Sunday, February 7

Here's one more, from a totally different and completely unrelated book of short stories by Neil Gaiman called Smoke and Mirrors. I posted this to my Facebook a year ago and have been meaning to repost it here. I really like the idea of collecting short passages of books. I also really like the idea of procrastinating, which is what I'm doing. This is the last page from a story called "One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock."

It was six months later. Richard had been bar mitzvahed and would be changing schools soon. He and J.B.C. MacBride were sitting on the grass outside the school in the early evening, reading books. Richard's parents were late picking him up from school.
Richard was reading The English Assassin. MacBride was engrossed in The Devil Rides Out.
Richard found himself squinting at the page. It wasn't properly dark yet, but he couldn't read anymore. Everything was turning into grays.
"Mac? What do you want to be when you grow up?"
The evening was warm, and the grass was dry and comfortable.
"I don't know. A writer, maybe. Like Michael Moorcock. Or T.H. White. How about you?"
Richard sat and thought. The sky was a violet-gray, and a ghost moon hung high in it, like a sliver of a dream. He pulled up a blade of grass and slowly shredded it between his fingers, bit by bit. He couldn't say "A writer" as well now. It would seem like he was copying. And he didn't want to be a writer. Not really. There were other things to be.
"When I grow up," he said, pensively, eventually, "I want to be a wolf."
"It'll never happen," said MacBride.
"Maybe not," said Richard. "We'll see."
The lights went on in the school windows, one by one, making the violet sky seem darker than it was before, and the summer evening was gentle and quiet. At that time of year, the day lasts forever, and the night never really comes.
"I'd like to be a wolf. Not all the time. Just sometimes. In the dark. I would run through the forests as a wolf at night," said Richard, mostly to himself. "I'd never hurt anyone. Not that kind of wolf. I'd just run and run forever in the moonlight, through the trees, and never get tired or out of breath, and never have to stop. That's what I want to be when I grow up ..."
He pulled up another long stalk of grass, expertly stripped the blades from it, and slowly began to chew the stem.
And the two children sat alone in the gray twilight, side by side, and waited for the future to start.

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