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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel


Rani blinked several times at the boy, who smirked back. “Kill you,” she said. “Kill... Tucson? That’s my temptation?” She shook her head dizzily. “No... this doesn’t add up. If I killed him, someone else would just take his place. His death wouldn’t free Rimbor any more than St. Augustine’s did.”

“Probably not,” agreed Johnny.

“Well fuck me, Johnny, I’m not selling my soul to the dark side to accomplish something pointless. You gotta offer me something better than that if you want some evil.”

“I ain’t gotta do nothin’, Rani, except stand here and get whacked if that’s what you’re gonna do. My death isn’t your reward, it’s your sacrifice. Kill me... if you can. Kill our childhood, and what was innocent about us; kill me, trap yourself in this moment, and go do your Batman thing. Go on.”

“Fuck this,” she said, after a few beats. “I am not killing a nine-year-old.”

“Then spare me,” shrugged Johnny, “and reclaim your old ideals. It's all the same to me.”

“No,” she said. “The world’s not as goddamn simple as all that. Maybe I want to turn to the dark side but I don’t want to kill a little boy. Did you ever think about that? Maybe I want to turn to the dark side but I don’t want to do it now. Or maybe I want to be a hero but I’m not ready yet. Not everything fits into this binary, yes-no kind of format.”

“I’m afraid you’re ready by definition, Rani,” he said quietly, in a voice that was no more than half a child’s. “You may not have wanted to choose your path yet, but here you have come, and choose it you must.”

“No,” she shouted. “This is idiotic. I refuse.”

“You can’t leave here without choosing, Rani.”

“Watch me.” She took a deep breath, and plunged through the brick wall of the alley and into the ether of the Hotel.

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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

Native Americans * Confederacy of mainland Mikmaq * Caddo religion * Delaware River Indians * Osage Indian names

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