Growing up in Middlesbrough [in England], I listened to artists like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Howlin' Wolf. It was like another world. Something happened to me when I heard that music. It leapt out of the speakers and went straight into my heart. And I thought, "Right, that's what I'm doing."
My breath caught fire and my heart leapt infinite beats within his proximity. "Wreck me, tame me. The way you want it." I whispered my plea. His foggy grey eyes glinted with desire and lust. "I will". The two words were my end as well as the beginning of something new and insurmountable between us.
He frowned and tutted as he swabbed the vomit from the man's robes, and transferred his irritation to Pelagia's goat, which had entered the room and leapt up onto the table. 'Stupid brute' he shouted at it, and it looked at him impudently with its slotted eyes, as if to say, 'I, at least, am not drunk. I am merely mischievous.
Louis de Bernie¨res
Courtesy, not control, that was His means. Just as He requested the stars to sing and they leapt into bright being, so request was to be their rule over bird and beast, seas and trees, mountains and moons and all the dancing distances between the heavenlies filled with the unending song of Creation.
I once did a film in which I was being chased by wolves. I had a scene where the Alpha of the pack leapt on the hood of my car and stared me down through the windshield. I will never forget staring into those eyes; this wasn't a dog - not even a tough, bad-ass dog - no, this was a wolf.
W. Earl Brown
Floyd arrived in the kitchen and leapt onto Casper's back, then proceeded to start biting his neck. I'm an only child with a smallish family who had never done Christmas in a big way, but there was something about having two male cats tenderly humping in the corner of the room that made the occasion a little more festive.
Wizards? Do you mean they do things a different way?" "No, just the way we do, "Merlin replied.With a flick of his finger he lit the soggy heap of kindling that Arthur had gathered (...) A blaze leapt up on the instant. Merlin then opened his hands and produced some food out of thin air.
I was not prepared for the feel of the noodles in my mouth, or the purity of the taste. I had been in Japan for almost a month, but I had never experiences anything like this. The noodles quivered as if they were alive, and leapt into my mouth where they vibrated as if playing inaudible music.
Regin!" He leapt up from a bunk. "Well, well, the gang's all here." Nix must've given him Regin's whereabouts. Again. "I'm going to get you out of here, " he said, his green eyes aglow. She snorted. "Let me know how that works out for you, Job MacBangup." Seeing Brandr here just brought her situation into stark relief. "It's curious though-you don't usually show up until it's time to bury him.
The fear, momentarily paused, returned with full force, and in this frantic, baffled state I ran to him, and leapt into his arms. He seemed surprised at first but soon was squeezing back. "It's all right, " he soothed. "No one's hurt. You're okay." His words sliced through me, and for the first time since he'd taken me from school, I knew the truth about us: I could not be okay if he was not okay. Pain, nightmares, fighting- all of it aside- he was a part of me.
Will's face turned grave. "Be careful with it, though. It's six hundred years old and the only copy of its kind. Losing or damaging it is punishable by death under the Law." Tessa thrust the book away from her as if it were on fire. "You can't be serious." "You're right. I'm not." Will leapt down from the ladder and landed lightly in front of her. "You do believe everything I say, though, don't you? Do I seem unusually trustworthy to you, or are you just a naive sort?
Boo," I said. He reacted as all mutts react when I confront them. He leapt from his chair and dove for the nearest exit, shaking in terror. In my dreams. He glanced at me and started looking for Clay. It never failed. Mutts only quaked when I appeared because it usually meant Clayton wasn't far behind. I was nothing but a harbinger of doom.
He begged to know to which of his fair cousins the excellency of its cookery was owing. Briefly forgetting her manners, Mary grabbed her fork and leapt from her chair onto the table. Lydia, who was seated nearest her, grabbed her ankle before she could dive at Mr. Collins and, presumably, stab him about the head and neck for such an insult.
Marisa! Marisa!" The cry was torn from Lord Asriel, and with the snow leopard beside her, with a roaring in her ears, Lyra's mother stood and found her footing and leapt with all her heart, to hurl herself against the angel and her daemon and her dying lover, and seize those beating wings, and bear them all down together into the abyss.
When I was young, I had to choose between the life of being and the life of doing. And I leapt at the latter like a trout to a fly. But each deed you do, each act, binds you to itself and to its consequences, and makes you act again and yet again. Then very seldom do you come upon a space, a time like this, between act and act, when you may stop and simply be. Or wonder who, after all, you are.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Lucy said, 'We're so afraid of being sent away, Aslan. And you have sent us back into our own world so often.' 'No fear of that,' said Aslan. 'Have you not guessed?' Their hearts leapt, and a wild hope rose within them. 'There was a real railway accident,' said Aslan softly. 'Your father and mother and all of you are- as you used to call it in the Shadowlands- dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.
C. S. Lewis
Nobody thought it could be done, so nobody had tried before. Standing with one foot in the abyss and the other with a foothold in her dreams, she stood on the edge of a cliff. She took one look behind and with one last deep breath, she leapt with reckless certainty and decisive confidence. Blurring through the sky, for a moment she looked like she would fade into darkness, but in the very last moment when everyone else had given up on her, from her back spread wings. With a leap of faith, she learned to fly.
Many of the best fantastic stories begin in a leisurely way, set in commonplace surroundings, with exact, meticulous descriptions of an ordinary background, much as in a 'realistic' tale. Then a gradual - or it may be sometimes a shockingly abrupt - change becomes apparent, and the reader begins to realize that what is being described is alien to the world he is accustomed to, that something strange has crept or leapt into it. This strangeness changes the world permanently and fundamentally.
I realized then what had happened. She had turned us-all of us, except for Mouse-into great, gaunt, long-legged hounds. Wonderful!" Lea said, pirouetting upon one toe, laughing. "Come, children!" And she leapt off into the jungle, nimble and swift as a doe. A bunch of us dogs stood around for a moment, just sort of staring at one another. And Mouse said, in what sounded to me like perfectly understandable English, "That bitch.
It was as if they had leapt over the arduous cavalry of conjugal life and gone straight to the heart of love. They were together in silence like an old married couple wary of life, beyond the pitfalls of passion, beyond the brutal mockery of hope and the phantoms of disillusion: beyond love. For they had lived together long enough to know that love was always love, anytime and anyplace, but it was more solid the closer it came to death.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Foxbrush sneezed again. He couldn't help himself. It's not something a fellow likes to do when a stunningly beautiful woman is leaning toward him with an expression on her face like Nidawi's wore. But sneezes are not prey to the wants or wishes of those inflicted with them. He sneezed so violently that he nearly knocked his forehead against Nidawi's exquisite little chin. She leapt back lightly, frowning at first, then shaking the frown into a rain of laughter.
Anne Elisabeth Stengl
He shot to his feet, faced off against her. "No more mercy for ye, Valkyrie." Holding nothing back, he launched a haymaker at her head. She ducked and laughed. "That accent you work so hard to hide is coming out! Are ye feckin' Oirish this time? Eh, boyo?" She leapt atop his desk, punting the side of his head. "Those swords are mine! Touch them, and I'll use 'em to slice off your nutsack! For a coin purse!
In America, snobs who wouldn't be seen dead with a lottery ticket play the stock market. We like to gamble. Winning, we have closed our eyes, leapt across the yawning abyss, and landed knee-deep in daisies. Even losing has a certain gloomy glamour: the gods of chance are worthy opponents; we have engaged them in hand-to-hand combat and though we lost, at least we shrank not from the contest.
Do you ever feel that way?" "Lonely?" I search for the words. "Restless. As if you haven't really met yourself yet. As is you'd passed yourself once in the fog, and your heart leapt - 'Ah! There I Am! I've been missing that piece!' But it happens too fast, and then that part of you disappears into the fog again. And you spend the rest of your days looking for it." He nods, and I think he's appeasing me. I feel stupid of having said it. It's sentimental and true, and I've revealed a part of myself I shouldn't have. "Do you know what I think?" Kartik says at last. "What?" "Sometimes, I think you can glimpse it in another.
There is a kidney-shaped fish pool outside the picture window. I cleaned it out and put in some large goldfish I bought in a bait store. The cats are always trying to catch the fish, with no success. One time the white cat leapt for a frog across the pool. The frog dove in and the cat fell in. He is trouble-prone.
William S. Burroughs
Before Gabe could react, he watched helplessly as Rachel slipped backwards and out of sight into the mountainside, a crumbling wall now the only thing he could see. 'Rachel!' Gabe shouted, rushing forward. Before Gabe could reach her Haim, being closer to where she had fallen through, leapt into the gaping hole after her. The group now only heard Haim's cries echoing in the darkness as they drifted further away.
Maybe because I knew Haze and Kate so well by then the passage leapt out at me, clear and sharp as diamond. 'My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath... He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.' A love that was terrifying in its depth, but all the more enticing because of that. I thought I understood. Love could be just as destructive as hate if it became poisoned or twisted.
She led him to the top of the stairs, where light came straight from the sky because the second-story windows of that house had been placed in the pitched ceiling and not the walls. There were two rooms and she took him into one of them, hoping he wouldn't mind the fact that she was not prepared; that though she could remember desire, she had forgotten how it worked; the clutch and helplessness that resided in the hands; how blindness was altered so that what leapt to the eye were places to lie down, and all else-doorknobs, straps, hooks, the sadness that crouched in corners, and the passing of time-was interference.
It leaned forward, elbows on its knees, all amusement vanishing from its features, leaving its chiseled visage quietly regal, dignified. "I give you my word, Gabrielle O'Callaghan," it said softly. "I will protect you." "Right. The word of the blackest fairy, the legendary liar, the great deceiver," she mocked. How dare it offer its word like it might actually mean something? A muscle leapt in its jaw. "That is not all I have been, Gabrielle. I have been, and am, many things." "Oh, of course, silly me, I left out consummate seducer and ravager of innocence.
Karen Marie Moning
Whoa." Adrian leapt up and rushed to Jill's side. "You need to let this go. What, are you going to start a fight with some girl?" Reed turned his glare on Adrian. "Stay out of this." "The hell I will! You're crazy." If anyone had asked me to make up a list of people most likely to risk a fight in defense of a lady's honor, Adrian Ivashkov would have been low on that list. Yet there he stood, face hard and hand sitting protectively on Jill's shoulder. I was in awe. And impressed.
As Harry and Ron rounded the clump of trees behind which Harry had first heard the dragons roar, a witch leapt out from behind them. It was Rita Skeeter. She was wearing acid-green robes today; the Quick-Quotes Quill in her hand blended perfectly against them. "Congratulations, Harry!' she said beaming at him. "I wonder if you could give me a quick word? How you felt facing that dragon? How do you feel now about the fairness of the scoring?" "Yeah, you can have a word," said Harry savagely. "Goodbye!
J. K. Rowling
As Harry and Ron rounded the clump of trees behind which Harry had first heard the dragons roar, a witch leapt out from behind them. It was Rita Skeeter. She was wearing acid-green robes today; the Quick-Quotes Quill in her hand blended perfectly against them. "Congratulations, Harry!' she said beaming at him. "I wonder if you could give me a quick word? How you felt facing that dragon? How do you feel now about the fairness of the scoring?" "Yeah, you can have a word, " said Harry savagely. "Goodbye!
He stopped and after a while went on. 'Try to choose carefully, Arren, when the great choices muct be made. When I was young I had to choose between the life of being and the life of doing. And I leapt to the latter like a trout to a fly. But each deed you do, each act, blinds you to itself and to its consequences, and makes you act again and yet again. Then very seldom do you come upon a space, a time like this, between act and act, when you may stop and simply be. Or wonder who, after all, you are.' How could such a man, thought Arren, be in doubt as towho and what he is? He had believed such doubts were reserved for the young, who had not done anything yet.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Nexus I wrote stubbornly into the evening. At the window, a giant praying mantis rubbed his monkey wrench head against the glass, begging vacantly with pale eyes; and the commas leapt at me like worms or miniature scythes blackened with age. the praying mantis screeched louder, his ragged jaws opening into formlessness. I walked outside; the grass hissed at my heels. Up ahead in the lapping darkness he wobbled, magnified and absurdly green, a brontosaurus, a poet.
I was gazing at a cup of cocoa on my night table. As I focused on the thick brown skin that had formed upon its surface like ice on a muddy pond something at the root of my tongue leapt like a little goat and my stomach turned over. There are not many things that I despise but chiefest among them is skin on milk. I loathe it with a passion. Not even the thought of the marvelous chemical change that forms the stuff-the milk's proteins churned and ripped apart by the heat of boiling then reassembling themselves as they cool into a jellied skin-was enough to console me. I would rather eat a cobweb.
The flames of the fire leapt up and surrounded her, consuming her, becoming her. Heat filled and flushed her, breaking the bottle and she soared up and up. She came to stand in a sun's center. But that even faded and she rode pillion with Emmerich as he crossed the field on his black battle charger, her hands gripping his sides. The edges of his chain-mail bit into her skin and she could hear his labored breath. She could smell his particular scent: horse and leather, sweat and musk. Men roared like the ocean and rushed like waves to slam against the opposing force meeting them outside the walls.
Suzanna J. Linton
He was surprised at the way she answered. She had taken a long time to say that. She had nodded her head in a deep way too. Had she wished to affect him with some sort of premonition? He wondered unhappily. Or was it only that she would not help him, after all, by talking with him? For he was not strong enough to receive the impact of unfamiliar things without a little talk to break their fall. He had lived a month in which nothing had happened except in his head and his body - an almost inaudible life of heartbeats and dreams that came back, a life of fever and privacy, a delicate life which had left him weak to the point of - what? Of begging. The pulse in his palm leapt like a trout in a brook. ("Death of a Traveling Salesman")
Science, freedom, beauty, adventure: what more could you ask of life? Aviation combined all the elements I loved. There was science in each curve of an airfoil, in each angle between strut and wire, in the gap of a spark plug or the color of the exhaust flame. There was freedom in the unlimited horizon, on the open fields where one landed. A pilot was surrounded by beauty of earth and sky. He brushed treetops with the birds, leapt valleys and rivers, explored the cloud canyons he had gazed at as a child. Adventure lay in each puff of wind.
When the photographer Philippe Halsman said, 'Jump,' no one asked how high. People simply pushed off or leapt up to the extent that physical ability and personal decorum allowed. In that airborne instant Mr. Halsman clicked the shutter. He called his method jumpology.The idea of having people jump for the camera can seem like a gimmick, but it is telling that jumpology shares a few syllables with psychology. As Halsman, who died in 1979, said, 'When you ask a person to jump, his attention is mostly directed toward the act of jumping, and the mask falls, so that the real person appears.'
The End of the Raven "On a night quite unenchanting, when the rain was downward slanting I awakened to the ranting of the man I catch mice for. Tipsy and a bit unshaven, in a tone I found quite craven, Poe was talking to a Raven perched above the chamber door. 'Raven's very tasty, ' thought I, as I tiptoed o'er the floor. 'There is nothing I like more.' [... ] Still the Raven never fluttered, standing stock-still as he uttered In a voice that shrieked and sputtered, his two cents' worth - 'Nevermore.' While this dirge the birdbrain kept up, oh, so silently I crept up, Then I crouched and quickly leapt up, pouncing on the feathered bore. Soon he was a heap of plumage, and a little blood and gore - Only this and not much more.
Henry N. Beard
When I'd RSVPed for tonight, I hadn't expected to be the youngest by three-plus decades. To be honest, I hadn't expected anything. I didn't have the mental capacity. The excitement over my first house party overwhelmed me and kept my thoughts abuzz for three weeks. Jim and Valerie suggested Harry and Jackie invite me. Understandably, Harry and Jackie were skeptical about bringing a single male into their close-knit group, but Valerie vouched for me, which persuaded Jackie. I leapt at the invitation-any single male would have-but now, learning about the most recent medications to assist smooth menopausal transition, I was seriously rethinking my decision.
One morning as I closed the cyclone-fence gate / to begin a slow drift / down to the cookhouse on foot / (because my truck wheels were glued / in deep mud once again), / I walked straight into / the waiting non-arms of a snake, / its tan beaded-bag skin / studded with black diamonds. Up it coiled to speak to me a eye level. / Imagine! that sleek finger / rising out of the land's palm / and coiling faster than a Hindu rope. / The thrill of a bull snake / startled in the morning / when the mesas lie pooled / in a custard of light / kept me bright than ball lightning all day. Praise leapt first to mind / before flight or danger, / praise that knows no half-truth, and pardons all.
I don't want to be a widow, I don't want Michael Bayning, and I don't want you to joke about such things, you tactless clodpole!' As all three of them stared at her openmouthed, Poppy leapt up and stalked away, her hands drawn into fists. Bewildered by the immediate force of her fury-it was like being stung by a butterfly-Harry stared after her dumbly. After a moment, he asked the first coherent thought that came to him. 'Did she just say she doesn't want Bayning?' 'Yes, ' Win said, a smile hovering on her lips. 'That's what she said. Go after her, Harry.' Every cell in Harry's body longed to comply. Except that he had the feeling of standing on the edge of a cliff, with one ill-chosen word likely to send him over. He gave Poppy's sister a desperate glance. 'What should I say?' 'Be honest with her about your feelings, ' Win suggested. A frown settled on Harry's face as he considered that. 'What's my second option?
Fabre stood up. He placed his fingertips on d'Anton's temples. 'Put your fingers here, ' he said. 'Feel the resonance. Put them here, and here.' He jabbed at d'Anton's face: below the cheekbones, at the side of his jaw. 'I'll teach you like an actor, ' he said. 'This city is our stage.' Camille said: 'Book of Ezekiel. 'This city is the cauldron, and we the flesh'... ' Fabre turned. 'This stutter, ' he said. 'You don't have to do it.' Camille put his hands over his eyes. 'Leave me alone, ' he said. 'Even you.' Fabre's face was incandescent. 'Even you, I am going to teach.' He leapt forward, wrenched Camille upright in his chair. He took him by the shoulders and shook him. 'You're going to talk properly, ' Fabre said. 'Even if it kills one of us.' Camille put his hands protectively over his head. Fabre continued to perpetrate violence; d'Anton was too tired to intervene.
He walked steadily, feeling them behind him. His stride did not falter; he pretended they weren't there. He pretended that all was well-that those hideous things knew nothing about what he had done earlier in the night. But each pumpkin he passed nearly leapt off its porch or railing or wooden chair, expanded and morphed and throbbed as if in a funhouse mirror, and joined the procession behind him. The wind picked up, suddenly and fiercely, and construction paper decorations adorning the houses that surrounded him flapped helplessly against their doors and windows. The man ducked against the cold wind, and from the pursuing army of the jack-o'-lanterns behind him. Cardboard skeletons with fastener joints and witches with shredded yarn hair and ghosts with cotton ball sheets and black crayon eyes escaped their thumbtacks and scotch tape and newspaper twine and they flashed and danced in his face. He brushed at them desperately with his hands, attempting to tear a hole through them and escape.
The door is cracked We used to meet like water does land no not that more like when skin touches skin kissing fingertips or when air escapes a lung and is felt across the world I've leapt over cracks in sidewalks and swallowed away troublesome back pains that could only be fixed with someone else's pills We met by your house one stray day and you drove me to the bay where we sat and kissed like it was yesterday And here you told me that you loved me and that you always loved me and that you would always love me the wind blew and I held you You rested your head on my shoulder and the wind blew warm Later, in your big red truck, we smoked some green and I kissed you harder and held your breasts, and felt between your legs and with a gasp you told me you were in love with me And then you drove me back and we promised it wouldn't be the end not this time The quill and inkwell on your foot I'm a writer and you are my greatest art I returned to my hell and dreamt of you once more
He slumped down into the pen, and the puppies immediately leapt on him. "Perhaps I'll see you later tonight." "If you're lucky, " Celaena purred, and walked away. She smiled to herself as they strode through the castle. Eventully Nehemia turned to her. "Do you like him?" Celaena made a face. "Of course not. Why would I?" You converse easily. It seems as if you have... a connection." "A connection?" Celaena choked on the word. "I just enjoy teasing him." "It's not a crime if you consider him handsome. I'll admit I judged him wrong; I thought him to be a pompous, selfish idiot, but he's not so bad." "He's a Havilliard." "My mother was the daughter of a chief who sought to overthrow my grandfather." "We're both silly. It's nothing." "He seems to take great interest in you." Celaena's head whipped around, her eyes full of long-forgotten fury that made her belly ache and twist. "I would sooner cut out my own heart than love a Havilliard, " she snarled. They completed their walk in silence, and when they parted ways, Celaena quickly wished Nehemia a pleasant evening before striding to her part of the castle.
Sarah J. Maas
When the business man rebukes the idealism of his office-boy, it is commonly in some such speech as this: "Ah, yes, when one is young, one has these ideals in the abstract and these castles in the air; but in middle age they all break up like clouds, and one comes down to a belief in practical politics, to using the machinery one has and getting on with the world as it is." Thus, at least, venerable and philanthropic old men now in their honoured graves used to talk to me when I was a boy.But since then I have grown up and have discovered that these philanthropic old men were telling lies. What has really happened is exactly the opposite of what they said would happen. They said that I should lose my ideals and begin to believe in the methods of practical politicians. Now, I have not lost my ideals in the least; my faith in fundamentals is exactly what it always was. What I have lost is my old childlike faith in practical politics. I am still as much concerned as ever about the Battle of Armageddon; but I am not so much concerned about the General Election. As a babe I leapt up on my mother's knee at the mere mention of it. No; the vision is always solid and reliable. The vision is always a fact. It is the reality that is often a fraud. As much as I ever did, more than I ever did, I believe in Liberalism. But there was a rosy time of innocence when I believed in Liberals.
Auctus took the initiative again, eyeballing his foe as he strode towards him. Indavara bounced up and down on his toes and waited. His options were limited; he needed time to see what Auctus could do before he tried anything. The German jabbed the trident forward again, simultaneously swinging the net at his enemy's knees. Indavara shuffled backwards, avoiding both attacks. Auctus pressed on and repeated the move. Indavara leapt to his left, sure he was clear of both net and trident. But then Auctus twisted his wrist and swung the net upward. Indavara felt rope brush his neck, then a shuddering crack as one of the stones caught him under the chin. Blinding white flashed into his eyes. He staggered back, reeling as the pain bloomed higher. His eyes cleared; and he saw the trident-head coming at him. He pushed off to his right, dropping into a neat double roll that took him clear. Springing back to his feet, he looked up as the German marched towards him, yelling in a language no one else in the arena understood.
And suddenly first one and then another began to sing as they played, deep-throated singing of the dwarves in the deep places of their ancient homes; and this is like a fragment of their song, if it can be like their song without their music. [... ]As they sang the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves. Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick. He looked out of the window. The stars were out in a dark sky above the trees. He thought of the jewels of the dwarves shining in dark caverns. Suddenly in the wood beyond The Water a flame leapt up - probably somebody lighting a wood-fire-and he thought of plundering dragons settling on his quiet Hill and kindling it all to flames. He shuddered; and very quickly he was plain Mr. Baggins of Bag-End, Under-Hill, again. He got up trembling.
Night flight to San Francisco; chase the moon across America. God, it's been years since I was on a plane. When we hit 35, 000 feet we'll have reached the tropopause, the great belt of calm air, as close as I'll ever get to the ozone. I dreamed we were there. The plane leapt the tropopause, the safe air, and attained the outer rim, the ozone, which was ragged and torn, patches of it threadbare as old cheesecloth, and that was frightening. But I saw something that only I could see because of my astonishing ability to see such things: Souls were rising, from the earth far below, souls of the dead, of people who had perished, from famine, from war, from the plague, and they floated up, like skydivers in reverse, limbs all akimbo, wheeling and spinning. And the souls of these departed joined hands, clasped ankles, and formed a web, a great net of souls, and the souls were three-atom oxygen molecules of the stuff of ozone, and the outer rim absorbed them and was repaired. Nothing's lost forever. In this world, there's a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we've left behind, and dreaming ahead. At least I think that's so.
The Elsinore's bow tilted skyward while her stern fell into a foaming valley. Not a man had gained his feet. Bridge and men swept back toward me and fetched up against the mizzen-shrouds. And then that prodigious, incredible old man appeared out of the water, on his two legs, upright, dragging with him, a man in each hand, the helpless forms of Nancy and the Faun. My heart leapt at beholding this mighty figure of a man-killer and slave-driver, it is true, but who sprang first into the teeth of danger so that his slaves might follow, and who emerged with a half-drowned slave in either hand. I knew augustness and pride as I gazed-pride that my eyes were blue, like his; that my skin was blond, like his; that my place was aft with him, and with the Samurai, in the high place of government and command. I nearly wept with the chill of pride that was akin to awe and that tingled and bristled along my spinal column and in my brain. As for the rest-the weaklings and the rejected, and the dark-pigmented things, the half-castes, the mongrel-bloods, and the dregs of long-conquered races-how could they count? My heels were iron as I gazed on them in their peril and weakness. Lord! Lord! For ten thousand generations and centuries we had stamped upon their faces and enslaved them to the toil of our will.
Among the people to whom he belonged, nothing was written or talked about at that time except the Serbian war. Everything that the idle crowd usually does to kill time, it now did for the benefit of the Slavs: balls, concerts, dinners, speeches, ladies' dresses, beer, restaurants-all bore witness to our sympathy with the Slavs. With much that was spoken and written on the subject Konyshev did not agree in detail. He saw that the Slav question had become one of those fashionable diversions which, ever succeeding one another, serve to occupy Society; he saw that too many people took up the question from interested motives. He admitted that the papers published much that was unnecessary and exaggerated with the sole aim of drawing attention to themselves, each outcrying the other. He saw that amid this general elation in Society those who were unsuccessful or discontented leapt to the front and shouted louder than anyone else: Commanders-in-Chief without armies, Ministers without portfolios, journalists without papers, and party leaders without followers. He saw that there was much that was frivolous and ridiculous; but he also saw and admitted the unquestionable and ever-growing enthusiasm which was uniting all classes of society, and with which one could not help sympathizing. The massacre of our coreligionists and brother Slavs evoked sympathy for the sufferers and indignation against their oppressors. And the heroism of the Serbs and Montenegrins, fighting for a great cause, aroused in the whole nation a desire to help their brothers not only with words but by deeds. Also there was an accompanying fact that pleased Koznyshev. It was the manifestation of public opinion. The nation had definitely expressed its wishes. As Koznyshev put it, ' the soul of the nation had become articulate.' The more he went into this question, the clearer it seemed to him that it was a matter which would attain enormous proportions and become epoch-making.
During this hour in the waking streets I felt at ease, at peace; my body, which I despised, operated like a machine. I was spaced out, the catchphrase my friends at school used to describe their first experiments with marijuana and booze. This buzzword perfectly described a picture in my mind of me, Alice, hovering just below the ceiling like a balloon and looking down at my own small bed where a big man lay heavily on a little girl I couldn't quite see or recognize. It wasn't me. I was spaced out on the ceiling. I had that same spacey feeling when I cooked for my father, which I still did, though less often. I made omelettes, of course. I cracked a couple of eggs into a bowl, and as I reached for the butter dish, I always had an odd sensation in my hands and arms. My fingers prickled; it didn't feel like me but someone else cutting off a great chunk of greasy butter and putting it into the pan. I'd add a large amount of salt - I knew what it did to your blood pressure, and I mumbled curses as I whisked the brew. When I poured the slop into the hot butter and shuffled the frying pan over the burner, it didn't look like my hand holding the frying-pan handle and I am sure it was someone else's eyes that watched the eggs bubble and brown. As I dropped two slices of wholemeal bread in the toaster, I would observe myself as if from across the room and, with tingling hands gripping the spatula, folded the omelette so it looked like an apple envelope. My alien hands would flip the omelette on to a plate and I'd spread the remainder of the butter on the toast when the two slices of bread leapt from the toaster. 'Delicious, ' he'd say, commenting on the food before even trying it.
Despite the chaos that was tearing her head apart, Tevi understood what scene Yenneg was attempting to play out, with herself as a conscripted actor. She needed to force out an explanation or denial, but no words could get past her lips. Jemeryl's presence was paralysing her, an effect far more irresistible than anything Yenneg had achieved. Tevi watched Jemeryl take another few steps forwards and then crouch down so that their eyes were no more than a foot apart. Tevi thought she would die from the shock. Yet somehow, she forced her mouth to shape the words, "Wine. Love potion." Her voice was not loud enough even to count as a whisper. Certainly nobody else in the room would have heard, yet Tevi could not control her breathing to manage anything else. At first Jemeryl showed no sign of comprehension, but then suddenly, the bewilderment on her face transformed into fury. She leapt up, her arms moving in a blurred aggressive swirl. The gesture ended with an action like hurling a ball. Blue fire erupted from Jemeryl's hands and shot towards Yenneg. The other sorcerer had obviously recognised the gesture and made an effort to protect himself. A shimmering shield sprung up before Yenneg, but it was not strong enough, and the shockwave knocked him off his feet. His shoulders slammed into the wall behind him and he crumpled to the floor. Jemeryl had been telling the truth when she claimed to vastly excel the acolytes in magical ability, not that Tevi had ever entertained doubts. Jemeryl's hands moved again, and this time Yenneg was sprawled on the floor and in no state to mount a defence. A second bolt of blue fire burst in his direction. Lightning in the form of a whip snapped across the room, intercepting Jemeryl's attack before it struck. The diverted fireball hit the wall of the summerhouse two feet from Yenneg's head and smashed through it, as if it were a stone going through wet paper.
I am a Roman, ' he said to the king; 'my name is Gaius Mucius. I came here to kill you - my enemy. I have as much courage to die as to kill. It is our Roman way to do and to suffer bravely. Nor am I alone in my resolve against your life; behind me is a long line of men eager for the same honor. Brace yourself, if you will, for the struggle - a struggle for your life from hour to hour, with an armed enemy always at your door. That is the war we declare against you: you need fear no action in the battlefield, army against army; it will be fought against you alone, by one of us at a time.' Porsena in rage and alarm ordered the prisoner to be burnt alive unless he at once divulged the plot thus obscurely hinted at, whereupon Mucius, crying: 'See how cheap men hold their bodies when they care only for honor!' thrust his right hand into the fire which had been kindled for a sacrifice, and let it burn there as if he were unconscious of the pain. Porsena was so astonished by the young man's almost superhuman endurance that he leapt to his feet and ordered his guards to drag him from the altar. 'Go free, ' he said; 'you have dared to be a worse enemy to yourself than to me. I should bless your courage, if it lay with my country to dispose of it. But, as that cannot be, I, as an honorable enemy, grant you pardon, life, and liberty.' 'Since you respect courage, ' Mucius replied, as if he were thanking him for his generosity, 'I will tell you in gratitude what you could not force from me by threats. There are three hundred of us in Rome, all young like myself, and all of noble blood, who have sworn an attempt upon your life in this fashion. It was I who drew the first lot; the rest will follow, each in his turn and time, until fortune favor us and we have got you.' The release of Mucius (who was afterwards known as Scaevola, or the Left-Handed Man, from the loss of his right hand) was quickly followed by the arrival in Rome of envoys from Porsena. The first attempt upon his life, foiled only by a lucky mistake, and the prospect of having to face the same thing again from every one of the remaining conspirators, had so shaken the king that he was coming forward with proposals for peace.
As soon as we arrived home, I told Bliss I was going to take a shower. Sundays were a two-show day, so I certainly needed it. I let her go in first to brush her teeth. I waited for the water to turn on, then leapt into action. I found Hamlet's feathered cat toy (the only reason she would ever willingly get close to Bliss), and hid it underneath the bed. Then I went to the closet and found the suit coat pocket where I'd hidden the ring. I popped open the box to look at it one more time. It wasn't much. I was only an actor, after all. But Bliss wasn't one to wear much jewelry any way. It was simple and sparkling, and I hoped she would love it as much as I loved her. A popping sensation filled my gut like those silly candy rocks that Bliss loved. What if I was pushing her too fast? No. No, I'd thought this out. It was the best way. I opened the top drawer of the nightstand, and slid the ring box toward the back. The water in the bathroom shut off, and I went back to the closet, shucking my shirt. I tossed it in the hamper at the same time Bliss walked in the room. She came up behind me and placed a hand on my bare back. She pressed a small kiss on my shoulder and asked, 'Get Hamlet for me before you shower?' I smiled, and nodded. Bliss was so determined to make Hamlet like her that she played with the cat for at least half an hour before bed every night. Hamlet would stick around for as long as Bliss waved that feathered toy in the air, but the minute Bliss tried to touch her, she was gone. I found Hamlet in the kitchen, hiding underneath the kitchen table. I reached a hand down, and she butted her head against my fingers, purring. I picked her up at the same time that Bliss asked, 'Babe, have you seen the cat toy?' I walked into the room, and deposited Hamlet on the bed. She hunkered down and eyed Bliss with distrust. 'Where did you see it last?' I asked her. 'I thought I'd left it on the dresser, but I can't find it. ' I petted Hamlet once to keep her calm, then placed a quick kiss on Bliss's cheek. 'I don't know, honey. Are you sure you didn't leave it somewhere else?' She sighed, and started looking in other spots around the room. I turned and hid my smile as I left. I nipped into the bathroom and turned the shower on. I waited a few seconds, went back in the hallway.
Your Eve was wise, John. She knew that Paradise would make her mad, if she were to live forever with Adam and know no other thing but strawberries and tigers and rivers of milk. She knew they would tire of these things, and each other. They would grow to hate every fruit, every stone, every creature they touched. Yet where could they go to find any new thing? It takes strength to live in Paradise and not collapse under the weight of it. It is every day a trial. And so Eve gave her lover the gift of time, time to the timeless, so that they could grasp at happiness... And this is what Queen Abir gave to us, her apple in the garden, her wisdom-without which we might all have leapt into the Rimal in a century. The rite bears her name still. For she knew the alchemy of demarcation far better than any clock, and decreed that every third century husbands and wives should separate, customs should shift and parchmenters become architects, architects farmers of geese and monkeys, Kings should become fishermen, and fishermen become players of scenes. Mothers and fathers should leave their children and go forth to get other sons and daughters, or to get none if that was their wish. On the roads of Pentexore folk might meet who were once famous lovers, or a mother and child of uncommon devotion-and they would laugh, and remember, but call each other by new names, and begin again as friends, or sisters, or lovers, or enemies. And some time hence all things would be tossed up into the air once more and land in some other pattern. If not for this, how fastened, how frozen we would be, bound to one self, forever a mother, forever a child. We anticipate this refurbishing of the world like children at a holiday. We never know what we will be, who we will love in our new, brave life, how deeply we will wish and yearn and hope for who knows what impossible thing! Well, we anticipate it. There is fear too, and grief. There is shaking, and a worry deep in the bone. Only the Oinokha remains herself for all time-that is her sacrifice for us. There is sadness in all this, of course-and poets with long elegant noses have sung ballads full of tears that break at one blow the hearts of a flock of passing crows! But even the most ardent lover or doting father has only two hundred years to wait until he may try again at the wheel of the world, and perhaps the wheel will return his wife or his son to him. Perhaps not. Wheels, and worlds, are cruel. Time to the timeless, apples to those who live without hunger. There is nothing so sweet and so bitter, nothing so fine and so sharp.
Catherynne M. Valente
Little Red-Cap At childhood's end, the houses petered out into playing fields, the factory, allotments kept, like mistresses, by kneeling married men, the silent railway line, the hermit's caravan, till you came at last to the edge of the woods. It was there that I first clapped eyes on the wolf. He stood in a clearing, reading his verse out loud in his wolfy drawl, a paperback in his hairy paw, red wine staining his bearded jaw. What big ears he had! What big eyes he had! What teeth! In the interval, I made quite sure he spotted me, sweet sixteen, never been, babe, waif, and bought me a drink, my first. You might ask why. Here's why. Poetry. The wolf, I knew, would lead me deep into the woods, away from home, to a dark tangled thorny place lit by the eyes of owls. I crawled in his wake, my stockings ripped to shreds, scraps of red from my blazer snagged on twig and branch, murder clues. I lost both shoes but got there, wolf's lair, better beware. Lesson one that night, breath of the wolf in my ear, was the love poem. I clung till dawn to his thrashing fur, for what little girl doesn't dearly love a wolf? Then I slid from between his heavy matted paws and went in search of a living bird - white dove - which flew, straight, from my hands to his hope mouth. One bite, dead. How nice, breakfast in bed, he said, licking his chops. As soon as he slept, I crept to the back of the lair, where a whole wall was crimson, gold, aglow with books. Words, words were truly alive on the tongue, in the head, warm, beating, frantic, winged; music and blood. But then I was young - and it took ten years in the woods to tell that a mushroom stoppers the mouth of a buried corpse, that birds are the uttered thought of trees, that a greying wolf howls the same old song at the moon, year in, year out, season after season, same rhyme, same reason. I took an axe to a willow to see how it wept. I took an axe to a salmon to see how it leapt. I took an axe to the wolf as he slept, one chop, scrotum to throat, and saw the glistening, virgin white of my grandmother's bones. I filled his old belly with stones. I stitched him up. Out of the forest I come with my flowers, singing, all alone.
Carol Ann Duffy