Above the waist, Ma, June Michaelson, who’s lived in Jokertown since her wild card turned when she was fifteen, is a forty-year-old woman with curly, shoulder-length hair dyed auburn, a round face and wide smile. She wears nice button-up shirts in bright colors and dangly earrings. She’s the kind of person who asks if you’ve had enough to eat and if you’d like to come over for some coffee and a cinnamon roll.
Below the waist, she has a half dozen fat green tentacles instead of legs. She’s like a mermaid but part octopus instead of fish. She totally walks around on those things, too. They’re super strong and flexible. When she really wants to freak someone out, she’ll reach over the counter with one of her tentacles to hand the customer their bag.
She always wants to freak out the tourists.
–The Thing about Growing Up in Jokertown (A Tor.com Original) by Carrie Vaughn
There is a haven for those tired of this war. There is a haven, out of view, where dragons and people still keep peace. It will always be a haven, and we pray that those who need it will find it in time.
Tonglong was wearing the ceremonial white jade armor traditionally reserved for China’s rightful ruler, and holding a white jade sword of similar significance. He glowed like a beacon in the bright moonlight, and seemed to think that his outfit should make the Forbidden City forces bow at his feet. It did not.
‘How shall I put it, to a brain so much smaller and less clever than mine… The thing is, we are all, in a sense, supper. Walking, talking, breathing suppers, that’s what we are. Take you, for instance. YOU are about to be eaten by ME, so that makes you supper. That’s obvious. But even a murderous carnivore like myself will be a supper for worms one day. We’re all snatching precious moments from the peaceful jaws of time,’ said the Dragon cheerfully. ‘That’s why it’s so important,’ he continued, ‘for the supper to sing as beautifully as it can.’
Other items were so precious that the children clung to them even as they rowed. Fiona kept a pot of wormy garden dirt pressed between her knees. Millard had striped his face with a handful of bomb-pulverized brick dust, an odd gesture that seemed part mourning ritual. If what they kept and clung to seemed strange, part of me sympathized: it was all they had left of their home. Just because they knew it was lost didn’t mean they knew how to let it go.
-Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
‘One… two… three…’ Four hundred Viking voices screamed as one: ‘GO AWAY!’ and added for good measure the Viking War Cry. The Viking War Cry was designed to chill the blood of Viking enemies at the commencement of battle. It is a horrifying, electrifying shriek that begins by mimicking the furious yell of a swooping predator, which then turns into the victim’s scream of pure terror, and ends with a horribly realistic imitation of the death-gurgles as he chokes on his own blood. It is a scary noise at the best of times, but shouted altogether by four hundred barbarians at eight o’clock in the morning it was enough to make the mighty Thor himself drop his hammer and blub like a little baby.
Although this is the part of the story that the bards tend to focus on as the bit where Hiccup was particularly Heroic, I do not agree. It is a lot easier to be brave when you know you have no alternative. Hiccup knew in his heart of hearts that the Monster intended to kill them all anyway. So he didn’t have a lot to lose.
“How are you?” she asked. It was a question that would’ve required some college-level math and about an hour of discussion to answer. I felt a hundred conflicting things, the great bulk of which canceled out to equal cold and tired and not particularly interested in talking. So I said, “I’m fine, just trying to dry off,” and flapped the front of my soggy sweater to demonstrate.
–Hollow City: The Second Novel in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
The sun was high the next day when Long emerged from his camel-hair wrap. He checked the arrow shaft in his side and found that the area was incredibly sore but scabbing over. He was thirsty and began to seriously consider heading back to the outpost. After all, trying to cross a section of desert in two or three days without water could easily mean death. There were also the horse’s water needs to consider. He thought of the Supreme Rule of Three. A person can survive three weeks without food, three days without water, and three minutes without air. The question was, how far did he want to push his luck?