A Day and a Night and a Day: A Novel

A Day and a Night and a Day: A Novel by Glen Duncan Read Free Book Online

Book: A Day and a Night and a Day: A Novel by Glen Duncan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Glen Duncan
Tags: thriller
the stick in his palm. Leaving Calansay’s out of the question. He doesn’t have the energy.
    From the ridge the track runs down through a field of tan bullocks, long-eyelashed creatures with big-boned heads and a malty odor. They amble aside as Augustus passes, averting their eyes. Selina was easily fractured by the beauty of certain animals. There had been a trip upstate to her aunt’s vacant summer house in Ghent, Edenic to Augustus, whose experience of greenery began and ended with Central Park. One afternoon he’d found Selina crying, silently, leaning on a fence, watching two horses in the meadow beyond. It’s they way they were nuzzling, she said, laughing, when he came close and put his arm round her. I know this is pathetic. I know this is anthropomorphic idiocy but they were being so gentle with each other. Later that night she’d sensed him thinking about it. They were together on the couch, him sitting, her lying with her feet in his lap. They’d lit a fire, sunk into watching the flames. Through the stupor she knew he felt tender toward her. The thing with the horses, she said, out of the silence. (Love showed off with casual telepathy.) Correct, Augustus said. He’d pulled one of her woolen socks off and was massaging her foot. It’s sentimentality, Selina said, I’m sentimental. It’s a weakness. Augustus looked at her. The couch was dark brown cracked leather. She lay with her hands on her chest and a red corduroy cushion under her head, her blond hair spread glinting aroundher. She could look at him with a lucid dispassionate intelligence, something old and female and divine, he told himself. He didn’t know what to do in the face of it, was genuinely in a state of something like awe. It’s no good, she said. I know it looks sweet but sentimentality’s the flip side of cruelty. The Nazis for example: inveterately sentimental. Don’t let it take you in. Augustus waited a moment then said: There’s blond hair, and then there’s fire lit blond hair. (Love showed off with non sequitur and violent tangent.) Selina held her thought then let it go. She had a tense resistance to compliments he loved breaking through. It was an erotic delight to him to watch her yield to indulgence, the warmth of a bath, the first sip of whiskey. They both took intense pleasure in satisfying trivial desires. You know what I want right now? An Entenmann’s vanilla doughnut. So he’d go to the deli immediately and come back with a whole box and the two of them would sit gorging in a trance. Augustus stared at her. Fear hovered on the edge of things for both of them that all their gratified greed for each other would have to be paid for somewhere down the line. This is Porphyria’s Lover , Augustus said. Do you know it? It’s one of Browning’s dramatic monologues. Porphyria is the gorgeous blonde. The poem’s speaker is this guy, her lover. They meet in secret at a cottage by a lake. He hasn’t had sex with her yet—but that evening, as he holds her in his arms and she looks into his eyes he realizes she’s going to let him. The waiting’s over. He can have her. Selina moved her foot so that it rested against his groin, very slightly exerted pressure. Augustus quoted:
    That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
    Perfectly pure and good: I found
    A thing to do, and all her hair
    In one long yellow string I wound
    Three times her little throat around,
    And strangled her.
    Charming, Selina said. He strangles her? He strangles her. No sex, just strangling? Just strangling. Wow. I knew there was a reason I put out on the first date. Maybe I should get a crew cut just to be on the safe side. Augustus pulled off the other sock, kissed her bare sole, the soft pads of her toes. (He’d entered the phase where nothing of her could be allowed to remain alien to him. I’d eat your shit, he’d told her. Nothing of you isn’t

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