As they continued, the ground began to slope downward. They reached the river when the last light of the sun winked out in the west. Enrin hollowed a cave in the deep snow on one bank and she and Laska sat together, facing the river.
The gurgle of many waters boiled up from jagged breaks in the ice. By the light of the full moon, they observed the waterfall, which had frozen like a pipe-organ, each tower rising in translucent white over a core of turquoise. The water that broke through the ice at the foot of the cataract was dark and sluggish.
It seemed to Enrin that the river had been trapped and crippled, but bled through the skin of the winter, reaching for help. Strangely, she found tears prickle her eyes. When she glanced at Laska, ashamed to let him see her tears, she saw that he bore the same stricken expression.
He blinked quickly and swallowed hard. “Something’s wrong,” he said, his voice husky. “I can hear it.”
“What do you hear?” Enrin asked quietly.
“Loneliness. Heartbreak. Darkness. Pain. Longing for freedom. These aren’t the right words… It’s more like—oh, like Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, every string weeping its heart out. It reminds me of memories, things I can’t fully recall, things that hurt more than I can explain.”
Beyond the Void, Chapter 6
The ice had been roughened by debris or by slush refrozen into a sandpaper surface, so the travelers picked their way cautiously across the uneven ground. At a break in the trees, an area recently thawed by the gentle warmth of the sun had refrozen into a glassy surface, and one of the naiads slipped and thudded unceremoniously on the ice.
Laska’s lips twitched, and merriment danced in his eyes.
“Why the smirk?” Enrin asked.
Laska raised his eyebrows and murmured, “Naiads can lose their footing?”
“Of course we can.” Esheya answered, coming behind Enrin and Laska. The naiad commander cast Laska an inquisitive glance. “Why should that surprise you?”
Laska observed the other naiad warrior struggling to his feet, surrounded by the good-natured laughter of his companions. The young guitarist shrugged. “Naiads give the impression of being incapable of anything less than great dignity and poise.”
Esheya paused, studying Laska, and at last said gravely, “I shall take that as a compliment.”
When the commander moved on, Laska turned to Enrin. “Did I offend him?”
Enrin grinned. “Not a bit. You couldn’t see it, but I could. His mouth twitched. I think he might have been on the verge of a smile.”
“Esheya, smiling? We shall have to keep an eye on him. If he starts to laugh, I will want to check his vitals immediately.”
Beyond the Void (Part 2, Chapter 1)
“Our quarry’s name is Joseph Boeing…”
“Boeing? Like the airplane?”
“Don’t interrupt the nice man, Peter. It’s rude. Go ahead, Chase. Your first sentence was most inspiring. I especially like the use of the word ‘quarry.’ Very literate.”
“Is this a joke to you, Mr. Crew?”
“Does it look like I’m laughing?”
Truthfully, I hadn’t had this much fun in years.
Man Without a Shadow (Episode 3)
The energy pulse from his suit travels through me harmlessly, then blasts through the air. The force reminds me of the time Lee set off fireworks in the yard and one made it just above our house’s rooftop before exploding. The very pressure of sound had knocked me flat and left me near deaf for a day. Mom gave Lee a good whooping for that. That was one time I was sorry she whooped Lee; I wanted him to do it again.
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