“Down here,” Grond said, his big nose-flaps snuffling. The torchlight barely illuminated him. His hand was still in darkness, but Jake got the gist just from his outstretched arm.
Jake shook his head. “Look, we’ve gone far enough into these caves. Phor and Zacob are dead, and you’re just smelling Kefi’s corpse as it got dragged away. We need to head back to town, whip up a mob, and come down here with numbers and torches and blades.”
Grond stepped forward and grabbed Jake’s shoulder. Jake tensed, expecting roughness, and was surprised when none came. “Look, I know you’re scared. I am, too. But Kefi’s scent is warm, Jake. I know the difference between a dead smell and a live one. We’ll grab her and we’ll get out of here, mate. Together.”
From off in the distance, ahead of them: “. . .Grond? Is that you? . . .I can’t. . .help. . .”
Grond’s eyes shone as he grabbed one of the torches and headed off into the darkness. “Don’t worry, Kefi, we’re coming for you!”
Jake sighed and followed more cautiously, torch in one hand and sword out in another, past the thin stalagmites that dotted the caves. Ahead of him, Grond’s torchlight turned a corner and Grond’s silhouette was just a weird long shadow on the cave wall.
As he watched, first one and then a second long, thin spike descended into Grond’s torchlight. As he opened his mouth to scream warning, a third and fourth and then a horrible round body between them descended on Grond. Then the light shifted as the torch rolled on the ground outside of Jake’s sight. The silhouette from which Grond’s shadow dangled was large and spider-like.
Jake turned and ran when Grond’s headless shadow fell. Ran headlong into one of the dozens of little stalagmites. Thin and a kind of glistening-gray. . .
He looked up in time to see the maw open around too many misshapen eyes.