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"Oh, do come for dinner!" she purred. "Is there anything you don't eat?"
"Well ... quite a few things," he said. "I hate to be awkward, but I don't eat cars ... dustbin lids, flower pots, hurricane lamps ... old rope ... generally anything in the mineral category. Although I do drink mineral water, of course," he added.
"I was thinking, anything in the more animal or vegetable category?" she laughed.
"Oh, um ... rhinoceros, lion ... elephant ... panda, any protected species, I suppose, on ethical grounds, of course," he said.
"So anything within reason ..." she began.
"People,"...

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Midnight

On the roof.

A shouldn't-be time in a shouldn't-be place,

Thad pecked a shouldn't-do cigarette from the packet and lit it with a burst of flame that violated the darkness and fizzed against the silence.

He exhaled a plume of smoke, pushing it away from his body with his breath, but it hung about in his personal space as if it was reluctant to go too close to the edge.

He looked up. Some mist up there was blocking out the stars and, for now, the moon was balling along behind a strip of cloud. There wouldn't even be...

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She didn't look at him; she looked past him, half closing her eyes as if basking in the sunlight. She was really trying to cut him from her vision altogether, the better to scry into the future he was pulling them towards. This had been his idea, his romantic idea: "Let's hire one of those rowing boats and take it down the river."

The top of his head dipped in and out of her frame of vision as he pulled them through the water.

"Tell me if I'm going to hit anything," he panted. "I can't see where I'm going."...

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"Obtain the marionettes!" Fox's tone was commanding.

'Obtain', thought Fred. That was just like Fox: always using a big word when a small word would do. He could have said 'get' instead of 'obtain'. But then, again, Fred's mother had told him 'get' was a terrible word and it should be avoided.

"Are you listening? Did you hear me?" Fox bellowed.

"Sorry. Yes," said Fred. "Get the marionettes."

"Use force if so required."

'Hit the bastards if you need to,' Fred translated to himself. He pummeled his right fist into his left palm to show Fox that he'd understood.

He...

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Wait ... for a green-clad man. He will come to you either at dusk or at dawn if you stand by this gate. When he comes, you must say to him, "I see, they have dammed the brook below Piper's copse." He will stop and fill his pipe and make small talk with you about this and that. Speak freely and let him know of your grief. Tell him how your crops have failed these last three years for want of rain or too much of it and how sick your children are. He will listen to you quietly and...

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"Looking at things changes us so it is impossible to look at anything the same way twice," said Foley.
I did a double take and looked at him again. He had changed: something was sprouting from the top of his head and his eyelids appeared to be melting.
"Is this me or you this time?" I asked him.
He said nothing, but gestured upwards, extending a single finger to the sky above our heads. There was the moon, a milky smudge behind the racing clouds. Suddenly it came into full view and it had changed, too. The moon would never...

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I used to follow my grandfather up the field, gathering potatoes. He would pull them up and leave them like gold nuggets, glowing on the topsoil. I came behind with a trug that was big enough for my baby brother to sleep in. I struggled when the trug was nearly full, and I'd have to set it down every few yards and watch my grandfather as he worked mechanically ahead of me.
I daydreamed that, one day, there would be a real gold nugget lying on the row. I would take iot to the bank and a big man with...

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