By Tim Pratt

Darrin's lifestyles has been going downhill ever due to the fact that his female friend Bridget walked out on him with no note of rationalization six months in the past. quickly after wasting her, he misplaced his task, and his automobile, and at last his enthusiasm for all times. He can't think issues getting worse-- until eventually he sees Bridget back, for the 1st time on account that she walked out, simply moments earlier than she leaps to her demise from a bridge. In his quest to determine why Bridget took her personal lifestyles, he encounters a depressive (and probably immortal) cult chief; a guy with a automobile that could force out of this international and into others; a gorgeous psychotic with a chrome shotgun; and a bridge that, perhaps, ends up in heaven. Darrin's trip leads him right into a position referred to as the Briarpatch, that is both the crawlspace of the universe, or a sequence of formidable development initiatives deserted via God, or a tangle of other universes, reckoning on who you ask. someplace in that disorderly snarl of worlds, he hopes to discover Bridget back. Or not less than a cause to dwell with out her.

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Pale green licks of light pulsed and faded across it. Living lights. Their fires lobbed over, higher, higher, then died out in blackness. At times the whole sky was ringed in shooting points and puckers of light gathering and falling, pulsing, fading, rhythmical as breathing. All of a piece. As if the sky were a pat­ tern of nerves and our thought and memories traveled across it. As if the sky were one gigantic memory for us all. Or a dance hall. And all the world’s wandering souls were dancing there.

For she was the definite most-hard trial to anyone’s endurance, even when they started out with veils of wretched love upon their eyes. I was that girl who thought the black hem of her garment would help me rise. Veils of love which was only hate petrified by longing— that was me. I was like those bush Indians who stole the holy black hat of a Jesuit and swallowed little scraps of it to cure their fevers. But the hat itself carried smallpox and was kill­ ing them with belief. Veils of faith! I had this confidence in Leopolda.

King hardly noticed my weight. He pushed her lower. So I had no choice then. I jumped on his back and bit his ear. My teeth met and blood filled my mouth. He reeled backward, bucking me off, and I flew across the room, hit the refrigerator solidly, and got back on my feet. His hands were cocked in boxer’s fists. He was deciding who to hit first, I thought, me or Lipsha. I glanced around. I was alone. I stared back at King, scared for the first time. Then the fear left and I was mad, just mad, at Lipsha, at King, at Lynette, at June.

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