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Demi-monde- which is French for “half-world” and an old euphemism, according to Miss Redmayne who teaches humanities, for any sexually active woman who failed to conform to the strict patriarchal gender norms that permeated French society in the dark days before Tinder.

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I dashed into the kitchen before rational thought could kick in—which is likely for the best, since my rational thoughts all center on the principles of running and hiding.

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while I am not skilled in many things, I am a twentieth-degree black belt in running away.

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I missed the days when I would silently judge seemingly crazy people in a park, instead of being one of them.

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We tend to respect people who can kick our asses.

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He began walking toward us, a simple endeavor, and yet it made me feel like I had swallowed a brick.

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And I mean “old” not in the way of denture cream and dinner at four. “Old” in the way of mountains.

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It’s curious that children can either be expert liars or utterly incapable of hiding their emotions, and the classification changes from minute to minute.

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Her voice was high and squeaky, peppered with levels of enthusiasm attainable only by children and drug addicts

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You will eventually discover that under the movie stereotypes, imposed mystique, and overall inflated expectations, each and every one of us is at least a touch more boring than our images would indicate. And that is not a bad thing.

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Real physical perfection isn't something a guy like me gets to see up close and personal very often, and it's something to marvel at - then run away from, before it hypnotizes you like a snake staring into the eyes of something small, furry, and edible.

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Imagine a world where speaking or writing words can literally or directly make things happen, where getting one of those words wrong can wreak unbelievable havoc, but where the right spell you can summon immensely powerful agencies to work your will. Imagine further that this world is administered: there is an extensive division of labour, among the magicians themselves and between the magicians and those who coordinate their activity. It's bureaucratic, and also (therefore) chaotic, and it's full of people at desks muttering curses and writing invocations, all beavering away at a small part of the big picture. The coordinators, because they don't understand what's going on, are easy prey for smooth-talking preachers of bizarre cults that demand arbitrary sacrifices and vanish with large amounts of money. Welcome to the IT department.

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Didn’t they know that the only unhackable computer is one that’s running a secure operating system, welded inside a steel safe, buried under a ton of concrete at the bottom of a coal mine guarded by the SAS and a couple of armoured divisions, and switched off? What did they think they were doing?

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I’m lurking in the shubbery behind an industrial unit, armed with a clipboard, a pager, and a pair of bulbous night-vision goggles that drench the scenery in ghastly emeralt tones. The bloody thing make me look like a train-spotter with a gas-mask fetish, and wearing them is giving me a headache

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Because, you see, everything you know about the way this universe works is correct—except for the little problem that this isn’t the only universe we have to worry about. Information can leak between one universe and another. And in a vanishingly small number of the other universes there are things that listen, and talk back—see Al-Hazred, Nietzsche, Lovecraft, Poe, et cetera. The many-angled ones, as they say, live at the bottom of the Mandelbrot set, except when a suitable incantation in the platonic realm of mathematics—computerised or otherwise—draws them forth. (And you thought running that fractal screen-saver was good for your computer?)

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We remain convinced that this is the best defence posture to adopt in order to minimize casualties when the Great Old Ones return from beyond the stars to eat our brains

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So we’re the monster police, too,” I said to Tom. “Correct,” he replied. “The only real question is, who are the monsters?

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That thing looks like H. P. Lovecraft’s panic attack.

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You're feeling cognitive dissonance, Jamie. Two contradictory-yet-entirely-valid-within-their-context thoughts about the same subject. And humans hate that shit. We hate it so much. The worst answer for us for anything is, "It depends."

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My brain said. Just walk away. [...] But even as my brain was saying that, my body was turning back, becaus like puppies we are enculturated to turn when our name is called.

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