Strings

The sound of harps recede to be replaced with triumphant trumpets and choirs as the spiders rise back up, their unfathomable engines seemingly leaving an exhaust of holiness and grace in their wake. From an air vent, two wet eyes peer out, unbelieving of what they have seen. The watcher wants to pray but the attempt is stillborn after what she has just seen. If God is listening, He is the last person she wants to be heard by right now.

With a slow creaking, she opens the grill of the vent, cautiously, fearing another descent by those up high but no cherubs sing their song of warning, only the walls groan, echoing the rusted sound back at her in mourning. Apprehension is evident in every move as she steals towards the place the priest fell. There, hidden beneath the rubble, a battered brown satchel. She plucks it up greedily and like a frightened animal, she ducks, her head darting from side to side to spot a coming predator but there is the cold compressing nothing of concrete and loneliness.

Inside there is a book, a book of great power. Even though the priest was captured, he had completed his mission to deliver the holy word. She signs, her hands waving in crazy patterns at the open vent. Light shines briefly on her eyes, reflected off a shard of bathroom mirror and she scurries back, the signal clear.

What follows is an hour of crawling through tunnels, avoiding filth and grime and the danger of a slow death courtesy of a jagged rusting pipe in the catacombs of the underground city, the unfilled grave of the dead cities above. Her companion is silent, the blue sphere hovers ahead of her, lighting her way and signing words of encouragement behind with two of it's spindly, blue metal arms.

Well done. The Elders will be pleased.

She doesn't sign back, she needs her arms to crawl, but she smiles as best she can. The light gets brighter and she emerges into her home, the Sanctuary of the Last. Five hundred people hiding, living, breeding, planning, waiting. The priest was bringing them hope. She hopes she can carry that same burden.

The guards to the tunnel sign a welcome and she signs back.

The Priest? They ask, hands moving with confidence but the shaking betrays their worry. What happened?

He didn't make it. The Angels took him.

The disappointment is tangible. The book, did he give you the book?

She pulls the book from the satchel around her neck and they both breathe a sigh of relief.

You've done well Ruth. Hurry, you must tell the Elders. They turn to the blue sphere. Henry, go with her, keep her safe.

The sphere moves it's hands to indicate puzzlement. Is there danger here? What happened while we were gone?

Whenever the spiders come, there is always danger. Trust no-one.

The sphere bobs up and down in a nod and together Ruth and Henry rush to the Elder's temple.

The End

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