“If she had spent her hours knitting a lover instead of coats for Anna’s son, the man who knelt before her would have sprung from her needles, even down to the ghostly flecks of silver in his hair. She had not known before that she wanted all these things, that she preferred dark hair and a slightly cruel expression, that she wished for tallness, or that a man kneeling might thrill her. A whole young life’s worth of slowly collected predilections coalesced in a few moments within her, and Koschei Bessmertny, his lashes full of snow, became perfect.”
As you swallow the cow’s tongue, think for a moment about how strange and holy that is, to devour the tongue of another. To steal from it all its power to speak, to low at the moon, to call to its calf. To be worthy of such food you must guard your own words carefully, speaking only the wise and clever ones, lest your tongue end up likewise, on the plate of a rich man. Of course, rich men have been made obsolete by the Party, but if you learn a second thing from me tonight, let it be this: The goblins of the city may hold committees to divide a single potato, but the strong and the cruel still sit on the hill, and drink vodka, and wear black furs, and slurp borscht by the pail, like blood. Children may wear through their socks marching in righteous parades, but Papa never misses his wine with supper. Therefore, it is better to be strong and cruel than fair. At least, one eats better that way. And morality is more dependent on the state of one’s stomach than of one’s nation.
I look, have always looked, at the Doctor and seen not fathers, husbands, brothers, men moving and shaking, but myself, the brainy post-traumatic girl moving so bright and fast through the lives of others, appearing and disappearing like magic as I moved through three countries and five states in the space of a few years, writing, re-writing stories until they came out right, offering to take people with me, over and over, until someone said yes, talking constantly so that no one knew how afraid I could be, how lonely I was. Apologizing, always apologizing. I always looked at him and saw me, looked at the companions and saw my mates in life.
Catherine M. Valente, Chicks Dig Time Lords; “Regeneration X”
will be cruel to you, Marya Morevna. It will stop your breath, how cruel I can
be. But you understand, don’t you? You are clever enough. I am a demanding
creature. I am selfish and cruel and extremely unreasonable. But I am your
servant. When you starve I will feed you; when you are sick I will tend you. I
crawl at your feet; for before your love, your kisses, I am debased. For you
alone I will be weak