Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking #3)

A monster, I think, remembering what Ben told me once. War makes Monsters of Men.

And it feels like, finally.

And then his noise falls completely silent-

And he stops struggling-

And looking right into my eyes-

He dies.

My Todd dies.

And you," he says, "you need to talk to your boy." He lifts my chin. "And if he needs saving, then you save him. Isn't that what you told me you did for each other?"
I let go a few more tears but then I nod. "Over and over again.

Because even the one you hate leaves an absence when they go.

Submit! Juliet's Joy screeches underneath him at no one in particular.
"I've got to get a new horse," the Mayor mutters.

Choices may be unbelievably hard but they're never impossible. To say you have no choice is to release yourself from responsibility and that's not how a person with integrity acts.

Cuz that's it -
That's the nasty, nasty secret of war -
When yer winning -
When yer winning, it's effing thrilling -

Do we hate paradise so much we need to make sure it becomes a trash heap?

His noise is getting quieter, but I can still see it there still-
See how he feels the skin of my hand against his, see how he wants to take it and press it against his mouth, how he wants to breathe in the smell of me and how beautiful I look to him, how strong after all that illness, and how he wants to just lightly touch my neck, just there, and how he wants to take me in his arms and-
"Oh, God," he says, looking away suddenly. "Viola, I'm sorry, I didn't mean-"
But I just put my hand to the back of his neck-
And he says, "Viola-?"
And I pull myself towards him-
And I kiss him.
And it feels like, finally.

Cuz she's here -
She came -
She came for me -
And she calls my name -
And I feel her strength coursing thru my Noise like a fire -
And the Mayor staggers back like he's been punched in the face by a row of houses -
"Ah, yes," he grunts, his hand to his head. "Your tower of strength has arrived."
"Todd!" I hear her call again -
And I take it and I use it -
Cuz I can feel her there, riding to the end of the world to find me, to save me if I needed saving -
Which I did -

I'll do it, Todd," I whisper. "I'll come with you."
And he doesn't say anything, just squeezes my hand harder and brings it up to his face like he wants to breathe me in.

I’ll find you—

Keep calling for me, Viola—

Cuz here I come.

It's always darkest before the dawn, Todd.”

I look at him, baffled. “No, it ain't! What kinda stupid saying is that? It's always lightest before the dawn!

It's not how we fall. It's how we get back up again.

It's not the mistakes I made but how I responded to them

More real, more there, like it's just the most incredible thing in the world that we're both still alive and I feel my chest get all funny and tight and I think, Here she is, right here, my Viola, she came for me, she's here-
And I find myself thinking how I want to take her hand again and never let it go, to feel the skin of it, the warmth of it, hold it tight against my own hand...

No," I say firmly. "If you ever doubt anything here, if you ever not know what to think or who to trust, you trust Todd, okay? You remember that.

This is what war does. Right here, in my hands. This is war.

To say you have no choice is to relieve yourself of responsibility.

Usually when a man calls a woman a bitch," a voice calls over from a cart pulling up near us at the edge of camp,"its because she's doing something right.

Keep calling for me–

And I’ll keep searching for you–

And I’ll find you–

You bet yer life on it–

I’ll find you–

Keep calling for me, Viola–

Cuz here I come.

Viola?" he says.
And I turn to look at him -
And when I do, I can hear everything he's thinking.
Clearer than before, clearer than seems possible -
And I'm not even sure I'm supposed to, but I look him in the eyes and I see it -
In the middle of everything he's feeling -
Even after we fought -
Even after I doubted him -
Even after I hurt him -
I see how much he loves me.

War makes monsters of men, you once said to me Todd. Well, so does too much knowledge. Too much knowledge of your fellow man, too much knowledge of his weakness, his pathetic greed and vanity, and how laughably easy it is to control him.

What a sad thing men are. Can’t do nothing good without being so weak we have to mess it up. Can’t build something up without tearing it

Who will remember Todd?
Who will remember what he did?
Todd -
Todd -
And my heart breaks even more -

Breaks forever -

And I fall to my knees in the snow and sand -
And I yell out, wordless and empty -

And I drop the weapon.

Worst is the one who knows better and does nothing.

You are keeping the possibility [of peace] open. No wise leader would do anything less

You're never more alive than in battle."
"Never more dead after," I say.

You went up a girl and came down a woman.