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She’d been drawing these creatures since she was a little girl, and her friends tended to talk about them as if they were real. “What was Brimstone up to this weekend?” asked Zuzana.
“The usual,” said Karou. “Buying teeth from murderers. He got some Nile crocodile teeth yesterday from this awful Somali poacher, but the idiot tried to steal from him and got half strangled by his snake collar. He’s lucky to be alive.”
Zuzana found the story illustrated on the book’s last drawn pages: the Somali, his eyes rolling back in his head as the whip-thin snake around his neck cinched itself as tight as a garrote. Humans, Karou had explained before, had to submit to wearing one of Issa’s serpents around their necks before they could enter Brimstone’s shop. That way if they tried anything fishy they were easy to subdue—by strangulation, which wasn’t always fatal, or, if necessary, by a bite to the throat, which was.
“How do you make this stuff up, maniac?” Zuzana asked, all jealous wonderment.
“Who says I do? I keep telling you, it’s all real.”
“Uh-huh. And your hair grows out of your head that color, too.”
“What? It totally does,” said Karou, passing a long blue strand through her fingers.
Karou shrugged and gathered her hair back in a messy coil, stabbing a paintbrush through it to secure it at the nape of her neck. In fact, her hair did grow out of her head that color, pure as ultramarine straight from the paint tube, but that was a truth she told with a certain wry smile, as if she were being absurd. Over the years she’d found that that was all it took, that lazy smile, and she could tell the truth without risk of being believed.
Ha en trevlig söndag! Kan jag slita mig från boken så blir det städning här hemma, men just nu känns det ganska osäkert :)
Inlägget jag skrev när jag läst klart boken finns här.