She paced the stones, her feet separated from the chill by sable-lined slippers. She was cold despite them, cold from her toes to her crown. Perhaps it was the vengeance of the fire, that she had not joined her husband in its embrace. Long ago, he had decided that he wished to be immolated in the manner of their ancestors.
The girl surprised everyone. To begin with, no one in the world below had thought her parents would have more children. Her parents’ marriage had created quite a scandal, a profound clash of philosophical extremes; for her father was the Master of the Mountain, a brigand and sorcerer, who had carried the Saint of the World off to his high fortress.
Tristram was certain she would never have made the attempt had she not heard that it was a thing other children often did. She did so want to be like other children—lolling about like great striped cats, batting at moths with oversized paws, snapping at dust-motes with wet pink jaws.
The swings hang perfectly still in the windless dawn. I come here most mornings to stand among the abandoned jungle gyms and sliding boards; sometimes the swings squeak, sometimes they are still, but either way the equation comes to loss. Either way I think of Sarah.
“You’re a murderer and a rapist, and there may be no hope for you,” Winnie says to Ryan on a rainy afternoon at the end of the story. “But if there is, I will find it. I will remake you.”
The apartment was in his name, and the Accord was in hers. It took Lauren less than a minute to step out one door and into the other. She put her suitcase in the floorboard and her laptop bag in the passenger seat. Her container garden fit snugly in the back.
Missouri Banks lives in the great smoky city at the edge of the mountains, here where the endless yellow prairie laps gently with grassy waves and locust tides at the exposed bones of the world jutting suddenly up towards the western sky. She was not born here, but came to the city long ago, when she was still only a small child and her father traveled from town to town in one of Edison’s electric wagons selling his herbs and medicinals, his stinking poultices and elixirs.
She came into his life the way his cats crept into his lap. One day he was alone, had been alone for years, his life and his home empty of anyone but himself and a few friends who didn’t visit all that often anyway. And then at some point he realized she had been there for a while, in his house, in his bed, in every part of his life, having accomplished the transition so subtly that he could never say exactly when or how it had occurred.
Thunder, wind, and waves. You in your cradle. You’ve never heard these noises before and they are making you cry. Here, child. Let me wrap you in a blanket and my arms, take you to the big chair by the fire, and tell you a story. My father’s too old and deaf to hear and you too young to understand. If you were older or he younger, I couldn’t tell it, this story so dangerous that tomorrow, I must forget it entirely and make up another.
Nicole Sanders was beautiful. One night after work, she stopped off at a bar downtown, which is where she met the beast. “Hi,” the beast said, in a gentle voice. “Can I buy you a drink?”