By now it was too late to call St. Jude. He chose an out-of-the-way patch of airport carpeting and lay it down to sleep. He didn’t understand what had happened to him. He felt like a piece of paper that had once had coherent writing on it but had been through the wash. He felt roughened, bleached and worn out along the fold lines. He semi-dreamed of disembodied eyes and isolated mouths in ski masks. He’d lost track of what he wanted, and since who a person was was what a person wanted, you could say that he’d lost track of himself.
Oh, what had she done?"He'd startled her; that was the problem. It was all his fault he was lying on the ground, looking rather cherub like, his blond hair curling about his ears, his bright blue eyes closed now, his masculine lips parted slightly as he slept the sleep of the dead.She studied his masculine lips. And thought just how much havoc she could wreak if she kissed him. Served him right for startling her so.Without analyzing whether she should do it, and just because she could, she pressed her mouth against his and gently kissed his lips, meaning only to give a quick peck and that was it.... His lips curved up under hers and for a second, she thought he was awake, smiling at her kissing him....Her thoughts reverted to the kiss and immediately the human faery tale Sleeping Beauty and the prince giving the princess a kiss to wake her sprang to mind. Why ever did humans make up such nonsense anyway?
Very well. He'd lighten up. As a matter of fact, he felt as light as the bubbly froth that flew from the lips of the waves. Whatever else his long, unprecedented life might have been, it had been fun. Fun! If others should find that appraisal shallow, frivolous, so be it. To him, it seemed now to largely have been some form of play. And he vowed that in the future he would strive to keep that sense of play more in mind, for he'd grown convinced that play--more than piety, more than charity or vigilance--was what allowed human beings to transcend evil.
There was a wicked ole witch once called Black Aliss. She was an unholy terror. There's never been one worse or more powerful. Until now. Because I could spit in her eye and steal her teeth, see. Because she didn't know Right from Wrong, so she got all twisted up, and that was the end of her."The trouble is, you see, that if you do know Right from Wrong, you can't choose Wrong. You just can't do it and live. So.. if I was a bad witch I could make Mister Salzella's muscles turn against his bones and break them where he stood... if I was bad. I could do things inside his head, change the shape he thinks he is, and he'd be down on what had been his knees and begging to be turned into a frog... if I was bad. I could leave him with a mind like a scrambled egg, listening to colors and hearing smells...if I was bad. Oh yes." There was another sigh, deeper and more heartfelt."But I can't do none of that stuff. That wouldn't be Right."She gave a deprecating little chuckle. And if Nanny Ogg had been listening, she would have resolved as follows: that no maddened cackle from Black Aliss of infamous memory, no evil little giggle from some crazed Vampyre whose morals were worse than his spelling, no side-splitting guffaw from the most inventive torturer, was quite so unnerving as a happy little chuckle from a Granny Weatherwax about to do what's best.
He'd never asked for an exciting life. What he really liked, what he sought on every occasion, was boredom. The trouble was that boredom tended to explode in your face. Just when he thought he'd found it he'd be suddenly involved in what he supposed other people - thoughtless, feckless people - would call an adventure. And he'd be forced to visit many strange lands and meet exotic and colourful people, although not for very long because usually he'd be running. He'd seen the creation of the universe, although not from a good seat, and had visited Hell and the afterlife. He'd been captured, imprisoned, rescued, lost and marooned. Sometimes it had all happened on the same day.
[My grandfather] returned to what he called ‘studying.’ He sat looking down at his lap, his left hand idle on the chair arm, his right scratching his head, his white hair gleaming in the lamplight. I knew that when he was studying he was thinking, but I did not know what about. Now I have aged into knowledge of what he thought about. He thought of his strength and endurance when he was young, his merriment and joy, and how his life’s burdens had then grown upon him. He thought of that arc of country that centered upon Port William as he first had known it in the years just after the Civil War, and as it had changed, and as it had become; and how all that time, which would have seemed almost forever when he was a boy, now seemed hardly anytime at all. He thought of the people he remembered, now dead, and of those who had come and gone before his knowledge, and of those who would come after, and of his own place in that long procession.
There seemed no answer. He wasn't resigned to anything, he hadn't accepted or adjusted to the life he'd been forced into. Yet here he was, eight months after the plague's last victim, nine since he's spoken to another human being, ten since Virginia had died. Here he was with no future and a virtually hopeless present. Still plodding on.Instinct? Or was he just stupid? Too unimaginative to destroy himself? Why hadn't he done it in the beginning when he was in the very depths? What had impelled him to enclose the house, install a freezer, a generator, an electric stove, a water tank, build a hothouse, a workbench, burn down the houses on each side of his, collect records and books and mountains of canned supplies, even - it was fantastic when you thought about it - even put a fancy mural on the wall?Was the life force something more than words, a tangible, mind-controlling potency? Was nature somehow, in him, maintaining its spark against its own encroachments?He closed his eyes. Why think, why reason? There was no answer. His continuance was an accident and an attendant bovinity. He was just too dumb to end it all, and that was about the size of it.
You knew? How the hell did you know?" he demanded,wondering which bastard in his family had ratted his assout."It wasn't too hard to figure out, Trevor," she murmured, looking totally enthralled with what she was doing."What the hell does that mean?" He'd been careful, very careful. He'd neverread anything in front of her, neverwrote anything more than his name or a word or two in her presence. There wasno way she could have found out withoutone of his interfering relatives clueing her in."Who the hell told you?" Zoe rolled her eyes even as she leaned over to press a quick kiss on his lips, which made him slightly happy, but not enough to forget that he needed to kill one of his relatives."You never read anything around me. Youthink you tricked me into reading for you. Then there was the time we ran out of condoms and you flipped out because you thought there was supposed to be 42 condoms in the box of 24.""Would it have killed them to put a few extra condoms in the box so that you could have seen to my needs?" he asked, remembering that damn night and trying not to wince. Okay, so maybe he gave himself away...just a little.
He had a little single-story house, three bedrooms, a full bathroom and a half bathroom, a combined kitchen-living room-dining room with windows that faced west, a small brick porch where there was a wooden bench worn by the wind that came down from the mountains and the sea, the wind from the north, the wind through the gaps, the wind that smelled like smoke and came from the south. He had books he'd kept for more than twenty-five years. Not many. All of them old. He had books he'd bought in the last ten years, books he didn't mind lending, books that could've been lost or stolen for all he cared. He had books that he sometimes received neatly packaged and with unfamiliar return addresses, books he didn't even open anymore. He had a yard perfect for growing grass and planting flowers, but he didn't know what flowers would do best there--flowers, as opposed to cacti or succulents. There would be time (so he thought) for gardening. He had a wooden gate that needed a coat of paint. He had a monthly salary.
While he was waiting, leaning on the counter at a coffee place, he remembered the dream he'd had the night before about Antonio Jones, who had been dead for several years now. As before, he asked himself what Jones could have died of, and the one answer that occurred to him was old age. One day, walking down some street in Brooklyn, Antonio Jones had felt tired, sat down on the sidewalk, and a second later stopped existing.
The phone rang. It was a familiar voice.It was Alan Greenspan. Paul O'Neill had tried to stay in touch with people who had served under Gerald Ford, and he'd been reasonably conscientious about it. Alan Greenspan was the exception. In his case, the effort was constant and purposeful. When Greenspan was the chairman of Ford's Council of Economic Advisers, and O'Neill was number two at OMB, they had become a kind of team. Never social so much. They never talked about families or outside interests. It was all about ideas: Medicare financing or block grants - a concept that O'Neill basically invented to balance federal power and local autonomy - or what was really happening in the economy. It became clear that they thought well together. President Ford used to have them talk about various issues while he listened. After a while, each knew how the other's mind worked, the way married couples do.In the past fifteen years, they'd made a point of meeting every few months. It could be in New York, or Washington, or Pittsburgh. They talked about everything, just as always. Greenspan, O'Neill told a friend, "doesn't have many people who don't want something from him, who will talk straight to him. So that's what we do together - straight talk."O'Neill felt some straight talk coming in."Paul, I'll be blunt. We really need you down here," Greenspan said. "There is a real chance to make lasting changes. We could be a team at the key moment, to do the things we've always talked about."The jocular tone was gone. This was a serious discussion. They digressed into some things they'd "always talked about," especially reforming Medicare and Social Security. For Paul and Alan, the possibility of such bold reinventions bordered on fantasy, but fantasy made real."We have an extraordinary opportunity," Alan said. Paul noticed that he seemed oddly anxious. "Paul, your presence will be an enormous asset in the creation of sensible policy."Sensible policy. This was akin to prayer from Greenspan. O'Neill, not expecting such conviction from his old friend, said little. After a while, he just thanked Alan. He said he always respected his counsel. He said he was thinking hard about it, and he'd call as soon as he decided what to do.The receiver returned to its cradle. He thought about Greenspan. They were young men together in the capital. Alan stayed, became the most noteworthy Federal Reserve Bank chairman in modern history and, arguably the most powerful public official of the past two decades. O'Neill left, led a corporate army, made a fortune, and learned lessons - about how to think and act, about the importance of outcomes - that you can't ever learn in a government.But, he supposed, he'd missed some things. There were always trade-offs. Talking to Alan reminded him of that. Alan and his wife, Andrea Mitchell, White House correspondent for NBC news, lived a fine life. They weren't wealthy like Paul and Nancy. But Alan led a life of highest purpose, a life guided by inquiry.Paul O'Neill picked up the telephone receiver, punched the keypad."It's me," he said, always his opening.He started going into the details of his trip to New York from Washington, but he's not much of a phone talker - Nancy knew that - and the small talk trailed off."I think I'm going to have to do this."She was quiet. "You know what I think," she said.She knew him too well, maybe. How bullheaded he can be, once he decides what's right. How he had loved these last few years as a sovereign, his own man. How badly he was suited to politics, as it was being played. And then there was that other problem: she'd almost always been right about what was best for him."Whatever, Paul. I'm behind you. If you don't do this, I guess you'll always regret it."But it was clearly about what he wanted, what he needed.Paul thanked her. Though somehow a thank-you didn't seem appropriate.And then he realized she was crying.
But in his heart, he wanted to be at Camp Half-Blood. The months he'd spent there with Piper and Leo had felt more satisfying, more right than all his years at Camp Jupiter. Besides, at Camp Half-Blood, there was at least a chance he might meet his father someday. The gods hardly ever stopped by Camp Jupiter to say hello.
I resolved to come right to the point. "Hello," I said as coldly as possible, "we've got to talk.""Yes, Bob," he said quietly, "what's on your mind?" I shut my eyes for a moment, letting the raging frustration well up inside, then stared angrily at the psychiatrist."Look, I've been religious about this recovery business. I go to AA meetings daily and to your sessions twice a week. I know it's good that I've stopped drinking. But every other aspect of my life feels the same as it did before. No, it's worse. I hate my life. I hate myself."Suddenly I felt a slight warmth in my face, blinked my eyes a bit, and then stared at him."Bob, I'm afraid our time's up," Smith said in a matter-of-fact style."Time's up?" I exclaimed. "I just got here.""No." He shook his head, glancing at his clock. "It's been fifty minutes. You don't remember anything?""I remember everything. I was just telling you that these sessions don't seem to be working for me."Smith paused to choose his words very carefully. "Do you know a very angry boy named 'Tommy'?""No," I said in bewilderment, "except for my cousin Tommy whom I haven't seen in twenty years...""No." He stopped me short. "This Tommy's not your cousin. I spent this last fifty minutes talking with another Tommy. He's full of anger. And he's inside of you.""You're kidding?""No, I'm not. Look. I want to take a little time to think over what happened today. And don't worry about this. I'll set up an emergency session with you tomorrow. We'll deal with it then."RobertThis is Robert speaking. Today I'm the only personality who is strongly visible inside and outside. My own term for such an MPD role is dominant personality. Fifteen years ago, I rarely appeared on the outside, though I had considerable influence on the inside; back then, I was what one might call a "recessive personality." My passage from "recessive" to "dominant" is a key part of our story; be patient, you'll learn lots more about me later on. Indeed, since you will meet all eleven personalities who once roamed about, it gets a bit complex in the first half of this book; but don't worry, you don't have to remember them all, and it gets sorted out in the last half of the book. You may be wondering -- if not "Robert," who, then, was the dominant MPD personality back in the 1980s and earlier? His name was "Bob," and his dominance amounted to a long reign, from the early 1960s to the early 1990s. Since "Robert B. Oxnam" was born in 1942, you can see that "Bob" was in command from early to middle adulthood.Although he was the dominant MPD personality for thirty years, Bob did not have a clue that he was afflicted by multiple personality disorder until 1990, the very last year of his dominance. That was the fateful moment when Bob first heard that he had an "angry boy named Tommy" inside of him. How, you might ask, can someone have MPD for half a lifetime without knowing it? And even if he didn't know it, didn't others around him spot it?To outsiders, this is one of the most perplexing aspects of MPD. Multiple personality is an extreme disorder, and yet it can go undetected for decades, by the patient, by family and close friends, even by trained therapists. Part of the explanation is the very nature of the disorder itself: MPD thrives on secrecy because the dissociative individual is repressing a terrible inner secret. The MPD individual becomes so skilled in hiding from himself that he becomes a specialist, often unknowingly, in hiding from others. Part of the explanation is rooted in outside observers: MPD often manifests itself in other behaviors, frequently addiction and emotional outbursts, which are wrongly seen as the "real problem."The fact of the matter is that Bob did not see himself as the dominant personality inside Robert B. Oxnam. Instead, he saw himself as a whole person. In his mind, Bob was merely a nickname for Bob Oxnam, Robert Oxnam, Dr. Robert B. Oxnam, PhD.
Images flashed through his mind. He saw Nico and his sister on a snowy cliff in Maine, Percy Jackson protecting them from a manticore. Percy's sword gleamed in the dark. He'd been the first demigod Nico had ever seen in action.Later, at Camp Half-Blood, Percy took Nico by the arm, promising to keep his sister Bianca safe. Nico believed him. Nico looked into his sea-green eyes and thought, How can he possibly fail? This is a real hero. He was Nico's favorite game, Mythomagic, brought to life.Jason saw the moment when Percy returned and told Nico that Bianca was dead. Nico had screamed and called him a liar. He'd felt betrayed, but still... when the skeleton warriors attacked, he couldn't let them harm Percy. Nico had called on the earth to swallow them up, and then he'd run away- terrified of his own powers, and his own emotions.
Billos ran. He tore down the shore, bounded up on the rock, and dove into the air. The warm water engulfed him. A boiling heat knocked the wind from his lungs. The shock alone might kill him. But it was pleasure that surged through his body, not pain. The sensations coursed through his bones in great unrelenting waves. Elyon. How he was certain, he did not know. But he knew. Elyon was in this lake with him. Billos opened his eyes. Gold light drifted by. He lost all sense of direction. The water pressed in on every inch of his body, as intense as any acid, but one that burned with pleasure instead of pain. He sank into the water, opened his mouth and laughed. He wanted more, much more. He wanted to suck the water in and drink it. Without thinking, he did just that. The liquid hit his lungs. Billos pulled up, panicked. He tried to hack the water from his lungs, but inhaled more instead. No pain. He carefully sucked more water and breathed it out slowly. Then again, deep and hard. Out with a soft whoosh. He was breathing the water! Billos shrieked with laughter. He swam into the lake, deeper and deeper. The power contained in this lake was far greater than anything he'd ever imagined. "I made this, Billos." Billos whipped his body around, searching for the words' source. "Elyon?" His voice was muffled, hardly a voice at all. "Do you like it?" "Yes!" Billos said. He might have spoken; he might have shouted--he didn't know. He only knew that his whole body screamed it. Billos looked around. "Elyon?" "Why do you doubt me, Billos?" In that single moment the full weight of Billos's foolishness crashed on him like a sledgehammer. "I see you, Billos." "I made you." "I love you." The words crashed over him, reaching into the deepest folds of his flesh, caressing each hidden synapse, flowing through every vein, as though he had been given a transfusion. "I choose you, Billos." Billos began to weep. The feeling was more intense than any pain he had ever felt. The current pulled at him, tugging him up through the colors. His body trembled with pleasure. He wanted to speak, to yell, to tell the whole world that he was the most fortunate person in the universe. That he was loved by Elyon. Elyon himself. "Never leave me, Billos." "Never! I will never leave you." The current pushed him through the water and then above the surface not ten meters from the shore. He stood on the sandy bottom. For a moment he had such clarity of mind that he was sure he could understand the very fabric of space if he put his mind to it. He was chosen. He was loved.
Adrian paled and went perfectly still as he stared at the newcomer, and in that moment, all my high hopes for him came crashing down. Earlier, I'd been certain that if Adrain could just stay away from his past and any traumatic events, he'd be able to find a purpose and steady himself. Well, it looked like his past found him, and if this didn't qualify as a traumatic event, I didn't know what did.Adrian's new research partner stepped through the door, and I knew the uneasy peace we'd just established in Palm Springs was about to shatter.Dimitri Belikov had arrived.
All they told me was that he was forty-two when he died. I just wanted...to find out more about what kind of person he was.I could tell you more, amanda thought to herself. A lot more. She'd suspected the truth since Morgan Tanner had called, and she'd made some calls to confirm her suspicions. Dawson, she'd learned, had been taking off life support at CarolinaEast Regional Medical Center late Monday night. He's been kept alive long after doctors knew he would never recover, because he was an organ donor.Dawson, she knews, had saved Alan's life-but in the end, he'd saved Jared's as well. And for that meant...everything. I gave you the best of me, he'd told her once, and with every beat of her son's heart, she knew he'd done exactly that. How about a quick hug," she said, "before we go inside?" Jared rolled his eyes, but he opened his arms anyway. "I love you, Mom," he mumbled, pulling her close. Amanda closed her eyes, feeling the steady rhythm in his chest. "I love you, too.
The plane banked, and he pressed his face against the cold window. The ocean tilted up to meet him, its dark surface studded with points of light that looked like constellations, fallen stars. The tourist sitting next to him asked him what they were. Nathan explained that the bright lights marked the boundaries of the ocean cemeteries. The lights that were fainter were memory buoys. They were the equivalent of tombstones on land: they marked the actual graves. While he was talking he noticed scratch-marks on the water, hundreds of white gashes, and suddenly the captain's voice, crackling over the intercom, interrupted him. The ships they could see on the right side of the aircraft were returning from a rehearsal for the service of remembrance that was held on the ocean every year. Towards the end of the week, in case they hadn't realised, a unique festival was due to take place in Moon Beach. It was known as the Day of the Dead......When he was young, it had been one of the days he most looked forward to. Yvonne would come and stay, and she'd always bring a fish with her, a huge fish freshly caught on the ocean, and she'd gut it on the kitchen table. Fish should be eaten, she'd said, because fish were the guardians of the soul, and she was so powerful in her belief that nobody dared to disagree. He remembered how the fish lay gaping on its bed of newspaper, the flesh dark-red and subtly ribbed where it was split in half, and Yvonne with her sleeves rolled back and her wrists dipped in blood that smelt of tin.It was a day that abounded in peculiar traditions. Pass any candy store in the city and there'd be marzipan skulls and sugar fish and little white chocolate bones for 5 cents each. Pass any bakery and you'd see cakes slathered in blue icing, cakes sprinkled with sea-salt.If you made a Day of the Dead cake at home you always hid a coin in it, and the person who found it was supposed to live forever. Once, when she was four, Georgia had swallowed the coin and almost choked. It was still one of her favourite stories about herself. In the afternoon, there'd be costume parties. You dressed up as Lazarus or Frankenstein, or you went as one of your dead relations. Or, if you couldn't think of anything else, you just wore something blue because that was the colour you went when you were buried at the bottom of the ocean. And everywhere there were bowls of candy and slices of special home-made Day of the Dead cake. Nobody's mother ever got it right. You always had to spit it out and shove it down the back of some chair. Later, when it grew dark, a fleet of ships would set sail for the ocean cemeteries, and the remembrance service would be held. Lying awake in his room, he'd imagine the boats rocking the the priest's voice pushed and pulled by the wind. And then, later still, after the boats had gone, the dead would rise from the ocean bed and walk on the water. They gathered the flowers that had been left as offerings, they blew the floating candles out. Smoke that smelt of churches poured from the wicks, drifted over the slowly heaving ocean, hid their feet. It was a night of strange occurrences. It was the night that everyone was Jesus......Thousands drove in for the celebrations. All Friday night the streets would be packed with people dressed head to toe in blue. Sometimes they painted their hands and faces too. Sometimes they dyed their hair. That was what you did in Moon Beach. Turned blue once a year. And then, sooner or later, you turned blue forever.
Whatever shred of hope he'd had for a future with her was gone. She still felt something for him, she'd admitted, but she would never trust him. She would always hate him for what he'd done.But he could do this for her. Even if he never saw her again, even if she abandoned her duties as King's Champion and stayed with the Fae in Wendlyn forever-as long as he knew that she was safe, that no one could hurt her... He'd sell his soul again and again for that.
But just now, he'd gotten on his knees and proposed marriage, like in a television commercial for a diamond ring. Except of course they had the roll of duct tape instead, which, when you came to think about it, was a far more practical item. Such a bad mistake it would be, to embark on marriage and adult life without a nice supply of duct tape.
I think he just loved being with the bears because they didn't make him feel bad. I get it too. When he was with the bears, they didn't care that he was kind of weird, or that he'd gotten into trouble for drinking too much and using drugs(which apparently he did a lot of). They didn't ask him a bunch of stupid questions about how he felt, or why he did what he did. They just let him be who he was.
He could find out if Tasev was guilty, then make him wish he'd never been born. A quick death for Tasev would be too easy.No way in hell would that happen. The man would suffer for a long time before he took his last breath. That part of Levi had changed and he knew it. He'd never relished death or suffering before. Then he'd lost everything that mattered.
He had heard about talking to plants in the early seventies, on Radio Four, and thought it was an excellent idea. Although talking is perhaps the wrong word for what Crowley did. What he did was put the fear of God into them. More precisely, the fear of Crowley. In addition to which, every couple of months Crowley would pick out a plant that was growing too slowly, or succumbing to leaf-wilt or browning, or just didn't look quite as good as the others, and he would carry it around to all the other plants. "Say goodbye to your friend," he'd say to them. "He just couldn't cut it. . . " Then he would leave the flat with the offending plant, and return an hour or so later with a large, empty flower pot, which he would leave somewhere conspicuously around the flat. The plants were the most luxurious, verdant, and beautiful in London. Also the most terrified.
Stubble or what?" Eyes still closed he chuckled. "I'm not shaving until our parents let us date again." He kissed my cheek. "What if it takes... a... while?" I asked struggling to talk. He'd made his way down to my neck. His tongue circled there slowly. "There are only six or seven weeks until August football practice starts right?" "Hm." His mouth moved up my neck toward my ear. Oh. "Will you be able to stuff your beard into your helmet?" I croaked. In answer he put his lips on my ear. I forgot the next joke I'd planned to make and lost myself in Adam.