His hands had been infected, and soon it would be his arms. He could feel the poison working up his wrists and into his elbows and his shoulders, and then the jump-over from shoulder blade to shoulder blade like a spark leaping a gap. His hands were ravenous. And his eyes were beginning to feel hunger, as if they must look at something, anything, everything.
She talked to him for what seemed a long while and she talked about this and she talked about that and it was only words, like the words he had heard once in a nursery at a friend’s house, a two-year-old child building word patterns, talking jargon, making pretty sounds in the air.
Well, wasn’t there a wall between him and Mildred, when you came down to it? literally not just one wall but, so far, three! And expensive, too! And the uncles, the cousins, the nieces, the nephews, that lived in those walls, the gibbering pack of tree-apes that said nothing, nothing, nothing and said it loud, loud, loud.
“You ever seen a burned house? It smolders for days. Well, this fire’ll last me the rest of my life. God! I’ve been trying to put it out, in my mind, all night. I’m crazy with trying.” “You should’ve thought of that before becoming a fireman.” “Thought!” he said. “Was I given a choice? My grandfather and father were firemen. In my sleep, I ran after them.”