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Preview — The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher
they lived together for twenty or thirty years, until he died. Every time I went over there, she was snipping at him—snip, snip, snip, like her tongue was pruning shears and she was slicing off bits for fun. He never said anything, just sat there and read the paper and took it.
It looked like a monument to infanticide, and also to the astonishing holding capacity of clear plastic bins.
I made faces like the faces on the rocks, and I twisted myself about like the twisted ones, and I lay down flat on the ground like the dead ones.
It didn’t exactly have a rhythm, but it had an intrusive quality to it. Like when you stand on the edge of a high place and your brain whispers to you about jumping.
I started to laugh. It wasn’t that it was funny. It was just that if I laughed, it wasn’t serious. I’ve heard that people who get shot start laughing sometimes, that they’ll tell you they’re fine even when they’re holding their guts in with their hands.
One’s own idiocy is often a cheering thought.
“I’m sure it will,” he said, and we both knew he was lying, and we both knew that I knew. But families run on optimistic lies sometimes,
I did not move my head. I looked over to the window, where Bongo was staring. There was a white face in the window.
I went to the doll room. It smelled of my grandmother’s malice,
It was all so still and sad and silent, and the sky was heavy and grey, like a wicked voorish dome in Deep Dendo.
I felt like I was flipping through a stack of papers that said All work and no play… over and over again, but I hadn’t yet turned around to see Jack Nicholson standing there grinning at me.
“You have trespassed into deep places, and the only way out is deeper still.”
And I couldn’t panic, because I had to take care of him, even if the flesh under discussion was trying to crawl off my body in sheer disgust.