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The shortest distance from Point A to Point B is a straight line. But when it comes to people, when it comes to crossing that bridge from stranger to acquaintance to number-five-on-speed-dial, somehow the social physics of it all just fails. People don’t meet and trust. People don’t shake hands and in the same breath of an introduction also admit to buying a house together, joined at the altar, endless nights of sparse, tense (but polite) dinner conversation. Henry is sure of this; suspicion and betrayal are old friends. The art of persuasion is delicate.

It must be understood then, that it took more than just a little friendly jiving to lure Mark Haptaine out of the house and to the market near the riverside. Mark has worked hard to be perfectly isolated and perfectly self-sufficient but Henry is a social creature and he requires a bit more quality management: he thrives off noise, bursts of unprecedented emotion, crowds, discord, variety, and –

“But we haven’t got any meat, Mark,” he repeats for the umpteenth time that evening as they tread side by side down the cobblestoned alleys, cutting past the traffic of the streets, “I mean the mounds of spinach and borscht you give me is generally fantastic but honest to heaven I don’t think I remember what a cow tastes like anymore.”
Current Location: Pechersk District, Kiev
Current Mood: hungryhungry
26 November 2009 @ 06:46 pm
Dinner at the Panorama on the 12th floor of the Dnipro Hotel several considerable miles away from the helter-skelter, hustle and bustle of middle Kiev, such as Pechersk and Shevchenko, is always a welcome relief. He knows the chefs personally (but then again, who did Alecto Crabtree not know personally?) and was always treated to the table near the window overlooking the temperamental city streets. The cars move sluggishly down below, terribly unrefined, bleating and rumbling halfheartedly with windows tinted already by the first breaths of winter.

He shivers slightly, cards a hand through his hair.

The dimmed, early evening sunlight that filters in past the over-dramatic red curtains catches his attention briefly. He watches it plays off the rim of his second glass of Château Haut Brion Pessac with as much suppressed impatience as he can muster before glancing (never staring) at the Vacheron Constantin Tour de l’Ile seated comfortably about his wrist. He pointlessly feigns interest in the slow twitch of the watch hands because of course, she is late.
Current Location: Dnipro District, Kiev
Current Mood: coldcold
26 November 2009 @ 02:34 pm
Chronically packed with people, the Vieilott marketplace is half in the open and half built in the remnants of a military bomb shelter during Soviet wartimes, bordering the graying riverside. Nomadic shops prop up their colored tents at the first glimpse of sunrise, line their beadwork and crafts alongside gutted fish and roasted pork thighs. Fruits and mountain vegetables are arranged by shape and color creating a steady progression of hues. Wooden tables and stands once beds to writhing, agonized soldiers are now filled with paska and korovai, bundles of damp fresh cabbage, vushka and sauerkraut. Full pheasants, goose, and duck – plucked and marinated – hang from shower curtain hooks over a heating slab next to the road, leading into the processed and frozen imported foods inside the market building: baked and buttered corns, candied plums.

A shout. Metal baskets collapse against the cracked tile spilling wheat and barley into the dust. The people have learned to take comfort in the sound of sirens, red and blue, always several blocks too late.

He could have been anyone - thirty, forty years too long in this diseased country and everyone starts to look and feel just about the same. But evidently there is something wrong, something wicked that consumes him now. He's on the ground, on his back. The bottom of his head knocks unnaturally against the floor, face contorted in pain, limbs jerking and tensing, nails clawing. His pupils are too large, too wild, his bones too angular, too sharp. Like a rabid dog, his movements are fast - no one moves that fast - and when he starts to cling, pleading for help (so hungry, he gasps), what were once fingers rip through flesh easier than a knife edge through butter.

Terror roars most rampant in stunned silence.
Current Location: Pechersk District, Kiev
Current Mood: accomplished
27 March 2008 @ 11:25 pm
He understands what feeling restless can be like.

There are times where he thinks no farther than beyond grand, generalizing statements, like, I was born restless. It’s probably not true, but when he does look back on the years of the life he has led, restless certainly seems a way to characterize it all. There’s a constant motion to him, never really fluid, but quick stops and just as abrupt starts, but always, always the motion is there. Trouble stenciled across his veins.Collapse )
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12 February 2008 @ 10:50 pm

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The secretary of Umbrella Corporation's Botanical Division was a pleasant lady with the unfortunate tendencies of wearing too much make-up and chewing Marcel out for his almost daily tardiness, not necessarily at the same time. Despite all reprimand, Marcel had never quite learned the fine skill of punctuality, and there was no way for him to get into the lab without going past her desk, though he had tried everything from distractions to camouflage to crawling. It was practically a tradition by now, to start off his Umbrella workday with a donut and a lecture, which was why it kind of spooked him when he came in after missing a day's work to find that she wasn't yelling at all. In fact, she was smiling at him, kind of pityingly, the way a farmer might smile at a particularly plump chicken.Collapse )
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01 November 2007 @ 06:15 pm
She liked Halloween. She was aware of the holiday in a general sense, understood in a vague sort of way its movement through a calendar year, the way one might sense the movement of a cloud overhead from the play of sun and shadows on the ground below. It wasn't something she particularly watched for, but when it came she smiled nonetheless, and enjoyed it while it lasted, the same as she would a shower of rain, or the fragments of music that sometimes floated from open doorways and passing cars. Distantly, she knew that she had danced before among the same ghouls and jack o' lanterns, tugged on the same scarecrows' arms and nestled comfortably into the same stacks of hay, but she moved through it all with newborn wonder, as though experiencing it for the first time.Collapse )
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It had been a good night and, for the first time in months, Wren hadn’t felt self-conscious even as the elegant girl in red from the other table had trailed a fingertip down the disgusting abnormal skin of her arm. She'd just smiled, too. Although honestly, Ella (had she said her name was Ella?) probably wasn’t even lucid enough to notice if she had been made of cloth filled with cotton or solid stone painted green. That was not just one bottle there on that table.Collapse )
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01 October 2007 @ 01:58 am
Mark was in the garden between the greenhouses and the moat, half-in and half-out of the storage shed, sorting through the junk he'd accumulated over the few years he'd been living here. Some boxes he tossed out the open door behind him, bouncing several times before coming to rest on the impeccably mown lawn (it had rained last night or he wouldn't be attempting this at all); the rest he shoved to the side in an order that, to the untrained eye, looked neat enough, but made Mark shudder internally and vow to get out here again sometime soon and recategorize everything properly. Tomorrow, if no one called between now and then, begging him to come replace batteries for their fire detector or install overhead lights or maybe even recover data from their accidentally melted hard drives or actually fix a computer. Collapse )

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17 September 2007 @ 04:26 pm
Ellis had eaten a lot of things in his life. Most likely he had started on milk (from formula - the woman who raised him had never expressed much enthusiasm for the whole concept of motherhood, and would probably have found the idea of breastfeeding distasteful to the uttermost), progressed through the ranks of wholesome afterschool snacks through junky college food, and finally graduated onto Umbrella Corporation employees. Sometimes he tried to picture all the food he'd ever consumed piled up in this gigantic cornucopia of chips and carrot sticks and scientists. Would it fill up an entire room? A building? A city? It was amazing how it all disappeared so quickly, leaving him only hungrier, only emptier than before.Collapse )

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