Saturday, June 15, 2013

the last book I ever read (The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates, excerpt eleven)

from The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates:

Johanna stared, trying not to scream; for even in her panicked state she did not want to waken and alarm the sleeping baby.

Could it be?—the shadowy figure was Adelaide Burr.

The poor woman lifted her hurt, bloodied bare arms to Johanna—her ashen face, bloodied too, was lifted in an anguished appeal; her eyes were wet with tears, and—a mass of bleeding wounds where her small flat breasts had been . . .

Johanna do not turn away. I am your sister, I am awaiting you. Do not leave me here alone . . .

Johanna turned, blinded; in terror, she collided with the crib, and wakened the baby; the figure of her old friend Adelaide Burr seemed to shimmer, and fade, as if in disappointment, or repudiation of her; for she was very cowardly, and could not bring herself to speak to Adelaide, who appealed to her with such yearning. For there is the fear—a wise fear, I think: that if we speak just once to the dead, the dead will cleave to us in their desperate loneliness and never leave our sides.

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