“You fainted and I caught you. It was the first time I'd supported a human. You had such heavy bones. I put myself between you and gravity. Impossible.”
“The thought of flight has melted me, I am less solid than liquid, then I'm going up and going invisible like steam.”
“Sometimes I imagine a whole future made out of the moment after I've died and you are still sitting beside me.'
'You imagine I'll be there at your deathbed?'
'And if I stayed away, would you live for ever?”
“Why do you come here?"
"I release you from your promise!"
"It wasn't you I promised," the angel said quietly.”
“Do you no longer believe in your luck?'
'You're not my luck, fallen angel, or even my dearest friend. You're my love. My true love.”
“Books can be the people we never get to meet, ancestors or far neighbors.”
“So, did you need to hear that? Did you really need to know more?' Xas asked.
'Yes. It's always better to know more.'
'God help you,' Xas said with feeling.”
“I know that you're a virgin and as bodiless as any paralytic. I know I'm old and not as handsome as I once was. But I know you love me as I love you.'
And he kissed the angel.”
“And what of those losses that seem unbearable? Separations from people we feel we can't live without?'
'Perhaps our ruin honours the strength of our love.”
“I knew I was in danger from the moment I proposed visiting you a second time. I knew because God warned me by sending the whirlwind that pulled a few feathers.'
'But you still came every year.'
'God is my maker but not my master. And I don't think he was saying “Thou shalt not”, rather, “I think you're going to regret this..”'
'So, you go freely, with hints. If God made a suggestion to me I'm sure I'd take it. I mean, I assume He has, but I've misunderstood.”
“He said, ‘Don’t mind what happened to me. Don’t be angry. I’m a frail creature with certain crude reflexes.”
“Xas was whiteskinned, smooth. Even his mouth was pale, more blurred than coloured, like a wine stain wiped on the mouth of a statue. But Xas was no statue. Sobran could see his blood moving, a vein in the angel's neck that pulsed, and with each pulse variations of brightness in his skin, like cloud shadows passing across a wheat field, each pass of light a surprise. Where his skin was worked, the calluses on his hands, it was the same fleshy rose as the nipples of a darkhaired girl who has never suckled a child.”
“Xas reappeared and showed every sign of winding himself around Sobran permanently, like -Sobran complained - some parasitic vine.”
“The angel took a deep breath then huffed out hard through his nose, like an impatient parade horse.
"I returned because it pleased me to promise you, and to keep my promise. I returned to see what happened about your love troubles. That first night, the night we met, I'd only stopped here to rest. The rose bush I carried was heavy. Or, to be exact, its damp roots were. It was of no great height and pruned back to dead wood, little more than a bag of roots in soil. I dropped it when I caught you – when you fainted. And I lost it. But the year it rained and I went down to your house I saw that someone had found and planted it. The pink rose I carried from Denmark and was transporting to my garden.”
“I don't know what God intends, or what qualifies Him to forgive me,' Sobran said”
“You fainted and I caught you. It was the first time I supported a human. You had such heavy bones. I put myself between you and gravity.
“Every day time stopped and Sobran saw Xas, the sun reflecting off his raised wings, white chest watermarked by tears dried in fine dust; bare skin and colourless nipples, as innocent as a child's; the double signature, seagreen and vermilion, awake and vivid; a whitelipped white face and eyes, abysmal, inimical, like the sea seen through holes in an icefield. It was like being in love, this remembering, because Sobran couldn't put Xas out of his mind. And it was like shame. Because he grew so tired defending himself from the pain of this one recollection, Sobran forgot everything else he knew about the angel.”
“Xas put his face close to Sobran's and said, soft and succinct, "Listen, and take this in. The terms of the pact are this: 'Xas shall go freely. God shall have his pains and Lucifer his pleasures.' So, if you please yourself and me the way you want, Sobran, you will be pleasing the devil. And I will not give you to him.”
“THE GHOST OF PANCAKE COURT Bean”
“Theo explained, in what he thought was perfect Spanish, that Julio needed extra help with his algebra. Evidently, she did not understand perfect Spanish because she asked Julio what Theo was talking about.”
“pulled out an 8" x 10" black-and-white photo, a mug shot of a shady-looking character who gave every indication of being a veteran criminal. Bolick went on, “Guy’s name is Jack Leeper, a ten-time loser. Distant cousin to May Finnemore, even more distant to April. He grew up around here, drifted away a long time ago, became a career thug, petty thief, drug dealer, and so on. Got busted in California for kidnapping ten years ago, sentenced to life with no parole. Escaped two weeks ago. This afternoon we get a tip that he might be in this area.” Theo looked at the sinister face of Jack Leeper and felt ill. If this thug had April, then she was in serious trouble. Bolick continued, “Last night around seven thirty, Leeper here walks into the Korean Quick Shop four blocks away, buys cigarettes and beer, gets his face captured on the surveillance cameras.”
“Madness is a distrust of reason.”
“Keep vaunting head over heart, and soon the head will arrive at the complete folly of any kind of fight and meekly surrender the treasure to the first bandit with enough heart to demand it.”
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