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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 38 ‘not a single, solitary book’


As Mac’s eyes grew accustomed to the light he could see activity by the guardhouse. A group of boiler suits were standing around smoking and smirking. One or two of them were laughing at something that someone else had said and before he knew what he was doing Mac stood up and wobbled over to them.‘What’s happening?’ he asked in a broken voice. The group stopped talking and for a split second it looked like they were going to take turns beating Mac to death. He stood as tall as he could in his ragged pinstripe suit and broken brogues.‘Nothing, Grandpa,’ said one of the thugs. ‘That’s what we are laughing about. It is all over.’Mac didn’t understood.‘What’s all over?’ he asked. The thug leane...
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 37 ‘of relentless sameness’


‘Inteachán.’ Mac woke with a start. ‘She is hurt and she needs me.’Mac opened his eyes. It was early morning and the fires were strangely low. The air wasn’t filled with ash like always. Gilly slept beside him. And Iseult beside him. No-one stirred. The courtyard was suspiciously silent. Normally, the boiler suits would be rousing everyone by now. Kicking out and cracking the whip. Shouting and swearing.‘Get up, you lazy idiots.’‘The lorries are on their way.’‘Get your stupid asses out of bed.’Mac was confused. After weeks of relentless sameness, something different was hard to understand.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 36 ‘All around the table’


A Christmas table groaning beneath the weight of the biggest turkey you have ever seen. All the trimmings as well. Someone singing something happy in the kitchen. The doorbell rings. The loveliest tree sits proudly in the corner bedecked in ribbons and balls. And the smell. Like everything wonderful all together. Happy faces on everyone here. Beery hugs and the rip of paper fills the air. Neighbours visiting and then everyone sits down to eat. All around the table. Mum and Dad. Aunties and Uncles. Sons. Daughters. Cousins. Pulling crackers and laughing.The doorbell rings once more.The front door opens.Footsteps in the hallway.A small child with a broken nose standsscreaminginthedoorway.Origi...
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 35 ‘How to spell a scream?’


Conventional wisdom suggests that a scream may be written as ‘aeieieihh,‘ ‘aahhh,‘ ‘arrgghh,‘ ‘eeyah!’ ‘waaaah,’ ‘a-h-h,’ ‘o-o-h,’ and ‘a-w-w,’ depending on context and situation.The agony of Inteachán now adds a new line to the debate:‘AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE...
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 34 ‘in her tiny arms’


Inteachán gasped as her head broke the surface of the water. She clung to the rock and choked as she sucked air into her lungs. She coughed up water and choked again.Inteachán pulled herself slightly further up the rock and coughed again. There was ledge just above her and with the final strength left in her tiny arms, Inteachán reached up and gripped the edge. As she did she scrabbled with her feet and somehow managed to climb free of the water and onto the ledge. As Inteachán swung herself up her momentum caused her to overturn and catch her fractured nose on the rock. The scream finally ripped itself free from her chest.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 33 ‘Inteachán is definitely done for’


But no such luxury here and so the agony continues and anyone watching would surely know that the end was nigh and Inteachán is definitely done for.‘At least she tried,’ they would say. ‘It was a long shot and the odds were stacked against her from the moment she set out.’‘Perhaps we’re to blame,’ someone else would say. ‘How could we have been so selfish as to hope that a small child would save anything anyway?’But a slight curve in the flow and a sudden sandbank and Inteachán is catapulted free from the current and flung fast towards the surface where by the sheerest of sheerest luck one of the straps of her rucksack catches the edge of a rock and yanks her free from the water.Original lin...
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 32 ‘to rip a scream’


She was still underwater but Inteachán couldn’t hold her breath any longer because the agony of her broken nose was threatening to rip a scream out from deep within her chest but the water wasn’t done with her yet and so she hurtled further on and at this point if this was the Inteachán video game once more then the player would have surely lost a life by now and be forced to reload their last saved game and start this level again.  Original link
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 31 ‘towards a jagged hole’


Underwater once again but awake this time, Inteachán sensed that she had reached the point at which the water left the cave. She felt forward with her free hand and could feel that the current was gaining strength. She kicked her legs and the pull of the current caught her and it became stronger and stronger as she battled the swirling water and then the current pulled her again and down she went unable to stop her descent and then feet first she gained speed as the water flowed faster around her and gripped and buffeted her and pulled her towards a jagged hole that she could not see but she knew was there and then through the hole but not before she caught her face on a rock and the blood f...
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 30 ‘swirl and bubble’


Buoyed by her discovery Inteachán moved with fresh purpose. By feeling the current beneath her and listening carefully over the sound of the deluge, Inteachán estimated that she was close now. She adjusted her angle slightly to position herself squarely in the rivulet she had chanced upon and slowed sufficiently to act decisively.The water beneath her began to swirl and bubble as it pooled around a certain section of the cave’s wall. Inteachán splashed on and as she did the ground fell away from her and she sank beneath the surface of the water.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 29 ‘The thought of wet socks’


Splashing now. And slipping. But still running as the cockroach rain showed no sign of abating, Inteachán moved into slightly deeper water. She stumbled a couple of times as the water lapped around her calves and filled both boots. The thought of wet socks was another thing Inteachán blocked from her mind as she focussed on her surroundings.The water was cold. It was deeper. It was filling rapidly with cockroaches. But it was also moving. That was it!The water was moving – although flowing would be a better term to use.If the water is flowing, Inteachán reasoned, then it has to be flowing somewhere. If it is flowing somewhere then I need to follow the flow.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 28 ‘like broken clouds that had lost their hang’


The darkness ahead seemed thicker somehow and now that her eyes had adjusted to the gloom Inteachán was able to see/sense that she was approaching one of the walls of this giant underground cave. The cockroaches continued to fall down upon her like broken clouds that had lost their hang.Inteachán figured that somewhere ahead of her the lake would have a means of flowing free from the chamber she was in. She had no way of knowing if this was going to be the case but the possibility here was something positive to focus on and in moments like this something positive is what anybody needs.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 27 ‘a gauge to measure’


As she ran Inteachán thought of other times in her life when she had run. Not always happy times; Inteachán was familiar with fear from before and now used it as a gauge to measure her fortitude by.You would think that fleeing like she currently is Inteachán wouldn’t have time to think about the past but those of us who have been following this remarkable child for a while now would be in no doubt that she was perfectly capable of doing anything she set her mind to.And so we aren’t surprised.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 26 ‘like a carapaced carpet’


The good thing was that as she carried on running Inteachán could feel the cockroaches falling off of her. The bad thing was that she had no idea where she running. In the darkness and with a slippery floor, it was all she could do to keep moving. She just had to trust that the direction she was running in would lead somewhere.As they fell from the ceiling the cockroaches landed like a carapaced carpet, and with every foot she placed down and every crunch that resulted from said foot, Inteachán imagined she was laying waste to another wave of enemies.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 25 ‘It was all she could do’


Inteachán began to run.She still had hold of her rucksack and she knew she had to get away. As she ran Inteachán brushed herself with her free hand, scooping the insects of out her hair and off of her face. There was nothing she could do about the hundreds of cockroaches now inside her clothes.Though the sensation was totally unendurable, Inteachán kept running.It was all she could do.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 24 ‘An ant in your lunchbox?’


When we are confronted by an insect, our natural reaction is to use our hands to wipe and swipe and flick and push away and squash the thing annoying you. Or hit it with a rolled-up newspaper. At the very least we would wave something in a bid to get the insect to go and bother someone else.A single fly, perhaps?A cloud of midges?An ant in your lunchbox?A wasp attracted to your fizzy drink?A descending ocean of cockroaches?  Original link
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 23 ‘sudden stridulatory squall’


The terror Inteachán was now experiencing is the special kind reserved for plagues and pestilence and other seemingly unworldly but somehow wholly natural occurrences like this sudden stridulatory squall.It is one thing to be standing and staring at a dead insect pinned to a board with a thin piece of glass between you and it, but another thing absolutely entirely when the same insect is not dead and is joined by a billion relatives all trying to burrow inside your ears, nose and mouth.A special kind of terror indeed.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 22 ‘pertaining to the Orthoptera’


Inteachán had once been to the Zoological Museum in Trinity College and among the age-eaten tusks and jarred animal organs on display she had been particularly drawn to the drawers and drawers of insects also available for perusal.‘Orthopterous,’ quoted her father as Inteachán opened a particular drawer. ‘Belonging or pertaining to the Orthoptera, an order of insects, including the cockroaches, mantids, walking sticks, crickets, grasshoppers, and katydids, characterized by leathery forewings, membranous hind wings, and chewing mouthparts.’‘Chewing mouthparts?’ repeated Inteachán. ‘I don’t like the sound of that.’Her dad smiled and pulled her close.‘Not something that you are ever likely to f...
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 21 ‘Where are the words?’


Inteachán – Book FourThe Strikethrough LemniscateAdvanced Examination PaperInstructions for CandidatesWrite your answers to the following questions in the space provided.All questions carry equal marks.1. What would it feel like to have a billion cockroaches the size of pebbles fall from the ceiling of a cave beneath a mountain and land upon your head?2. What would it sound like?3. How would you feel if it happened to you?4. Where are the words?Original link
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 20 ‘the chance to act’


As the cut scene from Level Four of the Inteachán video game (for console, laptop, tablet and phone) continues, the player(s) can see that waves and waves cockroaches are now falling from the ceiling and landing in the water with the plop and the splash that Inteachán heard just a moment ago. The player now knows that following the cut scene they will have the chance to act and take likely evasive action.Knowing the way that games work, this will probably involve running very fast in a particular direction and making sure to press the ‘Jump’ button at the right moment so as to avoid the endless waves of cockroaches. Or opening up Inteachán’s Inventory and finding something that will help her...
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Inteachán – Book Four: The Strikethrough Lemniscate 4: 19 ‘like peals of insect rain’


But it was not whatever in the singular sense – as in whatever it is that is making that noise could it please possibly consider stopping. No, it was whatever in the plural; as in whatever it is that is making that noise could they please consider stopping making it.But all of this is supposing, of course, that cockroaches have the capacity to stop and consider whether or not their behaviour is likely to offend but because they don’t have this capacity they won’t consider stopping and so when the game of this story is made this is where a cut scene appears to show the player that a billion billion cockroaches have just been disturbed by Inteachán and her fire and her talking out loud and are...
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