There’s an abiding myth that vampires are afraid of garlic. This, of course, is a lie. The garlic myth was triggered hundreds of years ago, when a nameless vampire joked about not attacking some woman because she smelled of garlic. I mean, how could anyone be terrified of a culinary herb? It’s true that garlic makes vampires sick. But in that respect it’s no different from bread or bacon or Brussels sprouts. A vampire’s stomach isn’t capable of digesting normal food; one slice of watermelon could put half a dozen vampires in bed for a week.
Jenna slumped down onto the ice and put her head in her hands. “I can’t believe we did that,” she said. She looked at Septimus, a horrified expression in her eyes. “Sep, we’ve just killed someone.”
“Yes,” said Septimus simply.
“But that’s awful,” said Jenna. “I…I never thought I would…”
Septimus looked at Jenna, his green eyes serious. “It’s a luxury, Jen,” he said.
“What do you mean?”
Septimus stared at the scraped and bloody snow at his feet. It took him some moments to reply. “I mean…” he began slowly. “I mean that if you go through life and never face a situation where, in order for you to survive, someone else has to die, then you’re lucky. That’s what I mean.”
“That’s terrible, Sep.”
Septimus shrugged. “Sometimes that is how it is. I learned that in the Young Army. It’s either the chief cadet in the wolverine pit, or you.”
When she’d been a fledgling reporter with dreams of conducting hard-hitting , insightful interviews with heads of state, Arlys had imagined herself in life-and-death situations, and how her courageous and intrepid on-the-spot reporting would impact the nation. Now, as she faced a drunk, potentially crazy colleague with a gun, her mind went blank. Panic sweat rolled greasily down her spine.
“You can,” Sookie said. “You can do anything if you have to. And let me tell you something, Hyun Jin: it’s easy. It’s easy because the more you do it, the more you know it’s not the real you. The real you flies away, and you can’t feel anything anymore.”
In my dream, I was there when they took it. They burned houses and fields. They caught women and children and tied them up like cattle; they cut men down where they stood. They took apart the careful work of more than a hundred years in so little time.
Destruction is easy. Creation is so much harder.
Nowhere wasn’t much, but it was the first place I felt free. It was imperfect, but it was as if there was a piece of me waiting there, ready to join the whole, that I hadn’t even known about. I suppose that is why I dream it still.
–The Book of Flora (The Road to Nowhere 3) by Meg Elison
Jenna and Beetle caught Septimus’s good mood. The gurgling of the stream broke the oppressive silence of the forest, and the yellow glow of the lantern illuminated the frosty snow before them. The combination of snow and lanterns made all three feel happy. For Jenna and Septimus, it reminded them of the time they had spent the Big Freeze together at Aunt Zelda’s—a time they both looked back on with happiness. For Beetle, it recalled Snow Days when he didn’t have to go to school—days full of possibilities when he would wake up to find that snow had completely covered the windows and his mother had lit the lantern and was cooking bacon and eggs over the fire.
He yearned for escape with a desire that was near to insanity; awake and asleep it was his obsession; and he thought his heart had stopped when Squad-Leader Aras Dilley muttered to him, as Doremus was scrubbing a lavatory floor, “Say! Listen, Mr. Jessup! Mis’ Pike is fixin’ it up and I’m going to help you escape jus’ soon as things is right!”