–“How many of your memories of the world beyond the border are verifiable?”
–We were the 12th expedition.
—“How calm do you think you might be in an emergency?”
–There were four of us.
—“When I snap my fingers, you will have no memory of this conversation, but will follow my directives.”
–Our mission was simple.
…In the black water with the sun shining at midnight, those fruit shall come ripe…
—The brightness washed over me in unending waves and connected me to the earth, the water, the trees, the air, as I opened up and kept on opening.
–Emerging from that space was a foot and the end of a leg, amid a flurry of disrupted sand.
–The sea was ablaze with light, but nothing beautiful here fooled me anymore.
–Vaguely, from some far-off place, I realized that the words on the wall were being infused with sound as well, but that I had not had the capacity to hear it before.
–The smell of lime and mint unexpectedly arose, cutting through the must, the loam.
–We stopped calling back when the intensity of its moans heightened in a way that suggested anger, as if it knew we were mocking it.
–By the time we were ready to cross the border, we knew everything… And we knew nothing.
–I could no more have turned back than have gone back in time.
–I’d had experience enough with lighthouse keepers to know one when I saw one.
–Of all my answers, “Breakfast” annoyed her the most.
–I could not deny that these habitats were transitional in a deeply unnatural way.
–No one ever explained what form “extraction” might take.
–They did not have the will or inclination to clean the kidney-shaped pool.
–I suppose I should have reared back from the microscope in shock.
–“It is a body?” the surveyor said.
–Perhaps it is “merely” a machine.
–The map was the first form of misdirection, for what was a map but a way of emphasizing some things and making other things invisible?
—Consolidation of authority.
–We had all been given self-destruct buttons, but the only one who could push them was dead.
–I’m well beyond you now, and traveling very fast.
(Textler by Marc Laidlaw, based on Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, February 2014)