The Night It All Began Quotes

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Do you love me?' I asked her. She smiled. 'Yes.' 'Do you want me to be happy?' as I asked her this I felt my heart beginning to race. 'Of course I do.' 'Will you do something for me then?' She looked away, sadness crossing her features. 'I don't know if I can anymore.' she said. 'but if you could, would you?' I cannot adequately describe the intensity of what I was feeling at that moment. Love, anger, sadness, hope, and fear, whirling together sharpened by the nervousness I was feeling. Jamie looked at me curiously and my breaths became shallower. Suddenly I knew that I'd never felt as strongly for another person as I did at that moment. As I returned her gaze, this simple realization made me wish for the millionth time that I could make all this go away. Had it been possible, I would have traded my life for hers. I wanted to tell her my thoughts, but the sound of her voice suddenly silenced the emotions inside me. 'yes' she finally said, her voice weak yet somehow still full of promise. 'I would.' Finally getting control of myself I kissed her again, then brought my hand to her face, gently running my fingers over her cheek. I marveled at the softness of her skin, the gentleness I saw in her eyes. even now she was perfect. My throat began to tighten again, but as I said, I knew what I had to do. Since I had to accept that it was not within my power to cure her, what I wanted to do was give her something that she'd wanted. It was what my heart had been telling me to do all along. Jamie, I understood then, had already given me the answer I'd been searching for, the answer my heart needed to find. She'd told me outside Mr. Jenkins office, the night we'd asked him about doing the play. I smiled softly, and she returned my affection with a slight squeeze of my hand, as if trusting me in what I was about to do. Encouraged, I leaned closer and took a deep breath. When I exhaled, these were the words that flowed with my breath. 'Will you marry me?
Nicholas Sparks (A Walk to Remember)
I began to know that each morning reasserted the problems of night before, that sleep suspended all but changed nothing, that you couldn’t make yourself over between dawn and dusk.
John Knowles (A Separate Peace)
For some nights I slept profoundly; but still every morning I felt the same lassitude, and a languor weighed upon me all day. I felt myself a changed girl. A strange melancholy was stealing over me, a melancholy that I would not have interrupted. Dim thoughts of death began to open, and an idea that I was slowly sinking took gentle, and, somehow, not unwelcome possession of me. If it was sad, the tone of mind which this induced was also sweet. Whatever it might be, my soul acquiesced in it.
J. Sheridan Le Fanu (Carmilla)
He fell to the seat, she by his side. There were no more words. The stars were beginning to shine. How was it that the birds sing, that the snow melts, that the rose opens, that May blooms, that the dawns whitens behind the black trees on the shivering summit of the hills? One kiss, and that was all. Both trembled, and they looked at each other in the darkness with brilliant eyes. They felt neither the cool night, nor the cold stone, nor the damp ground, nor the wet grass; they looked at each other, and their hearts were full of thought. They had clasped hands, without knowing it. She did not ask him; did not even think where and how he had managed to get into the garden. It seemed so natural to her that he should be there. From time to time Marius’ knee touched Cosette’s. A touch that thrilled. At times, Cosette faltered out a word. Her soul trembled on her lips like a drop of dew on a flower. Gradually, they began to talk. Overflow succeeded to silence, which is fullness. The night was serene and glorious above their heads. These two beings, pure as spirits, told each other everything, their dreams, their frenzies, their ecstasies, their chimeras, their despondencies, how they had adored each other from afar, how they had longed for each other, their despair when they had ceased to see each other. They had confided to each other in an intimacy of the ideal, which already, nothing could have increased, all that was most hidden and most mysterious in themselves. They told each other, with a candid faith in their illusions, all that love, youth and the remnant of childhood that was theirs, brought to mind. These two hearts poured themselves out to each other, so that at the end of an hour, it was the young man who had the young girl’s soul and the young girl who had the soul of the young man. They interpenetrated, they enchanted, they dazzled each other. When they had finished, when they had told each other everything, she laid her head on his shoulder, and asked him: "What is your name?" My name is Marius," he said. "And yours?" My name is Cosette.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
Let's suppose that you were able every night to dream any dream that you wanted to dream. And that you could, for example, have the power within one night to dream 75 years of time. Or any length of time you wanted to have. And you would, naturally as you began on this adventure of dreams, you would fulfill all your wishes. You would have every kind of pleasure you could conceive. And after several nights of 75 years of total pleasure each, you would say "Well, that was pretty great." But now let's have a surprise. Let's have a dream which isn't under control. Where something is gonna happen to me that I don't know what it's going to be. And you would dig that and come out of that and say "Wow, that was a close shave, wasn't it?" And then you would get more and more adventurous, and you would make further and further out gambles as to what you would dream. And finally, you would dream ... where you are now. You would dream the dream of living the life that you are actually living today.
Alan W. Watts
We were trying to make our lives easier, trying, with all our rules, to make life effortless. But a friction began to arise between Nothing and Something, in the morning the Nothing vase cast a Something shadow, like the memory of someone you've lost, what can you say about that, at night the Nothing light spilled from the guest room spilled under the Nothing door and stained the Something hallway, there's nothing to say.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)
Tell me about the farm," she pleaded as drops of blood began to appear on her hand. "The farm?" "The farm that Finnikin the peasant would have lived on with his bride." "Evanjalin. That was her name. Did I mention that?" She laughed through a sob. "No, you didn't." "They would plant rows upon rows of wheat and barley, and each night they would sit under the stars to admire what they owned. Oh, and they would argue. She believes the money made would be better spent on a horse, and he believes they need a new barn. But then later they would forget all their anger and he would hold her fiercely and never let her go." "And he'd place marigolds in her hair?" she asked. He clasped her hands against his and watched her blood seep through the lines of his skin. "And he would love her until the day he died," he said.
Melina Marchetta (Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles, #1))
For the sake of a few lines one must see many cities, men and things. One must know the animals, one must feel how the birds fly and know the gesture with which the small flowers open in the morning. One must be able to think back to roads in unknown regions, to unexpected meetings and to partings which one had long seen coming; to days of childhood that are still unexplained, to parents that one had to hurt when they brought one some joy and one did not grasp it (it was joy for someone else); to childhood illness that so strangely began with a number of profound and grave transformations, to days in rooms withdrawn and quiet and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along on high and flew with all the stars-and it is not enough if one may think all of this. One must have memories of many nights of love, none of which was like the others, of the screams of women in labor, and of light, white, sleeping women in childbed, closing again. But one must also have been beside the dying, one must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the fitful noises. And still it is not enough to have memories. One must be able to forget them when they are many, and one must have the great patience to wait until they come again. For it is not yet the memories themselves. Not until they have turned to blood within us, to glance, to gesture, nameless and no longer to be distinguished from ourselves-not until then can it happen that in a most rare hour the first word of a verse arises in their midst and goes forth from them.
Rainer Maria Rilke (The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge)
I’ve fought in three campaigns,” he began. “In seven pitched battles. In countless raids and skirmishes and desperate defences, and bloody actions of every kind. I’ve fought in the driving snow, the blasting wind, the middle of the night. I’ve been fighting all my life, one enemy or another, one friend or another. I’ve known little else. I’ve seen men killed for a word, for a look, for nothing at all. A woman tried to stab me once for killing her husband, and I threw her down a well. And that’s far from the worst of it. Life used to be cheap as dirt to me. Cheaper. “I’ve fought ten single combats and I won them all, but I fought on the wrong side and for all the wrong reasons. I’ve been ruthless, and brutal, and a coward. I’ve stabbed men in the back, burned them, drowned them, crushed them with rocks, killed them asleep, unarmed, or running away. I’ve run away myself more than once. I’ve pissed myself with fear. I’ve begged for my life. I’ve been wounded, often, and badly, and screamed and cried like a baby whose mother took her tit away. I’ve no doubt the world would be a better place if I’d been killed years ago, but I haven’t been, and I don’t know why.” He looked down at his hands, pink and clean on the stone. “There are few men with more blood on their hands than me. None, that I know of. The Bloody-Nine they call me, my enemies, and there’s a lot of ’em. Always more enemies, and fewer friends. Blood gets you nothing but more blood. It follows me now, always, like my shadow, and like my shadow I can never be free of it. I should never be free of it. I’ve earned it. I’ve deserved it. I’ve sought it out. Such is my punishment.
Joe Abercrombie (The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1))
All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, And I intend to end up there. This drunkenness began in some other tavern. When I get back around to that place, I'll be completely sober. Meanwhile, I'm like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary. The day is coming when I fly off, But who is it now in my ear who hears my voice? Who says words with my mouth? Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul? I cannot stop asking. If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison for drunks. I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home. This poetry. I never know what I'm going to say. I don't plan it. When I'm outside the saying of it, I get very quiet and rarely speak at all. We have a huge barrel of wine, but no cups. That's fine with us. Every morning We glow and in the evening we glow again.
Rumi
My turn now. The story of one of my insanities. For a long time I boasted that I was master of all possible landscapes-- and I thought the great figures of modern painting and poetry were laughable. What I liked were: absurd paintings, pictures over doorways, stage sets, carnival backdrops, billboards, bright-colored prints, old-fashioned literature, church Latin, erotic books full of misspellings, the kind of novels our grandmothers read, fairy tales, little children's books, old operas, silly old songs, the naive rhythms of country rimes. I dreamed of Crusades, voyages of discovery that nobody had heard of, republics without histories, religious wars stamped out, revolutions in morals, movements of races and continents; I used to believe in every kind of magic. I invented colors for the vowels! A black, E white, I red, O blue, U green. I made rules for the form and movement of every consonant, and I boasted of inventing, with rhythms from within me, a kind of poetry that all the senses, sooner or later, would recognize. And I alone would be its translator. I began it as an investigation. I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the whirling world stand still.
Arthur Rimbaud
Now all you need is to make a V with your hand and say in a death rattle that you have been and always shall be his friend," Ian noted with heavy irony. "Why would I..." I began. Then understanding dawned. "Holy crap, you're a closet Trekkie!
Jeaniene Frost (Up from the Grave (Night Huntress, #7))
After the first glass of absinthe you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world. I mean disassociated. Take a top hat. You think you see it as it really is. But you don’t because you associate it with other things and ideas.If you had never heard of one before, and suddenly saw it alone, you’d be frightened, or you’d laugh. That is the effect absinthe has, and that is why it drives men mad. Three nights I sat up all night drinking absinthe, and thinking that I was singularly clear-headed and sane. The waiter came in and began watering the sawdust.The most wonderful flowers, tulips, lilies and roses, sprang up, and made a garden in the cafe. “Don’t you see them?” I said to him. “Mais non, monsieur, il n’y a rien.
Oscar Wilde
I flipped through their visions, left my number in their sleep. But no one called back. I called all night, called for years, called till their lids began to ring, ten, twenty, two hundred times, and then they went blind on my dreams. Now their eyes don't open. No one picks up the phone.
Agha Shahid Ali (The Veiled Suite: The Collected Poems)
I am a librarian. I discovered me in the library. I went to find me in the library. Before I fell in love with libraries, I was just a six-year-old boy. The library fueled all of my curiosities, from dinosaurs to ancient Egypt. When I graduated from high school in 1938, I began going to the library three nights a week. I did this every week for almost ten years and finally, in 1947, around the time I got married, I figured I was done. So I graduated from the library when I was twenty-seven. I discovered that the library is the real school.
Ray Bradbury
Summer was felt a little more; in autumn I began to fall. When winter came with all its white, you were mine to kiss good night.
Lang Leav (Love & Misadventure)
At the very moment that humans discovered the scale of the universe and found that their most unconstrained fancies were in fact dwarfed by the true dimensions of even the Milky Way Galaxy, they took steps that ensured that their descendants would be unable to see the stars at all. For a million years humans had grown up with a personal daily knowledge of the vault of heaven. In the last few thousand years they began building and emigrating to the cities. In the last few decades, a major fraction of the human population has abandoned a rustic way of life. As technology developed and the cities were polluted, the nights became starless. New generations grew to maturity wholly ignorant of the sky that had transfixed their ancestors and that had stimulated the modern age of science and technology. Without even noticing, just as astronomy entered a golden age most people cut themselves off from the sky, a cosmic isolationism that ended only with the dawn of space exploration.
Carl Sagan (Contact)
The moon went slowly down in loveliness; she departed into the depth of the horizon, and long veil-like shadows crept up the sky through which the stars appeared. Soon, however, they too began to pale before a splendour in the east, and the advent of the dawn declared itself in the newborn blue of heaven. Quieter and yet more quiet grew the sea, quiet as the soft mist that brooded on her bosom, and covered up her troubling, as in our tempestuous life the transitory wreaths of sleep brook upon a pain-racked soul, causing it to forget its sorrow. From the east to the west sped those angels of the Dawn, from sea to sea, from mountain-top to mountain-top, scattering light from breast and wing. On they sped out of the darkness, perfect, glorious; on, over the quiet sea, over the low coast-line, and the swamps beyond, and the mountains above them; over those who slept in peace and those who woke in sorrow; over the evil and the good; over the living and the dead; over the wide world and all that breathes or as breathed thereon.
H. Rider Haggard (She: A History of Adventure (She, #1))
All the idylls of youth: beauty manifest in lakes, mountains, people; richness in experience, conversation, friendships. Nights during a full moon, the light flooded the wilderness, so it was possible to hike without a headlamp. We would hit the trail at two A.M., summiting the nearest peak, Mount Tallac, just before sunrise, the clear, starry night reflected in the flat, still lakes spread below us. Snuggled together in sleeping bags at the peak, nearly ten thousand feet up, we weathered frigid blasts of wind with coffee someone had been thoughtful enough to bring. And then we would sit and watch as the first hint of sunlight, a light tinge of day blue, would leak out of the eastern horizon, slowly erasing the stars. The day sky would spread wide and high, until the first ray of the sun made an appearance. The morning commuters began to animate the distant South Lake Tahoe roads. But craning your head back, you could see the day’s blue darken halfway across the sky, and to the west, the night remained yet unconquered—pitch-black, stars in full glimmer, the full moon still pinned in the sky. To the east, the full light of day beamed toward you; to the west, night reigned with no hint of surrender. No philosopher can explain the sublime better than this, standing between day and night. It was as if this were the moment God said, “Let there be light!” You could not help but feel your specklike existence against the immensity of the mountain, the earth, the universe, and yet still feel your own two feet on the talus, reaffirming your presence amid the grandeur.
Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)
Did I ever tell you about the man who taught his asshole to talk? His whole abdomen would move up and down, you dig, farting out the words. It was unlike anything I ever heard. Bubbly, thick, stagnant sound. A sound you could smell. This man worked for the carnival,you dig? And to start with it was like a novelty ventriloquist act. After a while, the ass started talking on its own. He would go in without anything prepared... and his ass would ad-lib and toss the gags back at him every time. Then it developed sort of teethlike... little raspy incurving hooks and started eating. He thought this was cute at first and built an act around it... but the asshole would eat its way through his pants and start talking on the street... shouting out it wanted equal rights. It would get drunk, too, and have crying jags. Nobody loved it. And it wanted to be kissed, same as any other mouth. Finally, it talked all the time, day and night. You could hear him for blocks, screaming at it to shut up... beating at it with his fists... and sticking candles up it, but... nothing did any good, and the asshole said to him... "It is you who will shut up in the end, not me... "because we don't need you around here anymore. I can talk and eat and shit." After that, he began waking up in the morning with transparentjelly... like a tadpole's tail all over his mouth. He would tear it off his mouth and the pieces would stick to his hands... like burning gasoline jelly and grow there. So, finally, his mouth sealed over... and the whole head... would have amputated spontaneously except for the eyes, you dig? That's the one thing that the asshole couldn't do was see. It needed the eyes. Nerve connections were blocked... and infiltrated and atrophied. So, the brain couldn't give orders anymore. It was trapped inside the skull... sealed off. For a while, you could see... the silent, helpless suffering of the brain behind the eyes. And then finally the brain must have died... because the eyes went out... and there was no more feeling in them than a crab's eye at the end of a stalk.
William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch)
Sad Songs Once there was a boy who couldn't speak but owned a music box that held every song in all the world. One day he met a girl who had never heard a single melody in her entire life and so he played her his favorite song. He watched while her face lit up with wonder as the music filled the sky and the poetry of lyrics moved her in a way she had never felt before. He would play his songs for her day after day and she would sit by him quietly—never seeming to mind that he could only speak to her through song. She loved everything he played for her, but of them all—she loved the sad songs best. So he began to play them more and more until eventually, sad songs were all she would hear. One day, he noticed it had been a very long time since her last smile. When he asked her why, she took both his hands in hers and kissed them warmly. She thanked him for his gift of music and poetry but above all else—for showing her sadness because she had known neither of these things before him. But it was now time for her to go away—to find someone who could show her what happiness was. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Do you remember the song that was playing the night we met? No, but I remember every song I have heard since you left.
Lang Leav (Love & Misadventure)
So the days slipped away, as each morning dawned bright and fair, and each evening followed cool and clear. But autumn was waning fast; slowly the golden light faded to pale silver, and the lingering leaves fell from the naked trees. A wind began to blow chill from the Misty Mountains to the east. The Hunter's Moon waxed round in the night sky, and put to flight all the lesser stars. But low in the South one star shone red. Every night, as the Moon waned again, it shone brighter and brighter. Frodo could see it from his window, deep in the heavens, burning like a watchful eye that glared above the trees on the brink of the valley.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1))
He was the son of this bitchy book reviewer. Totally blasted my first book. Called all my lovely kinksters ‘sick’ and ‘abusive.’ So I got my payback by sickly abusing her youngest all night long.” “And you felt guilty about that?” “Not the sex. The note I sent Mom the next day.” “You sent his mother a note after you seduced her son? What did it say?” “It said...” Nora began, and paused for a breath. Not one of her prouder moments. “It said, ‘Your son gave me five stars last night. And five fingers.’” “You’re smiling.” “I’m trying so hard to feel bad about it. I swear to God I am.
Tiffany Reisz (The Mistress (The Original Sinners, #4))
All of a sudden I became aware of a little star in one of those patches and I began looking at it intently. That was because the little star gave me an idea: I made up my mind to kill myself that night. I had made up my mind to kill myself already two months before and, poor as I am, I bought myself an excellent revolver and loaded it the same day. But two months had elapsed and it was still lying in the drawer. I was so utterly indifferent to everything that I was anxious to wait for the moment when I would not be so indifferent and then kill myself. Why -- I don't know.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man)
You need to come with us right now," one of the queen's guards said. "If you resist, we'll take you by force." "Leave him alone!" I yelled, looking from face to face. That angry darkness exploded within me. How could they still not believe? Why were they still coming after him? "He hasn't done anything! Why can't you guys accept that he's really a dhampir now?" The man who'd spoken arched an eyebrow. "I wasn't talking to him." "You're...you're here for me?" I asked. I tried to think of any new spectacles I might have caused recently. I considered the crazy idea that the queen had found out I'd spent the night with Adrian and was pissed off about it. That was hardly enough to send the palace guard for me, though...or was it? Had I really gone too far with my antics? "What for?" demanded Dimitri. That tall, wonderful bod of his—the one that could be so sensual sometimes—was filled with tension and menace now. The man kept his gaze on me, ignoring Dimitri. "Don't make me repeat myself: Come with us quietly, or we will make you." The glimmer of handcuffs showed in his hands. My eyes went wide. "That's crazy! I'm not going anywhere until you tel me how the hell this—" That was the point at which they apparently decided I wasn't coming quietly. Two of the royal guardians lunged for me, and even though we technically worked for the same side, my instincts kicked in. I didn't understand anything here except that I would not be dragged away like some kind of master criminal. I shoved the chair I'd been sitting in earlier at the one of the guardians and aimed a punch at the other. It was a sloppy throw, made worse because he was taller than me. That height difference allowed me to dodge his next grab, and when I kicked hard at his legs, a grunt told me I'd hit home. [...] Meanwhile, other guardians were joining the fray. Although I got a couple of good punches in, I knew the numbers were too overwhelming. One guardian caught hold of my arm and began trying to put the cuffs on me. He stopped when another set of hands grabbed me from the other side and jerked me away. Dimitri. "Don't touch her," he growled. There was a note in his voice that would have scared me if it had been directed toward me. He shoved me behind him, putting his body protectively in front of mine with my back to the table. Guardians came at us from all directions, and Dimitri began dispatching them with the same deadly grace that had once made people call him a god. [...] The queen's guards might have been the best of the best, but Dimitri...well, my former lover and instructor was in a category all his own. His fighting skills were beyond anyone else's, and he was using them all in defense me. "Stay back," he ordered me. "They aren't laying a hand on you.
Richelle Mead (Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, #5))
What are the dead, anyway, but waves and energy? Light shining from a dead star? That, by the way, is a phrase of Julian's. I remember it from a lecture of his on the Iliad, when Patroklos appears to Achilles in a dream. There is a very moving passage where Achilles overjoyed at the sight of the apparition – tries to throw his arms around the ghost of his old friend, and it vanishes. The dead appear to us in dreams, said Julian, because that's the only way they can make us see them; what we see is only a projection, beamed from a great distance, light shining at us from a dead star… Which reminds me, by the way, of a dream I had a couple of weeks ago. I found myself in a strange deserted city – an old city, like London – underpopulated by war or disease. It was night; the streets were dark, bombed-out, abandoned. For a long time, I wandered aimlessly – past ruined parks, blasted statuary, vacant lots overgrown with weeds and collapsed apartment houses with rusted girders poking out of their sides like ribs. But here and there, interspersed among the desolate shells of the heavy old public buildings, I began to see new buildings, too, which were connected by futuristic walkways lit from beneath. Long, cool perspectives of modern architecture, rising phosphorescent and eerie from the rubble. I went inside one of these new buildings. It was like a laboratory, maybe, or a museum. My footsteps echoed on the tile floors.There was a cluster of men, all smoking pipes, gathered around an exhibit in a glass case that gleamed in the dim light and lit their faces ghoulishly from below. I drew nearer. In the case was a machine revolving slowly on a turntable, a machine with metal parts that slid in and out and collapsed in upon themselves to form new images. An Inca temple… click click click… the Pyramids… the Parthenon. History passing beneath my very eyes, changing every moment. 'I thought I'd find you here,' said a voice at my elbow. It was Henry. His gaze was steady and impassive in the dim light. Above his ear, beneath the wire stem of his spectacles, I could just make out the powder burn and the dark hole in his right temple. I was glad to see him, though not exactly surprised. 'You know,' I said to him, 'everybody is saying that you're dead.' He stared down at the machine. The Colosseum… click click click… the Pantheon. 'I'm not dead,' he said. 'I'm only having a bit of trouble with my passport.' 'What?' He cleared his throat. 'My movements are restricted,' he said. 'I no longer have the ability to travel as freely as I would like.' Hagia Sophia. St. Mark's, in Venice. 'What is this place?' I asked him. 'That information is classified, I'm afraid.' 1 looked around curiously. It seemed that I was the only visitor. 'Is it open to the public?' I said. 'Not generally, no.' I looked at him. There was so much I wanted to ask him, so much I wanted to say; but somehow I knew there wasn't time and even if there was, that it was all, somehow, beside the point. 'Are you happy here?' I said at last. He considered this for a moment. 'Not particularly,' he said. 'But you're not very happy where you are, either.' St. Basil's, in Moscow. Chartres. Salisbury and Amiens. He glanced at his watch. 'I hope you'll excuse me,' he said, 'but I'm late for an appointment.' He turned from me and walked away. I watched his back receding down the long, gleaming hall.
Donna Tartt (The Secret History)
Gulls wheel through spokes of sunlight over gracious roofs and dowdy thatch, snatching entrails at the marketplace and escaping over cloistered gardens, spike topped walls and treble-bolted doors. Gulls alight on whitewashed gables, creaking pagodas and dung-ripe stables; circle over towers and cavernous bells and over hidden squares where urns of urine sit by covered wells, watched by mule-drivers, mules and wolf-snouted dogs, ignored by hunch-backed makers of clogs; gather speed up the stoned-in Nakashima River and fly beneath the arches of its bridges, glimpsed form kitchen doors, watched by farmers walking high, stony ridges. Gulls fly through clouds of steam from laundries' vats; over kites unthreading corpses of cats; over scholars glimpsing truth in fragile patterns; over bath-house adulterers, heartbroken slatterns; fishwives dismembering lobsters and crabs; their husbands gutting mackerel on slabs; woodcutters' sons sharpening axes; candle-makers, rolling waxes; flint-eyed officials milking taxes; etiolated lacquerers; mottle-skinned dyers; imprecise soothsayers; unblinking liars; weavers of mats; cutters of rushes; ink-lipped calligraphers dipping brushes; booksellers ruined by unsold books; ladies-in-waiting; tasters; dressers; filching page-boys; runny-nosed cooks; sunless attic nooks where seamstresses prick calloused fingers; limping malingerers; swineherds; swindlers; lip-chewed debtors rich in excuses; heard-it-all creditors tightening nooses; prisoners haunted by happier lives and ageing rakes by other men's wives; skeletal tutors goaded to fits; firemen-turned-looters when occasion permits; tongue-tied witnesses; purchased judges; mothers-in-law nurturing briars and grudges; apothecaries grinding powders with mortars; palanquins carrying not-yet-wed daughters; silent nuns; nine-year-old whores; the once-were-beautiful gnawed by sores; statues of Jizo anointed with posies; syphilitics sneezing through rotted-off noses; potters; barbers; hawkers of oil; tanners; cutlers; carters of night-soil; gate-keepers; bee-keepers; blacksmiths and drapers; torturers; wet-nurses; perjurers; cut-purses; the newborn; the growing; the strong-willed and pliant; the ailing; the dying; the weak and defiant; over the roof of a painter withdrawn first from the world, then his family, and down into a masterpiece that has, in the end, withdrawn from its creator; and around again, where their flight began, over the balcony of the Room of Last Chrysanthemum, where a puddle from last night's rain is evaporating; a puddle in which Magistrate Shiroyama observes the blurred reflections of gulls wheeling through spokes of sunlight. This world, he thinks, contains just one masterpiece, and that is itself.
David Mitchell (The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet)
She's locked up with a spinning wheel She can't recall what it was like to feel She says, "This room's gonna be my grave And there's no one who can save me," She sits down to her colored thread She knows lovers waking up in their beds She says, "How long can I live this way Is there someone I can pay to let me go 'Cause I'm half sick of shadows I want to see the sky Everyone else can watch as the sun goes down So why can't I And it's raining And the stars are falling from the sky And the wind And the wind I know it's cold I've been waiting For the day I will surely die And it's here And it's here for I've been told That I'll die before I'm old And the wind I know it's cold... She looks up to the mirrored glass She sees a horse and rider pass She says, "This man's gonna be my death 'Cause he's all I ever wanted in my life And I know he doesn't know my name And that all the girls are all the same to him But still I've got to get out of this place 'Cause I don't think I can face another night Where I'm half sick of shadows And I can't see the sky Everyone else can watch as the tide comes in So why can't I But there's willow trees And little breezes, waves, and walls, and flowers And there's moonlight every single night As I'm locked in these towers So I'll meet my death But with my last breath I'll sing to him I love And he'll see my face in another place," And with that the glass above Her cracked into a million bits And she cried out, "So the story fits But then I could have guessed it all along 'Cause now some drama queen is gonna write a song for me," She went down to her little boat And she broke the chains and began to float away And as the blood froze in her veins she said, "Well then that explains a thing or two 'Cause I know I'm the cursed one I know I'm meant to die Everyone else can watch as their dreams untie So why can't I
Emilie Autumn
Good night.' Diana summoned all the dignity that she could manage in her bedraggled state and began to move back up the beach. Her dress was soaked and her stockings dotted with sand and her heart couldn't possibly withstand any more.
Anna Godbersen (Envy (Luxe, #3))
All he could do was wait like this, patiently, until it grew light out and the birds awoke and began their day. All he could do was trust in the birds, in all the birds, with their wings and beaks.
Haruki Murakami (Men Without Women)
. . . then life began, and since then we remember each dumpster, abandoned house, and foot-chase by retail security. At night, after running around, plotting and scheming, our checklist items all crossed out, we paused to think — 'What to do tomorrow?' and the answer was always, 'As we please . . .
CrimethInc. (Evasion)
As Jack began to climb the stairs, Fiona looked up at her new home. Five stories of stately mansion rose above her head. Heavy molding around the large windows and doors bespoke a quality and craftsmanship that was obvious even in the dim night. “Good God! It’s massive!” Jack paused with his foot on the last step. “I do wish you’d keep those comments until we are in bed, love. I would appreciate them all the more there.
Karen Hawkins (How to Abduct a Highland Lord (MacLean Curse, #1))
The dark hills, with the darker spruces marching over them, looked grim on early falling nights, but Ingleside bloomed with firelight and laughter, though the winds come in from the Atlantic singing of mournful things. "Why isn't the wind happy, Mummy?" asked Walter one night. "Because it is remembering all the sorrow of the world since it began," answered Anne.
L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Ingleside (Anne of Green Gables, #6))
You are my life.” Though his words were barely a whisper, they seemed to echo from somewhere deep within him, enveloping my body and infusing me with something unshakable. “There is nothing I would not do to make you happy. Before I met you, my world was a string of days that were gray and empty. I had nothing to look forward to, and I cannot tell you what it was like, facing down eternity alone. Every day I wished for you. Every day I held on in hopes that eventually we would meet. And when I finally found you...” He leaned in and kissed me again, astenderly as before. His hand slid underneath my shirt, splaying across my stomach, but the touch wasn’t sexual. It was as if he were trying to memorize me, just as I was trying to memorize him. “I have existed for more eons than I remember. I have seen the sun rise and fall so many times that the days lost all meaning. For so long, they passed me by in a blur. But that night we met by the river—the night you gave up yourself in order to save a virtual stranger—my heart began to beat again.” He took my hand and pressed it against his chest, and there it was—thump thump, thump thump, strong and beautiful. I would’ve given anything to keep his heart beating. The black abyss that had become my world in those hours I’d thought he was dead had faded, but it was a scar I would always bear. I couldn’t go back to that. Even if I had Milo, I would never have another Henry.
Aimee Carter (The Goddess Inheritance (Goddess Test, #3))
And all of a sudden I began to understand his strangeness that made people shrug and mock; his dreaminess, his love of solitude, his silent manner. Now I understood why he sat on the look-out hill of an evening and why he spent a night by himself on the riverbank, why he constantly hearkened to sounds others could not hear and why his eyes would suddenly gleam and his drawn eyebrows twitch. He was a man deeply in love. I felt it was not simply a love for another person, it was somehow an uncommon, expansive love for life and earth. He had kept this love within himself, in his music, in his very being. A person with no feeling, no matter how good his voice, could never have sung like that.
Chingiz Aitmatov (Jamilia)
She looked, and saw the black, domed sky arching over her head. And her heart dilated; she felt the great black dome in her heart. She sat under the stars, worshipping them. Her heart opened and grew vast, until the whole sky with all its stars began to pour into her, a mysterious flood of star-strung darkness. She wanted to receive the night sky into her heart.
Anna Kavan (Let Me Alone)
It felt like being shot with an arrow, and Will jerked back. His wineglass crashed to the floor and shattered. He lurched to his feet, leaning both hands on the table. He was vaguely aware of stares, and the landlords anxious voice in his ear, but the pain was too great to think through, almost too great to breathe through. The tightness in his chest, the one he had thought of as one end of a cord tying him to Jem, had pulled so taut that it was strangling his heart. He stumbled away from his table, pushing through a knot of customers near the bar, and passed to the front door of the inn. All he could think of was air, getting air into his lungs to breathe. He pushed the doors open and half-tumbled out into the night. For a moment the pain in his chest eased, and he fell back against the wall of the inn. Rain was sheeting down, soaking his hair and clothes. He gasped, his heart stuttering with a misture of terror and desperation. Was this just the distance from Jem affecting him? He had never felt anything like this, even when Jem was at his worst, even when he'd been injured and Will had ached with sympathetic pain. The cord snapped. For a moment everything went white, the courtyard bleeching through as if with acid. Will jackknifed to his knees, vomiting up his supper into the mud. When the spasms had passed , he staggard to his feet and blindly away from the inn, as if trying to outpace his own pain. He fetched up against the wall of the stables, beside the horse trough. He dropped to his knees to plunge his hands into the icy water-and saw his own reflection. There was his face, as white as death, and his shirt, and a spreading stain of red across the front. With wet hands he siezed at his lapels and jerked the shirt open. In the dim light that spilled from the inn, he could see that his parabati rune, just over his heart, was bleeding. His hands were covered in blood, blood mixed with rain, the same ran that was washing the blood away from his chest, showing the rune as it began to fade from black to silver, changing all that had been sense in Will's life into nonsense. Jem was dead.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
The students we saw were all bright, attractive, and polite, and the teachers all seemed to be smart and dedicated, and I began to appreciate the benefits of a private school education. If only I'd had the opportunity to attend a place like this, who knows what I might have become? Perhaps instead of a mere blood-spatter analyst who slunk away at night to kill without conscience, I could have become a doctor, or a physicist, or even a senator who slunk away at night to kill without conscience. It was terribly sad to think of all my wasted potential.
Jeff Lindsay
You need to find true love, Doc." Actually, he thought, I'll settle for finding my way through this. His fingers, with a mind of their own, began to creep toward the plastic hedge. Maybe if he searched through it long enough, late enough into the night, he'd find something that might help --- some tiny forgotten scrap of his life he didn't even know was missing, something that would make all the difference now.
Thomas Pynchon (Inherent Vice)
Thank you, Mr. Secretary General, UNICEF Executive Director, Excellencies and distinguished guests from across the world. My name is Kim Nam Jun, also known as RM, the leader of the group BTS. It’s an incredible honour to be invited to an occasion with such significance for today’s young generation. Last November, BTS launched the “Love Myself” campaign with UNICEF, building on our belief that “true love first begins with loving myself.” We have been partnering with UNICEF’s #ENDviolence program to protect children and young people all over the world from violence. Our fans have become a major part of this campaign with their action and enthusiasm. We truly have the best fans in the world! I would like to begin by talking about myself. I was born in Ilsan, a city near Seoul, South Korea. It’s a beautiful place, with a lake, hills, and even an annual flower festival. I spent a happy childhood there, and I was just an ordinary boy. I would look up at the night sky in wonder and dream the dreams of a boy. I used to imagine that I was a superhero, saving the world. In an intro to one of our early albums, there is a line that says, “My heart stopped…I was maybe nine or ten.” Looking back, that’s when I began to worry about what other people thought of me and started seeing myself through their eyes. I stopped looking up at the stars at night. I stopped daydreaming. I tried to jam myself into moulds that other people made. Soon, I began to shut out my own voice and started to listen to the voices of others. No one called out my name, and neither did I. My heart stopped and my eyes closed shut. So, like this, I, we, all lost our names. We became like ghosts. I had one sanctuary, and that was music. There was a small voice in me that said, ‘Wake up, man, and listen to yourself!” But it took me a long time to hear music calling my name. Even after making the decision to join BTS, there were hurdles. Most people thought we were hopeless. Sometimes, I just wanted to quit. I think I was very lucky that I didn’t give it all up. I’m sure that I, and we, will keep stumbling and falling. We have become artists performing in huge stadiums and selling millions of albums. But I am still an ordinary, twenty-four-year-old guy. If there’s anything that I’ve achieved, it was only possible because I had my other BTS members by my side, and because of the love and support of our ARMY fans. Maybe I made a mistake yesterday, but yesterday’s me is still me. I am who I am today, with all my faults. Tomorrow I might be a tiny bit wiser, and that’s me, too. These faults and mistakes are what I am, making up the brightest stars in the constellation of my life. I have come to love myself for who I was, who I am, and who I hope to become. I would like to say one last thing. After releasing the “Love Yourself” albums and launching the “Love Myself” campaign, we started to hear remarkable stories from our fans all over the world, how our message helped them overcome their hardships in life and start loving themselves. These stories constantly remind us of our responsibility. So, let’s all take one more step. We have learned to love ourselves, so now I urge you to "speak yourself". I would like to ask all of you. What is your name? What excites you and makes your heart beat? Tell me your story. I want to hear your voice, and I want to hear your conviction. No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin colour, gender identity: speak yourself. Find your name, find your voice by speaking yourself. I’m Kim Nam Jun, RM of BTS. I’m a hip-hop idol and an artist from a small town in Korea. Like most people, I made many mistakes in my life. I have many faults and I have many fears, but I am going to embrace myself as hard as I can, and I’m starting to love myself, little by little. What is your name? Speak Yourself!
Kim Namjoon
Man is unhappy because he doesn't know he's happy; only because of that. It's everything, everything, Whoever learns will at once immediately become happy, that same moment... "And when did you find out that you were so happy?" "Last week, on Tuesday, no, Wednesday, because it was Wednesday by then, in the night." "And what was the occasion?" "I don't remember, just so; I was pacing the room...it makes no difference. I stopped my clock, it was two thirty-seven." "As an emblem that time should stop?" Kirillov did not reply. "They're not good," he suddenly began again, "because they don't know they're good. When they find out, they won't violate the girl. They must find out that they're good, then they'll all become good at once, all, to a man. "Well, you did find out, so you must be good?" "I am good." "With that I agree, incidentally," Stavrogin muttered frowningly. "He who teaches that all are good, will end the world." "He who taught it was crucified." "He will come, and his name is the man-god." "The God-man?" "The man-god--that's the whole difference." "Can it be you who lights the icon lamp?" "Yes, I lit it." "You've become a believer?" "The old woman likes the icon lamp...she's busy today," Kirillov muttered. "But you don't pray yet?" "I pray to everything. See, there's a spider crawling on the wall, I look and am thankful to it for crawling." His eyes lit up again. He kept looking straight at Stavrogin, his gaze firm and unflinching. Stavrogin watched him frowningly and squeamishly, but there was no mockery in his eyes. "I bet when I come the next time you'll already believe in God," he said, getting up and grabbing his hat. "Why?" Kirillov also rose. "If you found out that you believe in God, you would believe; but since you don't know yet that you believe in God, you don't believe," Nikolai Vsevolodovich grinned.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Demons)
great while ago the world began,      With hey-ho, the wind and the rain;   But that’s all one, our play is done,      And we’ll strive to please you every day.     Exit
William Shakespeare (Twelfth Night)
a wind howling began, which seemed to form all over the country, as far as the imagination could grasp it through the gloom of the night.
Bram Stoker (Dracula)
It all began, as I have said, when the Boss, sitting in the black Cadillac which sped through the night, said to me (to Me who was what Jack Burden, the student of history, had grown up to be) "There is always something." And I said, "Maybe not on the Judge." And he said, "Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption and he passeth from the stink of the didie to the stench of the shroud. There is always something.
Robert Penn Warren (All the King's Men)
It seemed to work at first. I tried hard to forget, but there remained inside me a vague knot-of-air kind of thing. And as time went by, the knot began to take on a clear and simple form, a form that I am able to put into words, like this: Death exists, not as the opposite but as a part of life. Translate into words, it's a cliche, but at the time I felt it not as words but as that knot of air inside me. Death exists - in a paperweight, in four red and white balls on a billiard table - and we go on living and breathing it into our lungs like fine dust. Until that time, I had understood death as something entirely separate from and independent of life. The hand of death is bound to take us, I had felt, but until the day it reaches out for us, it leaves us alone. This had seemed to me the simple, logical truth. Life is here, death is over there. I am here, not over there. The night Kizuki died, however, I lost the ability to see death (and life) in such simple terms. Death was not the opposite of life. It was already here, within my being, it had always been here, and no struggle would permit me to forget that... I lived through the following spring...with that kind knot of air in my chest, but I struggled all the while against becoming serious. Becoming serious was not the same thing as approaching truth, I sensed, however vaguely. But death was a fact, a serious fact, no matter how you looked at it. stuck inside this suffocating contradiction, I went on endlessly spinning in circles...In the midst of life, everything revolved around death.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
Father, I can beat him, he'd said, and he'd ridden out and returned to a hero's welcome, to have his armour stripped by servants, to have his father greet him with pride. He remembered that night, all those nights, the galvanising power of his father's expansionist victories, the approbation, as success flowed from success. He had not thought about the way it had played out on the other side of the field. When this game began, I was younger.
C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince: Volume Two (Captive Prince, #2))
That summer, Titanic fever gripped Kabul. People smuggled pirated copies of the film from Pakistan- sometimes in their underwear. After curfew, everyone locked their doors, turned out the lights, turned down the volume, and reaped tears for Jack and Rose and the passengers of the doomed ship. If there was electrical power, Mariam, Laila, and the children watched it too. A dozen times or more, they unearthed the TV from behind the tool-shed, late at night, with the lights out and quilts pinned over the windows. At the Kabul River, vendors moved into the parched riverbed. Soon, from the river's sunbaked hollows, it was possible to buy Titanic carpets, and Titanic cloth, from bolts arranged in wheelbarrows. There was Titanic deodorant, Titanic toothpaste, Titanic perfume, Titanic pakora, even Titanic burqas. A particularly persistent beggar began calling himself "Titanic Beggar." "Titanic City" was born. It's the song, they said. No, the sea. The luxury. The ship. It's the sex, they whispered. Leo, said Aziza sheepishly. It's all about Leo. "Everybody wants Jack," Laila said to Mariam. "That's what it is. Everybody wants Jack to rescue them from disaster. But there is no Jack. Jack is not coming back. Jack is dead.
Khaled Hosseini (A Thousand Splendid Suns)
Jem stood up and held out his hand to Will. Without realizing it, he held his breath. Perhaps this was a dream after all, and when Jem touched him Will would vanish away again. But Will’s hand was warm and solid and strong, and Jem drew him up easily. Together they began to run lightly over the tiles of the roof. The night was very beautiful and warm, and they were both young.
Cassandra Clare (Ghosts of the Shadow Market)
Somewhere, deep within me, beyond the passion, beyond the beauty of the night, that little spark of Daily magic ignited in me again, began burning in a place that had gone dark and untended, that had yearned to be bright and warm. I felt it now, something old, something new, something complete. Perhaps it had been in there in me all along, the belief that there is a plan and a purpose, that God whispers into every life, some things that are beyond the scope of the mind, and can only be felt with the heart and the spirit. Those dreams, the dreams that are dreamed *for* us, not by us, are the truest of all.
Lisa Wingate (Talk of the Town (Daily Texas, #1))
She had a horror he would die at night. And sometimes when the light began to fade She could not keep from noticing how white The birches looked — and then she would be afraid, Even with a lamp, to go about the house And lock the windows; and as night wore on Toward morning, if a dog howled, or a mouse Squeaked in the floor, long after it was gone Her flesh would sit awry on her. By day She would forget somewhat, and it would seem A silly thing to go with just this dream And get a neighbor to come at night and stay. But it would strike her sometimes, making tea: _She had kept that kettle boiling all night long, for company._
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Mr Merriot cocked an eyebrow at Kate, and said: - "Well, my dear, and did you kiss her good-night?" Miss Merriot kicked off her shoes, and replied in kind. "What, are you parted from the large gentleman already?" Mr Merriot looked into the fire, and a slow smile came, and the suspicion of a blush. "Lord, child!" said Miss Merriot. "Are you for the mammoth? It's a most respectable gentleman, my dear." Mr Merriot raised his eyes. "I believe I would not choose to cross him," he remarked inconsequently. "But I would trust him." Miss Merriot began to laugh. "Be a man, my Peter, I implore you." "Alack!" sighed Mr Merriot, "I feel all a woman.
Georgette Heyer (The Masqueraders)
She was remembering His gaze, those deep pools of blue, crystalline in nature, peering deep into her soul. She remembered the first night she had looked into that darkness – no, into that light in his eyes – they were level and straight, kind and compassionate, without any ado, Her hands in His, offerings of comfort and concern for Her station, the concern she felt for those close to Her, each to their own heaven or hell, and the law of attraction began to build.
Frank L. DeSilva (Tales of Love and LIght Here, Now, and All Ways)
I suppose you think you know what autumn looks like. Even if you live in the Los Angeles dreamed of by September’s schoolmates, you have surely seen postcards and photographs of the kind of autumn I mean. The trees go all red and blazing orange and gold, and wood fires burn at night so everything smells of crisp branches. The world rolls about delightedly in a heap of cider and candy and apples and pumpkins and cold stars rush by through wispy, ragged clouds, past a moon like a bony knee. You have, no doubt, experienced a Halloween or two. Autumn in Fairyland is all that, of course. You would never feel cheated by the colors of a Fairyland Forest or the morbidity of a Fairyland moon. And the Halloween masks! Oh, how they glitter, how they curl, how their beaks and jaws hook and barb! But to wander through autumn in Fairyland is to look into a murky pool, seeing only a hazy reflection of the Autumn Provinces’ eternal fall. And human autumn is but a cast-off photograph of that reflecting pool, half burnt and drifting through the space between us and Fairyland. And so I may tell you that the leaves began to turn red as September and her friends rushed through the suddenly cold air on their snorting, roaring high wheels, and you might believe me. But no red you have ever seen could touch the crimson bleed of the trees in that place. No oak gnarled and orange with October is half as bright as the boughs that bent over September’s head, dropping their hard, sweet acorns into her spinning spokes. But you must try as hard as you can. Squeeze your eyes closed, as tight as you can, and think of all your favorite autumns, crisp and perfect, all bound up together like a stack of cards. That is what it is like, the awful, wonderful brightness of Fairy colors. Try to smell the hard, pale wood sending up sharp, green smoke into the afternoon. To feel to mellow, golden sun on your skin, more gentle and cozier and more golden than even the light of your favorite reading nook at the close of the day.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1))
Sheridan bit back a teary smile at his quip, afraid to believe him, afraid to trust him, and unable to stop herself because she loved him. "Look at me," Stephen said, tipping her chin up again, and this time her glorious eyes looked into his. "I have several reasons for asking you to walk into that chapel, where there is a vicar waiting for us, but guilt is not among them. I also have several things to ask of you before you agree to go in there with me." "What sort of things?" "I would like you to give me daughters with your hair and your spirit," he said, beginning to enumerate his reasons and requests. "I would like my sons to have your eyes and your courage. Now, if that's not what you want, then give me any combination you like, and I will humbly thank you for giving me any child we make." Happiness began to spread through Sheridan until it was so intense she ached from it. "I want to change your name," he said with a tender smile, "so there's no doubt who you are ever again, or who you belong to." He slid his hands up and down her arms, looking directly into her eyes. "I want the right to share your bed tonight and every night from this day onward. I want to make you moan in my arms again, and I want to wake up wrapped in yours." He shifted his hands and cradled her cheeks, his thumbs brushing away two tears at the edges of her shimmering eyes. "Last of all, I want to hear you say 'I love you' every day of my life. If you aren't ready to agree to that last request right now, I would be willing to wait until tonight, when I believe you will. In return for all those concessions, I will grant you every wish that is within my power to grant you.
Judith McNaught (Until You (Westmoreland, #3))
A certain king had a beautiful garden, and in the garden stood a tree which bore golden apples. These apples were always counted, and about the time when they began to grow ripe it was found that every night one of them was gone. The king became very angry at this, and ordered the gardener to keep watch all night under the tree. The gardener set his eldest son to watch; but about twelve o'clock he fell asleep, and in the morning another of the apples was missing. Then the second son was ordered to watch; and at midnight he too fell asleep, and in the morning another apple was gone. Then the third son offered to keep watch; but the gardener at first would not let him, for fear some harm should come to him: however, at last he consented, and the young man laid himself under the tree to watch. As the clock struck twelve he heard a rustling noise in the air, and a bird came flying that was of pure gold; and as it was snapping at one of the apples with its beak, the gardener's son jumped up and shot an arrow at it. But the arrow did the bird no harm; only it dropped a golden feather from its tail, and then flew away. The golden feather was brought to the king in the morning, and all the council was called together. Everyone agreed that it was worth more than all the wealth of the kingdom: but the king said, 'One feather is of no use to me, I must have the whole bird.
Jacob Grimm (The Complete Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales)
down Cambridge road through the bushes on Charlestown Common a scurry of red ants. Had he really seen them or imagined them? But all about him people were exclaiming, ‘Look, there they are!’ Those red ants were British soldiers. To his left the last moment of sunset light was dying. The day had been amazingly warm, but with night a fresh breeze came up off the ocean. Lights began to glimmer in Charlestown and on warships. Seemingly there was nothing more to be seen from Beacon Hill. Silently people turned to go to their houses. ‘Look!’ Johnny cried. You could see the flash of musket fire, too far away to be heard. Fireflies swarming, hardly more than that. –4– Getting
Esther Forbes (Johnny Tremain)
When I think of the years when I had no faith, what I am struck by, first of all, is how little this lack disrupted my conscious life. I lived not without God, nor wish his absence, but in a mild abeyance of belief, drifting through the days on a tide of tiny vanities — a publication, a flirtation, a strong case made for some weak nihilism — nights all adagios and alcohol as my mind tore luxuriously into itself. I can see now how deeply God’s absence affected my unconscious life, how under me always there was this long fall that pride and fear and self-live at once protected me from and subjected me to. Was the fall into belief or into unbelief? Both. For if grace woke me to God’s presence in the world and in my heart, it also woke me to his absence. I never truly felt the pain of unbelief until I began to believe.
Christian Wiman (My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer)
As we walked the streets together, cups of bitter coffee warming our hands, the present told its story all around us. The present has no need for us to do anything except exactly what we're doing. It's the past and future that needs our voices in order to live. So as we walked, as you spoke of yourself and your family, as you spoke of your past, I began to think of the future. I began to put us into a story. What happens after that first night is where I live sometimes, when I can gather enough of us together again, and this is how it goes.
Christopher Barzak (The Love We Share Without Knowing)
He felt as if he hadn't slept because he spent all night wandering through the world looking for a maiden who bore his heart in her womb. His heart grew in her like a child. He was pregnant with his heart for a long time, for a year, for ten years, for a generation, for a hundred and two years. His heart grew bigger and bigger in her, and she grew bigger and bigger to accomodate the growth of his heart in her womb. He never knew when she would give birth to his heart and he lost her and searched the world over and never found her. His father, the king, told him that the world in which he searched for he was his heart, and that she was the mother of all the world, and that his search was over when it began, but he didn't know it.
Ben Okri (Starbook)
If you think,” he began, “that being sober and working steadily broke my bullshit meter, now you know better. I knew you were nailing Cross again from the moment you started back up.” Biting into my taco, I shot him a skeptical look. “Eva honey, don’t you think that if there were another man in New York who could bang it out all night like Cross, I would’ve found him by now?
Sylvia Day (Entwined with You (Crossfire, #3))
Well, I reckon you should --" Ron began, but he was interrupted by the Fat Lady, who had been watching them sleepily and now burst out, "Are you going to give me the password or will I have to say awake all night waiting for you to finish your conversation?
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5))
The person in the ski mask, gloves, and all-dark clothing hunched forward to bring his truck engine to life. His lookout a mile north had signaled the target car was on the way. Nobody could have spotted him in the hide spot near the highway. He’d been there throughout the darkness of the night. Since the sun began its climb, he’d been enshrouded in the smoke. And with all the hissing and booming the fire was causing, what he was about to do wouldn’t be heard, either. Conditions couldn’t have been staged any better.
John M Vermillion (PACKFIRE: Simon Pack # 9)
Lugh got born first. On Midwinter Day when the sun hangs low in the sky. Then me. Two hours later. That pretty much says it all. Lugh goes first, always first, an I follow on Behind. An that's fine. That's right. That's how it's meant to be. Because everthin'set. It's all fixed. The lives of everybody who's bin born. The lives of everybody still waitin'to be born. It was all set in the stars the moment the world began. The time of yer birthin, the time of yer death. Even what kinda person yer gonna be, good or bad. If you know how to read the stars, you can read the story of peoples'lives. The story of yer own life. What's gone, what's now an what's still to come. Back when Pa was a boy, he met up with a traveler, a man who knew many things. He learned Pa to read the stars. Panever says what he sees in the night sky but you can see it lays heavy on him. Because you cain't change what's written. Even if Pa was to say what he knew, even if he was to warn you, it would still come to pass. I see the way he looks at Lugh sometimes. The way he looks at me. An I wish he'd tell us what he knows. I believe Pa wishes he'd never met that traveler. If you seen me an Lugh togather, you'd never think we was the same blood. Never think we grew togather in the same womb. He's got gold hair. I got black. Blue eyes. Brown eyes. Strong. Scranwy. Beautiful. Ugly. He's my light. I'm his shadow. Lugh shines like the sun. That must of made it east fer them to find him. All they had to do was follow his light.
Moira Young
Fancy that! What fun! Coming all this way just to see me!" "Well -- we didn't exactly," began Moomintroll, clambering ashore. "Never mind!" answered Snufkin. "The main thing is that you're here. You'll stay the night, won't you?" "We should love to," said Moomintroll. "We haven't seen a soul since we left home, and that was ages ago. Why in the world do you live here in this desert?" "I'm a tramp, and I live all over the place," answered Snufkin. "I wander about, and when I find a place that I like I put up my tent and play my mouth-organ.
Tove Jansson (Comet in Moominland (The Moomins, #2))
We sat in silence for a while. I gazed through the window at the night sky, wondering idly at all that space, all that blackness, all that nothing, and as I sat there looking up at the emptiness I began thinking about the creek, the hills, the woods, the water... how everything goes around and around and never really changes. How life recycles everything it uses. How the end product of one process becomes the starting point of another, how each generation of living things depends on the chemicals released by the generations that have proceeded it... I don't know why I was thinking about it. It just seemed to occur to me.
Kevin Brooks (Lucas)
MINDY TRUDGED to her computer. Today’s shift began at 2:10 p.m. Her schedule matched Watney’s every day. She slept when he slept. Watney simply slept at night on Mars, while Mindy had to drift forty minutes forward every day, taping aluminum foil to her windows to get any sleep at all.
Andy Weir (The Martian)
Hermione,’ said Hagrid. ‘What about her?’ said Ron. ‘She’s in a righ’ state, that’s what. She’s bin comin’ down ter visit me a lot since Chris’mas. Bin feelin’ lonely. Firs’ yeh weren’ talking to her because o’ the Firebolt, now yer not talkin’ to her because her cat—’ ‘—ate Scabbers!’ Ron interjected angrily. ‘Because her cat acted like all cats do,’ Hagrid continued doggedly. ‘She’s cried a fair few times, yeh know. Goin’ through a rough time at the moment. Bitten off more’n she can chew, if yeh ask me, all the work she’s tryin’ ter do. Still found time ter help me with Buckbeak’s case, mind.… She’s found some really good stuff fer me…reckon he’ll stand a good chance now…’ ‘Hagrid, we should've helped as well—sorry—’ Harry began awkwardly. ‘I’m not blamin’ yeh!’ said Hagrid, waving Harry’s apology aside. ‘Gawd knows yeh’ve had enough ter be gettin’ on with. I’ve seen yeh practicin’ Quidditch ev’ry hour o’ the day an’ night—but I gotta tell yeh, I thought you two’d value yer friend more’n broomsticks or rats. Tha’s all.’ Harry and Ron exchanged uncomfortable looks. ‘Really upset, she was, when Black nearly stabbed yeh, Ron. She’s got her heart in the right place, Hermione has, an’ you two not talkin’ to her—
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3))
His mouth took ownership—teasing and tasting—even as his tongue began a slow torturous exploration. It was both a kiss and a claim. It was a promise of heated nights to come.... It was the stamp of his soul burning into hers and she knew from that moment forward that he had her...completely...irrevocably.He had been right all along: she had always belonged to him.
Tessa Dawn (Blood Destiny (Blood Curse, #1))
You begin to suspect, as you gaze through this you-shaped hole of insight and fire, that though it is the most important thing you own — never deny that for an instant — it has not shielded you from anything terribly important. The only consolation is that though one could have thrown it away at any time, morning or night, one didn't. One chose to endure. Without any assurance of immortality, or even competence, one only knows one has not been cheated out of the consolation of carpenters, accountants, doctors, ditch-diggers, the ordinary people who must do useful things to be happy. Meander along, then, half blind and a little mad, wondering when you actually learned — was it before you began? — the terrifying fact that had you thrown it away, your wound would have been no more likely to heal: indeed, in an affluent society such as this, you might even have gone on making songs, poems, pictures, and getting paid. The only difference would have been — and you learned it listening to all those brutally unhappy people who did throw away theirs — and they do, after all, comprise the vast and terrifying majority — that without it, there plainly and starkly would have been nothing there; no, nothing at all.
Samuel R. Delany (Dhalgren)
Dear Woman Who Gave Me Life: The callous vexations and perturbations of this night have subsequently resolved themselves to a state which precipitates me, Arturo Bandini, into a brobdingnagian and gargantuan decision. I inform you of this in no uncertain terms. Ergo, I now leave you and your ever charming daughter (my beloved sister Mona) and seek the fabulous usufructs of my incipient career in profound solitude. Which is to say, tonight I depart for the metropolis to the east — our own Los Angeles, the city of angels. I entrust you to the benign generosity of your brother, Frank Scarpi, who is, as the phrase has it, a good family man (sic!). I am penniless but I urge you in no uncertain terms to cease your cerebral anxiety about my destiny, for truly it lies in the palm of the immortal gods. I have made the lamentable discovery over a period of years that living with you and Mona is deleterious to the high and magnanimous purpose of Art, and I repeat to you in no uncertain terms that I am an artist, a creator beyond question. And, per se, the fumbling fulminations of cerebration and intellect find little fruition in the debauched, distorted hegemony that we poor mortals, for lack of a better and more concise terminology, call home. In no uncertain terms I give you my love and blessing, and I swear to my sincerity, when I say in no uncertain terms that I not only forgive you for what has ruefully transpired this night, but for all other nights. Ergo, I assume in no uncertain terms that you will reciprocate in kindred fashion. May I say in conclusion that I have much to thank you for, O woman who breathed the breath of life into my brain of destiny? Aye, it is, it is. Signed. Arturo Gabriel Bandini. Suitcase in hand, I walked down to the depot. There was a ten-minute wait for the midnight train for Los Angeles. I sat down and began to think about the new novel.
John Fante (The Road to Los Angeles (The Saga of Arturo Bandini, #2))
We’ve already altered our relationship with last night,” Nick said. “We’ll never get that back.” “I know,” Kelly said softly. “We can stop here and just go to sleep. ”Kelly narrowed his eyes, a smile flitting across his lips. “You’re going to look for the exit at every turn, aren’t you?” Nick huffed. Kelly began to unbutton his shirt. “Well there ain’t no exits on this ride, babe, ’cause I know all your tricks.
Abigail Roux (Shock & Awe (Sidewinder, #1))
How do you know they're magic and not some mechanical device of the dwarves?" Tanis asked, sensing that Tas was hiding something. Tas gulped. He had been hoping Tanis wouldn't ask him that question. "Uh," Tas stammered, "I---I guess I did sort of happened to, uh, mention them to Raistilin one night when you were all busy doing something else. He told me they might be magic. To find out, he said one of those weird spells of his and they--uh--began to glow. That meant they were enchanted. He asked me what they did and I demonstated and he said they were 'glasses of true seeing.' The dwarven magic-users of old made them to read books written in other languages and--" Tas stopped. "And?" Tanis pursued. "And--uh--magic spellbooks." Tas's voice was a whisper. "And what else did Raistlin say?" "That if I touched his spellbooks or even looked at them sideways, he'd turn me into a cricket and s-swallow m-me whole," Tasselhoff stammered. He looked up at Tanis with his wide eyed. "I belived him, too." Tanis shook his head. Trust Raistlin to come up with a threat awful enough to quensh the curiosity of a kender.
Margaret Weis (Dragons of Winter Night (Dragonlance: Chronicles, #2))
You won’t stop until you have all of me, will you? My body, my blood, my trust…and still you want more.” He knew of what I spoke and his reply was immediate. “I want your heart the most. Above all else. You’re exactly right, I won’t stop until I have it.” Tears began to slide down my cheeks, because I couldn’t hold the truth back anymore. I didn’t know how I’d managed to hold it back this long. “You have it already. So now you can stop.” His whole body stilled. “You mean that?” Uncertainty but also growing emotion filled his eyes as they bore into mine. I nodded, mouth too dry to speak. “Say it. I need to hear the words. Tell me.” I licked my lips and cleared my throat. It took three times, but finally my voice returned. “I love you, Bones.” A weight seemed to lift from me I hadn’t known was there. Funny how much I’d feared something that shouldn’t have frightened me at all. “Again.” He started to smile, and a beautiful, pure joy filled up the emptiness I’d carried my entire life. “I love you.” He kissed my forehead, cheeks, eyelids, and chin, feather-soft brushes that had the impact of a locomotive. “Once more.” The request was muffled by his mouth on mine and I breathed the words into him. “I love you.” Bones kissed me until my head reeled and everything tilted even though I was lying flat. He only paused long enough to whisper onto my lips, “It was well worth the wait.
Jeaniene Frost (Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1))
She didn’t uncover my eyes until we were in her oversized bathroom. I stared at the long counter, covered in all the paraphernalia of a beauty salon, and began to feel my sleepless night. “Is this really necessary? I’m going to look plain next to him no matter what.
Stephenie Meyer (Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4))
Stephen had been put to sleep in his usual room, far from children and noise, away in that corner of the house which looked down to the orchard and the bowling-green, and in spite of his long absence it was so familiar to him that when he woke at about three he made his way to the window almost as quickly as if dawn had already broken, opened it and walked out onto the balcony. The moon had set: there was barely a star to be seen. The still air was delightfully fresh with falling dew, and a late nightingale, in an indifferent voice, was uttering a routine jug-jug far down in Jack's plantations; closer at hand and more agreeable by far, nightjars churred in the orchard, two of them, or perhaps three, the sound rising and falling, intertwining so that the source could not be made out for sure. There were few birds that he preferred to nightjars, but it was not they that had brought him out of bed: he stood leaning on the balcony rail and presently Jack Aubrey, in a summer-house by the bowling-green, began again, playing very gently in the darkness, improvising wholly for himself, dreaming away on his violin with a mastery that Stephen had never heard equalled, though they had played together for years and years. Like many other sailors Jack Aubrey had long dreamed of lying in his warm bed all night long; yet although he could now do so with a clear conscience he often rose at unChristian hours, particularly if he were moved by strong emotion, and crept from his bedroom in a watch-coat, to walk about the house or into the stables or to pace the bowling-green. Sometimes he took his fiddle with him. He was in fact a better player than Stephen, and now that he was using his precious Guarnieri rather than a robust sea-going fiddle the difference was still more evident: but the Guarnieri did not account for the whole of it, nor anything like. Jack certainly concealed his excellence when they were playing together, keeping to Stephen's mediocre level: this had become perfectly clear when Stephen's hands were at last recovered from the thumb-screws and other implements applied by French counter-intelligence officers in Minorca; but on reflexion Stephen thought it had been the case much earlier, since quite apart from his delicacy at that period, Jack hated showing away. Now, in the warm night, there was no one to be comforted, kept in countenance, no one could scorn him for virtuosity, and he could let himself go entirely; and as the grave and subtle music wound on and on, Stephen once more contemplated on the apparent contradiction between the big, cheerful, florid sea-officer whom most people liked on sight but who would have never been described as subtle or capable of subtlety by any one of them (except perhaps his surviving opponents in battle) and the intricate, reflective music he was now creating. So utterly unlike his limited vocabulary in words, at times verging upon the inarticulate. 'My hands have now regained the moderate ability they possessed before I was captured,' observed Maturin, 'but his have gone on to a point I never thought he could reach: his hands and his mind. I am amazed. In his own way he is the secret man of the world.
Patrick O'Brian (The Commodore (Aubrey/Maturin, #17))
Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes — a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder. And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… . And one fine morning —— So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
A quiet but indomitable voice behind me said, “I believe this is my dance.” It was Ren. I could feel his presence. The warmth of him seeped into my back, and I quivered all over like spring leaves in a warm breeze. Kishan narrowed his eyes and said, “I believe it is the lady’s choice.” Kishan looked down at me. I didn’t want to cause a scene, so I simply nodded and removed my arms from his neck. Kishan glared at his replacement and stalked angrily off the dance floor. Ren stepped in front of me, took my hands gently in his, and placed them around his neck, bringing my face achingly close to his. Then he slid his hands slowly and deliberately over my bare arms and down my sides, until they encircled my waist. He traced little circles on my exposes lower back with his fingers, squeezed my waist, and drew my body up tightly against him. He guided me expertly through the slow dance. He didn’t say anything, at least not with words, but he was still sending lots of signals. He pressed his forehead against mine and leaned down to nuzzle my ear. He buried his face in my hair and lifted his hand to stroke down the length of it. His fingers played along my bare arm and at my waist. When the song ended, it took both of us a min to recover our senses and remember where we were. He traced the curve of my bottom lip with his finger then reached up to take my hand from around his neck and led me outside to the porch. I thought he would stop there, but he headed down the stairs and guided me to a wooded area with stone benches. The moon made his skin glow. He was wearing a white shirt with dark slacks. The white made me think of him as the tiger. He pulled me under the shadow of a tree. I stood very still and quiet, afraid that if I spoke I’d say something I’d regret. He cupped my chin and tilted my face up so he could look in my eyes. “Kelsey, there’s something I need to say to you, and I want you to be silent and listen.” I nodded my head hesitantly. “First, I want to let you know that I heard everything you said to me the other night, and I’ve been giving your words some very serious thought. It’s important for you to understand that.” He shifted and picked up a lock of hair, tucked it behind my ear, and trailed his fingers down my cheek to my lips. He smiled sweetly at me, and I felt the little love plant bask in his smile and turn toward it as if it contained the nourishing rays of the sun. “Kelsey,” he brushed a hand through his hair, and his smile turned into a lopsided grin, “the fact is…I’m in love with you, and I have been for some time.” I sucked in a deep breath. He picked up my hand and played with my fingers. “I don’t want you to leave.” He began kissing my fingers while looking directly into my eyes. It was hypnotic. He took something out of his pocket. “I want to give you something.” He held out a golden chain covered with small tinkling bell charms. “It’s an anklet. They’re very popular here, and I got this one so we’d never have to search for a bell again.” He crouched down, wrapping his hand around the back of my calf, and then slid his palm down to my ankle and attached the clasp. I swayed and barely stopped myself from falling over. He trailed his warm fingers lightly over the bells before standing up. Putting his hands on my shoulders, he squeezed, and pulled me closer. “Kells . . . please.” He kissed my temple, my forehead, and my cheek. Between each kiss, he sweetly begged, “Please. Please. Please. Tell me you’ll stay with me.” When his lips brushed lightly against mine, he said, “I need you,” then crushed his lips against mine.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
INTERVIEWER You’re self-educated, aren’t you? BRADBURY Yes, I am. I’m completely library educated. I’ve never been to college. I went down to the library when I was in grade school in Waukegan, and in high school in Los Angeles, and spent long days every summer in the library. I used to steal magazines from a store on Genesee Street, in Waukegan, and read them and then steal them back on the racks again. That way I took the print off with my eyeballs and stayed honest. I didn’t want to be a permanent thief, and I was very careful to wash my hands before I read them. But with the library, it’s like catnip, I suppose: you begin to run in circles because there’s so much to look at and read. And it’s far more fun than going to school, simply because you make up your own list and you don’t have to listen to anyone. When I would see some of the books my kids were forced to bring home and read by some of their teachers, and were graded on—well, what if you don’t like those books? I am a librarian. I discovered me in the library. I went to find me in the library. Before I fell in love with libraries, I was just a six-year-old boy. The library fueled all of my curiosities, from dinosaurs to ancient Egypt. When I graduated from high school in 1938, I began going to the library three nights a week. I did this every week for almost ten years and finally, in 1947, around the time I got married, I figured I was done. So I graduated from the library when I was twenty-seven. I discovered that the library is the real school.
Ray Bradbury
He calmed himself, shut his eyes, and fell asleep. The rear light of consciousness, like the last express train of the night, began to fade into the distance, gradually speeding up, growing smaller until it was, finally, sucked into the depths of night, where it disappeared. All that remained was the sound of the wind slipping through a stand of white birch trees.
Haruki Murakami (Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage)
I've always envied people who sleep easily. Their brains must be cleaner, the floorboard of the skull well swept, all the little monsters closed up in a steamer trunk at the foot of the bed. I was born an insomniac and that's the way I'll die, wasting thousands of hours along the way longing for unconsciousness, longing for a rubber mallet to crack me in the hear, not so hard, not hard enough to do any damage, just a good whack to put me down for the night. But that night I didn't have a chance. I stared into the blackness until the blackness blurred into gray, until the ceiling above me began to take form and the light from the east dribbled in through the narrow barred window.
David Benioff (City of Thieves)
You cannot escape that you are a woman,” she began. “I wish I could,” Firekeeper muttered, but Elise continued as if she hadn’t heard. “Since you cannot, you cannot escape the expectations that our society and our class places upon women.” “Why?” Firekeeper said querulously. “...Consider,” she offered, “what you told me about learning to see at night so that you could hunt with the wolves. Learning to wear a gown, to walk gracefully, to eat politely…” “I do that!” “You’re learning,” Elise admitted, “but don’t change the subject. All of these are ways of learning to see in the dark.” “Maybe,” Firekeeper said, her tone unconvinced. “Can you climb a tree?” “Yes.” “Swim?” “Yes!” This second affirmative was almost indignant. “And these skills let you go places that you could not go without them.” Stubborn silence. Elise pressed her point. “Why do you like knowing how to shoot a bow?” “It lets me kill farther,” came the answer, almost in a growl. “And using a sword does the same?” “Yes.” “Let me tell you, Firekeeper, knowing a woman’s arts can keep you alive, let you invade private sanctums, even help you to subdue your enemies. If you don’t know those arts, others who do will always have an advantage over you.” “All this from wearing a gown that tangles your feet?
Jane Lindskold (Through Wolf's Eyes (Firekeeper Saga, #1))
As he was speaking, he kept reminding himself that he was going to a rendezvous and that not a living soul knew about it, or, probably, ever would. He led a double life--one in public, in the sight of all whom it concerned, full of conventional truth and conventional deception, exactly like the lives of his friends and acquaintances, and another which flowed in secret. And, owing to some strange, possibly quite accidental chain of circumstances, everything that was important, interesting, essential, everything about which he was sincere and never deceived himself, everything that composed the kernel of his life, went on in secret, while everything that was false in him, everything that composed the husk in which he hid himself and the truth which was in him--his work at the bank, discussions at the club, his 'lower race,' his attendance at anniversary celebrations with his wife--was on the surface. He began to judge others by himself, no longer believing what he saw, and always assuming that the real, the only interesting life of every individual goes on as under cover of night, secretly. Every individual existence revolves around mystery, and perhaps that is the chief reason that all cultivated individuals insisted so strongly on the respect due to personal secrets.
Anton Chekhov
Money itself isn’t evil, but the love of it is the root of all kinds of evil. So these things helped me to stay grounded. I began realizing that people on yachts weren’t happier than people in rowboats. Bentleys break down just like Nissans. You can get a great night’s sleep at a Hampton Inn just like at a Ritz-Carlton. And flying in first class won’t get you to your destination any faster than riding in coach.
Lecrae Moore (Unashamed)
Four times during the first six days they were assembled and briefed and then sent back. Once, they took off and were flying in formation when the control tower summoned them down. The more it rained, the worse they suffered. The worse they suffered, the more they prayed that it would continue raining. All through the night, men looked at the sky and were saddened by the stars. All through the day, they looked at the bomb line on the big, wobbling easel map of Italy that blew over in the wind and was dragged in under the awning of the intelligence tent every time the rain began. The bomb line was a scarlet band of narrow satin ribbon that delineated the forward most position of the Allied ground forces in every sector of the Italian mainland. For hours they stared relentlessly at the scarlet ribbon on the map and hated it because it would not move up high enough to encompass the city. When night fell, they congregated in the darkness with flashlights, continuing their macabre vigil at the bomb line in brooding entreaty as though hoping to move the ribbon up by the collective weight of their sullen prayers. "I really can't believe it," Clevinger exclaimed to Yossarian in a voice rising and falling in protest and wonder. "It's a complete reversion to primitive superstition. They're confusing cause and effect. It makes as much sense as knocking on wood or crossing your fingers. They really believe that we wouldn't have to fly that mission tomorrow if someone would only tiptoe up to the map in the middle of the night and move the bomb line over Bologna. Can you imagine? You and I must be the only rational ones left." In the middle of the night Yossarian knocked on wood, crossed his fingers, and tiptoed out of his tent to move the bomb line up over Bologna.
Joseph Heller (Catch-22)
Are you going to hand me over to him?" "I haven't decided yet," I teased, and he smiled again, erasing his momentary seriousness. "So, where'd you get the suit?" "Believe it or not, that lovely friend of yours, Willa," Loki said. "She brought me a whole slew of clothes last night. When I asked her why she was being so generous, she said it was out of fear that I would run around naked." I smiled. "That does sound like something you would do. Why are you wearing all black, though? Didn't you know you were going to a wedding?" "On the contrary," he said, doing his best to look unhappy. "I'm in mourning over the wedding." "Oh, because it's too late?" I asked. "No, Wendy, it's never too late." His voice was light, but his eyes were solemn. "May I cut in?" the best man asked. "No, you may not," Loki said. I'd started to move away from him, but he held fast. "Loki," I said, and my eyes widened. "I'm still dancing with her," Loki said, turning to look at him. "You can have her when I'm done." "Loki," I said again, but he was already twirling me away. "You can't do that." "I just did." He grinned. "Oh, Wendy, don't look so appalled. I'm already the rebel Prince of thine enemy. I can't do much more to tarnish my image." "You can certainly tarnish mine," I pointed out. "Never," Loki said, and it was his turn to look appalled. "I'm merely showing them how it's done." He began spinning me around the dance floor in grand arcs, my gown swirling around me. He was a brilliant dancer, moving with grace and speed. Everyone had stopped to watch us, but I didn't care. This was the way a Princess was supposed to dance on her wedding day. The song ended, switching to something by Mozart, and he slowed, almost to a stop, but he kept me in his arms. "Thank you." I smiled. My skin felt flushed from dancing, and I was a little out of breath. "That was a wonderful dance." "You're welcome," he said, staring intently at me. "You are so beautiful." "Stop," I said, looking away as my cheeks reddened. "How can you blush?" Loki asked, laughing gently. "People must tell you how beautiful you are a thousand times a day." "It's not the same," I said. "It's not the same?" Loki echoed. "Why? Because you know they don't mean it like I do?" We did stop dancing them, and neither of us said anything. Garrett came up to us. He smiled, but his eyes didn't appear happy. "Can I cut in?" Garrett asked. "Yes," Loki said, shaking off the intensity he'd had a moment ago, and grinned broadly at Garrett. "She's all yours, good sir. Take care of her." He patted Garrett on the arm once for good measure and gave me a quick smile before heading back over to the refreshment table.
Amanda Hocking (Ascend (Trylle, #3))
I remember going to the British Museum one day to read up the treatment for some slight ailment of which I had a touch – hay fever, I fancy it was. I got down the book, and read all I came to read; and then, in an unthinking moment, I idly turned the leaves, and began to indolently study diseases, generally. I forget which was the first distemper I plunged into – some fearful, devastating scourge, I know – and, before I had glanced half down the list of “premonitory symptoms,” it was borne in upon me that I had fairly got it. I sat for awhile, frozen with horror; and then, in the listlessness of despair, I again turned over the pages. I came to typhoid fever – read the symptoms – discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for months without knowing it – wondered what else I had got; turned up St. Vitus’s Dance – found, as I expected, that I had that too, – began to get interested in my case, and determined to sift it to the bottom, and so started alphabetically – read up ague, and learnt that I was sickening for it, and that the acute stage would commence in about another fortnight. Bright’s disease, I was relieved to find, I had only in a modified form, and, so far as that was concerned, I might live for years. Cholera I had, with severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have been born with. I plodded conscientiously through the twenty-six letters, and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was housemaid’s knee. ... I had walked into that reading-room a happy, healthy man. I crawled out a decrepit wreck. I went to my medical man. He is an old chum of mine, and feels my pulse, and looks at my tongue, and talks about the weather, all for nothing, when I fancy I’m ill; so I thought I would do him a good turn by going to him now. “What a doctor wants,” I said, “is practice. He shall have me. He will get more practice out of me than out of seventeen hundred of your ordinary, commonplace patients, with only one or two diseases each.” So I went straight up and saw him, and he said: “Well, what’s the matter with you?” I said: “I will not take up your time, dear boy, with telling you what is the matter with me. Life is brief, and you might pass away before I had finished. But I will tell you what is NOT the matter with me. I have not got housemaid’s knee. Why I have not got housemaid’s knee, I cannot tell you; but the fact remains that I have not got it. Everything else, however, I HAVE got.” And I told him how I came to discover it all. Then he opened me and looked down me, and clutched hold of my wrist, and then he hit me over the chest when I wasn’t expecting it – a cowardly thing to do, I call it – and immediately afterwards butted me with the side of his head. After that, he sat down and wrote out a prescription, and folded it up and gave it me, and I put it in my pocket and went out. I did not open it. I took it to the nearest chemist’s, and handed it in. The man read it, and then handed it back. He said he didn’t keep it. I said: “You are a chemist?” He said: “I am a chemist. If I was a co-operative stores and family hotel combined, I might be able to oblige you. Being only a chemist hampers me.” I read the prescription. It ran: “1 lb. beefsteak, with 1 pt. bitter beer every 6 hours. 1 ten-mile walk every morning. 1 bed at 11 sharp every night. And don’t stuff up your head with things you don’t understand.” I followed the directions, with the happy result – speaking for myself – that my life was preserved, and is still going on.
Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men in a Boat (Three Men, #1))
I guess that's how they were able to do it, in the way they did, all at once, without anyone knowing beforehand. If there had still been portable money, it would have been more difficult. "It was after the catastrophe, when they shot the president and machine-gunned the Congress and the army declared a state of emergency. They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time. "Keep calm, they said on television. Everything is under control. "I was stunned. Everyone was, I know that. It was hard to believe. The entire government, gone like that. How did they get in, how did it happen? "That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn't even any rioting in the streets. People stayed at home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn't even an enemy you could point your finger at. ... "Newspapers were censored and some were closed down, for security reasons they said. The roadblocks began to appear, and Identipasses. Everyone approved of that, since it was obvious you couldn't be too careful.
Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, #1))
Since I had the inclinatation and the training, helping people came naturally. I wasn't thinking in terms of organizing members, but just a duty that I had to do. That goes back to my mother's training. It was not until later that I realized that this was a good organizing tool, although maybe unconsciously, I was already beggining to understand. But I was used by people for a long time until I wised up. It wasn't that they wanted to do it, but that I was not prepared or able to tell them what to do in return. My work was just another war on poverty gimick, which is what happens when people are given everything and don't give anything in return. you can't mold them into any action. Well, one night it just hit me. Once you helped people, most became very loyal. The people who helped us back when we wanted volunteers were the people we had helped. So I began to get a group of those people around me. Once I realized helping people was an organizing technique, I increased that work. I was willing to work all day and night and go to hell and back for people- provided they also did something for the CSO in return. I never felt bad asking for that. It didn't contradict my parents' teachings, because I wasn't asking for something for myself. For a long time we didn't know how to put that work together into an organization. But we learned after a while- we learned how to help people by making them responsible. Today it's the same principle with the Union. And it works. We don't get everybody, but we get enough to get that nucleus. I think solving problems for people is the only way to build solid groups.
César Chávez
Well,then,let's make sure all his flying is directed at you first, shall we?" Anthony retorted, and opening the door to Jason's study,began to immediately place blame where it was due. "Jason,old man, I tried to calm this great hulking bull down last night, indeed I did,but he was having none of it.Blames me-" "Great hulking bull?" James interrupted, one golden brow raised sharply. "-because Greoge ain't talking to him," Anthony continued without pause. "And now he's got me in the same bloody boat, because Roslynn ain't said a word to me since." "Great hulking bull?" James repeated. Anthony glanced at him and smirked, "The shoe fits, believe me.
Johanna Lindsey (The Holiday Present)
Logan couldn’t remember when a few drinks became a bottle and then two bottles every night. He couldn’t point to one single moment or event as the cause. From his first drink at fourteen, alcohol began soaking into his skin, the moisture rotting him on the inside. Every few years he’d use a chisel to hack away all the wet, unsound wood without trying to find the source of the moisture. The rot always came back, stronger than before.
J.D. Ruskin (When One Door Opens)
She was not certain what she wanted from life, or what to expect from it, for she had seen so little of it, but she was sure that in some way - because she willed it to be so - her wants and her expectations were the same. For a while after their marriage she was in such demand that it was not unpleasant when he fell asleep. Presently, however, he began sleeping all night, and it was then she awoke more frequently, and looked into the darkness, wondering about the nature of men, doubtful of the future, until at last there came a night when she shook her husband awake and spoke of her own desire. Affably he placed one of his long white arms around her waist; she turned to him then, contentedly, expectantly, and secure. However, nothing else occurred, and in a few minutes he had gone back to sleep. This was the night Mrs. Bridge concluded that while marriage might be an equitable affair, love itself was not.
Evan S. Connell (Mrs. Bridge (Mrs and Mr Bridge, #1))
[Myne] shouldn’t be enjoying the feeling of closeness, of holding someone who didn’t belong to him, but damn, this felt good. He didn’t get to be with females often, not when his bite caused excruciating pain, and he definitely didn’t get to save a life . . . ever. Nicole was depending on him in order to survive, and he began to shake with the magnitude of it all. Rike, he whispered to himself. If you come back and don’t mate this female before the next daybreak, I’ll kill you myself. Of course, that was if Riker didn’t kill him first for getting a raging erection for his female.
Larissa Ione (Bound by Night (MoonBound Clan Vampire, #1))
I have often wondered what share Racine had in lighting the flame that began to burn in my heart that night, or what share proximity. If she hadn't read just that play or if she hadn't called me up by chance to sit so near her, in such immediate contact, would the inflammable stuff which I carried so unsuspectingly within me have remained perhaps outside the radius of the kindling spark and never caught fire at all? But probably not; sooner or later, it was bound to happen.
Dorothy Strachey (Olivia)
In a short time God began to manifest His power and soon the building could not contain the people. Now the meetings continue all day and into the night and the fire is kindling all over the city and surrounding towns. Proud, well-dressed preachers come in to "investigate." Soon their high looks are replaced with wonder, then conviction comes, and very often you will find them in a short time wallowing on the dirty floor, asking God to forgive them and make them as little children.
William Seymour (The Azusa Papers)
In the days after my heart attack & before I began to write again, all I could think about was dying. I'd been spared again, and only after the danger had passed did I allow my thoughts to unravel to their inevitable end. I imagined all the ways I could go. Blood clot to the brain. Infarction. Thrombosis. Pneumonia. Grand mal obstruction to the vena cava. I saw myself foaming at the mouth, writhing on the floor. I'd wake up in the night, gripping my throat. And yet. No matter how often I imagined the possible failure of my organs, I found the consequence inconceivable. That it could happen to me. I forced myself to picture the last moments. The penultimate breath. A final sigh. And yet. It was always followed by another.
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
When the meat platter was passed to me, I didn't even know what the meat was; usually, you couldn't tell, anyway-but it was suddenly as though _don't eat any more pork_ flashed on a screen before me. I hesitated, with the platter in mid-air; then I passed it along to the inmate waiting next to me. He began serving himself; abruptly, he stopped. I remember him turning, looking surprised at me. I said to him, "I don't eat pork." The platter then kept on down the table. It was the funniest thing, the reaction, and the way that it spread. In prison, where so little breaks the monotonous routine, the smallest thing causes a commotion of talk. It was being mentioned all over the cell block by night that Satan didn't eat pork.
Malcolm X (The Autobiography of Malcolm X)
My little brother's greatest fear was that the one person who meant so much to him would go away. He loved Lindsey and Grandma Lynn and Samuel and Hal, but my father kept him stepping lightly, son gingerly monitoring father every morning and every evening as if, without such vigilance, he would lose him. We stood- the dead child and the living- on either side of my father, both wanting the same thing. To have him to ourselves forver. To please us both was an impossibility. ... 'Please don't let Daddy die, Susie,' he whispered. 'I need him.' When I left my brother, I walked out past the gazebo and under the lights hanging down like berries, and I saw the brick paths branching out as I advanced. I walked until the bricks turned to flat stones and then to small, sharp rocks and then to nothing but churned earth for miles adn miles around me. I stood there. I had been in heaven long enough to know that something would be revealed. And as the light began to fade and the sky to turn a dark, sweet blue as it had on the night of my death, I saw something walking into view, so far away I could not at first make out if it was man or woman, child or adult. But as moonlight reached this figure I could make out a man and, frightened now, my breathing shallow, I raced just far enough to see. Was it my father? Was it what I had wanted all this time so deperately? 'Susie,' the man said as I approached and then stopped a few feet from where he stood. He raised his arms up toward me. 'Remember?' he said. I found myself small again, age six and in a living room in Illinois. Now, as I had done then, I placed my feet on top of his feet. 'Granddaddy,' I said. And because we were all alone and both in heaven, I was light enough to move as I had moved when I was six and in a living room in Illinois. Now, as I had done then, I placed my feet on top of his feet. 'Granddaddy,' I said. And because we were all alone and both in heaven, I was light enough to move as I had moved when I was six and he was fifty-six and my father had taken us to visit. We danced so slowly to a song that on Earth had always made my grandfather cry. 'Do you remember?' he asked. 'Barber!' 'Adagio for Strings,' he said. But as we danced and spun- none of the herky-jerky awkwardness of Earth- what I remembered was how I'd found him crying to this music and asked him why. 'Sometimes you cry,' Susie, even when someone you love has been gone a long time.' He had held me against him then, just briefly, and then I had run outside to play again with Lindsey in what seemed like my grandfather's huge backyard. We didn't speak any more that night, but we danced for hours in that timeless blue light. I knew as we danced that something was happening on Earth and in heaven. A shifting. The sort of slow-to-sudden movement that we'd read about in science class one year. Seismic, impossible, a rending and tearing of time and space. I pressed myself into my grandfather's chest and smelled the old-man smell of him, the mothball version of my own father, the blood on Earth, the sky in heaven. The kumquat, skunk, grade-A tobacco. When the music stopped, it cold have been forever since we'd begun. My grandfateher took a step back, and the light grew yellow at his back. 'I'm going,' he said. 'Where?' I asked. 'Don't worry, sweetheart. You're so close.' He turned and walked away, disappearing rapidly into spots and dust. Infinity.
Alice Sebold
On the fifth day I knew Kaidan would have made it home. I held my breath and called him. I listened to every charming word of his voice mail, then hung up. That evening I sat on my bed and called again. This time I left a message. “Hi, Kai, um, Kaidan. It's me. Anna. I'm just trying to see if you made it home safely. I'm sure you probably did. Just checking. You can call me anytime. If you want. Anyway. Okay, bye.” I hung up and buried my shamed face into a pillow. Now I was leaving messages after he'd made it clear he wanted zero to do with me? Next thing I knew I'd be frequenting his shows to give him psycho stares from the back, and then doing late-night drive-bys to see what girl he was bringing home. The thought of him with another girl made me writhe in discomfort and curl up in the fetal position. Day six was our first day of back-to-school shopping. We still had a month before school began, but the state issued a tax-free day, so stores were having big sales. I eyed all the teensy skirts and fashionable shirts dangling on mannequins. I tried to imagine Kaidan's reaction if I came dressed like that to one of his shows, some guy other than Jay on my arm. Ugly stalker thoughts. I was full of them. Two weeks passed, and I was still tripping over chairs to grab the phone every time it rang, like now. This time it was Jay.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
But I had heeded the warning, and as is said of juries who have heard inadmissible evidence before it is stricken from the record, suddenly realized that we were on borrowed time, that time is always borrowed, and that the lending agency exacts its premium precisely when we are least prepared to pay and need to borrow more. […] I squirreled away small things so that in the lean days ahead glimmers from the past might bring back the warmth. I began, reluctantly, to steal from the present to pay off debts I knew I’d incur in the future. This, I knew, was as much a crime as closing the shutters on sunny afternoons. But I also knew that in Mafalda’s superstitious world, anticipating the worst was as sure a way of preventing it from happening. When we went on a walk one night and he told me that he’d soon be heading back home, I realized how futile my alleged foresight had been. Bombs never fall on the same spot; this one, for all my premonitions, fell exactly in my hideaway.
André Aciman (Call Me by Your Name)
Some might question why the Midnight Mayor, usually to be found on such nights prowling the streets of the city, was sighted sneaking into a telephone exchange a few minutes before the word began to spill across the streets, spreading outwards from the website of Magicals Anonymous. Some might wonder why one or two computers, having received their messages, exploded three minutes after. But, as the Midnight Mayor was the first to point out, all this was speculation. Nothing could be blamed on him.
Kate Griffin (Stray Souls (Magicals Anonymous, #1))
Oil men, like producers of other raw materials, could not continue to sell their products below cost...For prices to be raised, production had to be controlled, and to bring production under control, Ickes began with an all-out campaign against the "hot oiler,"...This bootleg oil was secretly siphoned off from pipelines, hidden in camouflaged tanks that were covered with weeds, moved about both in an intrcate network of secret pipelines and by trucks, and then smuggled across state borders at night.
Daniel Yergin (The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power)
So look," he began, leaning over the desk, "I was—" "Excuse me?" Bethany said. Her voice was loud, even. Wes turned and looked at her. As he did so, I watched his profile, his arm, that little bit of the heart in hand peeking out from his sleeve. "We can help you over here," Bethany said to him. "Did you have a question?" "Um, sort of," Wes said, glancing at me, a mild smile on his face. "But—" "I can answer it," Bethany said solidly, so confidently. Amanda, beside her, nodded, seconding this. "Really, it's fine," he said, then looked at me again. He raised his eyebrows, and I just shrugged. "Okay, so—" "She's only a trainee, she won't know the answer," Bethany told him, pushing her chair over closer to where he was, her voice too loud, bossy even. "It's better if you ask me. Or ask us." Then, and only then, did I see the tiniest flicker of annoyance on Wes's face. "You know," Wes said, "I think she'll know it." "She won't. Ask me." Now it wasn't just a flicker. Wes looked at me, narrowing his eyes, and for a second I just stared back. Whatever happens, I thought, happens. For the first time, time at the info desk was flying. "Okay," he said slowly, moving down the counter. He leaned on his elbows, closer to Bethany, and she sat up even straighter, readying herself, like someone onJeopardy awaiting the Daily Double. "So here's my question." Amanda picked up a pen, as if there might be a written portion. "Last night," Wes said, his voice serious, "when the supplies were being packed up, what happened to the big tongs?" The sick part was that Bethany, for a second, looked as if she was actually flipping through her mental Rolodex for the answer. I watched her swallow, then purse her lips. "Well," she said. But that was all. I could feel myself smiling. A real smile. Wes looked at Amanda. "Do you know?" Amanda shook her head slowly. "All right," he said, turning back to look at me. "Better ask the trainee, then. Macy?" I could feel Amanda and Bethany looking at me. "They're in the bottom of that cart with the broken back wheel, under the aprons," I said. "There wasn't room for them with the other serving stuff.
Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)
Don’t try to talk—just breathe. Another long, slow one…another. Good girl.” As Annabelle gradually recovered her breath, the panic began to fade. He was right…it was easier if she didn’t struggle. The sound of her fitful gasping was underlaid by the mesmerizing softness of his voice. “That’s right,” he murmured. “That’s the way of it.” His hand continued to move in a slow, easy rotation over her chest. There was nothing sexual in his touch—in fact, she might have been a child he was trying to soothe. Annabelle was amazed. Who would have ever dreamed that Simon Hunt could be so kind? Filled with equal parts of confusion and gratitude, Annabelle fumbled for the large hand that moved so gently on her chest. She was so feeble that the gesture required all her strength. Assuming that she was trying to push him away, Hunt began to withdraw, but as he felt her fingers curl around two of his, he went very still. “Thank you,” she whispered. The touch made Hunt tense visibly, as if the contact had sent a shock through his body. He stared not at her face but at the delicate fingers entwined with his, in the manner of a man who was trying to solve a complex puzzle. Remaining motionless, he prolonged the moment, his lashes lowering to conceal his expression.
Lisa Kleypas (Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1))
No need to be embarassed. After seeing you in my cousin's nightgown, you've got nothing to hide. But why were you crying in the shower?" he murmured into her hair. She could feel his lips moving against her scalp, and feel the press of his hips through the covers, but his arms were an unyielding cage. She tried to turn over to face him, to welcome him under the covers with her, but he wouldn't let her. "I was crying because I'm frustrated! Why are you doing this?" she whispered into her pillow. "We can't, Helen," was all he said. He kissed her neck and said he was sorry over and over, but try as she might, he wouldn't let her face him. She began to feel like she was being used. "Please be patient," he begged as he stopped her hand from reaching back to touch him. She tried to sit up, to push him out of her bed, anything but suffer lying next to someone who would play with her so terribly. They wrestled a bit, but he was much better at it than she was and felt even heavier than he looked. He easily blocked every attempt she made to wrap her arms or legs or lips around him. "Do you want me at all, or do you just think it's fun to tease me like this?" she asked, feeling rejected and humiliated. "Won't you even kiss me?" She finally struggled onto her back where she could at least see his face. "If I kiss you, I won't stop," he said in a desperate whisper as he propped himself up on his elbows to look her in the eye. She looked back at him, really seeing him for the first time that night. His expression was vulnerable and uncertain. His mouth was swollen with want. His body was shaking and there was a fine layer of anxious sweat wilting his clothes. Helen relaxed back into the bed with a sigh. For some reason that obviously had nothing to do with desire, he wouldn't allow himself to be with her. "You're not laughing at me, are you?" she asked warily, just as a precaution. "No. There's nothing funny about this," he answered. He shifted himself off her and lay back down alongside her, still breathing hard. "But for some reason, you and I will never happen," she said, feeling calm. "Never say never," he said urgently, rolling back on top of her and using all of his unusually heavy mass to press her deep into the cocoon of her little-girl bed. "The gods love to toy with people who use absolutes." Lucas ran his lips around her throat and let her put her arms around him, but that was all.
Josephine Angelini (Starcrossed (Starcrossed, #1))
I walked about the isle like a restless spectre, separated from all it loved, and miserable in the separation. When it became noon, and the sun rose higher, I lay down on the grass, and was overpowered by a deep sleep. I had been awake the whole of the preceding night, my nerves were agitated, and my eyes inflamed by watching and misery, The sleep into which I now sunk refreshed me; and when I awoke, I again felt as if I belonged to a race of human beings like myself, and I began to reflect upon what had passed with greater composure; yet still the words of the fiend rung in my ears like a death-knell, they appeared like a dream, yet distinct and oppressive as a reality.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Frankenstein)
You go out into your world, and try and find the things that will be useful to you. Your weapons. Your tools. Your charms. You find a record, or a poem, or a picture of a girl that you pin to the wall and go, "Her. I'll try and be her. I'll try and be her - but here." You observe the way others walk, and talk, and you steal little bits of them - you collage yourself out of whatever you can get your hands on. You are like the robot Johnny 5 in Short Circuit, crying, "More input! More input for Johnny 5! as you rifle through books and watch films and sit in front of the television, trying to guess which of these things that you are watching - Alexis Carrington Colby walking down a marble staircase; Anne of Green Gables holding her shoddy suitcase; Cathy wailing on the moors; Courtney Love wailing in her petticoat; Dorothy Parker gunning people down; Grace Jones singing "Slave to the Rhythm" - you will need when you get out there. What will be useful. What will be, eventually, you? And you will be quite on your own when you do all this. There is no academy where you can learn to be yourself; there is no line manager slowly urging you toward the correct answer. You are midwife to yourself, and will give birth to yourself, over and over, in dark rooms, alone. And some versions of you will end in dismal failure - many prototypes won't even get out the front door, as you suddenly realize that no, you can't style-out an all-in-one gold bodysuit and a massive attitude problem in Wolverhampton. Others will achieve temporary success - hitting new land-speed records, and amazing all around you, and then suddenly, unexpectedly exploding, like the Bluebird on Coniston Water. But one day you'll find a version of you that will get you kissed, or befriended, or inspired, and you will make your notes accordingly, staying up all night to hone and improvise upon a tiny snatch of melody that worked. Until - slowly, slowly - you make a viable version of you, one you can hum every day. You'll find the tiny, right piece of grit you can pearl around, until nature kicks in, and your shell will just quietly fill with magic, even while you're busy doing other things. What your nature began, nature will take over, and start completing, until you stop having to think about who you'll be entirely - as you're too busy doing, now. And ten years will pass without you even noticing. And later, over a glass of wine - because you drink wine now, because you are grown - you will marvel over what you did. Marvel that, at the time, you kept so many secrets. Tried to keep the secret of yourself. Tried to metamorphose in the dark. The loud, drunken, fucking, eyeliner-smeared, laughing, cutting, panicking, unbearably present secret of yourself. When really you were about as secret as the moon. And as luminous, under all those clothes.
Caitlin Moran (How to Build a Girl (How to Build a Girl, #1))
There was a man here, lashed himself to a spar as his ship went down, and for seven days and seven nights he was on the sea, and what kept him alive while others drowned was telling himself stories like a madman, so that as one ended another began. On the seventh day he had told all the stories he knew and that was when he began to tell himself as if he were a story, from the earliest beginnings to his green and deep misfortune. The story he told was of a man lost and found, not once, but many times, as he choked his way out of the waves. And the night fell, he saw the Cape Wrath light, only lit a week it was, but it was, and he knew that if he became the story of the light, he might be saved. With his last strength he began to paddle towards it, arms on either side of the spar, and in his mind the light became a shining rope, pulling him in. He took hold of it, tied it round his waist, and at that moment, the keeper saw him, and ran for the rescue boat.
Jeanette Winterson (Lighthousekeeping)
And now at last authentic word I bring, Witnessed by every dead and living thing; Good tidings of great joy for you, for all: There is no God; no Fiend with names divine Made us and tortures us; if we must pine, It is to satiate no Being's gall. It was the dark delusion of a dream, That living Person conscious and supreme, Whom we must curse for cursing us with life; Whom we must curse because the life he gave Could not be buried in the quiet grave, Could not be killed by poison or the knife. This little life is all we must endure, The grave's most holy peace is ever sure, We fall asleep and never wake again; Nothing is of us but the mouldering flesh, Whose elements dissolve and merge afresh In earth, air, water, plants, and other men. We finish thus; and all our wretched race Shall finish with its cycle, and give place To other beings with their own time-doom: Infinite aeons ere our kind began; Infinite aeons after the last man Has joined the mammoth in earth's tomb and womb.
James Thomson (The City of Dreadful Night)
I made spasmodic efforts to work, assuring myself that once I began working I would forget her. The difficulty was in beginning. There was a feeling of weakness, a sort of powerlessness now, as though I were about to be ill but was never quite ill enough, as though I were about to come down with something I did not quite come down with. It seemed to me that for the first time in my life I had been in love, and had lost, because of the grudgingness of my heart, the possibility of having what, too late, I now thought I wanted. What was it that all my life I had so carefully guarded myself against? What was it that I had felt so threatened me? My suffering, which seemed to me to be a strict consequence of having guarded myself so long, appeared to me as a kind of punishment, and this moment, which I was now enduring, as something which had been delayed for half a lifetime. I was experincing, apparently, an obscure crisis of some kind. My world acquired a tendency to crumble as easily as a soda cracker. I found myself horribly susceptible to small animals, ribbons in the hair of little girls, songs played late at night over lonely radios. It became particularly dangerous for me to go near movies in which crippled girls were healed by the unselfish love of impoverished bellhops. I had become excessively tender to all the more obvious evidences of the frailness of existence; I was capable of dissolving at the least kind word, and self-pity, in inexhaustible doses, lay close to my outraged surface. I moved painfully, an ambulatory case, mysteriously injured.
Alfred Hayes (In Love)
In the deeper hours of the night I began to look at myself, to consider myself and my condition, to measure the life I'd led so far. I did not know what made me this way. I did not know of any other way I could be. I did not know what was inside me or how I could redeem what was hidden there. There must be a key or person or thing, or song or poem or belief, or old saw that could access it, but they all seemed so far away, and after I drifted further and further into self-absorption, I closed the evening with this desolate thought: there are few takers for the quiet heart.
Steve Martin (The Pleasure of My Company)
Ehrlichman, you will recall, was President Nixon’s domestic policy adviser; he served time in federal prison for his role in Watergate. Baum came to talk to Ehrlichman about the drug war, of which he was a key architect. “You want to know what this was really all about?” Ehrlichman began, startling the journalist with both his candor and his cynicism. Ehrlichman explained that the Nixon White House “had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. . . . We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.
Michael Pollan (This Is Your Mind on Plants)
The friend standing next to me at the firing predictor was torn to pieces by the bomb that left me unscathed. That night I cried out to God for the first time: `My God, where are you?' And the question `Why am I not dead too?' has haunted me ever since. Why are you alive? What gives your life meaning? Life is good, but to be a survivor is hard. One has to bear the weight of grief. It was probably in that night that my theology began, for I came from a secular family and knew nothing of faith. The people who escaped probably all saw their survival not just as a gift but as a charge too.
Jürgen Moltmann (The Source of Life: The Holy Spirit and the Theology of Life)
Long ago, when faeries and men still wandered the earth as brothers, the MacLeod chief fell in love with a beautiful faery woman. They had no sooner married and borne a child when she was summoned to return to her people. Husband and wife said a tearful goodbye and parted ways at Fairy Bridge, which you can still visit today. Despite the grieving chief, a celebration was held to honor the birth of the newborn boy, the next great chief of the MacLeods. In all the excitement of the celebration, the baby boy was left in his cradle and the blanket slipped off. In the cold Highland night he began to cry. The baby’s cry tore at his mother, even in another dimension, and so she went to him, wrapping him in her shawl. When the nursemaid arrived, she found the young chief in the arms of his mother, and the faery woman gave her a song she insisted must be sung to the little boy each night. The song became known as “The Dunvegan Cradle Song,” and it has been sung to little chieflings ever since. The shawl, too, she left as a gift: if the clan were ever in dire need, all they would have to do was wave the flag she’d wrapped around her son, and the faery people would come to their aid. Use the gift wisely, she instructed. The magic of the flag will work three times and no more. As I stood there in Dunvegan Castle, gazing at the Fairy Flag beneath its layers of protective glass, it was hard to imagine the history behind it. The fabric was dated somewhere between the fourth and seventh centuries. The fibers had been analyzed and were believed to be from Syria or Rhodes. Some thought it was part of the robe of an early Christian saint. Others thought it was a part of the war banner for Harald Hardrada, king of Norway, who gave it to the clan as a gift. But there were still others who believed it had come from the shoulders of a beautiful faery maiden. And that faery blood had flowed through the MacLeod family veins ever since. Those people were the MacLeods themselves.
Signe Pike (Faery Tale: One Woman's Search for Enchantment in a Modern World)
While dragging herself up she had to hang onto the rail. Her twisted progress was that of a cripple. Once on the open deck she felt the solid impact of the black night, and the mobility of the accidental home she was about to leave. Although Lucette had never died before—no, dived before, Violet—from such a height, in such a disorder of shadows and snaking reflections, she went with hardly a splash through the wave that humped to welcome her. That perfect end was spoiled by her instinctively surfacing in an immediate sweep — instead of surrendering under water to her drugged lassitude as she had planned to do on her last night ashore if it ever did come to this. The silly girl had not rehearsed the technique of suicide as, say, free-fall parachutists do every day in the element of another chapter. Owing to the tumultuous swell and her not being sure which way to peer through the spray and the darkness and her own tentaclinging hair—t,a,c,l—she could not make out the lights of the liner, an easily imagined many-eyed bulk mightily receding in heartless triumph. Now I’ve lost my next note. Got it. The sky was also heartless and dark, and her body, her head,and particularly those damned thirsty trousers, felt clogged with Oceanus Nox, n,o,x. At every slap and splash of cold wild salt, she heaved with anise-flavored nausea and there was an increasing number, okay, or numbness, in her neck and arms. As she began losing track of herself, she thought it proper to inform a series of receding Lucettes—telling them to pass it on and on in a trick-crystal regression—that what death amounted to was only a more complete assortment of the infinite fractions of solitude. She did not see her whole life flash before her as we all were afraid she might have done; the red rubber of a favorite doll remained safely decomposed among the myosotes of an un-analyzable brook; but she did see a few odds and ends as she swam like a dilettante Tobakoff in a circle of brief panic and merciful torpor. She saw a pair of new vairfurred bedroom slippers, which Brigitte had forgotten to pack; she saw Van wiping his mouth before answering, and then, still withholding the answer, throwing his napkin on the table as they both got up; and she saw a girl with long black hair quickly bend in passing to clap her hands over a dackel in a half-tom wreath. A brilliantly illumined motorboat was launched from the not-too-distant ship with Van and the swimming coach and the oilskin-hooded Toby among the would-be saviors; but by that time a lot of sea had rolled by and Lucette was too tired to wait. Then the night was filled with the rattle of an old but still strong helicopter. Its diligent beam could spot only the dark head of Van, who, having been propelled out of the boat when it shied from its own sudden shadow, kept bobbing and bawling the drowned girl’s name in the black, foam-veined, complicated waters.
Vladimir Nabokov (Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle)
Cheryl was aided in her search by the Internet. Each time she remembered a name that seemed to be important in her life, she tried to look up that person on the World Wide Web. The names and pictures Cheryl found were at once familiar and yet not part of her conscious memory: Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, Dr. Louis 'Jolly' West, Dr. Ewen Cameron, Dr. Martin Orne and others had information by and about them on the Web. Soon, she began looking up sites related to childhood incest and found that some of the survivor sites mentioned the same names, though in the context of experiments performed on small children. Again, some names were familiar. Then Cheryl began remembering what turned out to be triggers from old programmes. 'The song, "The Green, Green Grass of home" kept running through my mind. I remembered that my father sang it as well. It all made no sense until I remembered that the last line of the song tells of being buried six feet under that green, green grass. Suddenly, it came to me that this was a suicide programme of the government. 'I went crazy. I felt that my body would explode unless I released some of the pressure I felt within, so I grabbed a [pair ofl scissors and cut myself with the blade so I bled. In my distracted state, I was certain that the bleeding would let the pressure out. I didn't know Lynn had felt the same way years earlier. I just knew I had to do it Cheryl says. She had some barbiturates and other medicine in the house. 'One particularly despondent night, I took several pills. It wasn't exactly a suicide try, though the pills could have killed me. Instead, I kept thinking that I would give myself a fifty-fifty chance of waking up the next morning. Maybe the pills would kill me. Maybe the dose would not be lethal. It was all up to God. I began taking pills each night. Each-morning I kept awakening.
Cheryl Hersha (Secret Weapons: How Two Sisters Were Brainwashed to Kill for Their Country)
She clucked her tongue. “Despite all their mischief, I pity them.” You ought to be pitying me, he thought. Having a woman this enticing living under the same roof was a constant temptation. And Chase battled temptation with approximately the same success as a seagull battling the Royal Navy. Out of sight was not out of mind. At night, he found himself thinking of her. Upstairs, alone, in the dark. But worse by far were the mornings. For God’s sake, he began each day holding her hand. That, and trying like hell to make her laugh. He hadn’t managed it quite yet, but most days he wrangled a reluctant smile. That alone was worth four flights of stairs. Just yesterday, Rosamund had woken him with a single word: “Tapeworms.” He’d all but leapt to his feet with delight.
Tessa Dare (The Governess Game (Girl Meets Duke, #2))
Cinder." Kai pulled one leg onto the bank, turning his body so they were facing each other. He took her hands between his and her heart began to drum unexpectedly. Not because of his touch, and not even because of his low, serious tone, but because it occurred to Cinder all at once that Kai was nervous. Kai was never nervous. "I asked you once," he said, running his thumbs over her knuckles, "if you thought you would ever be willing to wear a crown again. Not as the queen of Luna, but ... as my empress. And you said that you would consider it, someday." She swallowed a breath of cool night air. "And ... this is that day?" His lips twitched, but didn't quite become a smile. "I love you. I want to be with you for the rest of my life. I want to marry you, and, yes, I want you to be my empress." Cinder gaped at him for a long moment before she whispered, "That's a lot of wanting." "You have no idea." She lowered her lashes. "I might have some idea." Kai released one of her hands and she looked up again to see him reaching into his pocket - the same that had held Wolf's and Scarlet's wedding rings before. His fist was closed when he pulled it out and Kai held it toward her, released a slow breath, and opened his fingers to reveal a stunning ring with a large ruby ringed in diamonds. It didn't take long for her retina scanner to measure the ring, and within seconds it was filling her in on far more information than she needed - inane worlds like carats and clarity scrolled past her vision. But it was the ring's history that snagged her attention. It had been his mother's engagement ring once, and his grandmother's before that. Kai took her hand and slipped the ring onto her finger. Metal clinked against metal, and the priceless gem looked as ridiculous against her cyborg plating as the simple gold band had looked on Wolf's enormous, deformed, slightly hairy hand. Cinder pressed her lips together and swallowed, hard, before daring to meet Kai's gaze again. "Cinder," he said, "will you marry me?" Absurd, she thought. The emperor of the Eastern Commonwealth was proposing to her. It was uncanny. It was hysterical. But it was Kai, and somehow, that also made it exactly right. "Yes," she whispered. "I will marry you." Those simple words hung between them for a breath, and then she grinned and kissed him, amazed that her declaration didn't bring the surge of anxiety she would have expected years ago. He drew her into his arms, laughing between kisses, and she suddenly started to laugh too. She felt strangely delirious. They had stood against all adversity to be together, and now they would forge their own path to love. She would be Kai's wife. She would be the Commonwealth's empress. And she had every intention of being blissfully happy for ever, ever after.
Marissa Meyer (Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles, #4.5))
I've just come to my room, Livy darling, I guess this was the memorable night of my life. By George, I never was so stirred since I was born. I heard four speeches which I can never forget... one by that splendid old soul, Col. Bob Ingersoll, — oh, it was just the supremest combination of English words that was ever put together since the world began... How handsome he looked, as he stood on that table, in the midst of those 500 shouting men, and poured the molten silver from his lips! What an organ is human speech when it is played by a master! How pale those speeches are in print, but how radiant, how full of color, how blinding they were in the delivery! It was a great night, a memorable night. I doubt if America has seen anything quite equal to it. I am well satisfied I shall not live to see its equal again... Bob Ingersoll’s music will sing through my memory always as the divinest that ever enchanted my ears. And I shall always see him, as he stood that night on a dinner-table, under the flash of lights and banners, in the midst of seven hundred frantic shouters, the most beautiful human creature that ever lived... You should have seen that vast house rise to its feet; you should have heard the hurricane that followed. That's the only test! People might shout, clap their hands, stamp, wave their napkins, but none but the master can make them get up on their feet. {Twain's letter to his wife, Livy, about friend Robert Ingersoll's incredible speech at 'The Grand Banquet', considered to be one of the greatest oratory performances of all time}
Mark Twain (Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings)
That's not what justice is," the colonel jeered, and began pounding the table again with his big fat hand. "That's what Karl Marx is. I'll tell you what justice is. Justice is a knee in the gut from the floor on the chin at night sneaky with a knife brought up down on the magazine of a battleship sandbagged underhanded in the dark without a word of warning. Garroting. That's what justice is when we've all got to be tough enough and rough enough to fight Billy Petrolle. From the hip. Get it?
Joseph Heller (Catch-22)
The voice came from the night all around him, in his head and out of it. "What do you want?' it repeated. He wondered if he dared to turn and look, realised he did not. 'Well? You come here every night, in a place where the living are not welcome. I have seen you. Why?' 'I wanted to meet you,' he said, without looking around. 'I want to live for ever.' His voice cracked as he said it. He had stepped over the precipice. There was no going back. In his imagination, he could already feel the prick of needle-sharp fangs in his neck, a sharp prelude to eternal life. The sound began. It was low and sad, like the rushing of an underground river. It took him several long seconds to recognise it as laughter. 'This is not life,' said the voice. It said nothing more, and after a while the young man knew he was alone in the graveyard.
Neil Gaiman (Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders)
Suddenly the theater was plunged into utter blinding darkness, while an ominous rumbling rose from beneath the platform. There were several little screams of alarm, a scattering of laughter, and loud gasps of anticipation. Annabelle’s spine went rigid as she felt the brush of a hand on her back. His hand, sliding with slow deliberateness up her spine…his scent, fresh and beguiling in her nostrils …and before she could make a sound, his mouth, possessing hers in a warm, softly ravishing kiss. She was too stunned to move, her hands in the air like butterflies suspended in midflight, her swaying body anchored by his light clasp on her waist, while his other hand cradled the back of her neck. Annabelle had been kissed before, by brash young men who had stolen a quick embrace during a walk in the garden, or in a corner of the parlor when they would not be observed. But none of those brief, flirtatious encounters had been like this …a kiss so slow and dizzying that it filled her with delirium. Sensations rushed through her, far too strong to manage, and she quivered helplessly in his hold. Compelled by instinct, she lifted blindly into the tenderly restless caress of his lips. The pressure of his lips increased as he demanded more, rewarding her helpless response with a voluptuous exploration that set her senses on fire. Just as she began to lose all sanity, his mouth released hers with startling suddenness, leaving her dazed. Keeping his supportive hand on the downy-soft nape of her neck, he bent his head until a rueful murmur tickled her ear. “Sorry. I couldn’t resist.” His touch withdrew completely, and when red-filtered light finally invaded the theater, he was gone.
Lisa Kleypas (Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1))
Outsong in the Jungle [Baloo:] For the sake of him who showed One wise Frog the Jungle-Road, Keep the Law the Man-Pack make For thy blind old Baloo's sake! Clean or tainted, hot or stale, Hold it as it were the Trail, Through the day and through the night, Questing neither left nor right. For the sake of him who loves Thee beyond all else that moves, When thy Pack would make thee pain, Say: "Tabaqui sings again." When thy Pack would work thee ill, Say: "Shere Khan is yet to kill." When the knife is drawn to slay, Keep the Law and go thy way. (Root and honey, palm and spathe, Guard a cub from harm and scathe!) Wood and Water, Wind and Tree, Jungle-Favour go with thee! [Kaa:] Anger is the egg of Fear-- Only lidless eyes see clear. Cobra-poison none may leech-- Even so with Cobra-speech. Open talk shall call to thee Strength, whose mate is Courtesy. Send no lunge beyond thy length. Lend no rotten bough thy strength. Gauge thy gape with buck or goat, Lest thine eye should choke thy throat. After gorging, wouldst thou sleep ? Look thy den be hid and deep, Lest a wrong, by thee forgot, Draw thy killer to the spot. East and West and North and South, Wash thy hide and close thy mouth. (Pit and rift and blue pool-brim, Middle-Jungle follow him!) Wood and Water, Wind and Tree, Jungle-Favour go with thee! [Bagheera:] In the cage my life began; Well I know the worth of Man. By the Broken Lock that freed-- Man-cub, ware the Man-cub's breed! Scenting-dew or starlight pale, Choose no tangled tree-cat trail. Pack or council, hunt or den, Cry no truce with Jackal-Men. Feed them silence when they say: "Come with us an easy way." Feed them silence when they seek Help of thine to hurt the weak. Make no bandar's boast of skill; Hold thy peace above the kill. Let nor call nor song nor sign Turn thee from thy hunting-line. (Morning mist or twilight clear, Serve him, Wardens of the Deer!) Wood and Water, Wind and Tree, Jungle-Favour go with thee! [The Three:] On the trail that thou must tread To the threshold of our dread, Where the Flower blossoms red; Through the nights when thou shalt lie Prisoned from our Mother-sky, Hearing us, thy loves, go by; In the dawns when thou shalt wake To the toil thou canst not break, Heartsick for the Jungle's sake; Wood and Water, Wind air Tree, Wisdom, Strength, and Courtesy, Jungle-Favour go with thee!
Rudyard Kipling
I could feel the warmth of the dog through my nightgown; I must have gotten hot during the night and thrown off the sheet. I drowsily patted the animal's head and began to stroke his fur, my fingers running idly through the thick hair. He wriggled even closer, sniffed my face, put his arm around me. His *arm*? I was off the bed and shrieking in one move. In my bed, Sam propped himself on his elbows, sunny side up, and looked at me with some amusement. "Oh, ohmyGod! Sam, how'd you get here? What are you doing? Where's Dean?" I covered my face with my hands and turned back, but I'd certainly seen all there was to see of Sam. "Woof," said Sam, from a human throat, and the truth stomped over me in combat boots. I whirled back to face him, so angry I felt like I was going to blow a gasket. "You watched me undress last night, you ... you ... damn dog!
Charlaine Harris (Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1))
Cold, I was, like snow, like ivory. I thought "He will not touch me", but he did. He kissed my stone-cool lips. I lay still as though I’d died. He stayed. He thumbed my marbled eyes. He spoke - blunt endearments, what he’d do and how. His words were terrible. My ears were sculpture, stone-deaf shells. I heard the sea. I drowned him out. I heard him shout. He brought me presents, polished pebbles, little bells. I didn’t blink, was dumb. He brought me pearls and necklaces and rings. He called them girly things. He ran his clammy hands along my limbs. I didn’t shrink, played statue, shtum. He let his fingers sink into my flesh, he squeezed, he pressed. I would not bruise. He looked for marks, for purple hearts, for inky stars, for smudgy clues. His nails were claws. I showed no scratch, no scrape, no scar. He propped me up on pillows, jawed all night. My heart was ice, was glass. His voice was gravel, hoarse. He talked white black. So I changed tack, grew warm, like candle wax, kissed back, was soft, was pliable, began to moan, got hot, got wild, arched, coiled, writhed, begged for his child, and at the climax screamed my head off - all an act. And haven’t seen him since. Simple as that
Carol Ann Duffy (The World's Wife)
Hear me now or regret it later: Everything you write must be read aloud. Once all the context items are in place, this is the final test for any written piece...Do not neglect your sense of hearing in the process of writing and reading. As a longtime teacher of English as a foreign language, I can tell you on good authority that you have been listening to the English language at least five or six years longer than you have been writing and reading. And, most probably, your ears also had eighteen or more years of familiarity with the language before you began to read or write with a writer's sensibility. For these reasons, your ears know when things sound okay, good, beautiful, strange, awkward, or just plain bad, before your eye can pick up on such things...Your written voice should burn with the fire of fervent prayer, soothe like a friend's voice during a late-night phone call, alure like a lover's whisper. You must, through your accessible, infinitely read-aloudable voice, make your audience into an insatiable reader of your words.
Jiro Adachi
Hear me now or regret it later: Everything you write must be read aloud. Once all the context items are in place, this is the final test for any written piece... Do not neglect your sense of hearing in the process of writing and reading. As a longtime teacher of English as a foreign language, I can tell you on good authority that you have been listening to the English language at least five or six years longer than you have been writing and reading. And, most probably, your ears also had eighteen or more years of familiarity with the language before you began to read or write with a writer's sensibility. For these reasons, your ears know when things sound okay, good, beautiful, strange, awkward, or just plain bad, before your eye can pick up on such things... Your written voice should burn with the fire of fervent prayer, soothe like a friend's voice during a late-night phone call, alure like a lover's whisper. You must, through your accessible, infinitely read-aloudable voice, make your audience into an insatiable reader of your words.
Jiro Adachi
Make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about! ROMANS 13:11 – 14 MSG
Christine Caine (Unstoppable: Running the Race You Were Born To Win)
Fanfare for the Makers A cloud of witnesses. To whom? To what? To the small fire that never leaves the sky. To the great fire that boils the daily pot. To all the things we are not remembered by, Which we remember and bless. To all the things That will not notice when we die, Yet lend the passing moment words and wings. So fanfare for the Makers: who compose A book of words or deeds who runs may write As many who do run, as a family grows At times like sunflowers turning towards the light. As sometimes in the blackout and the raids One joke composed an island in the night. As sometimes one man’s kindness pervades A room or house or village, as sometimes Merely to tighten screws or sharpen blades Can catch a meaning, as to hear the chimes At midnight means to share them, as one man In old age plants an avenue of limes And before they bloom can smell them, before they span The road can walk beneath the perfected arch, The merest greenprint when the lives began Of those who walk there with him, as in default Of coffee men grind acorns, as in despite Of all assaults conscripts counter assault, As mothers sit up late night after night Moulding a life, as miners day by day Descend blind shafts, as a boy may flaunt his kite In an empty nonchalant sky, as anglers play Their fish, as workers work and can take pride In spending sweat before they draw their pay. As horsemen fashion horses while they ride, As climbers climb a peak because it is there, As life can be confirmed even in suicide: To make is such. Let us make. And set the weather fair. Louis Macneice
Louis MacNeice (Collected Poems of Louis MacNeice)
Umm, Ren? We have something important we need to discuss. Meet me on the veranda at sundown, okay?” He froze with his sandwich halfway to his mouth. “A secret rendezvous? On the veranda? At sundown?” He arched an eyebrow at me. “Why, Kelsey, are you trying to seduce me?” “Hardly,” I dryly muttered. He laughed. “Well, I’m all yours. But be gentle with me tonight, fair maiden. I’m new at this whole being human business.” Exasperated, I threw out, “I am not your fair maiden.” He ignored my comment and went back to devouring his lunch. He also took the other half of my discarded peanut butter sandwich and ate that too, commenting, “Hey! This stuff’s pretty good.” Finished, I walked over to the kitchen island and began clearing away Ren’s mess. When he was done eating, he stood to help me. We worked well together. It was almost like we knew what the other person was going to do before he or she did it. The kitchen was spotless in no time. Ren took off his apron and threw it into the laundry basket. Then, he came up behind me while I was putting away some glasses and wrapped his arms around my waist, pulling me up against him. He smelled my hair, kissed my neck, and murmured softly in my ear, “Mmm, definitely peaches and cream, but with a hint of spice. I’ll go be a tiger for a while and take a nap, and then I can save all my hours for you this evening.” I grimaced He was probably expecting a make-out session, and I was planning to break up with him. He wanted to spend time with a girlfriend, and my intention was to explain to him how we weren’t meant to be together. Not that we were ever officially together. Still, it felt like a break-up. Why does this have to be so hard? Ren rocked me and whispered, “’How silver-sweet sound lovers’ tongues by night, Like soft music to attending ears.’” I turned around in his arms, shocked. “How did you remember that? That’s Romeo and Juliet!” He shrugged. “I paid attention when you were reading it to me. I liked it.” He gently kissed my cheek. “See you tonight, iadala,” and left me standing there. The rest of the afternoon, I couldn’t focus on anything. Nothing held my attention for more than a few minutes. I rehearsed some sentences in front of the mirror, but they all sounded pretty lame to me: “It’s not you, it’s me,” “There are plenty of other fish in the sea,” “I need to find myself,” “Our differences are too big,” “I’m not the one,” “There’s someone else.” Heck, I even tried “I’m allergic to cats.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
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)
Three days a week she helped at the Manor Nursing Home, where people proved their keenness by reciting received analyses of current events. All the Manor residents watched television day and night, informed to the eyeballs like everyone else and rushed for time, toward what end no one asked. Their cupidity and self-love were no worse than anyone else's, but their many experiences' having taught them so little irked Lou. One hated tourists, another southerners; another despised immigrants. Even dying, they still held themselves in highest regard. Lou would have to watch herself. For this way of thinking began to look like human nature--as if each person of two or three billion would spend his last vital drop to sustain his self-importance.
Annie Dillard (The Maytrees)
IT ALL BEGAN with the High Court case about the madman and the watermelons. The man in question, named Ivan, lived along the River Dell in an eastern section of the city near the merchant docks. To one side of his house resided a cutter and engraver of gravestones, and to the other side was a neighbor’s watermelon patch. Ivan had contrived somehow in the dark of night to replace every watermelon in the watermelon patch with a gravestone, and every gravestone in the engraver’s lot with a watermelon. He’d then shoved cryptic instructions under each neighbor’s door with the intention of setting each on a scavenger hunt to find his missing items, a move useless in one case and unnecessary in the other, as the watermelon-grower could not read and the gravestone-carver could see her gravestones from her doorstep quite plainly, planted in the watermelon patch two lots down. Both had guessed the culprit immediately, for Ivan’s antics were not uncommon. Only a month ago, Ivan had stolen a neighbor’s cow and perched her atop yet another neighbor’s candle shop, where she mooed mournfully until someone climbed the roof to milk her, and where she was compelled to live for several days, the kingdom’s most elevated and probably most mystified cow, while the few literate neighbors on the street worked through Ivan’s cryptic clues for how to build the rope and pulley device to bring her down.
Kristin Cashore (Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3))
When I think of the years when I had no faith, what I am struck by, first of all, is how little this lack disrupted my conscious life. I lived not with God, nor with his absence, but in a mild abeyance of belief, drifting through the days on a tide of tiny vanities—a publication, a flirtation, a strong case made for some weak nihilism—nights all adagios and alcohol as my mind tore luxuriously into itself. I can see now how deeply God’s absence affected my unconscious life, how under me always there was this long fall that pride and fear and self-love at once protected me from and subjected me to. Was the fall into belief or into unbelief? Both. For if grace woke me to God’s presence in the world and in my heart, it also woke me to his absence. I never truly felt the pain of unbelief until I began to believe.
Christian Wiman (My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer)
What’s wrong?” Before I could stop myself, I mumbled, “I’m used to resting my head on a warm tiger-fur pillow is what’s wrong.” He grunted, “Hmm, let me see what I can do.” Panicky, I squeaked out, “No, really. I’m okay. Don’t bother.” He ignored my protests, scooped up my mummy-wrapped self, and set me down again on his side of the fire. He turned me on my side so I faced the fire, lay down behind me, and slid an arm under my neck to cradle my head. “Is that more comfortable for you?” “Uh, yes and no. My head can definitely rest better in this position. Unfortunately, the rest of me is feeling the complete opposite of relaxed.” “What do you mean? Why can’t you relax?” “Because you’re too close for me to relax.” Bemused, he said, “Me being too close never bothered you when I was a tiger.” “The tiger you and the man you are two completely different things.” He put his arm around my waist and tugged me closer so we were spooned together. He sounded irritated and disappointed when he muttered, “It doesn’t feel different to me. Just close your eyes and imagine I’m still a tiger.” “It doesn’t exactly work like that.” I lay stiffly in his arms, nervous, especially when he began nuzzling the back of my neck. He said softly, “I like the smell of your hair.” His chest rumbled against my back, sending massaging vibrations through my body as he purred. “Ren, can you not do that right now?” He lifted his head. “You like it when I purr. It helps you sleep better.” “Yes, well, that only works with the tiger. How can you do that as a man anyway?” He paused, and said, “I don’t know. I just can,” then buried his face in my hair again and stroked my arm. “Uh, Ren? Explain to me how you plan to keep watch like this.” His lips grazed my neck. “I can hear and smell the Kappa, remember?” I twitched and shivered, with nerves, or anticipation, or something else, and he noticed. He stopped kissing my neck and lifted his head to peer at my face in the flickering firelight. His voice was solemn and calm. “Kells, I hope you know that I would never hurt you. You don’t need to be afraid of me.” Rolling toward him, I lifted my hand and touched his cheek. Looking into his blue eyes, I sighed. “I’m not afraid of you, Ren. I trust you with my life. I’ve just never been close to someone like this before.” He kissed me softly and smiled. “I haven’t either.” He shifted, lying down again. “Now, turn around and go to sleep. I’m warning you that I plan to sleep with you in my arms all night long. Who knows when, or if, I’ll ever get to do it again. So try to relax, and for heaven’s sake, don’t wiggle!” He pulled me back against his warm chest, and I closed my eyes. I ended up sleeping better than I had in weeks.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
I’m completely library educated. I’ve never been to college. I went down to the library when I was in grade school in Waukegan, and in high school in Los Angeles, and spent long days every summer in the library. I used to steal magazines from a store on Genesee Street, in Waukegan, and read them and then steal them back on the racks again. That way I took the print off with my eyeballs and stayed honest. I didn’t want to be a permanent thief, and I was very careful to wash my hands before I read them. But with the library, it’s like catnip, I suppose: you begin to run in circles because there’s so much to look at and read. And it’s far more fun than going to school, simply because you make up your own list and you don’t have to listen to anyone. When I would see some of the books my kids were forced to bring home and read by some of their teachers, and were graded on—well, what if you don’t like those books? I am a librarian. I discovered me in the library. I went to find me in the library. Before I fell in love with libraries, I was just a six-year-old boy. The library fueled all of my curiosities, from dinosaurs to ancient Egypt. When I graduated from high school in 1938, I began going to the library three nights a week. I did this every week for almost ten years and finally, in 1947, around the time I got married, I figured I was done. So I graduated from the library when I was twenty-seven. I discovered that the library is the real school.
Ray Bradbury
once there was a beautiful young panther who had a co-wife and a husband. Her name was Lara and she was unhappy because her husband and her co-wife were really in love; being nice to her was merely a duty panther society imposed on them. They had not even wanted to take her into their marriage as co-wife, since there were already perfectly happy. But she was an "extra" female in the group and that would not do. Her husband sometimes sniffed her breath and other emanations. He even, sometimes, made love to her. but whenever this happened, the co-wife, whose name was Lala, became upset. She and the husband, Baba, would argue, then fight, snarling and biting and whipping at each other's eyes with their tails. Pretty soon they'd become sick of this and would lie clutched in each other's paws, weeping. I am supposed to make love to her, Baba would say to Lala, his heartchosen mate. She is my wife just as you are. I did not plan things this way. This is the arrangement that came down to me. I know it, dearest, said Lala, through her tears. And this pain that I feel is what has come down to me. Surely it can't be right? These two sat on a rock in the forest and were miserable enough. But Lara, the unwanted, pregnant by now and ill, was devastated. Everyone knew she was unloved, and no other female panther wanted to share her own husband with her. Days went by when the only voice she heard was her inner one. Soon, she began to listen to it. Lara, it said, sit here, where the sun may kiss you. And she did. Lara, it said, lie here, where the moon can make love to you all night long. and she did. Lara, it said, one bright morning when she knew herself to have been well kissed and well loved: sit here on this stone and look at your beautiful self in the still waters of this stream. Calmed by the guidance offered by her inner voice, Lara sat down on the stone and leaned over the water. She took in her smooth, aubergine little snout, her delicate, pointed ears, her sleek, gleeming black fur. She was beautiful! And she was well kissed by the sun and well made love to by the moon. For one whole day, Lara was content. When her co-wife asked her fearfully why she was smiling, Lara only opened her mouth wider, in a grin. The poor co-wife ran trembling off and found their husband, Baba, and dragged him back to look at Lara. When Baba saw the smiling, well kissed, well made love to Lara, of course he could hardly wait to get his paws on her! He could tell she was in love with someone else, and this aroused all his passion. While Lala wept, Baba possessed Lara, who was looking over his shoulder at the moon. Each day it seemed to Lara that the Lara in the stream was the only Lara worth having - so beautiful, so well kissed, and so well made love to. And her inner voice assured her this was true. So, one hot day when she could not tolerate the shrieks and groans of Baba and Lala as they tried to tear each other's ears off because of her, Lara, who by now was quite indifferent to them both, leaned over and kissed her own serene reflection in the water, and held the kiss all the way to the bottom of the stream.
Alice Walker
I awoke from this nightmare into a freezing cold motel room: the heater had broken at some point during the night, and the fan was now blowing icy air into the room. At first I tried to keep warm under the crappy motel bedspread by thinking about the man I loved. At the time he was traveling in Europe, and was thus unreachable. I didn't know it yet, but as I lay there, he was traveling with another woman. Does it matter now? I tried hard to feel his body wrapped tightly around mine. Next I tried to imagine everyone I had ever loved, and everyone who had ever loved me, wrapped around me. I tried to feel that I was the composite of all these people, instead of alone in a shitty motel room with a broken heater somewhere outside of Detroit, a few miles from where Jane's body was dumped thirty-six years ago on a March night just like this one. 'Need each other as much as you can bear,' writes Eileen Myles. 'Everywhere you go in the world.' I felt the wild need for any or all of these people that night. Lying there alone, I began to feel - perhaps even to know - that I did not exist apart from their love and need of me. Of this latter I felt less sure, but it seemed possible, if the equation worked both ways. Falling asleep I thought, 'Maybe this, for me, is the hand of God.
Maggie Nelson (The Red Parts)
Your friend is most original,' Dan Needham said, with the greatest respect. 'Don't you see, Johnny? If he could, he would cut off his hands for you - that's how it makes him feel, to have touched that baseball bat, to have swung that bat with those results. It's how we all feel - you and me and Owen. We've lost a part of ourselves.' And Dan picked up the wrecked armadillo and began to experiment with it on my night table, trying - as I had tried - to find a position that allowed the beast to stand, or even to lie down, with any semblance of comfort or dignity; it was quite impossible. The thing had been crippled; it was rendered an invalid. And how had Owen arranged the claws? I wondered. What sort of terrible altarpiece had he constructed? Were the claws gripping the murderous baseball? And so Dan and I became quite emotional, while we struggled to find a way to make the armadillo's appearance acceptable - but that was the point, Dan concluded: there was no way that any or all of this was acceptable. What had happened was unacceptable! Yet we still had to live with it.
John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany)
To him who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language; for his gayer hours She has a voice of gladness, and a smile And eloquence of beauty, and she glides Into his darker musings, with a mild And healing sympathy, that steals away Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts Of the last bitter hour come like a blight Over thy spirit, and sad images Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall, And breathless darkness, and the narrow house, Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;— Go forth, under the open sky, and list To Nature’s teachings, while from all around— Earth and her waters, and the depths of air— Comes a still voice— Yet a few days, and thee The all-beholding sun shall see no more In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground, Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears, Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again, And, lost each human trace, surrendering up Thine individual being, shalt thou go To mix for ever with the elements, To be a brother to the insensible rock And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould. Yet not to thine eternal resting-place Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down With patriarchs of the infant world—with kings, The powerful of the earth—the wise, the good, Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past, All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun,—the vales Stretching in pensive quietness between; The venerable woods—rivers that move In majesty, and the complaining brooks That make the meadows green; and, poured round all, Old Ocean’s gray and melancholy waste,— Are but the solemn decorations all Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun, The planets, all the infinite host of heaven, Are shining on the sad abodes of death, Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread The globe are but a handful to the tribes That slumber in its bosom.—Take the wings Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness, Or lose thyself in the continuous woods Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound, Save his own dashings—yet the dead are there: And millions in those solitudes, since first The flight of years began, have laid them down In their last sleep—the dead reign there alone. So shalt thou rest, and what if thou withdraw In silence from the living, and no friend Take note of thy departure? All that breathe Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care Plod on, and each one as before will chase His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave Their mirth and their employments, and shall come And make their bed with thee. As the long train Of ages glide away, the sons of men, The youth in life’s green spring, and he who goes In the full strength of years, matron and maid, The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man— Shall one by one be gathered to thy side, By those, who in their turn shall follow them. So live, that when thy summons comes to join The innumerable caravan, which moves To that mysterious realm, where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night, Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave, Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
William Cullen Bryant (Thanatopsis)
And so I returned to that city in which, in those last hours before reunions, Shaheed and I saw many things which were not true, which were not possible, because our boys would not could not have behaved so badly; we saw men in spectacles with heads like eggs being shot in side-streets, we saw the intelligentsia of the city being massacred by the hundred, but it was not true because it could not have been true, the Tiger was a decent chap, after all, and our jawans were worth ten babus, we moved through the impossible hallucination of the night, hiding in doorways while fired blossomed like flowers, reminding me of the way the Brass Monkey used to set fire to shoes to attract a little attention, there were slit throats being buried in unmarked graves, and Shaheed began his, "No, buddha -- what a thing, Allah, you can't believe your eyes -- no, not true, how can it -- buddha, tell, what's got into my eyes?" And at last the buddha spoke, knowing Shaheed could not hear: "O, Shaheeda," he said, revealing the depths of his fastidiousness, "a person must sometimes choose what he will see and what he will not; look away, look away from there now." But Shaheed was staring at a maidan in which lady doctors were being bayoneted before they were raped, and raped again before they were shot. Above them and behind them, the cool while minaret of a mosque started blindly down upon the scene.
Salman Rushdie (Midnight's Children)
I wished I were like those soldiers in films who run out of bullets and toss away their guns as though they would never again have any use for them, or like runaways in the desert who, rather than ration the water in the gourd, yield to thirst and swill away, then drop their gourd in their tracks. Instead, I squirreled away small things so that in the lean days ahead glimmers from the past might bring back the warmth. I began, reluctantly, to steal from the present to pay off debts I knew I'd incur in the future. This, I knew, was as much a crime as closing the shutters on sunny afternoons. But I also knew that in Mafalda's superstitious world, anticipating the worst was as sure a way of preventing it from happening. When we went on a walk one night and he told me that he'd soon be heading back home, I realized how futile my alleged foresight had been. Bombs never fall on the same spot; this one, for all my premonitions, fell exactly in my hideaway.
André Aciman (Call Me by Your Name)
If we wanted to be serious about evidence, we might compare where blacks stood a hundred years after the end of slavery with where they stood after 30 years of the liberal welfare state. In other words, we could compare hard evidence on “the legacy of slavery” with hard evidence on the legacy of liberals. Despite the grand myth that black economic progress began or accelerated with the passage of the civil rights laws and “war on poverty” programs of the 1960s, the cold fact is that the poverty rate among blacks fell from 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent by 1960. This was before any of those programs began. Over the next 20 years, the poverty rate among blacks fell another 18 percentage points, compared to the 40-point drop in the previous 20 years. This was the continuation of a previous economic trend, at a slower rate of progress, not the economic grand deliverance proclaimed by liberals and self-serving black “leaders.” Nearly a hundred years of the supposed “legacy of slavery” found most black children [78%] being raised in two-parent families in 1960. But thirty years after the liberal welfare state found the great majority of black children being raised by a single parent [66%]. Public housing projects in the first half of the 20th century were clean, safe places, where people slept outside on hot summer nights, when they were too poor to afford air conditioning. That was before admissions standards for public housing projects were lowered or abandoned, in the euphoria of liberal non-judgmental notions. And it was before the toxic message of victimhood was spread by liberals. We all know what hell holes public housing has become in our times. The same toxic message produced similar social results among lower-income people in England, despite an absence of a “legacy of slavery” there. If we are to go by evidence of social retrogression, liberals have wreaked more havoc on blacks than the supposed “legacy of slavery” they talk about.
Thomas Sowell
He was clearly not the murderer whom Hawksmoor was seeking, but it was generally the innocent who confessed: in the course of many enquiries, Hawksmoor had come across those who accused themselves of crimes which they had not committed and who demanded to be taken away before they could do more harm. He was acquainted with such people and recognised them at once - although they were noticeable, perhaps, only for a slight twitch in the eye or the awkward gait with which they moved through the world. And they inhabited small rooms to which Hawksmoor would sometimes be called: rooms with a bed and a chair but nothing besides, rooms where they shut the door and began talking out loud, rooms where they sat all evening and waited for the night, rooms where they experienced blind panic and then rage as they stared at their lives. And sometimes when he saw such people Hawksmoor thought, this is what I will become, I will be like them because I deserve to be like them, and only the smallest accident separates me from them now.
Peter Ackroyd (Hawksmoor)
I realized aloud in the midst of saying it that even when we die we probably don't find out the answer as to why we were ever alive. Even the avowed atheist probably thinks that in death he'll get some answer. I mean God will be there, or there won't be anything at all. 'But that's just it,' I said, 'we don't make any discovery at that moment! We merely stop! We pass into nonexistence without ever knowing a thing.' I saw the universe, a vision of the sun, the planets, the stars, black night going on forever. And I began to laugh. 'Do you realize that! We'll never know why the hell any of it happened, not even when it's over!' I shouted at Nicolas, who was sitting back on the bed, nodding and drinking his wine out of a flagon. 'We're going to die and not even know. We'll never know, and all this meaninglessness will just go on and on and on. And we won't any longer be witness to it. We won't have even that little bit of power to give meaning to it in our minds. We'll just be gone, dead, dead, dead, without ever knowing!
Anne Rice (The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles, #2))
Ruby?” His hair was pale silver in this light, curled and tangled in its usual way. I couldn’t hide from him. I had never been able to. “Mike came and got me,” he said, taking a careful step toward me. His hands were out in front of him, as if trying to coax a wild animal into letting him approach. “What are you doing out here? What’s going on?” “Please just go,” I begged. “I need to be alone.” He kept coming straight at me. “Please,” I shouted, “go away!” “I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what’s going on!” Liam said. He got a better look at me and swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing. “Where were you this morning? Did something happen? Chubs told me you’ve been gone all day, and now you’re out here like…this…did he do something to you?” I looked away. “Nothing I didn’t ask for.” Liam’s only response was to move back a few paces back. Giving me space. “I don’t believe you for a second,” he said, calmly. “Not one damn second. If you want to get rid of me, you’re going to have to try harder than that.” “I don’t want you here.” He shook his head. “Doesn’t mean I’m leaving you here alone. You can take all the time you want, as long as you need, but you and me? We’re having this out tonight. Right now.” Liam pulled his black sweater over his head and threw it toward me. “Put it on, or you’ll catch a cold.” I caught it with one hand and pressed it to my chest. It was still warm. He began to pace, his hands on his hips. “Is it me? Is it that you can’t talk to me about it? Do you want me to get Chubs?” I couldn’t bring myself to answer. “Ruby, you’re scaring the hell out of me.” “Good.” I balled up his sweater and threw it into the darkness as hard as I could. He blew out a shaky sigh, bracing a hand against the nearest tree. “Good? What’s good about it?” I hadn’t really understood what Clancy had been trying to tell me that night, not until right then, when Liam looked up and his eyes met mine. The trickle of blood in my ears turned into a roar. I squeezed my eyes shut, digging the heels of my palms against my forehead. “I can’t do this anymore,” I cried. “Why won’t you just leave me alone?” “Because you would never leave me.” His feet shuffled through the underbrush as he took a few steps closer. The air around me heated, taking on a charge I recognized. I gritted my teeth, furious with him for coming so close when he knew I couldn’t handle it. When he knew I could hurt him. His hands came up to pull mine away from my face, but I wasn’t about to let him be gentle. I shoved him back, throwing my full weight into it. Liam stumbled. “Ruby—” I pushed him again and again, harder each time, because it was the only way I could tell him what I was desperate to say. I saw bursts of his glossy memories. I saw all of his brilliant dreams. It wasn’t until I knocked his back into a tree that I realized I was crying. Up this close, I saw a new cut under his left eye and the bruise forming around it. Liam’s lips parted. His hands were no longer out in front of him, but hovering over my hips. “Ruby…” I closed what little distance was left between us, one hand sliding through his soft hair, the other gathering the back of his shirt into my fist. When my lips finally pressed against his, I felt something coil deep inside of me. There was nothing outside of him, not even the grating of cicadas, not even the gray-bodied trees. My heart thundered in my chest. More, more, more—a steady beat. His body relaxed under my hands, shuddering at my touch. Breathing him in wasn’t enough, I wanted to inhale him. The leather, the smoke, the sweetness. I felt his fingers counting up my bare ribs. Liam shifted his legs around mine to draw me closer. I was off-balance on my toes; the world swaying dangerously under me as his lips traveled to my cheek, to my jaw, to where my pulse throbbed in my neck. He seemed so sure of himself, like he had already plotted out this course.
Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1))
With the anthill, the respectable race of ants began and with the anthill they will probably end, which does the greatest credit to their perseverance and staidness. But man is a frivolous and incongruous creature, and perhaps, like the chessplayer, loves only the process of the game, not the end of it. And who knows (on cannot swear to it), perhaps the only goal on earth to which mankind is striving lies in this incessant process of attaining, or in other words, in life itself, and not particularly in the goal which of course must always be two times two makes four, that is a formula, and after all, two times two makes four is no longer life, gentlemen, but is the beginning of death. Anyway, man has always been somehow afraid of this two times two makes four, and I am afraid of it even now. Granted that man does nothing but seek that two times two makes four, that he sails the oceans, sacrifices his life in the quest, but to succeed, really to find it -- he is somehow afraid, I assure you. He feels that as soon as he has found it there will be nothing for him to look for.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
I skipped between the dancers, twirling my skirts. The seated, masked musicians didn’t look up at me as I leaped before them, dancing in place. No chains, no boundaries—just me and the music, dancing and dancing. I wasn’t faerie, but I was a part of this earth, and the earth was a part of me, and I would be content to dance upon it for the rest of my life. One of the musicians looked up from his fiddling, and I halted. Sweat gleamed on the strong column of his neck as he rested his chin upon the dark wood of the fiddle. He’d rolled up the sleeves of his shirt, revealing the cords of muscle along his forearms. He had once mentioned that he would have liked to be a traveling minstrel if not a warrior or a High Lord—now, hearing him play, I knew he could have made a fortune from it. “I’m sorry, Tam,” Lucien panted, appearing from nowhere. “I left her alone for a little at one of the food tables, and when I caught up to her, she was drinking the wine, and—” Tamlin didn’t pause in his playing. His golden hair damp with sweat, he looked marvelously handsome—even though I couldn’t see most of his face. He gave me a feral smile as I began to dance in place before him. “I’ll look after her,” Tamlin murmured above the music, and I glowed, my dancing becoming faster. “Go enjoy yourself.” Lucien fled. I shouted over the music, “I don’t need a keeper!” I wanted to spin and spin and spin. “No, you don’t,” Tamlin said, never once stumbling over his playing. How his bow did dance upon the strings, his fingers sturdy and strong, no signs of those claws that I had come to stop fearing … “Dance, Feyre,” he whispered. So I did. I was loosened, a top whirling around and around, and I didn’t know who I danced with or what they looked like, only that I had become the music and the fire and the night, and there was nothing that could slow me down. Through it all, Tamlin and his musicians played such joyous music that I didn’t think the world could contain it all. I sashayed over to him, my faerie lord, my protector and warrior, my friend, and danced before him. He grinned at me, and I didn’t break my dancing as he rose from his seat and knelt before me in the grass, offering up a solo on his fiddle to me.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1))
McCoy, drained and hollow-eyed, couldn't take his eyes off the life vest belonging to the boy who'd slipped away from the group during the night. The empty vest spooked McCoy. All its straps were still tightly tied-it looked like some trick that Houdini might've played. Then McCoy peered into the water and got another shock: the boy was floating below him, spread-eagled, about fifteen feet below the surface. He lay motionless until a current caught him; then it was as if he were flying in the depths. Jesus, McCoy thought, Mother of God. He started saying the rosary over and over. McCoy had never been overly religious; his mom was the spiritual one in the family. But now he began the process of what he'd later call his purification; he'd started asking God to forgive him of his sins. He was resolved to live but he was getting ready to die.
Doug Stanton (In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors)
His oldest child from his second marriage, Matthew, stayed up all the night before he was buried, putting his father’s history on a wooden tombstone. He began with his father’s name on the first line, and on the next, he put the years ofhis father’s coming and going. Then all the things he knew his father had been. Husband. Father. Farmer. Grandfather. Patroller. Tobacco Man. Tree Maker. The letters ofthe words got smaller and smaller as the boy, not quite twelve, neared the bottom ofthe wood because he had never made a headstone for anyone before so he had not compensated for all that he would have to put on it. The boy filled up the whole piece ofwood and at the end of the last line he put a period. His father’s grave would remain, but the wooden marker would not last out the year. The boy knew better than to put a period at the end ofsuch a sentence. Something that was not even a true and proper sentence, with subject aplenty, but no verb to pull it all together. A sentence, Matthew’s teacher back in Virginia had tried to drum into his thick Kinsey head, could live without a subject, but it could not live without a verb.
Edward P. Jones (The Known World)
It was a relief to see his father, who'd always been an unfailing source of reassurance and comfort. They clasped hands in a firm shake, and used their free arms to pull close for a moment. Such demonstrations of affection weren't common among fathers and sons of their rank, but then, they'd never been a conventional family. After a few hearty thumps on the back, Sebastian drew back and glanced over him with the attentive concern that hearkened to Gabriel's earliest memories. Not missing the traces of weariness on his face, his father lightly tousled his hair the way he had when he was a boy. "You haven't been sleeping." "I went carousing with friends for most of last night," Gabriel admitted. "It ended when we were all too drunk to see a hole through a ladder." Sebastian grinned and removed his coat, tossing the exquisitely tailored garment to a nearby chair. "Reveling in the waning days of bachelorhood, are we?" "It would be more accurate to say I'm thrashing like a drowning rat." "Same thing." Sebastian unfastened his cuffs and began to roll up his shirtsleeves. An active life at Heron's Point, the family estate in Sussex, had kept him as fit and limber as a man half his age. Frequent exposure to the sunlight had gilded his hair and darkened his complexion, making his pale blue eyes startling in their brightness. While other men of his generation had become staid and settled, the duke was more vigorous than ever, in part because his youngest son was still only eleven. The duchess, Evie, had conceived unexpectedly long after she had assumed her childbearing years were past. As a result there were eight years between the baby's birth and that of the next oldest sibling, Seraphina. Evie had been more than a little embarrassed to find herself with child at her age, especially in the face of her husband's teasing claims that she was a walking advertisement of his potency. And indeed, there have been a hint of extra swagger in Sebastian's step all through his wife's last pregnancy. Their fifth child was a handsome boy with hair the deep auburn red of an Irish setter. He'd been christened Michael Ivo, but somehow the pugnacious middle name suited him more than his given name. Now a lively, cheerful lad, Ivo accompanied his father nearly everywhere.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
I prayed to a mystery. Sometimes I was simply aware of the mystery. I saw a flash of it during a trip to New York that David and I took before we were married. We were walking on a busy sidewalk in Manhattan. I don't remember if it was day or night. A man with a wound on his forehead came toward us. His damp, ragged hair might have been clotted with blood, or maybe it was only dirt. He wore deeply dirty clothes. His red, swollen hands, cupped in half-fists, swung loosely at his sides. His eyes were focused somewhere past my right shoulder. He staggered while he walked. The sidewalk traffic flowed around him and with him. He was strange and frightening, and at the same time he belonged on the Manhattan sidewalk as much as any of us. It was that paradox -- that he could be both alien and resident, both brutalized and human, that he could stand out in the moving mass of people like a sea monster in a school of tuna and at the same time be as much at home as any of us -- that stayed with me. I never saw him again, but I remember him often, and when I do, I am aware of the mystery. Years later, I was out on our property on the Olympic Peninsula, cutting a path through the woods. This was before our house was built. After chopping through dense salal and hacking off ironwood bushes for an hour or so, I stopped, exhausted. I found myself standing motionless, intensely aware of all of the life around me, the breathing moss, the chattering birds, the living earth. I was as much a part of the woods as any millipede or cedar tree. At that moment, too, I was aware of the mystery. Sometimes I wanted to speak to this mystery directly. Out of habit, I began with "Dear God" and ended with "Amen". But I thought to myself, I'm not praying to that old man in the sky. Rather, I'm praying to this thing I can't define. It was sort of like talking into a foggy valley. Praying into a bank of fog requires alot of effort. I wanted an image to focus on when I prayed. I wanted something to pray *to*. but I couldn't go back to that old man. He was too closely associated with all I'd left behind.
Margaret D. McGee
I don't know for sure what ever became of Hatsumomo. A few years after the war, I heard she was making a living as a prostitute in the Miyagawa-cho district. She couldn't have been there long, because on the night I heard it, a man at the same party swore that if Hatsumomo was a prostitute, he would find her and give her some business of his own. He did go looking for her, but she was nowhere to be found. Over the years, she probably succeeded in drinking herself to death. She certainly wouldn't have been the first geisha to do it. In just the way that a man can grow accustomed to a bad leg, we'd all grown accustomed to having Hatsumomo in our okiya. I don't think we quite understood all the ways her presence had afflicted us until long after she'd left, when things that we hadn't realized were ailing slowly began to heal. Even when Hatsumomo had been doing nothing more than sleeping in her room, the maids had known she was there, and that during the course of the day she would abuse them. They'd lived with the kind of tension you feel if you walk across a frozen pond whose ice might break at any moment. And as for Pumpkin, I think she'd grown to be dependent on her older sister and felt strangely lost without her. I'd already become the okiya's principal asset, but even I took some time to weed out all the peculiar habits that had taken root because of Hatsumomo. Every time a man looked at me strangely, I found myself wondering if he'd heard something unkind about me from her, even long after she was gone. Whenever I climbed the stairs to the second floor of the okiya, I still kept my eyes lowered for fear that Hatsumomo would be waiting there on the landing, eager for someone to abuse. I can't tell you how many times I reached that last step and looked up suddenly with the realization that there was no Hatsumomo, and there never would be again. I knew she was gone, and yet the very emptiness of the hall seemed to suggest something of her presence. Even now, as an older woman, I sometimes lift the brocade cover on the mirror of my makeup stand, and have the briefest flicker of a thought that I may find her there in the glass, smirking at me.
Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha)
As one sat in the aeroplane amidst all the noise, smoking and loud talking, most unexpectedly, the sense of immensity and that extraordinary benediction which was felt at il L., that imminent feeling of sacredness, began to take place. The body was nervously tense because of the crowd, noise, etc. but in spite of all this, it was there. The pressure and the strain were intense and there was acute pain at the back of the head. There was only this state and there was no observer. The whole body was wholly in it and the feeling of sacredness was so intense that a groan escaped from the body and passengers were sitting in the next seats. It went on for several hours, late into the night. It was as though one was looking, not with eyes only but with a thousand centuries; it was altogether a strange occurrence. The brain was completely empty, all reaction had stopped; during all those hours, one was not aware of this emptiness but only in writing it is the thing known, but this knowledge is only descriptive and not real. That the brain could empty itself is an odd phenomenon. As the eyes were closed, the body, the brain seemed to plunge into unfathomable depths, into states of incredible sensitivity and beauty. The passenger in the next seat began to ask something and having replied, this intensity was there; there was no continuity but only being. And dawn was coming leisurely and the clear sky was filling with light - As this is being written late in the day, with sleepless fatigue, that sacredness is there. The pressure and the strain too.
J. Krishnamurti (Krishnamurtis Notebook)
Bradley is one of the few basketball players who have ever been appreciatively cheered by a disinterested away-from-home crowd while warming up. This curious event occurred last March, just before Princeton eliminated the Virginia Military Institute, the year's Southern Conference champion, from the NCAA championships. The game was played in Philadelphia and was the last of a tripleheader. The people there were worn out, because most of them were emotionally committed to either Villanova or Temple-two local teams that had just been involved in enervating battles with Providence and Connecticut, respectively, scrambling for a chance at the rest of the country. A group of Princeton players shooting basketballs miscellaneously in preparation for still another game hardly promised to be a high point of the evening, but Bradley, whose routine in the warmup time is a gradual crescendo of activity, is more interesting to watch before a game than most players are in play. In Philadelphia that night, what he did was, for him, anything but unusual. As he does before all games, he began by shooting set shots close to the basket, gradually moving back until he was shooting long sets from 20 feet out, and nearly all of them dropped into the net with an almost mechanical rhythm of accuracy. Then he began a series of expandingly difficult jump shots, and one jumper after another went cleanly through the basket with so few exceptions that the crowd began to murmur. Then he started to perform whirling reverse moves before another cadence of almost steadily accurate jump shots, and the murmur increased. Then he began to sweep hook shots into the air. He moved in a semicircle around the court. First with his right hand, then with his left, he tried seven of these long, graceful shots-the most difficult ones in the orthodoxy of basketball-and ambidextrously made them all. The game had not even begun, but the presumably unimpressible Philadelphians were applauding like an audience at an opera.
John McPhee (A Sense of Where You Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton)
Santiago The road seen, then not seen, the hillside hiding then revealing the way you should take, the road dropping away from you as if leaving you to walk on thin air, then catching you, holding you up, when you thought you would fall, and the way forward always in the end the way that you followed, the way that carried you into your future, that brought you to this place, no matter that it sometimes took your promise from you, no matter that it had to break your heart along the way: the sense of having walked from far inside yourself out into the revelation, to have risked yourself for something that seemed to stand both inside you and far beyond you, that called you back to the only road in the end you could follow, walking as you did, in your rags of love and speaking in the voice that by night became a prayer for safe arrival, so that one day you realized that what you wanted had already happened long ago and in the dwelling place you had lived in before you began, and that every step along the way, you had carried the heart and the mind and the promise that first set you off and drew you on and that you were more marvelous in your simple wish to find a way than the gilded roofs of any destination you could reach: as if, all along, you had thought the end point might be a city with golden towers, and cheering crowds, and turning the corner at what you thought was the end of the road, you found just a simple reflection, and a clear revelation beneath the face looking back and beneath it another invitation, all in one glimpse: like a person and a place you had sought forever, like a broad field of freedom that beckoned you beyond; like another life, and the road still stretching on.
David Whyte (Pilgrim)
Love, that is first and last of all things made, The light that has the living world for shade, The spirit that for temporal veil has on The souls of all men woven in unison, One fiery raiment with all lives inwrought And lights of sunny and starry deed and thought, And alway through new act and passion new Shines the divine same body and beauty through, The body spiritual of fire and light That is to worldly noon as noon to night; Love, that is flesh upon the spirit of man And spirit within the flesh whence breath began; Love, that keeps all the choir of lives in chime; Love, that is blood within the veins of time; That wrought the whole world without stroke of hand, Shaping the breadth of sea, the length of land, And with the pulse and motion of his breath Through the great heart of the earth strikes life and death, The sweet twain chords that make the sweet tune live Through day and night of things alternative, Through silence and through sound of stress and strife, And ebb and flow of dying death and life: Love, that sounds loud or light in all men's ears, Whence all men's eyes take fire from sparks of tears, That binds on all men's feet or chains or wings; Love that is root and fruit of terrene things; Love, that the whole world's waters shall not drown, The whole world's fiery forces not burn down; Love, that what time his own hands guard his head The whole world's wrath and strength shall not strike dead; Love, that if once his own hands make his grave The whole world's pity and sorrow shall not save; Love, that for very life shall not be sold, Nor bought nor bound with iron nor with gold; So strong that heaven, could love bid heaven farewell, Would turn to fruitless and unflowering hell; So sweet that hell, to hell could love be given, Would turn to splendid and sonorous heaven; Love that is fire within thee and light above, And lives by grace of nothing but of love; Through many and lovely thoughts and much desire Led these twain to the life of tears and fire; Through many and lovely days and much delight Led these twain to the lifeless life of night.
Algernon Charles Swinburne (Tristram of Lyonesse: And Other Poems)
Then the bandit turned tail and broke for the open. Greeley hit the sidewalk only seconds after him, big as he was and with a panic-stricken woman to detour around. A slice of hindmost heel was all he saw of the man. The store entrance adjoined a corner; that gave the fugitive a few added seconds of shelter, and as Greeley flashed around it in turn, again the breaks were the lawbreaker's. There was a school midway up the street toward the next avenue. It was a couple of minutes past three now, and a torrent of young humanity came pouring out of the building by every staircase and exit, flooding the street. In through them the sprinting man plunged, knocking over right and left the ones that didn't get out of his way quickly enough. If it had been hazardous to take a shot at him in the store, it would have been criminal out here. The kids parted, screaming in delighted excitement, as Greeley tore through them after the bandit with uptilted gun, but he couldn't just callously knock them flat like the man before him had. He sidestepped, got out of their way as often as they did his, and he began to fall behind the other, lose ground. The kids weren't just on that one street - they had dispersed over the entire vicinity by now, for a radius of a block or more in every direction, in frisky, milling, homeward-bound groups. Through them the quarry zigzagged, pulling slowly but surely away. He kept going in a straight line, because it was to his advantage to do so - the presence of these kids made for greater safety - but he was already far enough in the lead so that when he should finally decide to turn off - the answer was pretty obvious; a taxi or a doorway or a basement. Any of them would do. ("Detective William Brown")
Cornell Woolrich (Night and Fear: A Centenary Collection of Stories)
In the meantime, the Bear had attained the Avenue, where blinding, brilliant traffic travelled like a line of light from north to south, as if between worlds. But it was Jacob who saw the ladder, wrestled with the angel, and obtained a birthright under false pretenses. The Bear had done none of these things. He pulled the hat brim farther down on his face and walked south beneath the vault of darkness, above him like guardians or heralds the electric signs of bars and stores- white, orange, yellow, gold, red, brilliant blue and green, occasional imperial purple - as if they were angels that had descended to earth only to hire themselves out as lures for business, possibly for reasons of pity. The Bear walked beneath them like a resolute and powerful man, the saxophone case at his side swinging like a cache of fate, love, gold or vengeance. When he realised that he could have his pick of them - that all options, attributions and possibilities actually were open to him, that he was, at the moment, exalted, liberated, free - he stopped walking for a moment, put down the saxophone case, looked gradually around him at the Avenue, raised his snout and smiled broadly, and there on the pavement stretched out his great and inevitable arms. Aah. The night entered him like honey, and he began so heartily and with such depth of pleasure that it might have been for the first time in his life, to laugh out loud.
Rafi Zabor
The death of her father and mother and the rich acres of and that had come down to her had set a train of suitors on her heels. For two years she saw suitors almost every evening. Except two they were all alike. They talked to her of passion and there was a strained eager quality in their voices and in their eyes when they looked at her. The two who were different were much unlike each other. One of them, a slender young man with white hands, the son of a jeweler in Winesburg, talked continually of virginity. When he was with her he was never off the subject. The other, a black-haired boy with large ears, said nothing at all but always managed to get her into the darkness, where he began to kiss her. For a time the tall dark girl thought she would marry the jeweler's son. For hours she sat in silence listening as he talked to her and then she began to be afraid of something. Beneath his talk of virginity she began to think there was a lust greater than in all the others. At times it seemed to her that as he talked he was holding her body in his hands. She imagined him turning it slowly about in the white hands and staring at it. At night she dreamed that he had bitten into her body and that his jaws were dripping. She had the dream three times, then she became in the family way to the one who said nothing at all but who in the moment of his passion actually did bite her shoulder so that for days the marks of his teeth showed.
Sherwood Anderson (Short Shorts)
When I took it off, I glanced in the mirror behind the dresser, and I nearly screamed when I saw the reflection. Finn was sitting behind me on the bed. His eyes, dark as night, met mine in the mirror, and I could hardly breathe. "Finn!" I gasped and whirled around to look at him. "What are you doing here?" "I missed your birthday," he said, as if that answered my question. He lowered his eyes, looking at a small box he had in his hands. "I got you something." "You got me something?" I leaned back on the dresser behind me, gripping it. "Yeah." He nodded, still staring down at the box. "I picked it up outside of Portland two weeks ago. I meant to get back in time to give it to you on your birthday." He chewed the inside of his cheek. "But now that I'm here, I'm not sure I should give it to you at all." "What are you talking about?" I asked. "It doesn't feel right." Finn rubbed his face. "I don't even know what I'm doing here." "Neither do I," I said. "Don't get me wrong. I'm happy to see you. I just...I don't understand." "I know." He sighed. "It's a ring. What I got you." His gaze moved from me to the engagement ring sitting on the dresser beside me. "And you already have one." "Why did you get me a ring?" I asked tentatively, and my heart beat erratically in my chest. I didn't know what Finn was saying or doing. "I'm not proposing to you, if that's what you're asking." He shook his head. "I saw it and thought of you. But now it seems like poor taste. And here I am, the night before your wedding sneaking in to give you a ring." "Why did you sneak in?" I asked. "I don't know." He looked away and laughed darkly. "That's a lie. I know exactly what I'm doing, but I have no idea why I'm doing it." "What are you doing?" I asked quietly. "I..." Finn stared off for a moment, then turned back to me and stood up. "Finn, I-" I began, but he held up his hand, stopping me. "No, I know you're marrying Tove," he said. "You need to do this. We both know that. It's what's best for you, and it's what I want for you." He paused. "But I want you for myself too." All I'd ever wanted from Finn was for him to admit how he felt about me, and he'd waited until the day before my wedding. It was too late to change anything, to take anything back. Not that I could have, even if I wanted to. "Why are you telling me this?" I asked with tears swimming in my eyes. "Because." Finn stepped toward me, stopping right in front of me. He looked down at me, his eyes mesmerizing me the way they always did. He reached up, brushing back a tear from my cheek. "Why?" I asked, my voice trembling. "I needed you to know," he said, as if he didn't truly understand it himself. He set the box on the dresser beside me, and his hand went to my waist, pulling me to him. I let go of the dresser and let him. My breath came out shallow as I stared up at him. "Tomorrow you will belong to someone else," Finn said. "But tonight, you're with me.
Amanda Hocking (Ascend (Trylle, #3))
You can plead the Blood of Jesus, over any and everything; your spirit, soul and body, your house, car, work, children, spouse, business, as a form of protection or prevention against evil. You can plead the Blood of Jesus over your journey, the road, the vehicle or aircraft, etc. If you are living or passing through a dangerous zone; you can draw a bloodline of protection, therefore making a boundary, against any evil. A man had a poultry where, all of sudden, the chickens began to die. When he saw that he was going bankrupt with the loss, he cried unto the Lord, who ministered to him about drawing a bloodline around the poultry. Thus, creating a boundary that the enemy cannot cross. He walked round and drew the bloodline around the poultry that night. The following day, he found the carcass of a wolf, about two feet into the circle that he drew. It was stone dead; it had passed its bounds. Today, I pray that any, wolf assigned against your life, shall die in the Name of Jesus. Draw the Bloodline and the enemy will keep off. These are very serious matters and we should recognise and know these secrets. Recently, there have been disasters that have destroyed many lives in many countries. I was told of a man, who saw the flood raging towards his house and he came out and pleaded the Blood of Jesus. The flood obeyed him, not a single drop of water entered his house but the houses next to him, were submerged. That is the power in the Blood of Jesus!
D.K. Olukoya (Praying by the Blood of Jesus)
By that tomb grows Gibran's sorrow together with the cypress trees, and above the tomb his spirit flickers every night commemorating Selma, joining the branches of the trees in sorrowful wailing, mourning and lamenting the going of Selma, who, yesterday was a beautiful tune on the lips of life and today is a silent secret in the bosom of the earth. . Solitude has soft, silky hands, but with strong fingers it grasps the heart and makes it ache with sorrow. Solitude is the ally of sorrow as well as a companion of spiritual exaltation. . He lives spiritually in the past because the present passes swiftly, and the future seems to him an approach to the oblivion of the grave. . Now I know that there is something higher than heaven and deeper than the ocean and stranger than life and death and time. I know now what I did not know before. . When I walked in the fields, I saw the token of Eternity in the awakening of nature, and when I sat by the seashore I heard the waves singing the song of Eternity. . We were three people, gathered and crushed by the hands of destiny; and all of us were toys in the hands of fate. . Be happy because I shall live in you after my death. . This is the only friend I shall have after you are gone, but how can he console me when he is suffering also? How can a broken heart find consolation in a disappointed soul? A sorrowful woman cannot be comforted by her neighbour's sorrow, nor can a bird fly with broken wings. . It is hard to write down in words the memories of those hours when I met Selma −−those heavenly hours, filled with pain, happiness, sorrow, hope, and misery. . A bird with broken wings cannot fly in the spacious sky. . He was born like a thought and died like a sigh and disappeared like a shadow. . His life began at the end of the night and ended at the beginning of the day.
Kahlil Gibran (The Broken Wings)
It kind of freaked me out. Because I don’t know if I’m ready for that kind of thing yet.” Or maybe the problem was that I wasn’t prepared for how ready I was… “Ready for-?” He broke off, and then frowned as if it had all become clear. “Wait.” He dropped his arms from around my waist and took a step away from me. “You think I spent the night wit you?” “Didn’t you?” I blinked back at him. “There’s only the one bed. And…well, you were in it when I woke up.” Thunder boomed overhead. It wasn’t as loud as the violent cracks that had occurred in my dream. Although the rumbles were long enough-and intense enough-that the silverware on the table began to make an eerie tinkling sound. And my bird, who’d been calmly cleaning herself on the back of my chair, suddenly took off, seeing shelter on the highest bookshelf against the far wall. I realized I’d just insulted my host, and no joke was going to get me out of it this time. “For your information, Pierce,” John said, his tone almost disturbingly calm-but his eyes flashed the same shade as the stone around my neck, which had gone the color of the metal studs at his wrists-“I spent most of last night on the couch. Until one point early this morning, when I heard you call my name. You were crying in your sleep.” The salt water I’d tasted on my lips. Not due to rain from a violent hurricane, but from the tears I’d shed, watching him die in front of me. “Oh,” I said uncomfortably. “John, I’m so-“ It turned out he wasn’t finished. “I put my arms around you to try to comfort you, because I know what this place can be like, at least at first. It’s not exactly hell, but it’s the next closest place to it. You wouldn’t let go of me. You held on to me like you were drowning, and I was your only lifeline.” I swallowed, astonished at how close he’d come to describing my dream…except it had been the other way around. I’d been his lifeline; only he’d let go of me, sacrificing himself so that I could live. “Right,” I said. “Of course. I’m sorry.” I couldn’t believe how stupid I’d been, especially since my mother had always worried so much about my talking in my sleep. On the other hand, I had been upfront with him about my lack of experience when it came to men. “But this is good, see?” I reached out to take his hand. “I told you I could never hate you-“ He pulled his hand away, exactly like in my dream. Well, not exactly, because he wasn’t being sucked from my grasp by a giant ocean swell. Instead, he’d dropped my fingers because he was leaving to go sort the souls of the dead. “You will,” he assured me, bitterly. “You’re already regretting your decision to-what was it you called it? Oh, right-cohabitate with me.” “No,” I insisted. “I’m not. All I said was that I want to take things more slowly-“ That had nothing to do with him-it had to do with me and my fear of not being able to control myself when he was kissing me. It was too humiliating to admit that out loud, however.
Meg Cabot (Underworld (Abandon, #2))
Don't you know that the less you tell someone, the more they want to know? You're better off to make something up than to say nothing at all." "I'm the youngest of twelve children of two South African missionaries," he said with such ease,she very nearly believed him. "When I was six,I wandered into the jungle and was taken in by a pride of lions.I still have a pechant for zebra meat.Then when I was eightteen,I was captured by hunters and sold to a circus.For five years I was the star of the sideshow." "The Lion Boy," Gennie put in. "Naturally.One night during a storm the tent caught fire.In the confusion I escaped.Living off the land, I wandered the country-stealing a few chickens now and again.Eventually an old hermit took me in after I'd saved him from a grizzly." "With your bare hands," Gennie added. "I'm telling the story," he reminded her. "He taught me to read and write. On his deathbead he told me where he'd buried his life savings-a quarter million in gold bullion. After giving him the Viking funeral he'd requested, I had to decide whether to be a stockbroker or go back to the wilderness." "So you decided against Wall Street, came here, and began to collect stamps." "That's about it." "Well," Gennie said after a moment. "With a boring story like that, I can see why you keep it to yourself." "You asked," Grant pointed out. "You might have made something up." "No imagination." She laughed then and leaned her head on his shoulder. "No,I can see you have a very literal mind.
Nora Roberts (The MacGregors: Alan & Grant (The MacGregors, #3-4))
At first there was nothing - a profound blue darkness running running deep, laced by skeins of starlight and pale phosphorescent flashes. This four o-clock hour was a moment of utter silence, the indrawn breath of dark, the absolute, trance-like balance between night and day. Then, when it seemed that nothing would ever move or live or know the light again, a hot wind would run over the invisible water. It was like a fore-blast of the turning world, an intimation that its rocks and seas and surfaces still stirred against the sun. One strained one's eyes, scarce breathing, searching for a sign. Presently it came. Far in the east at last the horizon hardened, an imperceptible line dividing sky and sea, sharp as a diamond cut on glass. A dark bubble of cloud revealed itself, warmed slowly, flushing from within like a seed growing, a kernel ripening, a clinker hot with locked-in fire. Gradually the cloud throbbed red with light, then suddenly caught the still unrisen sun and burst like an expanding bomb. Flares and streamers began to fall into the sea, setting all things on fire. After the long unthinking darkness everything now began to happen at once. The stars snapped shut, the sky bled green, vermillion tides ran over the water, the hills around took on the colour of firebrick, and the great sun drew himself at last raw and dripping from the waves. Scarlet, purple, and clinker-blue, the morning, smelling of thyme and goats, of charcoal, splintered rock and man's long sojourn around this lake
Laurie Lee (A Rose for Winter)
Then I saw the keyboard of an organ which filled one whole side of the walls. On the desk was a music-book covered with red notes. I asked leave to look at it and read, ‘Don Juan Triumphant.’ ‘Yes,’ he said, 'I compose sometimes.’ I began that work twenty years ago. When I have finished, I shall take it away with me in that coffin and never wake up again.’ 'You must work at it as seldom as you can,’ I said. He replied, 'I sometimes work at it for fourteen days and nights together, during which I live on music only, and then I rest for years at a time.’ 'Will you play me something out of your Don Juan Triumphant?’ I asked, thinking to please him. 'You must never ask me that,’ he said, in a gloomy voice. 'I will play you Mozart, if you like, which will only make you weep; but my Don Juan, Christine, burns; and yet he is not struck by fire from Heaven.’ Thereupon we returned to the drawing-room. I noticed that there was no mirror in the whole apartment. I was going to remark upon this, but Erik had already sat down to the piano. He said, 'You see, Christine, there is some music that is so terrible that it consumes all those who approach it. Fortunately, you have not come to that music yet, for you would lose all your pretty coloring and nobody would know you when you returned to Paris. Let us sing something from the Opera, Christine Daae.’ He spoke these last words as though he were flinging an insult at me.” “What did you do?” “I had no time to think about the meaning he put into his words. We at once began the duet in Othello and already the catastrophe was upon us. I sang Desdemona with a despair, a terror which I had never displayed before. As for him, his voice thundered forth his revengeful soul at every note. Love, jealousy, hatred, burst out around us in harrowing cries. Erik’s black mask made me think of the natural mask of the Moor of Venice. He was Othello himself. Suddenly, I felt a need to see beneath the mask. I wanted to know the FACE of the voice, and, with a movement which I was utterly unable to control, swiftly my fingers tore away the mask. Oh, horror, horror, horror!” Christine stopped, at the thought of the vision that had scared her, while the echoes of the night, which had repeated the name of Erik, now thrice moaned the cry: “Horror! … Horror! … Horror!
Gaston Leroux (The Phantom of the Opera)
[From Sid Vicious's letter to Nancy Spungen's mother Deborah] P.S. Thank you, Debbie, for understanding that I have to die. Everyone else just thinks that I'm being weak. All I can say is that they never loved anyone as passionately as I love Nancy. I always felt unworthy to be loved by someone so beautiful as her. Everything we did was beautiful. At the climax of our lovemaking, I just used to break down and cry. It was so beautiful it was almost unbearable. It makes me mad when people say you must have really loved her.' So they think that I don't still love her? At least when I die, we will be together again. I feel like a lost child, so alone. The nights are the worst. I used to hold Nancy close to me all night so that she wouldn't have nightmares and I just can't sleep without my my beautiful baby in my arms. So warm and gentle and vulnerable. No one should expect me to live without her. She was a part of me. My heart. Debbie, please come and see me. You are the only person who knows what I am going through. If you don’t want to, could you please phone me again, and write. I love you. I was staggered by Sid's letter. The depth of his emotion, his sensitivity and intelligence were far greater than I could have imagined. Here he was, her accused murderer, and he was reaching out to me, professing his love for me. His anguish was my anguish. He was feeling my loss, my pain - so much so that he was evidently contemplating suicide. He felt that I would understand that. Why had he said that? I fought my sympathetic reaction to his letter. I could not respond to it, could not be drawn into his life. He had told the police he had murdered my daughter. Maybe he had loved her. Maybe she had loved him. I couldn't become involved with him. I was in too much pain. I couldn't share his pain. I hadn't enough strength. I began to stuff the letter back in its envelope when I came upon a separate sheet of paper. I unfolded it. It was the poem he'd written about Nancy. NANCY You were my little baby girl And I shared all your fears. Such joy to hold you in my arms And kiss away your tears. But now you’re gone there’s only pain And nothing I can do. And I don’t want to live this life If I can’t live for you. To my beautiful baby girl. Our love will never die. I felt my throat tighten. My eyes burned, and I began to weep on the inside. I was so confused. Here, in a few verses, were the last twenty years of my life. I could have written that poem. The feelings, the pain, were mine. But I hadn't written it. Sid Vicious had written it, the punk monster, the man who had told the police he was 'a dog, a dirty dog.' The man I feared. The man I should have hated, but somehow couldn't.
Deborah Spungen (And I Don't Want to Live This Life: A Mother's Story of Her Daughter's Murder)
FATHER FORGETS W. Livingston Larned Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside. There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor. At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shoulders back!” Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive—and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father! Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped. You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs. Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding—this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years. And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed! It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a boy—a little boy!” I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends & Influence People)
The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago, and the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, was born. Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box. There was a story that the present box had been made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village here. Every year, after the lottery, Mr. Summers began talking again about a new box, but every year the subject was allowed to fade off without anything's being done. The black box grew shabbier each year: by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained. Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter, held the black box securely on the stool until Mr. Summers had stirred the papers thoroughly with his hand. Because so much of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded, Mr. Summers had been successful in having slips of paper substituted for the chips of wood that had been used for generations. Chips of wood, Mr. Summers had argued, had been all very well when the village was tiny, but now that the population was more than three hundred and likely to keep on growing, it was necessary to use something that would fit more easily into he black box. The night before the lottery, Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves made up the slips of paper and put them in the box, and it was then taken to the safe of Mr. Summers' coal company and locked up until Mr. Summers was ready to take it to the square next morning. The rest of the year, the box was put way, sometimes one place, sometimes another; it had spent one year in Mr. Graves's barn and another year underfoot in the post office. and sometimes it was set on a shelf in the Martin grocery and left there.
Shirley Jackson (The Lottery and Other Stories)
I would be unfair to myself if I said I did not try. I did, even if desultorily. But desire is a curious thing. If it does not exist it does not exist and there is nothing you can do to conjure it up. Worse still, as I discovered, when desire begins to sink, like a capsizing ship it takes down a lot with it.   In our case it took down the conversation, the laughter, the sharing, the concern, the dreams and nearly - the most important thing, the most important thing - and nearly the affection too. Soon my sinking desire had taken everything else down with it to the floor of the sea, and only affection remained like the bobbing hand of a drowning man, poised perilously between life and death.   More than once she tried to seize the moment and open up the issue. She did it with a hard face and a soft face; she did it when I was idling on the terrace and when I was in the thick of my works; first thing in the morning and last thing at night.   We need to talk. Yes. Do you want to talk? Sure. What's happening? I don't know. Is there someone else? No. Is it something I did? Oh no. Then what the hell's happening? I don't know. Is there anything you want to talk to me about? I don't know. What do you mean you don't know? I don't know. What do you mean you don't know? I don't know. That's what I mean - I don't know. Toc toc toc.   All the while I tried to save that bobbing hand - of affection - from vanishing. I felt somehow that if it drowned there would not be a single pointer on the wide stormy surface to show me where our great love had once stood. That bobbing hand of affection was a marker, a buoy, holding out the hope that one day we could salvage the sunken ship. If it drowned, our coordinates would be completely lost and we would not know where to even begin looking.   Even in my weird state, it was an image of such desolation that it made my heart lurch wildly.   ***   For a long time, with her immense pride in herself - in us - she did not turn to anyone for help. Not friends, not family. For simply too long she imagined this was a passing phase, but then, as the weeks rolled by, through slow accretion the awful truth began to settle on her. By then she had run through all the plays of a relationship: withdrawal, sulking, anger, seduction, inquisition, affection, threat.   Logic, love, lust. Now the epitaph was beginning to creep up on her. Acceptance. 
Tarun J. Tejpal
Hello." Her mood deflated as if she'd been pricked with a pin. "Alan." "Shelby." She struggled not to be moved by the quiet,serious tone that should never have moved her.She liked men with a laugh in their voice. "Alan, this has to stop." "Does it? It hasn't even started." "Alan-" She tried to remember her decision to be firm. "I mean it. You have to stop sending me things. You're only wasting your time." "I have a bit to spare," he said mildly. "How was your week?" "Busy.Listen,I-" "I missed you." The simple statement threw the rest of her lecture into oblivion. "Alan, don't -" "Everyday," he continued. "Every night. Have you been to Boston, Shelby?" "Uh...yes," she managed, busy fighting off the weakness creeping into her. Helplessly she stared up at the balloons. How could she fight something so insubstantial it floated? "I'd like to take you there in the fall, when it smells of damp leaves and smoke." Shelby told herself her heart was not fluttering. "Alan, I didn't call to talk about Boston.Now,to put it in very simple terms,I want you to stop calling me, I want you to stop dropping by, and -" Her voice began to rise in frustration as she pictured him listening with that patient, serious smile and calm eyes. "I want you to stop sending me balloons and pigs and everything! Is that clear?" "Perfectly.Spend the day with me." Did the man ever stop being patient? She couldn't abide patient men. "For God's sake, Alan!" "We'll call it an experimental outing," he suggested in the same even tone. "Not a date." "No!" she said, barely choking back a laugh. Couldn't abide it, she tried to remember.She preferred the flashy, the freewheeling. "No,no,no!" "Not bureaucratic enough." His voice was so calm,so...so senatorial, she decided, she wanted to scream. But the scream bubbled perilously close to another laugh. "All right, let me think-a standard daytime expedition for furthering amiable relations between opposing clans." "You're trying to be charming again," Shelby muttered. "Am I succeeding?
Nora Roberts (The MacGregors: Alan & Grant (The MacGregors, #3-4))
To look at Montmorency you would imagine that he was an angel sent upon the earth, for some reason withheld from mankind, in the shape of a small fox-terrier. There is a sort of Oh-what-a-wicked-world-this-is-and-how-I-wish-I-could-do-something-to-make-it-better-and-nobler expression about Montmorency that has been known to bring the tears into the eyes of pious old ladies and gentlemen. When first he came to live at my expense, I never thought I should be able to get him to stop long. I used to sit down and look at him, as he sat on the rug and looked up at me, and think: “Oh, that dog will never live. He will be snatched up to the bright skies in a chariot, that is what will happen to him.” But, when I had paid for about a dozen chickens that he had killed; and had dragged him, growling and kicking, by the scruff of his neck, out of a hundred and fourteen street fights; and had had a dead cat brought round for my inspection by an irate female, who called me a murderer; and had been summoned by the man next door but one for having a ferocious dog at large, that had kept him pinned up in his own tool-shed, afraid to venture his nose outside the door for over two hours on a cold night; and had learned that the gardener, unknown to myself, had won thirty shillings by backing him to kill rats against time, then I began to think that maybe they’d let him remain on earth for a bit longer, after all. To hang about a stable, and collect a gang of the most disreputable dogs to be found in the town, and lead them out to march round the slums to fight other disreputable dogs, is Montmorency’s idea of “life;” and so, as I before observed, he gave to the suggestion of inns, and pubs., and hotels his most emphatic approbation.
Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog)
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))
I’m spending until dawn with you,” I said firmly. “Don’t bother to argue.” “God forbid,” said Jesse, solemn. I pushed past him into the cottage. He’d been waiting up for me, I could tell. There was a book spread facedown upon the table, a pair of lamps lit beside it. “I thought you said you were resting tonight. “Aye. I was. But then it occurred to me that the bed wasn’t nearly so comfortable without you. So I got up and hoped.” I crossed my arms over my chest and dug my toes into the soft nap of the rug. The cottage had been built within a protective circle of birches; even during the heat of the day, it was never very warm. “You hoped for me?” I asked, uncertain. Jesse came close, put his arms around me, and buried his face in my hair. “As always. As ever.” “And I came,” I whispered, closing my eyes, breathing him. The ache behind my forehead began to unbind. “And you came,” he agreed. And he summoned the magic that was all his own, beyond stars and starfire. A magic of mortal lips and hands, of bristly new whiskers scraping my chin, of melting kisses that made the whiskers unimportant. Our bodies entwined, or hearts. Our lives. I think that was the night a very quiet, very powerful part of me began to comprehend how it was going to be. I think the part of me that was magic, that had broken away from the practical earth to slip along Jesse’s celestial family of stars, to allow them to bind me in their spell… That part of me knew.
Shana Abe (The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark, #1))
1:315-316 WHITE-BIRD SENTENCES In my dream large white birds, larger than geese, were flying. As they flew, they were praising. I understood the bird-language. One was saying, I praise you in all circumstances, and another was saying the same in other words, and another in yet other phrasing, but I could not remember what I should say. I interpret this dream to be telling me to be continuously grateful, no matter what, in my waking life, and also to remember that there are a hundred thousand ways to praise. These white-bird sentences begin in nonexistence, where creation makes entity from nonentity. What flows through us as praise comes from where Moses and Jesus are standing with the other friends of God. Another night in the state between waking and sleep I saw a gazelle coming toward me with an open mouth. It put my whole head in its mouth and turned its lips in arcs around my forehead and chin and the sides of my head. The gazelle-maw got larger and larger. It could have swallowed my whole body. About to lose consciousness, I began to chant, No power but yours, no power but yours.... The strange malevolence that was trying to devour me went away. Peace came. Now I know how epileptics feel. In another dream I was eating salty food. My gums became brackish. I woke with a salt taste in my mouth. Events happen here that no one records. Universes overlap. We are led in ways we will never understand. It should not surprise anyone when the angel Gabriel comes and take Muhammad away in an instant. Someone asked, If the commands of God are preeminent, then what choice do we really have in life? Between the words preeminent and commands lies a great mystery. The divine essence is not like anything, nor can we examine it or its effects. Try to trace to a source just one thing that has ever come to you. Now imagine you are blind from birth and that you have never seen this world or recognized any of its meanings.
Bahauddin (The Drowned Book: Ecstatic and Earthy Reflections of the Father of Rumi)
But this is something quite new!" said Mrs. Munt, who collected new ideas as a squirrel collects nuts, and was especially attracted by those that are portable. "New for me; sensible people have acknowledged it for years. You and I and the Wilcoxes stand upon money as upon islands. It is so firm beneath our feet that we forget its very existence. It's only when we see someone near us tottering that we realize all that an independent income means. Last night, when we were talking up here round the fire, I began to think that the very soul of the world is economic, and that the lowest abyss is not the absence of love, but the absence of coin." "I call that rather cynical." "So do I. But Helen and I, we ought to remember, when we are tempted to criticize others, that we are standing on these islands, and that most of the others are down below the surface of the sea. The poor cannot always reach those whom they want to love, and they can hardly ever escape from those whom they love no longer. We rich can. Imagine the tragedy last June if Helen and Paul Wilcox had been poor people and could not invoke railways and motor-cars to part them." "That's more like Socialism," said Mrs. Munt suspiciously. "Call it what you like. I call it going through life with one's hand spread open on the table. I'm tired of these rich people who pretend to be poor, and think it shows a nice mind to ignore the piles of money that keep their feet above the waves. I stand each year upon six hundred pounds, and Helen upon the same, and Tibby will stand upon eight, and as fast as our pounds crumble away into the sea they are renewed—from the sea, yes, from the sea. And all our thoughts are the thoughts of six-hundred-pounders, and all our speeches; and because we don't want to steal umbrellas ourselves, we forget that below the sea people do want to steal them, and do steal them sometimes, and that what's a joke up here is down there reality—
E.M. Forster (Howards End)
She was swamped by a feeling of utter hopelessness as she waited for him to destroy her with a few caustic words. But he continued to watch her silently, his face unreadable. It seemed almost as if he were waiting for some cue from her. The dilemma lasted for several seconds, until Sara solved it by bursting into tears. She jerked her hands up to her face, blotting her streaming eyes. "I'm so sorry," she gasped. Suddenly he was next to her, touching her shoulders and arms lightly and then jerking his hands back as if burned. "No, don't. Don't. You're all right now." Gingerly he reached out to pat her back. "Don'y cry. Everything's fine. Bloody hell. Don't do that." As she continued to weep, Derek hovered over her in baffled dismay. He excelled at seducing women, charming and deceiving them, breaking down their defenses... everything but comforting them. No one had ever required it of him. "There, now," he muttered, as he had heard Lily Raiford say a thousand times to her crying children. "There, now." Suddenly she was leaning on him, her small head testing at the center of his chest. The long skeins of her hair draped everywhere, entangling him in a fine russet web. Alarmed, he lifted his hands to ease her away. Instead his arms slid around her until she was pressed against him length to length. "Miss Fielding," he said with great effort. "Sara..." She nestled deeper against him, muffling her gulping sobs in his shirtfront. Derek swore and furtively pressed his lips to the top of her head. He concentrated on the chilly night air, but his loins began to throb with an all-too-familiar pain. It was impossible to stay indifferent to the feel of her body molded to his. He was a bloody charlatan... no gentleman, no chivalrous comforter of women, only a scoundrel filled with raw desire. He smoothed his hand over her hair and urged her head into his shoulder until she was in danger of being smothered. "It's all right," he said gruffly. "Everything's fine now. Don't cry anymore.
Lisa Kleypas (Dreaming of You (The Gamblers of Craven's, #2))
Whatever any of us may have thought about Hatsumomo, she was like an empress in our okiya since she earned the income be which we all lived. And being an empress she would have been very displeased, upon returning late at night, to find her palace dark and all the servants asleep. That is to say, when she came home too drunk to unbutton her socks, someone had to unbutton them for her; and if she felt hungry, she certainly wasn't going to stroll into the kitchen and prepare something by herself--such as an umeboshi ochazuke, which was a favorite snack of hers, made with leftover rice and pickled sour plums, soaked in hot tea. Actually our okiya wasn't at all unusual in this respect. The job of waiting up to bow and welcome the geisha home almost always fell to the most junior of the "cocoons"--as the young geisha-in-training were often called. And from the moment I began taking lessons at the school, the most junior cocoon in our okiya was me. Long before midnight, Pumpkin and the two elderly maids were sound asleep on their futons only a meter or so away on the wood floor of the entrance hall; but I had to go on kneeling there, struggling to stay awake until sometimes as late as two o'clock in the morning. Granny's room was nearby and she slept with her light on and her door opened a crack. The bar of light that fell across my empty futon made me think of a day, not long before Satsu [Chiyo's sister] and I were taken away from our village, when I'd peered into the back room of our house to see my mother asleep there. My father had draped fishing nets across the paper screens to darken the room, but it looked so gloomy I decided to open one of the windows; and when I did, a strip of bright sunlight fell across my mother's futon and showed her hand so pale and bony. To see the yellow lights streaming from Granny's room onto my futon...I had to wonder if my mother was still alive. We ere so much alike, I felt sure I would have known if she'd died; but of course, I'd had no sign one way or the other.
Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha)
Lora, beloved. Lora of the moon and sky. You are a dragon.” Ah, sighed the fiend, swelling with delight inside me, filled with an awful, awful recognition. Ah, ah! AH! “That is enough,” I shouted over them both; rather, I tried to shout, but my voice was so strangled it came more as a gasp. “I don’t know what you’re playing at, but I don’t appreciate your games. I-I came here to tell you to stop pestering me, and leaving me gifts, and smiling at me-“ “You dream of flying,” Jesse said, which cut me off midsentence. “Aye.” He nodded, shadows and gold, tall and warm and much too near. “I know all about it. I know all about you. You have wings at night. You lift as smoke. And you come to me, don’t you? Always to me.” I could not reply. I could barely take a breath. This is a dream, this is all still a dream, it’s just a new part to the dream, that’s all- “It’s why you’re here now, tonight. You’re drawn to me, as fiercely as I am to you. You didn’t even have to follow my song this time. I muted it, didn’t you notice? And you came anyway.” For a long, long moment, I gave up on breathing. For a long, long moment, all I heard was my heartbeat and his, and a gull crying miles away, and the distant thunder of a German bomb exploding on innocent ground. Jesse lifted a hand and placed it on my arm. His palm felt hot against the cotton of my sleeve, his fingers felt firm, and that rush of longing and pleasure that always overtook me at his touch began to build. “Lora,” he whispered again, so quiet it was barely a sound. “Inhale.” And when I did, he bent his head to kiss me.
Shana Abe (The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark, #1))
The breath had become as much a trick as breathing. Things were not dual merely, but multiple. I had become a cage of mirrors reflecting vacuity. But vacuity once stoutly posited I was at home and what is called creation was merely a job of filling up holes. The trolley conveniently carried me about from place to place and in each little side pocket of the great vacuum I dropped a ton of poems to wipe out the idea of annihilation. I had ever before me boundless vistas. I began to live in the vista, like a microscopic speck on the lens of a giant telescope. There was no night in which to rest. It was perpetual starlight on the arid surface of dead planets. Now and then a lake black as marble in which I saw myself walking amidst brilliant orbs of lights. So low hung the stars and so dazzling was the light they shed, that it seemed as if the universe were only about to be born. What rendered the impression stronger was that I was alone; not only were there no animals, no trees, no other beings, but there was not even a blade of grass, not even a dead root. In that violet incandescent light witihout even the suggestion of a shadow motion itself seemed to be absent. It was like a blaze of pure consciousness, thought become God. And God, for the first time in my knowledge, was dean-shaven. I was also clean-shaven, flawless, deadly accurate. I saw my image in the marble black lakes and it was diapered with stars. Stars, stars... like a clout between the eyes and all remembrance fast run out. I was Samson and I was Lackawanna and I was dying as one being in the ecstasy of full consciousness.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Capricorn (Tropic, #2))
She was too compelling to look at directly. Bright like the sun, bright and terrible. Only one other being could look upon her, and that was Death. And so…they became lovers.” He said the word like a caress, like velvet again, and my face began to heat. “Together they forged great and hellish things,” Jesse murmured. “Lightning and waterfalls that churned into clouds off the tip of the world. Chasms so winding deep that daylight never traced their endings. They dreamed through golden days and silvered nights. All the other creatures envied or adored them, because Death and the Elemental were destruction and creation joined as One. In the natural order of things, they should not have been stronger joined. And yet they were.” He shifted, coming closer to me. A hand settled lightly atop my chest, directly over my heart. At our feet the seawater splashed a little, as if disturbed by something rolling over in the dark, distant deep. “Centuries passed, and mankind began to devour the earth, even the wildest places. They had tools to invent and wars to fight and grubby, short lives. Nothing about them dwelled in the magic of the ancient spirits. So although Death, the Great Hunter, prospered as he sieved through their villages, the Elemental, strong as she once was, thinned into a web of gossamer. Human lives simply tore her apart.” His hand was so warm. Warmer than I, warmer than the air, and still just barely touching me. The light behind my lids never lifted, so I knew he wasn’t glowing, but it felt as if he held a tame coal to my skin. It felt like something painless and ablaze, drawing my heart upward into it. “The time had come for them to divide. Like all the rest of her kind, the goddess would cease to exist; she had no other course. So Death and the Elemental severed their joined hearts. For a few generations more, she drifted alone through the last of the sacred places, deserts, and fjords, lands so savage no human had yet desecrated them.” Jesse’s voice dropped to a whisper. Without moving his hand, he bent down, his breath in my ear. “And Death, who had tasted her brightness, who would never cease to crave it-who knew her better than all the collected souls of all mankind’s weeping dead-became her Hunter.” I was hot and strange. I was light and lighter, and curiously my breath came so slow. “Until at last, one starry night beneath the desert moon, she surrendered to him. She allowed him to come to her, to make love to her. To unravel her…” It was happening. He sat next to her and bore witness to her change, her pulse slowing, her skin blanching, the fans of her lashes stark against the contours of her face. He kept his palm there against her chest, up and down with her respiration, and watched the smoke begin to curl around his fingers. “And by his hand, in the bliss of her unraveling, she touched the stars…” Lora’s breath hitched. Her heart skipped-then stopped. If I could take this from you, Jesse thought fiercely. If I could take this one moment away from you and keep the agony for myself- Her eyes opened, went instantly to his. Panic lit her gaze. Then she was gone. His fingers sank to the floor through her empty blouse, and the blue dragon smoke that was all of Eleanore Jones rose into strands above him.
Shana Abe (The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark, #1))
Duroy, who felt light hearted that evening, said with a smile: "You are gloomy to-day, dear master." The poet replied: "I am always so, young man, so will you be in a few years. Life is a hill. As long as one is climbing up one looks towards the summit and is happy, but when one reaches the top one suddenly perceives the descent before one, and its bottom, which is death. One climbs up slowly, but one goes down quickly. At your age a man is happy. He hopes for many things, which, by the way, never come to pass. At mine, one no longer expects anything - but death." Duroy began to laugh: "You make me shudder all over." Norbert de Varenne went on: "No, you do not understand me now, but later on you will remember what I am saying to you at this moment. A day comes, and it comes early for many, when there is an end to mirth, for behind everything one looks at one sees death. You do not even understand the word. At your age it means nothing; at mine it is terrible. Yes, one understands it all at once, one does not know how or why, and then everything in life changes its aspect. For fifteen years I have felt death assail me as if I bore within me some gnawing beast. I have felt myself decaying little by little, month by month, hour by hour, like a house crumbling to ruin. Death has disfigured me so completely that I do not recognize myself. I have no longer anything about me of myself - of the fresh, strong man I was at thirty. I have seen death whiten my black hairs, and with what skillful and spiteful slowness. Death has taken my firm skin, my muscles, my teeth, my whole body of old, only leaving me a despairing soul, soon to be taken too. Every step brings me nearer to death, every movemebt, every breath hastens his odious work. To breathe, sleep, drink, eat, work, dream, everything we do is to die. To live, in short, is to die. Oh, you will realize this. If you stop and think for a moment you will understand. What do you expect? Love? A few more kisses and you will be impotent. Then money? For what? Women? Much fun that will be! In order to eat a lot and grow fat and lie awake at night suffering from gout? And after that? Glory? What use is that when it does not take the form of love? And after that? Death is always the end. I now see death so near that I often want to stretch my arms to push it back. It covers the earth and fills the universe. I see it everywhere. The insects crushed on the path, the falling leaves, the white hair in a friend's head, rend my heart and cry to me, 'Behold it!' It spoils for me all I do, all I see, all that I eat and drink, all that I love; the bright moonlight, the sunrise, the broad ocean, the noble rivers, and the soft summer evening air so sweet to breath." He walked on slowly, dreaming aloud, almost forgetting that he had a listener: "And no one ever returns - never. The model of a statue may be preserved, but my body, my face, my thoughts, my desires will never reappear again. And yet millions of beings will be born with a nose, eyes, forehead, cheeks, and mouth like me, and also a soul like me, without my ever returning, without even anything recognizable of me appearing in these countless different beings. What can we cling to? What can we believe in? All religions are stupid, with their puerile morality and their egotistical promises, monstrously absurd. Death alone is certain." "Think of that, young man. Think of it for days, and months and years, and life will seem different to you. Try to get away from all the things that shut you in. Make a superhuman effort to emerge alive from your own body, from your own interests, from your thoughts, from humanity in general, so that your eyes may be turned in the opposite direction. Then you understand how unimportant is the quarrel between Romanticism and Realism, or the Budget debates.
Guy de Maupassant
What did I do now?” He reluctantly pulled the car the curb. I needed to get out of this car – like now. I couldn’t breathe. I unbuckled and flung open the door. “Thanks for the ride. Bye.” I slammed the door shut and began down the sidewalk. Behind me, I heard the engine turn off and his door open and shut. I quickened my stride as James jogged up to me. I slowed down knowing I couldn’t escape his long legs anyway. Plus, I didn’t want to get home all sweaty and have to explain myself. “What happened?” James asked, matching my pace. “Leave me alone!” I snapped back. I felt his hand grab my elbow, halting me easily. “Stop,” he ordered. Damn it, he’s strong! “What are you pissed about now?” He towered over me. I was trapped in front of him, if he tugged a bit, I’d be in his embrace. “It’s so funny huh? I’m that bad? I’m a clown, I’m so funny!” I jerked my arm, trying to break free of his grip. “Let me go!” “No!” He squeezed tighter, pulling me closer. “Leave me alone!” I spit the words like venom, pulling my arm with all my might. “What’s your problem?” James demanded loudly. His hand tightened on my arm with each attempt to pull away. My energy was dwindling and I was mentally exhausted. I stopped jerking my arm back, deciding it was pointless because he was too strong; there was no way I could pull my arm back without first kneeing him in the balls. We were alone, standing in the dark of night in a neighborhood that didn’t see much traffic. “Fireball?” he murmured softly. “What?” I replied quietly, defeated. Hesitantly, he asked, “Did I say something to make you sad?” I wasn’t going to mention the boyfriend thing; there was no way. “Yes,” I whimpered. That’s just great, way to sound strong there, now he’ll have no reason not to pity you! “I’m sorry,” came his quiet reply. Well maybe ‘I’m sorry’ just isn’t good enough. The damage is already done! “Whatever.” “What can I do to make it all better?” “There’s nothing you could–” I began but was interrupted by him pulling me against his body. His arms encircled my waist, holding me tight. My arms instinctively bent upwards, hands firmly planted against his solid chest. Any resentment I had swiftly melted away as something brand new took its place: pleasure. Jesus! “What do you think you’re doing?” I asked him softly; his face was only a few inches from mine. “What do you think you’re doing?” James asked back, looking down at my hands on his chest. I slowly slid my arms up around his neck. I can’t believe I just did that! “That’s better.” Our bodies were plastered against one another; I felt a new kind of nervousness touch every single inch of my body, it prickled electrically. “James,” I murmured softly. “Fireball,” he whispered back. “What do you think you’re doing?” I repeated; my brain felt frozen. My heart had stopped beating a mile a minute instead issuing slow, heavy beats. James uncurled one of his arms from my waist and trailed it along my back to the base of my neck, holding it firmly yet delicately. Blood rushed to the very spot he was holding, heat filled my eyes as I stared at him. “What are you doing?” My bewilderment was audible in the hush. I wasn’t sure I had the capacity to speak anymore. That function had fled along with the bitch. Her replacement was a delicate flower that yearned to be touched and taken care of. I felt his hand shift on my neck, ever so slightly, causing my head to tilt up to him. Slowly, inch by inch, his face descended on mine, stopping just a breath away from my trembling lips. I wanted it. Badly. My lips parted a fraction, letting a thread of air escape. “Can I?” His breath was warm on my lips. Fuck it! “Yeah,” I whispered back. He closed the distance until his lush lips covered mine. My first kiss…damn! His lips moved softly over mine. I felt his grip on my neck squeeze as his lips pressed deeper into
Sarah Tork (Young Annabelle (Y.A #1))
They were living to themselves: self, with its hopes, and promises, and dreams, still had hold of them; but the Lord began to fulfill their prayers. They had asked for contrition, and He sent them sorrow; they had asked for purity, and He sent them thrilling anguish; they had asked to be meek, and He had broken their hearts; they has asked to be dead to the world, and He slew all their living hopes; they had asked to be made like unto Him, and He placed them in the furnace, sitting by "as a refiner of silver," till they should reflect His image; they had asked to lay hold of His cross, and when He had reached it out to them, it lacerated their hands. They had asked they knew not what, nor how; but He had taken them at their word, and granted them all their petitions. They were hardly willing to follow so far, or to draw so nigh to Him. They had upon them an awe and fear, as Jacob at Bethel, or Eliphaz in the night visions, or as the apostles when they thought they had seen the spirit, and knew not that it was Jesus. They could almost pray Him to depart from them, or to hide His awefulness. They found it easier to obey than to suffer--to do than to give up--to bear the cross than to hang upon it: but they cannot go back, for they have come too near the unseen cross, and its virtues have pierced too deeply within them. He is fulfilling to them his promise, "And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me. But now, at last, their turn is come. Before, they had only heard of the mystery, but now they feel it. He has fastened on them His look of love, as He did on Mary and Peter, and they cannot but choose to follow. Little by little, from time to time, by flitting gleams the mystery of His cross shines upon them. They behold Him lifted up--they gaze upon the glory which rays forth from the wound of His holy passion; and as they gaze, they advance, and are changed into His likeness, and His name shines out through them, for he dwells in them. They live alone with Him above, in unspeakable fellowship; willing to lack what others own, and to be unlike all, so that they are only like him. "Such are they in all ages who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. Had they chosen for themselves, or their friends chosen for them, they would have chosen otherwise. They would have been brighter here, but less glorious in His kingdom. They would have had Lot's portion, not Abraham's. If they had halted anywhere--if He had taken off His hand, and let them stray back--what would they have lost? What forfeits in the morning of the resurrection? But He stayed them up, even against themselves. Many a time their foot had well-nigh slipped; but He, in mercy, held them up; now, even in this life, they know all he did was done well. It was good for them to suffer here, for they shall reign hereafter--to bear the cross below, for they shall wear the crown above; and that not their will but His was done on them.
Elizabeth Payson Prentiss
In 1917 I went to Russia. I was sent to prevent the Bolshevik Revolution and to keep Russia in the war. The reader will know that my efforts did not meet with success. I went to Petrograd from Vladivostok, .One day, on the way through Siberia, the train stopped at some station and the passengers as usual got out, some to fetch water to make tea, some to buy food and others to stretch their legs. A blind soldier was sitting on a bench. Other soldiers sat beside him and more stood behind. There were from twenty to thirty.Their uniforms were torn and stained. The blind soldier, a big vigorous fellow, was quite young. On his cheeks was the soft, pale down of a beard that has never been shaved. I daresay he wasn't eighteen. He had a broad face, with flat, wide features, and on his forehead was a great scar of the wound that had lost him his sight. His closed eyes gave him a strangely vacant look. He began to sing. His voice was strong and sweet. He accompanied himself on an accordion. The train waited and he sang song after song. I could not understand his words, but through his singing, wild and melancholy, I seemed to hear the cry of the oppressed: I felt the lonely steppes and the interminable forests, the flow of the broad Russian rivers and all the toil of the countryside, the ploughing of the land and the reaping of the wild corn, the sighing of the wind in the birch trees, the long months of dark winter; and then the dancing of the women in the villages and the youths bathing in shallow streams on summer evenings; I felt the horror of war, the bitter nights in the trenches, the long marches on muddy roads, the battlefield with its terror and anguish and death. It was horrible and deeply moving. A cap lay at the singer's feet and the passengers filled it full of money; the same emotion had seized them all, of boundless compassion and of vague horror, for there was something in that blind, scarred face that was terrifying; you felt that this was a being apart, sundered from the joy of this enchanting world. He did not seem quite human. The soldiers stood silent and hostile. Their attitude seemed to claim as a right the alms of the travelling herd. There was a disdainful anger on their side and unmeasurable pity on ours; but no glimmering of a sense that there was but one way to compensate that helpless man for all his pain.
W. Somerset Maugham
That was the night he got up and went to the boys' division; perhaps he was looking for his history in the big room where all the boys slept, but what he found instead was Dr. Larch kissing every boy a late good night. Homer imagined then that Dr. Larch had kissed him like that, when he'd been small; Homer could not have imagined how those kisses, even now, were still kisses meant for him. They were kisses seeking Homer Wells. That was the same night that he saw the lynx on the barren, unplanted hillside—glazed with snow that had thawed and then refrozen into a thick crust. Homer had stepped outside for just a minute; after witnessing the kisses, he desired the bracing air. It was a Canada lynx—a dark, gunmetal gray against the lighter gray of the moonlit snow, its wildcat stench so strong Homer gagged to srnell the thing. Its wildcat sense was keen enough to keep it treading within a single leap's distance of the safety of the woods. The lynx was crossing the brow of the hill when it began to slide; its claws couldn't grip the crust of the snow, and the hill had suddenly grown steeper. The cat moved from the dull moonlight into the sharper light from Nurse Angela's office window; it could not help its sideways descent. It traveled closer to the orphanage than it would ever have chosen to come, its ferocious death smell clashing with the freezing cold. The lynx's helplessness on the ice had rendered its expression both terrified; and resigned; both madness and fatalism were caught in the cat's fierce, yellow eyes and in its involuntary, spitting cough as it slid on, actually bumping against the hospital before its claws could find a purchase on the crusted snow. It spit its rage at Homer Wells, as if Homer had caused its unwilling descent. Its breath had frozen on its chin whiskers and its tufted ears were beaded with ice. The panicked animal tried to dash up the hill; it was less than halfway up when it began to slide down again, drawn toward the orphanage against its will. When it set out from the bottom of the hill a second time, the lynx was panting; it ran diagonally uphill, slipping but catching itself, and slipping again, finally escaping into the softer snow in the woods— nowhere near where it had meant to go; yet the lynx would accept any route of escape from the dark hospital. Homer Wells, staring into the woods after the departed lynx, did not imagine that he would ever leave St. Cloud's more easily.
John Irving (The Cider House Rules)
My Dear Mrs Winter. (I had half a mind when I dipped my pen in the ink, to address you by your old natural Christian name.) The snow lies so deep on the Northern Railway, and the Posts have been so interrupted in consequence, that your charming note arrived here only this morning... I get the heartache again when I read your commission, written in the hand which I find now to be not in the least changed, and yet it is a great pleasure to be entrusted with it, and to have that share in your gentler remembrances which I cannot find it still my privilege to have, without a stirring of the old fancies. ... I am very very sorry you mistrusted me in not writing before your little girl was born; but I hope now you know me better you will teach her, one day, to tell her children, in times to come when they have some interest in wondering about it, that I loved her mother with the most extraordinary earnestness when I was a boy. I have always believed since, and always shall to the last, that there never was such a faithful and devoted poor fellow as I was. Whatever of fancy, romance, energy, passion, aspiration and determination belong to me, I never have separated and never shall separate from the hard hearted little woman - you - whom it is nothing to say I would have died for, with the greatest alacrity! I never can think, and I never seem to observe, that other young people are in such desperate earnest, or set so much, so long, upon one absorbing hope. It is a matter of perfect certainty to me that I began to fight my way out of poverty and obscurity, with one perpetual idea of you. This is so fixed in my knowledge that to the hour when I opened your letter last Friday night, I have never heard anybody addressed by your name or spoken of by your name, without a start. The sound of it has always filled me with a kind of pity and respect for the deep truth that I had, in my silly hobbledehoyhood, to bestow upon one creature who represented the whole world to me. I have never been so good a man since, as I was when you made me wretchedly happy. I shall never be half so good a fellow any more. This is all so strange now, both to think of, and to say, after every change that has come about; but I think, when you ask me to write to you, you are not unprepared for what it is so natural to me to recall, and will not be displeased to read it. I fancy, - though you may not have thought in the old time how manfully I loved you - that you may have seen in one of my books a faithful reflection of the passion I had for you, and may have thought that it was something to have been loved so well, and may have seen in little bits of "Dora" touches of your old self sometimes, and a grace here and there that may be revived in your little girls, years hence, for the bewilderment of some other young lover - though he will never be as terribly in earnest as I and David Copperfield were. People used to say to me how pretty all that was, and how fanciful it was, and how elevated it was above the little foolish loves of very young men and women. But they little thought what reason I had to know it was true and nothing more nor less. These are things that I have locked up in my own breast, and that I never thought to bring out any more. But when I find myself writing to you again "all to your self", how can I forbear to let as much light in upon them as will shew you that they are there still! If the most innocent, the most ardent, and the most disinterested days of my life had you for their Sun - as indeed they had - and if I know that the Dream I lived in did me good, refined my heart, and made me patient and persevering, and if the Dream were all of you - as God knows it was - how can I receive a confidence from you, and return it, and make a feint of blotting all this out! ...
Charles Dickens
Thus spoke the Beauty and her voice had a cheerful ring, and her face was aflame with a great rejoicing. She finished her story and began to laugh quietly, but not cheerfully. The Youth bowed down before her and silently kissed her hands, inhaling the languid fragrance of myrrh, aloe and musk which wafted from her body and her fine robes. The Beauty began to speak again. 'There came to me streams of oppressors, because my evil, poisonous beauty bewitches them. I smile at them, they who are doomed to death, and I feel pity for each of them, and some I almost loved, but I gave myself to no one. Each one I gave but one single kiss — and my kisses were innocent as the kisses of a tender sister. And whomsoever I kissed, died.' The soul of the troubled Youth was caught in agony, between two quite irresolvable passions, the terror of death and an inexpressible ecstasy. But love, conquering all, overcoming even the anguish of death's grief, was triumphant once again today. Solemnly stretching out his trembling hands to the tender and terrifying Beauty, the Youth exclaimed, 'If death is in your kiss, o beloved, let me revel in the infinity of death. Cling to me, kiss me, love me, envelop me with the sweet fragrance of your poisonous breath, death after death pour into my body and into my soul before you destroy everything that once was me!' 'You want to! You are not afraid!' exclaimed the Beauty. The face of the Beauty was pale in the rays of the lifeless moon, like a guttering candle, and the lightning in her sad and joyful eyes was trembling and blue. With a trusting movement, tender and passionate, she clung to the Youth and her naked, slender arms were entwined about his neck. 'We shall die together!' she whispered. 'We shall die together. All the poison of my heart is afire and flaming streams are rushing through my veins, and I am all enveloped in some great holocaust.' 'I am aflame!' whispered the Youth, 'I am being consumed in your embraces and you and I are two flaming fires, burning with the immense ecstasy of a poisonous love.' The sad and lifeless moon grew dim and fell in the sky — and the black night came and stood watch. It concealed the secret of love and kisses, fragrant and poisonous, with gloom and solitude. And it listened to the harmonious beating of two hearts growing quieter, and in the frail silence it watched over the final delicate sighs. And so, in the poisonous Garden, having breathed the fragrances which the Beauty breathed, and having drunk the sweetness of her love so tenderly and fatally compassionate, the beautiful Youth died. And on his breast the Beauty died, having delivered her poisonous but fragrant soul up to sweet ecstasies. ("The Poison Garden")
Valery Bryusov (The Silver Age of Russian Culture: An Anthology)
Yet the very smell of food made her stomach oddly unsettled and she set down the bowl of porridge without taking a spoonful. That infuriated Dragon,still watching from the stable. As though the circumstances were not bad enough,a night without sleep had left him even more on edge. It was all he could do not to stomp out into the yard and demand she swallow every bite. After which he would take her in his arms, kiss her lingeringly, beseech her to tell him he could not possibly be wrong to trust her,and generally make a slobbering fool of himself to rival those great dolts Grani and Sleipnir. No,that he would not do. He would instead have a word with the men on the watchtowers, telling them to keep an eye on his wife and leaving them to make of that what they would while he went off to the river, there to immerse himself in blessedly cold water and cast off the shadows of sleeplessness. When he returned, freshly garbed but not having taken time to shave, he found the day unfolding much as usual. People were coming and going about their daily tasks,now that the barn was rebuilt, apparently determined to ignore the fact that the lady of their manor was tied to a punishment post. Not Magda,though. That stalwart passed him with as close to a glare as she would ever come and bustled out to ask Rycca advice about something or other. The sheer ludicrousness of that struck Dragon and he was chuckling when Magda passed by again,which earned him another stern frown. That was the height of levity for the day.Hours passed and nothing happened. Magda came and went,clucking over Rycca's failure to eat and glaring more at Dragon every time she saw him. Several of the other women began to do the same. He took that as an indication that those who had gotten to know Rycca best held her blameless. His venture into Byzantine intrigue of the previous day rankled all the more. He tried not to think about it. The day dragged on. With the stronghold as busy as ever, Dragon told himself no one would be so foolish as to approach Rycca with intent to do her harm. Yet he found excuse after excuse to be in the yard himself.
Josie Litton (Come Back to Me (Viking & Saxon, #3))
FATHER FORGETS W. Livingston Larned Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside. There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor. At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, ‘Goodbye, Daddy!’ and I frowned, and said in reply, ‘Hold your shoulders back!’ Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive – and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father! Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. ‘What is it you want?’ I snapped. You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs. Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding – this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years. And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed! It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: ‘He is nothing but a boy – a little boy!’ I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much. Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness. ‘To know all is to forgive
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
They had shared much of their pasts, most of their fears, and all of their tenuous and fragile hopes, but Deborah had noticed over the years that whenever she mentioned her art, or something on which she was working, a subtle change would come over Carla. Her face would harden almost imperceptibly; her manner would edge toward coolness. Because it was a subtle emotion in a world of erratic oscillations of feeling, of violence, and of lies told by every sense of perception, Deborah had not noticed it in their sick times. But one day the world had cleared enough so that she realised that at any mention of her art, her friend drew back. In their new eagerness for experience and reality, the strange aloofness stood out clearly. [...] She had a dream. In the dream it was winter and night. The sky was thick blue-black and the stars were frozen in it, so that they glimmered. Over the clean white and windswept hills the shadows of snowdrifts drew long. She was walking on the crust of snow, watching the star-glimmer and the snow-glimmer and the cold tear-glimmer in her own eyes. A deep voice said to her, "You know, don't you, that the stars are sound as well as light?" She listened and heard a lullaby made by the voices of the stars, sounding so beautiful together that she began to cry with it. The voice said, "Look out there." She looked toward the horizon. "See, it is a sweep, a curve." Then the voice said, "This night is a curve of darkness and the space beyond it is a curve of human history, with every single life an arch from birth to death. The apex of all of these single curves determines the curve of history and, at last, of man." "I cannot show you yours," the voice said, "but I can show you Carla's. Dig here, deep in the snow. It is buried and frozen - Dig deep." Deborah pushed the snow aside with her hands. It was very cold, but she worked with a great intensity as if there were salvation in it. At last her hand struck something and she tore it up from burial. It was a piece of bone, thick and very strong and curved in a long, high, steady curve. "Is this Carla's life?" she asked. "Her creativity?" "It is bone-deep with her, though buried and frozen." The voice paused a moment and then said, "It's a fine one - a fine solid one!" [...] "Please don't be angry," she said, and then told Carla the dream. [...] She wiped her eyes. "It was only a dream, your dream..." "It's true anyway," Deborah said. "The one place I could never go..." Carla said musing, "...the one hunger I could never admit." When Deborah finished, Furii said, "You always took your art for granted, didn't you? I used to read in the ward reports all the time how you managed to do your drawing in spite of every sort of inconvenience and restriction.
Joanne Greenberg (I Never Promised You a Rose Garden)
Nicolas couldn’t stop looking at her with her head thrown back, her thick, black hair streaming in the wind, her body perfectly balanced as she guided the boat. With her head back, he could see her neck and the outline of her body beneath the shirt, almost as if she wore nothing at all. His body stirred, hardened. Nicolas didn’t bother to fight the reaction. Whatever was between them, the chemistry was apparent and it wasn’t going to go away. He could sit in the boat and admire the flawless perfection of her skin. Imagine the way it would feel beneath his fingertips, his palm. Dahlia’s head suddenly turned and her eyes were on him. Hot Wild. Wary. “Stop touching my breasts.” She lifted her chin, faint color stealing under her skin. He held up his hands in surrender. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” “You know exactly what I’m talking about.” Dahlia’s breasts ached, felt swollen and hot, and deep inside her, a ravenous appetite began to stir. Nicolas was sitting across from her, looking the epitome of the perfect male statue, his features expressionless and his eyes cool, but she felt his hands on her body. Long caresses, his palms cupping her breasts, thumbs stroking her nipples until she shivered in awareness and hunger. “Oh, that.” “Yes, that.” She couldn’t help seeing the rigid length bulging beneath his jeans, and he made no effort to hide it. His unashamed display sent her body into overtime reaction so that she felt a curious throbbing where no throbbing needed to be. She grit her teeth together. “I can still feel you touching me.” He nodded thoughtfully. “I consider myself an innocent victim in this situation,” Nicolas said. “I’ve always had control, in fact I pride myself on self-discipline. You seem to have destroyed it. Permanently.” He wasn’t exactly lying to her. He couldn’t take his eyes or his mind from her body. It was an unexpected pleasure, a gift. He was devouring her with his eyes. With his mind. A part of her, the truly insane part—and Dahlia was beginning to believe there really was one—loved the way he was looking at her. She’d never experienced a man’s complete attention centered on her in a sexual way before. And he wasn’t just any man. He was . . . extraordinary. “Well, stop all the same,” she said, caught between embarrassment and pleasure. “I don’t see why my having a few fantasies should bother you.” “I’m feeling your fantasies. I think you’re projecting just a little too strongly.” His eyebrows shot up. “You mean you can actually feel what I’m thinking? My hands on your body? I thought you were reading my mind.” “I told you I could feel you touching me.” “That’s amazing. Has that ever happened before?” “No, and it better not happen again. Good grief, we’re strangers.” “You slept with me last night,” he pointed out. “Do you sleep with many strangers?” He was teasing her, but the question sent a dark shadow skittering through him.
Christine Feehan (Mind Game (GhostWalkers, #2))
Elizabeth snapped awake in a terrified instant as the door to her bed chamber was flung open near dawn, and Ian stalked into the darkened room. “Do you want to go first, or shall I?” he said tightly, coming to stand at the side of her bed. “What do you mean?” she asked in a trembling voice. “I mean,” he said, “that either you go first and tell me why in hell you suddenly find my company repugnant, or I’ll go first and tell you how I feel when I don’t know where you are or why you want to be there!” “I’ve sent word to you both nights.” “You sent a damned note that arrived long after nightfall both times, informing me that you intended to sleep somewhere else. I want to know why!” He has men beaten like animals, she reminded herself. “Stop shouting at me,” Elizabeth said shakily, getting out of bed and dragging the covers with her to hide herself from him. His brows snapped together in an ominous frown. “Elizabeth?” he asked, reaching for her. “Don’t touch me!” she cried. Bentner’s voice came from the doorway. “Is aught amiss, my lady?” he asked, glaring bravely at Ian. “Get out of here and close that damned door behind you!” Ian snapped furiously. “Leave it open,” Elizabeth said nervously, and the brave butler did exactly as she said. In six long strides Ian was at the door, shoving it closed with a force that sent it crashing into its frame, and Elizabeth began to vibrate with terror. When he turned around and started toward her Elizabeth tried to back away, but she tripped on the coverlet and had to stay where she was. Ian saw the fear in her eyes and stopped short only inches in front of her. His hand lifted, and she winced, but it came to rest on her cheek. “Darling, what is it?” he asked. It was his voice that made her want to weep at his feet, that beautiful baritone voice; and his face-that harsh, handsome face she’d adored. She wanted to beg him to tell her what Robert and Wordsworth had said were lies-all lies. “My life depends on this, Elizabeth. So does yours. Don’t fail us,” Robert had pleaded. Yet, in that moment of weakness she actually considered telling Ian everything she knew and letting him kill her if he wanted to; she would have preferred death to the torment of living with the memory of the lie that had been their lives-to the torment of living without him. “Are you ill?” he asked, frowning and minutely studying her face. Snatching at the excuse he’d offered, she nodded hastily. “Yes. I haven’t been feeling well.” “Is that why you went to London? To see a physician?” She nodded a little wildly, and to her bewildered horror he started to smile-that lazy, tender smile that always made her senses leap. “Are you with child, darling? Is that why you’re acting so strangely?” Elizabeth was silent, trying to debate the wisdom of saying yes or no-she should say no, she realized. He’d hunt her to the ends of the earth if he believed she was carrying his babe. “No! He-the doctor said it is just-just-nerves.” “You’ve been working and playing too hard,” Ian said, looking like the picture of a worried, devoted husband. “You need more rest.” Elizabeth couldn’t bear any more of this-not his feigned tenderness or his concern or the memory of Robert’s battered back. “I’m going to sleep now,” she said in a strangled voice. “Alone,” she added, and his face whitened as if she had slapped him. During his entire adult life Ian had relied almost as much on his intuition as on his intellect, and at that moment he didn’t want to believe in the explanation they were both offering. His wife did not want him in her bed; she recoiled from his touch; she had been away for two consecutive nights; and-more alarming than any of that-guilt and fear were written all over her pale face. “Do you know what a man thinks,” he said in a calm voice that belied the pain streaking through him, “when his wife stays away at night and doesn’t want him in her bed when she does return?
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Erin. “No matter what else has happened, you’re water and your element is welcome in our circle, but we don’t need any negative energy here—this is too important.” I nodded to the spiders. Erin’s gaze followed mine and she gasped. “What the hell is that?” I opened my mouth to evade her question, but my gut stopped me. I met Erin’s blue eyes. “I think it’s what’s left of Neferet. I know it’s evil and it doesn’t belong at our school. Will you help us kick it out?” “Spiders are disgusting,” she began, but her voice faltered as she glanced at Shaunee. She lifted her chin and cleared her throat. “Disgusting things should go.” Resolutely, she walked to Shaunee and paused. “This is my school, too.” I thought Erin’s voice sounded weird and kinda raspy. I hoped that meant that her emotions were unfreezing and that, maybe, she was coming back around to being the kid we used to know. Shaunee held out her hand. Erin took it. “I’m glad you’re here,” I heard Shaunee whisper. Erin said nothing. “Be discreet,” I told her. Erin nodded tightly. “Water, come to me.” I could smell the sea and spring rains. “Make them wet,” she continued. Water beaded the cages and a puddle began to form under them. A fist-sized clump of spiders lost their hold on the metal and splashed into the waiting wetness. “Stevie Rae.” I held my hand out to her. She took mine, then Erin’s, completing the circle. “Earth, come to me,” she said. The scents and sounds of a meadow surrounded us. “Don’t let this pollute our campus.” Ever so slightly, the earth beneath us trembled. More spiders tumbled from the cages and fell into the pooling water, making it churn. Finally, it was my turn. “Spirit, come to me. Support the elements in expelling this Darkness that does not belong at our school.” There was a whooshing sound and all of the spiders dropped from the cages, falling into the waiting pool of water. The water quivered and began to change form, elongating—expanding. I focused, feeling the indwelling of spirit, the element for which I had the greatest affinity, and in my mind I pictured the pool of spiders being thrown out of our campus, like someone had emptied a pot of disgusting toilet water. Keeping that image in mind, I commanded: “Now get out!” “Out!” Damien echoed. “Go!” Shaunee said. “Leave!” Erin said. “Bye-bye now!” Stevie Rae said. Then, just like in my imagination, the pool of spiders lifted up, like they were going to be hurled from the earth. But in the space of a single breath the dark image reformed again into a familiar silhouette—curvaceous, beautiful, deadly. Neferet! Her features weren’t fully formed, but I recognized her and the malicious energy she radiated. “No!” I shouted. “Spirit! Strengthen each of the elements with the power of our love and loyalty! Air! Fire! Water! Earth! I call on thee, so mote it be!” There was a terrible shriek, and the Neferet apparition rushed forward. It surged from our circle, breaking over Erin
P.C. Cast (Revealed (House of Night #11))
They [mountains] are portions of the heart of the earth that have escaped from the dungeon down below, and rushed up and out. For the heart of the earth is a great wallowing mass, not of blood, as in the hearts of men and animals, but of glowing hot melted metals and stones. And as our hearts keep us alive, so that great lump of heat keeps the earth alive: it is a huge power of buried sunlight—that is what it is. Now think: out of that caldron, where all the bubbles would be as big as the Alps if it could get room for its boiling, certain bubbles have bubbled out and escaped—up and away, and there they stand in the cool, cold sky—mountains. Think of the change, and you will no more wonder that there should be something awful about the very look of a mountain: from the darkness—for where the light has nothing to shine upon, it is much the same as darkness—from the heat, from the endless tumult of boiling unrest—up, with a sudden heavenward shoot, into the wind, and the cold, and the starshine, and a cloak of snow that lies like ermine above the blue-green mail of the glaciers; and the great sun, their grandfather, up there in the sky; and their little old cold aunt, the moon, that comes wandering about the house at night; and everlasting stillness, except for the wind that turns the rocks and caverns into a roaring organ for the young archangels that are studying how to let out the pent-up praises of their hearts, and the molten music of the streams, rushing ever from the bosoms of the glaciers fresh-born. Think too of the change in their own substance—no longer molten and soft, heaving and glowing, but hard and shining and cold. Think of the creatures scampering over and burrowing in it, and the birds building their nests upon it, and the trees growing out of its sides, like hair to clothe it, and the lovely grass in the valleys, and the gracious flowers even at the very edge of its armour of ice, like the rich embroidery of the garment below, and the rivers galloping down the valleys in a tumult of white and green! And along with all these, think of the terrible precipices down which the traveller may fall and be lost, and the frightful gulfs of blue air cracked in the glaciers, and the dark profound lakes, covered like little arctic oceans with floating lumps of ice. All this outside the mountain! But the inside, who shall tell what lies there? Caverns of awfullest solitude, their walls miles thick, sparkling with ores of gold or silver, copper or iron, tin or mercury, studded perhaps with precious stones—perhaps a brook, with eyeless fish in it, running, running ceaseless, cold and babbling, through banks crusted with carbuncles and golden topazes, or over a gravel of which some of the stones are rubies and emeralds, perhaps diamonds and sapphires—who can tell?—and whoever can't tell is free to think—all waiting to flash, waiting for millions of ages—ever since the earth flew off from the sun, a great blot of fire, and began to cool. Then there are caverns full of water, numbing cold, fiercely hot—hotter than any boiling water. From some of these the water cannot get out, and from others it runs in channels as the blood in the body: little veins bring it down from the ice above into the great caverns of the mountain's heart, whence the arteries let it out again, gushing in pipes and clefts and ducts of all shapes and kinds, through and through its bulk, until it springs newborn to the light, and rushes down the mountain side in torrents, and down the valleys in rivers—down, down, rejoicing, to the mighty lungs of the world, that is the sea, where it is tossed in storms and cyclones, heaved up in billows, twisted in waterspouts, dashed to mist upon rocks, beaten by millions of tails, and breathed by millions of gills, whence at last, melted into vapour by the sun, it is lifted up pure into the air, and borne by the servant winds back to the mountain tops and the snow, the solid ice, and the molten stream.
George MacDonald (The Princess and Curdie (Princess Irene and Curdie, #2))
I’m really enjoying my solitude after feeling trapped by my family, friends and boyfriend. Just then I feel like making a resolution. A new year began six months ago but I feel like the time for change is now. No more whining about my pathetic life. I am going to change my life this very minute. Feeling as empowered as I felt when I read The Secret, I turn to reenter the hall. I know what I’ll do! Instead of listing all the things I’m going to do from this moment on, I’m going to list all the things I’m never going to do! I’ve always been unconventional (too unconventional if you ask my parents but I’ll save that account for later). I mentally begin to make my list of nevers. -I am never going to marry for money like Natasha just did. -I am never going to doubt my abilities again. -I am never going to… as I try to decide exactly what to resolve I spot an older lady wearing a bright red velvet churidar kurta. Yuck! I immediately know what my next resolution will be; I will never wear velvet. Even if it does become the most fashionable fabric ever (a highly unlikely phenomenon) I am quite enjoying my resolution making and am deciding what to resolve next when I notice Az and Raghav holding hands and smiling at each other. In that moment I know what my biggest resolve should be. -I will never have feelings for my best friend’s boyfriend. Or for any friend’s boyfriend, for that matter. That’s four resolutions down. Six more to go? Why not? It is 2012, after all. If the world really does end this year, at least I’ll go down knowing I completed ten resolutions. I don’t need to look too far to find my next resolution. Standing a few centimetres away, looking extremely uncomfortable as Rags and Az get more oblivious of his existence, is Deepak. -I will never stay in a relationship with someone I don’t love, I vow. Looking for inspiration for my next five resolutions, I try to observe everyone in the room. What catches my eye next is my cousin Mishka giggling uncontrollably while failing miserably at walking in a straight line. Why do people get completely trashed in public? It’s just so embarrassing and totally not worth it when you’re nursing a hangover the next day. I recoil as memories of a not so long ago night come rushing back to me. I still don’t know exactly what happened that night but the fragments that I do remember go something like this; dropping my Blackberry in the loo, picking it up and wiping it with my new Mango dress, falling flat on my face in the middle of the club twice, breaking my Nine West heels, kissing an ugly stranger (Az insists he was a drug dealer but I think she just says that to freak me out) at the bar and throwing up on the Bandra-Worli sea link from Az’s car. -I will never put myself in an embarrassing situation like that again. Ever. I usually vow to never drink so much when I’m lying in bed with a hangover the next day (just like 99% of the world) but this time I’m going to stick to my resolution. What should my next resolution be?
Anjali Kirpalani (Never Say Never)
I like rainbows. We came back down to the meadow near the steaming terrace and sat in the river, just where one of the bigger hot streams poured into the cold water of the Ferris Fork. It is illegal – not to say suicidal – to bathe in any of the thermal features of the park. But when those features empty into the river, at what is called a hot pot, swimming and soaking are perfectly acceptable. So we were soaking off our long walk, talking about our favorite waterfalls, and discussing rainbows when it occurred to us that the moon was full. There wasn’t a hint of foul weather. And if you had a clear sky and a waterfall facing in just the right direction… Over the course of a couple of days we hked back down the canyon to the Boundary Creek Trail and followed it to Dunanda Falls, which is only about eight miles from the ranger station at the entrance to the park. Dunanda is a 150-foot-high plunge facing generally south, so that in the afternoons reliable rainbows dance over the rocks at its base. It is the archetype of all western waterfalls. Dunenda is an Indian name; in Shoshone it means “straight down,” which is a pretty good description of the plunge. ... …We had to walk three miles back toward the ranger station and our assigned campsite. We planned to set up our tents, eat, hang our food, and walk back to Dunanda Falls in the dark, using headlamps. We could be there by ten or eleven. At that time the full moon would clear the east ridge of the downriver canyon and would be shining directly on the fall. Walking at night is never a happy proposition, and this particular evening stroll involved five stream crossings, mostly on old logs, and took a lot longer than we’d anticipated. Still, we beat the moon to the fall. Most of us took up residence in one or another of the hot pots. Presently the moon, like a floodlight, rose over the canyon rim. The falling water took on a silver tinge, and the rock wall, which had looked gold under the sun, was now a slick black so the contrast of water and rock was incomparably stark. The pools below the lip of the fall were glowing, as from within, with a pale blue light. And then it started at the base of the fall: just a diagonal line in the spray that ran from the lower east to the upper west side of the wall. “It’s going to happen,” I told Kara, who was sitting beside me in one of the hot pots. Where falling water hit the rock at the base of the fall and exploded upward in vapor, the light was very bright. It concentrated itself in a shining ball. The diagonal line was above and slowly began to bend until, in the fullness of time (ten minutes, maybe), it formed a perfectly symmetrical bow, shining silver blue under the moon. The color was vaguely electrical. Kara said she could see colors in the moonbow, and when I looked very hard, I thought I could make out a faint line of reddish orange above, and some deep violet at the bottom. Both colors were very pale, flickering, like bad florescent light. In any case, it was exhilarating, the experience of a lifetime: an entirely perfect moonbow, silver and iridescent, all shining and spectral there at the base of Dunanda Falls. The hot pot itself was a luxury, and I considered myself a pretty swell fellow, doing all this for the sanity of city dwellers, who need such things more than anyone else. I even thought of naming the moonbow: Cahill’s Luminescence. Something like that. Otherwise, someone else might take credit for it.
Tim Cahill (Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Park)
You’re the only person who doesn’t see the advantage in such a match.” “That’s because I don’t believe in marriages of convenience. Given your family’s history, I’d think that you wouldn’t either.” She colored. “And why do assume it would be such a thing? Is it so hard to believe that a man might genuinely care for me? That he might actually want to marry me for myself?” “Why would anyone wish to marry the reckless Lady Celia, after all,” she went on in a choked voice, “if not for her fortune or to shore up his reputation?” “I didn’t mean any such thing,” he said sharply. But she’d worked herself up into a fine temper. “Of course you did. You kissed me last night only to make a point, and you couldn’t even bear to kiss me properly again today-“ “Now see here,” he said, grabbing her shoulders. “I didn’t kiss you ‘properly’ today because I was afraid if I did I might not stop.” That seemed to draw her up short. “Wh-What?” Sweet God, he shouldn’t have said that, but he couldn’t let her go on thinking she was some sort of pariah around men. “I knew that if I got his close, and I put my mouth on yours…” But now he was this close. And she was staring up at him with that mix of bewilderment and hurt pride, and he couldn’t help himself. Not anymore. He kissed her, to show her what she seemed blind to. That he wanted her. That even knowing it was wrong and could never work, he wanted to have her. She tore her lips from his. “Mr. Pinter-“ she began in a whisper. “Jackson,” he growled. “Let me hear you say my name.” Backing away from him, she cast him a wounded expression. “Y-you don’t have to pretend-“ “I’m not pretending anything, damn it!” Grabbing her by the sleeves, he dragged her close and kissed her again, with even more heat. How could she not see that he ached to take her? How could she not know what a temptation she was? Her lips intoxicated him, made him light-headed. Made him reckless enough to kiss her so impudently that any other woman of her rank would be insulted. When she pulled away a second time, he expected her to slap him. But all she did was utter a feeble protest. “Please, Mr. Pinter-“ “Jackson,” he ordered in a low, unsteady voice, emboldened by the melting look in her eyes. “Say my Christian name.” Her lush dark lashes lowered as a blush stained her cheeks. “Jackson…” His breath caught in his throat at the intimacy of it, and fire exploded in his brain. She wasn’t pushing him away, so to hell with trying to be a gentleman. He took her mouth savagely this time, plundering every part of its silky warmth as his blood pulsed high in his veins. She tasted of red wine and lemon cake, both tart and sweet at once. He wanted to eat her up. He wanted to take her, right here in this room. So when she pulled out of his arms to back away, he walked after her. She didn’t stop backing away, but neither did she turn tail and run. “Last night you claimed this wouldn’t happen again.” “I know. And yet it has.” Like someone in an opium den, he’d been craving her for months. And how that he’d suddenly had a taste of the very thing he craved, he had to have more. When she came up against the writing table, he caught her about the waist. She turned her head away before he could kiss her, so he settled for burying his face in her neck to nuzzle the tender throat he’d been coveting. With a shiver, she slid her hands up his chest. “Why are you doing this?” “Because I want you,” he admitted, damning himself. “Because I’ve always wanted you.” Then he covered her mouth with his once more.
Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))
Lady Thornton!” the prosecutor rapped out, and he began firing questions at her so rapidly that she could scarcely keep track of them. “Tell us the truth, Lady Thornton. Did that man”-his finger pointed accusingly to where Ian was sitting, out of Elizabeth’s vision-“fid you and bribe you to come back here and tell us this absurd tale? Or did he find you and threaten your life if you didn’t come here today? Isn’t it true that you have no idea where your brother is? Isn’t it true that by your own admission a few moments ago you fled in terror for your life from this cruel man? Isn’t it true that you are afraid of further cruelty from him-“ “No!” Elizabeth cried. Her gaze raced over the male faces around and above her, and she could see not one that looked anything but either dubious or contemptuous of the truths she had told. “No further questions!” “Wait!” In that infinitesimal moment of time Elizabeth realized that if she couldn’t convince them she was telling the truth, she might be able to convince them she was too stupid to make up such a lie. “Yes, my lord,” her voice rang out. “I cannot deny it-about his cruelty, I mean.” Sutherland swung around, his eyes lighting up, and renewed excitement throbbed in the great chamber. “You admit this is a cruel man?” “Yes, I do,” Elizabeth emphatically declared. “My dear, poor woman, could you tell us-all of us-some examples of his cruelty?” “Yes, and when I do, I know you will all understand how truly cruel my husband can be and why I ran off with Robert-my brother, that is.” Madly, she tried to think of half-truths that would not constitute perjury, and she remembered Ian’s words the night he came looking for her at Havenhurst. “Yes, go on.” Everyone in the galleries leaned forward in unison, and Elizabeth had the feeling the whole building was tipping toward her. “When was the last time your husband was cruel?” “Well, just before I left he threatened to cut off my allowance-I had overspent it, and I hated to admit it.” “You were afraid he would beat you for it?” “No, I was afraid he wouldn’t give me more until next quarter!” Someone in the gallery laughed, then the sound was instantly choked. Sutherland started to frown darkly, but Elizabeth plunged ahead. “My husband and I were discussing that very thing-my allowance, I mean-two nights before I ran away with Bobby.” “And did he become abusive during that discussion? Is that the night your maid testified that you were weeping?” “Yes, I believe it was!” “Why were you weeping, Lady Thornton?” The galleries tipped further toward her. “I was in a terrible taking,” Elizabeth said, stating a fact. “I wanted to go away with Bobby. In order to do it, I had to sell my lovely emeralds, which Lord Thornton gave me.” Seized with inspiration, she leaned confiding inches toward the Lord Chancellor upon the woolsack. “I knew he would buy me more, you know.” Startled laughter rang out from the galleries, and it was the encouragement Elizabeth desperately needed. Lord Sutherland, however, wasn’t laughing. He sensed that she was trying to dupe him, but with all the arrogance typical of most of his sex, he could not believe she was smart enough to actually attempt, let alone accomplish it. “I’m supposed to believe you sold your emeralds out of some freakish start-out of a frivolous desire to go off with a man you claim was your brother?” “Goodness, I don’t know what you are supposed to believe. I only know I did it.” “Madam!” he snapped. “You were on the verge of tears, according to the jeweler to whom you sold them. If you were in a frivolous mood, why were you on the verge of tears?” Elizabeth gave him a vacuous look. “I liked my emeralds.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Lady Cameron,” he said, playing his role with elan as he nodded toward Ian. “You recall our friend Lord Thornton, Marquess of Kensington, I hope?” The radiant smile Elizabeth bestowed on Ian was not at all what the dowager had insisted ought to be “polite but impartial.” It wasn’t quite like any smile she’d ever given him. “Of course I remember you, my lord,” Elizabeth said to Ian, graciously offering him her hand. “I believe this waltz is mine,” he said for the benefit of Elizabeth’s avidly interested admirers. He waited until they were near the dancers, then he tried to sound more pleasant. “You seem to be enjoying yourself tonight.” “I am,” she said idly, but when she looked up at his face she saw the coolness in his eyes; with her new understanding of her own feelings, she understood his more easily. A soft, knowing smile touched her lips as the musicians struck up a waltz; it stayed in her heart as Ian’s arm slid around her waist, and his left hand closed around her fingers, engulfing them. Overhead a hundred thousand candles burned in crystal chandeliers, but Elizabeth was back in a moonlit arbor long ago. Then as now, Ian moved to the music with effortless ease. That lovely waltz had begun something that had ended wrong, terribly wrong. Now, as she danced in his arms, she could make this waltz end much differently, and she knew it; the knowledge filled her with pride and a twinge of nervousness. She waited, expecting him to say something tender, as he had the last time. “Belhaven’s been devouring you with his eyes all night,” Ian said instead. “So have half the men in this ballroom. For a country that prides itself on its delicate manners, they sure as hell don’t extend to admiring beautiful women.” That, Elizabeth thought with a startled inner smile, was not the opening she’d been waiting for. With his current mood, Elizabeth realized, she was going to have to make her own opening. Lifting her eyes to his enigmatic golden ones, she said quietly, “Ian, have you ever wanted something very badly-something that was within your grasp-and yet you were afraid to reach out for it?” Surprised by her grave question and her use of his name, Ian tried to ignore the jealousy that had been eating at him all night. “No,” he said, scrupulously keeping the curtness from his voice as he gazed down at her alluring face. “Why do you ask? Is there something you want?” Her gaze fell from his, and she nodded at his frilled white shirtfront. “What is it you want?” “You.” Ian’s breath froze in his chest, and he stared down at her lustrous hair. “What did you just say?” She raised her eyes to his. “I said I want you, only I’m afraid that I-“ Ian’s heart slammed into his chest, and his fingers dug reflexively into her back, starting to pull her to him. “Elizabeth,” he said in a strained voice, glancing a little wildly at their avidly curious audience and resisting the impossible impulse to take her out onto the balcony, “why in God’s name would you say a thing like that to me when we’re in the middle of a damned dance floor in a crowded ballroom?” Her radiant smile widened. “I thought it seemed like exactly the right place,” she told him, watching his eyes darken with desire. “Because it’s safer?” Ian asked in disbelief, meaning safer from his ardent reaction. “No, because this is how it all began two years ago. We were in the arbor, and a waltz was playing,” she reminded him needlessly. “And you came up behind me and said, ‘Dance with me, Elizabeth.’ And-and I did,” she said, her voice trailing off at the odd expression darkening his eyes. “Remember?” she added shakily when he said absolutely nothing. His gaze held hers, and his voice was tender and rough. “Love me, Elizabeth.” Elizabeth felt a tremor run through her entire body, but she looked at him without flinching. “I do.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))