Dag led me back to the surface. I had not realized how deep we’d gone until I was limping back in the black. My mind was burning.

Welcome to the jungle.

We used a flashlight to spot a door on the tunnel’s side. The steel stairs beyond led up to an observatory. Gloom filtered through the dusty glass on the far wall of the room, looking down on a derelict factory floor.

By the window in a foldout metal chair sat a man.

A spider.

What had to be a guy nearly seven feet tall was folded over in his seat, staring at us under his brow. I got a good look at his lean face and the firemark which marred it as he sat up and expanded.

“You messed up,” he said.

Dag was surprised to see him. “…We shouldn’t all be here like this.”

“No, we shouldn’t. Too late now, isn’t it though?”

“Take a seat, Frode.”

I obliged. I was happy to. Dead tired, only the surreal horror of this day was keeping me on my feet.

The cat in my shirt meowed as I sat. I tiredly wiggled my eyebrows in response to the strange look the emaciated man gave me. He was unimpressed. They were all so serious and I was still just dying.

Tired yet bursting. One thought on my mind. I have what I wanted.

I had to suppress a laughing fit.

“I don’t think so, McCrea,” Dag told him.

“You just take him down to have a chat with the demon bound in the basement and you don’t think you fucked up?” McCrea swept a strand of long white hair out of his face which had fallen loose.

Percy had come up from the steps. “I told you, Kid.”

Hashing blame,” I laughed. These two guys had to both be in their sixties. It was such a funny sight, them admonishing us.

Dag tried to shush me. “It worked, he’s got valuable info. It cost nothing.

“It all has a cost!” Percy shouted, angered.

McCrea grit his teeth. “There’s protocol. We operate smart.

“Can I just ask-” I cut in. Continue reading