August 20, 2008

Let the Word Take Me p.20

when he did, he wouldn't come out sounding like a complete idiot.

Soon Allayo's patterned-arrowhead face poked in. She nodded to him, and – of all things! – gestured to their escorts, who straightened and stamped feet.

David swore under his breath. Was she a juvenile? But how could that be, when she'd been talking to herself on the ship?

Monroe said, "Is something wrong?"

"No, nothing."

Father spoke quickly. "It's okay. David's just nervous now that we're going in – aren't you, David."

"Yeah," David said, staring at Allayo. "Sure."

A path of flat stones wound by just outside, taking them to the entrance of the House of Leaves. From the shuttle the House had resembled the humped back of some rainforest reptile; up close it was a marvel of natural-materials construction, a huge overturned basket of thick withes roofed with yarin-leaves. The entry was a circular opening – gecko-sized, so David had to stoop low and step high to squeeze through. And the space within was large enough to hold –

It was hard to tell at first glance. There were so many: Gariniki in groups on the leaf-littered floor, on enormous raised stones, even climbing along the basket walls. Probably over five hundred, more than four villages' worth. If they ever hoped to be

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