Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

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– 9 –

– 9 –

Meanwhile, not getting eaten becomes a high priority for the boy and girl of the House of Dreams.

It drives Cheryl into distracted diagramming. She isn’t even sure what she’s diagramming. “Shoes,” she mutters to herself as she draws. “Shoes. Lasers! Space!”

Sometimes she takes a break and she folds things into geometries that should not exist.

Tom, once he gets back from the hospital, engineers additional swarms of robot bees. He builds defensive installations into the walls of his dorm room, floor, and building. He prepares himself for many different sorts of surprises.

Most importantly, though, he recruits.

The Lethal Magnet School for Wayward Youth is full of those whom, in his estimation, might be candidates to join his House of Dreams. None have obvious talent at the level of Cheryl or himself, of course, or he would have recruited them already — but the threat that Edmund poses forces him to relax his standards. Now he seeks those whose talents might be lesser, but still staggering; or whose demeanor might conceal hidden talents equal to Tom and Cheryl’s own; or those who can, at least, be drone-servants, genius-assistants, able to do the grunt-work of checking Tom’s math, performing laborious experiments, feeding and currying dead rodents and mustelids, and receiving their tiny footnotes of credit in return.

He hats them. He hats them one after another. The House of Dreams grows, in little trickles.

Edmund’s House of Hunger vastens.



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