I was always already a killer. There was no hazy time in my memory before I knew how to target a person’s heart or brain for clean execution. I did not develop a morbid fascination with death over time; I did not spend my childhood mutilating animals; I was not abused by a violent parent; I did not suffer social injustice until finally I broke down and turned to professional violence. From the moment I was conscious, I could kill and I did.
Let me put it one way—telling the Mysteries for you like beads, simply and straightforwardly—bicycle gears, pink foam, budget sheets, the itch of stars, presumption in a limousine, the dance of plasma, prizes, revisions, giggles, memories, Instruction, and necessary reticences. Have you understood yet?
Brenneker, the lyre spider, lived inside a lute, a medieval instrument resembling a pear-shaped guitar. The lute was an inexpensive copy of one made by an old master and had rose-wood walls and a spruce sounding board. Her home was sparsely furnished, a vast expanse of unfinished wood, a few sound pegs reaching from floor to ceiling like Greek columns, and in one corner, near the small F-shape sound holes, the fantasy of iron-silk thread that was Brenneker’s web.
Come back. You hear the call as the lander breaks up around you. You’re aware of the entirely arbitrary concepts of up and down before you realize what’s happening, and then they’re a lot less arbitrary. Down is not so much a direction as a function of possibility, of what might happen to you, of what is happening now. You finally get down as an idea.
Mr. Adam only started to paint late in life, after his retirement. It happened quite unexpectedly. For the first sixty-five years of his life he had never shown any predisposition towards painting, for which he had neither talent nor interest. The arts in general attracted him very little. The only exception might have been music, […]
Two-Ton Tony had a hard body, and though Karen knew the facts of life cold and backward by the time she got her chance to push him against a wall, she’d never had anything so sweet. Biceps like boulders, arms to swing on and hips to ride: a body like a playground. She’d held on to him and never quite believed her luck that he let her.
“History should not be ancestor worship,” Sarey Rose told them as she brought in the last of the time-viewer components and began to calculate how to form the microgates big enough for past light. Her hair was bound up for work. Whether or not she approved of the target, she was working.
Very late at night, when the buzz of drill dozers has died out, I can hear her breathing. I know that sounds crazy. I don’t care. Tonight, I have to concentrate extra hard because there’s a man lying beside me; he’s snoring with the contented abandon of the well-fucked and all that panting has heavied up the air in my quarters.
Me and Case met when someone slammed his head against my door, so hard I heard it with my earphones in and my Game Boy cranked up loud. Sad music from Mega Man 2 filled my head and then there was this thud like the world stopped spinning for a second. I turned the thing off and flipped it shut, felt its warmth between my hands. Slipped it under my pillow.
1. THERE ARE NO RULES. That’s what your uncle tells you, after he finds you stowing away in his transport ship, the Celeris, which you used to call the Celery when you were growing up, back when you only dreamed of getting off the crappy planet your parents brought you to as a baby.