The New Enemy

I thought it was over.

We had made our peace with the Arachnids.  They had learned the hard way that their numbers counted for nothing against the technological superiority of our House.  When they could not overcome the glass prisons and the powerful suction device we set against them, they had no choice but to accept the few distant corners we were willing to give them.

I thought it was over.

But I had not counted on the Centipedes.

For over two months they have waited in the shadows, watching as their two deadliest enemies destroyed each other.  Only then, with Man and Arachnid pushed to exhaustion, did they make their move.

And what a simple move it was, born of a more ancient time…

Rather than send an entire army, they sent a single envoy to represent them.  A champion of their people, born with a hundred legs, garbed in plate armour, and shrouded in malice.  He did not announce himself, merely waited for the back door to open and swept on in.

At first I simply stood there watching him, bemused.  Then, when I realised he meant to gain entry past our borders, I roused myself to action.  First, I slammed my foot down in front of him.  It was a show of strength, meant to demonstrate to him that his path was blocked.  But this was a champion, and he showed no fear.  On he marched, those countless legs relentless in their advance.

‘Go the other way!’ I called to him, but the words fell on deaf ears.  His mission was simple: to reach the Promised Land.  If he was going to be stopped, I was the one who was going to have to do it.  Champion versus champion.

So I flicked out my foot and caught him.  I only went softly, hoping a gentle nudge would make him see sense and put him into retreat…

But alas, the gentle nudge pushed him into the metal carpet strip by the door and the poor Centipede champion was severed in half.

I felt sick with guilt as I watched his top half crawl away into the shadows, leaving behind at least fifty twitching legs.  I only meant to turn him back…

Looking back now, I found myself wondering if perhaps the whole thing was a deception.  These Centipedes have proven themselves crafty creatures so far, so maybe they knew how I would react.  Perhaps they sent their weakest soldier knowing I would destroy him, and while I’m left to deal with the guilt of what I have done, maybe their leaders are out there now trying to convince their population that only a full scale invasion will prevent any more of their citizens tasting the Golden Rail…

Yes…

I can feel it in my heart.  They are coming.

Tony

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