the author reluctantly acknowledges his indebtedness to Marissa
“How,” he wheezed, “did we ever get so fat?”
“Less,” she gasped, “talking.”
They struggled up the hill, fingers digging into the earth, toes jammed between roots, arms and legs jerking and quivering. “The light–!” she said.
“We’ll just,” he said, “make it. Just barely.”
When they came to the top, where the forest opened up, they were filthy, they were torn and rumpled. His coat was in tatters, one long tear up the middle of his back flapping as he panted, the soft grey sheen of his shirt underneath darkened by sweat. Her hair, cut severely in fond imitation of Louise Brooks, was fretted and tangled, filled with twigs and crusted with mud.
“See, I,” he said, “told you we’d make it. Lots of light l–” and he whooped and hacked until he doubled over.
She couldn’t straighten up, could barely stand, but it was the last day and their last duty. She danced, arms akimbo, sides splitting with the effort, on the ground and among the trees and along the stretch of the sunlight. His lips were darkened and foul but he danced with her, over the cliff’s edge and over the city, following the sun.