The Dog Stars (Vintage Contemporaries)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
A San Francisco Chronicle and Atlantic Monthly Best Book of the Year
Hig somehow survived the flu pandemic that killed everyone he knows. Now his wife is gone, his friends are dead, and he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, Jasper, and a mercurial, gun-toting misanthrope named Bangley.
But when a random transmission beams through the radio of his 1956 Cessna, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life exists outside their tightly controlled perimeter. Risking everything, he flies past his point of no return and follows its static-broken trail, only to find something that is both better and worse than anything he could ever hope for.
pond, I get a deer. Mostly I just want to go up there. It feels like church, hallow and cool. The dead forest swaying and whispering, the green forest full of sighs. The musk smell of deer beds. The creeks where I always pray to see a trout. One fingerling. One big old survivor, his green shadow idling against the green shadows of the stones. Eight miles of open ground to the mountain front, the first trees. That is our perimeter. Our safety zone. That is my job. He can concentrate his
and ran across. Sandy there, open in the bottom. Went as fast as I could. Once I had dropped out of sight they would be making up ground behind me, running themselves. I hustled the sled into the thick sage on the far side and levered it sideways to the trail. Almost the same movement I reached for the big Buck knife and started cutting thick branches. In less than a minute I had the sled well covered. Had been a green kayak, forest green, and I was suddenly very frigging glad I had had the
crack a fingertip. I watched her hands closely after that. Moving the pods deftly up and down the fingers sometimes switching to the third or fourth finger spreading the pain. Working swiftly without complaint. Don’t, she said. Don’t watch. Once in passing she told me that she didn’t expect to live past fifty or fifty five. From what she knew of the damage to organs caused by the fever. She also confessed that in an odd way she was happier here than she’d ever been. Even with all the loss.
somewhere up in the foothills of the Himalayas, and when she had her bow drawn on a big buck, very close, I cried NO! and the animal leapt and ran and she turned to me and her face was bright with fury and betrayal. When I woke up I was gripping the rope side of the hammock and it took me a minute to realize where I was, that it was a dream, and then the near vertigo, thinking, This is a dream, and a little relieved I was in this one and not that one. Cima’s bruises lightened and vanished and
not cover from here, which is of course why he had chosen it. Had never occurred to me, don’t know why. Or that when I beeped him in the night with an intruder alarm that he could scope the whole scene from here. He would have known how many were stacked behind the dumpster, what they were carrying, how many more were maybe hanging back, knew it all before he sauntered up to our berm in the dark, had probably already planned who he would shoot first and how. Why he never seemed surprised, always