“Anger is just anger. It isn't good. It isn't bad. It just is. What you do with it is what matters. It's like anything else. You can use it to build or to destroy. You just have to make the choice."
Constructive anger," the demon said, her voice dripping sarcasm.
Also known as passion," I said quietly. "Passion has overthrown tyrants and freed prisoners and slaves. Passion has brought justice where there was savagery. Passion has created freedom where there was nothing but fear. Passion has helped souls rise from the ashes of their horrible lives and build something better, stronger, more beautiful.”
“There is a primal reassurance in being touched, in knowing that someone else, someone close to you, wants to be touching you. There is a bone-deep security that goes with the brush of a human hand, a silent, reflex-level affirmation that someone is near, that someone cares.”
“What is the point of having free will if one cannot occasionally spit in the eye of destiny?”
“But the only way never to do the wrong thing is never to do anything.”
“Loneliness is a hard thing to handle. I feel it, sometimes. When I do, I want it to end. Sometimes, when you're near someone, when you touch them on some level that is deeper than the uselessly structured formality of casual civilized interaction, there's a sense of satisfaction in it. Or at least, there is for me. It doesn't have to be someone particularly nice. You don't have to like them. You don't even have to want to work with them. You might even want to punch them in the nose. Sometimes just making that connection is its own experience, its own reward.”
“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
“Knowledge is the ultimate weapon. It always has been.”
“Age is always advancing and I'm fairly sure it's up to no good.”
“Many things are not as they seem: The worst things in life never are.”
“My hair had grown out long and shaggy—not in that sexy-young-rock-star kind of way but in that time-to-take-Rover-to-the-groomer kind of way.”
“Don't call me a dinosaur. It isn't fair to the dinosaurs. What did a dinosaur ever do to you?”
“There was a sound like a human yawn, and then the skull turned slightly toward me and asked, "What's up, boss?"
"Well, sure," Bob said, "because it refuses to learn the metric system. Otherwise it'd be up to a meter by now.”
“Everyone is down on pain, because they forget something important about it: Pain is for the living. Only the dead don't feel it.”
“The wacky thing about those bad guys is that you can't count on them to be obvious. They forget to wax their mustaches and goatees, leave their horns at home, send their black hats to the dry cleaner's. They're funny like that.”
“If you can't manage courtesy, try silence.”
“Yeah, but I forgot to take my George Orwell-shaped multivitamins along with my breakfast bowl of Big Brother Os this morning.”
“Being a wizard gives you more power than most, but it doesn't change your heart. We're all human. We're all of us equally naked before the jaws of pain.”
“Bigots see something they expect and then they stop thinking about what is in front of them. It's probably how they got to be bigots in the first place.”
“Just because you start out as one thing, it doesn't mean you can't grow into something else.”
“But… all I said was that I was scared."
After what you got to experience? That's smart, kid," I said. "I'm scared, too. Every time something like this happens, it scares me. But being strong doesn't get you through. Being smart does. I've beaten people and things who were stronger than I was, because they didn't use their heads, or because I used what I had better than they did. It isn't about muscle, kiddo, magical or otherwise. It's about your attitude. About your mind."
She nodded slowly and said, "About doing things for the right reasons."
You don't throw down like this just because you're strong enough to do it," I said. "You do it because you don't have much choice. You do it because it's unacceptable to walk away, and still live with yourself later."
She stared at me for a second, and then her eyes widened. "Otherwise, you're using power for the sake of using power."
I nodded. "And power tends to corrupt. It isn't hard to love using it, Molly. You've got to go in with the right attitude or…"
Or the power starts using you," she said. She'd heard the argument before, but this was the first time she said the words slowly, thoughtfully, as if she'd actually understood them, instead of just parroting them back to me. Then she looked up. "That's why you do it. Why you help people. You're using the power for someone other than yourself.”
“You must be Warden Ramirez."
This is the part where I got nervous. Ramirez loved women. Ramirez never shut up about women. Well, he never shut up about anything in general, but he'd go on and on about various conquests and feats of sexual athleticism and—
"A virgin?" Lara blurted. Lara blurted. She turned her head to me, grey eyes several shades paler than they had been, and very wide. "Really, Harry, I'm not sure what to say. Is he a present?”
“I was sitting in my lab, my hand spread open on the table, while the skull examined my palm.
I'd worn a mark there for years--an unblemished patch of skin amidst all the burn scars, in the perfect shape of the angelic sigil that was Lasciel's name.
The mark was gone.
In its place was just an irregular patch of unburned skin.
"It looks like there's no mark there anymore," Bob said.
I sighed. "Thank you, Bob," I said. "It's good to have a professional opinion."
"Well, what did you expect?" Bob said. The skull swiveled around on the table and tilted up to look at my face. "Hmmmmm. And you say the entity isn't responding to you anymore?"
"No. And she's always jumped every time I said frog."
"Interesting," Bob said.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Well, from what you told me, this psychic attack the entity blocked for you was quite severe."
I shivered, remembering. "Yeah."
"And the process she used to accelerate your brain and shield you was traumatic as well."
"Right. She said it could cause me brain damage."
"Uh-huh," Bob said. "I think it did."
"See what I mean?" Bob asked cheerfully. "You're thicker already."
"Harry get hammer," I said. "Smash stupid talky skull.”
“Sticks and stones and small caliber bullets may break my bones... Words will never, et cetera.”
“She gave me a hard look. "No one likes a wiseass, Harry."
"Are you kidding? As long as the wiseass is talking to someone else, people love 'em.”
“Life is easier when you can write off others as monsters, demon, as horrible threats that must be hated and feared the thing is you can't do that without becoming them, just a little.”
“[Mouse is] with us. The dog is a handicap-assist animal."
The kid lifted his eyebrows.
"My mouth is partially paralyzed," I said. "It makes it hard for me to read. He's here to help me with the big words. Tell me if I'm supposed to push or pull on doors, that kind of thing.”
“Life was always easier, reflected Issy, when you were carrying a large Tupperware full of cakes. Everyone was happy to see you then.”
“He held on to me like I was a rock, the only thing keeping him from drifting out with the tide of dark memories.
It was the first time I realized he need me too.”
“We both still, lips touching, breaths shared. This is what we are, two broken people who when connected are made whole, made right. I feel this everywhere, my body, my heart, my soul.”
“Như người Shuar vẫn nói: Ban ngày là người và rừng. Ban đêm, người là rừng. ”
“Wait,” Maggs said. “Nobody knows what the incubation period for this thing is, right?” Hartwig didn’t take his eyes off Kindra. “Seemed pretty fast with Ra’at.” “Yeah, but Ra’at got tagged firsthand. Maybe accidental exposure takes longer.” Kindra could hear Maggs’s voice growing more confident as he spoke, warming to his own argument. “Point is, we don’t know. So before somebody does something stupid, how about we all take a step back, strip down, and make sure nobody’s got any open cuts that could have gotten contaminated blood in them.” He looked back at Combat Master Hracken, who still had not spoken. “What do you think?”
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