I stayed against the back wall, as far away as I could get. Not just to stay away from the Plague Lady but to be farther away from the weird old dolls that lined the shelves of her office. Real-looking hair sprouted from their crumbling heads and all their faces were painted with smiles. Kids in the old days must have loved nightmares or something.
Maybe she still was a pretty-head, making up irrational stories about the empty forest. The longer she stayed alone out here, the more Tally understood why the Rusties and their predecessors had believed in invisible beings, praying to placate spirits as they trashed the natural world around them.
I'd watched too many schoolmates graduate into mental institutions, into group homes and jails, and I knew that locking people up was paranormal - against normal, not beside it. Locks didn't cure; they strangled.
It's not always about writing more words or drinking more coffee. Sometimes getting to the end of a novel simply takes remembering that the world is more complicated than we know, and then sticking some of those complications into the story.
She looked at David closely, and the feeling was still there. She could see that his forehead was too high, that a small scar cut a white stroke through his eyebrow. And his smile was pretty crooked, really. But it was as if something had changed inside Tally's head, something that had turned his face pretty to her.
Without lesions making everyone agreeable, society was left roiling in a constant battle of words, images, and ideas. All around her Tally felt the city seething, all those unfettered minds bouncing their opinions off each other, like something ready to explode.
The guy walking past was wearing a shit five sizes too big (innovated by gangbangers to hide guns in their waistbands), shorts down below his knees (innovated by surfers to keep their thighs from getting sunburned), and oversized shoes (innovated by skaters to save their feet from injury).
Some mornings when I wake up, it takes a long time to remember who I am. Like, it takes a while for everything that's happened in last month to download into my brain. It's nice, not knowing. Even if it's just for five minutes.