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Oh, hello," Dr. M says, shaking Balder's hand. "Wonderful costume. I'm a bit of a role player myself on the weekends. Tell me, where did you get the helmet?" It was forged in the North, blessed by the hands of Odin, given to me by my mother, Frigg," Balder answers. Lovely. I got mine on the Internet.
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Heaven's brightest and best-loved angel, who was cast out for inspiring a rebellion against God. Having lost Heaven, Lucifer and his rebel angels vowed to continue fighting here on earth." "I don't understand why he had to fight. He was already in heaven." "True. But he wasn't content to serve. He wanted more." "He had all he could ask for, didn't he?" Ann asks. "Exactly." Miss Moore states. "He had to ask. He was dependent upon someone else's whim. It's a terrible thing to have no power of one's own. To be denied.
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Evie hadn't always felt that way. For a year after James had died, she'd cupped his half-dollar pendant between her pressed palms and prayed fervently for a miracle, for a telegram that would say GOOD NEWS! IT WAS A TERRIBLE MISTAKE, AND PRIVATE JAMES XAVIER O'NEILL HAS BEEN FOUND, SAFE, IN A FARMHOUSE IN FRANCE. But no such telegram ever arrived, and whatever possible faith might have bloomed in Evie withered and died. Now she saw it as just another advertisement for a life that belonged to a previous generation and held no meaning for hers.
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The ladies pass the timee with gossip and hearsay. This is what they have in place of freedom- gime and gossip. Their lives are small and careful. I do not wish to live this way. I should like to make my mark. To venture opinions that may not be polite or even correct but are mine nonetheless. If I am to be hanged for anything, I should like to feel that I go to the gallows on my own strength.
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What frightens you? What makes the hair on your arms rise, your palms sweat, the breath catch in your chest like a wild thing caged? Is it the dark? A fleeting memory of a bedtime story, ghosts and goblins and witches hiding in the shadows? Is it the way the wind picks up just before a storm, the hint of wet in the air that makes you want to scurry home to the safety of your fire? Or is it something deeper, something much more frightening, a monster deep inside that you've glimpsed only in pieces, the vast unknown of your own soul where secrets gather with a terrible power, the dark inside?
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My platform's called Don't Even Think About It. I go to schools and I say, 'Whatever bad thing it is you're thinking of doing, don't even think about it. 'Cause I can see into your soul, and I will hide in your closet and come for you in the night, and the last sound you ever hear will be my sharp teeth popping through the flesh of my gums, ready to eat you.' Their eyes get all big. It's awesome. I love little kids, man. They're the cutest
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In our travels, we have come across many equations--math for understanding the universe, for making music, for mapping stars, and also for tipping, which is important. Here is our favorite equation: Us plus Them equals All of Us. It is very simple math. Try it sometime. You probably won't even need a pencil.
It's strange how deliberate people are after a death. All the indecision suddenly vanishes into clear, defined moments - changing the linens, choosing a dress or a hymn, the washing up, the muttering of prayers. All the small, simple, conscious acts of living a sudden defense against the dying we do every day.
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The glow dies down, and she's standing at the end of my bed-the one who's been following me around leaving feather messages. I take in the torn fishnets, plaid mini-kilt, shiny, riveted breastplate with leather straps at the sides and a worn Great Temolo decal near the left shoulder. Her wings are a crazy black-and-white-checkered pattern, like they've been spray-painted at a body shop to look like hipster sneakers.
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God doesn't like lesbians, " Grandma Huberman hised, throwing the magazine in the trash. Jennifer knew what lesbian meant, and she knew she probably was one. But she couldn't understand why God would hold that against her or against Monica Mathers, who'd never started a war or killed anybody, and whose deadeye three-pointers were straight-up amazing. After all, hadn't God made both of them? But people were like that, she'd noticed. They'd invoke Godly privilege at the weirdest of times and for the most stupid reasons.
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I know you adore Father, but he isn't the white knight you imagine him to be. He never was. True, he's charming and loving in his way. But he's selfish. He's a limited man determined to bring about his own end-" "But-" Tom grabs both my hands in his and gives them a small squeeze. "Gemma, you can't save him. Why can't you accept that?" I see my reflection on the surface of the Thames. My face is a watery outline, all blurred edges with nothing settled. "Because if I let go of that" - I swallow hard, once, twice - "then I have to accept that I am alone." The ship's horn howls again as it slips out toward sea. Tom's reflection appears beside mine, just as uncertain. "We're every one of us alone in this world, Gemma." He doesn't say it bitterly. "But you have company, if you want.
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And now if you'll excuse me, I should like to finish my book, alone, without the presence of a single ringleted girl to disrupt me. If you should come for me at dinner and find me in my chair, gone to the angels at last, you shall know that I died alone, which is to say in a state of utter bliss.
I'm not that kind of Indian, ' Shanti said, her practiced smile never leaving her face, though it faltered just a bit, and in that slight wobble was something hard and angry, something that looked like centuries of colonial oppression boiling up into an I'm-going-to-kick-your-ass-in-this-pageant-and-then-take-over-all-your-beauty-out-sourcing-needs hatred.
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Fate determines your caste. You must accept it and live according to the rules." You can't really believe that!" I do believe it. That man's misfortune is that he cannot accept his caste, his fate." I know that the Indians wear their caste as a mark upon their foreheads for all to see. I know that in England, we have our own unacknowledged caste system. A laborer will never hold a seat in Parliament. Neither will a woman. I don't think I've ever questioned such things until this moment. But what about will and desire? What if someone wants to change things." Kartik keeps his eyes on the room "You cannot change your caste. You cannot go against fate." That means there is no hope of a better life. It is a trap." That is how you see it, " he says softly. What do you mean?" It can be a relief to follow the path that has been laid oud for you, to know your course and play your part in it." But how can you be sure that you are following the right course? What if there is no such thing as destiny, only choice?" Then I do not choose to live without destiny, " he says with a slight smile.
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What about you and me, Adina?' Duff said, sidling up to her by the railing. 'I know I screwed up. But do you think we could start over?' Adina thought about everything that had happened. Part of her wanted to kiss Duff McAvoy, the tortured British trust-fund-runaway-turned-pirate-of-necessity who loved rock 'n' roll and mouthy-but-vulnerable bass-playing girls from New Hampshire. But he didn't exist. Not really. He was a creature of TV and her imagination, a guy she'd invented as much as he'd invented himself. And this was what she suddenly understood about her mother: how with each man, each husband, she was really trying to fill in the sketchy parts of herself and become somebody she could finally love. It was hard to live in the messiness and easier to believe in the dream. And in that moment, Adina knew she was not her mother after all. She would make mistakes, but they wouldn't be the same mistakes. Starting now. 'Sorry, ' she said, heading for the bow, where a spot of sun looked inviting. 'Oh, also, about that blog? Just so you know, my dads know a lot of gay lawyers. Bitches will take your ass down if you try to publish that. Peace out.
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Maybe there's a heaven, like they say, a place where everything we've ever done is noted and recorded, weighed on big karma scales. Maybe not. Maybe this whole thing is just a giant experiment run by aliens who find out human hijinks amusing. Or maybe we're an abandoned project started by a deity who checked out a long time ago, but we're still hard-wired to believe, to try to make meaning out of the seemingly random. Maybe we're all part of the same unconscious stew, dreaming the same dreams, hoping the same hopes, needing the same connection, trying to find it, missing, trying again-each of us playing our parts in the other's plotlines, just one big ball of human yarn tangled up together. Maybe this is it.
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