Picture by Jovike: Aldgate Tube Station
They walk out of the station. “Well, presumably there was an old gate,” Damian says.
Aleesha smirks. “Actually no,” she says. “It’s from all-gate. Because it was open to everyone, nobody shut out, nobody forced to pay a toll.”
“Surely that defeats the purpose of having a gate in the first place,” Damian says.
Anselm nods. “In fact,” he says, “it’s from ale-gate.”
“It was a gate made of… ale? I don’t think that would work. I know food standards have risen a lot over the last thousand years, but—”
“Because of the inns and taverns that surrounded it,” Anselm continues unruffled.
Damian reaches for a mobile. “Okay,” he says, as the internet filters slowly down from the sky, “apparently it’s, um, does anyone know what a noil is? Apparently it’s a short fibre left over from combing wool or spinning. And, uh, this area used to be a big centre of spinning, so there were noils on the ground everywhere. And after a while the n disappeared. A noil gate, an oil gate, Aldgate.”
They’re silent for a minute. Damian keeps reading. “Huh, it says oranges used to be called noranges and the same thing happened there.”
“Weird,” Aleesha says.
Anselm frowns. “Sounds a bit unlikely.”
Damian snaps the phone shut one-handed and holds it up. “The internet has spoken. Do not question the internet. Additionally, the internet says it’s time for cake.”
Deep underground, Uldig shifts, starved, restless, not quite asleep. Keep the dirt pressed tight, they said; build heavy on the ground above, walk through the gaps every day to keep it packed down. Never forget the incomprehensible appetite of the creature, or what it did.