Jackie Morse Kessler Quotes
“THEY WILL ALL BETRAY YOU, War said.
And they would. Whether it was her teachers or her friends or her family, they would all betray her. Maybe it would be couched in helpful terms, and maybe their faces would be brimming with sympathy. But in the end, they would all let her down.
They would all cut her down.
They would all slap labels on her and spoon-feed her appropriate words, wipe her mouth with their expectations. They
would wind her up and make her dance, and when they were done they'd put her away. They would keep doing it and doing it, until she was nothing more than a shell, a skin, something to slip on and slip off and tuck in at the corners.
They would ... unless she stopped them.”
“YOU DEMAND SALVATION EVEN AS YOU STEAL FROM THE COLLECTION PLATE.
YOU SEND FOOD TO THE REFUGEES, AND THEN YOU DON'T ALLOW THE DELIVERY TRUCKS THROUGH THE WARZONES. THE FOOD WILL SPOIL , THE SUPPLIES WILL BE SOLD BY THE VICTORS . THE CIVILIANS WILL STARVE AND SICKEN AND EVENTUALLY DIE.
IT IS THE WAY OF THINGS. THEY WILL ALL DIE, WHETHER FROM THE BRUTAL SAVAGERY THAT IS UNIQUE TO MAN OR FROM THE ABUNDANCE OF DISEASE OR FROM THE SCARCITY OF SUSTENANCE.”
“On the flat expanse of pancake ice, War stood by the Pale Rider’s side. Though their forms did not touch, their shadows intertwined, black on black, in a smoky caress.
“Knew you’d come,” Death said cheerfully.
She smiled, and that slow motion of her lips hinted at many things. “The White Rider divided, and the world on the brink of destruction. How could I stay away?”
“I could set my watch by you.”
“You don’t have a watch.” Her smile broadened into a grin. “An hourglass, maybe . . .”
“Please, not another joke about a scythe . . .”
She mimed zipping her mouth shut.
A pause, as they listened to the sounds of the boy healing and the man summoning doom.
“I like him,” War said.
Even though she hadn’t specified whether she meant the boy or the man, Death smiled and nodded. “Me too.”
“You like everyone.”
The two shared a quiet laugh, their voices mingling in perfect harmony.
A longer pause, and then War asked, “What of Famine?”
“What of her? She’s not mine. Not yet, anyway. She will be soon enough.”
The Red Rider slid him a look. “That’s cold, even for you.”
“Eh, just practical.” A shrug. “Everyone comes to me eventually. It’s the journey that makes it interesting.”
“Such a people person!”
He flashed her a grin. “My best quality.”
“Oh,” said War, sliding her gloved hand into his pale one, “I can think of others that are better.”
“In a rush, the world opened its mouth to her—and it was screaming.
Everywhere—the air around her, the ground beneath her, the stars above—rippled with the soul-wrenching cries of
hunger: the trees and bushes and plants all twisted and bent, their branches and stems clawing the sky in skeletal panic; the
animals and insects, flying and crawling and burrowing, each frantic in its own way, searching incessantly to end the gnawing
demand in its belly; the swarms of people, clotting the world, stuffing themselves only to beg for more, be it food or wealth or
attention—all of them, desperate, insatiable. So very hungry.
All of them, leeching on to her. Sucking her dry.”