Friday, September 25, 2015

The Sleeper and the Spindle - Neil Gaiman

"...Once in the city, the sheer numbers of people made them uncomfortable. There were sleeping riders on sleeping horses; sleeping cabmen up on still carriages that held sleeping passengers; sleeping children clutching their balls and hoops and the whips of their spinning tops; sleeping flower women at their stalls of brown, rotten, dried flowers; even sleeping fishmongers beside their marble slabs. The slabs were covered with the remains of stinking fish, and they were crawling with maggots. The rustle and movement of the maggots was the only movement and noise the queen and the dwarfs encountered..."

"...The sleepers moved towards the dwarfs and the queen. They were easy for the dwarfs to outrun, easy for the queen to outwalk. And yet, and yet, there were so many of them. Each street they came to was filled with sleepers, cobweb-shrouded, eyes tight closed or eyes open and rolled back in their heads showing only the whites, all of them shuffling sleepily forwards..."

"...'We had been led to believe,' said the tallest dwarf, 'that when you woke, the rest of the world would wake with you.'
'Why ever would you think that?' asked the golden-haired girl, all childlike and innocent (ah, but her eyes! Her eyes were so old). 'I like them asleep. They are more... biddable.' She stopped for a moment. Then she grinned. 'Even now they come for you. I have called them here.'..."

"...There are choices, she thought, when she had sat long enough. There are always choices.
She made one.
The queen began to walk, and the dwarfs followed her..."


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