Sand: Omnibus Edition
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We live across the thousand dunes with grit in our teeth and sand in our homes. No one will come for us. No one will save us. This is our life, diving for remnants of the old world so that we may build what the wind destroys. No one is looking down on us. Those constellations in the night sky? Those are the backs of gods we see.
Remembered the way he’d hugged her before he left. He never did that. Couldn’t remember the last time he’d done that. “What’ve you done, Palm? What the fuck have you done? ” Vic crossed the room and grabbed the jar of stale beer with its shriveled green lime. She chugged the bitter breakfast down and grabbed her dive bag. Damn, she was tired. But hopefully Marco hadn’t left town without her. 24 • A Mad Dash Palmer Dive light and diver were extinguished as one. Palmer felt the wild man sag lifeless to the ground, and the light around his neck threw out one last spurt of red rays before it too gave up the ghost.
He asked if she knew where Gloralai might be. “I think all the sissyfoots are at the well. ” Conner considered the hour and realized he was probably supposed to be there as well. It had been a school day, a fact forgotten not just from looking after Violet at the Honey Hole but from leaving class on Friday expecting never to come back. It was after dark, and he would normally have hauled his quota by now. He thanked Manuel’s mom and hurried toward the well. The sudden awareness that the sand would never stop hit him.
Supposedly he has a camp up there in the middle of the wastes. I know a guy, Gerard, who quit their group. Came back saying he couldn’t live that far from an adequate supply of pussy—” “Lovely. ” “In fact … shit, Gerard disappeared on a dive a week or so after he got back. And nobody found his body. ” “We need to go talk to this guy. ” “To Gerard? I’m pretty sure he’s buried. ” “No, idiot, to Brock. His camp, you say it’s in the middle of the wastes? You know where? ” “Not really. ” Marco chewed on a dreadlock.
A frozen look on Hap’s face, mouth and eyes wide, regulator dangling. Palmer’s regulator. Palmer’s regulator. Palmer flowed the sand around the regulator and grabbed it, placed it into his mouth. No hope. No hope. But air cares not for hope. It is or it isn’t. And here it was. Here it was. Air. Energy flowed into Palmer’s cells like electricity. He blinked away the tears behind his visor. Vic and his father were yelling at him. His mother was yelling at him. His baby brothers. Hap. All yelling at him. Go. Go. Fucking breathe.
He wasn’t a part of the bombing. They hired him for a dive. Palmer was the one who found Danvar. ” Conner didn’t know what to say. He remembered how his brother had looked in the sarfer, like a body fresh from a grave. “Is he okay? ” “He was down there for a week. If he lives, it’ll be a miracle. But he’s got his father’s blood, so who knows. ” Conner couldn’t believe how lackadaisical his sister could be about their brother’s life. But then—all the death he’d seen that day already had him inured to the sight of the buried.