That's just the kind of thing that kids do to each other. It's no big deal. There's always going to be a person laughing and somebody getting laughed at. It happens every day, in every school, in every town in America""probably in the world, for all I know. The whole point of growing up is learning to stay on the laughing side.
It's the rule of the wilds. You must be bigger, and stronger, and tougher. A coldness radiates through me, a solid wall that is growing, piece by piece, in my chest. He doesn't love me. He never loved me. It was all a lie. "The old Lena is dead." I say, and then push past him. Each step is more difficult than the last; the heaviness fills me and turns my limbs to stone. You must hurt or be hurt.
rule quoteswilds quotesbigger quotesstronger quotestougher quotescoldness quotesradiates quotessolid quoteswall quotesgrowing quotespiece quotespiece quoteschest quoteslove quotesloved quoteslie quoteslena quotesdead quotespush quotespast quotesstep quotesdifficult quotesheaviness quotesfills quotesturns quoteslimbs quotesstone quoteshurt quoteshurt quotes
But that's the beauty of life: time is yours to keep and to change. Just a few minutes can be sufficient to carve a new road, a new track. Just a few minutes, and the void is kept at bay. You will live forever with that new road inside of you, stretching away to a place suggested, barely, on the horizon. For the shortest time, shorter than the shortest second's breath, you get to stand up to infinity. But eventually, and always, infinity wins.
beauty quoteslife quotestime quoteschange quotesminutes quotessufficient quotescarve quotesroad quotestrack quotesminutes quotesvoid quotesbay quoteslive quotesforever quotesroad quotesinside quotesstretching quotesplace quotessuggested quotesbarely quoteshorizon quotesshortest quotestime quotesshorter quotesseconds quotesbreath quotesstand quotesinfinity quoteseventually quotesinfinity quoteswins quotes
What does it feel like to be infected?" "I-- I can't describe it." I force the words out. Can't breathe, can't breathe, can't breathe. His skin smells like smoke from a wood fire, like soap, like heaven. I imagine tasting his skin; I imagine biting his lips. "I want to know." His words are a whisper, barely audible. "I want to know with you.
But for now, the future, like the past, means nothing. For now, there is only a homestead built of trash and scraps, at the edge of a broken city, just beyond a towering city dump; and our arrival-hungry, and half-frozen, to a place of food and water and walls that keep out the brutal winds. This, for us, is heaven.
Mama, Mama, help me get home I'm out in the woods, I am out on my own. I found me a werewolf, a nasty old mutt It showed me its teeth and went straight for my gut. Mama, Mama, help me get home I'm out in the woods, I am out on my own. I was stopped by a vampire, a rotting old wreck It showed me its teeth and went straight for my neck. Mama, Mama, put me to bed I won't make it home, I'm already half-dead. I met an Invalid, and fell for his art He showed me his smile, and went straight for my heart. -From "A Child's Walk Home," Nursery Rhymes and Folk Tales
mama quoteshome quoteswoods quotesfound quoteswerewolf quotesnasty quotesmutt quotesshowed quotesteeth quotesstraight quotesgut quotesstopped quotesvampire quotesrotting quoteswreck quotesneck quotesput quotesbed quotesmake quoteshome quoteshalfdead quotesmet quotesinvalid quotesfell quotesart quotessmile quotesheart quoteschilds quoteswalk quoteshome quotesnursery quotesrhymes quotesfolk quotestales quotes
And I have Julian. I found him, and he followed me. I reach out in the half dark, wordlessly, and find his hands. We interlace our fingers, and though he doesn't say anything either, I can feel the warmth and energy passing between us, a soundless dialogue. Thank you, he is saying, and I am saying, I am so happy, I am so happy, I needed you to be safe.
I remember a story I once heard about drowning: that when you fall into cold water it's not that you drown right away but that the cold disorients you and makes you think that down is up and up is down, so you may be swimming, swimming, swimming for your life in the wrong direction, all the way toward the bottom until you sink. That's how I feel, as though everything has been turned around.
Two weeks until your cure" she says finally. "Sixteen days" I say, but in my head I'm counting: Seven days. Seven days until I'm free and away from all these people and their sliding superficial lives brushing past one another gliding, gliding, gliding from life to death. For them there's hardly a change between the two.
It was all very strange, Mr. Gray thought, as he wiped the coffee canister clean with a sponge. Very, very mysterious. You were born; you lived a whole life; and at the end, you wound up in a coffee canister. "Ah, well, " he said out loud quietly. "That's just the way things are. Life's a funny business." Death, he supposed, was the punch line.
strange quotesmr quotesgray quotesthought quoteswiped quotescoffee quotescanister quotesclean quotessponge quotesmysterious quotesborn quoteslived quoteslife quotesend quoteswound quotescanister quotesah quotesloud quotesquietly quotesthings quoteslifes quotesfunny quotesbusiness quotesdeath quotessupposed quotespunch quotesline quotes
I'll tell you another secret, this one for your own good. You may think the past has something to tell you. You may think that you should listen, should strain to make out its whispers, should bend over backward, stoop down low to hear its voice breathed up from the ground, from the dead places. You may think there's something in it for you, something to understand or make sense of. But I know the truth: I know from the nights of Coldness. I know the past will drag you backward and down, have you snatching at whispers of wind and the gibberish of trees rubbing together, trying to decipher some code, trying to piece together what was broken. It's hopeless. The past is nothing but a weight. It will build inside of you like a stone. Take it from me: If you hear the past speaking to you, feel it tugging at your back and running its fingers up your spine, the best thing to do-the only thing-is run.
secret quotesgood quotespast quoteslisten quotesstrain quotesmake quoteswhispers quotesbend quotesbackward quotesstoop quoteslow quoteshear quotesvoice quotesbreathed quotesground quotesdead quotesplaces quotesunderstand quotessense quotestruth quotesnights quotescoldness quotesdrag quotesbackward quotessnatching quoteswhispers quoteswind quotesgibberish quotestrees quotesrubbing quotesdecipher quotescode quotespiece quotesbroken quoteshopeless quotesweight quotesbuild quotesinside quotesstone quotesspeaking quotesfeel quotestugging quotesback quotesrunning quotesfingers quotesspine quotesthing quotesdothe quotesthingis quotesrun quotes
The smile disappears just like that, like a candle being snuffed out. For a second she looks almost angry. [... ] For a moment she stands there. Then she turns around. She is holding the lantern low so her face is in darkness. Her eyes are two bare reflections, glittering, like black stones in the moonlight. 'You might as well get used to it now, ' she says with quiet intensity. 'Everything you were, the life you had, the people you knew ... dust.' She shakes her head and says, a little more firmly, 'There is no before. There is only now, and what comes next.
smile quotesdisappears quotescandle quotessnuffed quotesangry quotesmoment quotesstands quotesturns quotesholding quoteslantern quoteslow quotesface quotesdarkness quoteseyes quotesbare quotesreflections quotesglittering quotesblack quotesstones quotesmoonlight quotesyou quotes quotesquiet quotesintensity quoteseverything quoteslife quotespeople quotesknew quotesdust quotesshakes quoteshead quotesfirmly quotesthere quotes
This is the past: It drifts, it gathers. If you are not careful, it will bury you. This is half the reason for the cure: It clean-sweeps; it makes the past, and all its pain, distant, like the barest impression on sparkling glass. But the cure works differently for everybody; and it does not work perfectly for all.
Every day, streets papered with more and more for. Reward, reward, reward. Reward for information. If you see something, say something. A paper town, a paper world: paper rustling in the airm whispering to me, hissing out a message of posion and jealousy. If you know something, do something. I'm sorry, Lena.
love and desire enjoy a symbiotic relationship, meaning that one cannot exist without the other. Desire is an enemy to contentment; desire is illness, a feverish brain. Who can be considered healthy who wants? The very word want suggests a lack, an impoverishment, and that is what desire is: an impoverishment of the brain, a flaw, a mistake.
love quotesdesire quotesenjoy quotessymbiotic quotesrelationship quotesmeaning quotesexist quotesdesire quotesenemy quotescontentment quotesillness quotesfeverish quotesbrain quotesconsidered quoteshealthy quotesword quotessuggests quoteslack quotesimpoverishment quotesimpoverishment quotesbrain quotesflaw quotesmistake quotes
For a moment I am jealous: He has grown up here, fearless, happy. Perhaps he will never even know about the world on the other side of the fence, the real world. For him there will be no such thing. But there will also be no medicine for him when he is sick, and never enough food to go around, and winters so cold the mornings are like a punch in the gut. And someday-unless the resistance succeeds and takes the country back-the planes and the fires will find him. Someday the eye will turn in this direction, like a laser beam, consuming everything in its path. Someday all the Wilds will be razed, and we will be left with a concrete landscape, a land of pretty houses and trim gardens and planned parks and forests, and a world that works as smoothly as a clock, neatly wound: a world of metal and gears, and people going tick-tick-tick to their deaths.
moment quotesjealous quotesgrown quotesfearless quoteshappy quotesworld quotesside quotesfence quotesreal quotesworld quotesthing quotesmedicine quotessick quotesfood quoteswinters quotescold quotesmornings quotespunch quotesgut quotessomedayunless quotesresistance quotessucceeds quotestakes quotescountry quotesbackthe quotesplanes quotesfires quotesfind quotessomeday quoteseye quotesturn quotesdirection quoteslaser quotesbeam quotesconsuming quotespath quoteswilds quotesrazed quotesleft quotesconcrete quoteslandscape quotesland quotespretty quoteshouses quotestrim quotesgardens quotesplanned quotesparks quotesforests quotesworks quotessmoothly quotesclock quotesneatly quoteswound quotesmetal quotesgears quotespeople quotestickticktick quotesdeaths quotes
We are such small, stupid things. For most of my life I thought of nature as the stupid thing: Blind, animal, destructive. We, the humans, were clean and smart and in control: we had wrestled the rest of the world into submission, battered it down, pinned it to a glass slide and the pages of The Bool of Shhh.
small quotesstupid quotesthings quoteslife quotesthought quotesnature quotesthing quotesblind quotesanimal quotesdestructive quoteshumans quotesclean quotessmart quotescontrol quoteswrestled quotesrest quotesworld quotessubmission quotesbattered quotespinned quotesglass quotesslide quotespages quotesbool quotesshhh quotes
This is the world we live in, a world of safety and happiness and order, a world without love. A world where children crack their heads on stone fireplaces and nearly gnaw off their tongues and the parents are concerned. Not heartbroken, frantic, desperate. Concerned, as they are when you fail mathematics, as they are when they are late to pay their taxes. [... ] That's the thing: We didn't really care. A world without love is also a world without stakes. [... ] In a world without love, this is what people are to each other: values, benefits, and liabilities, numbers and data. We weigh, we quantify, we measure, and the soul is ground to dust.
world quoteslive quotessafety quoteshappiness quotesorder quoteslove quoteschildren quotescrack quotesheads quotesstone quotesfireplaces quotesgnaw quotestongues quotesparents quotesconcerned quotesheartbroken quotesfrantic quotesdesperate quotesconcerned quotesfail quotesmathematics quoteslate quotespay quotestaxes quotesthing quotescare quoteslove quotesstakes quoteslove quotespeople quotesvalues quotesbenefits quotesliabilities quotesnumbers quotesdata quotesweigh quotesquantify quotesmeasure quotessoul quotesground quotesdust quotes
I'm used to a feeling of doubleness, of thinking one thing and having to do another, a constant tug-of-war. But somehow Hana has fallen cleanly away into the double half, the other world, the world of unmentionable thoughts and things and people. Is it possible that all this time I've been living my life, studying for tests, taking long runs with Hana-and this other world has just existed, running alongside and underneath mine, alive, ready to sneak out of the shadows and the alleyways as soon as the sun goes down? Illegal parties, unapproved music, people touching one another with no fear of the disease, with no fear for themselves. A world without fear. Impossible. And even though I'm standing in the middle of the biggest crowd I've ever seen in my life, I suddenly feel very alone.
feeling quotesdoubleness quotesthinking quotesthing quotesconstant quotestugofwar quoteshana quotesfallen quotescleanly quotesdouble quoteshalf quotesworld quotesworld quotesunmentionable quotesthoughts quotesthings quotespeople quotestime quotesliving quoteslife quotesstudying quotestests quotestaking quoteslong quotesruns quoteshanaand quotesexisted quotesrunning quotesalongside quotesunderneath quotesmine quotesalive quotesready quotessneak quotesshadows quotesalleyways quotessun quotesillegal quotesparties quotesunapproved quotesmusic quotespeople quotestouching quotesfear quotesdisease quotesfear quotesimpossible quotesstanding quotesmiddle quotesbiggest quotescrowd quotessuddenly quotesfeel quotes
(I)f you do not believe that hearts can bloom suddenly bigger, and that love can open like a flower out of even the hardest places, then I am afraid that for you the road will be long and brown and barren, and you will have trouble finding the light. But if you do believe, then you already know all about magic.
The alchemist was dazed and dumbfounded, as the true meaning of the magic was revealed: The dead will rise from glade to glen and ancient will be young again. The dead had, after all, risen. From dead and dry things there was growth, and new life everywhere. And the endlessly long winter had at last turned to spring. From life to death and back again to life. It was indeed the greatest magic in the world.
alchemist quotesdazed quotesdumbfounded quotestrue quotesmeaning quotesmagic quotesrevealed quotesdead quotesrise quotesglade quotesglen quotesancient quotesyoung quotesrisen quotesdry quotesthings quotesgrowth quoteslife quotesendlessly quoteslong quoteswinter quotesturned quotesspring quotesdeath quotesback quoteslife quotesgreatest quotesworld quotes
Sometimes day and night reverse. Sometimes up goes down and down goes up, and love turns into hate, and the things you counted on get washed out from under your feet, leaving you pedaling in the air. Sometimes people stop loving you. And that's the kind of darkness that never gets fixed, no matter how many moons rise again, filling the sky with a weak approximation of light.
day quotesnight quotesreverse quoteslove quotesturns quoteshate quotesthings quotescounted quoteswashed quotesfeet quotesleaving quotespedaling quotesair quotespeople quotesstop quotesloving quoteskind quotesdarkness quotesfixed quotesmatter quotesmoons quotesrise quotesfilling quotessky quotesweak quotesapproximation quoteslight quotes
Here's one of the things I learned that morning: if you cross a line and nothing happens, the line loses meaning. It's like that old riddle about a tree falling in a forest, and whether it makes a sound if there's no one around to hear it. You keep drawing a line farther and farther away, crossing it every time. That's how people end up stepping off the edge of the earth. You'd be surprised at how easy it is to bust out of orbit, to spin out to a place where no one can touch you. To lose yourself-to get lost. Or maybe you wouldn't be surprised. Maybe some of you already know. To those people, I can only say: I'm sorry.
things quoteslearned quotesmorning quotescross quotesline quotesloses quotesmeaning quotesriddle quotestree quotesfalling quotesforest quotesmakes quotessound quoteshear quotesdrawing quotesfarther quotescrossing quotestime quotespeople quotesend quotesstepping quotesedge quotesearth quotessurprised quoteseasy quotesbust quotesorbit quotesspin quotesplace quotestouch quoteslose quotesyourselfto quoteslost quotessurprised quotespeople quotes
And now I realize Lindsay's not fearless. She's terrified. She's terrified that people will find out she's faking, bullshitting her way through life, pretending to have everything together when really she's just floundering like the rest of us. Lindsay, who will bite at you if you even look in her direction the wrong way, like on of those tiny attack dogs that are always barking and snapping in the air before they're jerked backward on the chains that keep them in one place.
realize quoteslindsays quotesfearless quotesshes quotesterrified quotesterrified quotespeople quotesfind quotesshes quotesfaking quotesbullshitting quoteslife quotespretending quotesfloundering quotesrest quoteslindsay quotesbite quotesdirection quoteswrong quotestiny quotesattack quotesdogs quotesbarking quotessnapping quotesair quotesjerked quotesbackward quoteschains quotesplace quotes
My aunt just stood there, and in that second it was as though the world and the future collapsed down into a single point, and I understood that this-the kitchen, the spotless cream linoleum floors, the glaring lights, and the vivid green mass of Jell-O on the counter-was all that was left now that my mother was gone. Suddenly I couldn't stay there. I couldn't stand the sight of my aunt's kitchen, which I now understood would be my kitchen. I couldn't stand the Jell-O. My mother hated Jell-O. An itchy feeling began to work its way through my body, as though a thousand mosquitoes were circulating through my blood, biting me from the inside, making me want to scream, jump, squirm. I ran.
aunt quotesstood quotesworld quotesfuture quotescollapsed quotessingle quotespoint quotesunderstood quotesthisthe quoteskitchen quotesspotless quotescream quoteslinoleum quotesfloors quotesglaring quoteslights quotesvivid quotesgreen quotesmass quotesjello quotescounterwas quotesleft quotesmother quotessuddenly quotesstay quotesstand quotessight quotesaunts quoteskitchen quotesjello quoteshated quotesitchy quotesfeeling quotesbegan quoteswork quotesbody quotesthousand quotesmosquitoes quotescirculating quotesblood quotesbiting quotesinside quotesmaking quotesscream quotesjump quotessquirm quotesran quotes
Promise me we'll stay together, okay?" His eyes are once again the clear blue of a perfectly transparent pool. They are eyes to swim in, to float in, forever. "You and me." "I promise, " I say. Behind us the door creaks open, and I turn around, expecting Raven, just as a voice cuts through the air: "Don't believe her." The whole world closes around me, like an eyelid: For a moment, everything goes dark. I am falling. My ears are full of rushing; I have been sucked into a tunnel, a place of pleasure and chaos. My head is about to explode. He looks different. He is much thinner, and a scar runs from his eyebrow all the way down to his jaw. On his neck, just behind his left ear, a small tattooed number curves around the three-pronged scar that fooled me, for so long, into believing he was cured. His eyes-once a sweet, melted brown, like syrup-have hardened. Now they are stony, impenetrable. Only his hair is the same: that auburn crown, like leaves in autumn. Impossible. I close my eyes and reopen them: the boy from a dream, from a different lifetime. A boy brought back from the dead. Alex.
promise quotesstay quoteseyes quotesclear quotesblue quotesperfectly quotestransparent quotespool quotesswim quotesfloat quotesforever quotespromise quotesdoor quotescreaks quotesopen quotesturn quotesexpecting quotesraven quotesvoice quotescuts quotesair quotesworld quotescloses quoteseyelid quotesmoment quotesdark quotesfalling quotesears quotesfull quotesrushing quotessucked quotestunnel quotesplace quotespleasure quoteschaos quoteshead quotesexplode quotesthinner quotesscar quotesruns quoteseyebrow quotesjaw quotesneck quotesleft quotesear quotessmall quotestattooed quotesnumber quotescurves quotesthreepronged quotesfooled quoteslong quotesbelieving quotescured quoteseyesonce quotessweet quotesmelted quotesbrown quotessyruphave quoteshardened quotesstony quotesimpenetrable quoteshair quotesauburn quotescrown quotesleaves quotesautumn quotesimpossible quotesclose quotesreopen quotesboy quotesdream quoteslifetime quotesbrought quotesback quotesdead quotesalex quotes
For a second we just stand there in silence. Then, suddenly, Alex is back, easy and smiling again. 'I left a note for you one time. In the Governor's fist, you know?' I left a note for you one time. It's impossible, too crazy to think about, and I hear myself repeating, 'You left a note for me?' 'I'm pretty sure it said something stupid. Just hi, and a smiley face, and my name. But then you stopped coming.' He shrugs. 'It's probably still there. The note, I mean. Probably just a bit of paper pulp by now.
stand quotessilence quotessuddenly quotesalex quotesback quoteseasy quotessmiling quotesi quotesleft quotesnote quotestime quotesgovernors quotesfist quotesknow quotesimpossible quotescrazy quoteshear quotesrepeating quotesyou quotesme quotesim quotespretty quotesstupid quotessmiley quotesface quotesstopped quotescoming quotesshrugs quotesits quotesnote quotesbit quotespaper quotespulp quotes
I'm Hana, ' Hana says. 'And this is Lena.' She jabs me with an elbow. I know I must look like a fish, standing there with my mouth gaping open, but I'm too outraged to speak. He's lying. I know he's the one I saw yesterday, would bet my life on it. 'Alex. Nice to meet you.' Alex keeps his eyes on me as he and Hana shake hands. Then he extends a hand to me. 'Lena, ' he says thoughtfully. 'I've never heard that name before.
hana quotes quoteshana quotesand quoteslena quotesjabs quoteselbow quotesfish quotesstanding quotesmouth quotesgaping quotesopen quotesoutraged quotesspeak quoteslying quotesyesterday quotesbet quoteslife quotesalex quotesnice quotesmeet quotesyou quotesalex quoteseyes quotesshake quoteshands quotesextends quoteshand quoteslena quotesthoughtfully quotesive quotesheard quotes