What is time but a en ephemeral butterfly flitting through the dead garden of our wretched existence?
"Hold fast to me, my lord," she said. "I'm here."
He gripped her hand hard. The spasm passed. Everything else seemed to be fading from his sight, was drowning in darkness. Everything except her. She shone more clearly, became more real to him each passing moment.
"What did you give up to come to me, my lady?" he asked her. Their minds spoke. His voice was silenced forever.
"Nothing that matters, my lord," she answered.
Lifting his left hand with a great effort, he smoothed back the pale cloud of hair, touched her cheek, ran his fingers along the scar. He left a crimson mark, his own blood.
"Your soul. You are damned, my lady, as I am damned."
"My soul was never mine to lose, my lord. It was yours. Always yours."
He smiled, a true smile. And then he stiffened. A stifled cry of wrenching agony escaped his lips. The pain was unendurable.
"Not long now," Maigrey said softly.
The starfire light inside the crystal case shone brightly, pulsed stronger than his own torn and wounded heart.
"Don't leave me," he breathed.
"I won't," she promised.
She bent over him, put her arms around him. She lay her head on his breast.
The center cannot hold.
"You shure you've got all the papers sorted? I'd hate to reach Shuttle Emigration and stand there looking like a dick because you'd forgotten our exit visas."
"Don't do that Keenan. You'll give me a... a..."
"You can't have a heart attack. You haven't got a heart."
"I was going to say nano-circuit modular burnout, actually."
"Well, lo and behold - the Nightside's very own private dick... always trying to slip in where he isn't wanted."
"Lo and behold?" I said. "I can behold all you want, but if loing is required, someone's going to have to coach me. I've never been to clear on what loing actually involves... There ought to be an instructional booklet; Loing for Beginners, or A Bluffer's Guide to Loing."
"You start anything with me, John Taylor, and I'll summon security, see if I don't. And then there'll be trouble!"
"Will there be loing as well?" I said hopefully.
Susan smiled at me, giving Molly the Female Once-Over - a process by which one woman creates a detailed profile of another woman based upon about a million subtle details of clothing, jewlery, makeup, and body type, and then decides how much of a social threat she might be. Men have a parallel process, but it's binary: Does he have beer? If yes, will he share with me?
Anybody with an ounce of sense knows that fighting someone with a significant advantage in size, weight, and reach is difficult. If your opponent has you by fifty pounds, winning a fight against him is a dubious proposition, at best. If your opponent has you by eight thousand and fifty pounds, you've left the realm of combat and enrolled yourself in Roadkill 101. Or possibly in a Tom and Jerry cartoon. My body was already in motion, apparenty having decided that waiting on my brain to work things through was counterproductive to survival. It was thinking that the cat-and-mouse analogy was a pretty good one.
The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
"You know," said Arthur, "it's at times like this when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space, that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young." "Why, what did she tell you?" "I don't know, I didn't listen."