I’m currently forging my way through the fourth Inside Evil book, and I have to say, I’m discovering a lot. Whilst Spirits of the Middlelands was set largely back on Earth, I’m excited to be back in Gathin for this latest installment. There’s a lot being explained in this new novel as Roberta finally starts to get some real answers. I thought I’d share this little excerpt today from the first chapter. Roberta’s been flung back into Gathin and is, like usual, trying to avoid being caught.
As she was about to pull herself away from the grate and find one that was actually big enough to crawl through, Roberta froze. From below her came a deep rumble as if an earth quake was slowly erupting from under her very feet. A nose twitched and a huge hairy and black muzzle stalked into sight. Roberta ceased even breathing as she saw the nostrils below her sniff the air as if they knew she was there. The enormous hulk of Luguolo filled the room beneath her, the thin Mohawk of ebony coloured fur that ran along his back, upright and bristling in the muggy air. He could tell she was there, she just knew it. But he didn’t look up, he just stood transfixed to the spot as a drop of moisture pooled on the end of his quivering nose and dropped to the floor. From where she hung above him, Luguolo’s fearsome orange eyes were hidden, but she’d seen them devouring her before and knew he was preparing for a fight. Then, content that he’d surveyed the room and found it empty, he turned slowly and padded away, his tail almost brushing the very grate upon which Roberta lay as he did so.
It was several minutes before Roberta even dared move for she feared that Luguolo had simply sauntered out of sight and was now quietly crouched, awaiting his prey to stir. As she tried to regulate her heaving lungs and prevent an obvious gasp escaping her lips, she was aware of distant voices. They became gradually closer, accompanied by an odd clunking, until two men trundled into the room with an ancient wheelbarrow that looked on its last legs.
“’Nother one gone then,” one man said, the top of his shiny bald head bobbing up and down as he leant over and pulled a canister into the barrow. “She won’t have any left at this rate.”
“Ain’t your concern,” the other warned as he held the barrow firmly whilst the bag was thrown in.
“T’will be when she’s run out completely.”
“You ain’t the one who’s gotta cut out the symbol and feed what’s left to Luguolo. If it ain’t bad enough she’s got her fist upon us all, we ‘ave to bow to her flea bitten wolf pack.”
The man heaving the heavy metal cans stopped and looked up warily at his companion.
“Don’t be sayin’ stuff like that.” His voice was lower and quieter than before. “She’ll hang us both just for thinkin’ it, let along sayin’ it out.”
“I’d like to see her try,” the man holding the barrow spat viciously whilst the other fell silent. “A’right then,” he said after a pause. “Not another word. C’mon, we gotta get this furnace stoked.”
After heaving one final canister into the barrow, the two men disappeared from Roberta’s sight, though the sound of them trundling along the stone corridor lingered in the air for some time. She wasn’t sure who she was more worried about; Luguolo or her own doppelganger, The Queen of the North Realms. But there wasn’t time to pause for thought because Roberta was keenly aware that she was far from escaping and saving herself. Why did you put me here? She cursed the spirits of the Middlelands yet again for putting her in such a position. Surely a small and secluded lodge somewhere in the woods would have been a far better starting point?