And then there's Natalie, who can divine things in accurate detail by tossing finger bones onto a decorated leather disk. She has a home, fresh water, a green dress, high heels, rabbit meat, a shower, and iced tea, rescuing Jack with semi-civilization just as he's on the verge of giving up.
They comfort each other, growing closer with each passing hour. He knows he should leave, the sooner to reach California and the Pacific. She doesn't exact discourage him, but tells him what the bones tell her, just biding her time. Life is good now, and truly irresistible.
Natalie refers herself as the “queen predator of her valley” for good reason; she has power, or rather, her bones have power. She seems such a loving, caring, kindly sort. Really, she does. But she doesn't call herself queen predator for nothing.
Wightman's work – this is the second I've read – flows well and has a subtle way of grasping your attention and holding onto it. I finished Hunger and Thirst in one sitting, and the time just seemed to dissolve. It's post-apocalyptic, but thank God, there's nary a zombie to be found.
Originally titled Life on the Earth, the ebook edition of this short novel includes two of his short stories from the series, “Matter is Mostly Space”: Acrolithia, (“Mutants,” Vol. 3) and Those To Be Destroyed Are First Shown Love (“The Arrival of the Overlords,” Vol. 2).
Acrolithia: Nobody wants to get booted out of Acrolithia, to be put out "there" where things aren't quite so pleasant. But see, you gotta pass these tests. Still, some of Acrolithia's inhabitants are curious and want to see what's really outside the plastic dome.
Those To Be Destroyed Are First Shown Love: Some little kids get "inducted," to become pets, servants, workers, even become sex toys. The thing they have in common is a diminished mental capacity and family members left behind who receive a three-month food supply as compensation.
Amazon Digital Services ($.99)