What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi


"Cornered by a banker whose false memory of having been in love with her since matriculation day might prove profitable, Lucy wavered between a sensible decision and a foolhardy one. Ever did foolhardiness hold the upper hand with Lucy; she found Safiye leaning against an oil lantern out in the garden and saw for herself that she wasn't the only foolish woman in the world, or even at the party, for Safiye had Lucy's highly polished bangle in her hand and was turning it this way and that in order to catch fireflies in the billowing, transparent left sleeve of her gown. All this at the risk of being set alight, but then from where Lucy stood Safiye looked as if she was formed of fire herself, particles of flame dancing the flesh of her arm into existence. That or she was returning to fire."  - Books and Roses

 * * *

"'Let me talk to her,' Tyche said. 

I wasn't allowed to listen to their conversation, but I know that it concerned the invocation of a goddess and Tyche was very well prepared for it, arrived at our house wearing an elegant black suit and carrying a portfolio full of images and diagrams that she and Aisha pored over at length.

'Just FYI, we decided on Hecate,' Tyche said on her way out. 

'Yeah? Who she?' 

'Oh, nobody you need to worry about . . .' 

'Come on, let me have the basics.' 

'Well . . . she keeps an eye on big journeys from the interior to exterior, or vice versa. She's there for the step that takes you from one state to another. She's someone you see at crossroads, for instance. Well, you sort of see her but don't register what you've seen until it's too late to go back. She holds three keys . . . some say they're keys to the underworld, others that they're access to the past, present, and future. And -- ah, you're zoning out on me . . .'

Tyche struck and held a warlike pose in the doorway. 

'Picture the image of me fixed in this doorway, and also in every other doorway you pass, sometimes three-dimensional and sometimes vaporous, whatever I feel like being at the moment you try to get past me,' she said. 'Imagine not being able to stop me from coming in, imagine not being able to cast me out because I own all thresholds. As an additional bonus, imagine me with three faces. That's who we're sending to have a little chat with Matyas Fust.'"   - 'Sorry' Doesn't Sweeten Her Tea

* * *  

"As for what you saw of me -- I think you saw a kid in a gray dress gawping at you like you were the meaning of life. You immediately began talking to me as if I were a child at your knee. You told me about how stories came to our aid in times of need. You'd recently been on a flight from Prague, you told me, and the plane had gone through a terrifyingly long tunnel of turbulence up there in the clouds. 'Everyone on the plane was freaking out, except the girl beside me,' you said. 'She was just reading her book -- maybe a little bit faster than usual, but otherwise untroubled. I said to her: "Have you noticed that we might be about to crash?" And she said: "Yes I did notice that actually, which makes it even more important for me to know how this ends."'   - Is Your Blood as Red as This?

* * * 

"She was carved of rowan wood, and she retained the opinions of tree: one of them being that it was best not to have anything to do with human folk. 'Firstly, they cut us down,' Rowan said. 'Secondly they're all insane, though I suppose they can't help that, being rooted in water instead of earth.'"   - Is Your Blood as Red as This?