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LEVEL 05: STORM SONG
Despite nauseating pain, I sat straight.
“Tiffany! Are you okay?” Arik's voice came from outside the barn.
I threw back my best sarcasm. "Always enjoy a good game of Grand Theft Horse! I brought it in here to get a paint job!"
“This is no time for jokes! Come out already!” Charles joined Arik.
I attempted to stand, but something held me back. “Guys? I'm stuck on something!”
Outside, the wind changed direction, and the barn door snapped off its hinges and flew away.
As my friends entered, I reached back and found a threaded, sticky substance under my fingertips.
I tried to wiggle, but it held strong. “It's like a sticky rope!”
"Sounds like I'll need my knife!"
“Should be in the horse's skull!”
A great boom of thunder shook everything, and lightning lit the barn.
I tilted my head and spied the silvery-white cord holding my shoulder in place. “What the hell?”
“Found the horse!”
They were taking too long. The cord vibrated, and I started to worry. “Hurry!”
Lightning flashed again, and I spotted the cord suspended between a pillar and a tractor where it then connected to other similar threads.
“Tiff! Where are you?”
“Don’t call me Tiff!” I pulled hard, but I couldn't break it.
The sky lit up again. Arik and Charles came around a corner, and both froze, jaws agape.
I swallowed hard. "Is this what I think it is? It's not, right? Tell me it's not."
A few intense moments passed until lightning flashed. I lifted my gaze. Gigantic spider webs covered the ceiling.
“Shit, get me out of here! Help, please! I hate spiders!”
“Quiet!” Charles slapped his hand over my mouth.
I thrashed, getting stuck even further. No! I had to get free. I needed to run as far as possible and never turn back!
“Calm yourself.” Charles held me still.
I’d been without human contact for months, but it was so comforting and warm, I fell limp.
“Arik, cut the web.”
“Don’t worry. The spiders aren’t here.” Arik tried to comfort me, but I didn’t believe him.
My eyes rolled back as he tried to cut through the web. Another sensation came over me. Charles holding me; it felt so nice to have human contact and be in someone’s strong arms.
I’d always been in love with Zach, but one summer after he left, I had a temporary romance with a boy named Garrett Rose. He caught me a turtle, but I let it go. Still, I kissed him for the gesture. We ended up making out and falling asleep in each other’s arms; the last time I had physical contact with a guy.
Arik stepped back. “The web is too strong.”
“Let me think.” Charles' breath tickled my ear causing me to shiver.
“We might have to amputate her arm.”
I sank in his embrace. “Sure, why not?”
Arik's voice sounded so far away. “Is she dead?”
“Her shoulder looks dislocated. The pain is causing her to zone out.”
My head rested on Charles' shoulder. "Sure..."
“I have an idea.”
A small flame flickered to life between us. Arik held a golden table lighter in his hands. He put the fire to the web, and it sizzled apart, freeing me.
“I got you!” Arik held me; his embrace was nice, too.
“This may hurt a little.” Charles grabbed my arm and shoulder.
I wanted the boy's warmth.
Charles jerked and an incredible pain exploded in my shoulder; I screamed. I flopped from Arik’s arms and rolled onto my side, gasping for breath.
"Sorry, I had to fix your arm." Charles kneeled next to me.
I tested each finger making sure they curled. “Never do that again!”
“All right! We’re safe and sound!” Arik pumped his fists and raised the roof. It was embarrassing watching the idiot.
Embarrassment turned to fear as something lowered behind him; a giant bug with eight legs and a skull on its abdomen
I lifted a trembling finger. “Oh, hell no!”
“What?” Arik cocked his head, and the spider wrapped its legs around him.
An earsplitting screech filled the barn as it lifted him into the air.
“Oh no, you don’t!” Charles leaped, and grabbed our friend's legs.
I was in shock and unable to help. They both lifted into the rafters, vanishing.
I'd never heard such a high-pitched scream.
The lighter landed nearby. An idea popped into my head. I snatched it, and tossed it into several bales of hay. The pile burst into flames, along with the wooden pillar behind it.
Fire surged to the roof, and moments later the entire barn caught. My jaw dropped to the ground as I saw the whole upper section. It was filled with webbing and dozens of large spiders and wrapped up bodies.
The creatures hissed and dove around as the fire licked at them. Several bodies fell from the ceiling and landed with great thuds.
I rushed to the nearest one. “Arik? Charles?”
As I reached for the body, it groaned and grabbed a handful of my hair. The corpse pulled me in and snapped its jaws, but I punched the undead bastard in the face. I punched it again and again, making its head into mush. I pulled free of its grasp and gasped. The other bodies were rising, making rigid undead movements.