People wandered in for books and conversation. They brought their stories to her, some bound, and some known by heart. She recognized some of the stories as real, and some as fiction. But she honored them all, though she didn't buy every one.
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Normally death came at night, taking a person in their sleep, stopping their heart or tickling them awake, leading them to the bathroom with a splitting headache before pouncing and flooding their brain with blood. It waits in alleys and metro stops. After the sun goes down plugs are pulled by white-clad guardians and death is invited into an antiseptic room. But in the country death comes, uninvited, during the day. It takes fishermen in their longboats. It grabs children by the ankles as they swim. In winter it calls them down a slope too steep for their budding skills, and crosses their skies at the tips. It waits along the shore where snow met ice not long ago but now, unseen by sparkling eyes, a little water touches the shore, and the skater makes a circle slightly larger than intended. Death stands in the woods with a bow and arrow at dawn and dusk. And it tugs cars off the road in broad daylight, the tires spinning furiously on ice or snow, or bright autumn leaves.
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Gamache nodded. It was what made his job so fascinating, and so difficult. How the same person could be both kind and cruel, compassionate and wretched. Unraveling a murder was more about getting to know the people than the evidence. People who were contrary and contradictory, and who often didn't even know themselves.
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I just sit where I'm put, composed of stone and wishful thinking: that the deity who kills for pleasure will also heal, that in the midst of your nightmare, the final one, a kind lion will come with bandages in her mouth and the soft body of a woman, and lick you clean of fever, and pick your soul up gently by the nape of the neck and caress you into darkness and paradise.
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Beauvoir was quiet, watching the Chief, taking in the gleam in his eye, the enthusiasm as he described what he'd found. Not the physical landscape, but the emotional. The intellectual. Many might have thought the Chief Inspector was a hunter. He tracked down killers. But Jean Guy knew he wasn't that. Chief Inspector Gama he was an explorer by nature. He was never happier than when he was pushing the boundaries, exploring the internal terrain. Areas even the person themselves hadn't explored. Had never examined. Probably because it was too scary.
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All Armand's life Honore had lived in light. Unchallenged... Armand put out his hand, and touched the door. The last room, the last door [in the longhouse]. The last territory to explore didn't hold monstrous hate or bitterness or rancid resentments. It held love. Blinding, beautiful love.
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Eventually he'd let the answering machine take over and had hidden in his studio. Where he's hidden all his life. From the monster. He could feel itin their bedroom now. He could feel its tail swishing by him. Feel its hot, fetid breath. All his life he knew if he was quiet enough, small enough, it wouldnn't see him. If he didn't make a fuss, didn't speak up, it wouldn't hear him, wouldn't hurt him. If he was beyond criticism and hid his cruelty with a smile and good deeds, it wouldn't devour him. By now he realized there was no hiding. It would always be there, and always find him. He was the monster.
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A lot of what we know to be history isn't... it serves a purpose. Events are exaggerated, heroes fabricated, goals are rewritten to appear more noble than they actually were. All to manipulate public opinion, to manufacture a common purpose or enemy. And the cornerstone of a really great movement? A powerful symbol. Take away or tarnish that and everything starts to crumble, everything's questioned.
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