Valleysmen only had one god an’ her name it was Sonmi. Savages on Big I norm’ly had more gods’n you could wave a spiker at. Down in Hilo they prayed to Sonmi if they’d the moodin’ but they’d got other gods too, shark gods, volcano gods, corn gods, sneeze gods, hairy-wart gods, oh, you name it, the Hilo’d birth a god for it. The Kona’d got a hole tribe o’ war gods an’ horse gods’n’all. But for Valleysmen savage gods weren’t worth knowin’, nay, only Sonmi was real.
She lived ’mongst us, minderin’ the Nine Folded Valleys. Most times we cudn’t see her, times was she was seen, an old crone with a stick, tho’ I sumtimes seen her as a shimm’rin’ girl. Sonmi helped sick uns, fixed busted luck, an’ when a truesome’n’civ’lized Valleysman died she’d take his soul an’ lead it back into a womb somewhere in the Valleys. Time was we mem’ried our gone lifes, times was we cudn’t, times was Sonmi telled Abbess who was who in a dreamin’, times was she din’t … but we knew we’d always be reborned as Valleysmen, an’ so death weren’t so scarysome for us, nay.
Unless Old Georgie got your soul, that is. See, if you b’haved savage-like an’ selfy an’ spurned the Civ’lize, or if Georgie tempted you into barb’rism an’ all, then your soul got heavy’n’jagged an’ weighed with stones. Sonmi cudn’t fit you into no womb then. Such crookit selfy people was called “stoned” an’ no fate was more dreadsome for a Valleysman.
David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas, 2004