Previously, in The Host:
Melanie: View all my distractionbacks! They serve the dual purpose of distracting you whilst forcing you to fall in love with Jared.
Wanderer: Your plan was successful, I now love Jared as well!
Melanie: So let’s work together to follow some squiggly lines my crazy uncle showed me, lines that will lead us to Jared who may or may not have figured out what these squiggly lines meant.
Wanderer: We’ll I don’t know…
Melanie: C’mon…it’ll be fun. Besides, you aliens have no real aims anyway.
Wanderer: Okay, let’s go to the desert together and follow some damn squiggly lines.
The girls have apparently run out of gas in their car but are apparently are still a ways away from their destination. Apparently Wanderer done fucked up and now they have to backtrack on foot. Melanie tries to convince Wanderer to cover the car with nearby…branches in order to hide it. I don’t know, you guys, that plan sounds pretty fucking stupid. So Wanderer ignores Melanie and thinks that even if someone does find her, she can just say she got lost hiking. Hiking is legitimate thing that people do, and I’m sure the aliens have taken over the body of someone who saw 127 Hours. I wonder what the lives of souls in celebrity bodies are like. Do they still make films?
I could easily and honestly explain what I was doing here to any rescuer: I was lost. I’d lost my way…lost my control…lost my mind.
Jesus fuck, Wanderer. Just stop with, “I was lost.” How the hell were you the one chosen to complete a difficult mission of any sort in the first place?
There’s more useless inner turmoil about Wanderer and whether she’s doing the right thing, and inner turmoil from Melanie about protecting Jared and Jamie, and more inner turmoil for me because I still am barely through chapter eleven and still have to read chapter twelve.
I sorta feel for Wanderer in this chapter. Melanie is still only releasing clues to her about the squiggly lines and map markers in increments, so she’s just kind of wandering (omg, like her name, you guys) in the desert not really knowing how long their journey realistically could be. It still baffles me that Melanie is able to keep information from her, given it seems like sometimes they can feel every changing emotion the other soul/person has? And hear all their thoughts. The rules in this book confuse me.
At night, Melanie is as unhelpful as ever.
You want me to just sleep on the ground? Right here?
You see another option? She felt my panic, and her tone softened, as if with pity. Look— it’s better than the car. At least it’s flat. It’s too hot for any critters to be attracted to your body heat and—
“Critters?” I demanded aloud. “Critters?”
There were brief, very unpleasant flashes of deadly-looking insects and coiled serpents in her memories.
Don’t worry. She tried to soothe me…
Again the rules of what they can and can’t hide from each other become unclear:
You’re bigger than anything else out here. Another flash of memory, this time a medium-size canine scavenger, a coyote, flitted through our thoughts.
The chapter progresses as slowly as Wanderer and Melanie on their journey. Obstacles like drinking too much of their water supply and running out of food occur, but I feel no sense of urgency reading this.
As the girls continue to move forward, they suddenly make out a house in the distance. Melanie is immediately terrified, but Wanderer tries to convince her that souls only live in societies and would never be off on their own out here. Then for some reason she thinks it’s time to have a personal crisis about whether or not she’s always been unhappy as a soul and that’s why she’s wandered from planet to planet. Melanie clearly does not give a fuck and continues to stress about the house. They determine maybe humans live there and would kill them, but Melanie thinks it’s unlikely given how thorough the souls are at taking over planets.
So then it turns into well if your kind isn’t there…and my kind isn’t there…maybe no one is there and we can search the house?
Inside the abandoned house, Wanderer finds a newspaper that is filled with grotesque news articles, which sparks a debate between her and Melanie again about whether or not the souls are living as humans better.
That’s how we realized you were here, you know, she said, thinking of the sickening news headlines again. When the evening news was nothing but inspiring human-interest stories, when pedophiles and junkies were lining up at the hospitals to turn themselves in, when everything morphed into Mayberry , that’s when you tipped your hand.
“What an awful alteration! ” I said dryly, turning to the next cupboard.
Again, what the fuck is their goal that they’re all apparently working towards together in perfect harmony? And why can’t this book me more interesting or at least more fun to make fun of and not so damn boring!
Wanderer find crackers and twinkies and even water stored in a bottle of bleach. Apparently this is a thing that people do because the bleach residue keeps anything from growing in the water. At least this book taught me something new.
The chapter ends with them heading back outside to continue on their merry way.
But then chapter twelve begins with Melanie freaking out that Wanderer’s gotten something all wrong. They do see the next map marker, but it turns out it’s completely in the opposite direction, and they’ve already run out of food and water…on day four. Jesus, I thought it had been much longer. For some reason they conclude that uncle Jeb was just crazy and there’s nothing out here. And that they are going to die.
As our heroes eventually lay dying, having discussed their beliefs (Melanie) or lack of beliefs (Wanderer) in the afterlife, someone of course comes to save them. God damn it.
Why, it’s crazy Uncle Jeb! I don’t think he’s gonna be too happy when he realizes there’s a soul in this body. He probably already knows because of the incision thing in her neck. Anyway, the chapter ends with hilarious first words from Jeb. He’s literally just like, “Well, now, here’s a pickle.”