“Guard your throats and hide your eyes. He’s not dead, you fools. Legends never die.”
“I don’t want to blend,” Etalon whispered. “I want to belong.”
“I need to know why I’m so broken, so I can fix myself. One way or another. Maybe this place can help me do that, and then I can finally look forward to my future. Because I’m starting to realize there’s something worse than stepping up and facing your fears – and that’s living as if you’re already dead.”
“He’d walked as a ghost in the gloomy bowels of this opera house for so long, darkness had become his brother, which was fitting, since his father was the night, and sunlight their forgotten friend.”
“How do you hate someone who pulled you from the brink of death, not once, but twice?”
“This can’t be a coincidence, and there’s no longer any doubt in my mind.
I am in a horror story.”
“Ironically, the first time he played it, he experienced his first dream vision with his own ‘flame jumelle’, Rune – and saved her from drowning. Thereafter he decided that must be the magic the instrument held: the ability to bring two souls together when they needed each other the most.”
“Behind every wall and every mirror and every vent, I hear sounds: breathing, rustling, footsteps, and murmurs. I try to tell myself it’s just mice making their nests behind the barriers, but since when do rodents whisper?”
“Ever since I was small, opera has been a living, breathing part of me.
The problem is that as I’ve grown, it’s become more demanding… an entity that controls me. Once a song speaks to my subconscious, the notes become a toxin I have to release through my diaphragm, my vocal cords, my tongue.”
“But now it makes sense: she wanted those wings so she could fly away, because the pain of trying to reach for them was more tolerable than the pain of staying grounded, wherever she was.”
“Maybe being here won’t be so bad after all… as long as I can avoid the music, the bloodthirsty diva duo, and the phantom’s shadow lurking around every corner.”
“The Phantom is not famous for forgiveness.”
“He appears close to my age. The left half of his face stands out beneath the hood: one side of plump lips, one squared angle of a chin. Two coppery-colored eyes look back at me – bright and metallic. The sight makes me do a double take. As far as he is from the car, I shouldn’t be able to make out the color, yet they glimmer in the shadow of his cape, like pennies catching a flashlight’s glare in a deep well.”
“He raised his wine for a toast. “To the Exquisite Nightmare.”
“The thing to do was kill it. Obviously.”
“But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, 11and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you; 12so that you may abehave properly toward outsiders and bnot be in any need.”
“anyway, encouraging her daughter in breaking up another man’s family, having the baby of a married man? Some help and example she must have been to Bernadette if this is the way things turned out. But then Ria realized that it could not have been what that woman wanted for her daughter either. Possibly she had been horrified by it all as Ria would be horrified if her own Annie were to get involved with a middle-aged married man. Possibly the mother hadn’t been told that Danny was married at the start. And had then become suspicious. Suddenly Ria remembered the woman who had telephoned her, the voice demanding to know if she was Mrs. Danny Lynch. This was the woman. Danny had concocted some cock-and-bull story at the time, but had later admitted it. Ria would have done the same if Annie were to be involved with a married man. She would have called the house to check if his wife really existed. To speak to the enemy. This woman probably loved her daughter too. She would have wished for a boyfriend who was young and single. But who could know what a daughter was going to do? Was seeing Bernadette better than not seeing her? She sat in the car biting her lip and wondering. Possibly better. It meant that now there was no more imagining. It had cleared that area of speculation from her mind. It didn’t make it any more bearable that she was so young. Or forgivable. There was a knock on the car window and Ria jumped. For a mad moment she thought Bernadette and her mother were about to confront her. But it was the anxious face of a traffic warden. “You were not even thinking about”
“Hope rarely enters into it. 'Tis action moves the world.”
“He gave me a look of mingled anticipation, curiosity, and compassion, like a cat with a captive bird in its claws.”
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