lighting blots

anonymous asked:

Can we get a cross aspect master post?

The dualspects have been completed! Here’s a list, along with the still in-progress Trispects and quadrispects!

Breath + Mind = Thought

Doom + Heart = Fate

Void + Light = Chance

Void + Life = Death

Hope + Heart = Dreams

Rage + Heart = Zeal (monochromerose)

Heart + Blood = Bond

Time + Space = All

Rage + Breath = Storm

Life + Time = Growth

Mind + Heart = Will

Hope + Void = Faith

Time + Heart = Love

Blood + Doom = Strife (thanks quarktrinity!)

Space + Heart = Core

Breath + Time = Sand

Time + Doom = Chains

Hope + Doom = Fear

Void + Heart = Drive

Time + Mind = Past

Blood + Space = Links

Breath + Light = Cloud

Light + Space = Star (megaderpypotato)

Breath + Space = Force

Space + Void = Hole (megaderpypotato)

Rage + Doom = End

Void + Mind = Hush

Life + Doom = Rot (megaderpypotato)

Breath + Hope = Flight (megaderpypotato)

Breath + Blood = Point

Rage + Mind = Angst

Rage + Blood = War

Hope + Life = Joy

Rage + Life = Pain

Void + Blood = Loss

Life + Breath = Peace

Life + Space = World

Light + Doom = Dark

Rage + Time = Cold

Heart + Life = Cheer

Hope + Time = Soon

Light + Blood = Chrome

Rage + Space = Art

Heart + Breath = Air

Heart + Light = Blithe (megaderpypotato)

Life + Blood = Root

Mind + Light = Truth (megaderpypotato)

Mind + Blood = Trust (megaderpypotato)

Mind + Hope = Creed (megaderpypotato)

Mind + Doom = Bane (monochromerose)

Void + Time = Warp

Void + Breath = Choke (megaderpypotato)

Void + Rage = Calm (megaderpypotato)

Doom + Breath = Rale

Doom + Void = Rift

Mind + Space = Search

Time + Blood = Plan

Life + Mind = Soul

Hope + Space = Forge

Light + Hope = Sun

Rage + Hope = Cult

Rage + Light = Burn (megaderpypotato)

Blood + Hope = Pact (anon)

Life + Light = Ra (monochromerose)

Doom + Space = Work (caelholdt)

Time + Light = Lore (anon)


Some Trispects too!

Life + Time + Mind = Birth

Void + Rage + Doom = Null

Heart + Hope + Life = Bliss

Breath + Time + Light = Tide

Time + Space + Heart = Need

Rage + Time + Breath = Hail

Rage + Mind + Void = Crux

Void + Rage + Doom = Threat (megaderpypotato)

Time + Space + Breath = Path

Hope + Rage + Heart = Flame

Void + Rage + Light = Nyx (monochromerose)

Doom + Mind + Rage = Poine (monochromerose)

Life + Rage + Time = Shirk

Life + Void + Doom = Dry

Light + Space + Void = Moon

Space + Time + Life = Bang

Time + Doom + Breath = Rack

Space + Doom + Rage = Pit

Time + Void + Mind = Mad

Breath + Doom + Rage = Scream

Breath + Rage + Mind = Pent

Blood + Time + Mind = Fade

Heart + Rage + Blood = Hate

Void + Time + Heart = Scorn

Heart + Blood + Hope = Care (asrielmememurr413)

Life + Hope + Light = Ray (asrielmemeurr413)

Time + Doom + Life = Wear (asrielmemeurr413)

Blood + Heart + Space = Wed

Void + Heart + Rage = Blank

Mind + Rage + Hope = Pun

Rage + Time + Heart = String

Light + Life + Rage = Spark

Space + Time + Mind = Have

Mind + Heart + Life = Ghost

Heart + Rage + Doom = Blind (possessed-keyboard)

Hope + Mind + Life = Myth (possessed-keyboard)

Light + Space + Hope = Wish

Rage + Heart + Time = Knell

Void + Blood + Mind = Grief

Mind + Blood + Doom = Court

Light + Mind + Blood = Eye

Life + Breath + Rage = Strength

Void + Blood + Heart = Numb (monochromerose… sorta)

Breath + Hope + Light = Rise


And the Quadrispects!

Breath + Light + Rage + Time = Fog (possessed-keyboard)

Rage + Life + Void + Blood = Woe (monochromerose)

Light + Breath + Rage + Void = Blot (monochromerose)

Void + Life + Doom + Space = Styx (megaderpypotato)

Void + Mind + Rage + Doom = Lethe (monochromerose)

Breath + Light + Time + Space = Rapt (megaderpypotato)

Blood + Life + Space + Doom = Mars

Mind + Light + Blood + Doom = Wyrd

Hope + Light + Void + Rage = Song

Hope + Void + Heart + Life = Drain

Blood + Void + Space + Mind = Flay

Void + Life + Space + Light = Dust

Light + Blood + Space + Doom = Couatl

Heart + Hope + Time + Breath = Pluck

Rage + Mind + Light + Time = Brain

Void + Blood + Space + Heart = Sex

Light + Void + Heart + Mind = Being

Blood + Mind + Doom + Rage = Tron

Blood + Space + Time + Void = Loom

Light + Breath + Space + Void = Sky

Mind + Heart + Breath + Blood = Self

Breath + Time + Blood + Doom = Free (megaderpypotato)

Void + Rage + Mind + Doom = Blues (megaderpypotato)

Breath + Light + Blood + Time = Rules

Breath + Void + Heart + Life = Drone

Void + Doom + Space + Rage = Yamm

Light + Time + Heart + Life = Care

Wizard Spells: From 4e to 5e

LEVEL 3

Call the Night Winds  

3rd Level Evocation

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 round

Howling winds spiral around you, blotting out light, chilling your foes, and heeding your every command.

This blast of swirling night wind surrounds you and creates a zone that lasts until the end of your turn or until you break concentration. 

This zone is heavily obscured to creatures other than You, and any creature but You that starts its turn in the zone takes 2d6 + Your Intelligence Modifier in Cold Damage and is Slowed until the end of its next turn.

To view the effects of the “Slowed” Condition, view the “Slow” Spell.


Cinderfall 

3rd Level Evocation

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 50 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

A thousand motes of fire momentarily linger in the air in front of You, before streaking towards a Single Foe.

You create a explosive burst of flame within the area. Each creature in the burst must make a DC 14 Dexterity Saving Throw or take 1d8 + Your Intelligence Modifier in Fire Damage.

Additionally, You choose one Target who is within the burst, that creature then takes 5 Points of Fire Damage and is stunned for 1 round of combat.


Cordon of Bones

3rd Level Necromancy

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 50 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 round

Bones tear from your enemies and spring up from the ground to form a jagged cordon.

You create a zone of necrotic energy that lasts until the end of your turn or until you break concentration. 

Creatures take Disadvantage to Attacks Rolls while in the zone, and any Creature that enters the zone takes 5 Points of Necrotic Damage.

The Damage Taken increases by 2 for each Creature reduced to 0 Hit Points by the Attack. 

A Creature can take this Damage only once per turn.

Maze of Mirrors        

3rd Level Illusion

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 50 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 round

You envelop your enemies in an illusory labyrinth of mirrors, which conceals the world around them.

You create an illusory labyrinth of mirrors, which envelops 5 Targets of your choosing.

The Target is immobilized and take Disadvantage on all Attack Rolls until the end of your next turn.

Additionally, if a creature trapped within the Maze attempts to shatter a mirror, the creature must make a DC 13 Wisdom Saving Throw or become Slowed until the end of your next turn.


Melting Pool   

3rd Level Evocation

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: 1 Minute

You create an extra-dimensional pool of acid beneath your enemies’ feet.

You create a burst of boiling acid within your Range. Any creature caught in the burst must make a DC 13 Dexterity Saving Throw or take 1d8 + Your Intelligence Modifier in Acid Damage.

Any creature who attempts to move into the Area or begins their turn within the area, must make a DC 13 Constitution Saving Throw or take 1d4 +  Your Intelligence Modifier in Acid Damage.


Pinioning Vortex               

3rd Level Evocation

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 Minute

A miniature tornado roars forth to batter your enemy and lift it into the air.

You choose a target of Medium or Smaller Size. A tornado roars to life beneath their feet. The Target must make a DC 15 Strength Saving Throw, taking 2d8 + Your Intelligence Modifier in Damage, or Half as much on a Successful Save.

Additionally, if the target fails their Saving Throw, you push the Target 10 feet (2 Squares) Vertically Upwards.

The Target remains aloft until the start of its next turn or until you break Concentration. 

While aloft, the Target is dazed and immobilized, and it grants a Combat Advantage to You and Your Allies. 

At the start of its next turn, it lands prone on the ground in the space it formerly occupied or in the nearest unoccupied space on the battlefield.

anonymous asked:

Please imagine, a time loop AU where Keith tries to keep everyone, especially Shiro alive to reach a ~happy ending~ but always seems to fall short until finally, this one time, Shiro retains his memories

listen I already have Kaworu and Shinji, and Homura and Madoka, please don’t hurt me like this,, 

Ok but at what point does Shiro know though?? Is he just going about his daily life at the garrison when suddenly he gets news about the Kerberos mission? And he’s so excited he just can’t wait to start training, but then he meets Keith’s gaze across the room and–he just looks so distraught and Shiro can’t understand why. But then his heart stops and he’s short of breath. 

Galra and Champion and dozens of other words buzz around in his head, sharp pinprick of blinding light that blots out his vision. The whirr and hiss of metallic joints as they attach. He’s there, but not, standing petrified on the spot in his newly pressed uniform while another him lies in rags and drenched with sweat, the cold operating table to his back. Chest heaving and eyes darting at every sound and flash. Does he have to go through all his trials already knowing with a sinking heart exactly what horrors await him?

Or is this a case of his flashbacks being memories of other Shiro’s and not his own? Does he see into their minds and hearts, know with cold certainty what they felt when they dropped dead? If Keith has outlived him this time, a thousand times, does it occur to him that his life might carry no meaning to someone like that? If he’s just disposable, someone who’s whole life will pass by in the blink of an eye–how could Keith ever love someone like that? 

In The Hands of Evil

~*~

Because Ashi deserves better than an abusive mother and an unfeeling idol of Aku.

Warning: Contains spoilers for the first two episodes of Samurai Jack, Season 5.

Read it on AO3 here

~*~

First, they were many. Now, they are one.

Ashi returns to the temple where she was born, with a stolen sword and a heart full of grief. She doesn’t quite get the welcome that she wants- but she might finally get the chance she deserves.

~*~

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almost (1/2)

(ao3)

for @setepenre-set: almost kiss. 


This is a story about almost .

al·most

ˈôlˌmōst/

adverb

  1. not quite; very nearly.

This is a story about almost moments, about almost times, about almost they aligned and met and became one, but fate kept them parted. Just near, but not quite. Just—a brush of fingertips, of shoulders, but never lips.

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vessel

a little something for tearsday tuesday, because my salt levels are through the roof


The pain and the sadness, the joy and the laughter, the blood and the tears. They all flow into him, push out what they deem unnecessary to make a home out his battered mind.

It hurts. It hurts so much.

But there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. His anchors were ripped away, and he is adrift in the current. Only he is left, alone and at the astrals’ mercy.

You must die so that the world can live, they do not say, but even thoughts have weight in this strange crystal world.

Titan, steadfast as stone, the shackles that lock him in place.

Ramuh, sharp as lightning, the swords that pierce him again and again.

Shiva, gentle as snow, the blessed numbness that keeps him going past his limits.

Leviathan, relentless as tides, the inexorable force that pulls him under.

Bahamut, unbending as iron, silent and merciless, both witness and executioner.

Ifrit is but a faint flicker at the edge of his perception, his constant fury a guiding light in an ever changing world.

His ancestors are both easier and so much harder to bear.

Some of them are gentle and kind, fade away as soon as they breathe their life and power into him. They sing songs of comforts that hum in his bones, cradle him in warmth and light for the brief time that is allotted to them. “Our child,” they whisper, “blood of our blood.”

Others are so filled with rage that they tear into him, seeking the rest that has been denied to them for so long. “You must do what we could not,” they scream, “Let us go. LET US GO.”

The twelve most powerful of the ancients Kings are the worst, their feelings overpowering as he is forced to walk through their memories, learning what they had learned and suffering with each of them in turn. Nothing human is left in the armors they so proudly bear, and it is only duty that keeps their spines straight at they look down on him

Sometimes, when he finds himself reaching to Eos’ soul for mercy (death), the merciless light will be blotted out for a second, turning into a star-filled sky for the briefest time, and he feels loved, even if he doesn’t understand why. The part of his mind that is still him only repeats a single word when it happens (nyxnyxnyxnyx) and still, he does not, cannot, understand; not anymore.

Noctis is long gone by this point. The boy who loved to fish. The boy who wished he had spent a little more time with his father. The boy whose friends and family meant the world to him. The boy who had finally found someone to love, and be loved by in return. Consumed by the light and made into a sword against the creeping darkness  

Only the King of Light breathes now, his soul living and living and living.

When he finally wakes from his ten-year slumber, it is hard to remember the people he left behind, their faces blurring with a thousand others that he had lovedfoughtprotectedkilled across lifetimes.

Noctis-that-is-not goes through the motions, meets the boy they left behind as they headed for Altissia, greets his friends, heads for Insomnia.

The campfire is what breaks him in the end, looking into the tear-filled eyes of his closest companions. There is so much he should remember, but doesn’t, and it may be worse than the pain of being reforged into a weapon. And so, he cries for the boy that is already dead, and for the people who think they got him back for a night.

Soon, soon, he whispers comfortingly to the many voices in his head.

Everything will end, where it all began.

preview: more royalty AU??

takes place in the A House Built AU, after a spark a flame a fire. MIGHT BE PART OF A LARGER FIC LATER? I don’t fucking know. i’m banging my head against the wall trying to write, headpats would be appreciated.

There are plenty of holidays and events in Derse that slip past your care. You have your own favorites to attend to, though enough of them are your own siblings’ birthdays that you’re well aware of your own favoritism. Some festivals are more duty than anything, and those come easily to you.

You have no intention to spare the time for the Dance of True Night, but that hardly stops Roxy from circumventing you and setting up an extensive evening under your nose, so thoroughly planning things out and preparing that by the time she brings it to your attention, the horse has already run away with the cart.

“Why?” You ask her, frowning at the royal decree she’s cheerfully dropped on top of your pile of work.

“I have a new dress I want to take out for a spin.” She taps her nails two-two-one-two against the wooden backing of the decree. “And you’ve been working non-stop since you got back from Prospit. People are starting to talk.”

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House Party

No one threw a party like Selina Kyle. That was the unspoken fact about Gotham’s underground. If Gatsby had a long-lost sister, Selina would be the one mourning over his maudlin, fool-in-love life at the funeral. Rumor had it the last one she threw, there had been a live cheetah roaming her mansion, but Oswald had a tendency to over-exaggerate.

“And…why are you inviting me?” Ivy brushed her fingers along the potted plants Penguin had set up on the low divider walls between tables. He had obviously thought them a lovely novelty, but the lilium longiflorum was poisonous to most mammals. She hoped Selina remembered to wash her hands. “You’re the one who regularly calls me a wet blanket, hm?”

“The wettest,” Selina smirked around the thin straw in her mouth. Her brows furrowed and her expression embittered.

“Not to your liking?”

“No, that sounded…much less sexual in my head,” she frowned, trying to readjust her body language. “Hey, cut the crap, ragweed!”

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A Fear of Intimacy, or, The Answer

I’m lying in a half lit room.

I am draped over his chest

and his hands are on my

back, my fingers curled

up into his hair trying

to unstitch

the fabric of his being,

our mouths sing a song where

breath itself is the only sound.

He holds the hem of my shirt

and I look at him and ask him

not to laugh.

He pulls the shirt off me,

and for the first time my body is

met

by a gaze that isn’t mine

or the mirror’s.

This is when I realise.

His green eyes stare into my soul,

and my gaze must stutter because

he asks me,

“What are you thinking about?”

I say, “Nothing.”

Of course I say nothing,

instead I lower my head to meet

his lips and we kiss -

he quickly forgets but I do not:

it is not a thought

that you can silence quickly,

the ones in which you realise a

truth you did not know

you had been seeking, and I had

been looking for this answer

for as long as I can remember;

I just didn’t know what it looked

like. We all but fuck

in the diffuse light of a grey

afternoon, blotted out

by heavy cream curtains.

He leaves the room for a moment

and I lie back on an almost-

stranger’s bed, thinking.

And as we dress and he talks

about going to the gym and packing

his bags for his journey South,

I am only half listening.

I shrug on my shirt whilst

ruminating

about answers, and poems.

And we hug, and say we’ll speak

again but we probably won’t,

and that’s fine because that’s not

what either of us need.

I don’t know what I was for him,

but I know what he was for me.

Faster Friend

ok as promised, its here, as always special thanks to my editor Tori who allows a dyslexic boy to post stories with no fear, and thanks to every single one of my readers you are lovely snowflakes who keep me going

if you like what you read please find and read my other works, old stories need love too.

Rating: PG for cuddles and vague references to sex

Characters: Tim Drake, Bart Allen, and Miles (original character)




Timothy Drake leapt from the top of the high wall at two in the morning onto the grounds of Gotham Academy for the Extraordinarily Gifted. GAEG is the kind of school you only get into if you’re top of the class or your crazy rich. Luckily for Tim he’s both, and The Red Robin. Ducking from shadow to shadow with his cape around him, Tim made his way to the Wayne dorm. Sliding around the side, he shot a rope up to the fifth floor, before he hit a button on the grappling hook gun and zipped up to the window in the top left of the dorm.

Crouching on the window ledge, he slipped his fingers into the small crack and slid the window open, pushing his upper body through into his room. Tim stepped out onto his bed, his eyes landing on his roommate Miles in the other bed. Miles’ hair in the day time was a soft puffy afro around his head, but it was braided tightly into cornrows for the night. A single dorm room would have been better for crime fighting, but Tim needed this room. He’d hacked GAEG’s computers to get it. There were a number of reasons, but the en suite bathroom was a big one. After a long night of crime fighting, the last thing he needed was to try to explain the bruises or stitches to a bunch of guys in a communal shower.

Another reason was that on the top floor, no one really bothered with bed checks, while Miles helped with that too. Tim easily could have assigned the boy to a different dorm, but Miles was the only student in GAEG who was in a wheelchair, and this was the most modern, handicapped accessible room on campus. He wasn’t about to throw a kid out like that, plus Babs would murder him if she ever heard, so he’d tried to sneak around behind his roommate’s back. The problem was that Miles wasn’t one of the rich kids, he was one of the smart ones, and in a few years the Ivy League would have a bidding war over him. Add to that he didn’t get out of the room much for anything other than class, as he’d joke being black and crippled didn’t make you friends at prep school, and he was a total insomniac, Tim only lasted six months before he was caught red-handed. Miles cracked a eye open and looked at Tim as he stood on the floor between their beds pulling off his mask.

“Your boyfriend is here,” he said, his voice thick with sleep.

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away, without, and astro, star or planet; literally, without a star. It originally suggested misfortune due to astrologically generated trouble, as in the blues musician Albert King’s classic “Born Under a Bad Sign.”

In some of the disasters of the twentieth century — the big northeastern blackouts in 1965 and 2003, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area, 2005’s Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast — the loss of electrical power meant that the light pollution blotting out the night sky vanished. In these disaster-struck cities, people suddenly found themselves under the canopy of stars still visible in small and remote places. On the warm night of August 15, 2003, the Milky Way could be seen in New York City, a heavenly realm long lost to view until the blackout that hit the Northeast late that afternoon. You can think of the current social order as something akin to this artificial light: another kind of power that fails in disaster. In its place appears a reversion to improvised, collaborative, cooperative, and local society. However beautiful the stars of a suddenly visible night sky, few nowadays could find their way by them. But the constellations of solidarity, altruism, and improvisation are within most of us and reappear at these times. People know what to do in a disaster. The loss of power, the disaster in the modern sense, is an affliction, but the reappearance of these old heavens is its opposite. This is the paradise entered through hell.

—  Rebecca Solnit, A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster

have you ever seen yourself  in shadow?
you’re in perfecta umbra against the light
(you are blotting out the sky) 


there are scars in empty spaces,
stories in the shift of semantics.
she is missing,
you are gone but


the sheer, unprecedented existence 
of you could blur dictionary definitions. 
you’re ink bleeding against paper but


for the sake of gentleness, for the sake
of that black tear in the constellations:
learn to tell a different story.


truth is never stranger than fiction,
it just has bite and
twists, barbed wire,
when you tell it so that


this is mostly stardust memory. mostly
old light, and playing at pretend and if


you tilt your head to watch the stars,
the stars watch back.

—  this is your skyland mountain story; start again (episode 30) // j.a.s
2

Zakuul - the Endless Swamp.

Since Arcann hit my dashboard, here, have a couple of old Zakuul shots I scrounged up XD. Gloomy, has weird glowy mushrooms, reminds me of Yavin IV and Dromund Kaas, but it has its own vibe. I like, not least because the jungle here feels like a proper jungle with tall trees blotting out light and everything, unlike the half-assed stunted-looking trees on Dromund Kaas. 

By the way, the whole single-biome-planet thing always irritates me when it crosses my mind XD. Ah well.

I really need to find time to play more SWTOR and take more shots.

anonymous asked:

Merrill+Ketojan "Can I tell you a secret"

“Can I tell you a secret?”

He still flinched when she spoke to him without warning. But he was getting better about it. It was… hard. To ignore what she had done for her power, consorting with dangerous forces and bleeding herself for strength. But she was… Small. Enthusiastic. Friendly. It was getting easier to look at her without seeing a monster wearing a dainty elf’s cheerful little face.

Still, he would have preferred silence in such a situation. Quiet meditation until Hawke and the others could dig them out of the cave-in. It would keep him from the thoughts of the mask over his eyes, blotting out light, the oppressive heaviness of a collar like a yoke about his neck. It would make it easier to focus on keeping his breathing, his heart rate, from getting out of control.

He didn’t answer, just grunted softly. It was enough.

The elf curled in on herself, making herself as small as possible, perhaps feeling sorry for his position– stuck hunched-over with small pebbles and dirt raining down on his face every time his horn stumps scraped the rock and earth above him.

“I don’t like small spaces,” she said, voice quivering. “I don’t like it when I can’t see the sky or taste the breeze.” She rocked back and forth a little, arms around her knees, and he can just barely make out the shape and faint glow of her wide, wet eyes in the darkness. “It’s bad enough in the alienage– all the smoke from the foundries blocks out the stars, and the air tastes like dust and garbage and sadness, b-but this is… This is…” her breath hitched, hiccuped, and a tiny sob tore free.

Without thinking, he reached out. His eyes were not suited to the darkness as hers were, and both of them were too drained of mana to sustain even a small glow for long, but he found her anyway, curling one arm around her waist and tugging her against his side.

This is what Hawke did to comfort her companions when they were upset.

The elf, Merrill, gasped, a tiny mouselike sound, and immediately buried her face against his side, curling herself into him as if to hide from the choking dim of their earthen prison.

Occasionally, she made a tiny, choked sound of distress, and he squeezed her thin arm as gently as he could, closing his eyes and counting his breaths.


When they were freed, covered from head to toe in dust with Hawke hovering around them like a concerned mother hen, she beamed up at him with all the brightness of a summer’s day, and she called him lethallin.

The Haunting of Tucker

I wrote this end of April and then completely forgot about it. It’s a sort of alternate/possible history for Tucker, with a handful of headcanons thrown in. So here’s a late (for no particular reason) entry for Phanniemay, Day 13: Childhood

***

“Your grandmother’s been sick for a long time,” his dad said.

Tucker tried to picture Grandmother sick and frail. It was impossible for his seven-year-old mind to conjure. Grandmother, to him, was like a big angry buzzard, ferocious and demanding. She wielded her cane more like a club than a walking aid, and the oxygen tubes she’d started wearing in the last few months made her seem to Tucker like Darth Vader, rasping in regulated breaths like some mechanical beast.

He was wearing his Sunday best, a suit with a real tie instead of a clip-on, that his mother had tightened. She’d pushed away his hand when he’d tried to tug it loose. Grandmother couldn’t abide any sloppiness.

“We’re going in to say goodbye,” Mom added. “So be on your best behavior and try not to make too much noise.”

Then they all paraded into Grandmother’s room, the whole family, Tucker’s mother and father and his uncles and cousins, and a couple of great-aunts, too. The hospital bed was vast and set high on its wheeled rails, like an antiseptic throne. There Grandmother half lay, half sat, in a red quilted dressing gown and with her hair done up flawlessly.

To Tucker, it didn’t seem like Grandmother at all. More like a weird, shriveled creature that had completely replaced her.Her face was grey and slack, as if the muscles couldn’t quite pull the mouth closed or give expression to the meticulously plucked eyebrows. Yet her dark eyes glittered like obsidian in the resinous pits beneath her brow, crackling with fire.

A shaky hand reached out toward him, the youngest. His mother nudged him forward. The grip felt more like the talon of a vulture—cold, leathery, relentless—than the hand of a dying woman.

“Give us a kiss,” the thing on the bed said.

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