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The Great Shnark Ch 3 The Spider

by  Shnarkle

Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2009
Word Count: 1635
Summary: First draft of the chapter where we meet Bob & the spider. Not sure how I feel about it yet. What do you think of it?

The Spider

“So look Shnarkle, can I ask you something?” said Grimpleblik irritably, as yet another branch whipped back and smacked him square in the face.
“Why, when there’s a perfectly good Forest Road, are we walking through the middle of the forest without the first idea where we’re going?”
“If we went home on the road, my dear Grimpleblik, half the party would see us and think it a good idea to follow us back to my house for tea and further festivities. I’ve already given them a party, I draw the line at tea as well; and as it happens, hoppens, hippens; that is really going to drive me mad; as it happens, I know exactly where we are.”
“Where’s that then?” cried Grimpleblik as he stubbed his foot on a large flint buried in the undergrowth.
“On the way home, of course.” Declared the Great Shnark in a voice he usually reserved for the dimmest of dim little Shnarklings.
Not wishing to argue any further, Grimpleblik followed the Shnark deeper and deeper into the old forest; and with each footstep felt the bright afternoon sun that they had left behind struggle harder and harder to penetrate the thickening branches. The trees and undergrowth became more difficult to get through, and Grimpleblik knew, most certainly that they were getting more and more lost.
Eventually, when the light had become scarily dim the Shnark called a halt in a clearing for a rest.
They looked about themselves in the gloom; the tall, densely packed trees seemed to frown down at them as if the strangers were not welcome in their forest, and the thick carpets of ivy, thistles and nettles promised to trip them up the moment they lost concentration.
Grimpleblik slumped miserably against a large rotten tree stump. “How much further now Shnarkle?” expecting the annoying reply of “Not far“ from his now obviously completely lost friend.
“Not far,” said the Shnark, “ In fact home is…..”
The rest of the Shnark’s sentence was drowned out by a sudden, blood-curdling screech that echoed through the forest as it scaled higher and higher in pitch.
“What was that? “gasped Grimpleblik, staring wide eyed at where the Shnark had stood a nanosecond ago.
“What was what?” shouted the Shnark over his shoulder as he ran blindly headlong in the opposite direction to the screech, leaving Grimpleblik to fend for himself.
“Shnarkle, where are you?” shouted Grimpleblik in a panic.
“Mmggnff hnffgg frunnf.” came the muffled reply. Grimpleblik slowly edged in the direction where he had last seen the Shnark, and found him completely stuck fast in a giant sticky spiders’ web which had been spun between two trees; one of the strands completely covering the Shnark’s mouth.
The surrounding undergrowth began trembling with an unseen but terrible power as Grimpleblik and the helpless Shnark felt imminent death creeping towards them. With a further blood curdling scream a huge black ugly spider, as tall as Grimpleblik sprang from nearby bushes and reared on its hind legs before its intended victims. The spider’s other legs waved menacingly above the Shnark’s head, whilst hideous black jaws slowly opened to reveal long needle sharp fangs that dripped venom onto the woodland floor.
“Surprise, surprise boys.” Hissed the horrible hideous spider, who was about to lick her lips in delight before remembering she didn’t have any.
Suddenly there was a great crashing and thrashing in the undergrowth behind her, as a tall, broad man wearing armour and dangerously brandishing a huge broadsword stumbled into the little clearing. The spider dropped back to the floor in astonishment.
“Aha!” cried the knight triumphantly, whirling the sword around his head and neatly pruning the nearest half dozen trees, “We come face to face at last you filthy, disgusting spider type thing!” Then, realizing he was in fact speaking to the spiders’ backside, he coughed self-consciously to himself and made to jump round to face her.
It was at that moment that he tripped on a hidden tree root and fell flailing to the forest floor, his whirling sword catching the spider a glancing blow on her second rear right leg.
“Ow!” cried the spider in dismay, lifting the injured leg into the air. The warrior scrambled to get to his feet, slipped on a patch of wet moss and careered headfirst into the spiders’ face, his helmet crashing into one of her fangs.
“Agghh!” screamed the spider, “You clumsy idiot, you’ve chipped a fang; now I’m really going to spiflicate your…..Ouch!!!” The thrashing swordsman had stumbled backwards, unable to see as his helmet had wedged tightly over his eyes, and as he tried to catch his balance he stamped on the spiders’ front right hand claw. As she lifted the hurt claw off the ground and nursed it with her other claws she suddenly realised she no longer had enough feet on the ground to keep her balance, and collapsed noisily in a shuddering heap at the warriors’ feet. As he finally prised the helmet from his eyes, the knight pitched headfirst and totally off balance over the spiders’ splayed legs and landed heavily across her neck, his bony elbow knocking her out as cold as a stoat.
He scrambled quickly to his feet again and looked around, suddenly noticing Grimpleblik and the Shnark for the first time, “See, easy when you know how.” He said rather uncertainly.
“Oh, you really are the bravest brave person who was feeling particularly brave on a brave day in brave land.” Gasped Grimpleblik. “Who are you?”
“I am called many things,” said the warrior proudly, jutting out his chin for better effect.
“Mnnffgh gnunff.” said the Shnark, who was trying to say, “I’ll bet!”
“To the fierce Shlarg riders of the Carib desert,” continued the warrior, “I am Nashenfrash; the ice warriors of Splenge dub me Gorgonsbane.” He lent theatrically on his sword for greater dramatic effect as he really got into his stride. “The flying monkeymen of Haz call me Slibberdybibberdy, I don’t go there much; and in the western mountains of Krall I’m known as That Mad Bloke With The Sword; but you can call me Bob.”
“Why Bob?” queried Grimpleblik.
“Because that’s my name,” replied Bob. “I have hunted this disgusting spider and her family for many months since they destroyed villages and ate townspeople in my homeland far to the south. They have evaded me thus far, leading me across mountains and deserts, but now my excellent hunting prowess has paid off and I have this mass murderess helpless before me. “
“Erm…” said Grimpleblik.
“Honestly,” interrupted the spider, who had woken up during Bob’s longwinded explanation of his name, “I’ve never heard so much rubbish in my entire life.”
“Erm..” said Grimpleblik again.
“Stay still, arachnid from the depths of Hell!” spat Bob as he pointed the tip of his sword between the spider’s eyes, “You alone are responsible for eating dozens of my fellow people.”
“Oh, I so am not!” shouted the spider knocking the sword away with one of her claws. “Who told you that?”
“Excuse me…” tried Grimpleblik.
“It’s a well known fact.” said Bob indignantly.
“Really?” retorted the spider, “Well known by whom, exactly?”
“By everybody!” snapped Bob. The Shnark and Grimpleblik looked on in disbelief at the row that was developing before them.
“Oh, and who’s everybody when they’re at home then?” said the spider jabbing a claw at him.
“Well that’s what the Witch Queen, Blurg the Beautiful told me when she entrusted me with this important and dangerous mission.” pouted Bob defensively.
“Er…hello?” tried Grimpleblik again.
“You stay out of this!” the spider hissed, then turned back to Bob. “Well she would, wouldn’t she,” raged the spider “As she’d stolen the throne from the rightful monarch, and banished my family from the land because we knew the truth!” Bob began to look a bit uncertain as the spider continued, “You idiot! Can’t you see that you were given a cock and bull story and sent on your mission because you are the most useless knight in the realm, and were nothing but an embarrassment to the army?! She just wanted to get rid of you, get you out of the way.”
Bob sat down in a rattle of armour, with his sword across his lap, and burst into tears.
“Erm, well, firstly, good afternoon to you both,” said Grimpleblik formally, finally getting a word in edgeways, “If you two have finally finished your domestic do you think you could free Shnarkle from this web?”
“I’ll do it.” sniffed Bob miserably, getting to his feet and approaching the trapped Shnark; who by this time had bulging eyes and become red in the face from trying to hurl insults at Bob and the spider.
“Stay still.” Bob instructed the Shnark in a pathetic voice as he raised his sword to cut the strands of the web. On the sword’s downward stroke Bob shifted his weight to his front foot and slipped in some spider gunk; the sudden change in direction sending the razor sharp blade on a collision course with the Shnark’s neck.
“Mmmmuuurrrfff!!!” screamed the Shnark as the blade flashed towards him, only to be stopped centimetres from his throat as the spider, as quick as a flash shot out a ball of sticky silk from her spinneret’s which stuck to the sword and wrenched it out of Bob’s flailing grasp.
The next ten minutes were taken up with Grimpleblik, Bob and the spider carefully untangling the Shnark from the web. But any passing creatures of the forest would have found the most remarkable thing to have been the quality and inventiveness of the non-stop screamed insults that the Shnark aimed exclusively at poor Bob, who, on reflection had had a thoroughly miserable day.