Hike definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

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datatime: 2022-10-04 20:29:27 Author:jjWiaSQQ

But after the music was over.

Between him and Steve the electricity crackled. Ghost clenched his hands in front of him, raised his face to the gilded tries of the ceiling. Steve shook his head madly. His hair stood out like a scribbled black cloud. Sparkling drops of sweat landed sizzling on his guitar, on the audience, on Ghost's upturned face. Ghost licked the sweat off his lips and tried to breathe. There was no breath left in him. The audience had taken it all. In him there was only song, endlessly swelling. If he did not let it out his heart would burst.

Zillah caught him staring and smiled.

The audience swayed at the touch of his voice. He looked into those upturned young faces bathed in dim stagelight, the fresh faces, the pale hollow-boned faces with their darkly lined eyes.

Then, as the first song ended, Zillah looked up at the stage. Even from behind the lights, from fifteen feet away, Ghost could see that Zillah's face was perfect as a mask again. His nose was straight, his lips full and lustrous. There were no bruises. There was no swelling.

The right choice was not always clear. Nevertheless, Nothing had had to make one. Ghost had felt him do it, right there in the bedroom as he woke up, and he had felt the boy grow a little older. He felt his mind straining at something it could not quite grasp, and the feeling was odd; there wasn't much Ghost could not empathize with. He reminded himself that he had not really tried, had not wanted to try.

And there in the middle of the crowd was Nothing, not swaying but standing very still, his face tilted up with the rest, his eyes wide and shadowed. His three friends were there too, clustered around him. Zillah stared at the floor, his face in darkness. One of the two bigger ones poked Nothing and shouted something into his ear, but Nothing only shook his head and kept staring at Ghost.

Ghost knew every corner of the Yew, every one of the fancy antique-gold ceiling tiles Kinsey had put in, every graffiti in the restrooms. When you played at a club forty weeks out of a year, it got to be home.

And there in the middle of the crowd was Nothing, not swaying but standing very still, his face tilted up with the rest, his eyes wide and shadowed. His three friends were there too, clustered around him. Zillah stared at the floor, his face in darkness. One of the two bigger ones poked Nothing and shouted something into his ear, but Nothing only shook his head and kept staring at Ghost.

Ghost faltered. He forgot the words of the next song. Steve was trying to give him the cue, but Ghost couldn't look at him, couldn't turn his head away from that perfect mouthful of teeth. What was he dealing with here? What the hell had decided to visit itself on Missing Mile?

Zillah caught him staring and smiled.

Hands plucked at Ghost's clothes, at the streamers on his hat. He was greeted by a multitude of young voices. He felt the brush of their fingers and their minds; he breathed their cigarette smoke. Then they were stumbling onstage, Steve and Ghost, Lost Souls? come back again.

Ghost knew every corner of the Yew, every one of the fancy antique-gold ceiling tiles Kinsey had put in, every graffiti in the restrooms. When you played at a club forty weeks out of a year, it got to be home.

Steve clawed at his guitar, letting loose the night's first jangling scream. Ghost glanced at the set list taped to the floor, scrawled in Steve's illegible handwriting, and the words of the first song rose to his lips. He stepped up to the microphone and, gripping it with both hands, whispered those words: "Don't go on the beach . . . Realize the lions have come in . . ."

None of these kids was Nothing. Ghost looked for the long silk coat, the lank black hair, the three lurking figures that would surround the boy. But he was not here, though many of these kids looked like him-the same big, black-rimmed, blasted eyes, the same pale flickering hands. Ghost hoped Nothing wouldn't come. Not with those three. But he knew they would be there.

Hands plucked at Ghost's clothes, at the streamers on his hat. He was greeted by a multitude of young voices. He felt the brush of their fingers and their minds; he breathed their cigarette smoke. Then they were stumbling onstage, Steve and Ghost, Lost Souls? come back again.

Between him and Steve the electricity crackled. Ghost clenched his hands in front of him, raised his face to the gilded tries of the ceiling. Steve shook his head madly. His hair stood out like a scribbled black cloud. Sparkling drops of sweat landed sizzling on his guitar, on the audience, on Ghost's upturned face. Ghost licked the sweat off his lips and tried to breathe. There was no breath left in him. The audience had taken it all. In him there was only song, endlessly swelling. If he did not let it out his heart would burst.

The right choice was not always clear. Nevertheless, Nothing had had to make one. Ghost had felt him do it, right there in the bedroom as he woke up, and he had felt the boy grow a little older. He felt his mind straining at something it could not quite grasp, and the feeling was odd; there wasn't much Ghost could not empathize with. He reminded himself that he had not really tried, had not wanted to try.

Ghost knew every corner of the Yew, every one of the fancy antique-gold ceiling tiles Kinsey had put in, every graffiti in the restrooms. When you played at a club forty weeks out of a year, it got to be home.

Then Ghost tore his gaze away from Zillah's shining smile and looked out over the sea of faces again, and the spell was broken. So Zillah had new teeth, new skin. So what? He and Steve had a show to do. The fragile faces could not be turned away; the burning hearts could not be quenched by disappointment. Ghost felt a righteous anger fill him. Hypnotized by a smile? Oldest trick in the book It couldn't trick him, though, not now. He had to sing.

At the end, Steve joined Ghost at the microphone to sing backup on the last song. It was "World," the song they always closed with. Steve's fingers stroked the strings, lingering on them, making them chime. "World out of balance," Ghost sang. Steve gave the accompanying line, "World without end," in his usual off-key tenor. But Steve's singing was bettor tonight than ever before. It was still pretty bad, but there was an element of rawness to it, a hoarseness born of beer and sorrow. The audience rose on tiptoe. "'WE ARE NOT AFRAID," Ghost chanted, throwing his shoulders back, pushing his voice harder. "'WE ARE NOT AFRAID."

Well, what the hell. So would he. Maybe.

Steve clawed at his guitar, letting loose the night's first jangling scream. Ghost glanced at the set list taped to the floor, scrawled in Steve's illegible handwriting, and the words of the first song rose to his lips. He stepped up to the microphone and, gripping it with both hands, whispered those words: "Don't go on the beach . . . Realize the lions have come in . . ."

And there in the middle of the crowd was Nothing, not swaying but standing very still, his face tilted up with the rest, his eyes wide and shadowed. His three friends were there too, clustered around him. Zillah stared at the floor, his face in darkness. One of the two bigger ones poked Nothing and shouted something into his ear, but Nothing only shook his head and kept staring at Ghost.

Between him and Steve the electricity crackled. Ghost clenched his hands in front of him, raised his face to the gilded tries of the ceiling. Steve shook his head madly. His hair stood out like a scribbled black cloud. Sparkling drops of sweat landed sizzling on his guitar, on the audience, on Ghost's upturned face. Ghost licked the sweat off his lips and tried to breathe. There was no breath left in him. The audience had taken it all. In him there was only song, endlessly swelling. If he did not let it out his heart would burst.

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