Five minutes after the sounds of tearing flesh finally stopped, Winter opened her eyes. The basement was still, almost peaceful. The creature had retreated back into its hole in the wall, and the trolley to which Christopher had been tied now lay on its side. Thick, bright blood was everywhere, smearing the walls and floor, coating the steel struts of the trolley. There were parts too, white bits of flesh and bone, misshapen and horrible. Among the scraps Winter discerned a curiously shaped lump, and a moment later realised that it was Christopher's hand. She groaned and shut her eyes, a hot blush of sickness rising up her throat.
"I really am very sorry," said Garmondy, quietly. "Believe me, my dear, I didn't chose this anymore than you."
Even if it were not for the gag, Winter was beyond talking. She groaned again. A tear slipped down the side of her nose and fell to the floor. In her head she heard Christopher's last few screams over again, almost drowned by the chittering, squealing noises of the thing that had torn him apart. And she had been just here, right here not more than ten paces away, unable to do a thing to help. And now Christopher, everything that made up the person she had known and loved and spend her years with, all of it lay in bloody pieces on the concrete of this horrible place.
There was another flurry of squeaking, insectile noises from across the basement, and Winter tensed, not wanting to see nor hear the monstrous thing from the hole ever again.
"Don't worry," said Garmondy. "She is full, for the moment. Her children shall finish what remains."
And despite herself, Winter cracked open her eyes. The wall on the other side of the basement was moving--at least, that's what it looked like. There was a slight distortion to it, a rippling as if it were seen through a heat haze. It took her a moment for her to realise what she was seeing.
There, feasting on the blood and scraps the creature had left were a thousand tiny version of it. The little beasts tumbled over one another, gathering in a rustling mass wherever a particularly juicy piece of meat was found. They were tiny compared to the thing that had killed Christopher, but still big, each one the size of Winter's closed fist. As they moved and ate they made a noise, like the crumpling of a thousand cigarette papers. With wide eyes Winter saw the glint of their sticky jaws, their many eyes, their legs flowing and tangling and wriggling.
Winter had always hated spiders.
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