Septimus shrugged and said nothing, the ways of Camp Heap rubbing off on him. He was learning from his brothers that you didn’t have to explain yourself if you didn’t want to—and that sometimes, with a witch, it was better not to.
“Can I go to bed?” I asked. Mom nodded. Dad didn’t say a word. After I exhaled the biggest breath in my life, I slid out of my chair and padded down the hall. Like a robot, I brushed my teeth, changed into my pajamas, and made for my bedroom. “No stories tonight,” I called down the hall to Mom. “I’m tired.” I didn’t know what they thought. I felt bad for them. I loved my parents to pieces, but all the questions they’d failed to answer had begun to add up. They should’ve known better.
They’d done everything possible to make me into a thinker, a hard worker, a doubter of universal truths. And finally it had turned against them.
–Darkness Between the Stars (Eaters of the Light Book 1) by J Edward Neill
Mr. Lewis from the barbershop next door stands out front, his arms folded over his big belly. He sets his narrowed eyes on Daddy. Daddy sighs. “Here we go.” We hop out. Mr. Lewis gives some of the best haircuts in Garden Heights—Sekani’s high-top fade proves it—but Mr. Lewis himself wears an untidy Afro. His stomach blocks his view of his feet, and since his wife passed nobody tells him that his pants are too short and his socks don’t always match. Today one is striped and the other is argyle.
Morningdale. There were other things at that time. That awful television series, for instance. All these things contributed, contributed to the turning of the tide. But I suppose when it comes down to it, the central flaw was this. Our little movement, we were always too fragile, always too dependent on the whims of our supporters. So long as the climate was in our favour, so long as a corporation or a politician could see a benefit in supporting us, then we were able to keep afloat. But it had always been a struggle, and after Morningdale, after the climate changed, we had no chance. The world didn’t want to be reminded how the donation programme really worked. They didn’t want to think about you students, or about the conditions you were brought up in. In other words, my dears, they wanted you back in the shadows. Back in the shadows where you’d been before the likes of Marie-Claude and myself ever came along. And all those influential people who’d once been so keen to help us, well of course, they all vanished.
“All I can do is decide if I trust Marcus or not. And while he has done cruel, evil things, our society is not divided into “good” and “bad.” Cruelty does not make a person dishonest, the same way bravery does not make a person kind. Marcus is not good or bad, but both. Well, he is probably more bad than good. But that doesn’t mean he’s lying.”
“People, I have discovered, are layers and layers of secrets. You believe you know them, that you understand them, but their motives are always hidden from you, buried in their own hearts. You will never know them, butsometimes you decide to trust them.“