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431 pages, Hardcover
First published February 8, 2012
Before the Detonations, there were many survivalists living off the grid in those woods. One neighbor, an old man who'd been in a war or two, taught El Capitan how to hide his guns and ammo. El Capitan did everything Old Man Zander told him to. He bought 40 PVC pipe with end caps, six inches in diameter, and some PVC solvent. He and Helmud disassembled their rifles in their house one afternoon in late winter. El Capitan remembers the driving sleet, the sound of it ticking against the windows. The two brothers rubbed the gun parts down with anti-rust oil, which gave the guns and their hands a waxy sheen. Helmud had gotten hold of the aluminized Mylar bag, cut it into smaller pieces, and wrapped the barreled actions, stocks, trigger assemblies, hand guards, magazines, scopes, mounts, and several thousand rounds of .223 along with silica gel desiccant packets...They packed six small cans of 1,1,1-trichloroethane to degrease it later, plus cleaning rods, patches, Hoppe's No. 9 Solvent, gun oil, grease, a set of reloading dies, and a well-worn owner's manual. Then they wrapped it all in duct tape.
9 out of 10
I feel too much. It's like being drummed to death from within. You know?
Our Good Mother places the tip of the knife on one side of Partridge’s pinky, raises the back of the knife, and in one swift motion lowers the back of blade on Partridge’s pinky, right at the middle knuckle./
On the way home, she told me that they built the prisons and rehabilitation centers and sanatoriums tall for a reason. So everyone knew that the only difference is that you live under their roof or in their shadow.
Our love is our burden.
Does she really remember this? Or does she remember trying to remember?
She thinks of the word mother—lullabies—and father—warm coat. Pressia is a red dot on a screen, pulsing like a heartbeat.
Partridge is sure that this is the end. He’ll never get any closer to his mother than this.
“I was,” he says.
“You were what?” she asks.
“I was,” he says again. “And now I’m not.”
The real sound of the ocean can’t be held in a bell.
“You were only supposed to stick with us for your own sake, your own selfish reasons. You said you had one.”
“And I do.”
“You’re my selfish reason,” he says.
To be in a cage or set loose into this world?
— Pure (Пепельное небо) #1/3
— Fuse (Сплавленные) #2/3
— Burn (Огонь) #3/3
“We were all left to die. We were the ones who tended the dying. We wrapped the dead. We buried our children and when there were too many to bury, we built pyres and burned the bodies of our own children. Deaths, they did this to all of us. We used to call them Father or Husband or Mister. We’re the ones who saw their darkest sins. While we banged the shutters of our homes like trapped birds and beat our heads on prison walls, we watched them. We alone know how much they hated themselves, how shamed they were . . . and how they turned that on us at first – and their own children – and then the world at once.” – Our Good Mother speaking of the wives and mothers in her care to Pressia