George Myers upset someone, and he paid for it with his life.
I didn’t know George well, and I never cared to. He was a braggart, brash, and over-bearing. But he must have been worse in his private life.
It was a cool April morning and I was outside the police station, smoking my pipe and chatting with Sergeant Anthony Dawes. George Myers was a short distance away, speaking with a group of young men, who listened intently to him.
A new figure caught our attention, and Sergeant Dawes and I looked as a young boy walked up the street. He carried a violin in his hands, and when he saw George Myers, he stopped, settled his instrument into place, and began to play.
The melody was beautiful and thrilling, setting my heart to racing and keeping my attention focused on the musician.
Everyone on the street turned and faced him, and all save George Myers wore a rapturous expression. He stood stiffly, his eyes wide and darting about wildly. It seemed as though he wanted to run but could not find the strength to do so.
A heartbeat later, something hurried past my foot, and when I glanced down, I saw not one, but dozens of spiders. They raced down the street, and from all around us more joined them. The arachnids streamed out of doorways and windows, cracks and holes, and then George’s mouth broke free of the spell, and he began to scream.
We were held in thrall to the music as the spiders scrambled up and into his clothes, his open mouth, and nostrils. They bit into his flesh and burrowed into his ears.
For long minutes, the boy played, and when George collapsed in a lifeless bundle, the boy lowered his violin and walked toward North Road and Gods’ Hollow.
Sergeant Dawes made a motion as if to try and follow the boy, but I stopped him.
I knew a god when I saw one, and there was no need for anyone else to die.
In the heavy, empty stillness of the morning, the spiders abandoned the corpse and returned to their lives.
Someone, it seemed, had prayed, and a god had listened.