“Kizzy wanted to be a woman who would dive off the prow of a sailboat into the sea, who would fall back in a tangle of sheets, laughing, and who could dance a tango, lazily stroke a leopard with her bare foot, freeze an enemy's blood with her eyes, make promises she couldn't possibly keep, and then shift the world to keep them. She wanted to write memoirs and autograph them at a tiny bookshop in Rome, with a line of admirers snaking down a pink-lit alley. She wanted to make love on a balcony, ruin someone, trade in esoteric knowledge, watch strangers as coolly as a cat. She wanted to be inscrutable, have a drink named after her, a love song written for her, and a handsome adventurer's small airplane, champagne-christened Kizzy, which would vanish one day in a windstorm in Arabia so that she would have to mount a rescue operation involving camels, and wear an indigo veil against the stinging sand, just like the nomads.
“There are other ways of showing someone you love them, such as fetching them out of Hell.”
“Kissing can ruin lives. Lips touch sometimes teeth clash. New hunger is born with a throb and caution falls away. A cursed girl with lips still moist from her first kiss might feel suddenly wild like a little monsoon. She might forget her curse just long enough to get careless and let it come true. She might kill everyone she loves...”
“Boredom is a terrible affliction of the soulless.”
“Kizzy wanted it all so bad her soul leaned half out of her body hungering after it, and that was what drove the goblins wild, her soul hanging out there like an untucked shirt.”
“This is the story of the curse and the kiss, the demon and the girl. It's a love story with dancing and death in it, and singing and souls and shadows reeled out on kite strings.”
“Staring at her face, she began to fancy her outer layer had begun to melt away while she wasn't paying attention, and something -- some new skeleton -- was emerging from beneath the softness of her accustomed self. With a deep, visceral ache, she wished her true form might prove to be a sleek and shining one, like a stiletto blade slicing free of an ungainly sheath. Like a bird of prey losing its hatchling fluff to hunt in cold, magnificent skies. That she might become something glittering, something startling, something dangerous.”
“Is that all souls are for? For when we die?"
"No. They're for living, too.”
“It was the only lullaby she would ever sing, and it was sung in Hell.”
“Heavily and hypnotically,with her soul flattening itself back like the ears of a hissing cat,Kizzy leaned in and drank of Jack Husk's full,moist mouth,and his red,red lips were hungry against hers,drinking her in return.Their eyes closed.Fingers clutched at collars and hair,at the picnic blanket,at the grass.And as they sank down,pinning their shadows beneath them,the horizon tipped on its side,and slowly,thickly,hour by hour,the day spilled out and ebbed away.
It was Kizzy's first kiss, and maybe it was her last, and it was delicious.”
“She was a girl and she was a queen and back in the mists she was a woman who had seized the moon from the sky and drunk its light so that she would never die. And she never had.”
“She wanted to climb out of her life as if it were a seashell she could abandon on the shore and walk away from, barefoot.”
“Kizzy was so busy wishing she was Sarah Ferris or Jenny Glass that she could scarcely see herself at all and she was certainly blind to her own weird beauty: her heavy spell-casting eyes too-wide mouth wild hair and hips that could be wild too if they learned how. No one else in town looked anything like her and if she lived to womanhood she was the one artists would want to draw not the Sarahs and Jennys. She was the one who would some day know a dozen ways to wear a silk scarf how to read the sky for rain and coax feral animals near how to purr throaty love songs in Portuguese and Basque how to lay a vampire to rest how to light a cigar how to light a man's imagination on fire.”
“An idea fell like a seed and over the next weeks it went on growing like a fig vine lush and conquering twining round her old beliefs and covering them in new growth until they were as invisible as a tiger in a thicket and just as deadly.”
“That boy could wear a banana leaf and a propeller beanie and look beautiful."
"That how you like your boys, Kiz?" asked Cactus.
"Oh yes. All my boys. I'll issue him a banana leaf and a propeller beanie at once and induct him into my boy-harem."
Evie snorted. "Boy harem! Imagine - their little propellers all spinning as they fan you with palm fronds."
"While they satisfy my every whim," added Cactus. Kizzy snorted.
"Forget it. I don't lend out my boys."
"Come on, no one likes a greedy slave owner."
"My boys aren't slaves! They stay because they want to. I give them all the elk meat they can eat. And Xbox, you know, to keep their thumbs nice and agile.”
“It was Kizzy's first kiss and maybe it was her last and it was delicious.”
“The thing is, you throw brains and souls into an animal and stir, you don’t really know what you’re going to get.”
“Like attracts like, beauty finds beauty, and freaks look on from the smoking section, aching.”
“You just mingled saliva with the most beautiful boy ever to tread the hallways of Saint Pock's. Saliva. There's DNA in saliva. You're like carrying his cells in your mouth like one of those weird frogs that incubates its eggs in its cheeks”
“The goblins want girls who dream so hard about being pretty their yearning leaves a palpable trail, a scent goblins can follow like sharks on a soft bloom of blood. The girls with hungry eyes who pray each night to wake up as someone else. Urgent, unkissed, wishful girls. Like Kizzy.”
“Some would assert that Providence was at work shaking out its pockets in Humanity's lap. Other would argue for that mindless choreographer, Chance. Either way it was a simple thing: a lost diary fell into the hands of a soul-sick war hero on a train from Bombay to Jaipur just when he'd grown tired of the scenery and needed something to keep his thoughts from the minefield of his wretched thoughts.
In such mild ways is the groundwork laid for first kisses and ruined lives.”
“She could smell the boy spice beneath the thrift-store aroma of his jacket, and the rubbing and the smell began to work to soften her -- like butter before you add sugar, in the first steps of making something sweet. It was her first experience of how bodies could meld together, how breath could slip naturally into rhythm. It was hypnotic. Heady. And she wanted more.”
“Cats and ghosts both partook of the saucers of milk and that was okay. They consumed different parts of it: the cats its substance, the ghosts its essence, and none went to waste.”
“James often wondered at the chain of flukes it must have taken to bring him through with his own life and limbs intact. Once he might have believed it to be the work of Providence but it seemed to him now that to thank God for his life would be to suggest God had shrugged off all the others flicked them away like cigarette butts by the thousands and that seemed like abominable conceit. James Dorsey took no credit for being alive. His higher power these days was Chance.”
“The tattered lace of darkness still hung over the city, as if night were a grim bride trudging to the horizon, trailing her shadowy train.”
“But her name was Esmé. She was a girl with long, long, red, red hair. Her mother braided it. The flower shop boy stood behind her and held it in his hand. Her mother cut it off and hung it from a chandelier.
She was Queen. Mazishta. Her hair was black and her handmaidens dressed it with pearls and silver pins.
Her flesh was golden like the desert.
Her flesh was pale like cream.
Her eyes were blue.
“Will you take some refreshment?" His lip pulled into a snarl. Unable to contain himself, he added, "One last cup of tea before you burn, you old bitch?”
“...singing ballads whose words had never known paper but lived only on the rasping edge of their own voices.”
“It was like dying, but without the consolation of oblivion.”
“Ала все пак трябва да има токлова много друго, толкова много повече в едно човешко създание от онова, което е разказано и което въобще подлежи на разказване.”
“we are a scene chalked out with the sick white brush of age”
“I was trying so hard to be what everyone wanted me to be, and yet every time I looked around, I was failing.”
“A damp, gray sky covered southern Ohio like the skin of a corpse.”
“When one eye is fixed upon your destination, there is only one eye left with which to find the Way.”
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