Abyss Snarer’s teeth pierced through Thorgaut’s skin and sunk deep into his flesh. The pain was excruciating. He tried to move and get away from Abyss Snarer. But she had pinned his arms to his sides in her tight grasp.
Thorgaut screamed in agony as the poison coursed through his veins. The spider’s terrible venom burned through every cell tissue in his body. He knew he shouldn’t scream. It would void his entrance into Valhalla.
He hated himself for it. It was embarrassing for a Viking warrior of his status to scream like that. But he couldn’t help it. The sound welled up and tore out from deep within his being as if coming straight from the depth of his soul.
Thorgaut prayed for the sweet relief of death, but it didn’t arrive. Even the easing of unconsciousness evaded him. He felt every single bit of pain the spider inflicted into his body. He moaned in agony and cursed the day he was born. He cursed the day his mother bore him. The moment he took his first breath. Wishing he had died before ever coming into existence.
The spider seemed to take great pleasure in his suffering. Abyss Snarer didn’t immediately remove her fangs from his back. Abyss Snarer left them in even long after the venom stopped flowing. Eventually, he felt her withdraw her prongs as they ripped and tore back out through his flesh.
The burning continued to flow through his body in waves. Thorgaut screamed until he was hoarse and his voice gave out. When he could no longer yell, he lay silent in the Abyss Snarer’s grasp and waited for death.
It seemed like the searing waves tore him apart within for hours. The pain gradually subsided, and a relieving numbness swept out from the core of his body. It slowly spread to his extremities, and finally, the pain disappeared completely.
Thorgaut felt the paralysis took hold of his body. Not that he was able to move much anyways in Abyss Snarer’s grasp. Eventually, he could no longer even wiggle his fingers or his nose.
Once he stopped struggling, Abyss Snarer dropped him roughly to the floor. Thorgaut felt a dull thud but no pain as his body hit the hard, rocky ground. He tried to move his body but was unable. He tried to speak, but no sound came out. He desperately tried to scream, but his lips wouldn’t even twitch.
Abyss Snarer grabbed him roughly with her front feet. She shoved him around to wrap him in her thick, silvery thread. It was ironic. Thorgaut couldn’t move anyway because he was paralyzed. Now, the Viking warrior definitely couldn’t because he was so tightly bound.
“Very nice,” the spider said. “Now to drag you down to my layer.”
Abyss Snarer grabbed hold of the web with her fangs to pull Thorgaut up off the ground. She used her two front legs to balance him in place. The human was heavier than she expected, and she stumbled forward in her weakened state.
The spider set Thorgaut back down on the ground and paused to catch her breath. He could see that she was still weak and shaking from the effect of the poison of the hatchlings in her body. He would’ve grinned if he could have moved his lips.
Abyss Snarer scowled at him as if she was trying to figure out what to do. He no longer had the open connection directly into her mind, but he could still sense her emotions.
“Having trouble there?” he fired out mentally in her direction. “Let me give you a hand. Oh, right! I can’t move either of them.”
“Shut up!” she shot back. “As soon as I feast on your flesh, I’ll regain my strength.”
“Oh, nice! Are you inviting me over for dinner?” he asked. “How kind of you, but unfortunately I’ll have to decline. I have other plans for tonight.”
The spider chuckled at that one. “Good one, Thorgaut. If I didn’t have to eat you, I’d keep you around to humor me.”
Thorgaut desperately tried to wiggle his fingers or toes. But he still couldn’t move any part of his body. The spider half-dragged and half-rolled his him over to the side of the cave. She leaned the human up against the wall.
Abyss Snarer maneuvered around him trying to find a convenient place to sink her teeth into his body. But it wasn’t a very suitable position for her because of the way her fangs folded out. She needed to maneuver his body beneath hers so that she could press her teeth down into him.
Thorgaut looked on helplessly as she dragged him back across the cave to a pile of rocks. She tossed him over the top and left his head dangling over the edge. It would’ve been a painful position if he had been able to feel anything.
“You know this is a dumb idea. Right?” Thorgaut asked. “If you bite me, you’re probably going to die. And if you don’t, at the very least you will become a slow, undead shuffler.”
“You and your scary mind games,” she said with a snort. “I don’t remember seeing you get bit by a shuffler when I sifted through your memories. I only saw you get bit by a wolf and a NightWalker.”
“And a spider to boot,” he added.
Thorgaut tried to think of something intelligent to say to stall for time. He hoped that Ariana would come back and save him. Or Svart maybe. But he knew that was a long shot.
“It’s okay,” Abyss Snarer replied. ” I’ll take my chances. I prefer to be a slow, undead, shuffling spider than to be a dead spider killed by a bunch of hatchlings. At least I get to live a little longer. Call it my survival instincts kicking into gear.”
Thorgaut tried to think of a smart comeback. Something to keep Abyss Snarer talking, but his mind drew a total blank. He knew it was pointless. Why delay the inevitable? He might as well go ahead and get it over. Let her finish him off and put him out of his misery.
He braced himself in preparation. This time he was ready. He wouldn’t scream or moan. The warrior didn’t want to do anything to give her the satisfaction of gloating over his suffering.
The image of his mother’s face floated in front of his eyes. He remembered sitting in her lap and listening to her sing. All the times she came into his room at night and sat with him until he was fast asleep. The stories she told him were all there in his memory. He never forgot one. Those were some of his most precious memories.
Abyss Snarer loomed over him. She smirked in his face while watching his expression for the slightest glimpse of fear. Thorgaut ignored her. He wasn’t even there. He was back in Jorundarfell surrounded by his siblings at his mother’s feet.
The old spider figured he was under the influence of her poison. She shrugged and moved around to a better spot. She shifted into position, stepping over him. He could see her soft underbelly. Her face about level with his chest.
Thogaut could look directly into her eyes. She was so close that he could make out the individual whiskers on her face in intense detail. Not even the spider venom could take away his robust, new senses.
A musky scent wafted off of her. Thorgaut could hear her jaws grinding and her stomach growling at the thought of her next meal.
Thorgaut watched as she probed around his belly for a soft place to inject her spider enzymes. She drew back her head for the strike. He watched her fangs sink into his stomach. He thought he could feel the location where she bit down on his abdomen. He wasn’t sure though. It didn’t hurt, and it may have been a trick of the mind based on what he was seeing.
Her cheeks pulsed as she released her enzymes into his body. She drooled as waited for her digestive juices to flow through his body in preparation for her next meal. She grinned at him when she realized he was still watching her.
Thorgatut didn’t feel much of any of it though. The entire situation felt so strange and surreal. He felt like he was merely a detached observer in someone else’s nightmare.
He realized he felt no anger or hatred for the spider. He didn’t even view Abyss Snarer as an enemy. She was a creature struggling to survive like himself or anyone else.
Sure, he would have killed her without giving it a second thought if he had the chance to save himself. But there wasn’t anything he could do under the circumstances.
Thorgaut felt a wave of weakness flow over him. He closed his eyes and leaned his head back in resignation. Mercifully, the darkness took over. He drifted off into a deep and dreamless sleep.