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About the Author Christina Henry is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and enjoys running long distances, reading anything she can get her hands on and watching movies with subtitles in her spare time. Average Review. Write a Review.
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Nick Martini also Ruthless and brilliant, Vishous, son of the Bloodletter, possesses a destructive curse A mesmerizing mystery. Not only does Ryan provide readers with a tightly wound, suspenseful novel He had never been in a place this old. Desperate cobblings of boards, some no more than brush arbors. But standing here alone, nearly naked at the heart of the temple, he felt armored in the stone of generations. No bullet could strike him here. No arrow of fear. He wanted to remain in this place, so still and quiet amid the hills of guns. But a cold wind came whistling through the temple, lashing his back, and he remembered that fall was coming soon, for leaves and men.
Blood so bright upon the sawtooth ranges, and the screaming that never stopped.
Rory woke into the noon hour, his bedquilt kicked off, his body sweat-glazed despite the October bite. His lost foot throbbing, as if it were still attached to the bruised stump below his knee. He rose and quickly dressed. His bedroom window was fogged, the four panes glowing a faint gold.
Paintings, unframed, covered one wall. Beasts of the field, fowls of the air—their bodies flaming with color where the sun touched them. They reminded him what day it was: Sunday. He scrubbed his armpits and washed his face, slicked his hair back and dabbed the hollow of his neck with the sting of Granny-made cologne. He looked at his face in the mirror—it looked so old now, as if a whole decade had snuck under his skin in the night.
He was sitting on the porch, carving the mud from his boots, when Granny came out. She had a pie tin balanced in the crook of one arm. She sat primly in the beast of a car, straight-backed, as if she were riding atop a wagon.
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It was no stretch to imagine her riding shotgun on a Wells Fargo stagecoach, a short-barreled shotgun in her lap. She looked at him as he slid behind the wheel. In an hour they were down into tobacco country, square after square of mildly rolling fields passing on either side of them, the clay soil red as wounds among the trees. Giant rough-timbered curing barns floated atop the hills, like weathered arks, holding the brightleaf tobacco that would fill the white spears of cigarettes trucked all over the country.
Chesterfelds and Camels and Lucky Strikes. Pall Malls and Viceroys and Old Golds. The highway wound through Winston-Salem, where the twenty-one-floor Reynolds Building stood against the sky like a miniature Empire State. It was named after R. Reynolds, who rode into town aback a horse, reading the newspaper, and went on to invent the packaged cigarette, becoming the richest man in the state.
Granny sucked her teeth, wearing the sneer she always did when forced to come down off the mountain. They passed Greensboro and Burlington, assemblies of giant mills, their smokestacks black-belching day and night, while beneath them sprang neat little cities with streetcars and straight-strung telephone lines. They passed Durham, home of Duke Power, which electrified most of the state, and then on into Raleigh, passing along the oak-shadowed roads as they wound upward toward the state asylum at Dix Hill.
It was massive, a double-winged mountain of brownstone that overlooked the city, four stories high, the narrow windows stacked like medieval arrow slits. The center building looked like something the Greeks had built, four giant columns holding up a triangular cornice, with a glassed rotunda on top. They signed the paperwork and sat waiting.
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- Gilbert the grape.
When the nurse came to fetch them, Rory went in first. His mother came light-footed across the visiting room floor, hardly a whisper from the soles of her white canvas shoes. She was like that, airy almost, like a breath of wind. She could be in the same room with you and you might not even know it.
Her black hair was pulled behind her head, waist-long, shot through with long streaks of silver. Her skin ghost-white, as if she were made of light instead of meat. As if, squinting hard enough, you could see her bones. She nodded and took his hands. Her eyes shone so bright, seeing him, they ran holes in his heart. She said nothing. Never did. She was always a quiet girl, said Granny, living in a world her own. Touched, said some. Then came the night of the Gaston killing, and she never spoke again.
Rory had never heard her voice. He knew her smell, like coming rain, and the long V-shaped cords that made her neck. He knew the feel of her hands, so light and cool. There had been three of them, nightriders, each in a sack hood. The year was The place was condemned, destined to be flooded under when the waters rose.
She took back from them what she could. The boy they beat to death was named Connor Gaston.
He was a strange boy, people said. But smart. He liked birds, played the violin. His father ran the hosiery mill in town. Probably one herself, the town said. She refused to defend herself. Some said a hard blow to the head had struck her mute. Others said God. She seemed to have one foot in another world. She had passed partly through the veil. The Gastons wanted her gone, buried. The judge declared her a lunatic, committing her to the state. Her belly was showing when they trucked her off. Rory was born in the Dix Hill infirmary.