He stood and inhaled, then walked a few more feet, stooped, and prodded a chunk of rabbit fur. 'I'm definitely thinking something with more body parts, ' I said. 'Like a head.' He gave a snort of a laugh. 'It's probably around here somewhere, but I suppose you want the parts attached, too.
First developed as a weapon by the U.S. Army, VX is an oily, odorless and tasteless liquid that kills on contact with the skin or when inhaled in aerosol form. Like other nerve agents, it is treatable in the first minutes after exposure but otherwise leads swiftly to fatal convulsions and respiratory failure.
I inhaled the musty, leathery, old-papery scent and a shiver passed over me. If I had any idea of heaven, it was this: shelves and shelves of books, ten times as many as were upstairs, each with stories or pictures more exciting and beautiful than the next, and two overstuffed chairs big enough for me to sleep in.
I already live like you, " Evan lifted his head and looked straight into Christian's eyes. "I'm living like you right now, without her. If she leaves me when I ask her to marry me, or at the altar, or tomorrow, I could still say I tried. I could still say I loved her, that I kissed her, I held her." Evan inhaled a deep breath, his chest swelling with the intensity of it. "Without her, I'll just rot into nothing.
The leaves drifted silently to the ground in the crisp autumn air. I inhaled deeply, the smell of burning bonfires far, far away enchanting my nostrils. Autumn had come early this year and I was excited for the change in colors that had already begun to take over the trees of the forest that surrounded Grandmother's house.
Emma Rose Kraus
Mortals dies." said Catarina. "You've always known that, and yet you've loved them before." "Not, " Magnus said, "like this." Catarina inhaled in surprise. "Oh, " she said. "Oh... " She picked up her drink. "Magnus, " she said tenderly. "you are impossibly stupid." He narrowed his eyes at her. "Am I?" "If that's the way you feel, you should be with him, " she said. "Think of Tessa. Did you learn nothing from her? About what loves are worth the pain of losing them?
At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.
Rainer Maria Rilke
I inhaled books. I loved Classics Illustrated comic books. These were books that I could afford to buy after I turned in pop bottles for change. 'The Prince and the Pauper,' 'Robinson Crusoe,' 'A Journey to the Center of the Earth.' Male narratives filled with adventure and self-discovery.
Jewell Parker Rhodes
And there I was with the stars hanging above my house like live wiresand the night sky the color of stockings.I stuck out my tongue to taste the skybut could not taste.I inhaled deeplybut could not smell.I used to look to the sky for comfortand now there was nothing, not even a seam,and I looked down and saw that it did not even reach the ground.And my only company was the satellites counting their sleep
Claire. It was the last candle left within the Indian Agent. The last glimmer. He curled himself around it to keep it alive, and when the storm inhaled he studied his right hand, could feel her beside him in the carriage that night and, as if he could insist on this, looked up the depression he was calling a road, for the cabman's blindered horse, huffing through the snow, its lanterns swinging. Claire waiting for him on the worn velvet seat.
Stephen Graham Jones
I watched the black ocean in his eyes and saw this flash behind them and understood what he had meant the night before, about the insanity that had gripped him. He was not so far gone as to be lost, but he was close, and I knew it had come from me turning my back on him as I had started to flee. Whether I wanted to or not, I anchored him to this world, and I was the only thing he'd known, maybe for his whole life. He had watched me, yes, he had stalked me, oh yes, but it had driven him to the edge. I inhaled sharply at the wildness I saw in him, the despair that was threatening to rise.
I inhaled Dickens as a kid, and I've always been fascinated by the Victorians. So many ridiculous objects they had! They created things like mustache cups, so you wouldn't wet your mustache when you were drinking tea. And eyebrow combs. What's happened to all the eyebrow combs? Marvelous things.
He inhaled her scent, uncaring of the blood and dirt and grime that permeated her hair and clothing. He was holding her. Finally holding her. "You're real. You're real." She pulled away, looked up at him, the same answering emotion shining in her blue eyes. With a groan, he lowered his mouth to hers. He couldn't hold back. Nothing in the world would have kept him from kissing her in that moment. He was overcome.
I really hate Squires. (Syra) (She pulled another flat bolt out and loaded it, then shot it at Otto. Moving so fast he could hardly be seen, the Squire turned around and caught it without flinching. He held the bolt up to his nose and inhaled it lovingly.) Mmm. Rose. My favorite. (Otto) Perhaps we should leave you two alone. (Jess) Yeah, this does remind me a bit of the mating rites of the mean and the surly. (Allen)
He put the book down. "As you wish." He rose and walked past me. I lowered my sword, expecting him to pass, but suddenly he stepped in dangerously close. "Welcome home. I'm glad you made it. There is coffee in the kitchen for you." My mouth gaped open. He inhaled my scent, bent close, about to kiss me... I just stood there like an idiot. Curran smirked and whispered in my ear instead. "Psych." And just like that, he was out the door and gone. Oh boy.
He put the book down. 'As you wish.' He rose and walked past me. I lowered my sword, expecting him to pass, but suddenly he stepped in dangerously close. 'Welcome home. I'm glad you made it. There is coffee in the kitchen for you.' My mouth gaped open. He inhaled my scent, bent close, about to kiss me... I just stood there like an idiot. Curran smirked and whispered in my ear instead. 'Psych.' And just like that, he was out the door and gone. Oh boy.
She had always found villains more exciting than heroes. They had ambition, passion. They made the stories happen. Villains didn't fear death. No, they wrapped themselves in death like suits of armor! As she inhaled the school's graveyard smell, Agatha felt her blood rush. For like all villains, death didn't scare her. It made her feel alive.
She listened to the soft splashing sound when the water met the bank. It took just a few moments before she was able to completely fade out the smell of pollution and inhaled the salty air. The soft breeze mingled with the swooshing and splashing of the waves, with the rustling of grass, the tictac as long undressed twigs of the tree met each other, composing a gentle melody like wooden wind-chimes. The whole concert of nature calmed her down like nothing had ever been able to.
By nature independent, gay, even exuberant, seductively responsive and given to those spontaneous sallies that sparkle in the conversation of certain daughters of Paris who seem to have inhaled since childhood the pungent breath of the boulevards laden with the nightly laughter of audiences leaving theaters, Madame de Burne's five years of bondage had nonetheless endowed her with a singular timidity which mingled oddly with her youthful mettle, a great fear of saying too much, of going to far, along with a fierce yearning for emancipation and a firm resolve never again to compromise her freedom.
Guy de Maupassant
The collar had restrained his winds but not killed them. They uncoiled from behind the shadows, ready to surround her, to lift her up, to carry her away with only Ariel's silk-clad arms wrapped about her to keep her from falling. Spirare, they whispered to her like an incantation. Breathe us in. Bertie didn't mean to, but she inhaled, and everything inside her was a spring morning, a rose opening its petals to the sun, the light coming through the wavering glass of an old, diamond-paned window. Tendrils of wind reached for Bertie with a coaxing hand. Release him, and he will love you.
Daniel took Luce's hands in his. He closed his eyes, inhaled, and let his massive white wings unfurl. Fully extended , they would have filled the entire kitchen , but Daniel reined them in, close to his body. They shimmered and glowed and looked altogether too beautiful. Luce reached out and touched them with both hands. Warm and satin smooth on the outside, but inside, full of power. She could feel it coursing through Daniel, into her. She felt so close to him, understood him completely""As If they had become one.
Ami leaned into his side and inhaled the fresh scent of man. 'Uh, no. Sometimes my biological clock threatens to explode like a ticking bomb, that's all. Rachel is so lucky. Nat is a doll. Doug adores them. Don't mind me, I'm just wishing my laundry pile was filled with boxer shorts and Cinderella T-shirts. I'll get over it.' 'Why do you have to get over it, ' Marcus asked gently. 'Sounds like a nice dream to me.'... a few pages later Things were looking up. If he could just convince her his boxer shorts belonged in her laundry basket, he'd be right on board with her six-month plan
I'm so sorry. I don't think the etiquette manuals cover this sort of situation.' He leaned in close, his lips all but grazing her neck, and inhaled. 'Mmm. You smell good, too.' She nearly choked. Took a step backwards, until her back met cold stone. 'Th-thank you.' 'That's better. May I kiss you?' His finger dipped into her shirt collar, stroking the tender nape of her neck. 'I d-don't th-think that's a good idea.' 'Why not? We're alone.' His hands were at her waist. Her lungs felt tight and much too small. 'Wh-what if somebody comes in?' He considered for a moment. 'Well, I suppose they'll think I fancy grubby little boys.
Sometimes when Rose was reading, she would catch a whiff of the musty smell of her book. She put her nose down in the fold and inhaled deeply so that wonderful smell, the smell of adventure in faraway lands, would fill her up. She rubbed her hand across the pages to feel the velvety surface of the paper. When she closed her eyes, her fingertips could even feel the words that were printed there, each letter raised just a little, almost like the special language that her blind aunt Mary could read. To Rose, a book was as real and alive as if it breathed and walked and spoke.
Roger Lea MacBride
Rolling flat onto his back, Drake shuddered. Then he inhaled deeply. He stared up at the night sky. "We're going to win, " he said, his voice calmer, less strained. "This is nothing. Keep going. They can't stop us. Jason, give Rachel the necklace. Tell her... tell her I'm sorry. Tell her... I wanted... to show her... my little valley. Tell her I tried." His voice was growing weak. Farfalee smoothed a hand over his brow. "Shhh, " she whispered. "Be still, Drake. You can rest now. You did it. Rest. We'll take it from here." "Failie, " he whispered, his hand twitching toward the back of his neck with little jerks. "Where's my seed?" His head tipped sideways. The breath went out of him.
He turned back to Lara, his alert gaze raking over her tearful face. Somehow the solid reality of his presence eased her panic. He folded her in his arms, anchoring her against his chest, murmuring quietly into her hair. Sniffling, Lara reached inside his waistcoat until her palm rested over the steady beat of his heart. The sensation of his warm breath sinking down to her scalp me her quiver. It was so terribly intimate, crying in his arms... even more personal than making love. But he had never felt so much like a husband to her as he did in this moment. Quieting, she inhaled his familiar scent and let out a shaky sigh.
She once told me of a night that fumed with escapes and was filled with bedsides reeking of ecstasy; she told me the stars cast not judgments, but blessings, knowing full well the disastrous outcomes of the deeds they cradled with the strings of their young hearts. She'd inhaled the night itself, those around her doing the same, and so all become one. No disharmony. No discordance. Nothing to shatter the cause; nothing to unearth the beauty. So as we together ascended that front porch, allowing the glow behind the blown-out windows and the odious steams plunder us from through the cracks... time forgot to distill us, and our steps became as silver as glass. I could no longer deny the boiling words of my blood: tonight would be the beginning of a very long road indeed.
I ran into him, in the most unexpected place. I looked into his eyes and I see everything clearly now. You were so anxious to move on because you were afraid. You were afraid to feel loneliness creep up inside you like a never ending sickness. You were afraid to feel intoxicated by the summer air we once inhaled together with love. You were afraid to wake up feeling small. See because when we were together you were a part of something bigger than words could explain. Yet strangers walking down the street saw it glowing off of our skin. You were afraid... you were a coward. A simple coward who awakened dreams within a woman, that you couldn't help her reach. A lost soul now looking for comfort within fast forward time. You were afraid, afraid of what it's like to be surrounded by hundreds of people yet being absolutely alone.
Shergahn and friend lay like poleaxed steers, and the Daranfelian's greasy hair was thick with potatoes, carrots, gravy, and chunks of beef. His companion had less stew in his hair, but an equally large lump was rising fast, and Brandark flipped his improvised club into the air, caught it in proper dipping position, and filled it once more from the pot without even glancing at them. He raised the ladle to his nose, inhaled deeply, and glanced at the cook with an impudent twitch of his ears. "Smells delicious, " he said while the laughter started up all around the fire. "I imagine a bellyful of this should help a hungry man sleep. Why, just look what a single ladle of it did for Shergahn!
The deeper I went into the valley, the greater the rewards. First, it was a clump of birches, the bottoms wrapped in thick fog, the uppermost branches clear now, nesting birds waking with bright-eyed songs. Next, I passed under the pines, browned needles underfoot, and was transported to the quiet moments of rapture under such branches throughout my life. The last, and worth all other gifts combined, was that moment when the valley inhaled, taking with it the fog. In its place, so close to where I was standing, there they were, the year's first flowers, the pure white snowdrops springing from the dark-green foliage under the elms. It was as if the clouds were swept in an instant from the sky leaving only the quiet delicacy of the stars.
Goodnight, Sam." Sam took a deep breath and tried to settle himself. It did not good, instead he inhaled a hint of her vanilla perfume mixed with the smell of sea salt. He couldn't help himself. His mind drifted. He longed to buy his face in her neck and breathe it in. Instead he made due with taking deep breathes as the spicy aroma engulfed him. After a while he realized this wasn't working for him, her signature scent stimulated him and forced him to long for her. He tried counting backwards from a hundred. Maybe that would work to level off his arousal so he could get some sleep. Just lying there thinking about her cologne or the fact that he could simply reach out and touch her body was enough to keep him hard all night. And frustrated... ninety-five, ninety-four, ninety-three.
I pushed her shiny blond hair away from her face and leaned down, our faces only inches apart. She inhaled softly, our lips so close I could feel her breath and the scent of her skin, like honeysuckle in springtime. She smelled like sweet tea and old books, like she had always been here. I pulled my fingers through her hair and held it at the back of her neck. Her skin was soft and warm, like a Mortal girl's. There was no electric current, no shocks. We could kiss for as long as we wanted. If we had a fight, there wouldn't be a flood or a hurricane, or even a storm. I wouldn't find her on the ceiling of her bedroom. No windows would shatter. No exams would catch fire. Liv held up her face to be kissed. She wanted me.
I finally found him sitting on his balcony. He was leaning back against the wall with his eyes closed. Soft music played, and a cool ocean breeze blew back my hair as I stepped on to the balcony and inhaled the scent of the sea. "May I join you?" I asked softly. He didn't bother opening his eyes. "If you like." The moon in the dark sky looked like a giant white plate dipping its edge into the ocean. We sat quietly for a while. I closed my eyes too and listened to him hum along in harmony with the music. "You haven't played your guitar in a long time. I miss it, " I said when the song was finished. Ren turned away. "I fear there is no music left in me.
Living is about capturing the essence of things. I go through my life every day with a vial, a vial wherein can be found precious essential oils of every kind! The priceless, fragrant oils that are the essence of my experiences, my thoughts. I walk inside a different realm from everybody else, in that I am existing in the essence of things; every time there is reason to smile, I hold out my glass vial and capture that drop of oil, that essence, and then I smile. And that is why I have smiled, and so you and I may be smiling at the same time but I am smiling because of that one drop of cherished, treasured oil that I have extracted. When I write, I find no need to memorize an idea, a plot, a sequence of things: no. I must only capture the essence of a feeling or a thought and once I have inhaled that aroma, I know that I have what I need.
C. JoyBell C.
These Cro-Magnon people were identical to us: they had the same physique, the same brain, the same looks. And, unlike all previous hominids who roamed the earth, they could choke on food. That may seem a trifling point, but the slight evolutionary change that pushed man's larynx deeper into his throat, and thus made choking a possibility, also brought with it the possibility of sophisticated, well articulated speech. Other mammals have no contact between their air passages and oesophagi. They can breathe and swallow at the same time, and there is no possibility of food going down the wrong way. But with Homo sapiens food and drink must pass over the larynx on the way to the gullet and thus there is a constant risk that some will be inadvertently inhaled. In modern humans, the lowered larynx isn't in position from birth. It descends sometime between the ages of three and five months - curiously, the precise period when babies are likely to suffer from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. At all events, the descended larynx explains why you can speak and your dog cannot.
Gregory?' I called. I couldn't help myself. It was irrational, but I was scared to see him run from me. He turned my direction, his feet pivoting in the dirt. Warily, I crossed into the light for a moment. 'Do you, um... ' I inhaled deeply. 'Do you think you'll still want to be my friend tomorrow?' I held my breath and waited for his answer. Although I could feel the sunshine perceptibly tingle every inch of exposed skin, the way Gregory smiled at me produced a swell of warmth unmatchable even for the sun. 'I'll always want to be your friend, Annabelle. Do you want to be mine?' My head nodded like mad, ecstatic, all on its own. I disappeared among the shadows again and watched my new friend until he stepped around the Hopkins' house. Then I waited until his car drove off - Gregory and his mother headed for home. I was on a high like no other, but I'd not lost my grasp on reality entirely. I knew that the real test would come Monday. It was one thing to befriend an outcast in the privacy of the woods, but quite another to risk ridicule and reputation when surrounded by peers. This was true even for those with the biggest of hearts, which I now believed Gregory Hill to have.
Richelle E. Goodrich
Quote from BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN - pgs. 86 -87 'A Kiss': I went to snatch my hand away, but Trent caught my hand in his, startling me. I looked up to see warmth on his face. His smile held the promise of happiness. He scooted closer and held my gaze for a breath, glanced down. He leaned forward, as if he had no control over his actions. I inhaled his nice, soapy-clean scent, and all coherent thought left my head. His hands gripped my waist and Trent yanked me against him, his mouth covering mine in a deep kiss. The caress of his lips was softer than I'd imagined. An unfamiliar rush of excitement engulfed my senses. My hands wrapped around his neck, fingering his silky tousled hair. His moist lips seared a path from my lips to my neck, igniting a blaze of desire that flooded my skin everywhere his lips and roaming hands touched. Boys had kissed me before, but not like this. Never like this...
There, there, sweetin', ' he murmured into her hair. 'He loved me, he truly did, ' she gasped. 'I know he did, ' Michael said. 'And I loved him.' 'Mm-hmm.' She raised her head, glaring angrily. 'You don't even believe in love. Why are you agreeing with me?' He laughed. 'Because'-he leaned down and licked at the tears on her cheeks, his lips brushing softly against her sensitive skin as he spoke, 'ye've bewitched and bespelled me, my sweet Silence, didn't ye know? I'll agree that the sky is pink, that the moon is made o' marzipan and sugared raisins, and that mermaids swim the muddy waters o' the Thames, if ye'll only stop weepin'. Me chest breaks apart and gapes wide open when I see tears in yer pretty eyes. Me lungs, me liver, and me heart cannot stand to be thus exposed.' She stopped breathing. She simply inhaled and stopped, looking at him in wonder. His lips were quirked in a mocking smile, but his eyes-his fathomless black eyes-seemed to hold a great pain as if his strong chest really had been split open.
Waldo inhaled deeply, staring at the ceiling. It was at times like this that he was at his worst. His mind, while indecisive, was also capable of producing the most detailed, fantastic daydreams imaginable, and with the mysterious disappearance of his grandfather as fodder, his speculations grew even more intense and far-fetched than usual. On the other hand, the logical part of his brain, underdeveloped as it was, went almost entirely untapped in such a situation. Waldo was literally frozen into inaction by his chemical makeup, and this was apparent in the number of cigarettes he lit, the number of sighs he expelled, and the number of times his helpless fingers alternated between nervously tapping the coffee table and running through his unkempt hair. All that night, Waldo remained awake, deep in unproductive thought, routinely walking back and forth from the living room to the front porch, where he would take a seat in the old-fashioned swing and smoke heavily. The blissful suburban setting, especially on spring nights like this, when the crickets chirped so lustily, and the porch swing creaked so reassuringly in the warm breeze, was perfect for conjuring up bold new fantasies.
You scared the shit out of me last night, so forgive me if I don't want to hear fine as an answer." I rubbed my eyes, hoping it would keep the burning tears away. The warm water of the shower had finally calmed the tears, but the thought of Noah walking away brought them back. "What do you want to hear? That I'm exhausted? Terrified? Confused? That all I want to do is rest my head on your chest and sleep for hours, but that's not going to happen because you're leaving me?" "Yes, " he said quickly, then just as quick said, "No. Everything but the last part." He paused. "Echo, how could you think I would leave you? How can you doubt how I feel?" "Because, " I said as I felt the familiar twisting in my stomach. "You saw me lose it. You saw me almost go insane." The muscles in his shoulders visibly tensed. "I watched you battle against the worst memory of your life and I watched you win. Make no mistake, Echo. I battled right beside you. You need to find some trust in me... in us." Noah inhaled and slowly let the air out. His stance softened and so did his voice. "If you're scared, tell me. If you need to cry and scream, then do it. And you sure as hell don't walk away from us because you think it would be better for me. Here's the reality, Echo: I want to be by your side. If you want to go to the mall stark naked so you can show the world your scars, then let me hold your hand. If you want to see your mom, then tell me that, too. I may not always understand, but damn, baby, I'll try.
Chapter 9 - Marissa's Lake: 'We've got incoming, ' said Benter scrambling up, grabbing Jake's arm and running back into the snake tunnel almost dragging Jake until he righted himself and jerked loose from Benter's hold. At a dead run, they rounded the bend that had previously led to the red sky. The crashing noise of falling rock echoed by them and they backed up to the side of the tunnel. Benter held his finger up to his mouth. He slowly edged forward to peek back beyond the bend. The colossal dragon tried to dig and burn its way into the tunnel, but it was ten times the size of the tunnel opening. The beast inhaled a deep breath, seemingly to suck every bit of air from the tunnel. Benter felt himself breathe harder, becoming lightheaded. The dragon continued to inhale and Benter realized the exhale would be a huge fire bomb. 'RUN!' yelled Benter, but Jake had read his mind and was already ahead of him running as fast as he could. Within seconds of their exit the dragon released the fire missile and great licking flames raced towards them in a hungry fervor.
But what might a woman say about church as she? What might a woman say about the church as body and bride? Perhaps she would speak of the way a regular body moves through the world-always changing, never perfect-capable of nurturing life, not simply through the womb, but through hands, feet, eyes, voice, and brain. Every part is sacred. Every part has a function. Perhaps she would speak of impossible expectations and all the time she's wasted trying to contort herself into the shape of those amorphous silhouettes that flit from magazines and billboards into her mind. Or of this screwed-up notion of purity as a status, as something awarded by men with tests and checklists and the power to give it and take it away. Perhaps she would speak of the surprise of seeing herself-flaws and all-in the mirror on her wedding day. Or of the reality that with new life comes swollen breasts, dry heaves, dirty diapers, snotty noses, late-night arguments, and a whole army of new dangers and fears she never even considered before because life-giving isn't nearly as glamorous as it sounds, but it's a thousand times more beautiful. Perhaps she would talk about being underestimated, about surprising people and surprising herself. Or about how there are moments when her own strength startles her, and moments when her weakness-her forgetfulness, her fear, her exhaustion-unnerve her. Maybe she would tell of the time, in the mountains with bare feet on the ground, she stood tall and wise and felt every cell in her body smile in assent as she inhaled and exhaled and in one loud second realized, I'm alive! I'm enfleshed! only to forget it the next. Or maybe she would explain how none of the categories created for her sum her up or capture her essence.
Rachel Held Evans
The Major's laughter boomed out again. "And I never kept a diary in my life!" he cried. "Why there's enough cream in this situation to make a dishful of meringues. You and I, you know, the students of Tilling! The serious-minded students who do a hard day's work when all the pretty ladies have gone to bed. Often and often has old-I mean has that fine woman, Miss Mapp, told me that I work too hard at night! Recommended me to get earlier to bed, and do my work between six and eight in the morning! Six and eight in the morning! That's a queer time of day to recommend an old campaigner to be awake at! Often she's talked to you, too, I bet my hat, about sitting up late and exhausting the nervous faculties." Major Flint choked and laughed and inhaled tobacco smoke till he got purple in the face. "And you sitting up one side of the street, " he gasped, "pretending to be interested in Roman roads, and me on the other pulling a long face over my diaries, and neither of us with a Roman road or a diary to our names. Let's have an end to such unsociable arrangements, old friend; you lining your Roman roads and the bottle to lay the dust over to me one night, and I'll bring my diaries and my peg over to you the next. Never drink alone-one of my maxims in life-if you can find someone to drink with you. And there were you within a few yards of me all the time sitting by your old solitary self, and there was I sitting by my old solitary self, and we each thought the other a serious-minded old buffer, busy on his life-work. I'm blessed if I ever heard of two such pompous old frauds as you and I, Captain! What a sight of hypocrisy there is in the world, to be sure! No offence-mind: I'm as bad as you, and you're as bad as me, and we're both as bad as each other. But no more solitary confinement of an evening for Benjamin Flint, as long as you're agreeable.
All at once, something wonderful happened, although at first, it seemed perfectly ordinary. A female goldfinch suddenly hove into view. She lighted weightlessly on the head of a bankside purple thistle and began emptying the seedcase, sowing the air with down. The lighted frame of my window filled. The down rose and spread in all directions, wafting over the dam's waterfall and wavering between the tulip trunks and into the meadow. It vaulted towards the orchard in a puff; it hovered over the ripening pawpaw fruit and staggered up the steep faced terrace. It jerked, floated, rolled, veered, swayed. The thistle down faltered down toward the cottage and gusted clear to the woods; it rose and entered the shaggy arms of pecans. At last it strayed like snow, blind and sweet, into the pool of the creek upstream, and into the race of the creek over rocks down. It shuddered onto the tips of growing grasses, where it poised, light, still wracked by errant quivers. I was holding my breath. Is this where we live, I thought, in this place in this moment, with the air so light and wild? The same fixity that collapses stars and drives the mantis to devour her mate eased these creatures together before my eyes: the thick adept bill of the goldfinch, and the feathery coded down. How could anything be amiss? If I myself were lighter and frayed, I could ride these small winds, too, taking my chances, for the pleasure of being so purely played. The thistle is part of Adam's curse. 'Cursed is the ground for thy sake, in sorrow shalt thou eat of it; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee.' A terrible curse: But does the goldfinch eat thorny sorrow with the thistle or do I? If this furling air is fallen, then the fall was happy indeed. If this creekside garden is sorrow, then I seek martyrdom. I was weightless; my bones were taut skins blown with buoyant gas; it seemed that if I inhaled too deeply, my shoulders and head would waft off. Alleluia.
Billos ran. He tore down the shore, bounded up on the rock, and dove into the air. The warm water engulfed him. A boiling heat knocked the wind from his lungs. The shock alone might kill him. But it was pleasure that surged through his body, not pain. The sensations coursed through his bones in great unrelenting waves. Elyon. How he was certain, he did not know. But he knew. Elyon was in this lake with him. Billos opened his eyes. Gold light drifted by. He lost all sense of direction. The water pressed in on every inch of his body, as intense as any acid, but one that burned with pleasure instead of pain. He sank into the water, opened his mouth and laughed. He wanted more, much more. He wanted to suck the water in and drink it. Without thinking, he did just that. The liquid hit his lungs. Billos pulled up, panicked. He tried to hack the water from his lungs, but inhaled more instead. No pain. He carefully sucked more water and breathed it out slowly. Then again, deep and hard. Out with a soft whoosh. He was breathing the water! Billos shrieked with laughter. He swam into the lake, deeper and deeper. The power contained in this lake was far greater than anything he'd ever imagined. "I made this, Billos." Billos whipped his body around, searching for the words' source. "Elyon?" His voice was muffled, hardly a voice at all. "Do you like it?" "Yes!" Billos said. He might have spoken; he might have shouted-he didn't know. He only knew that his whole body screamed it. Billos looked around. "Elyon?" "Why do you doubt me, Billos?" In that single moment the full weight of Billos's foolishness crashed on him like a sledgehammer. "I see you, Billos." "I made you." "I love you." The words crashed over him, reaching into the deepest folds of his flesh, caressing each hidden synapse, flowing through every vein, as though he had been given a transfusion. "I choose you, Billos." Billos began to weep. The feeling was more intense than any pain he had ever felt. The current pulled at him, tugging him up through the colors. His body trembled with pleasure. He wanted to speak, to yell, to tell the whole world that he was the most fortunate person in the universe. That he was loved by Elyon. Elyon himself. "Never leave me, Billos." "Never! I will never leave you." The current pushed him through the water and then above the surface not ten meters from the shore. He stood on the sandy bottom. For a moment he had such clarity of mind that he was sure he could understand the very fabric of space if he put his mind to it. He was chosen. He was loved.