Authors: Madeline Miller
Tags: #Speculative Fiction
The road passed through the town and dipped towards the sea. I was slow and fat from a year of lying in bed, but he had never loved exercise and was fat and slow himself. The dirt gave way to sand, cool and thick beneath my feet, and then I was on the pebbles, which had never hurt me, and then, at last, the waves. I threw myself in, fighting past the breakers to the open sea. A moment later, I heard the splash of him following.
Water was not my element. It dragged at my clothes as I swam. A little farther, I told myself. I could hear him coming, his arms stronger than mine from a lifetime of lifting marble. I felt the water shiver near my foot where he had grabbed and almost caught me. I looked back, and saw how close he was and how far the shore behind. Then his hand seized my ankle and yanked, pulling me to him like a rope, hand over hand, and then he had me up and by the throat, his face pressed to mine.
I think he expected me to fight and claw. I didn’t fight. I seized him close around the ribs, holding my wrists so he could not get free. The sudden weight pulled us both under. He kicked and flailed back to the surface, but I was heavier than he had thought, and the waves slopped at our mouths. Let it be now, I prayed.
At first I thought it was just the cold of the water. It crept up my fingers and my arms, which stiffened around him. He struggled and fought, but my hands were fused together and nothing he tried could break them. Then it was in my legs too, and my belly and my chest, and no matter how he kicked, he could not haul us back up to the air. He hit at me, but it was watery and weak and I felt nothing, just the solid circle of my arms, and the inexorable drag of my body.
He had no chance, really. He was only flesh. We fell through the darkness, and the coolness slid up my neck and bled the color from my lips and cheeks. I thought of Paphos and how clever she was. I thought of her stone sister, peaceful on her couch. We fell through the currents and I thought of how the crabs would come for him, climbing over my pale shoulders. The ocean floor was sandy and soft as pillows. I settled into it and slept.
© by Nina Subin
MADELINE MILLER grew up in Philadelphia, has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Latin and Ancient Greek from Brown University, and has been teaching both languages for the past nine years. She has also studied at the Yale School of Drama, specializing in adapting classical tales for a modern audience. Her first novel,
The Song of Achilles,
was awarded the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Cover by Allison Saltzman
Copyright © 2013 by Madeline Miller. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse-engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.
EPub Edition AUGUST 2013 ISBN: 9780062319654
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