And I know I've lost. Everything is lost. Everything is over. "As the newly appointed President of this fair planet of ours," the Mayor says, holding out his hands as if to show me the world for the first time," let me be the very first to welcome you to its new capital city." "Todd?" Viola whispers, her eyes closed. I hold her tightly to me. "I'm sorry," I whisper to her. "I'm so sorry." We've run right into a trap. We've run right off the end of the world. "Welcome," says the Mayor," to the New Prentisstown.
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I was born into all that, all that mess, the over-crowded swamp and the over-crowded sematary and the not-crowded-enough town, so I don't remember nothing, don't remember a world without Noise. My pa died of sickness before I was born and then my ma died, of course, no surprises there. Ben and Cillian took me in, raised me. Ben says my ma was the last of the women but everyone says that about everyone's ma. Ben may not be lying, he believes it's true, but who knows?
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Free, I think. They're free. (is this why she joined them?) I feel so- So relieved. I pick up the pace as I near the opening, my hands gripping my rifle but I have a feeling I ain't gonna need it. (ah, Viola, I knew I could count-) Then I reach the opening and stop. Everything stops. My stomach falls right thru my feet. "They're all gone?" Davy says, coming up beside me. Then he see what I see. "What the-?" Davy says. The Spackle ain't all gone. They're still here. Every single one. All 1150 of them. Dead.
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Feelings don't try to kill you, even the painful ones. Anxiety is a feeling grown too large. A feeling grown aggressive and dangerous. You're responsible for it's consequences, you're responsible for treating it. But Michael, you're not responsible for causing it. You're not morally at fault for it. No more than you would be for a tumour.
No one ever seems to wonder what happens if it turns out we hate living on a planet? What if the sky's too big? What if the air stinks? What if we go hungry?' 'And what if the air tastes of honey? What if there's so much food we all get too fat? What if the sky is so beautiful we don't get any work done because we're all looking at it too much?
Besides, what was more perfect an object than a book? The different rags of paper, smooth or rough under your fingers. The edge of the page pressed into your thumbprint as you turned a new chapter. The way your bookmark -fancy, modest, scrap paper, candy wrapper -moved through the width of it, marking your progress, a little further each time you folded it shut.
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Her accent's funny, different from mine, different from anyone in Prentisstown's. Her lips make different kinds of outlines for the letters, like they're swooping down on them from above, pushing them into shape, telling them what to say. In Prentisstown, everyone talks like they're sneaking up on their words, ready to club them from behind.
Spackle!' Manchee barks, tho he's too chicken to attack now that I've held back. 'Spackle! Spackle! Spackle!' 'Shut up, Manchee, ' I say. 'Spackle!' 'I said shut up!' I shout, which stops him. 'Spackle?' Manchee says, unsure of things now. I swallow, trying to get rid of the pressure in my throat, the unbelieveable sadness that comes and comes as I look at it looking back at me. Knowledge is dangerous and men lie and the world keeps changing, whether I want it to or not. Cuz, it ain't a Spackle. 'It's a girl, ' I say. It's a girl.
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He loved physical books with the same avidity other people loved horses or wine or prog rock. He'd never really warmed to ebooks because they seemed to reduce a book to a computer file, and computer files were disposable things, things you never really owned. He had no emails from ten years ago but still owned every book he bought that year. Besides, what was more perfect an object than a book? The different rags of paper, smooth or rough under your fingers. The edge of the page pressed into your thumbprint as you turned a new chapter. The way your bookmark - fancy, modest, scrap paper, candy wrapper - moved through the width of it, marking your progress, a little further each time you folded it shut.
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HELP!' I race to the square, crossing it, looking all around, listening out- No. No. It's empty. Viola's breathing heavy in my arms. And Haven is empty. I reach the middle of the square. I don't see nor hear a soul. I spin around again. 'HELP!' I cry. But there's no one. Haven's completely empty. There ain't hope here after all.
He is sorry- For everything- For Prentisstown- For Viola- For Ben- For every failure and every wrong- For letting his pa down- And he's looking up at me- And he's begging me- He's begging me- Like I'm the only one who can forgive him- Like it's only me who's got the power- Todd?- Please- And all I can say is "Davy-" And the fright and the terror in his Noise is too much- It's too much- And then it stops. Davy slumps, eyes still open, eyes still staring back at me, eyes still asking (I swear) for me to forgive him. And he lies there, still. Davy Prentiss is dead.
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HERE It's- Can I say? It's like the song of a family where everything's always all right, it's a song of belonging that makes you belong just by hearing it, it's a song that'll always take care of you and never leave you. If you have a heart, it breaks, if you have a heart that's broken, it fixes.
His noise is getting quieter, but I can still see it there still- See how he feels the skin of my hand against his, see how he wants to take it and press it against his mouth, how he wants to breathe in the smell of me and how beautiful I look to him, how strong after all that illness, and how he wants to just lightly touch my neck, just there, and how he wants to take me in his arms and- "Oh, God, " he says, looking away suddenly. "Viola, I'm sorry, I didn't mean-" But I just put my hand to the back of his neck- And he says, "Viola-?" And I pull myself towards him- And I kiss him. And it feels like, finally.
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His Noise saying, No, no, not now, not NOW- And then he says, Viola? "I'm here, Todd, " I say, my voice breaking, shouting with desperation. "I'm here!" And he says Voila? again- Asking it- Asking like he's not sure I'm there- And then his Noise falls completely silent- And he stops struggling- And looking right into my eyes- He dies. My Todd dies.
You be as angry as you need to be, " she said. "Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Not your grandma, not your dad, no one. And if you need to break things, then by God, you break them good and hard." He couldn't look at her. He just couldn't. "And if, one day, " she said, really crying now, "you look back and you feel bad for being so angry, if you feel bad for being so angry at me that you couldn't even speak to me, then you have to know, Conor, you have to know that it was okay. It was okay. That I knew. I know, okay? I know everything you need to tell me without you having to say it out loud. All right?" He still couldn't look at her. He couldn't raise his head, it felt so heavy. He was bent in two, like he was being torn right down through his middle. But he nodded.
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And if one day, ' she said, really crying now, 'you look back and you feel bad for being so angry, if you feel bad for being so angry at me that you couldn't even speak to me, then you have to know, Conor, you have to that is was okay. It was okay. That I knew. I know, okay? I know everything you need to tell me without you having to say it out loud.