Death was an inverse Big Bang; an impossible magic trick where everything had become nothing in the very same instant, where one state had been replaced so completely by another that no evidence of the first could be detected, and where the catalyst had been vaporized by the sheer shock of the new.
I cannot detain Love, holding him captive so that he may never break my heart. No more than I can stick Guilt in a pot so that I may boil him until all of my sins are vaporized, rising alongside the screaming steam. I cannot hold Sorrow in my arms and rock him to a fit and endless sleep. Nor can I search for Joy and effortlessly find him beneath the pink-dusted sky of late afternoon, where he waits for me with open arms.
I slashed a wide arc with Riptide and vaporized the entire front row of monsters. Back off!' I yelled at the rest, trying to sound fierce. Behind them stood their instructor-a six-foot-tall telekhine with Doberman fangs snarling at me. I did my best to stare him down. New lesson, class, ' I announced. 'Most monsters will vaporize when sliced with a celestial bronze sword. This change is perfectly normal, and will happen to you right now if you don't BACK OFF!
Vaporized by the sun! Wasn't that what the universe had in store for all of us? There would come a day when the sun exploded like a red balloon, and everyone on earth would be reduced in less than a camera flash to carbon. Didn't Genesis say as much? For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. This was far more than dull old theology: It was precise scientific observation! Carbon was the Great Leveler-the Grim Reaper. Diamonds were nothing more than carbon, but carbon in a crystal lattice that made it the hardest known mineral in nature. That was the way we all were headed. I was sure of it. We were destined to be diamonds!
A demigod!" one snarled. "Eat it!" yelled another. But that's as far as they got before I slashed a wide arc with Riptide and vaporized the entire front row of monsters. "Back off!" I yelled at the rest, trying to sound fierce. Behind them stood their instructor-a six-foot tall telekhine with Doberman fangs snarling at me. I did my best to stare him down. "New lesson, class, " I announced. "Most monsters will vaporize when sliced with a celestial bronze sword. This change is completely normal, and will happen to you right now if you don't BACK OFF!" To my surprise, it worked. The monsters backed off, but there was at least twenty of them. My fear factor wasn't going to last that long. I jumped out of the cart, yelled, "CLASS DISMISSED!" and ran for the exit.
I can remember when I was a bit of an ETA fan myself. It was in 1973, when a group of Basque militants assassinated Adm. Carrero Blanco. The admiral was a stone-faced secret police chief, personally groomed to be the successor to the decrepit Francisco Franco. His car blew up, killing only him and his chauffeur with a carefully planted charge, and not only was the world well rid of another fascist, but, more important, the whole scheme of extending Franco's rule was vaporized in the same instant. The dictator had to turn instead to Crown Prince Juan Carlos, who turned out to be the best Bourbon in history and who swiftly dismantled Franco's entire system. If this action was 'terrorism, ' it had something to be said for it. Everyone I knew in Spain made a little holiday in their hearts when the gruesome admiral went sky-high.
then things got even stranger. Mr. Brunner, who'd been out in front of the museum a minute before, wheeled his chair into the doorway of the gallery, holding a pen in his hand. "What ho, Percy!" he shouted, and tossed the pen through the air. Mrs. Dodds lunged at me. With a yelp, I dodged and felt talons slash the air next to my ear. I snatched the ballpoint pen out of the air, but when it hit my hand, it wasn't a pen anymore. It was a sword-Mr. Brunner's bronze sword, which he always used on tourement day. Mrs. Dodds spun toward me with a murderous look in her eyes. My knees were jelly. My hands were shaking so bad I almost dropped the sword. She snarled, "Die, honey!" And she flew straight at me. Absolute terror ran through my body. I did the only thing that came naturally:I swung the sword. The metal blade hit her shoulder and passed through her body as if she were made made of water. Hisss! Mrs. Dodds was a sand castle in a power fan. She exploded into yellow powder, vaporized on the spot, leaving nothing but the smell of sulfur and a dying screech and a chill of evil in the air, as if those two glowing red eyes were still watching me.