“Everyone into a building!” Electrode ordered as his body arced brightly.
“What are you going to do?” Blacktide asked.
“Just get them inside. The world’s biggest spiders are about to meet the world’s biggest bug zapper.”
“We need a path!” Redeagle had grabbed up a car fender for a weapon, having run out of ammunition. He swung back and forth hard, clearing spiders and spraying goo.
Blacktide and Nyhtwulf ran to assist. An apartment building was the closest they could get to. Finding the door locked, Blacktide put his fist through the lock and latch. Nyhtwulf swept chasing spiders away as they dodged inside.
Electrode started to glow and strobe as he charged himself. The spiders were forced back, unable to come near him.
The rest of them rushed inside. They all dove for cover behind furniture and the large lobby counter.
The air between the buildings became daylight as the powerful surge flew towards the sky. Electrode then broke into a staggering run for the doors as bodies of the giant spiders fell all around.
“Are you okay?” Atomizer said as he ran to steady him.
“Yeah, just a little drained. I’ll recharge in a few minutes.”
“Let’s put a bunch of furniture against the door here to try and keep any more out,” Redeagle suggested.
“Sorry, disintegration is my only lockpick,” Blacktide said.
“No problem. We’re safe for now. Let’s just get this blocked.”
They scrambled to stack furniture against the doors to the building. Redeagle even pushed and broke the lobby counter loose. Nyhtwulf helped him shove it, grinding into place.
“Okay, so now how do we go about finding this artifact and putting a stop to the spider kingdom of Chicago?” Redeagle asked as he caught his breath.
“I sense intense psychic energy and it seems to get stronger in that direction,” Dreamseer pointed upwards.
“I too sense this. We must climb,” Nyhtwulf said.
“Climb? Yeah, how about we just take an elevator?” Atomizer suggested.
“You want to get stuck in an elevator with those things?” Redeagle pointed out.
“Okay, stairs it is. But what are they doing up at the top of the buildings? Making webs?”
“Isn’t that what typical spiders do?” Electrode asked.
“Let’s make sure we have a good route then,” Blacktide said. “Nyhtwulf, can you sense a safe route?”
“Nowhere is safe, even if it seems at any moment,” his partner responded.
“That’s just great,” Atomizer said, “I hate spiders.”
“Let’s find the stairs,” Red pressed and they moved across the lobby carefully. Any movement out of the corner of the eye was held suspect. Atomizer couldn’t stop looking behind furniture or at the ceiling.
They found a sign that said stairs and an open door across from it, blocked open by a human body.
“Well, there’s a clue as to what happened to the people,” Atomizer said.
A really large spider compared to the ones outside crawled out the door and blocked the hall. Nyhtwulf growled and flew forward to block its approach. It turned its head up toward him and seemed to answer with a chittering challenge of its own. Then, from under its body a pair of human arms reached down and pressed against the floor along with a pair of human legs. It rose up on those legs and folded back the arachnid ones, angling its head in a more humanoid fashion. This spider had once been a large man. Nyhtwulf was the only one not frozen in terror and shock from the sight. He lunged forward and the spider answered with the same. But it froze when the lupine hero phased his arm into its chest and disrupted its life force. He kept his arm within as the man-spider’s body shook with spasms. Nyhtwulf made sure it wasn’t going to be a threat again. Finally, he let its convulsing form fall to the floor. He turned to his friends.
“Dead,” he announced.
Atomizer stumbled backward, “Are you kidding me? Aw man! I really hate spiders you guys! I had no idea it would be like this! One spider dude with a freaky helmet, and I thought, sure I can handle that, but this is way out there!”
“Hey!” Redeagle shouted, “We need you to hold it together! Come on, you’re with us and you can do this.”
Atomizer took a deep breath, took his hat off and ran his fingers through his hair. “Yeah, yeah, I know. But, man, my power doesn’t work on living tissue. I’m going to have to blow holes in the freaking walls and stuff. And, man, I’ve never seen such a monster.”
As the group approached the stairway door, Atomizer clenched his fist and teeth. Nyhtwulf paused at the end of the stairs.
“We can move this way safely for now,” Nyhtwulf said.
“Keep us posted,” Blacktide said, “I’ll bring up the rear.”
“I’ll be up front with Nyhtwulf,” Electrode said. The rest remained between them as they started up the stairs. Every shadow demanded their attention. Knowing that these spiders could be right on the underside of the stairs made them extra wary. The stairway had open space from top to bottom and no one wanted to stick a head out to look up or down. Electrode still needed to recharge but felt he could do a few strobe bursts if needed. He could carry a massive charge and even act as his own alternator and recharge himself when running at full speed. He feared leaving his friends even for a split second however.
They made it up six floors when Nyhtwulf stopped and pointed to the 7th floor door.
Blacktide covered their exit from the stairwell as spiders skittered down from above. He pulled the door shut as they moved in and Electrode stepped up. He emitted a narrow arc from his fingers and welded the door shut.
“That should hold even the humanoid ones.”
“Guess we need to find another set of stairs,” Redeagle said, “Probably at the other end of this hall.”
Nyhtwulf nodded and took the lead. He led his friends halfway down the hall and then stopped with a low growl.
“What is it?” Blacktide asked.
As Nyhtwulf said that word, spiders of both human-hybrid and monstrous size emerged from apartment doorways. They crawled to the ceiling and walls. The friends were completely surrounded.