It was a long, dark night. The kind of long and dark where one is lonely. Loneliness was known to cause insanity … But it was also a beacon for other strange things.

He, recently widowed, sat hunched over his desk, carefully carving a squiggle into the wood with a knife. A soft whisper tickled the back of his neck; it was very slight, but still it prickled his skin. Immediately he turned around to find the source. The last thing he wanted to see greeted his wide-eyed stare.

A spectre. No–a ghoul, a mocking visage of his wife was in the room with him. It hurt him to see her decomposed body. It enraged him. Once dark skin was now maggot-white; her hair hung limp around her head like a veil. A death veil.

The ghoul was not truly looking at him, but its pale eyes were pointed in his direction.

In life those eyes had been hazel-green, he reminded himself.

The spectre, the ghoul–whatever it was–raised a hand to point at something behind him. There were, he noticed, puncture wounds running all the way up to the thing’s elbows.

Puncture wounds. His dead wife. Carefully he turned around. Above his head was the creature known as the Spider. It clung to the place where wall met ceiling, hidden in the shadows.

Slowly he stood up, and backed away from the desk. Within a clenched fist the knife felt reassuring. He had always known that the Spider would return, had counted upon it, but never suspected the time to be so soon. I buried her last week! Pure loathing, mixed with fear, set his pulse racing. They seldom have any decency.

There were things which lived beyond the scope of human understanding; the Spider was one amongst many. These beings flitted in and out of time and space. Sometimes they walked between worlds. None of what they did made any sense, save for one: they all had to feed. Hunger, even for a god-like creature, was an instinctual need. Emotions, particularly from organic life, intoxicated them; greed drove them to seek out the choicest individuals, and people died.

His wife was just one amongst many, and the Spider would not stop with just her. A vision flashed before the man’s eyes: of people running, panting, through gloom-laden woods. It had come for both of them on a camping trip. Who would have suspected that a long weekend could go to hell so quick?

It didn’t move from its perch, but it watched him with all eight of its eyes. And he watched it as it began to click its fangs.

He held up the knife, hoping against hope that his plan would not go to hell as his life had. With an unsteady hand he began to carve a sigil onto his free hand. Spider, spider on the wall. Spider, spider in the hall. When you hear the raven’s call, back to your hole you shall crawl. 

The rhyme was stupid, but it steadied his nerves. If an alien god was going to kill him, then he would invite another to kill it. When he finished carving the mark, he managed a weak smile. “I hope you don’t mind me inviting a friend!”

The Spider, the Golden Spider, held no love for the Red Raven, and vice versa. He did not want another juggernaut in his home … But what choice do I have?

The Red Raven was punctual; it answered his call immediately. Another spot of darkness filled the small office. Suddenly, the air became thin. Space became scarce as the two gods sized each other up. Before they clashed, the man ducked out of the room, shutting the door behind him.

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