This is a story from the time before she was famous. In the early days, she was known as Leli, or Lelia, a tease-name that had stuck. On her first mission for the revolution, she sat cramped, fists clenched with tension, waiting in the tiny scabship Tinka, out of sight in a radar deadzone. The salvage ship Gathering Moss, which she was stalking, lay like a giant, rusting silver slug in the docking bay.
There are three things Zinhle decides, when she is old enough to understand. The first is that she will never, ever, give less than her best to anything she tries to do. The second is that she will not live in fear. The third, which is perhaps meaningless given the first two and yet comes to define her existence most powerfully, is this: She will be herself. No matter what.
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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.