“What are you?" I rasped.
It smiled. "Whatever scares you.”
“Most of the upper management of I.S. were undead. I always thought it was because the job was easier if you didn't have a soul.”
“Ivy turned. 'He bit you on the neck?' she said, deadpan serious but for her eyes. 'Oh, then it's got to be love. She won't let me bite her neck.”
“You think my kids just popped out of the ground?”
“Making a spell is easy. It's trusting you did it right that's hard.”
“You bet your Grannie's Panties I will.”
“Bug? You sack of sweat stink. I've got farts that smell sweeter than you. Think you're better than me? Poop ice cream cones, do you? Call me a bug! Rachel, let me do him now.”
“I sighed. I hated the maze of bureaucracy with a passion, but I've found the best way to deal with it is to smile and act stupid. That way, no one gets confused.”
“Shouts of dismay rose as the red flesh splattered against the table. It was only a tomato, but one would think I was pulping a decaying heart by the noise the big, strong FIB officers were making.”
“Double damn. I was a harlot. I was a freaking vampire hussy.”
“Tink's a Disney whore' - Jenks”
“You can trust me to keep my word. I always keep my word, promises or threats.”
“Ivy shook her head with a look of disgust. "So you got caught. Big freaking deal. They knew who Rachel was, and you don't see her whining over it."
Actually, I had thrown my tantrum on the way home, which might have accounted for the odd noise Francis's car was making when I left it in the mall parking lot in the shade of a tree.
Jenks darted to hover three inches before Ivy's nose. His wings were red in anger. "You have a gardener trap you in a glass ball and see if it doesn't give you a new outlook on life, Little Miss Merry Sunshine."
My bad mood slipped away as I watched a four-inch pixy confront a vamp.”
“I'm going back!" I shouted, standing to put some distance between us in case I was yanking her chain too hard and she came after me. "I'll show him," I said, waving an arm. "I'll sneak in. I'll steal his freaking glasses and mail them back to him in a freaking birthday card!”
“Student food." His eyes went to the tomato on the sill. "Whatever's in the refrigerator over pasta.”
“People are motivated by three things, Rachel. Love …” A red marker clattered in with the rest. “Revenge …” A black one landed next to it. “And power,” she finished, tossing in a green one. “Trent has enough money to buy all three.”
“You forgot one,” I said, wondering if I should just keep my mouth shut. “Family.”
“I took a breath, seeing from across the room the rain on his eyelashes. A sudden need to brush them free filled me. I could almost feel the dampness of the rain on my fingers, how soft it would feel.”
“Slicker than snot on a door handle.”
“This is a witchocracy, not a democracy. Clear?”
“I would have sworn fairies were too big to fit into a frog’s mouth.”
“Rachel… I can still smell me thick on you. You’re like a big chocolate-chip cookie sitting all alone on an empty table. And when you get all agitated, it’s as if you just came out of the oven, all warm and gooey. I haven’t had a cookie in three years. Could you just calm down so you don’t smell so damn good?”
“I really didn’t have a choice. It wasn’t as if Kotex made a pad for this kind of a thing.”
“Bug?” Jenks shouted, incensed. “You sack of sweat stink. I’ve got farts that smell sweeter than you. Think you’re better than me? Poop ice cream cones, do you?”
“What is it you want?”
My heart pounded at his promise of freedom. I followed his gaze to my hands and the dirt under my nails. “You,” I said.”
“Jenks made a face as he levered himself up on the sill. “Much as I enjoy this horrific outpouring of estrogen, I’m going to go say good-bye to my wife. Let me know when you’re ready. I’ll be in the garden—probably next to the stink weed.”
“All right, all right! Don’t lose your panties. No, wait. You don’t have any, do you?”
“I glanced at the pain charms draped around my neck, thinking I looked like a drunken prostitute at Mardi Gras.”
“But they’re dying. The church, I mean,” she added as I met her eyes. “No new members. It’s sad, really. The”
“On the far side of the human graves. Pink wings in the lowering moon as the earth slipped ’round her silver light. They reached our wall. Our lines were strung. We held our land. What’s said is done.”
“We walk alone through this world, but if we're lucky, we have a moment of belonging to something, to someone, that sustains us through a lifetime of loneliness.”
“Take down the walls.
That is, after all, the whole point.
You do not know what will happen if you take down the walls; you cannot see through to the other side, don't know whether it will bring freedom or ruin, resolution or chaos. It might be paradise or destruction.
Take down the walls.
Otherwise you must live closely, in fear, building barricades against the unknown, saying prayers against the darkness, speaking verse of terror and tightness.
Otherwise you may never know hell; but you will not find heaven, either. You will not know fresh air and flying.
All of you, wherever you are: in your spiny cities, or your one bump towns. Find it, the hard stuff, the links of metal and chink, the fragments of stone filling you stomach.
And pull, and pull, and pull.
I will make a pact with you: I will do it if you will do it, always and forever.
Take down the walls.”
“...it was an intimate bond between the men of that generation ... for nothing brings men close together than a common misfortune happily overcome.”
“A word aptly uttered or written cannot be cut away by an axe.”
“But why should you be interested in me?"
Good question. I can’t explain it myself right this moment. But maybe – just maybe – if we start getting together and talking, after a while something like Francis Lai’s soundtrack music will start playing in the background, and a whole slew of concrete reasons why I’m interested in you will line up out of nowhere. With luck, it might even snow for us.”
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