Alvin Schwartz by Jill C. Wheeler

By Jill C. Wheeler

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Most of them are waiting in the Primrose. You know I don’t like talking to them. They twist everything I say and I can tell they’re not really interested. They wouldn’t get even the most basic facts wrong if they were. I don’t know why I bother holding press conferences. ’ She pulled her oversized cardigan closed and sipped her coffee. ‘This is the culmination of years of work since I unveiled the model. The dam has occupied my every waking hour…and my sleep too. But I doubt the reporters care.

For thousands of years the rainwater has been carving faults in the rock into fathomless potholes and massive chambers, where drops precipitate strange and magnificent formations like the Throne Room columns. The Insects’ own tunnels join the system; it does no good to think about it. Slake Cross town itself is built over a resurgence of an underground stream, so it never lacks fresh water. Frost has used dye to investigate the routes of the system. She started messing about with the water table and everyone watched, unnerved, as the level in the deep well rose to its very brim.

Mud grains get into my mouth and coat the back of my tongue. I grit my teeth and they grate against the surfaces. I feel soil filling my nostrils, I retch with the earthworm smell of loam and cut roots. I scream wordlessly with all my strength, trying to relieve the pain. A human or Awian would scream for help, but Rhydanne don’t because Rhydanne know there is no help to be had. I can feel the sweat trickling out of my hairline and a stream of blood running freely out of my side, into the ground.

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