The Students Leave, a Mole Person Speaks

13 July 17 words: Benjamin Knight

Who, or what, comes to the surface of the city when the clever clogs go back home?

illustration: Natalie Owen

For years I have been living in the caves under the city, surviving on a diet of rats, breadcrumbs and refillable Five Guys cups from the one in the Market Square. For years, have I toiled in those tunnels, drudging through sludge and having the foundations rattled from the awful thud, thud, thud of Ocean on a Wednesday. For years, have I waited in my own personal underverse that’s as dark as Pit makes itself out to be.

But now, I move up and take the surface world; for the students have moved out.

Yes humans, you heard right. For as long as I’ve dwelt in these depths after my mother – Gertrude Moleperson – birthed me through a sewer grate, I have planned to take hold of the surface world in my six-toed grasp (look it up). But, now the students have left behind their rooms, I am free to both get a foothold into your world and also have the slimy comforts of home in the abandoned rooms. I have never been averse to a damp mattress, and the ones I found in Trent halls have such interesting stains; red, brown, sometimes even purple (???).

And as surprised as I am that there are (arguably) no rats in student halls that I can survive on, there’s usually at least half a fridge of food in each flat. The fools! The human fools! How can anyone in the right mind leave behind a full unopened box of Kellogg’s Frosties or three bottles of Rekorderlig? It’s madness; I’ve had to scrape around in the cavern floors for ancient mummified husks of worms for sustenance, and these people have the means to throw around semi-decent cider like it’s nothing. Still, I can get a good buzz going with that and can’t complain.

But, to be honest, I had worried about the temperature up on the surface. Sure, it might be hot as the Earth’s core (and I’d know) at the moment, but it was nice and insulated down below and I was used to a sweltering magma nightmare. Luckily, the same students had left behind perfectly good duvets for me to build a nest from. Not just cheap stuff, either – like Dunelm –quality duvets with as many togs as I have toes. I was under the impression that there were those in your world who were sleeping on the very stone of your streets, or even those who flee the fire of their home country. But it must not be the case, given that they’re left behind like dirty tissues. Still, I’m not complaining, just very confused.

That said, now that I have a prominent foothold in your surface world, an almost limitless supply of sustenance and a cosy nest, I will be free to birth my blind, hairless litter and encroach onto your ungrateful sighted earth.

Thank you for this opportunity.

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