Needle Pain Quotes

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Hearing him talk about his mother, about his intact family, makes my chest hurt for a second, like someone pierced it with a needle.
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
Do you think because you can’t see my scars that they don’t exist?... Most People have their pain deep inside them, in places no one ever goes. Not until it’s too late.
Karina Halle (Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy, #1))
..You always have to choose between the path of needles and the path of pins. When a dress is torn, you know, you can just pin it up, or you can take the time to sew it together. That's what it means. The quick and easy way or the painful way that works.
Rosamund Hodge (Crimson Bound)
how come you're so ugly?" "my life has hardly been pretty — the hospitals, the jails, the jobs, the women, the drinking. some of my critics claim that i have deliberately inflicted myself with pain. i wish that some of my critics had been along with me for the journey. it’s true that i haven't always chosen easy situations but that's a hell of a long ways from saying that i leaped into the oven and locked the door. hangover, the electric needle, bad booze, bad women, madness in small rooms, starvation in the land of plenty, god knows how i got so ugly, i guess it just comes from being slugged and slugged again and again, and not going down, still trying to think, to feel, still trying to put the butterfly back together again…it’s written a map on my face that nobody would ever want to hang on their wall. sometimes i’ll see myself somewhere…suddenly…say in a large mirror in a supermarket…eyes like little mean bugs…face scarred, twisted, yes, i look insane, demented, what a mess…spilled vomit of skin…yet, when i see the “handsome” men i think, my god my god, i’m glad i’m not them
Charles Bukowski (Charles Bukowski: Sunlight Here I Am: Interviews and Encounters 1963-1993)
That was the exact moment my heart threaded with hers. It was as if someone reached down with a sewing needle and stitched my soul to hers. How could one woman be so sharp and so vulnerable at the same time? Whatever would happen to her would happen to me. Whatever pain she would feel, I would feel it too. I wanted it — that was the surprising part. Selfish, self centered Caleb Drake loved a girl so much he could already feel himself changing to accommodate her needs. I fell. Hard. For the rest of this life and probably the next. I wanted her — every last inch of her stubborn, combative, catty heart.
Tarryn Fisher (Thief (Love Me with Lies, #3))
Do you think because you can't see my scars that they don't exist? That's the trouble with pain, Ellie. If you're lucky, you can wear it for all the world to see. Most people have their pain deep inside, in places no one ever goes. Not until it's too late.
Karina Halle (Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy, #1))
The brain is an incredible multitasker. At the same time that it’s piercing itself with superheated needles of anguish, it’s ruthlessly making plans, contingencies, plotting out a future, giving zero fucks whether it’ll ever see it. On the day I die, it’ll be calculating what to have for dinner as it bombards itself with pain signals from my amputated legs or my clocked-out heart.
Leah Raeder (Unteachable)
...they told me of color, that it was an illusion of the eye, an event in the perceiver's mind, not in the object; they told me that color had no reality; indeed, they told me that color did not inhere in a physical body any more than pain was in a needle. And then they imprisoned me in darkness; and though there was no color there, I still was black, and they still were white; and for that, they bound and gagged me.
M.T. Anderson (The Pox Party (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, #1))
I remember when I saw Peter Pan when I was little. After all the other kids wanted to reenact the battles of the lost boys, pirates, and Indians, and all I could think about was the part where Peter Pan sits still while Wendy takes a sharp needle and, with concern and maybe love, sews his shadow onto his feet. And I wonder if the pain excited him as much as it excited me to watch. I hang here, the voices still bleeding in my ears. I watch my shadow, solid like a murdered body's outline, and I pray. Maybe one more slice, just one more, will sever it forever.
J.T. LeRoy (The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things)
Fuck, it’s just like being addicted to the pain of getting a tattoo. Every bite of the needle you want to run away, but you stay because the outcome is pure fucking bliss.
H.D. Carlton (Hunting Adeline (Cat and Mouse, #2))
Solar Eclipse Each morning I wake invisible. I make a needle from a porcupine quill, sew feet to legs, lift spine onto my thighs. I put on my rib and collarbone. I pin an ear to my head, hear the waxwing's yellow cry. I open my mouth for purple berries, stick on periwinkle eyes. I almost know what it is to be seen. My throat enlarges from anger. I make a hand to hold my pain. My heart a hole the size of the sun's eclipse. I push through the dark circle's tattered edge of light. All day I struggle with one hair after another until the moon moves from the face of the sun and there is a strange light as though from a kerosene lamp in a cabin. I pun on a dress, a shawl over my shoulders. My threads knotted and scissors gleaming. Now I know I am seen. I have a shadow. I extend my arms, dance and chant in the sun's new light. I put a hat and coat on my shadow, another larger dress. I put on more shawls and blouses and underskirts until even the shadow has substance
Diane Glancy
Jagged needle, wicked lies From under the skin, pluck evil eyes. Destiny change from pain and cold Now that you pay in blood and soul.
Lawren Leo (Love's Shadow: Nine Crooked Paths)
That's the trouble with pain, Ellie. If you're lucky, you can wear it for all the world to see. Most people have their pain deep inside, in places no one ever goes. Not until it's too late.
Karina Halle (Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy, #1))
She gritted her teeth as his needle pierced along her spine. “I’m glad you’re here—that I’ll see Endovier again for the first time with you here.” To face that part of her past, that suffering and torment, if she couldn’t yet look too closely at the last several months. His tools, the numbing pain, halted. Then his lips brushed the top of her spine, right above the start of the new tattoo. The same tattoo he’d had Gavriel and Fenrys inking on his own back these past few days, whenever they stopped for the night. “I’m glad to be here, too, Fireheart.” For however much longer the gods would allow it.
Sarah J. Maas (Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass, #7))
I am Cinna's bird, ignited, flying frantically to escape something inescapable. The feathers of flame that grow from my body. Beating my wings only fans the blaze. I consume myself, but to no end. Finally, my wings begin to falter, I lose height, and gravity pulls me into a foamy sea the color of Finnick's eyes. I float on my back, which continues to burn beneath the water, but the agony quiets to pain. When I am adrift and unable to navigate, that's when they come. The dead. The ones I loved fly as birds in the open sky above me. Soaring, weaving, calling to me to join them. I want so badly to follow them, but the seawater saturates my wings, making it impossible to lift them. The ones I hated have taken to the water, horrible scaled things that tear my salty flesh with needle teeth. Biting again and again. Dragging me beneath the surface. The small white bird tinged in pink dives down, buries her claws in my chest, and tries to keep me afloat. "No, Katniss! No! You can't go!" But the ones I hated are winning, and if she clings to me, she'll be lost as well. "Prim, let go!" And finally she does.
Suzanne Collins
You know nothing about pain. You know nothing about reality. All you know is what’s inside your bubble. Well, I'm the needle about to pop it. Just you wait.
Caspar Vega (Hayfoot (The Young Men in Pain Quartet, #4))
This was a face such as I had never seen before, even in the most fanciful of dreams, a face that was, in its way, a work of art. For it was light and dark, night and day, this world and the Otherworld. On the left side, the face of a youngish man, the skin weathered but fair, the eye gray and clear, the mouth well formed if unyielding in character. On all the right side, extending from an undrawn mark down the exact center, an etching of line and curve and feathery pattern, like the mask of some fierce bird of prey. An eagle? A goshawk? No, it was, I thought, a raven, even as far as the circles about the eye and the suggestion of predatory beak around the nostril. The mark of the raven. If I had not been so frightened, I might have laughed at the irony of it. The pattern extended down his neck and under the border of his leather jerkin and the linen shirt he wore beneath it. His head was completely shaven, and the skull, too, was colored the same, half-man, half-wild creature; some great artist of the inks and needle had wrought this over many days, and I imagined the pain must have been considerable.
Juliet Marillier (Son of the Shadows (Sevenwaters, #2))
For a torture to be effective, the pain has to be spread out; it has to come at regular intervals, with no end in sight. The water falls , drop after drop after drop, like the second hand of a watch, carving up time. The shock of each individual drop is insignificant, but the sensation is impossible to ignore. At first, one might manage to think about other things, but after five hours, after ten hours, it becomes unendurable. The repeated stimulation excites the nerves to a point where they literally explode, and every sensation in the body is absorbed into that one spot on the forehead---indeed, you come to feel that you are nothing but a forehead, into which a fine needle is being forced millimeter by millimeter. You can’t sleep or even speak, hypnotized by a suffering that is greater than any mere pain. In general, the victim goes mad before a day has passed.
Yōko Ogawa (Revenge)
I sit alone in a dead world. The wind blows hot and dry, and the dust gathers like particles of memory waiting to be swept away. I pray for forgetfulness, yet my memory remains strong, as does the outstretched arm of the oppressive air. It seems as if the wind has been there since the beginning of the nightmare. Sometimes loud and harsh, a thousand sharp needles scratching at my reddened skin. Sometimes a whisper, a curious sigh in the black of night, of words more frightening than pain. I know now the wind has been speaking to me. Only I couldn't understand because I was too scared. I am scared now as I write these words. Still, there is nothing else to do.
Christopher Pike (Whisper of Death)
But now she crumbled as something swam up from the deep well of pain and murky sorrow, where all her bottled tears had lain stagnant, and bit her with its needle teeth.
Jonathan Dunne (The Squatter)
He wished that he could break out his knitting, but for some reason, people didn’t take you seriously as a warrior when you were knitting. He’d never figured out why. Making socks required four or five double-ended bone needles, and while they weren’t very large, you could probably jam one into someone’s eye if you really wanted to. Not that he would. He’d have to pull the needle out of the sock to do it, and then he’d be left with the grimly fiddly work of rethreading the stitches. Also, washing blood out of wool was possible, but a pain. Still, if he had to suddenly pull out his sword and fend off an attack, there was a chance he’d drop the yarn, and since he’d been feeling masochistic and was using two colors for this current set of socks, there was absolutely no chance the yarn wouldn’t get tangled and then he’d be trying to murder people while chasing the yarn around. And god forbid the tide rose and he went berserk. You never got the knitting untangled after that; you usually just had to throw it away completely.
T. Kingfisher (Paladin’s Grace (The Saint of Steel, #1))
If there is anything certain in life, it is this. Time doesn't always heal. Not really. I know they say it does, but that is not true. What time does is to trick you into believing that you have healed, that the hurt of a great loss has lessened. But a single word, a note of a song, a fragrance, a knife point of dawn light across an empty room, any one of these things will take you back to that one moment you have never truly forgotten. These small things are the agents of memory. They are the sharp needle points piercing the living fabric of your life. Life, my children, isn't linear where the heart is concerned. It is filled with invisible threads that reach out from your past and into your future. These threads connect every second we have lived and breathed. As your own lives move forward and as the decades pass, the more of these threads are cast. Your task is to weave them into a tapestry, one that tells the story of the time we shared.
Stephen Lee
Pain! Deep, tearing, throbbing, needle-sharp, hammer-blunt pain – ripping through his body and through his mind, twisting deep in his guts and slicing at his skin with razors and broken glass. Oskan wanted to scream, but his vocal cords had burned away. He was desperate for water and he could hear it dripping all around him, but his charred tongue found nothing in his mouth but blisters and scorched flesh. For hours he lay on the ropes of the low bed, unable to move, the pressure of the hemp on his destroyed skin sending new agonies deep into his body.
Stuart Hill (The Cry of the Icemark)
Fat Charlie was thirsty and his head hurt and his mouth tasted evil and his eyes were too tight in his head and all his teeth twinged and his stomach burned and his back was aching in a way that started around his knees and went up to his forehead and his brains had been removed and replaced with cotton balls and needles and pins which was why it hurt to try and think, and his eyes were not just too tight in his head but they must have rolled out in the night and been reattached with roofing nails; and now he noticed that anything louder than the gentle Brownian motion of air molecules drifting softly past each other was above his pain threshold. Also, he wished he were dead.
Neil Gaiman (Anansi Boys)
Here’s a man ready to chop another man’s self-esteem to pieces with an axe, yet he cries out in pain when his own is pricked with a needle.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
I have a needle being stuck into my spine, can anyone please define "a little pain"?
Pandora Poikilos (Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out)
I do not believe that God has given us this trial to not purpose. I know that the day will come when we will clearly understand why this persecution with all it's sufferings has been bestowed upon us -- for everything that Our Lord does is for our good. And yet, even as I write these words I feel the oppressive weight in my heart of those last stammering words of Kichijiro in the morning of his departure: "Why has Deus Sama imposed this suffering on us?" and then the resentment in those eyes that he turned upon me. "Father", he had said "what evil have we done?" I suppose I should simply cast from my mind these meaningless words of the coward; yet why does his plaintive voice pierce my breast with tall the pain of a sharp needle? Why has Our Lord imposed this torture and this persecution on poor Japanese peasants? No, Kichijiro was trying to express something different, something even more sickening. The silence of God. Already twenty years have passed since the persecution broke out; the black soil of Japan has been filled with the lament of so many Christians; the red blood of priests has flowed profusely; the walls of churches have fallen down; and in the face of this terrible and merciless sacrifice offered up to Him, God has remained silent.
Shūsaku Endō (Silence)
Charity is salt in the wound. It is painful. The state gives charity with the bitter hatred of a victim to his blackmailer. The receiver of free money is subjected to harassment, insult, and profound humiliation. Newspapers are enlisted to heap scorn on the arrogant bastards who choose to beg instead of starve or let their children starve. It is made clear that the poor seek charity as a great and sordid chicanery in which they delight. And there are some who do. As there are people who take delight in sticking hot needles deep into their abdomens, swallow pieces of broken bottles. A special taste. Speaking for humanity in general, the poor accept charity with a shame and loss of self-respect that is truly pitiful.
Mario Puzo (The Fortunate Pilgrim)
What if she stepped on a needle and it went right into her foot and Roberta would not feel it and the needle would rise and rise and rise through the veins leading up to the heart and then the needle would STAB HER IN THE HEART and Roberta would DIE and it would be VERY PAINFUL this according to nurse mother a medical expert on Freaky Ways to Croak... The mother shouted that she knew several people who died from the Rising Stab of the Unfelt Needle or RSUN she has seen cases of it many times and not ONE PERSON HAS SURVIVED IT.
Lynda Barry (Cruddy)
She said that you always had to choose between the path of needles and the path of pins. When a dress is torn, you know, you can just pin it up, or you can take the time to sew it together. That’s what it means. The quick and easy way, or the painful way that works.
Rosamund Hodge (Crimson Bound)
By revealing to Tomas her dream about jabbing needles under her fingernails, Tereza unwittingly revealed that she had gone through his desk. If Tereza had been any other woman, Tomas would never have spoken to her again. Aware of that, Tereza said to him, Throw me out! But instead of throwing her out, he seized her hand and kissed the tips of her fingers, because at that moment he himself felt the pain under her fingernails as surely as if the nerves of her fingers led straight to his own brain. Anyone who has failed to benefit from the Devil’s gift of compassion (co-feeling) will condemn Tereza coldly for her deed, because privacy is sacred and drawers containing intimate correspondence are not to be opened. But because compassion was Tomas’s fate (or curse), he felt that he himself had knelt before the open desk drawer, unable to tear his eyes from Sabina’s letter. He understood Tereza, and not only was he incapable of being angry with her, he loved her all the more.
Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
It was a strange kind of pain, choosing to lie there under the needles and let him write his ownership into my skin.
Dot Hutchison (The Butterfly Garden (The Collector, #1))
The pain from his arthritis was sewn through the fabric of his day, like a bright needle threaded with dull wire.
Peter Carey (Oscar and Lucinda)
It’s all strange to me. I know I live on a fierce and magical planet, which sheds or surrenders rain or even flings it off in whipstroke after whipstroke, which fires out bolts of electric gold into the firmament at 186,000 miles per second, which with a single shrug of its tectonic plates can erect a city in half an hour. Creation … is easy, is quick. There’s also a universe, apparently. But I cannot bear to see the stars, even though I know they’re there all right, and I do see them, because Tod looks upward at night, as everybody does, and coos and points. The Plough. Sirius, the dog. The stars, to me, are like pins and needles, are like the routemap of a nightmare. Don’t join the dots.… Of the stars, one alone can I contemplate without pain. And that’s a planet. The planet they call the evening star, the morning star. Intense Venus.
Martin Amis (Time's Arrow)
Oedipa resolved to pull in at the next motel she saw, however ugly, stillness and four walls having at some point become preferable to this illusion of speed, freedom, wind in your hair, unreeling landscape—it wasn’t. What the road really was, she fancied, was this hypodermic needle, inserted somewhere ahead into the vein of a freeway, a vein nourishing the mainliner L.A., keeping it happy, coherent, protected from pain, or whatever passes, with a city, for pain. But were Oedipa some single melted crystal of urban horse, L.A., really, would be no less turned on for her absence.
Thomas Pynchon (The Crying of Lot 49)
I’m not sure what to say about struggle except that it feels like a long, dark tunnel with no light at the end. You never notice until it’s over the ways it has changed you, and there is no going back. We struggled a lot this year. For everyone who picked a fight with life and got the shit kicked out of them: I’m proud of you for surviving. This year I learned that cities are beautiful from rooftops even when you’re sad and that swimming in rivers while the sun sets in July will make you feel hopeful, no matter what’s going on at home. I found out my best friend is strong enough to swing me over his shoulder like I’m weightless and run down the street while I’m squealing and kicking against his chest. I found out vegan rice milk whipped cream is delicious, especially when it’s licked off the stomach of a boy you love. This year I kissed too many people with broken hearts and hands like mousetraps. If I could go back and unhurt them I would. If I could go back even farther and never meet them I would do that too. I turned 21. There’s no getting around it. I’m an adult now. Navigating the world has proved harder than I expected. There were times I was reckless. In my struggle to survive I hurt others. Apologies do not make good bandages. I’m not sure what to say about change except that it reminds me of the Bible story with the lions’ den. But you are not named Daniel and you have not been praying, so God lets the beasts get a few deep, painful swipes at you before the morning comes and you’re pulled into the light, exhausted and cut to shit. The good news is you survived. The bad news is you’re hurt and no one can heal you but yourself. You just have to find a stiff drink and a clean needle before you bleed out. And then you get up. And start over.
Clementine von Radics (Mouthful of Forevers)
I didn’t know what it meant to have a nervous breakdown. I’d heard people jokingly exaggerate that they’d had one. Until that moment on my bathroom floor, I had no concept. Then the frayed strands of my sanity that I’d fought so hard to keep together snapped in two, and I started to free fall into chaos. First, I screamed. I screamed and I screamed until I was hoarse. Then my screams turned over to cries of agony. Pain, both physical and emotional, consumed me. Will tried to console me, but it was useless. He panicked and called my parents. When they heard my sobs in the background, they told him to call the paramedics. So he did. By the time they arrived, I was spent of emotions. Instead, I lay motionless on the floor. They were a hazy blur of blue uniforms and soft voices. I could hear them calling my name from far off—like I was under the surface of water. But I couldn’t muster the strength to reply. I heard crying behind me. It must’ve been Will because one of the paramedics said, “Don’t worry, son, we’re gonna take good care of her.” Then I felt myself floating upwards as they put me on a gurney. I rattled and shook as they pulled me out of the house. The flashing lights hurt my eyes. But then a needle pierced my vein, bringing liquid peace to my soul."--Melanie
Katie Ashley (Nets and Lies)
Why say 'the world is complicated' and stop there? I say the world is complicated but not incomprehensible. Only you have to look at it steadily. Isn't it true a person's shoulder hurts sometimes because they've got a disorder in their stomach? And then what does a stupid doctor do? Order massages for the shoulder. What does a wise doctor do? He takes time to think about it, watches the patient carefully, gives him some medicine for his stomach, and the pain in his shoulder goes away. Better yet, he explains to his patients what they have to do to keep their stomach from getting out of order. One day his patient's going to get old and die, just like himself, just like us, and one day, incredible as it may seem, the Empire's going to die, and how foolish people are who whine about it, and whine about how complicated the world is. A seamstress's room is complicated too, but even at night, with the lights out, she can reach out in the darkness and find the yellow thread, the needles, the pincushion. We couldn't, because we don't know the order things are in, in the seamstress's room. And we can't see the order the world is in. But all the same it's there, right under our eyes.
Angélica Gorodischer (Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was)
This same aversion to intravenous drug use—to shooting up—had also served as a natural cap on the size of the market for heroin in the United States. But when somebody who is already addicted to opioids starts to feel the first pangs of withdrawal, a lifetime’s worth of inhibitions can be swiftly cast aside. This is the logic of addiction. Maybe needles make you queasy. But if your body is acting as if you might die if you don’t get a hit, you’ll start doing all sorts of things you might have sworn, in the past, that you would never do.
Patrick Radden Keefe (Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty)
I saw something moving round the foot of the bed, which at first I could not accurately distinguish. But I soon saw that it was a sooty-black animal that resembled a monstrous cat. It appeared to me about four or five feet long for it measured fully the length of the hearthrug as it passed over it; and it continued to-ing and fro-ing with the lithe, sinister restlessness of a beast in a cage. I could not cry out, although as you may suppose, I was terrified. Its pace was growing faster, and the room rapidly darker and darker, and at length so dark that I could no longer see anything of it but its eyes. I felt it spring lightly on the bed. The two broad eyes approached my face, and suddenly I felt a stinging pain as if two large needles darted, an inch or two apart, deep into my breast. I waked with a scream.
J. Sheridan Le Fanu (Carmilla)
What does it take to break a person? Torturers and interrogators would be able to provide statistics. This many nights without sleep, this many needles, this much water, this voltage of current on this many occasions. But there is considerable variation in people's ability to withstand torture. Sometimes one can achieve the desired result simply by showing the instruments and explaining what is to be done with them. Sometimes it takes weeks; one may be forced to restart a heart which has given out from the pain, and even then one may not manage to break the subject down. However, it is presumably possible to discern some kind of average. This many needles, this many blows to the soles of the feet, before most people are sufficiently destroyed to give up what they once held most dear. But in everyday life?
John Ajvide Lindqvist
You think you understand this world, demoiselle,” he whispered, leaning closer. That sharp tang of genévrier needles slapped me in the face. “You think you hear Dexter, or Sinister, and you know what that means. Good, evil, legacy. Pain, poison, power. You imagine these words bound up and trussed away, with clear outlines and hard borders. But they are alive, seething with a complexity you refuse to acknowledge.
Lyra Selene (Amber & Dusk (Amber & Dusk, #1))
I said ‘not so much,’” Dr. Russell said. “Not so much as what? Having your head stepped on by an elephant?” “Not so much as when the sensors connect to each other,” Dr. Russell said. “The good news is that as soon as they’re connected, the pain stops. Now hold still, this will only take a minute.” He tapped the PDA again. Eighty thousand needles shot out in every direction in my skull. I have never wanted to punch a doctor so much in my life.
John Scalzi (Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1))
When you show people a picture of a circle with a small wedge cut out of it, their eyes first go to the missing piece every time. It is easy among the doctors, the needles, and the tubes to lose sight of the beauty that was. Despite our pain, our fear, and our very real loses, we would do well to think about our many past blessing with our loved one who is now diminished. There is so much more to who we were and who we are than just the missing piece.
Steve Leder (The Beauty of What Remains: How Our Greatest Fear Becomes Our Greatest Gift)
But no - I was his wife, and it was my duty to share his pain as I shared his success. I walked out the front door and joined him on the sidewalk, slipping my hand into his like a thread into a needle; and together we looked up at this sign, once the embodiment of a dream, now merely a remembrance of it.
Alan Brennert (Honolulu)
Why were we tortured? We were in love and life was a fast current swarming around our ankles, threatening to topple us into the wet part of the planet. It was intense, that's why we were tortured. It was enormous and exploding like palm tree. Iris was my Yuri-G, my Delilah, my Stella Marie. Strong dark women you had to love with a strong dark heart that throbbed in gorgeous pain because love is terrible. I mean, ultimately. It would go away like a needle lifting from the vinyl at the end of the song, we knew this. The music would cease, one of us would die or else we'd just break up, and this drove us to drink from each other like two twelve-year-olds sneaking vodka from the liquor cabinet, trying to get it all down, trying to get as fucked up as possible before we got caught.
Michelle Tea (Valencia)
The pressure in the airlock grew, and the folds of her suit found every raised scar across her body, wrinkles pressing where wrinkles had once burned. It was a million pricks from a million gentle needles, every sensitive part of her touched all at once, as if this airlock remembered, as if it knew her. A lover's apology.
Hugh Howey (Dust (Silo, #3))
I used to read in books how our fathers persecuted mankind. But I never appreciated it. I did not really appreciate the infamies that have been committed in the name of religion, until I saw the iron arguments that Christians used. I saw the Thumbscrew—two little pieces of iron, armed on the inner surfaces with protuberances, to prevent their slipping; through each end a screw uniting the two pieces. And when some man denied the efficacy of baptism, or may be said, 'I do not believe that a fish ever swallowed a man to keep him from drowning,' then they put his thumb between these pieces of iron and in the name of love and universal forgiveness, began to screw these pieces together. When this was done most men said, 'I will recant.' Probably I should have done the same. Probably I would have said: 'Stop; I will admit anything that you wish; I will admit that there is one god or a million, one hell or a billion; suit yourselves; but stop.' But there was now and then a man who would not swerve the breadth of a hair. There was now and then some sublime heart, willing to die for an intellectual conviction. Had it not been for such men, we would be savages to-night. Had it not been for a few brave, heroic souls in every age, we would have been cannibals, with pictures of wild beasts tattooed upon our flesh, dancing around some dried snake fetich. Let us thank every good and noble man who stood so grandly, so proudly, in spite of opposition, of hatred and death, for what he believed to be the truth. Heroism did not excite the respect of our fathers. The man who would not recant was not forgiven. They screwed the thumbscrews down to the last pang, and then threw their victim into some dungeon, where, in the throbbing silence and darkness, he might suffer the agonies of the fabled damned. This was done in the name of love—in the name of mercy, in the name of Christ. I saw, too, what they called the Collar of Torture. Imagine a circle of iron, and on the inside a hundred points almost as sharp as needles. This argument was fastened about the throat of the sufferer. Then he could not walk, nor sit down, nor stir without the neck being punctured, by these points. In a little while the throat would begin to swell, and suffocation would end the agonies of that man. This man, it may be, had committed the crime of saying, with tears upon his cheeks, 'I do not believe that God, the father of us all, will damn to eternal perdition any of the children of men.' I saw another instrument, called the Scavenger's Daughter. Think of a pair of shears with handles, not only where they now are, but at the points as well, and just above the pivot that unites the blades, a circle of iron. In the upper handles the hands would be placed; in the lower, the feet; and through the iron ring, at the centre, the head of the victim would be forced. In this condition, he would be thrown prone upon the earth, and the strain upon the muscles produced such agony that insanity would in pity end his pain. I saw the Rack. This was a box like the bed of a wagon, with a windlass at each end, with levers, and ratchets to prevent slipping; over each windlass went chains; some were fastened to the ankles of the sufferer; others to his wrists. And then priests, clergymen, divines, saints, began turning these windlasses, and kept turning, until the ankles, the knees, the hips, the shoulders, the elbows, the wrists of the victim were all dislocated, and the sufferer was wet with the sweat of agony. And they had standing by a physician to feel his pulse. What for? To save his life? Yes. In mercy? No; simply that they might rack him once again. This was done, remember, in the name of civilization; in the name of law and order; in the name of mercy; in the name of religion; in the name of Christ.
Robert G. Ingersoll (The Liberty Of Man, Woman And Child)
I have always pictured accupuncture like falling into a box of sewing needles, and then standing up refreshed and free of pain.
Neil Leckman
My organs are dead, my bones are cracked, my skin is a sieve, punctured by pins and needles of pain.
Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1))
It's just a needle and it's only pain. Pain is just a feeling, and feelings aren't real.
Michelle Hodkin (The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3))
We are fallen beings, my dear, and we experiment with all kinds of methods of redemption, but love is the only one. It is worth the pain to achieve it.
Sarah Bower (The Needle in the Blood)
But emotional numbness can last for years. “And the longer you are detached,” he explained, “the more painful waking up will be. The longer you are asleep, then the more intense the wake-up process. You’ll have to fight through that pins and needles feeling, shake yourself and start circulating again. Because to remain detached is to die. Slowly. Painlessly numb.”15 God
Samuel R. Chand (Leadership Pain: The Classroom for Growth)
All languages that derive fromLatin form the word 'compassion' by combining the prefix meaning 'with' (com-) and the root meaning 'suffering' (Late Latin, passio). In other languages- Czech, Polish, German, and Swedish, for instance- this word is translated by a noun formed of an equivalent prefixcombined with the word that means 'feeling' (Czech, sou-cit; Polish, wsspół-czucie; German, Mit-gefühl; Swedish, medkänsla). In languages that derive from Latin, 'compassion' means: we cannot look on coolly as others suffer; or, we sympathize with those who suffer. Another word with approximately the same meaning, 'pity' (French, pitié; Italian, pietà; etc.), connotes a certain condescension towards the sufferer. 'To take pity on a woman' means that we are better off than she, that we stoop to her level, lower ourselves. That is why the word 'compassion' generally inspires suspicion; it designates what is considered an inferior, second-rate sentiment that has little to do with love. To love someone out of compassion means not really to love. In languages that form the word 'compassion' not from the root 'suffering' but from the root 'feeling', the word is used in approximately the same way, but to contend that it designates a bad or inferior sentiment is difficult. The secret strength of its etymology floods the word with another light and gives it a broader meaning: to have compassion (co-feeling) means not only to be able to live with the other's misfortune but also to feel with him any emotion- joy, anxiety, happiness, pain. This kind of compassion (in the sense of soucit, współczucie, Mitgefühl, medkänsla) therefore signifies the maximal capacity of affective imagination, the art of emotional telepathy. In the hierarchy of sentiments, then, it is supreme. By revealing to Tomas her dream about jabbing needles under her fingernails, Tereza unwittingly revealed that she had gone through his desk. If Tereza had been any other woman, Tomas would never have spoken to her again. Aware of that, Tereza said to him, 'Throw me out!' But instead of throwing her out, he seized her and kissed the tips of her fingers, because at that moment he himself felt the pain under her fingernails as surely as if the nerves of her fingers led straight to his own brain. Anyone who has failed to benefit from the the Devil's gift of compassion (co-feeling) will condemn Tereza coldly for her deed, because privacy is sacred and drawers containing intimate correspondence are not to be opened. But because compassion was Tomas's fate (or curse), he felt that he himself had knelt before the open desk drawer, unable to tear his eyes from Sabina's letter. He understood Tereza, and not only was he incapable of being angry with her, he loved her all the more.
Milan Kundera
We used to have a family game, invented by my sister and a friend of hers - it was called 'Agatha's Husbands'. The idea was that they picked out two or at the most three of the most repellent looking strangers in a room, and it was then put to me that i had to choose one of them as a husband, on pain of death or slow torture by the Chinese. 'now then, Agatha, which will you have - the fat young one with pimples, and the scurfy head, or that black one like a gorilla with the bulging eyes?' 'Oh I can't - they're so awful.' 'You must - it's got to be one of them. Or else red hot needles and water torture.' 'Oh dear, then the gorilla.
Agatha Christie (Agatha Christie: An Autobiography)
Having proven that solitary pleasures are as delicious as any others and much more likely to delight, it becomes perfectly clear that this enjoyment, taken in independence of the objectwe employ, is not merely of a nature very remote from what could be pleasurable to thatobject, but is even found to be inimical to that object’s pleasure: what is more, it may becomean imposed suffering, a vexation, or a torture, and the only thing that results from this abuse isa very certain increase of pleasure for the despot who does the tormenting or vexing; let usattempt to demonstrate this.”Voluptuous emotion is nothing but a kind of vibration produced in our soul by shockswhich the imagination, inflamed by the remembrance of a lubricious object, registers uponour senses, either through this object’s presence, or better still by this object’s being exposedto that particular kind of irritation which most profoundly stirs us; thus, our voluptuoustransport Ä this indescribable convulsive needling which drives us wild, which lifts us to thehighest pitch of happiness at which man is able to arrive Ä is never ignited save by twocauses: either by the perception in the object we use of a real or imaginary beauty, the beautyin which we delight the most, or by the sight of that object undergoing the strongest possiblesensation; now, there is no more lively sensation than that of pain; its impressions are certainand dependable, they never deceive as may those of the pleasure women perpetually feign andalmost never experience; and, furthermore, how much self-confidence, youth, vigor, healthare not needed in order to be sure of producing this dubious and hardly very satisfyingimpression of pleasure in a woman. To produce the painful impression, on the contrary,requires no virtues at all: the more defects a man may have, the older he is, the less lovable,the more resounding his success. With what regards the objective, it will be far more certainlyattained since we are establishing the fact that one never better touches, I wish to say, that onenever better irritates one’s senses than when the greatest possible impression has been produced in the employed object, by no matter what devices; therefore, he who will cause themost tumultuous impression to be born in a woman, he who will most thoroughly convulsethis woman’s entire frame, very decidedly will have managed to procure himself the heaviest possible dose of voluptuousness, because the shock resultant upon us by the impressionsothers experience, which shock in turn is necessitated by the impression we have of thoseothers, will necessarily be more vigorous if the impression these others receive be painful,than if the impression they receive be sweet and mild; and it follows that the voluptuousegoist, who is persuaded his pleasures will be keen only insofar as they are entire, willtherefore impose, when he has it in his power to do so, the strongest possible dose of painupon the employed object, fully certain that what by way of voluptuous pleasure he extractswill be his only by dint of the very lively impression he has produced.
Marquis de Sade
Tried to convince himself, and failed. But—he had to give her space. He wouldn’t be an overbearing, territorial Fae bastard, as she liked to call them. “And if I pass your assessment,” Aedion said at last, “will we go directly to Terrasen, or are we waiting here for Prince Rowan?” “Prince Rowan,” she said, rolling her eyes. “You keep needling me for details about Prince Rowan—” “You befriended one of the greatest warriors in history—perhaps the greatest warrior alive. Your father, and his men, all told me stories about Prince Rowan.” “What?” Oh, he’d been waiting to drop this particular gem of information. “Warriors in the North still talk about him.” “Rowan’s never been to this continent.” She said it with such casualness—Rowan. She really had no clue who she now considered a member of her court, who she’d freed from his oath to Maeve. Who she frequently referred to as a pain in her ass. Rowan was the most powerful full-blooded Fae male alive. And his scent was all over her. Yet she had no gods-damned idea. “Rowan Whitethorn is a legend. And so is his—what do you call them?” “Cadre,” she said glumly. “The six of them …” Aedion loosed a breath. “We used to tell stories about them around fires. Their battles and exploits and adventures.” She sighed through her nose. “Please, please don’t ever tell him that. I’ll never hear the end of it, and he’ll use it in every argument we have.
Sarah J. Maas (Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4))
It took me years to stop feeling the guilt she made sure I kept feeling about what happened with him. He is a sick person that molests children, but I felt so bad about it for so long. I couldn't talk to a single person about any of this. No one. And she made me feel so bad about it all that I felt I shouldn't talk about it, even if there was someone. I felt ashamed and thought I was an awful person. Sometimes I still do. My mother abandoned me in the worst ways possible.
Ashly Lorenzana (Speed Needles)
When she remained silent, the slave went back to work. He started humming the tune of a song only to stop, rearrange the notes, then sing them again in a different order. He did this over and over. Like he was testing the song and it kept failing him. Asha lay back, letting his voice distract her from the teeth-grinding pain of his needle sewing her up. A story rose to mind, unbidden. Rayan strode through his mother's orange grove and stopped sharp. Someone was singing. Someone with the voice of a nightingale.
Kristen Ciccarelli (The Last Namsara (Iskari, #1))
Meg slashed through the last of Tarquin’s minions. That was a good thing, I thought distantly. I didn’t want her to die, too. Hazel stabbed Tarquin in the chest. The Roman king fell, howling in pain, ripping the sword hilt from Hazel’s grip. He collapsed against the information desk, clutching the blade with his skeletal hands. Hazel stepped back, waiting for the zombie king to dissolve. Instead, Tarquin struggled to his feet, purple gas flickering weakly in his eye sockets. “I have lived for millennia,” he snarled. “You could not kill me with a thousand tons of stone, Hazel Levesque. You will not kill me with a sword.” I thought Hazel might fly at him and rip his skull off with her bare hands. Her rage was so palpable I could smell it like an approaching storm. Wait…I did smell an approaching storm, along with other forest scents: pine needles, morning dew on wildflowers, the breath of hunting dogs. A large silver wolf licked my face. Lupa? A hallucination? No…a whole pack of the beasts had trotted into the store and were now sniffing the bookshelves and the piles of zombie dust. Behind them, in the doorway, stood a girl who looked about twelve, her eyes silver-yellow, her auburn hair pulled back in a ponytail. She was dressed for the hunt in a shimmering gray frock and leggings, a white bow in her hand. Her face was beautiful, serene, and as cold as the winter moon. She nocked a silver arrow and met Hazel’s eyes, asking permission to finish her kill. Hazel nodded and stepped aside. The young girl aimed at Tarquin. “Foul undead thing,” she said, her voice hard and bright with power. “When a good woman puts you down, you had best stay down.” Her arrow lodged in the center of Tarquin’s forehead, splitting his frontal bone. The king stiffened. The tendrils of purple gas sputtered and dissipated. From the arrow’s point of entry, a ripple of fire the color of Christmas tinsel spread across Tarquin’s skull and down his body, disintegrating him utterly. His gold crown, the silver arrow, and Hazel’s sword all dropped to the floor. I grinned at the newcomer. “Hey, Sis.
Rick Riordan (The Tyrant’s Tomb (The Trials of Apollo, #4))
There's not much to say about loneliness, for it's not a broad subject. Any child, alone in her room, can journey across its entire breadth, from border to border, in an hour. Though not broad, our subject is deep. Loneliness is deeper than the ocean. But here, too, there is no mystery. Our intrepid child is liable to fall quickly to the very bottom without even trying. And since the depths of loneliness cannot sustain human life, the child will swim to the surface again in short order, no worse for wear. Some of us, though, can bring breathing aids down with us for longer stays: imaginary friends, drugs and alcohol, mind-numbing entertainment, hobbies, ironclad routine, and pets. (Pets are some of the best enablers of loneliness, your own cuddlesome Murphy notwithstanding.) With the help of these aids, a poor sap can survive the airless depths of loneliness long enough to experience its true horror -- duration. Did you know, Myren Vole, that when presented with the same odor (even my own) for a duration of only several minutes, the olfactory nerves become habituated -- as my daughter used to say -- to it and cease transmitting its signal to the brain? Likewise, most pain loses its edge in time. Time heals all -- as they say. Even the loss of a loved one, perhaps life's most wrenching pain, is blunted in time. It recedes into the background where it can be borne with lesser pains. Not so our friend loneliness, which grows only more keen and insistent with each passing hour. Loneliness is as needle sharp now as it was an hour ago, or last week. But if loneliness is the wound, what's so secret about it? I submit to you, Myren Vole, that the most painful death of all is suffocation by loneliness. And by the time I started on my portrait of Jean, I was ten years into it (with another five to go). It is from that vantage point that I tell you that loneliness itself is the secret. It's a secret you cannot tell anyone. Why? Because to confess your loneliness is to confess your failure as a human being. To confess would only cause others to pity and avoid you, afraid that what you have is catching. Your condition is caused by a lack of human relationship, and yet to admit to it only drives your possible rescuers farther away (while attracting cats). So you attempt to hide your loneliness in public, to behave, in fact, as though you have too many friends already, and thus you hope to attract people who will unwittingly save you. But it never works that way. Your condition is written all over your face, in the hunch of your shoulders, in the hollowness of your laugh. You fool no one. Believe me in this; I've tried all the tricks of the lonely man.
David Marusek (Counting Heads (Counting Heads, #1))
reality sucks, that's probably why we dream. Why our bodies need sleep. So we can escape. Escape this earth, at least just for a little while. Everynight, we get to go away. Sleep is the only time I feel safe. The only time I can leave this place. This reality that feels like needles sticking into my flesh. This hell that is so hot it makes my hair sweat. Makes mymind melt. In my sleep I hear music, I see faces, songs and smiles and dad hugging me tight. Never letting me go. Telling me to be strong. Telling me not to give up hope. Sometimes I wake up crying. Sometimes I wish I didn't wake up at all" - jamie adoff
Jaime Adoff
The first prick stung—holy gods, with the salt and iron, it hurt. She clamped her teeth together, mastered it, welcomed it. That was what the salt was for with this manner of tattoo, Rowan had told her. To remind the bearer of the loss. Good—good, was all she could think as the pain spiderwebbed through her back. Good. And when Rowan made the next mark, she opened her mouth and began her prayers. They were prayers she should have said ten years ago: an even-keeled torrent of words in the Old Language, telling the gods of her parents’ death, her uncle’s death, Marion’s death—four lives wiped out in those two days. With each sting of Rowan’s needle, she beseeched the faceless immortals to take the souls of her loved ones into their paradise and keep them safe. She told them of their worth—told them of the good deeds and loving words and brave acts they’d performed. Never pausing for more than a breath, she chanted the prayers she owed them as daughter and friend and heir. For the hours Rowan worked, his movements falling into the rhythm of her words, she chanted and sang. He did not speak, his mallet and needles the drum to her chanting, weaving their work together. He did not disgrace her by offering water when her voice turned hoarse, her throat so ravaged she had to whisper. In Terrasen she would sing from sunrise to sunset, on her knees in gravel without food or drink or rest. Here she would sing until the markings were done, the agony in her back her offering to the gods. When it was done her back was raw and throbbing, and it took her a few attempts to rise from the table. Rowan followed her into the nearby night-dark field, kneeling with her in the grass as she tilted her face up to the moon and sang the final song, the sacred song of her household, the Fae lament she’d owed them for ten years. Rowan did not utter a word while she sang, her voice broken and raw. He remained in the field with her until dawn, as permanent as the markings on her back. Three lines of text scrolled over her three largest scars, the story of her love and loss now written on her: one line for her parents and uncle; one line for Lady Marion; and one line for her court and her people. On the smaller, shorter scars, were the stories of Nehemia and of Sam. Her beloved dead. No longer would they be locked away in her heart. No longer would she be ashamed.
Sarah J. Maas (Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3))
All at once he found his mind drawing a parallel between that destiny and his own existence; all at once questions of life arose before his vision, like owls in an ancient ruin flushed from sleep by a stray ray of sunlight. Somehow he felt pained and grieved at his arrested development, at the check which had taken place in his moral growth, at the weight which appeared to be pressing upon his every faculty. Also gnawing at his heart there was a sense of envy that others should be living a life so full and free, while all the time the narrow, pitiful little pathway of his own existence was being blocked by a great boulder. And in his hesitating soul there arose a torturing consciousness that many sides of his nature had never yet been stirred, that others had never even been touched, and that not one of them had attained complete formation. Yet with this there went an aching suspicion that, buried in his being, as in a tomb, there still remained a moribund element of sweetness and light, and that it was an element which, though hidden in his personality, as a nugget lies lurking in the bowels of the earth, might once have become minted into sterling coin. But the treasure was now overlaid with rubbish--was now thickly littered over with dust. 'Twas as though some one had stolen from him, and besmirched, the store of gifts with which life and the world had dowered him; so that always he would be prevented from entering life's field and sailing across it with the aid of intellect and of will. Yes, at the very start a secret enemy had laid a heavy hand upon him and diverted him from the road of human destiny. And now he seemed to be powerless to leave the swamps and wilds in favour of that road. All around him was a forest, and ever the recesses of his soul were growing dimmer and darker, and the path more and more tangled, while the consciousness of his condition kept awaking within him less and less frequently--to arouse only for a fleeting moment his slumbering faculties. Brain and volition alike had become paralysed, and, to all appearances, irrevocably--the events of his life had become whittled down to microscopical proportions. Yet even with them he was powerless to cope--he was powerless to pass from one of them to another. Consequently they bandied him to and fro like the waves of the ocean. Never was he able to oppose to any event elasticity of will; never was he able to conceive, as the result of any event, a reasoned-out impulse. Yet to confess this, even to himself, always cost him a bitter pang: his fruitless regrets for lost opportunities, coupled with burning reproaches of conscience, always pricked him like needles, and led him to strive to put away such reproaches and to discover a scapegoat.
Ivan Goncharov (Oblomov)
He was shaking his head as he read some of the words that were written in the pie sections of the wheel; Meat Snatch, Gash and Stitch, Jaws of Life, Tongue Twister, Enema of Horror, Nailed, Dissection, Musical Hair Patches, Eye Deflation, Intestinal Jump Rope, Cooked Until Dripping, Spoon of Pain, Needle Works, Ball Squats, Cut and Rip, Two Headed Cock, Bone Collector, Joint Screws, Fused, Human Tesla Coil, Barbed Wired, Shit Faced, Root and Rod, Colon Blow, Skin Deep, Boiling Nuts, Sewn, Muscle Stimulator, Urethra Tug-o-war, Crack a Cap, Tendon Rubber Bands, Weenie Roast, Musical Extremities, Root Canal, Needle Mania, Tattooed Wall Art, Rod and Prod, Slice and Dice, Sex Change and Torched Beyond Recognition. I
Wade H. Garrett (The Angel of Death - The Most Gruesome Series on the Market (A Glimpse into Hell, #2))
What the road really was, she fancied, was this hypodermic needle, inserted somewhere ahead into the vein of a freeway, a vein nourishing the mainliner L.A., keeping it happy, coherent, protected from pain, or whatever passes, with a city, for pain. But were Oedipa some single melted crystal of urban horse, L.A., really, would be no less turned on for her absence.
Thomas Pynchon (The Crying of Lot 49)
Healthy Choices Hold still Keep quiet. Get a degree to learn how to talk saying nothing. Catch a good man by being demure. the one your mother chooses. Let him climb you whenever his urge, amidst headaches and menstrual aches and screaming infants. And when he bids quick, turn over. Hold still. Make your tongue a slab of cement a white stone etched with your name. Kill your stories with knives and knitting needles and Clorox bleach. Hide in your mysteriousness by saying nothing. Starch your thoughts with ironed shirts. Tie your anger with a knot in your throat and when he comes without concern swallow it. Hold still. Keep desire hopeless as ice and sleepless nights and painful as pinched eyelid. Keep your fingers from the razor, keep your longing to sever his condescension safely in your douchbag. Turn the blade against yourself. Don't twitch as your slashed wrists stain your bathroom tiles. Disinfect with Pine Sol. Hold still. Keep quiet. Keep tight your lips, keep dead your dreams, keep cold your heart. Keep quiet. And he will shout praises to your perfection.
Janice Mirikitani
FAT CHARLIE WAS THIRSTY. Fat Charlie was thirsty and his head hurt. Fat Charlie was thirsty and his head hurt and his mouth tasted evil and his eyes were too tight in his head and all his teeth twinged and his stomach burned and his back was aching in a way that started around his knees and went up to his forehead and his brains had been removed and replaced with cotton balls and needles and pins which was why it hurt to try and think, and his eyes were not just too tight in his head but they must have rolled out in the night and been reattached with roofing nails; and now he noticed that anything louder than the gentle Brownian motion of air molecules drifting softly past each other was above his pain threshold. Also, he wished he were dead.
Neil Gaiman (Anansi Boys)
The tapestry of her life was dotted with threadbare spots, where grief or pain or loss had eaten through like hungry moths. But those faint traces, instead of detracting from the resplendent tones and rich hues of the intertwined threads, only intensified their splendor. It was a work of art created not with a needle but with duty, courage, and honor, sprinkled liberally with laughter and hope.
Karen Ranney (Tapestry)
The yogurt man went back to threading the needle through his cheek. I thanked him for sharing his perspective about evolution, the existence of an alternate universe, and the physical science of hijacking a plane, and then asked him once again for directions, wondering what kind of directions I was likely to get from a self-identified conspiracy theorist with an exceptionally high pain tolerance.
Maya Binyam (Hangman)
It seems unlikely that premature babies can consciously feel pain before the twenty-ninth or thirtieth week. The pain sensors in the skin and the nerve pathways that convey pain signals are in place as early as the seventh week, enabling the fetus to respond to touch from a needle. But, contrary to the claims of fanatical pro-lifers, that certainly doesn’t constitute proof that the fetus can feel pain.
D.F. Swaab (We Are Our Brains: A Neurobiography of the Brain, from the Womb to Alzheimer's)
they told me of color, that it was an illusion of the eye, an event in the perceiver’s mind, not in the object; they told me that color had no reality; indeed, they told me that color did not inhere in a physical body any more than pain was in a needle. And then they imprisoned me in darkness; and though there was no color there, I still was black, and they still were white; and for that, they bound and gagged me.
M.T. Anderson (The Pox Party)
At present premature babies in hospital endure numerous noxious procedures as a part of daily care: heel sticks with a needle to draw blood for tests, insertion of catheters into veins, lumbar punctures, insertion of breathing tubes, etc.16 At present, little concern is given to the potential pain of these tiny patients. Their discomfort would seem more worthy of concern than that of fetuses without a functioning central nervous system.
David A. Grimes (Every Third Woman In America: How Legal Abortion Transformed Our Nation)
As my mind drifted off into a kaleidoscope of dark memories and pain, I felt the familiar sting of a needle entering a vein. Then a surge of light and bliss flowed through my body, lifting me into an ethereal state, a blanket of warmth and pain-free liberty. As if being wrapped in the safety of God’s arms, I drew in a deep breath and let my mind fill with tranquility, and dance with light and life. No stress, no pain . . . just a river of peace.
Tillie Cole (Damnable Grace (Hades Hangmen, #5))
The pain in my lungs swells up and blossoms until it feels like it’s everywhere, tearing through all my cells and muscles at once. The cramp in my leg makes me wince every time my heel hits the pavement. It’s always like this on miles two and three, like all the stress and anxiety and irritation and fear get transformed into little needling points of physical pain, and you can’t breathe or imagine going farther or think anything but: I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.
Lauren Oliver
Because there’s no pain yet. There’s too much adrenalin and rhetoric in his bloodstream. There’s whole chunky paragraphs of What it Means to King and Country. Never mind God. There’s fine speeches still pumping up along his arteries, principal and subordinate clauses, the adjectival, the adverbial, in gorgeous Latinate construction and hot breath. It’s the Age of Speeches. There’s exclamation marks doing needle dancing in his brain, and so he gets twenty yards into the war.
Niall Williams (History of the Rain)
Suppose our feet ache, with little needling pains in the joints: at this stage we pass it off and say we've sprained an ankle or strained something in some exercise or other; while the disorder is in its indeterminate, commencing phase, its name eludes us, but once it starts bending he feet in just the way an ankle-rack does and makes them both misshapen, we have to confess we've got the gout. WIth afflictions of the spirit, though, the opposite is the case: the worse a person is, the less he feels it. You needn't feel surprised, my dearest Lucilius; a person sleeping lightly percieves impressions in his dreams and is sometimes, even aware during sleep that he is asleep, whereas a heavy slumber blots out even dreams and plunges the mind too deep for counciousness of self. Why does no one admit his failings? Because he is still deep in them. It's the person who's awakend who recounts his dreams, and acknowledging one's failings is a sign of health.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Itches and Burs There once was a mother-and-daughterly pair Who both had an itch just beneath their long hair. Each had a bur with the prickles attached Under a belt at the mid of her back. “Oh, daughter, please scratch at my itch, will you not? And pluck out the bur—I would thank you a lot!” “I can’t,” said the daughter, “My own bur does sting. And try as I may I can’t reach the darn thing!” “Oh pain!” groaned the daughter. The mom cried, “Oh drat!” As each strained to reach her own bur at her back. “It prickles like needles! It tickles like feathers!” But easing the scratch was a fruitless endeavor. The daughter about gave a sigh of despair When all of a sudden her prick was not there. The itch too was gone with some scritches and scrapes Applied by old fingers in arthritic shape. The daughter, so grateful to feel such relief, Turned ’round to her mother and plucked out her grief. She scratched her mom’s itch just as she had done hers. Now neither has itches and neither has burs.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year)
Too often, artists who think it was “inspiration” or “pain” that fueled their art and create an image around that—instead of hard work and sincere hustle—will eventually find themselves at the bottom of a bottle or on the wrong end of a needle. The same goes for us, whatever we do. Instead of pretending that we are living some great story, we must remain focused on the execution—and on executing with excellence. We must shun the false crown and continue working on what got us here. Because that’s the only thing that will keep us here.
Ryan Holiday (Ego Is the Enemy)
The only thing that [Amaranta] did not keep in mind in her fearsome plan was that in spite of her pleas to God she might die before Rebeca. That was, in fact, what happened. At the final moment, however, Amaranta did not feel frustrated, but, on the contrary, free of all bitterness because death had awarded her the privilege of announcing itself several years ahead of time. She saw it on one burning afternoon sewing with her on the porch a short time after Meme had left for school. She saw it because it was a woman dressed in blue with long hair, with a sort of antiquated look, and with a certain resemblance to Pilar Ternera during the time when she had helped with the chores in the kitchen. Fernanda was present several times and did not see her, in spite of the fact that she was so real – so human and on one occasion asked of Amaranta the favor of threading a needle. Death did not tell her when she was going to die or whether her hour was assigned before that of Rebeca, but ordered her to begin sewing her own shroud on the next sixth of April. She was authorized to make it as complicated and as fine as she wanted, but just as honestly executed as Rebeca's, and she was told that she would die without pain, fear, or bitterness at dusk on the day that she finished it. Trying to waste the most time possible, Amaranta ordered some rough flax and spun the thread herself. She did it so carefully that the work alone took four years. Then she started the sewing. As she got closer to the unavoidable end she began to understand that only a miracle would allow her to prolong the work past Rebeca's death, but the very concentration gave her the calmness that she needed to accept the idea of frustration.
Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
Boney freckled knees pressed into bits of bark and stone, refusing to feel any more pain. Her faded t-shirt hugged her protruding ribs as she held on, hunched in silence. A lone tear followed the lumpy tracks down her cheek, jumped from her quivering jaw onto a thirsty browned leaf with a thunderous plop. Then the screen door squeaked open and she took flight. Crispy twigs snapped beneath her bare feet as she ran deeper and deeper into the woods behind the house. She heard him rumbling and calling her name, his voice fueling her tired muscles to go faster, to survive. He knew her path by now. He was ready for the hunt. The clanging unbuckled belt boomed in her ears as he gained on her. The woods were thin this time of year, not much to hide behind. If she couldn’t outrun him, up she would go. Young trees teased her in this direction, so she moved east towards the evergreens. Hunger and hurt left her no choice, she had to stop running soon. She grabbed the first tree with a branch low enough to reach, and up she went. The pine trees were taller here, older, but the branches were too far apart for her to reach. She chose the wrong tree. His footsteps pounded close by. She stood as tall as her little legs could, her bloodied fingers reaching, stretching, to no avail. A cry of defeat slipped from her lips, a knowing laugh barked from his. She would pay for this dearly. She didn’t know whether the price was more than she could bear. Her eyes closed, her next breath came out as Please, and an inky hand reached down from the lush needles above, wound its many fingers around hers, and pulled her up. Another hand, then another, grabbing her arms, her legs, firmly but gently, pulling her up, up, up. The rush of green pine needles and black limbs blurred together, then a flash of cobalt blue fluttered by, heading down. She looked beyond her dangling bare feet to see a flock of peculiar birds settle on the branches below her, their glossy feathers flickered at once and changed to the same greens and grays of the tree they perched upon, camouflaging her ascension. Her father’s footsteps below came to a stomping end, and she knew he was listening for her. Tracking her, trapping her, like he did the other beasts of the forest. He called her name once, twice. The third time’s tone not quite as friendly. The familiar slide–click sound of him readying his gun made her flinch before he had his chance to shoot at the sky. A warning. He wasn’t done with her. His feet crunched in circles around the tree, eventually heading back home. Finally, she exhaled and looked up. Dozens of golden-eyed creatures surrounded her from above. Covered in indigo pelts, with long limbs tipped with mint-colored claws, they seemed to move as one, like a heartbeat. As if they shared a pulse, a train of thought, a common sense. “Thank you,” she whispered, and the beasts moved in a wave to carefully place her on a thick branch.
Kim Bongiorno (Part of My World: Short Stories)
There’s a sudden sweet amnesia, a shortening of time like a warm bath where I can just float and forget. So this is why they do it. What a relief, to not only feel good but to feel nothing. It’s like the moment thirty seconds after you stub your toe when you suddenly feel better. That is what the cherry wine feels like: a dizzy hug when the pain disappears. I wonder if this is what Paul felt in his truck with his bottle, if this is why he couldn’t stop and just drank until he died. Is this why Dad had his needle in his cell? Why Tony was passed out on the floor among the trash from the party.
Mikel Jollett (Hollywood Park)
Carbon dioxide has its own flavor, which affects the overall taste of a drink. (At high partial pressures—which is to say, when a gas contains lots of CO2 relative to other gases—it also sets off the body’s pain receptors, called “nociceptors.” One trick almost every distiller I visited tried to play on me was to get me to stick my head into the vat during the final stages of fermentation, when the headspace—the volume of air above the liquid—is a cloud of CO2. Taking a whiff is like sticking a knitting needle up your nose. Too much of it, and you can pass out and fall right into the vat. Fun!)
Adam Rogers (Proof: The Science of Booze)
in adults the anterior cingulate cortex activates when they see someone hurt. Ditto for the amygdala and insula, especially in instances of intentional harm—there is anger and disgust. PFC regions including the (emotional) vmPFC are on board. Observing physical pain (e.g., a finger being poked with a needle) produces a concrete, vicarious pattern: there is activation of the periaqueductal gray (PAG), a region central to your own pain perception, in parts of the sensory cortex receiving sensation from your own fingers, and in motor neurons that command your own fingers to move.fn3 You clench your fingers.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
I stare at the writing on the wall. Hypnotised. Can’t look away. The author has a strong hand. Each letter energetic; bold strokes. Such funny shapes. Such jagged, edged lines. A patchwork woven in the deepest black ink. I reach out to touch its upright, elegant beauty. I gasp as it starts to grow. Big and threatening. Its lines stretch into long, long legs. Its shapes swell into mouths with sharp teeth that transform into gigantic knives. It jumps off the wall, out at me. I scream. Try to run away. Too late. A blade slashes me in the back. I fall. Agonising pain rips through me. I beg for mercy. The knife is a huge needle now heading for my face…
Dreda Say Mitchell (Spare Room)
We can withstand a siege for some time,” Arin said. “The city walls are strong. They’re Valorian-built.” “Which means that we will know how to bring them down.” Arin swirled his glass, watching the water’s clear spin. “Care to bet? I have matches. I hear they make very fine stakes.” There was the quirk of a smile. “We aren’t playing at Bite and Sting.” “But if we were, and I kept raising the stakes higher to the point where you couldn’t bear to lose, what would you do? Maybe you’d give up the game. Herran’s only hope of winning against the empire is to become too painful to retake. To mire the Valorians in an unending siege when they’d rather be fighting the east. To force them to conquer the countryside again, piece by piece, spending money and lives. Someday, the empire will decide we’re not worth the fight.” Kestrel shook her head. “Herran will always be worth it.” Arin looked at her, his hands resting on the table. He, too, had no knife. Kestrel knew that this was to make it less obvious that she wasn’t to be trusted with one. Instead, it became more. “You’re missing a button,” he said abruptly. “What?” He reached across the table and touched the cloth at her wrist, on the spot of an open seam. His fingertip brushed the frayed thread. Kestrel forgot that she had been troubled. She had been thinking about knives, she remembered, and now they were talking about buttons, but what one had to do with the other, she couldn’t say. “Why don’t you mend it?” he said. She recovered herself. “That is a silly question.” “Kestrel, do you not know how to sew a button?” She refused to answer. “Wait here,” he said. Arin returned with a sewing kit and button. He threaded a needle, bit it between his teeth, and took her wrist with both hands. Her blood turned to wine. “This is how you do it,” he said. He took the needle from his mouth and pierced it through the cloth.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))
Dark-eyed Lira reached Lan only moments before Bukama, the pair of them gently parting slashes in his clothes to examine his injuries. She shivered delicately as each was revealed, but she discussed whether an Aes Sedai should be sent for to give Healing and how much stitching was needed in as calm a tone as Bukama, and disparagingly dismissed his hand on the needle in favor of her own. Mistress Arovni stalked about, holding her skirts up out of patches of bloody mud, glaring at the corpses littering her stableyard, complaining in a loud voice that gangs of footpads would never be wandering in daylight if the Watch was doing its job. The Domani woman who had stared at Lan inside agreed just as loudly, and for her pains received a sharp command from the innkeeper to fetch the Watch, along with a shove to start her on her way. It was a measure of Mistress Arovni’s shock that she treated one of her patrons so, a measure of everyone’s shock that the Domani woman went running without complaint. The innkeeper began organizing men to drag the bodies out of sight.
Robert Jordan (New Spring (The Wheel of Time, #0))
The sole object of revolution was the abolition of senseless suffering. But it had turned out that the removal of this second kind of suffering was only possible at the price of a temporary enormous increase in the sum total of the first. So the question now ran: Was such an operation justified? Obviously it was, if one spoke in the abstract of “mankind”; but, applied to “man” in the singular, to the cipher 2—4, the real human being of bone and flesh and blood and skin, the principle led to absurdity. As a boy, he had believed that in working for the Party he would find an answer to all questions of this sort. The work had lasted forty years, and right at the start he had forgotten the question for whose sake he had embarked on it. Now the forty years were over, and he returned to the boy’s original perplexity. The Party had taken all he had to give and never supplied him with the answer. And neither did the silent partner, whose magic name he had tapped on the wall of the empty cell. He was deaf to direct questions, however urgent and desperate they might be. And yet there were ways of approach to him. Sometimes he would respond unexpectedly to a tune, or even the memory of a tune, or of the folded hands of the Pietà, or of certain scenes of his childhood. As if a tuning-fork had been struck, there would be answering vibrations, and once this had started a state would be produced which the mystics called “ecstasy” and saints “contemplation”; the greatest and soberest of modern psychologists had recognized this state as a fact and called it the “oceanic sense”. And, indeed, one’s personality dissolved as a grain of salt in the sea; but at the same time the infinite sea seemed to be contained in the grain of salt. The grain could no longer be localized in time and space. It was a state in which thought lost its direction and started to circle, like the compass needle at the magnetic pole; until finally it cut loose from its axis and travelled freely in space, like a bunch of light in the night; and until it seemed that all thoughts and all sensations, even pain and joy itself, were only the spectrum lines of the same ray of light, disintegrating in the prisma of consciousness.
Arthur Koestler (Darkness at Noon)
Ouch.” The yelp came out by accident as Trent went back over the bumps of her spine. Harper winced. Trent was doing his best to move the needle location around, she could feel that, but it was really starting to hurt. She heard Trent put down his equipment and slide the stool around in front of her. “This is the worst it’s going to be, Harp. You’re being so incredibly brave. I’ve had grown men cry at this point.” He paused for a moment before kissing her gently on the temple. “We have two options. I can stop in a minute and we can pick it up next time, or I can keep going for another twenty minutes and it will be done. The final appointments, then, will be short and sweet. Not to mention a whole lot less painful.” Harper took in a deep breath and blew it out harshly. Determined not to cry, she bit down on her lip hard. It stopped the pending deluge, but the tears still threatened. “Oh darlin’.” Trent kissed her softly. “I’d switch places with you in a heartbeat if I could. I know it hurts where I’m working.” Harper nodded. He understood. “Can you make it fifteen?” Trent kissed the side of her eye, where a single tear was making a break for freedom. “I’ll do it in ten.
Scarlett Cole (The Strongest Steel (Second Circle Tattoos, #1))
Good morning, I’m Anne Ryan,” she said, producing the driver’s license. The receptionist stood up, nodding. She was wearing latex gloves. And before the woman formerly known as Myfanwy Thomas could say a word, the receptionist wound up and punched her in the face. She flew backward, the pain in her eyes flaring, and shrieked like a train whistle. Through the stars floating in her vision, she could see three men entering the room and shutting the doors behind them. They surrounded her, and one of the men leaned over her with a hypodermic needle in one hand. Filled with a sudden rage, she swung her leg up and kicked him hard between the legs. Squealing, he doubled over, and she lashed out with a fist, catching him hard on the chin. He staggered back onto one of the other men, and she swung herself up, teeth bared, panic rising as she realized that she had no idea how to fight. Still, certain things were obvious. She shoved the man she’d kicked hard, sending him and his friend against the wall. The remaining man and the woman stood back, seeming almost hesitant to touch her. She noticed that the men were also wearing latex gloves. The woman flicked a questioning look to the standing man.
Daniel O'Malley (The Rook (The Checquy Files, #1))
I was unhappy there and going through a rough transition, so I was desperate for any friend I could find that I could talk to. I thought that's what he was. We had this secret from my mom, who I didn't like much at the time. It was a harmless secret, so I didn't feel bad about it. All we did was go to the movies and hang out doing fun things all day. It wasn't until much later that the warning signs began, but I was still too young and stupid to see them for what they were at the time. Basically, he was patient as he built up the trust between us. He became a close friend and convinced me that he was on my side somehow. He took total advantage of my ignorance and totally betrayed me a few years later, when he slept with me. After my mom found out, she went psychotic and all she gave a fuck about was what had been done to her. She didn't care about anything except for how hurt she was by what had happened. She blamed me and him equally, telling me that sixteen years old was old enough to know better. Even though I never initiated a goddamn thing with him, and never would have. Even though it happened in the apartment she and I had gotten together, that he was not supposed to be staying in.
Ashly Lorenzana (Speed Needles)
in adults the anterior cingulate cortex activates when they see someone hurt. Ditto for the amygdala and insula, especially in instances of intentional harm—there is anger and disgust. PFC regions including the (emotional) vmPFC are on board. Observing physical pain (e.g., a finger being poked with a needle) produces a concrete, vicarious pattern: there is activation of the periaqueductal gray (PAG), a region central to your own pain perception, in parts of the sensory cortex receiving sensation from your own fingers, and in motor neurons that command your own fingers to move.fn3 You clench your fingers. Work by Jean Decety of the University of Chicago shows that when seven-year-olds watch someone in pain, activation is greatest in the more concrete regions—the PAG and the sensory and motor cortices—with PAG activity coupled to the minimal vmPFC activation there is. In older kids the vmPFC is coupled to increasingly activated limbic structures.13 And by adolescence the stronger vmPFC activation is coupled to ToM regions. What’s happening? Empathy is shifting from the concrete world of “Her finger must hurt, I’m suddenly conscious of my own finger” to ToM-ish focusing on the pokee’s emotions and experience.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
Marcelina loved that miniscule, precise moment when the needle entered her face. It was silver; it was pure. It was the violence that healed, the violation that brought perfection. There was no pain, never any pain, only a sense of the most delicate of penetrations, like a mosquito exquisitely sipping blood, a precision piece of human technology slipping between the gross tissues and cells of her flesh. She could see the needle out of the corner of her eye; in the foreshortened reality of the ultra-close-up it was like the stem of a steel flower. The latex-gloved hand that held the syringe was as vast as the creating hand of God: Marcelina had watched it swim across her field of vision, seeking its spot, so close, so thrillingly, dangerously close to her naked eyeball. And then the gentle stab. Always she closed her eyes as the fingers applied pressure to the plunger. She wanted to feel the poison entering her flesh, imagine it whipping the bloated, slack, lazy cells into panic, the washes of immune response chemicals as they realized they were under toxic attack; the blessed inflammation, the swelling of the wrinkled, lined skin into smoothness, tightness, beauty, youth. Marcelina Hoffman was well on her way to becoming a Botox junkie. Such a simple treat; the beauty salon was on the same block as Canal Quatro. Marcelina had pioneered the lunch-hour face lift to such an extent that Lisandra had appropriated it as the premise for an entire series. Whore. But the joy began in the lobby with Luesa the receptionist in her high-collared white dress saying “Good afternoon, Senhora Hoffman,” and the smell of the beautiful chemicals and the scented candles, the lightness and smell of the beautiful chemicals and the scented candles, the lightness and brightness of the frosted glass panels and the bare wood floor and the cream-on-white cotton wall hangings, the New Age music that she scorned anywhere else (Tropicalismo hippy-shit) but here told her, “you’re wonderful, you’re special, you’re robed in light, the universe loves you, all you have to do is reach out your hand and take anything you desire.” Eyes closed, lying flat on the reclining chair, she felt her work-weary crow’s-feet smoothed away, the young, energizing tautness of her skin. Two years before she had been to New York on the Real Sex in the City production and had been struck by how the ianqui women styled themselves out of personal empowerment and not, as a carioca would have done, because it was her duty before a scrutinizing, judgmental city. An alien creed: thousand-dollar shoes but no pedicure. But she had brought back one mantra among her shopping bags, an enlightenment she had stolen from a Jennifer Aniston cosmetics ad. She whispered it to herself now, in the warm, jasmine-and vetiver-scented sanctuary as the botulin toxins diffused through her skin. Because I’m worth it.
Ian McDonald (Brasyl)
Wait… wait!” he shouted. “Just tell me what you want to know!” The brute seized Reid’s head in his large hands and gripped it tightly, forcing him still. The interrogator chose a tool—a thin-bladed scalpel. “Please don’t… please don’t…” Reid’s breath came in short gasps. He was nearly hyperventilating. “Shh,” said the interrogator calmly. “You will want to remain still. I would not want to cut off your ear. At least, not by accident.” Reid screamed as the blade sliced into the skin behind his ear, but the brute held him still. Every muscle in his limbs went taut. A strange sound reached his ears—a soft melody. The interrogator was singing a tune in Arabic as he cut into Reid’s head. He dropped the bloody scalpel into the tray as Reid hissed shallow breaths through his teeth. Then the interrogator reached for a pair of needle-nose pliers. “I’m afraid that was just the beginning,” he whispered in Reid’s ear. “This next part will actually hurt.” The pliers gripped something in Reid’s head—was it his bone?—and the interrogator tugged. Reid screamed in agony as white-hot pain shot through his brain, pulsing out into nerve endings. His arms trembled. His feet slapped against the floor. The pain crescendoed until Reid thought he couldn’t possibly take any more. Blood pounded in his ears, and his own screams sounded as if they were far away. Then the procedure lamp dimmed, and the edges of his vision darkened as he slipped into unconsciousness.
Jack Mars (Agent Zero (Agent Zero, #1))
Perhaps the elements of memory in plants are superficially treated," he writes, "but at least there they are in black and white! Yet no one calls his friends or neighbors, no one shouts in a drunken voice over the telephone: Have you heard the news? Plants can feel! They can feel pain! They cry out! Plants remember everything!" When Soloukhin began to telephone his own friends in excitement he learned from one of them that a prominent member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, working in Akademgorodok, the new town inhab­ ited almost exclusively by research scientists on the outskirts of Siberia's largest industrial center, Novosibirsk, had stated: Don't be amazed! We too are carrying out many experiments of this kind and they all point to one thing: plants have memory. They are able to gather impressions and retain them over long periods. We had a man molest, even torture, a geranium for several days in a row. He pinched it, tore it, pricked its leaves with a needle, dripped acid on its living tissues, burned it with a lighted match, and cut its roots. Another man took tender care of the same geranium, watered it, worked its soil, sprayed it with fresh water, supported its heavy branches, and treated its burns and wounds. When we electroded our instruments to the plant, what do you think? No sooner did the torturer come near the plant than the recorder of the instrument began to go wild. The plant didn't just get "nervous"; it was afraid, it was horrified. If it could have, it would have either thrown itself out the window or attacked its torturer. Hardly had this inquisitor left and the good man taken his place near the plant than the geranium was appeased, its impulses died down, the recorder traced out smooth­ one might almost say tender-lines on the graph.
Peter Tompkins (The Secret Life of Plants: A Fascinating Account of the Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Relations Between Plants and Man)
I AM PUSHING a rusty wheelbarrow in a town where the air smells of blood and burnt flesh. The breeze brings the faint cries of those whose last breaths are leaving their mangled bodies. I walk past them. Their arms and legs are missing; their intestines spill out through the bullet holes in their stomachs; brain matter comes out of their noses and ears. The flies are so excited and intoxicated that they fall on the pools of blood and die. The eyes of the nearly dead are redder than the blood that comes out of them, and it seems that their bones will tear through the skin of their taut faces at any minute. I turn my face to the ground to look at my feet. My tattered crapes are soaked with blood, which seems to be running down my army shorts. I feel no physical pain, so I am not sure whether I’ve been wounded. I can feel the warmth of my AK-47’s barrel on my back; I don’t remember when I last fired it. It feels as if needles have been hammered into my brain, and it is hard to be sure whether it is day or night. The wheelbarrow in front of me contains a dead body wrapped in white bedsheets. I do not know why I am taking this particular body to the cemetery. When I arrive at the cemetery, I struggle to lift it from the wheelbarrow; it feels as if the body is resisting. I carry it in my arms, looking for a suitable place to lay it to rest. My body begins to ache and I can’t lift a foot without feeling a rush of pain from my toes to my spine. I collapse on the ground and hold the body in my arms. Blood spots begin to emerge on the white bedsheets covering it. Setting the body on the ground, I start to unwrap it, beginning at the feet. All the way up to the neck, there are bullet holes. One bullet has crushed the Adam’s apple and sent the remains of it to the back of the throat. I lift the cloth from the body’s face. I am looking at my own.   I
Ishmael Beah (A Long Way Gone)
Hey cupcake!” he says, like he just had a great idea. “I’m so glad you’re here.” “Me too,” I say. “I thought you were ready to kick me to the curb.” I was. But when I found out he was hurt, it nearly gutted me. “Would if I could,” I say. “Do you think you could fall in love with me, cupcake?” he blurts out. I’m startled. I know he’s medicated, so I shouldn’t put any stock into his words, but I can’t help it. “You should get some rest,” I say. Tap. Tap. “So, that would be a no.” He whistles. Then he scrunches up his face when it makes his head hurt. “I’m in trouble,” he whispers quietly. “What?” He squeezes my hand. “I’m pretty sure I’m in love with you, cupcake,” he says. “I just wish you could love me back.” “You’ve had a lot of pain meds,” I say. Suddenly, he grabs the neck of my shirt and jerks me so that I fall over his chest. His lips are right next to mine. “Listen to me,” he says. “Okay,” I whisper. “I don’t have much going for me, but I know what love feels like.” “How?” “It just is, cupcake. You don’t get to pick who you fall in love with. And God knows, if my head could pick, it wouldn’t be you.” I push back to get off his chest, because I’m offended. But he holds me tight. “You’re not easy to love, because you can’t love me back. But you might one day. I’ll wait. But you got to start taking my calls.” He cups the back of my head and brings my face toward his. A cough from the doorway startles us apart. I stand up and pull my shirt down where he rucked it up. “Visiting hours are over,” a nurse says. “She’s not a visitor,” he says. She comes and inserts a needle into his IV, and his eyes close. He doesn’t open them when he says, “She’s going to marry me one day. She just doesn’t know it yet.” His head falls to the side and he starts to softly snore. His hand goes slack around mine. I pull back, my heart skipping like mad. “They say some of the most ridiculous things when they’re medicated.” The nurse shakes her head. “He probably won’t remember any of this tomorrow.” Pete
Tammy Falkner (Zip, Zero, Zilch (The Reed Brothers, #6))
The temple was in a field of graves suddenly a pitiful-looking skeleton appeared and said: A melancholy autumn wind Blows through the world; the pampas grass waves As we drift to the moor, Drift to the sea. What can be done With the mind of a man That should be clear But though he is dressed up in a monk's robe, Just lets life pass him by? Such deep musings Made me uneasy, I could not sleep. Towards dawn I dozed off... I found myself surrounded by a group of skeletons, acting as they had when they were still alive. One skeleton came over to me and said: Memories Flee and Are no more. All are empty dreams Devoid of meaning. Violate the reality of things And babble about 'God' and 'the Buddha' And you will never find the true Way. Still breathing, You feel animated, So a corpse in a field Seems to be something Apart from you. If chunks of rock Can serve as a memento To the dead A better headstone Would be a simple tea-mortar. Humans are indeed frightful things. A single moon Bright and clear In an unclouded sky; Yet we still stumble In the world's darkness. This world Is but A fleeting dream So why be alarmed At its evanescence? The vagaries of life, Though painful, Teach us Not to cling To this floating world. Why do people Lavish decoration On this set of bones, Destined to disappear Without a trace? The original body Must return to Its original place. Do not search For what cannot be found. No one really knows The nature of birth Nor the true dwelling place. We return to the source And turn to dust. Many paths lead from The foot of the mountain, But at the peak We all gaze at the Single bright moon. If at the end of our journey There is no final Resting place, Then we need not fear Losing our Way. No beginning. No end. Our mind Is born and dies; The emptiness of emptiness! Relax, And the mind Runs wild; Control the world And you can cast it aside. Rain, hail, snow, and ice: All are different But when they fall They become to same water As the valley stream. The ways of proclaiming The Mind all vary, But the same heavenly truth Can be seen In each and every one. Cover your path With fallen pine needles So no one will be able To locate your True dwelling place. How vain, The endless funderals at the Cremation grounds of Mount Toribe! Don't the mourner realize That they will be next? 'Life is fleeeting!' We think at the sight Of smoke drifting from Mount Toribe, But when will we realize That we are in the same boat? All is in vain! This morning, A healthy friend; This evening, A wisp of cremation smoke. What a pity! Evening smoke from Mount Toribe Blown violently To and fro By the wind. When burned We become ashes, and earth when buried. Is it only our sins That remain behind? All the sins Committed In the Three Worlds Will fade away Together with me.
China during the Mao era was a poor country, but it had a strong public health network that provided free immunizations to its citizens. That was where I came in. In those days there were no disposable needles and syringes; we had to reuse ours again and again. Sterilization too was primitive: The needles and syringes would be washed, wrapped separately in gauze, and placed in aluminum lunch boxes laid in a huge wok on top of a briquette stove. Water was added to the wok, and the needles and syringes were then steamed for two hours, as you would steam buns. On my first day of giving injections I went to a factory. The workers rolled up their sleeves and waited in line, baring their arms to me one after another – and offering up a tiny piece of red flesh, too. Because the needles had been used multiple times, almost every one of them had a barbed tip. You could stick a needle into someone’s arm easily enough, but when you extracted it, you would pull out a tiny piece of flesh along with it. For the workers the pain was bearable, although they would grit their teeth or perhaps let out a groan or two. I paid them no mind, for the workers had had to put up with barbed needles year after year and should be used to it by now, I thought. But the next day, when I went to a kindergarten to give shot to children from the ages of three through six, it was a difference story. Every last one of them burst out weeping and wailing. Because their skin was so tender, the needles would snag bigger shreds of flesh than they had from the workers, and the children’s wounds bled more profusely. I still remember how the children were all sobbing uncontrollably; the ones who had yet to be inoculated were crying even louder than those who had already had their shots. The pain the children saw others suffering, it seemed to me, affected them even more intensely than the pain they themselves experienced, because it made their fear all the more acute. That scene left me shocked and shaken. When I got back to the hospital, I did not clean the instruments right away. Instead, I got hold of a grindstone and ground all the needles until they were completely straight and the points were sharp. But these old needles were so prone to metal fatigue that after two or three more uses they would acquire barbs again, so grinding the needles became a regular part of my routine, and the more I sharpened, the shorter they got. That summer it was always dark by the time I left the hospital, with fingers blistered by my labors at the grindstone. Later, whenever I recalled this episode, I was guilt-stricken that I’d had to see the children’s reaction to realize how much the factory workers must have suffered. If, before I had given shots to others, I had pricked my own arm with a barbed needle and pulled out a blood-stained shred of my own flesh, then I would have known how painful it was long before I heard the children’s wails. This remorse left a profound mark, and it has stayed with me through all my years as an author. It is when the suffering of others becomes part of my own experience that I truly know what it is to live and what it is to write. Nothing in the world, perhaps, is so likely to forge a connection between people as pain, because the connection that comes from that source comes from deep in the heart. So when in this book I write of China’s pain, I am registering my pain too, because China’s pain is mine.
Yu Hua (十個詞彙裡的中國)
My father had a sister, Mady, who had married badly and ‘ruined her life.’ Her story was a classic. She had fallen in love before the war with an American adventurer, married him against her family’s wishes, and been disinherited by my grandfather. Mady followed her husband romantically across the sea. In America he promptly abandoned her. By the time my parents arrived in America Mady was already a broken woman, sick and prematurely old, living a life two steps removed from destitution. My father, of course, immediately put her on an allowance and made her welcome in his home. But the iron laws of Victorian transgression had been set in motion and it was really all over for Mady. You know what it meant for a woman to have been so disgraced and disinherited in those years? She had the mark of Cain on her. She would live, barely tolerated, on the edge of respectable society for the rest of her life. A year after we arrived in America, I was eleven years old, a cousin of mine was married out of our house. We lived then in a lovely brownstone on New York’s Upper West Side. The entire house had been cleaned and decorated for the wedding. Everything sparkled and shone, from the basement kitchen to the third-floor bedrooms. In a small room on the second floor the women gathered around the bride, preening, fixing their dresses, distributing bouquets of flowers. I was allowed to be there because I was only a child. There was a bunch of long-stemmed roses lying on the bed, blood-red and beautiful, each rose perfection. Mady walked over to them. I remember the other women were wearing magnificent dresses, embroidered and bejeweled. Mady was wearing only a simple white satin blouse and a long black skirt with no ornamentation whatever. She picked up one of the roses, sniffed deeply at it, held it against her face. Then she walked over to a mirror and held the rose against her white blouse. Immediately, the entire look of her plain costume was altered; the rose transferred its color to Mady’s face, brightening her eyes. Suddenly, she looked lovely, and young again. She found a long needle-like pin and began to pin the rose to her blouse. My mother noticed what Mady was doing and walked over to her. Imperiously, she took the rose out of Mady’s hand and said, ‘No, Mady, those flowers are for the bride.’ Mady hastily said, ‘Oh, of course, I’m sorry, how stupid of me not to have realized that,’ and her face instantly assumed its usual mask of patient obligation. “I experienced in that moment an intensity of pain against which I have measured every subsequent pain of life. My heart ached so for Mady I thought I would perish on the spot. Loneliness broke, wave after wave, over my young head and one word burned in my brain. Over and over again, through my tears, I murmured, ‘Unjust! Unjust!’ I knew that if Mady had been one of the ‘ladies’ of the house my mother would never have taken the rose out of her hand in that manner. The memory of what had happened in the bedroom pierced me repeatedly throughout that whole long day, making me feel ill and wounded each time it returned. Mady’s loneliness became mine. I felt connected, as though by an invisible thread, to her alone of all the people in the house. But the odd thing was I never actually went near her all that day. I wanted to comfort her, let her know that I at least loved her and felt for her. But I couldn’t. In fact, I avoided her. In spite of everything, I felt her to be a pariah, and that my attachment to her made me a pariah, also. It was as though we were floating, two pariahs, through the house, among all those relations, related to no one, not even to each other. It was an extraordinary experience, one I can still taste to this day. I was never again able to address myself directly to Mady’s loneliness until I joined the Communist Party. When I joined the Party the stifled memory of that strange wedding day came back to me. . .
Vivian Gornick (The Romance of American Communism)