I was writing fiction in my 20s but in a pretty undisciplined way - late at night, maybe, after I'd peeled myself from the walls of a nightclub and crawled home along the gutters. But I slowly became more serious and more devout in my work, and I fell seriously in love with the short story form.
I just didn't get it- even with the teacher holding an orange (the earth) in one hand and a lemon (the moon) in the other, her favorite student (the sun) standing behind her with a flashlight. I just couldn't grasp it- this whole citrus universe, these bumpy planets revolving so slowly no one could even see themselves moving. I used to think if I could only concentrate hard enough I could be the one person to feel what no one else could, sense a small tug from the ground, a sky shift, the earth changing gears. Even though I was only one mini-speck on a speck, even though I was merely a pinprick in one goosebump on the orange, I was sure then I was the most specially perceptive, perceptively sensitive. I was sure then my mother was the only mother to snap, 'The world doesn't revolve around you!' The earth was fragile and mostly water, just the way the orange was mostly water if you peeled it, just the way I was mostly water if you peeled me. Looking back on that third grade science demonstration, I can understand why some people gave up on fame or religion or cures- especially people who have an understanding of the excruciating crawl of the world, who have a well-developed sense of spatial reasoning and the tininess that it is to be one of us. But not me-even now I wouldn't mind being god, the force who spins the planets the way I spin a globe, a basketball, a yoyo. I wouldn't mind being that teacher who chooses the fruit, or that favorite kid who gives the moon its glow.
I made it the mantra of those days; when I paused before yet another series of switchbacks or skidded down knee-jarring slopes, when patches of flesh peeled off my feet along with my socks, when I lay alone and lonely in my tent at night I asked, often out loud: Who is tougher than me? The answer was always the same, and even when I knew absolutely there was no way on this earth that it was true, I said it anyway: No one.
Gabby couldn't believe what he had just said. Her mouth gaped open and a flirty smile came over her. She slowly peeled her half wet white t-shirt over her head and then slowly shimmied out of her shorts. What had gotten into her? She had never acted like this before, but she suddenly felt playful, fun and daring. If he wanted to play, so could she.
From the photo albums, every single print of her had been peeled away. Shots of the both of us together had been cut, the parts with her neatly trimmed away, leaving my image behind. Photos of me alone or of mountains and rivers and deer and cats were left intact. Three albums rendered into a revised past. It was as if I'd been alone at birth, alone all my days, and would continue alone.
...if you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer. It means you are so busy keeping one eye on the commercial market, or one ear peeled for the avant-garde coterie, that you are not being yourself. You don't even know yourself. For the first thing a writer should be is-- excited. He should be a thing of fevers and enthusiasms.
I went out to the hazel wood because a fire was in my head cut and peeled a hazel wand and hooked a berry to a thread and when white moths were on the wing and moth-like stars were flickering out I dropped the berry in a stream, and caught a little silver trout... (Song of Wandering Aengus)
As if to build a fence around the fatal emptiness inside her, she had to create a sunny person that she became. But if you peeled away the ornamental egos that she had built, there was only an abbys of nothingness and the intense thirst that came with it. Though she tried to forget it, the nothingness would visit her periodically - on a lonely rainy afternoon, or at dawn when she woke up from a nightmare. What she needed at such times was to be held by someone, anyone.
Sheriff Fox was running his fingers through his thin hair. In a few short years, he'd look bald as a peeled apple. The Snoop sisters and their sidekick, the town's bag lady no less, had traipsed into his office without knocking first. His admin (he couldn't remember their names to save his life) had ushered them in, and they'd just dumped this hot potato into his lap.
Animals are murdered to produce meat; vegetables are torn up, peeled, and chopped; most of what we eat is treated with fire; and chewing is designed remorselessly to finish what killing and cooking began. People naturally prefer that none of this should happen to them. Behind every rule of table etiquette lurks the determination of each person present to be a diner, not a dish.
I started to crawl off; then I remembered my leftover pizza, and I peeled off the salami, pepperoni, and anchovies and placed them on the CD tray (whicn no one used these days with flash drives around)on Boone's computer. I hit the close button and watched the smelly part of my delicious dinner slide away. Boone would have a great time wondering 'where's that smell coming from?
In our hallway, ablaze with welcoming lights, my Lolita peeled off her sweater, shook her gemmed hair, stretched towards me two bare arms, raised one knee: 'Carry me upstairs, please. I feel sort of romantic tonight.' It may interest physiologists to learn, at this point, that I have the ability - a most singular case, I presume - of shedding torrents of tears throughout the other tempest.
At lunchtime I bought a huge orange The size of it made us all laugh. I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave"" They got quarters and I had a half. And that orange it made me so happy, As ordinary things often do Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park This is peace and contentment. It's new. The rest of the day was quite easy. I did all my jobs on my list And enjoyed them and had some time over. I love you. I'm glad I exist.
You grieve at first. And then slowly, with the yawning of the years, the disappeared gets scraped from your memory, the way your flesh can be peeled from your limbs. It's very harsh and extremely painful. But it gets done, square inch-by-square inch. Until, the skin that is your memory gets completely scarred and numbed. You live. The disappeared is detached from the dermis of remembering. And that is what is known as moving on.
Psyche Roxas-Mendoza The Unlamented
Was it all in my head? A Lunar trick?" Her stomach twisted. "No." She shook her head, fervently. How to explain that she hadn't had the gift before? That she couldn't have used it against him? "I would never lie""" The words faded. She had lied. Everything he knew about her had been a lie. "I'm so sorry," she finished, the words falling lamely in the open air. Kai peeled his eyes away, finding some place of resignation off in the glistening garden. "You're even more painful to look at than she is.
Was it all in my head? A Lunar trick?' Her stomach twisted. 'No.' She shook her head, fervently. How to explain that she hadn't had the gift before? That she couldn't have used it against him? 'I would never lie-' The words faded. She had lied. Everything he knew about her had been a lie. 'I'm so sorry, ' she finished, the words falling lamely in the open air. Kai peeled his eyes away, finding some place of resignation off in the glistening garden. 'You're even more painful to look at than she is.
When a single cat let loose a war cry, it was an unsettling sound. When two cats suddenly wailed at each other in a similar fashion, it was downright unnerving. When hundreds of them caterwauled at the same time, in a single voice, the sound alone was enough to make one feel as if the skin had been peeled from one's muscle and bone, to call up horrors inherited from ancestors long since dead and forgotten, raw terror before a deadly predator.
I had to do something about my longing, so I got up, went to the kitchen in my nightgown, peeled a pound of potatoes, boiled them up, sliced them, fried them in butter, salted them generously and ate every bite of them - asking my body the whole while if it would please accept the satisfaction of a pound of fried potatoes in lieu of the fulfillment of lovemaking. My body replied, only after eating every bite of food: "No deal, babe.
And I felt more like me than I ever had, as if the years I'd lived so far had formed layers of skin and muscle over myself that others saw as me when the real one had been underneath all along, and I knew writing- even writing badly- had peeled away those layers, and I knew then that if I wanted to stay awake and alive, if I wanted to stay me, I would have to keep writing.
Andre Dubus III
It was one of those things they keep in a jar in the tent of a sideshow on the outskirts of a little, drowsy town. One of those pale things drifting in alcohol plasma, forever dreaming and circling, with its peeled, dead eyes staring out at you and never seeing you. It went with the noiselessness of late night, and only the crickets chirping, the frogs sobbing off in the moist swampland. One of those things in a big jar that makes your stomach jump as it does when you see a preserved arm in a laboratory vat.
A single raised eyebrow. "You've defected, sweetheart. No use worrying about the big, bad wolf now." She was aware of Judd speaking, but her attention never shifted off the man who was a predator, for all that he wore human skin. When he peeled open and held out a bar of some kind, she took it, aware low energy levels could be dangerous when it came to her ability to keep a handle on the cold fire. "Thank you." A faint smile, a strange amusement in those icy eyes. "You're welcome." It was the most polite interaction they'd ever had.
She would always feel this wild girl was the truest of any of the people she had already been: adored daughter, bourgeois priss, rebel, runaway, dope-fiend San Francisco hippie; or all the people she would later be: mother, nurse, religious fanatic, prematurely old woman. Vivienne was a human onion, and when I came home at twenty eight years old on the day the monster died, I was afraid that the Baptist freak she had peeled down to was her true, acrid, tear-inducing core.
The next minute he realized what had happened to him, but not before she'd caught him staring. For a decade, I was fixated by her beauty. I wrote an entire article on the evolutionary significance of beauty as a rebuke to myself, that I, who understood the concepts so well, nevertheless could not escape the magnetic pull of one particular woman's beauty. She knew. With surgical precision, she had peeled back his layers of defenses, until his heart lay bare before her, all its shame and yearning exposed. He could have lived with this if only he'd kept his secret whole and buried. But she knew. She knew.
I walked back to the window to look down at the people who shared this city with me. The people who made every day a series of mediocrities. The unreformed murderers masquerading as businessmen in borrowed suits and debt-laden cars. The voluptuous bimbos floating around in an inexplicable mix of vacuity and despair. The crumbling face of my building looked pretty enough from across the street, but from here I could see how worn it was. I peeled off a satisfying chunk of paint, cement and matter. And I let it fall to the street below.
He peeled out the banknotes from inside a billfold held on a chain and paid her. Andy Jackson's eyes were X'd out. For an edgy instant she wondered if his money was counterfeit. She also noted his missing middle finger, and a skull tattoo decorated his sinewy wrist. She put down the card key. 'You're in Seven, straight down the courtyard.' He slid the card key off, but it fell to the floor. "Oops. I haven't gotten used to this high gravity.' 'I beg your pardon?' 'Nothing. I'm just punchy from all the driving.
To preserve wild animals implies generally the creation of a forest for them to dwell in or resort to. So it is with man. A hundred years ago they sold bark in our streets peeled from our own woods. In the very aspect of those primitive and rugged trees there was, methinks, a tanning principle which hardened and consolidated the fibres of men's thoughts. Ah! already I shudder for these comparatively degenerate days of my native village, when you cannot collect a load of bark of good thickness, and we no longer produce tar and turpentine.
Henry David Thoreau
On weekdays, as soon as she picked Bela from the bus stop and brought her home, she went straight into the kitchen, washing up the morning dishes she'd ignored, then getting dinner started. She measured out the nightly cup of rice, letting it soak in a pan on the counter. She peeled onions and potatoes and picked through lentils and prepared another night's dinner, then fed Bela. She was never able to understand why this relatively unchallenging set of chores felt so relentless. When she was finished, she did not understand why they had depleted her
One time Allie and I skipped school and went to see this foreign film called Los Diablos, where these villagers found a glowing blue ball and peeled pieces off of it to see what was inside. Only the ball was really radioactive, and they all died from the poison. I think that's what happens when you look too deep inside for the truth. The poison comes out, and you die, even though you have beautiful glowing pieces of blue truth in your fingers.
Michael Thomas Ford
The coincidences turn up down to the smallest details. There is, for instance, a character who has covered the mirrors with handkerchiefs. Apparently this happens somewhere in Ulysses, too. And they said, Ah! This is where he got that. Where I got it was when I was in a hotel in Panama and I had washed my handkerchiefs and spread them on the windows and the mirrors to dry-they almost look pressed when they're peeled away that way-a Panamanian friend came in and said, 'All the mirrors are covered. Who's dead? What's happened?' I said, 'No, I'm just drying my handkerchiefs.' Then I found the same incident in McTeague in what? 1903 or 1905, whenever McTeague was written. This always strikes me as dangerous-finding 'sources.
Attraction The whites of his eyes pull me like moons. He smiles. I believe his face. Already my body slips down in the chair: I recline on my side, offering peeled grapes. I can taste his tongue in my mouth whenever he speaks. I suspect he lies. But my body oils itself loose. When he gets up to fix a drink my legs like derricks hoist me off the seat. I am thirsty, it seams. Already I see the seduction far off in the distance like a large tree dwarfed by a rise in the road. I put away objections as quietly as quilts. Already I explain to myself how marriages are broken- accidentally, like arms or legs.
As we were about to cross the road, Davin suddenly grabbed my wrist and held me back a moment; a car peeled out of the driveway and roared past us. 'Geez, ' I gasped, and then, glancing at him curiously, I added, 'Thanks.' He didn't say anything, but slowly released my wrist. Before he completely withdrew, I took his hand and interlaced my fingers through his. He looked at me, his lips parted in surprise, but then he smiled shyly and gave my hand a squeeze as we kept walking. It gave me a feeling of nervous flutters in the best way. As we walked up to the doors, Jill and Laurel came bursting out the exit.
Humph.' She peered down suspiciously as he parted the leaves to reveal the choke. 'That doesn't look very tasty.' 'That's because it isn't, ' he said. 'Pay heed: the artichoke is a shy vegetable. She covers herself in spine-tipped leaves that must be carefully peeled away, and underneath shields her treasure with a barricade o' soft needles. They must be tenderly, but firmly, scraped aside. Ye must be bold, for if yer not, she'll never reveal her soft heart.' He finished cutting away the thistles and placed the small, tender heart on the center of her plate. She wrinkled her nose. 'That's it? But it's so small.' 'Ah, and d'ye judge a thing solely upon size alone?' She made a choking sound.
The problem, if anything, was precisely the opposite. I had too much to write: too many fine and miserable buildings to construct and streets to name and clock towers to set chiming, too many characters to raise up from the dirt like flowers whose petals I peeled down to the intricate frail organs within, too many terrible genetic and fiduciary secrets to dig up and bury and dig up again, too many divorces to grant, heirs to disinherit, trysts to arrange, letters to misdirect into evil hands, innocent children to slay with rheumatic fever, women to leave unfulfilled and hopeless, men to drive to adultery and theft, fires to ignite at the hearts of ancient houses.
I wanted to get to the most essential aspect of my being, and look around for a while. I wanted to explore what I am in my most basic self. I wanted to chip away at all of the nonsense I have acquired through my twenty-nine years on this earth. I wanted to find truth. Thoreau went to the woods. I went to the mats. Jiu Jitsu has peeled the veil of daily life, and has shown me what lies beyond the curtain. We willingly accept the chains that circumstance forces upon us, and we grow to find comfort in them. We attach various fetters of day-to-day living to our being, and we do so with a smile. We accept these constraints for they come in the way of comfort. We accept conformity for it appears the path of least resistance. We strive toward the middle, and we run from ourselves.
Percy glanced over. He saw the fallen giant and seemed to understand what was happening. He yelled something that was lost in the wind, probably: Go! Then he slammed Riptide into the ice at his feet. The entire glacier shuddered. Ghosts fell to their knees. Behind Percy, a wave surged up from the bay-a wall of gray water even taller than the glacier. Water shot from the chasms and crevices in the ice. As the wave hit, the back half of the camp crumbled. The entire edge of the glacier peeled away, cascading into the void-carrying buildings, ghosts, and Percy Jackson over the edge.
When the narrow bourgeois form has been peeled away, what is wealth, if not the universality of needs, capacities, enjoyments, productive powers etc., of individuals, produced in universal exchange? What, if not the full development of human control over the forces of nature - those of his own nature as well as those of so-called 'nature"? What, if not the absolute elaboration of his creative dispositions, without any preconditions other than antecedent historical evolution which make the totality of this evolution - i.e., the evolution of all human powers as such, unmeasured by any previously established yardstick - an end in itself? What is this, if not a situation where man does not reproduce in any determined form, but produces his totality? Where he does not seek to remain something formed by the past, but is in the absolute movement of becoming?
It hadn't occurred to me that my mother would die. Until she was dying, the thought had never entered my mind. She was monolithic and insurmountable, the keeper of my life. She would grow old and still work in the garden. This image was fixed in my mind, like one of the memories from her childhood that I made her explain so intricately that I remembered it as if it were mine. She would be old and beautiful like the black-and-white photo of Georgia O'Keeffe I'd once sent her. I held fast to this image for the first couple of weeks after we left the Mayo Clinic, and then, once she was admitted to the hospice wing of the hospital in Duluth, that image unfurled, gave way to the others, more modest and true. I imagined my mother in October; I wrote the scene in my mind. And then the one of my mother in August and another in May. Each day that passed, another month peeled away.
Benjamin and I sat in the middle of one of the large canoes with our grandmother in the stern, directing us past shoals and through rapids and into magnificent stretches of water. One day the clouds hung low and light rain freckled the slate-grey water that peeled across our bow. The pellets of rain were warm and Benjamin and I caught them on our tongues as our grandmother laughed behind us. Our canoes skimmed along and as I watched the shoreline it seemed the land itself was in motion. The rocks lay lodged like hymns in the breast of it, and the trees bent upward in praise like crooked fingers. It was glorious. Ben felt it too. He looked at me with tears in his eyes, and I held his look a long time, drinking in the face of my brother.
He lay in bed staring upward into the darkness. On the bunk above him, he could hear Peter turning and tossing restlessly. Then Peter slid off the bunk and walked out of the room. Ender heard the hushing sound of the toilet clearing; then Peter stood silhouetted in the doorway. He thinks I'm asleep. He's going to kill me. Peter walked to the bed, and sure enough, he did not lift himself up to his bed. Instead he came and stood by Ender's head. But he did not reach for a pillow to smother Ender. He did not have a weapon. He whispered, "Ender, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I know how it feels, I'm sorry, I'm your brother, I love you." A long time later, Peter's even breathing said that he was asleep. Ender peeled the bandaid from his neck. And for the second time that day he cried.
Orson Scott Card
NOW EVERYTHINGS GOOD IN MY HOOD AND ITS ON AND POP AND EAZY-MUTHAPHUKKIN-E FROM EAST SIDE SOUTH COMPTON STR8 GIVIN' UP THE REAL ON HOW A NIGGA FEEL TALK THAT SHIT MUTHAPHUKKAZ CAPS GET PEELED LAYIN' LOW IN THE CUT GETTIN HOW THAN A MUTHAPHUKA NIGGAZ KNOWS WHATS UP I'M THAT GANGSTA, GANGSTA IS THAT WHAT THERE STILL YELLIN' NIGGA G TO A T SAGGIN' AND BAILIN' LIVE BY THE GUN YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYIN' REN SO I GUESS I'LL DIE BY THAT MUTHAPHUKKA THEN SO WHEN I DIE NIGGAZ BURY ME MAKE SURE MY SHIT READS EAZY-MUTHAPHUKKIN-E AND IT'S A FACT TO BE EXACT MY TOMBSTONE SHOULD READ: HE PUT COMPTON ON THAT MAP AND THATS HOW A NIGGA FEEL WHEN I'M GIVIN' UP THA MUTHAPHUKKIN REAL
Eazy E F/ M.C. Ren
The Song of Wandering Aengus I went out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head, And cut and peeled a hazel wand, And hooked a berry to a thread; And when white moths were on the wing, And moth-like stars were flickering out, I dropped the berry in a stream And caught a little silver trout. When I had laid it on the floor I went to blow the fire a-flame, But something rustled on the floor, And someone called me by my name: It had become a glimmering girl With apple blossom in her hair Who called me by my name and ran And faded through the brightening air. Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.
The moon grew plump and pale as a peeled apple, waned into the passing nights, then showed itself again as a thin silver crescent in the twilit western sky. The shed of leaves became a cascade of red and gold and after a time the trees stood skeletal against a sky of weathered tin. The land lay bled of its colors. The nights lengthened, went darker, brightened in their clustered stars. The chilled air smelled of woodsmoke, of distances and passing time. Frost glimmered on the morning fields. Crows called across the pewter afternoons. The first hard freeze cast the countryside in ice and trees split open with sounds like whipcracks. Came a snow flurry one night and then a heavy falling the next day, and that evening the land lay white and still under a high ivory moon.
James Carlos Blake
FORCED INTO THE STAGELIGHT / A WEAK, WAN AND MARBLED HIDE / DISGORGED UP TO JUGDEMENT / SHARP CRACKS OF THE GAVEL GREAT CAPS IN A ROW / THEIR FINE MYSTERY CERTAIN / AND THE BALCONY HEAVES WITH OLD FAMILIARTS, LECHERS AND TREASON THE PRISONER'S STANCE / A CALM ACCEPTANCE IN THE STIFLING SCOWL OF THE HANGING JUDGE / THE DEFENDANT SPEAKS... WHERE AM I NOW THAT YOU COULD DELIVER ME? / I HAVE LIVED OVER CLOUDS AND BENEATH THE DEEPEST SEA I SANG FROM THE CAVERNS AS THE ROCKS PEELED AND BROKE WITH TREES / I WAS ORIGIN, EVERYTHING. WHO COULD DELIVER ME? FOR I WAS A BLAZE IN YOUR SHALLOW DUSK / THE WINDING BERTH OF STARS / WHERE LONELY GAVELS POUND THE EARTH TO WORK IT DARK WITH SCARS / BUT I TIRE OF THE CHASE, THE HARVEST MONOPOLY / HOW YOU BORE WITH YOUR DELICATE GRACES AND CHARITY / I'LL SOOTHE QUIET DESIRES AND THE ACHE OF THE EVERGREEN / AND THEN HOW SHALL I WAIT - FOR JUDGEMENT OR CLARITY? FOR I AM YOUR ACHE AND YOUR REVERIE / YOUR WILD DESIRE AND COLOUR / AND IN MY FLAWS ADORN THE COURT / THE PIVOT OF MY GARDEN DELIVER YOUR JUDGEMENT / MY CHANCERY, PAUSE TO DECIDE DELIVER YOUR JUDGEMENT / MY GARDEN, MY FLOWERS OF LIGHT
The rum-gagger was about to shake the bullet. He'd enough cat speak to make any wise man dumb, but on this occasion the cat was without claws and destined for hell. Was this where the chicken got the axe? And fuck, he'd only believed parrots deserved almonds... Taking the dagger from the tall boy, he thought of drowning himself. The highway surveyor had played her ace against his jack. The gagger knew she's bulldoze a show of white feathers. She wasn't about to fear shaking her cloth in the wind. He tried to break a straw with her but blandiloquence drew a blank. Red, red against green. Red, red against green. He'd got ooperzootics on the brain. His father got them, caused the old git to run around the house, naked, whooping and such-like. One-armed, queer-gammed, and sharp as the corner of a square table. Warm as they come. He wore yellow stockings for his queen of the dripping pan. The highway surveyor's former handle. Goodyear's pig had forded the river a spit away. Peeled eyes were the order of the day. Above, sun-dodgers prepared to turn the black spotlight on.
Peeling an Orange Between you and a bowl of oranges I lie nude Reading The World's Illusion through my tears. You reach across me hungry for global fruit, Your bare arm hard, furry and warm on my belly. Your fingers pry the skin of a naval orange Releasing tiny explosions of spicy oil. You place peeled disks of gold in a bizarre pattern On my white body. Rearranging, you bend and bite The disks to release further their eager scent. I say 'Stop, you're tickling, ' my eyes still on the page. Aromas of groves arise. Through green leaves Glow the lofty snows. Through red lips Your white teeth close on a translucent segment. Your face over my face eclipses The World's Illusion. Pulp and juice pass into my mouth from your mouth. We laugh against each other's lips. I hold my book Behind your head, still reading, still weeping a little. You say 'Read on, I'm just an illusion, ' rolling Over upon me soothingly, gently unmoving, Smiling greenly through long lashes. And soon I say 'Don't stop. Don't disillusion me.' Snows melt. The mountain silvers into many a stream. The oranges are golden worlds in a dark dream.
New skin, a new land! And a land of liberty, if that is possible! I chose the geology of a land that was new to me, and that was young, virgin, and without drama, that of America. I traveled in America, but instead of romantically and directly rubbing the snakeskin of my body against the asperities of its terrain, I preferred to peel protected within the armor of the gleaming black crustacean of a Cadillac which I gave Gala as a present. Nevertheless all the men who admire and the women who are in love with my old skin will easily be able to find its remnants in shredded pieces of various sizes scattered to the winds along the roads from New York via Pittsburgh to California. I have peeled with every wind; pieces of my skin have remained caught here and there along my way, scattered through that "promised land" which is America; certain pieces of this skin have remained hanging in the spiny vegetation of the Arizona desert, along the trails where I galloped on horseback, where I got rid of all my former Aristotelian "planetary notions." Other pieces of my skin have remained spread out like tablecloths without food on the summits of the rocky masses by which one reaches the Salt Lake, in which the hard passion of the Mormons saluted in me the European phantom of Apollinaire. Still other pieces have remained suspended along the "antediluvian" bridge of San Francisco, where I saw in passing the ten thousand most beautiful virgins in America, completely naked, standing in line on each side of me as I passed, like two rows of organ-pipes of angelic flesh with cowrie-shell sea vulvas.
Lea stood upon a fallen log ahead of us, staring ahead. Mouse walked up to her. Gggrrrr rawf arrrgggrrrrarrrr, " I said. Mouse gave me an impatient glance, and somehow-I don't know if it was something in his body language or what-I became aware that he was telling me to sit down and shut up or he'd come over and make me. I sat down. Something in me really didn't like that idea, but when I looked around, I saw that everyone else had done it too, and that made me feel better. Mouse said, again in what sounded like perfectly clear English, "Funny. Now restore them." Lea turned to look at the big dog and said, "Do you dare to give me commands, hound?" Not your hound, " Mouse said. I didn't know how he was doing it. His mouth wasn't moving or anything. "Restore them before I rip your ass off. Literally rip it off." The Leanansidhe tilted her head back and let out a low laugh. "You are far from your sources of power here, my dear demon." I live with a wizard. I cheat." He took a step toward her and his lips peeled up from his fangs in unmistakable hostility. "You want to restore them? Or do I kill you and get them back that way?" Lea narrowed her eyes. Then she said, "You're bluffing." One of the big dog's huge, clawed paws dug at the ground, as if bracing him for a leap, and his growl seemed to... I looked down and checked. It didn't seem to shake the ground. The ground was actually shaking for several feet in every direction of the dog. Motes of blue light began to fall from his jaws, thickly enough that it looked quite a bit like he was foaming at the mouth. "Try me." The Leanansidhe shook her head slowly. Then she said, "How did Dresden ever win you?" He didn't, " Mouse said. "I won him.
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...