the chasm floor to the edge of the plateau above was only about forty
feet. In most places, however, it was closer to a hundred or more.
Kaladin jumped off the ladder, falling a few feet and landing with a
splash in a puddle of rainwater. After lighting t
Scuttling cremlings moved away from the light. The tiny crustaceans
were a translucent reddish color; as one scrambled past on the wall, he
realized that he could see its internal organs through its shell.
The light also revealed a twisted, broken figure
and the other two had been doing.
Damnation, Kaladin thought. Hed thought he had Gaz cowed enough
to stay in line. Well go, Kaladin snapped, turning away. But Im not taking
the blame among my men for this one. Theyll know you did it.
Fine, Gaz called afte
was actually among the easiest jobs bridgemen got. The blacksmiths
felt they didnt need the extra hands. That, or they presumed that clumsy
bridgemen would just get in the way. On smithy duty, you usually only
worked a few hours of the shift and could spe
Syl fell silent. Life is hard here, she finally said. I dont know if anyone
would blame you.
Rock would, he thought. And Teft. Theyd worked for that knobweed sap.
They didnt know what it was worth; they thought it was only for healing the
sick. If he ran,
They dont have a windspren guiding them, Kaladin thought. Then why
would you want to discourage me? I could get more of this for you.
Well, yes, the apothecary said. But
Its cheaper if you do it yourself, Kaladin said, leaning down. But this
way you have
of soldiers, one of whom tossed the pit of a palafruit at Kaladins head. The
Kaladin rubbed his temple. Ive still got some strange scruples about
charging for medical care because of my father.
He sounds like hes a very generous
How is that a fair price?
We have to make a living here, in this Almighty-forsaken land! It costs
us money to set up shop, to maintain ourselves, to hire guards.
He fished in his pouch, pulling out a sphere that glowed deep blue. A
sapphire sphere was wor
The wild weeds arent potent enough. The apothecary replaced the
cork. A strong wind buffeted the building, blowing under the door, stirring
the scents of the many powders and tonics he sold. This is practically
useless. Ill give you two clearmarks for it,
why did you spend so much effort on it? He reached for the bottle.
Kaladin caught his hand. We got two or more drops from each reed,
The apothecary frowned.
Last time, Kaladin said, you told me Id be lucky to get one drop per
reed. You said that
back to the camp.
Kaladin was bleary-eyed with fatigue from staying up late working on the
reeds. His stomach growled perpetually from being given a fraction of the food
it needed, as he shared his meals with two wounded. That all ended today. The
And for this she hates you.
She hates me. Bitterly he shook his head. Well Ill give her something
to hate me for.
He tapped with his fountain pen on the glass, and went on tapping till
Esther looked up. She gave a great roll of the eyes and returned to he
What about the selection? I asked.
There was no selection. They were all certainties for the gas.
. . . Im thinking, What dont we do to them? I suppose we dont rape them.
Much. Instead we do something much nastier than that. You ought to learn some
Supervisor Grese in the appropriate manner.
And I was thinking, Why isnt it always like this? And it would be, if I had my
way. A comfortable journey followed by a friendly and dignified reception.
What needed we, really, of the crashing doors of those bo
along comes that fucking lorry. And the jig
was up. Why? What was in it?
Corpses. The daily berm of corpses. On its way from the Stammlager
to the Spring Meadow.
He said that about a dozen of them half flopped out over the tailboard; he
said that it made
do a little good. Still, we are infinitely disgusting, and also infinitely
Nearly all our work is done among the dead, with the heavy scissors, the
pliers and mallets, the buckets of petrol refuse, the ladles, the grinders.
Yet we also move among the
BORIS ELTZ WAS
going to tell me the story of Special Train 105, and I wanted
to hear it, but first I asked him,
Whove you got on at the moment? Remind me.
Uh, that cook in Bunatown and that barmaid in Katowitz. And Im hoping to
get somewhere with Alisz Se
. . I was halfway to the door when I was struck by an unpleasant
thought. It so happens that Ive not yet seen the balance sheet for
Special Train 105. And I left the Little Brown Bower, that evening,
without specifically telling Wolfram Prufer to bury t
We all of us walked as if on tiptoe yes, we tiptoed through the birch
wood, past trunks of hoary grey . . .
The peeling birchbark, the Little Brown Bower with its picket fence and
potted geraniums and marigolds, the undressing room, the chamber. I
A shipment of 1,000? Why, it comprised barely 100. As for the
Selektion: all but a few were under 10 or over 60; and even the young
adults among them were, so to speak, selected already.
Look. That 30-year-old male has a broad chest, true, but he also has
we stood, quite still for a moment, the waiting figures on the spur, at
the far end of a rising plain, steppelike in its vastness. The track
stretched halfway to the horizon, where, at last, ST 105 silently
On it came. Coolly I raised my pow
. Senior Supervisor Grese! And so, whilst the luggage was stacked near
the handcarts, and whilst the
travellers were formed into an orderly column (my Sonders moving among
them murmuring Bienvenu, les enfants, Etes-vous fatigu, Monsieur,
aprs votre voyage
. Some underfed dogs came out to sniff around the truck.
Beyond the ranger station, the road turned into a series of craters
connected by deep ruts. Griffith put Jimi Hendrix on the trucks CD player,
and we bounced along to the throbbing beat. Frog collec
simultaneously. One theory has it that Bd was moved around the globe
with shipments of African clawed frogs, which were used in the nineteenfifties and sixties in pregnancy tests. (Female African clawed frogs, when
injected with the urine of a pregnant wo
working with animals, Joseph Mendelson, a herpetologist at Zoo Atlanta, has
written. I did not anticipate that it would come to resemble paleontology.
Today, amphibians enjoy the dubious distinction of being the worlds
most endangered class of animals; it
I spent a lot of time hanging around with them. Like Griffith, all of the
volunteers were frog lovers. Several, I learned, were zookeepers who worked
with amphibians back in the States. (One told me that frogs had ruined his
* * *
THE same way acoustical engineers speak of background noise
biologists talk about background extinction. In ordinary timestimes here
understood to mean whole geologic epochsextinction takes place only
very rarely, more rarely even than speciation, a
The Big Five extinctions, as seen in the marine fossil record, resulted in a sharp decline in
diversity at the family level. If even one species from a family made it through, the family counts as
a survivor, so on the species level the losses were far gr
adapted to conditions on every continent except Antarctica. Worldwide, just
over seven thousand species have been identified, and while the greatest
number are found in the tropical rainforests, there are occasional
amphibians, like the sandhill frog of A
disappeared in a matter of years. And in northeastern Australia the southern
day frog, once one of the most common in the region, could no longer be
The first clue to the mysterious killer that was claiming frogs from
Queensland to California camep