I flip through the book, one of his top three, without question, to the last horrifying chapter: 'A Stronger Loving World'. To the only panel he's circled. Oscar-who never defaced a book in his life-circled one panel three times in the same emphatic pen he used to write his last letters home. The panel where Adrian Veidt and Dr. Manhattan are having their last convo. After the mutant brain has destroyed New York City; after Dr. Manhattan has murdered Rorschach; after Veidt's plan has succeeded in 'saving the world'. Veidt says: 'I did the right thing, didn't I? It all worked out in the end'. And Manhattan, before fading from our Universe, replies: 'In the end? Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends'.
It was scary when you look at a bunch of teenagers and tell them that one of their friends has got something wrong with a cyst or a tumor, and no one knew at that time how bad it was. It kind of sent a shockwave through the team. We stopped practice immediately and circled up, held hands and prayed.
She went back to Shane and settles in on his lap again, arm around his neck. His circled her waist. "I thought you had to go, " he said. "And don't think i didn't see you kissing on my best friend." "He deserved it." "Yeah. Maybe i ought to kiss him, too." Michael, on his way out, didn't bother to turn around for that one. "Oh sure, you always promise.
Sometimes I though about killing myself. The idea of it circled my head, shining and lovely like a tinsel halo. How beautiful it would be if everything could just stop. If I could stop. If I didn't have to feel like this. Yes, I thought about it and thought about it, but I was too exhausted to do anything about it. That should have been funny, right?
To be fair, she called this morning. I stared at the phone. Circled it on my bed. And, eventually, it stopped ringing. If it had been important, she would've called back, right? That was the line of thought that ran through my head until halfway through the day, when I started to feel bad about it.
She reached behind her back and pulled out slender, black nunchucks and simply invited them to come get her. Their eyes could barely follow the chucks as they circled around her shoulders and torso slapping back and forth, and up and under, while she remained focused and composed with her eastern, tomboy flair.
Think of Iraq as "East Korea," because it was a shoot the cuffs war for the edification of Kim Jong Il to let him know we've now circled the SUVs. Iraq was about breaking adhesions, getting lean, staying frosty - in short, getting ready for the big Doug MacArthur Memorial Cage Match to come.
I reached down and picked up a baseball bat at my feet and I flung it as hard as it could. It circled and arced high in the air until it slammed against the side of the dining hall with a crack and fell. I sat down in the dirt. Then I lay down in the dirt. Because not only was there no trail to follow, there was no evidence he'd ever been here. There was no evidence any of them had been here.
Laura Anderson Kurk
It happened while I was filming "Water for Elephants in which my partner is Reese Witherspoon. We had a scene with elephants but there were so many paparazzi around that it was scaring the animals and it was impossible to film. Out of the blue, fans, that were waiting for autographs, had enough and circled around the paparazzi. Teens made big guys run away. It was unreal! I was pleased.
He props his elbow on the table, absently scratches his temple with his index finger, and I remember exactly what that index finger did to me earlier. How he circled my nipples with that finger, how he slipped it between my legs, drenched it with my wetness and then brought it up to his mouth, licking it, tasting me, his gaze never leaving mine...
I took my time, running my fingers along the spines of books, stopping to pull a title from the shelf and inspect it. A sense of well-being flowed through me as I circled the ground floor. It was better than meditation or a new pair of shoes- or even chocolate. My life was a disaster, but there were still books. Lots and lots of books. A refuge. A solace. Each one offering the possibility of a new beginning.
The unicorn was white, with hoofs of silver and graceful horn of pearl... The glorious thing about him was his eye. There was a faint bluish furrow down each side of his nose, and this led to the eye sockets, and surrounded them in a pensive shade. The eyes, circled by this sad and beautiful darkness, were so sorrowful, lonely, gentle and nobly tragic, that they killed all other emotions except love.
T. H. White
Sometimes in storm weather the shore had fluttered with disabled swallows. They crouched lower for his approach, without strength to escape. In his hands they pulsed with that same pulse. He had taken a bird and warmed it between his hands or inside his jacket, brought the life back until it was able to fly. Sometimes, released from his hands, they circled once around him before flying away; in gratitude, or so the child had believed-and the belief had survived all the man's science.
Lizzy, Will thought. Lizzy P. 'You n me gonna be buddies, darlin'. He stretched one hand to Elly's hair, and circled Donald Wade's rump with his free arm and touched Thomas's leg, on the far side of Elly. And he smiled at Lizzy P. and thought, Heaven's got nothin' on being the husband of Eleanor Dinsmore.
Do you know where Jason is?" she asked Dmitri when they exited the morgue. Dmitri pressed the car remote to unlock the flame red Ferrari parked in the employees-only lot. "Tired of your Bluebell already?" A tendril of champagne circled around her senses, cut with something far harder. Never had she felt that harsh edge in Dmitri's scent. She pitied the woman he took to his bed today. "Yeah, that's it. I'm building a harem.
Do you know where Jason is?' she asked Dmitri when they exited the morgue. Dmitri pressed the car remote to unlock the flame red Ferrari parked in the employees-only lot. 'Tired of your Bluebell already?' A tendril of champagne circled around her senses, cut with something far harder. Never had she felt that harsh edge in Dmitri's scent. She pitied the woman he took to his bed today. 'Yeah, that's it. I'm building a harem.
Insomniacs should not be forced to exist in a realm with reflective glass. From the first look I'm boxed in a prism, rainbows charming the other dark-circled self into sharing my prison. One eye turns on the other, each accusing the other of being responsible for an appearance oddly elfin, before exiting head and bouncing like lottery balls through the mirror walls and then drifting up and out the open and unguarded Well of the Wyrd. There, everyone with mirrors and mushrooms is waiting for me, faded and dissolved into giggles.
She had always felt that the essence of human experience lay not primarily in the peak experiences, the wedding days and triumphs which stood out in the memory like dates circled in red on old calendars, but, rather, in the unself-conscious flow of little things-the weekend afternoon with each member of the family engaged in his or her own pursuit, their crossings and connections casual, dialogues imminently forgettable, but the sum of such hours creating a synergy which was important and eternal.
I had a dream about you. You told me you circled three words in three books scattered in the Library of Alexandria, the one that supposedly burnt down centuries ago. You wouldn't tell me what words, what books, or give me any clues at all, so I just assumed those three words were I love you, and I thought about that while I made love to a being of light who made sure I was completely dry the whole time so I didn't get electrocuted.
Perhaps the best way for you to ensure my trust is to make love to me as I deserve to be loved.' At her command, he lifted her into his arms and circled the bed to set her carefully on the mattress. Kneeling at the side of the bed, his gaze met hers, and he bowed his head. 'I am yours to command, my Lady.' 'Then come to bed, my love. I need your arms to keep me warm and your body to fill me until I shatter like glass.
The two circled around the back of the house, making sure that nobody saw them. Once inside, they found Patrick right where they had left him, sitting in front of Mark's computer. The only difference was that he was surrounded by bags of Doritos and cans of Mountain Dew. He looked up at them with wild eyes. You okay?" Courtney asked. I'm fantastic!" Patrick exclaimed. "This sugary drink is incredible!" Swell," Courtney remarked sarcastically. "He's wired on Dew.
D. J. MacHale
Well, that's certainly... adequate," I told him, burying my face in his chest. I knew immediately I'd picked the wrong word. "Adequate?" He took my hand, placed it on the part in question. It immediately began to stir. He moved my hand on it, and I obligingly circled it with my fingers. "This is adequate?" "Maybe I should have said it's a gracious plenty?" "A gracious plenty. I like that," he said.
Then take me disappearin' through the smoke rings of my mind, Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves, The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach, Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow. Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands, With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves, Let me forget about today until tomorrow.
Stubble or what?" Eyes still closed he chuckled. "I'm not shaving until our parents let us date again." He kissed my cheek. "What if it takes... a... while?" I asked struggling to talk. He'd made his way down to my neck. His tongue circled there slowly. "There are only six or seven weeks until August football practice starts right?" "Hm." His mouth moved up my neck toward my ear. Oh. "Will you be able to stuff your beard into your helmet?" I croaked. In answer he put his lips on my ear. I forgot the next joke I'd planned to make and lost myself in Adam.
No, the last thing she cared about was whether people were staring at the boy and girl kissing by the river, as London, it's cities and towers and churches and bridges and streets, circled all about them like the memory of a dream. And if the Thames that ran beside them, sure and silver in the afternoon light, recalled a night long ago when the moon shone as brightly as a shilling on this same boy and girl, or if the stones of Blackfriars knew the tread of their feet and thought to themselves: At last, the wheel comes to a full circle, they kept their silence.
Will these millions of children, for generations upon future generations, know that some of their atoms cycled through this woman? [... ] Will they feel what she felt in her life, will their memories have flickering strokes of her memories, will they recall that moment long ago when she stood by the window, guilt ridden and confused, and watched as the tadr bird circled the cistern? No, it is not possible. [... ] But I will let them have their own brief glimpse of the Void, just at that moment they pass from living to dead, from animate to inanimate, from consciousness to that which has no consciousness. For a moment, they will understand infinity.
Tam let his hand drop to his neck and slowly circled his fingers around it. It was a free, gentle touch and Casen knew that if he asked him not to, he would remove his hand and nothing would change. He couldn't get the words out; it wasn't the touch he had a problem with, it was the far away look in Tam's eyes that said he wasn't in the room anymore. The look that suggested he was lying on the ground, as the rain fell in buckets and a stranger knelt over him, trying to keep him awake. Casen blinked and looked away, as the urge to cry for that lost look threatened.
To travel a circle is to journey over the same ground time and time again. To travel a circle wisely is to journey over the same ground for the first time. In this way, the ordinary becomes extraordinary, and the circle, a path to where you wish to be. And when you notice at last that the path has circled back into itself, you realize that where you wish to be is where you have already been... and always were.
Neale Donald Walsch
One night, a group of moths gathered on a shelf watching a burning candle. Puzzled by the nature of the light, they sent one of their members to go and check on it. The scouting moth circled the candle several times and came back with a description: The light was bright. Then a second moth went to examine it. He, too, came back with an observation: The light was hot. Finally a third moth volunteered to go. When he approached the candle he didn't stop like his friends had done, but flew straight into the flame. He was consumed there and then, and only he understood the nature of the light.
That was the Old Man's favorite song. 'Blow Ye Trumpet.' Them Negroes was far away from the doings on the plaza where the Old Man was to hang, way out from it. But they sang it loud and clear... Blow ye trumpet blow Blow ye trumpet blow... You could hear their voices for a long way, seemed like they lifted up and carried all the way into the sky, lingering in the air long afterward. And up above the church, high above it, a strange black-and-white bird circled 'round, looking for a tree to roost on, a bad tree, I expect, so he could alight upon it and get busy, so that it would someday fall and feed the others.
Look, cell phone geolocation data shows very few clustering anomalies for this hour and climate. And that's holding up pretty much across all major metro areas. It's gone down six percentage points since news of the Karachi workshop hit the Web, and it's trending downward. If people are protesting, they aren't doing it in the streets.' He circled his finger over a few clusters of dots. 'Some potential protest knots in Portland and Austin, but defiance-related tag cloud groupings in social media put us within the three-sigma rule-meaning roughly sixty-eight percent of the values lie within one standard deviation of the mean.
It wasn't what lay at the end of her road that frightened Ammu as much as the nature of the road itself. No milestones marked its progress. No trees grew along it. No dappled shadows shaded it. No mists rolled over it. No birds circled it. No twists, no turns or hairpin bends obscured even momentarily, her clear view of the end. This filled Ammu with an awful dread, because she was not the kind of woman who wanted her future told. She dreaded it too much. So if she were granted one small wish perhaps it would have been Not to Know, Not to know what each day hed in store for her. Not to know where she might be, next month, next year. Ten years on. Not to know which way her road might turn and what lay beyond the bend.
A lang, lang time ago... " MacPhee began, ignoring St.Vincent's low groan, "there was a bonnie maid called Malvina. She was the betrothed of Oscar, the braw warrior who won her heart. Oscar bade his beloved tae wait for him while he went tae seek his fortune. But one black day Malvina received word that her lover had been killed in battle. He would lie forever in eternal rest in the faraway hills... lost in endless slumber... " "God, I envy him," St. Vincent said feelingly, rubbing his own dark-circled eyes.
To pray you open your whole self To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon To one whole voice that is you And know there is more That you can't see, can't hear Can't know except in moments Steadly growing, and in languages That aren't always sound but other Circles of motion. Like eagle that Sunday morning Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky In wind, swept our hearts clean With sacred wings. We see you, see ourselves and know That we must take the utmost care And kindness in all things. Breathe in, knowing we are made of All this, and breathe, knowing We are truly blessed because we Were born, and die soon within a True circle of motion, Like eagle rounding out the morning Inside us. We pray that it will be done In beauty. In beauty.
Since I was a small girl, I have lived inside this cottage, shelted by its roof and walls. I have known of people suffering-I have not been blind to them in the way that privilege allows, the way my own husband and now my daughter are blind. It is a statement of fact and not a judgement to say Charlie and Ella's minds aren't oriented in that direction; in a way, it absolves them, whereas the unlucky have knocked on the door of my consciousness, they have emerged from the forest and knocked many times over the course of my life, and I have only occasionally allowed them entry. I've done more than nothing and much less than I could have. I have laid inside, beneath a quilt on a comfortable couch, in a kind of reverie, and when I heard the unlucky outside my cottage, sometimes I passed them coins or scraps of food, and sometimes I ignored them altogether; if I ignored them, they had no choice but to walk back into the woods, and when they grew weak or got lost or were circled by wolves, I pretended I couldn't hear them calling my name.
When we neared the orchard a flock of birds lit from its outer rows. They hadn't been there long. The branches shook with their absent weight and the birds circled above in the riddy mackerel sky, where they made an artless semaphore. I was afraid, I smelled copper and cheap wine. The sun was up, but a half-moon hung low on the opposite horizon, cutting through the morning sky like a figure from a child's pull-tab book. We were lined along the ditch up to our ankles in a soupy muck. It all seemed in that moment to be the conclusion of a poorly designed experiment in inevitability. Everything was in its proper place, waiting for a pause in time, for the source of all momentum to be stilled, so that what remained would be nothing more than detritus to be tallied up. The world was paper-thin as far as I could tell. And the world was the orchard, and the orchard was what came next. But none of that was true. I was only afraid of dying.
His tender tone turned her heart over. She obliged, tilting her head back slightly and looking up at him in the firelit darkness. When he bent his head and his mouth met hers, she gave a little sigh, her lips parting slightly in surprise and expectation. He kissed her with the same sure decisiveness with which he did everything else, his mouth trailing to her cheek and chin and ear, returning again and again to her mouth and lingering there, his breath mingling with her own. She felt adrift in small, sharp bursts of pleasure. Was this how a man was suppose to kiss a woman? Tenderly... firmly... repeatedly? His fingers fanned through her hair till the pins gave way and wayward locks spilled like black ribbon to the small of her back. In answer, her arms circled his neck, bringing him nearer, every kiss sweeter and surer than the one before. Soon they were lost in a haze of sighs and murmurs and caresses.
He sighed profoundly, and flung himself - there was a passion in his movements which deserves the word - on the earth at the foot of the oak tree. He loved, beneath all this summer transiency, to feel the earth's spine beneath him; for such he took the hard root of the oak tree to be; or, for image followed image, it was the back of a great horse that he was riding; or the deck of a tumbling ship - it was anything indeed, so long as it was hard, for he felt the need of something which he could attach his floating heart to; the heart that tugged at his side; the heart that seemed filled with spiced and amorous gales every evening about this time when he walked out. To the oak tree he tied it and as he lay there, gradually the flutter in and about him stilled itself; the little leaves hung, the deer stopped; the pale summer clouds stayed; his limbs grew heavy on the ground; and he lay so still that by degrees the deer stopped nearer and the rooks wheeled round him and the swallows dipped and circled and the dragonflies shot past, as if all the fertility and amorous activity of a summer's evening were woven web-like about his body.
Now driving in a wild frieze of headlong horses with eyes walled and teeth cropped and naked riders with clusters of arrows clenched in their jaws and their shields winking in the dust and pu the far side of the ruined ranks in a piping of boneflutes and dropping down off the sides of their mounts with one heel hung in the withers strap and their short bows flexing beneath the outstretched necks of the ponies until they had circled the company and cut their ranks in two and then rising up again like funhouse figures, some with nightmare faces painted on their breasts, riding down the unhorsed Saxons and spearing and clubbing them and leaping from their mounts with knives and running about on the ground with a peculiar bandylegged trot like creatures driven to alien forms of locomotion and stripping the clothes from the dead and seizing them up by the hair and passing their blades about the skulls of the living and the dead alike and snatching aloft the bloody wigs and hacking and chopping at the naked bodies, ripping off limbs, head, gutting the strange white torsos and holding up great handfuls of viscera, genitals, some of the savages so slathered up with gore they might have rolled in it like dogs and some who fell upon the dying and sodomized them with loud cries to their fellows.
The months passed away. Slowly a great fear came over Viola, a fear that would hardly ever leave her. For every month at the full moon, whether she would or no, she found herself driven to the maze, through its mysterious walks into that strange dancing-room. And when she was there the music began once more, and once more she danced most deliciously for the moon to see. The second time that this happened she had merely thought that it was a recurrence of her own whim, and that the music was but a trick that the imagination had chosen to repeat. The third time frightened her, and she knew that the force that sways the tides had strange power over her. The fear grew as the year fell, for each month the music went on for a longer time - each month some of the pleasure had gone from the dance. On bitter nights in winter the moon called her and she came, when the breath was vapor, and the trees that circled her dancing-room were black, bare skeletons, and the frost was cruel. She dared not tell anyone, and yet it was with difficulty that she kept her secret. Somehow chance seemed to favor her, and she always found a way to return from her midnight dance to her own room without being observed. Each month the summons seemed to be more imperious and urgent. Once when she was alone on her knees before the lighted altar in the private chapel of the palace she suddenly felt that the words of the familiar Latin prayer had gone from her memory. She rose to her feet, she sobbed bitterly, but the call had come and she could not resist it. She passed out of the chapel and down the palace gardens. How madly she danced that night! ("The Moon Slave")
A weathered black and silver Dodge pickup towing a small motorboat pulled up behind us, and Alex circled back to greet the driver. I couldn't see who sat behind the crusted and dirty windshield, but Alex stood at the driver's window and pointed down the block where the boulevard disappeared into floodwater. The truck pulled ahead, maneuvered a deft U-turn, and backed toward the water. Alex motioned for me to follow. By the time I lurched my way to the truck, he and the pickup driver were sliding the boat down the trailer ramp. Sweat trickled down my neck, and if I hadn't been afraid of being poisoned by toxic sludge, I'd have made like a pig and wallowed in the mud to cool off. I kicked at a fire hydrant, trying to jolt some of the heaviest sludge off my boots, and heard a soft laugh behind me. With a final kick that sent a spray of brown gunk flying, I turned to see what was so funny. I needed a laugh. A man leaned against the side of the pickup with his arms crossed. He was a few inches shorter than Alex, maybe just shy of six feet, with sun-streaked blond hair that reached his collar and a sleeveless blue T-shirt and khaki shorts. His tanned legs between the bottom of the shorts and the top of sturdy black shrimp boots were scored with scars, bad ones, as if whatever made them meant to do serious damage. He'd been grinning when I turned around, flashing a heart-stopping set of dimples, but when he saw my eyes linger on his legs, the grin eased into something more wary.
When God Created Mothers" When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of "overtime" when the angel appeared and said. "You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one." And God said, "Have you read the specs on this order?" She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts... all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands." The angel shook her head slowly and said. "Six pairs of hands... no way." It's not the hands that are causing me problems, " God remarked, "it's the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have." That's on the standard model?" asked the angel. God nodded. One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, 'What are you kids doing in there?' when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn't but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. 'I understand and I love you' without so much as uttering a word." God, " said the angel touching his sleeve gently, "Get some rest tomorrow... " I can't, " said God, "I'm so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick... can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger... and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower." The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. "It's too soft, " she sighed. But tough!" said God excitedly. "You can imagine what this mother can do or endure." Can it think?" Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise, " said the Creator. Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek. There's a leak, " she pronounced. "I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model." It's not a leak, " said the Lord, "It's a tear." What's it for?" It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride." You are a genius, " said the angel. Somberly, God said, "I didn't put it there.
Siberian Plains January 1st, 2020, 2:15 AM Georgy was out for a late night stroll. A drifter, who was close to death, it was difficult to find adequate nutrition, when you were homeless. He didn't have any family, was an orphan raised by a nun in an Omsk church. He didn't believe in a God, which made him a disappointment in the eyes of those who raised him. How could he, when he was abandoned so cruelly? What God would allow that to happen? What God would allow a boy to be tossed away by his parents, left to die on the street? He'd tried to integrate into society, but everyone pissed him off. He tried to work, and was fired for being drunk on the job. He was drunk right now. He might be dying of malnutrition, but he would do it drunk! Georgy heard a strange noise, looked into the night sky, and gasped. There were people flying. He rubbed his eyes, and looked again. People still hovered above him, high up there. Did they already have jet packs invented? Was he that out of the loop? They looked to be wearing something, which billowed as they moved. Some were red, others blue, green, a few yellow. All except the figure in front, who wore one of many different colors, which flapped about. The strange thing was that they all stood upright as they moved forward. How did that work? 'Welcome to death, ' The Man whispered in his ear. Georgy flew, screaming, into the sky. A horrible burn ignited his flesh, as if fire ants burrowed out of his insides. When he looked down he noticed his body, sprawled about on the snowy ground. He felt himself pulled towards the group of flying, robed, masked people. He circled around them, and realized movement was out of his control. He stopped screaming and tried to speak to one of them. Speech was difficult, but he managed after a few false starts of simple sounds. 'Where are we going?' Georgy asked a red-robed individual. 'To kill the unworthy, and bring about the Age of the Shaman, ' the red-robed figure replied. 'Oh, is that all?' Georgy said. 'You will pay for your insolence, ' the red-robed figure warned him. In a second, it felt like his whole being was engulfed in flames. Georgy screamed, the pain unbearable. 'Twenty hours of that should shut you up, ' the red-robed figure said.
Sean M. Thompson
Her womb from her body. Separation. Her clitoris from her vulva. Cleaving. Desire from her body. We were told that bodies rising to heaven lose their vulvas, their ovaries, wombs, that her body in resurrection becomes a male body. The Divine Image from woman, severing, immortality from the garden, exile, the golden calf split, birth, sorrow, suffering. We were told that the blood of a woman after childbirth conveys uncleanness. That if a woman's uterus is detached and falls to the ground, that she is unclean. Her body from the sacred. Spirit from flesh. We were told that if a woman has an issue and that issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be impure for seven days. The impure from the pure. The defiled from the holy. And whoever touches her, we heard, was also impure. Spirit from matter. And we were told that if our garments are stained we are unclean back to the time we can remember seeing our garments unstained, that we must rub seven substances over these stains, and immerse our soiled garments. Separation. The clean from the unclean. The decaying, the putrid, the polluted, the fetid, the eroded, waste, defecation, from the unchanging. The changing from the sacred. We heard it spoken that if a grave is plowed up in a field so that the bones of the dead are lost in the soil of the field, this soil conveys uncleanness. That if a member is severed from a corpse, this too conveys uncleanness, even an olive pit's bulk of flesh. That if marrow is left in a bone there is uncleanness. And of the place where we gathered to weep near the graveyard, we heard that planting and sowing were forbidden since our grieving may have tempted unclean flesh to the soil. And we learned that the dead body must be separated from the city. Death from the city. Wilderness from the city. Wildness from the city. The Cemetery. The Garden. The Zoological Garden. We were told that a wolf circled the walls of the city. That he ate little children. That he ate women. That he lured us away from the city with his tricks. That he was a seducer and he feasted on the flesh of the foolish, and the blood of the errant and sinful stained the snow under his jaws. The errant from the city. The ghetto. The ghetto of Jews. The ghetto of Moors. The quarter of prostitutes. The ghetto of blacks. The neighborhood of lesbians. The prison. The witch house. The underworld. The underground. The sewer. Space Divided. The inch. The foot. The mile. The boundary. The border. The nation. The promised land. The chosen ones.
Suddenly, the man was thrown off her. Darcy looked around, but saw nothing. She rose up on her elbows to see the man climbing to his feet, shaking his head to clear it. His four comrades were looking up to the sky nervously. A huge, dark shape descended from the sky, vanishing quickly. Along with one of her attackers. Darcy was afraid to move and be taken as well. She remained still, her chest heaving. Another shape formed out of the dark sky. She could only stare openmouthed at the dragon coming right for her. Just before he touched down, the dragon shifted, taking the form of a man-a man that left her breathless and awestruck. There was no denying she was looking at a Dragon King. He stood naked, his hands at his sides while his gaze was riveted on the men who accosted her. The shadows kept much of him out of sight, but the streetlamps shed enough light of the hard sinew of his body that she wanted to see more. His lips peeled back in a snarl as he fought the four remaining men. He moved quickly, as if it were as effortless as breathing. The men began to throw huge bubbles of magic at the Dragon King. He dodged many of them. The few that hit him barely made an impact other than to infuriate him, if his bared teeth were any indication. The man-or whatever he was-who had stopped her in the pub was struck down with lethal force by the Dragon King. Darcy almost cheered, but it got lodged in her throat when she saw something out of the corner of her eye. Had she not turned right then, Darcy would never have seen the second dragon swoop from the sky and wrap its talons around another of the men before flying away, crushing him. That left just two of her attackers. They and the Dragon King circled each other on the street. 'She's ours, ' one of the red-eyed men said. The Dragon King merely raised a brow. 'Think again, Dark.' More globes of magic flew from the two Dark, but the Dragon King was too fast. He came up behind one of the Dark and ripped out his spinal column. The same instant the dragon grabbed the other. Both Dark fell lifeless to the ground a moment later. Darcy hadn't moved a muscle in the few minutes that had passed. The need that had assaulted her earlier with the Dark was now gone. But she wasn't alone. The Dragon King's gaze turned to her. Darcy watched him standing in the glow of the streetlight, completely mesmerized by the dragon tat that ran from the King's right shoulder, under his armpit, and down his side to the top of his right thigh. The dragon's head was at the front of the man's shoulder and had his mouth open as if on a roar. He was rearing with his wings up and out. It was his long tail that stopped at the King's thigh. The King glistened with sweat that made his muscles gleam in the light. Darcy had the absurd notion to run her hands all over his body, learning the feel of his hard muscles and warm skin. Her gaze traveled down his wide chest to his washboard stomach and narrow waist. Then lower...
I circled the site before I came in. If there's anyone within five kilometers, I'll eat my quiver." Halt regarded him, eyebrow arched once more. "Anyone?" "Anyone other than Crowley, " Will amended, making a dismissive gesture. "I saw him watching me from that hide he always uses about two kilometers out. I assumed he'd be back in here by now." Halt cleared his throat loudly. "Oh, you saw him, did you?" he said. "I imagine he'll be overjoyed to hear that." Secretly, he was pleased with his former pupil. In spite of his curiosity and obvious excitement, he hadn't forgotten to take the precautions that had been drilled into him. THat augured well for what lay ahead, Halt thought, a sudden grimness settling onto his manner. Will didn't notice the momentary change of mood. He was loosening Tug saddle girth. As he spoke, his voice was muffled against the horses's flank. "he's becoming too much a creature of habit, " he said. "he's used that hide for the last three Gatherings. It's time he tried something new. Everyone must be onto it by now." Rangers constantly competed with each other to see before being seen and each year's Gathering was a time of heightened competition. Halt nodded thoughtfully. Crowley had constructed teh virtually invisible observation post some four years previously. Alone among the younger Rangers, Will had tumbled to it after one year. Halt had never mentioned to him that he was the only one who knew of Crowley's hide. The concealed post was the Ranger Commandant's pride and joy. "Well, perhaps not everyone, " he said. Will emerged from behind his horse, grinning at the thought of the head of the Ranger Corps thinking he had remained hidden from sight as he watched Will's approach. "All the same, perhaps he's getting a bit long in the tooth to be skulking around hiding in the bushes, don't you think?" he said cheerfully. Halt considered the question for a moment. "Long in the tooth? Well, that's one opinion. Mind you, his silent movement skills are still as good as ever, " he said meaningfully. The grin on Will's face slowly faded. He resisted the temptation to look over his shoulder. "He's standing behind me, isn't he?" he asked Halt. THe older Ranger nodded. "He's standing behind me, isn't he?" Will continued and Halt nodded once more. "Is he... close enough to have heard what I said?" Will finally managed to ask, fearin teh worst. This time, Halt didn't have to answer. "Oh, good grief no, " came a familiar voice from behind him. "he's so old and decrepit these days he's as deaf as a post." Will's shoulders sagged and he turned to see the sandy-haired Commandant standing a few meters away. The younger man's eyes dropped. "Hullo, Crowley, " he said, then mumbled, "Ahhh... I'm sorry about that." Crowley glared at teh young Ranger for a few more seconds, then he couldn't help teh grin breaking out on his face. "No harm done, " he said, adding with a small note of triumph, "It's not often these days I amange to get the better of one of you young ones." Secretly, he was impressed at teh news that Will had spotted his hiding place. Only the sarpest eyes could have picked it. Crowley had been in the business of seeing without being seen for thirty years or more, and despite what Will believed, he was still an absolute master of camouflage and unseen movement.
It was getting difficult to see exactly what was going on in the pool and a fourth officer jumped in as one came up with the unconscious form of the first cop. While others pulled the half-drowned man from the pool, three more wrestled Skorzeny to the surface and dragged him to the steps at the shallow end of the pool. He wasn't struggling any longer. Nor was he breathing with any apparent difficulty. The biggest of the three cops later admitted to punching him as hard as he could in the stomach and Skorzey doubled over. Another half-dragged him, still on his feet, shirt torn, jacket ripped, out of the pool and put a handcuff on his left wrist. Skorzeny pulled his arm away from the cop and, suddenly straightening, elbow-jabbed him in the gut, sending him sprawling and rolling back into the pool. Skorzeny turned toward the back fence and was now between the pool and a small palm tree. Before him were two advancing officers, pistols leveled. Behind him two more circled the pool. Skorzeny lunged forward and all fired simultaneously. The noise was deafening. Lights in neighboring houses began to go on. Skorzeny's body twitched and bucked as the heavy slugs ripped through his body. His forward momentum carried him into the officers ahead of him and he half-crawled, half-staggered to the southeast corner of the yard where another gate was set into the fiberglass fencing. Two more officers, across the pool, cut loose with their pistols, emptying them into this writing body which danced like a puppet. Another cop fired two shots from his pump-action shotgun and Skorzeny was lifted clean off his feet and slammed against the gate, sagging to the ground. En masse from both ends of the pool they advanced, when he gave out with a terrible hissing snarl and started to rise once more. All movement ceased as the cops, to a man, stood frozen in their tracks. Skorzeny stood there like some hideous caricature, his shredding clothing and skin hanging like limp rags from his scarecrow form. His flesh was ripped in several places and he was oozing something that looked like watered-down blood. It was pinkish and transparent. He stood there like a living nightmare. Then he straightened and raised his fist with the cuff still dangling from it like a charm bracelet. 'Fools!' he shrieked. 'You can't kill me. You can't even hurt me.' Overhead, the copter hovered, the copilot giving a blow-by-blow description of the fight over the radio. The police on the ground were paralyzed. Nearly thirty shots had been fired (the bullets later tallied in reports turned in by the participating officers) and their quarry was still as strong as ever. He'd been hit repeatedly in the head and legs, so a bulletproof vest wasn't the answer. And at distances sometimes as little as five feet, they could hardly have missed. They'd seen him hit. They stood frozen in an eerie tableau as the still roiling pool water threw weird reflections all over the yard. Then Skorzeny did the most frightening thing of all. He smiled. A red-rimmed, hideous grin revealing fangs that 'would have done justice to a Doberman Pinscher.
I was in a copse of pine trees, and the pine was overpowering my scent. The pheromones of the big cat mingled with the pine and I spun around. I was smelling and looking for the flash of white, but I couldn't see it. I grew angry and I pawed at the earth. The aroma of the soil cleansed my nose as I leaned down and sniffed deeply. I slowly closed and opened my eyes. As I looked ahead I saw something. There, further on, I had another glimpse of the large white cat. She was stopped and her hindquarters were in the air. I stared, trying to figure out what she was doing. Her forepaws and head were on the ground, but her hind was wiggling. She was next to a tree, marking it, so I slowly paced in a zigzag pattern as I walked close to her. I was being cautious because poachers had been known to employ shifters to entice real animals in the wild. She turned her head and growled at me. I took it as an invite to come closer. I ran up to her and started circling. She was an albino panther as I thought. I paced closer, breathing deep. I was in the middle of Ohio, outside of a lost cougar and a few bobcats there were no big cats here, at least not counting lycanthropes, and this creature didn't smell like one of those. Her rump almost wagged in anticipation, and I felt my tiger body respond. I circled her, taking a swipe in her direction to see if she was going to respond negatively to me. The pink eyes followed me and she growled. I walked up to her, sniffed her face and neckline. I didn't smell any other male on her, and I walked to her raised rump. Burying my nose in her groin I smelled deeper, and she shifted her body. I felt it before I could see it. She was shifting, changing from albino panther to human. I sat on my hindquarters as I watched. Her white fur seemed to melt from her, sliding upwards, starting with her back legs. The flesh and fur on her feet slid forward, leaving human feet and calves. It was fully fleshed, unlike some lycanthrope changes when they're younger. The calves of her legs appeared, and slowly slid up. The panther flesh was sliding forward, slowly and methodically. Across her ass and groin, now lower back and stomach. The pheromones I smelled earlier were coming from her, the human form. I stood and started pacing behind her, and her panther head shook in a very human gesture. I stopped, fighting the desire to lean forward and lick her wetness with my large tongue. The flesh was sliding forward and as her teats turned into breasts, I growled in need. Next were her shoulders and arms, then her head and hands. As the transformation ended, there was a pile of fur and flesh lying in front of her. Her human form was beautiful; a full figured woman with long white hair, that was perfectly natural. She looked to be in her early forties, but didn't have a line on her face that she didn't want. In the corners of her eyes were small, but beautiful, crow's feet, laugh lines surrounded her mouth. She laid out with her former form under her, laying on it, propped up by her elbows. She smiled with the confidence of someone who was used to being in charge. Her long hair flowed around her shoulders, framing her body. She reminded me of someone, but I couldn't figure out who.