George Saunders

“Mrs. Ellis was a stately, regal woman, always surrounded by three gelatinous orbs floating about her person, each containing a likeness of one of her daughters. At times these orbs grew to extreme size, and would bear down upon her, and crush out her blood and other fluids as she wriggled beneath their terrible weight, refusing to cry out, as this would indicate displeasure, and at other times these orbs departed from her and she was greatly tormented, and must rush about trying to find them, and when she did, would weep in relief, at which time they would once again begin bearing down upon her; but the worst torment of all for Mrs. Ellis was when one of the orbs would establish itself before her eyes exactly life-sized and become completely translucent and she would thus be able to mark the most fine details of the clothing, facial expression, disposition, etc., of the daughter inside, who, in a heartfelt manner, would begin explaining some difficulty into which she had lately been thrust (especially in light of Mrs. Ellis’s sudden absence). Mrs. Ellis would show the most acute judgment and abundant love as she explained, in a sympathetic voice, how the afflicted child might best address the situation at hand—but alas (herein lay the torment) the child could not see or hear her in the least, and would work herself, before the eyes of Mrs. Ellis, into ever-increasing paroxysms of despair, as the poor woman began to dash about, trying to evade the orb, which would pursue her with what can only be described as a sadistic intelligence, anticipating her every move, thrusting itself continually before her eyes, which, as far as I could tell, were incapable, at such times, of closing. the reverend everly thomas”


George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
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Lincoln in the Bardo Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
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