.
I like your legs when you unwind them.
Even in trousers I don't mind them.
I like each softly-moulded kneecap.
I like the little crease behind them.
I'd always know, without a recap,
Where to find them.
I like the sculpture of your ears.
I like the way your profile disappears
Whenever you decide to turn and face me.
I'd like to cross two hemispheres
And have you chase me.
I'd like to smuggle you across frontiers
Or sail with you at night into Tangiers.
I'd like you to embrace me.
I'd like to see you ironing your skirt
And cancelling other dates.
I'd like to button up your shirt.
I like the way your chest inflates.
I'd like to soothe you when you're hurt
Or frightened senseless by invertebrates.
I'd like you even if you were malign
And had a yen for sudden homicide.
I'd let you put insecticide
Into my wine.
I'd even like you if you were Bride
Or something ghoulish out of Mamoulian's
Jekyll and Hyde.
I'd even like you as my Julian
Or Norwich or Cathleen ni Houlihan.
If you were something muttering in attics
Like Mrs Rochester or a student of Boolean
You are the end of self-abuse.
You are the eternal feminine.
I'd like to find a good excuse
To call on you and find you in.
I'd like to put my hand beneath your chin,
And see you grin.
I'd like to taste your Charlotte Russe,
I'd like to feel my lips upon your skin
I'd like to make you reproduce.
I'd like you in my confidence.
I'd like to be your second look.
I'd like to let you try the French Defence
And mate you with my rook.
I'd like to be your preference
I'd like to be around when you unhook.
I'd like to be your only audience,
The final name in your appointment book,
Your future tense.
Politics is the science of domination, and persons in the process of enlargement and illumination are notoriously difficult to control. Therefore, to protect its vested interests, politics usurped religion a very long time ago. Kings bought off priests with land and adornments. Together, they drained the shady ponds and replaced them with fish tanks. The walls of the tanks were constructed of ignorance and superstition, held together with fear. They called the tanks “synagogues” or “churches” or “mosques.” After the tanks were in place, nobody talked much about soul anymore. Instead, they talked about spirit. Soul is hot and heavy. Spirit is cool, abstract, detached. Soul is connected to the earth and its waters. Spirit is connected to the sky and its gases. Out of the gases springs fire. Firepower. It has been observed that the logical extension of all politics is war. Once religion became political, the exercise of it, too, could be said to lead sooner or later to war. “War is hell.” Thus, religious belief propels us straight to hell. History unwaveringly supports this view. (Each modern religion has boasted that it and it alone is on speaking terms with the Deity, and its adherents have been quite willing to die—or kill—to support its presumptuous claims.) Not every silty bayou could be drained, of course. The soulfish that bubbled and snapped in the few remaining ponds were tagged “mystics.” They were regarded as mavericks, exotic and inferior. If they splashed too high, they were thought to be threatening and in need of extermination. The fearful flounders in the tanks, now psychologically dependent upon addictive spirit flakes, had forgotten that once upon a time they, too, had been mystical. Religion is nothing but institutionalized mysticism. The catch is, mysticism does not lend itself to institutionalization. The moment we attempt to organize mysticism, we destroy its essence. Religion, then, is mysticism in which the mystical has been killed. Or, at least diminished. Those who witness the dropping of the fourth veil might see clearly what Spike Cohen and Roland Abu Hadee dimly suspected: that not only is religion divisive and oppressive, it is also a denial of all that is divine in people; it is a suffocation of the soul.
Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All)
(There was an idea much beloved and written about by this country’s philosophers that magic had to do with negotiating the balance between earth and air and water; which is to say that things with legs or wings were out of balance with their earth element by walking around on feet or, worse, flying above the earth in the thin substance of air, obviously entirely unsuitable for the support of solid flesh. The momentum all this inappropriate motion set up in their liquid element unbalanced them further. Spirit, in this system, was equated with the fourth element, fire. All this was generally felt to be a load of rubbish among the people who had to work in the ordinary world for a living, unlike philosophers living in academies. But it was true that a favourite magical trick at fetes was for theatrically-minded fairies to throw bits of chaff or seed-pods or conkers in the air and turn them into things before they struck the ground, and that the trick worked better if the bits of chaff or seed-pods or conkers were wet.)
Slower creatures were less susceptible to the whims of wild magic than faster creatures, and creatures that flew were the most susceptible of all. Every sparrow had a delicious memory of having once been a hawk, and while magic didn’t take much interest in caterpillars, butterflies spent so much time being magicked that it was a rare event to see ordinary butterflies without at least an extra set of wings or a few extra frills and iridescences, or bodies like tiny human beings dressed in flower petals. (Fish, which flew through that most dangerous element, water, were believed not to exist. Fishy-looking beings in pools and streams were either hallucinations or other things under some kind of spell, and interfering with, catching, or—most especially—eating fish was strictly forbidden. All swimming was considered magical. Animals seen doing it were assumed to be favourites of a local water-sprite or dangerously insane; humans never tried.)
Robin McKinley (Spindle's End)
As soon as she releases me, Galen grabs my hand and I don’t even have time to gasp before he snatches me to the surface and pulls me toward shore, only pausing to dislodge his pair of swimming trunks from under his favorite rock, where he had just moments before taken the time to hide them.
I know the routine and turn away so he can change, but it seems like no time before he hauls me onto the beach and drags me to the sand dunes in front of my house. “What are we doing?” I ask. His legs are longer than mine so for every two of his strides I have to take three, which feels a lot like running.
He stops us in between the dunes. “I’m doing something that is none of anyone else’s business.” Then he jerks me up against him and crushes his mouth on mine. And I see why he didn’t want an audience for this kiss. I wouldn’t want an audience for this kiss, either, especially if the audience included my mother. This is our first kiss after he announced that he wanted me for his mate. This kiss holds promises of things to come.
When he pulls away I feel drunk and excited and nervous and filled with a craving that I’m not sure can ever be satisfied. And Galen looks startled. “Maybe I shouldn’t have done that,” he says. “That makes it about fifty times harder to leave, I think.”
He tucks my head under his chin and I wrap my arms around him until both our breathing returns to normal. I take the time to soak in his scent, his warmth, the hard contours of his-well, his everything. It’s really not fair that he has to leave when he’s only just gotten back. We didn’t have much time to talk on the way back home. We haven’t had much time for anything.
“Emma,” he murmurs. “The water isn’t safe for you right now. Please don’t get in it. Please.”
“I won’t.” I really won’t. He said please, after all.
He lifts my chin with the crook of his finger. His eyes hold all the gentleness and love in the world, with a pinch of mischief. “And take good notes in calculus, or I’ll be forced to cheat off you and for some weird reason that makes me feel guilty.”
I wonder what Grom the Triton king would think of that. That Galen basically just stated his intention to keep doing human things.
Galen pushes his lips against my forehead, then disentangles himself from me and leads me back toward the water. My body feels ten degrees cooler when his arms fall, and it’s got nothing to do with the temperature outside.
We reach the others just in time to see Rayna all but throw herself at Toraf. I can’t help but smile as they kiss. It’s like watching Beauty and the Beast. And Toraf’s not the Beast.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
Before she could say anything more, Sabella swung around at the sound of Noah’s Harley purring to life behind the garage.
God. He was dressed in snug jeans and riding chaps. A snug dark T-shirt covered his upper body, conformed to it. And he was riding her way.
“Is there anything sexier than a man in riding chaps riding a Harley?” Kira asked behind her. “It makes a woman simply want to melt.”
And Sabella was melting. She watched as he pulled around the side of the garage then took the gravel road that led to the back of the house. The sound of the Harley purred closer, throbbing, building the excitement inside her.
“I think it’s time for me to leave,” Kira said with a light laugh. “Don’t bother to see me out.”
Sabella didn’t. She listened as the Harley drew into the graveled lot behind the house and moved to the back door. She opened it, stepping out on the back deck as he swung his legs over the cycle and strode toward her.
That long-legged lean walk. It made her mouth water. Made her heart throb in her throat as hunger began to race through her.
“The spa treated you well,” he announced as he paused at the bottom of the steps and stared back at her. “Feel like messing your hair up and going out this evening? We could have dinner in town. Ride around a little bit.”
She hadn’t ridden on a motorcycle since she was a teenager. She glanced at the cycle, then back to Noah.
“I’d need to change clothes.”
His gaze flickered over her short jeans skirt, her T-shirt.
“That would be a damned shame too,” he stated. “I have to say, Ms. Malone, you have some beautiful legs there.”
No one had ever been as charming as Nathan. She remembered when they were dating, how he would just show up, out of the blue, driving that monster pickup of his and grinning like a rogue when he picked her up. He’d been the epitome of a bad boy, and he had been all hers. He was still all hers.
“Bare legs and motorcycles don’t exactly go together,” she pointed out.
He nodded soberly, though his eyes had a wicked glint to them. “This is a fact, beautiful. And pretty legs like that, we wouldn’t want to risk.”
She leaned against the porch post and stared back at him. “I have a pickup, you know.” She propped one hand on her hip and stared back at him.
“Really?” Was that avarice she saw glinting in his eyes, or for just the slightest second, pure, unadulterated joy at the mention of that damned pickup?
He looked around. “I haven’t seen a pickup.”
“It’s in the garage,” she told him carelessly. “A big black monster with bench seats. Four-by-four gas-guzzling alpha-male steel and chrome.”
He grinned. He was so proud of that damned pickup.
“Where did something so little come up with a truck that big?” he teased her then.
She shrugged. “It belonged to my husband. Now, it belongs to me.” That last statement had his gaze sharpening.
“You drive it?”
“All the time,” she lied, tormenting him. “I don’t have to worry about pinging it now that my husband is gone. He didn’t like pings.”
Did he swallow tighter?
“It’s pinged then?”
She snorted. “Not hardly. Do you want to drive the monster or question me about it? Or I could change into jeans and we could ride your cycle. Which is it?”
Which was it? Noah stared back at her, barely able to contain his shock that she had kept the pickup. He knew for a fact there were times the payments on the house and garage had gone unpaid—his “death” benefits hadn’t been nearly enough—almost risking her loss of both during those first months of his “death.” Knowing she had held on to that damned truck filled him with more pleasure than he could express. Knowing she was going to let someone who wasn’t her husband drive it filled him with horror.
The contradictor feelings clashed inside him, and he promised himself he was going to spank her for this.
Lora Leigh (Wild Card (Elite Ops, #1))
In 1917 I went to Russia. I was sent to prevent the Bolshevik Revolution and to keep Russia in the war. The reader will know that my efforts did not meet with success. I went to Petrograd from Vladivostok, .One day, on the way through Siberia, the train stopped at some station and the passengers as usual got out, some to fetch water to make tea, some to buy food and others to stretch their legs. A blind soldier was sitting on a bench. Other soldiers sat beside him and more stood behind. There were from twenty to thirty.Their uniforms were torn and stained. The blind soldier, a big vigorous fellow, was quite young. On his cheeks was the soft, pale down of a beard that has never been shaved. I daresay he wasn't eighteen. He had a broad face, with flat, wide features, and on his forehead was a great scar of the wound that had lost him his sight. His closed eyes gave him a strangely vacant look. He began to sing. His voice was strong and sweet. He accompanied himself on an accordion. The train waited and he sang song after song. I could not understand his words, but through his singing, wild and melancholy, I seemed to hear the cry of the oppressed: I felt the lonely steppes and the interminable forests, the flow of the broad Russian rivers and all the toil of the countryside, the ploughing of the land and the reaping of the wild corn, the sighing of the wind in the birch trees, the long months of dark winter; and then the dancing of the women in the villages and the youths bathing in shallow streams on summer evenings; I felt the horror of war, the bitter nights in the trenches, the long marches on muddy roads, the battlefield with its terror and anguish and death. It was horrible and deeply moving. A cap lay at the singer's feet and the passengers filled it full of money; the same emotion had seized them all, of boundless compassion and of vague horror, for there was something in that blind, scarred face that was terrifying; you felt that this was a being apart, sundered from the joy of this enchanting world. He did not seem quite human. The soldiers stood silent and hostile. Their attitude seemed to claim as a right the alms of the travelling herd. There was a disdainful anger on their side and unmeasurable pity on ours; but no glimmering of a sense that there was but one way to compensate that helpless man for all his pain.
W. Somerset Maugham
About his madmen Mr. Lecky was no more certain. He knew less than the little to be learned of the causes or even of the results of madness. Yet for practical purposes one can imagine all that is necessary. As long as maniacs walk like men, you must come close to them to penetrate so excellent a disguise. Once close, you have joined the true werewolf.
Pick for your companion a manic-depressive, afflicted by any of the various degrees of mania - chronic, acute, delirious. Usually more man than wolf, he will be instructive. His disorder lies in the very process of his thinking, rather than in the content of his thought. He cannot wait a minute for the satisfaction of his fleeting desires or the fulfillment of his innumerable schemes. Nor can he, for two minutes, be certain of his intention or constant in any plan or agreement. Presently you may hear his failing made manifest in the crazy concatenation of his thinking aloud, which psychiatrists call "flight of ideas." Exhausted suddenly by this
riotous expense of speech and spirit, he may subside in an apathy dangerous and morose, which you will be well advised not to disturb.
Let the man you meet be, instead, a paretic. He has taken a secret departure from your world. He dwells amidst choicest, most dispendious superlatives. In his arm he has the strength to lift ten elephants. He is already two hundred years old. He is more than nine feet high; his chest is of iron, his right leg is silver, his incomparable head is one whole ruby. Husband of a thousand wives, he has begotten on them ten thousand children. Nothing is mean about him; his urine is white wine; his faeces are always soft gold. However, despite his splendor and his extraordinary attainments, he cannot successfully pronounce the words: electricity, Methodist Episcopal, organization, third cavalry brigade. Avoid them. Infuriated by your demonstration of any accomplishment not his, he may suddenly kill you.
Now choose for your friend a paranoiac, and beware of the wolf! His back is to the wall, his implacable enemies are crowding on him. He gets no rest. He finds no starting hole to hide him. Ten times oftener than the Apostle, he has been, through the violence of the unswerving malice which pursues him, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of his own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Now that, face to face with him, you simulate innocence and come within his reach, what pity can you expect? You showed him none; he will certainly not show you any.
Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, 0 Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all the perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Mr. Lecky's maniacs lay in wait to slash a man's head half off, to perform some erotic atrocity of disembowelment on a woman. Here, they fed thoughtlessly on human flesh; there, wishing to play with him, they plucked the mangled Tybalt from his shroud. The beastly cunning of their approach, the fantastic capriciousness of their intention could not be very well met or provided for. In his makeshift fort everywhere encircled by darkness, Mr. Lecky did not care to meditate further on the subject.
James Gould Cozzens (Castaway)
His booted feet pounded out an insane, frantic rhythm underneath him as he raced into the cavern across from Baba Yaga’s den at a dead sprint. Pieces of dragon dung flew off him and hit the ground behind him in miniature chunks. He didn’t dare look behind him to see if the dragon had risen from the ground yet, but the deafening hiss that assaulted his ears meant she’d woken up. Icy claws of fear squeezed his heart with every breath as he ran, relying on the night vision goggles, the glimpse he’d gotten of the map, and his own instincts to figure out where to go.
Jack raced around one corner too sharply and slipped on a piece of dung, crashing hard on his right side. He gasped as it knocked the wind out of him and gritted his teeth, his mind screaming at him to get up and run, run, run. He pushed onto his knees, nursing what felt like bruised ribs and a sprained wrist, and then paled as an unmistakable sensation traveled up the arm he’d used to push himself up.
Boom, boom, boom.
Baba Yaga was coming.
Baba Yaga was hunting him.
Jack forced himself up onto his feet again, stumbling backwards and fumbling for the tracker. He got it switched on to see an ominous blob approaching from the right. He’d gotten a good lead on her—maybe a few hundred yards—but he had no way of knowing if he’d eventually run into a dead end. He couldn’t hide down here forever. He needed to get topside to join the others so they could take her down.
Jack blocked out the rising crescendo of Baba Yaga’s hissing and pictured the map again. A mile up to the right had a man-made exit that spilled back up to the forest. The only problem was that it was a long passage. If Baba Yaga followed, there was a good chance she could catch up and roast him like a marshmallow. He could try to lose her in the twists and turns of the cave system, but there was a good chance he’d get lost, and Baba Yaga’s superior senses meant it would only be a matter of time before she found him. It came back to the most basic survival tactics: run or hide.
Jack switched off the tracker and stuck it in his pocket, his voice ragged and shaking, but solid. “You aren’t about to die in this forest, Jackson. Move your ass.”
He barreled forward into the passageway to the right in the wake of Baba Yaga’s ominous, bubbling warning, barely suppressing a groan as a spike of pain lanced through his chest from his bruised ribs. The adrenaline would only hold for so long. He could make it about halfway there before it ran out. Cold sweat plastered the mask to his face and ran down into his eyes. The tunnel stretched onward forever before him. No sunlight in sight. Had he been wrong?
Jack ripped off the hood and cold air slapped his face, making his eyes water. He held his hands out to make sure he wouldn’t bounce off one of the cavern walls and squinted up ahead as he turned the corner into the straightaway. There, faintly, he could see the pale glow of the exit.
Gasping for air, he collapsed against one wall and tried to catch his breath before the final marathon. He had to have put some amount of distance between himself and the dragon by now.
“Who knows?” Jack panted. “Maybe she got annoyed and turned around.”
An earth-shattering roar rocked the very walls of the cavern.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!
Boom, boom, boom, boomboomboomboom—
Mother of God.
The dragon had broken into a run.
Jack shoved himself away from the wall, lowered his head, and ran as fast as his legs would carry him.
Kyoko M. (Of Blood & Ashes (Of Cinder & Bone, #2))
She was especially taken with Matt.
Until he said, “It’s time to fess up, hon. Tell Trace how much you care. You’ll feel better when you do.”
Climbing up the ladder, Chris said, “Better sooner than later.” He nodded at the hillside behind them. “Because here comes Trace, and he doesn’t look happy.”
Both Priss and Matt turned, Priss with anticipation, Matt with tempered dread.
Dressed in jeans and a snowy-white T-shirt, Trace stalked down the hill.
Priss shielded her eyes to better see him. When he’d left, being so guarded about his mission, she’d half wondered if he’d return before dinner.
Trace wore reflective sunglasses, so she couldn’t see his eyes, but his entire demeanor—heavy stride, rigid shoulders, tight jaw—bespoke annoyance.
As soon as he was close enough, Priss called out, “What’s wrong?”
Without answering her, Trace continued onto the dock. He didn’t stop until he stood right in front of . . . Matt.
Backing up to the edge of the dock, Matt said, “Uh . . . Hello?”
Trace didn’t say a thing; he just pushed Matt into the water.
Arms and legs flailing out, Matt hit the surface with a cannonball effect.
Stunned, Priss shoved his shoulder. “What the hell, Trace! Why did you do that?”
Trace took off his sunglasses and looked at her, all of her, from her hair to her body and down to her bare toes. After working his jaw a second, he said, “If you need sunscreen, ask me.”
Her mouth fell open. Of all the nerve! He left her at Dare’s, took off without telling her a damn thing and then had the audacity to complain when a friend tried to keep her from getting sunburned. “Maybe I would have, if you’d been here!”
“I’m here now.”
Emotions bubbled over. “So you are.” With a slow smile, Priss put both hands on his chest. The shirt was damp with sweat, the cotton so soft that she could feel every muscle beneath. “And you look a little . . . heated.”
Trace’s beautiful eyes darkened, and he reached for her.
“A dip will cool you down.” Priss shoved him as hard as she could. Taken by surprise, fully dressed, Trace went floundering backward off the end of the dock.
Priss caught a glimpse of the priceless expression of disbelief on Trace’s face before he went under the water.
Excited by the activity, the dogs leaped in after him. Liger roused himself enough to move out of the line of splashing.
Chris climbed up the ladder. “So that’s the new game, huh?” He laughed as he scooped Priss up into his arms.
“Chris!” She made a grab for his shoulders. “Put me down!”
“Afraid not, doll.” Just as Trace resurfaced, Chris jumped in with her. They landed between the swimming dogs.
Sputtering, her hair in her face and her skin chilled from the shock of the cold water, Priss cursed. Trace had already waded toward the shallower water off the side of the dock. His fair hair was flattened to his head and his T-shirt stuck to his body.
“Wait!” Priss shouted at him.
He was still waist-deep as he turned to glare at her.
Kicking and splashing, Priss doggy-paddled over to him, grabbed his shoulders and wrapped her legs around his waist. “Oh, no, you don’t!”
Startled, Trace scooped her bottom in his hands and struggled for balance on the squishy mud bottom of the lake. “What the hell?” And then lower, “You look naked in this damn suit.”
Matt and Chris found that hilarious.
Priss looked at Trace’s handsome face, a face she loved, and kissed him. Hard.
For only a second, he allowed the sensual assault. He even kissed her back. Then he levered away from her. “You ruined my clothes, damn it.”
“Only because you were being a jealous jerk.”
His expression dark, he glared toward Matt.
Christ started humming, but poor Matt said, “Yeah,” and shrugged. “If you think about it, you’ll agree that you sort of were—and we both know there’s no reason.
Lori Foster (Trace of Fever (Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor, #2))
No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her. Her father was a clergyman, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard — and he had never been handsome. He had a considerable independence besides two good livings — and he was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters. Her mother was a woman of useful plain sense, with a good temper, and, what is more remarkable, with a good constitution. She had three sons before Catherine was born; and instead of dying in bringing the latter into the world, as anybody might expect, she still lived on — lived to have six children more — to see them growing up around her, and to enjoy excellent health herself. A family of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are heads and arms and legs enough for the number; but the Morlands had little other right to the word, for they were in general very plain, and Catherine, for many years of her life, as plain as any. She had a thin awkward figure, a sallow skin without colour, dark lank hair, and strong features — so much for her person; and not less unpropitious for heroism seemed her mind. She was fond of all boy's plays, and greatly preferred cricket not merely to dolls, but to the more heroic enjoyments of infancy, nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird, or watering a rose-bush. Indeed she had no taste for a garden; and if she gathered flowers at all, it was chiefly for the pleasure of mischief — at least so it was conjectured from her always preferring those which she was forbidden to take. Such were her propensities — her abilities were quite as extraordinary. She never could learn or understand anything before she was taught; and sometimes not even then, for she was often inattentive, and occasionally stupid. Her mother was three months in teaching her only to repeat the "Beggar's Petition"; and after all, her next sister, Sally, could say it better than she did. Not that Catherine was always stupid — by no means; she learnt the fable of "The Hare and Many Friends" as quickly as any girl in England. Her mother wished her to learn music; and Catherine was sure she should like it, for she was very fond of tinkling the keys of the old forlorn spinner; so, at eight years old she began. She learnt a year, and could not bear it; and Mrs. Morland, who did not insist on her daughters being accomplished in spite of incapacity or distaste, allowed her to leave off. The day which dismissed the music-master was one of the happiest of Catherine's life. Her taste for drawing was not superior; though whenever she could obtain the outside of a letter from her mother or seize upon any other odd piece of paper, she did what she could in that way, by drawing houses and trees, hens and chickens, all very much like one another. Writing and accounts she was taught by her father; French by her mother: her proficiency in either was not remarkable, and she shirked her lessons in both whenever she could. What a strange, unaccountable character! — for with all these symptoms of profligacy at ten years old, she had neither a bad heart nor a bad temper, was seldom stubborn, scarcely ever quarrelsome, and very kind to the little ones, with few interruptions of tyranny; she was moreover noisy and wild, hated confinement and cleanliness, and loved nothing so well in the world as rolling down the green slope at the back of the house.
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
You weren’t supposed to choose me,” he said.
Behind them, Ira approached, stunned and speechless for what must have been the first time in his life. He helped lift Samuel, whose cheeks had blanched as well. Camille prodded Oscar’s arms and stomach and face. It was truly him. The unbearable grief over losing him flipped inside out. Her joy ran so deep and strong she thought she might burst from it.
“The night the Christina went down, you rowed to me,” she answered, her throat knotted as she thought of her father. She forced it down. “This time, I must have needed to row to you.”
Oscar kissed her, his lips still cold but filled with life. She leaned into him and hung on as though he might disappear. Ira let out a playful high-pitched whistle. Samuel coughed. Oscar and Camille reluctantly pulled apart and blushed.
“Holy gallnipper,” Ira said. Camille grinned, not minding in the least that he was using that annoying turn of phrase again. “I can’t believe that little rock…I mean you were dead, mate. Dead as this bloke right here.” Ira kicked McGreenery in the leg. Oscar nodded, rubbing his hand over the fading red mark, as if to feel for himself that the deadly wound was gone.
“I was in the dory,” he whispered. Ira cocked his head.
Camille lifted her ear from his chest, where she’d wanted to listen to the smooth rhythm of his heart. She looked up at him before hearing its strong beat.
Oscar nodded again, eyebrows creased.
“I heard your voice. At the cave,” he said to Camille. “This force kept pulling me backward, away from you, like I was being sucked into the ground.”
So this was how it had felt for him to die. She remembered the way he’d looked right through her and how it had chilled her to the marrow. Her own brush with death had been different, and somehow better, if death could even be measured in levels of bad or good. The image of her father had drawn her to safety, making her forget her yearning for air. He had been there for her, but she hadn’t been able to do the same for him. All this time, all this trouble, and all she’d wanted was to bring him back, make him proud of the lengths to which she’d gone for him. In the end, she’d failed him miserably.
“And then you were gone. Your voice faded, and I was in the dory, adrift in the Tasman, the dawn after the Christina went down,” Oscar continued.
Samuel and Ira glanced at each other with marked expressions of doubt and confusion.
“But I wasn’t alone.” He gently pulled Camille away from him and gripped her arms. “Your father was with me. He was sitting there, smiling. It all seemed so real. I could taste the salt air, and…and I remember touching the water, and it was cold. It wasn’t like in a dream, when you can’t do those things.”
Camille sucked in a deep breath, trying to inflate her crushing lungs. Oscar had seen him, too. She’d give anything to see her father again, to hear his voice, to feel at home by just being in his presence. At least, that’s what she’d once believed. But Camille hadn’t been willing to give up Oscar. Did that mean she loved her father less? Never. She could never love her fatherless. So then why hadn’t her heart chosen him?
"Did he say anything?" she asked, anxious to know yet afraid to hear.
"It's all jumbled," Oscar said, again shaking his head and rubbing his chest. "I remember him saying a few things. Bits and pieces."
Camille looked to Ira and Samuel. Their parted mouths and bugged eyes hung on Oscar's every word. Oscar squinted at the ground and seemed to be working hard to piece together what her father had said on the other side.
"I'm still here to guide her?" he said, questioning his own memory. "It doesn't make any sense, I'm sorry."
She shook her head, eyes tearing up again. It had been real. He really had come to her in the black water of the underground pool.
"No, don't be sorry," she said, tears spilling. "It does make sense. It makes sense to me.
Angie Frazier (Everlasting (Everlasting, #1))
Honest to God, I hadn’t meant to start a bar fight.
“So. You’re the famous Jordan Amador.” The demon sitting in front of me looked like someone filled a pig bladder with rotten cottage cheese. He overflowed the bar stool with his gelatinous stomach, just barely contained by a white dress shirt and an oversized leather jacket. Acid-washed jeans clung to his stumpy legs and his boots were at least twice the size of mine. His beady black eyes started at my ankles and dragged upward, past my dark jeans, across my black turtleneck sweater, and over the grey duster around me that was two sizes too big.
He finally met my gaze and snorted before continuing. “I was expecting something different. Certainly not a black girl. What’s with the name, girlie?”
I shrugged. “My mother was a religious woman.”
“Clearly,” the demon said, tucking a fat cigar in one corner of his mouth. He stood up and walked over to the pool table beside him where he and five of his lackeys had gathered. Each of them was over six feet tall and were all muscle where he was all fat.
“I could start to examine the literary significance of your name, or I could ask what the hell you’re doing in my bar,” he said after knocking one of the balls into the left corner pocket.
“Just here to ask a question, that’s all. I don’t want trouble.”
Again, he snorted, but this time smoke shot from his nostrils, which made him look like an albino dragon. “My ass you don’t. This place is for fallen angels only, sweetheart. And we know your reputation.”
I held up my hands in supplication. “Honest Abe. Just one question and I’m out of your hair forever.”
My gaze lifted to the bald spot at the top of his head surrounded by peroxide blonde locks. “What’s left of it, anyway.”
He glared at me. I smiled, batting my eyelashes. He tapped his fingers against the pool cue and then shrugged one shoulder.
“Fine. What’s your question?”
“Know anybody by the name of Matthias Gruber?”
He didn’t even blink. “No.”
“Ah. I see. Sorry to have wasted your time.”
I turned around, walking back through the bar. I kept a quick, confident stride as I went, ignoring the whispers of the fallen angels in my wake. A couple called out to me, asking if I’d let them have a taste, but I didn’t spare them a glance. Instead, I headed to the ladies’ room. Thankfully, it was empty, so I whipped out my phone and dialed the first number in my Recent Call list.
“Hey. He’s here. Yeah, I’m sure it’s him. They’re lousy liars when they’re drunk. Uh-huh. Okay, see you in five.”
I hung up and let out a slow breath. Only a couple things left to do.
I gathered my shoulder-length black hair into a high ponytail. I looped the loose curls around into a messy bun and made sure they wouldn’t tumble free if I shook my head too hard. I took the leather gloves in the pocket of my duster out and pulled them on. Then, I walked out of the bathroom and back to the front entrance.
The coat-check girl gave me a second unfriendly look as I returned with my ticket stub to retrieve my things—three vials of holy water, a black rosary with the beads made of onyx and the cross made of wood, a Smith & Wesson .9mm Glock complete with a full magazine of blessed bullets and a silencer, and a worn out page of the Bible.
I held out my hands for the items and she dropped them on the counter with an unapologetic, “Oops.”
“Thanks,” I said with a roll of my eyes. I put the Glock back in the hip holster at my side and tucked the rest of the items in the pockets of my duster.
The brunette demon crossed her arms under her hilariously oversized fake breasts and sent me a vicious sneer. “The door is that way, Seer. Don’t let it hit you on the way out.”
I smiled back. “God bless you.”
She let out an ugly hiss between her pearly white teeth. I blew her a kiss and walked out the door. The parking lot was packed outside now that it was half-past midnight. Demons thrived in darkness, so I wasn’t surprised. In fact, I’d been counting on it.
Kyoko M. (The Holy Dark (The Black Parade, #3))