In moments Akiva was up in the ether, scarcely feeling the sting of ice crystals in the thin air. He let his glamour fall away, and his wings were like sheets of fire sweeping the black of the heavens. He moved at speed, onward toward another human city to find another doorway bitter with the devil's magic, and after that another, until all bore the black handprint....Once all the doors were marked, the end would begin. And it would begin with fire.
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Hazael rose from his knees. It had to take extraordinary effort, yet somehow he managed a version of his lazy smile when he said, "You know, I've always wanted to be a bath attendant. You should take me instead. I'm nicer than my sister." Jael returned the lazy smile. "You're not my type." "Well, you're not anybody's type," said Hazael. "No, wait. I take it back. My sword says she'd like to know you better." "I'm afraid I must deny her the pleasure. I've been kissed by swords before, you see." "I may have noticed.
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Heavily and hypnotically,with her soul flattening itself back like the ears of a hissing cat,Kizzy leaned in and drank of Jack Husk's full,moist mouth,and his red,red lips were hungry against hers,drinking her in return.Their eyes closed.Fingers clutched at collars and hair,at the picnic blanket,at the grass.And as they sank down,pinning their shadows beneath them,the horizon tipped on its side,and slowly,thickly,hour by hour,the day spilled out and ebbed away. It was Kizzy's first kiss, and maybe it was her last, and it was delicious.
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Have you ever asked yourself,do monsters make war, or does war make monsters? I've seen things, angel. There are guerrilla armies that make little boys kill thier own families. Such acts rip out the soul and make space for beasts to grow inside. Armies need beasts, don't they? Pet beasts, to do their terrible work! And the worst part is, it's almost impossible to retrieve a soul that has been ripped away. Almost." He gave Akiva a keen look."But it can be done, if ever...if ever you decide to go looking for yours."___Izil
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This, she thought, isn't just for today. It's for everything. For the heartache that still felt like a punch in the gut each time it struck, fresh as new, at unpredictable moments; for the smiling lies and the mental images she couldn't shake; for the shame of having been so naive. For the way loneliness is worse when you return to it after a reprieve""like the soul's version of putting on a wet bathing suit, clammy and miserable.
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It wasn't like in the storybooks. No witches lurked at crossroads disguised as crones, waiting to reward travelers who shared their bread. Genies didn't burst from lamps, and talking fish didn't bargain for their lives. In all the world, there was only one place humans could get wishes: Brimstone's shop. And there was only one currency he accepted. It wasn't gold, or riddles, or kindness, or any other fairy-tale nonsense, and no, it wasn't souls, either. It was weirder than any of that. It was teeth.
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Some would assert that Providence was at work shaking out its pockets in Humanity's lap. Other would argue for that mindless choreographer, Chance. Either way it was a simple thing: a lost diary fell into the hands of a soul-sick war hero on a train from Bombay to Jaipur just when he'd grown tired of the scenery and needed something to keep his thoughts from the minefield of his wretched thoughts. In such mild ways is the groundwork laid for first kisses and ruined lives.
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My phone buzzes. It's from Karou: a list of conversation openers that I won't be needing. ""a) Hi. I'm Zuzana. I'm actually a marionette brought to life by the Blue Fairy, and the only way I can gain a soul is if a human falls in love with me. Help a puppet out? ""b) Hi. I'm Zuzana. The touch of my lips imparts immortality. Just sayin'. ""c) Hi. I'm Zuzana. I think I might like you.
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Beautiful men and women with distorted shadows came and scorched their handprints onto doors before vanishing skyward, drafts of heat billowing behind them with the whumph of unseen wings. Here and there, feathers fell, and they were like tufts of white fire, disintegrating to ash as soon as they touched the ground.
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His hope was like an intake of icy air-it hurt-and just as sharp and sudden was his jealousy. In an instant he was hot and cold with it, his hands clenching into fists so tight they burned. A flare of adrenaline coursed through him and left him shaking, and it wasn't her. It wasn't her, and for the fleeting flash of an instant, he felt relief. Followed by crushing disappointment and self-loathing for what his reaction had been.
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The dead, " she said. "And we have plenty of dead between us, but the way we act, you'd think they were corpses handing on to our ankles, rather than souls freed to the elements."... "they're gone, they can't be hurt anymore, but we drag their memory around with us, doing our worst in their name, like it's what they'd want, for us to avenge them?
The door opened. She looked in the mirror and suppressed a curse. Slipping in behind some tourists, that winged shadow was back again. Karou rose and made for the bathroom, where she took the note that Kishmish had come to deliver. Again it bore a single word. But this time the word was Please.