Seoc screamed.  Or, rather, he tried to scream:  he opened his mouth and squinted his eyes and forced the air out of his lungs, but his vocal chords just did not activate.  He did manage to drop the torch, though—not that it mattered; it didn’t go out or catch anything else on fire, just clattered to the floor and sat there, still burning, while Seoc tried desperately to find his voice. 

                It was a ghastly scene that took place before him, a sight invoking such horror as Seoc had never before known and would never like to experience again.  It wasn’t the fact that his father was indeed alive and hunching vulturishly over Seymour’s sprawled body; no, that was frightening in itself, but Seoc had seen worse.  Nor was it his father’s present appearance as a result of the spider’s toxic, but nonlethal, venom: puffy and swollen and splotched with awful shades of purple and green.  No, that was gruesome, but Seoc could bear it.  Nor was it even the combination of these two things.  It was something much worse, something so terrifying and revolting, something so fearsome that Seoc would never be able to find the words that adequately described the sensation.

                Dr. MacInnes crouched, his broad, flat feet set on either side of Seymour’s torso, with his mouth open wide.  And from between the two rows of twisted, blackened teeth—emerging, it seemed, from his throat—a worm.  It was not flat, like a tapeworm, but round, the size of a large adder.  Its skin was bone-white and slimy, glistening wetly in the flickering light of Seoc’s dropped torch, and it was moving… sliding…reaching towards Seymour’s face.

                Seoc thought he might faint.

                He nearly did, too.  Swaying queasily where he stood, the darkness at the edges of his vision slowly encroaching on the center, he felt himself plummet rapidly towards the relief of unconsciousness.  The floor rushed up to meet him, and—

                He caught himself.  What was he doing, swooning in the corridor?  Sey was in danger.  He was the only one that could help him.  To help him, he would have to be conscious.

                “Pull yerself tagether, Seoc MacInnes,” he muttered to himself—not even aware that he had spoken aloud, that he had his voice back, that he could have screamed now if he wanted—and dashed forward, fear gone entirely.  There was only space in him for two emotions: love for an Aechyed called Seymour de Winter, and hatred for a monster he had called his father.  And both of these aforementioned emotions compelled him to a single goal.  Lips drawn back in a feral snarl, he sprang at the enemy, slamming into him with all his weight.

                He was probably half his father’s mass, and had the other man's attention not been focused elsewhere, Seoc’s assault surely would have failed.  But, on this occasion, it was enough to knock Dr. MacInnes sideways and off of his feet.  Seoc landed on top of him, tearing at his swollen, mottled flesh with such ferocity as befit a wild animal, not a short-statured, scrawny, generally quiet young man.

                “You…ugly…bastard!” Seoc snarled viciously, clawing his father’s skin with his fingernails.  “I’ll…tear you…limb from limb…for that!”

                Having recovered from the initial surprise, Dr. MacInnes fought back, throwing Seoc off of him and sending him sprawling across the floor.  The worm had retreated back inside of him, it seemed, for there was no more evidence of it as he stood up and came after his son, snatching him up from where he had fallen and jerking him painfully around to face him.  Blood ran down his face, trickling from the five parallel lines left by Seoc’s fingernails.

                “Right, boy,” he spat, rough, muscular hands tightening around Seoc’s neck.  “I’ve put up with you for lang enough!”

The End

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