A shadow that I had taken to be nothing more than a large piece of rubble comes to life. It rises up off the ground, moving in sections, unfolding to a terrifying size. The thing is like a snake, folding over on its self, the blunt head probing towards the line of armoured creatures that stands with their backs to me. Its body is as wide around as a truck, and probably longer, its skin covered in the same bone-white armour of the creatures. I have never seen anything so completely alien in all my life.
I'm frozen where I crouch. My muscles have locked. I couldn't move if I wanted to, even though my brain is screaming at me to run. It feels like the snake is looking right at me, but even from this distance I can tell that it doesn't have any eyes. In fact its face is nothing but a gaping split, a mouth lined with teeth the size of my arm.
Sickness sweeps through me. I know what's going to happen even before it does, and yet I'm powerless to stop it. All I can do is hide there and watch and pray that I'm wrong.
The creature that holds the unconscious man steps forward and holds up its victim. With a stomach-churning shock I see that the man is not unconscious at all: he is moving, but only barely. He's shivering, clutching weakly at the stump where his arm used to be. That's almost too much for me. I almost look away, but I stop myself, make myself watch. It's the very least you can do for him, I think, to not turn away.
The worm turns its gargantuan head, looking for a moment as though it's smelling the man. Then it rears back and opens wide its mouth. The cavity inside is black as a pit, lined on every side with lethal bone-white teeth. The teeth are moving, multiple jaws flexing and grinding like the gears of some horrific machine. Even from a distance I catch a stink of sweetish rot.
And then it happens. The creature flicks the man forward into the worm's jaw, and the mouth closes around him. It's so fast, so brutal that I have to clamp my hands over my mouth to stop myself from crying out. The sounds of ripping and tearing and chewing fill the air. Abattoir noises. Blunt, punching, grinding, popping noises, with Sharon's sharp screams of horror on top.
And it's over quickly, and the worm opens its mouth again and this time there's blood hanging from the teeth. The creature holding Sharon steps forward. It's happening too fast, way too fast. There's a voice in my head screaming over and over, no, no, no. But I'm silent as I watch. I don't dare cry out, and my feet are like dead weights pinning me to the spot. It's holding her up to the mouth of the worm. And this is it, now is the moment, now is when I have to act. If I was any kind of hero...
Sharon's screams are renewed. She's struggling and kicking frantically, trying to break free from that powerful grip. She looks so small, so pale.
Sharon. My Sharon.
And the creature lets her fall.