Released in February, Bleeding Earth by debut novelist Kaitlin Ward is the gory and gripping tale of 17-year-old Lea and her girlfriend Aracely as they fight to survive and maintain sanity in the chaos that comes after the earth begins to bleed.
I’m always on the lookout for books that feature queer women (bonus if it’s not about their queerness, but simply there within the context of the world). In honor of the lovely queer girl relationship in Bleeding Earth, I’ll be sharing 4 quotes I absolutely adored from the novel with you all.
As can be expected from a book that’s premise rests on the earth literally bleeding, much of the description is quite gruesome. It’s also beautiful.
When Lea and her best friend Hillary venture into a neighborhood cemetery, they have their first sighting of the blood.
Blood is oozing up out of the ground in front of this gravestone. Tiny beads like grisly dewdrops, glittering on the bright blades of grass. The longer I look, the plumper the beads become. They push together, forming miniature blood puddles.
After the blood appears and doesn’t go away, the reality of the new, bloody earth begins sets in. Lea and her friends go to school, her parents to work, and life goes on.
We ignore news stories about subways flooding and cities shutting down because it’s impossible for them to go on. We don’t have to deal with that sort of thing out here in the middle of nowhere. We are stronger. We are different. That’s what we want to believe.
And everything’s all right, so long as we believe it.
Eventually, things get bad, leaving Lea and Aracely to survive on their own. In the midst of horror, they find comfort in one another.
We need this, I think. Both of us do. This moment of normalcy and reconnection among all the death and the horror. We’re not going anywhere–at least not tonight–and there’s no one around to stop us, either.
So we don’t kiss like people who are trying to cram all the kissing they can into a few precious moments like we have before. We kiss slowly, delicately, achingly. Brushes of skin and fingertips and mouths.
While trekking through bloody streets, Lea and Aracely come across a church sign reading, Beloveds, don’t be afraid. In search of water, they go into the church. Inside, Lea breaks down and prays, something she’s never done before.
We’re not zombies in the obvious way, where we’re dying to feast on the flesh of our kind. But a different kind of zombie, where the blood has taken the part of our brain that cares about others and replaced it with this feral hunger for survival so strong, we’ll do anything to appease it.
Or maybe this is just us. This is human beings, stripped of our pretenses. This is what we are at our cores.
Maybe the earth is right to destroy us.
Aracely’s fingers are in my hair. I let go of Jesus, turn to her.
“We should go,” she says.