Getting closer and closer to p100, but still some ways to go. (previous)
Mara led the two to the opening in the caves. Sure enough, there were three guys at work, shoveling dirt and rocks around. Where previously was a lake now stood a wooden structure atop a hill of gravel. One of the workers was spraying some sort of liquid onto the hill.
‘Don’t recognize ’em.’ Andrea whispered. They hadn’t been noticed yet. ‘Follow my lead, we’ll see where it goes from there.’ She stepped towards one of the workers, with Mitchell and Mara following. She cleared her throat, and spoke when the man turned around. ‘Excuse me sir, what do you think you are doing here?’
‘Eh? Who’s askin’?’ His accent was thick, but still understandable. A drop of sweat fell of his nose as he spoke. ‘Ya ain’t lookin’ like someone I need to answer to.’
‘Anne Bouvèrt,’ she answered swiftly. ‘Representative of Whelhaven’s cave protection committee. Please state your business here.’
He wiped an arm across his forehead as he laughed, removing some of the sweat from his shiny skull. ‘So transparent. Whelhaven didn’t have no committee last I checked. Nice try kiddo.’
‘It’s fairly new, so you may not have heard yet.’ Andrea kept up the act. ‘To repeat my question, could you tell us what you are doing here?’
‘Gal please, ain’t it obvious? We’s gonna block off that hole, ’bout time it happened.’ He took a deep breath and puffed up his chest. ‘And there ain’t no law against it, so whatcha gonna do?’
‘There is now.’ she retorted. ‘I am afraid doing so will damage the fauna of the caves, and thus cannot let you continue.’
‘Sure, whatever.’ he scoffed, and turned around to get back to work.
‘Hey man!’ Andrea burst out. ‘See this lil’ girl here?’ She pointed at Mara, who slowly moved behind Mitchell’s legs when the man turned around again. ‘Her village’s gonna be in real bad shape if you close this thing up. That’s gonna make a lot of people real sad, and me, real mad.’ She rested her hand on one of her pouches. ‘And we don’t want any casualties, eh?’
‘Hey,’ Mitchell pulled her back by her shoulder. ‘Take it easy.’ He made a few small steps forward, and spoke up. ‘Sorry, but if you don’t mind my asking, who sent you to do this anyway? Why would you bother?’ He eyed the structure they had set up. ‘Seems like a lot of work.’
One of the other workers had heard the ruckus and pitched in on the discussion. ‘Uh, we did?’ He waved when the group looked over. The worker they had been talking to up ’til now groaned, but kept out of it. ‘Our mom’s sick, we think this is the source. Y’know, dirty air and all.’
Cutting it here, otherwise we’ll go on for much longer than healthy. (next)