Characters: Jack, Ianto, alien.
Word Count: 1536
Warnings: Arachnophobes beware!
Summary: What is it that’s lurking inside the old church? Only the worst thing Jack can imagine…
Written For: alafaye’s prompt ‘A typical Weevil hunt at midnight turns up something a whole lot worse’ at torchwood_fest.
Beta: twinsarein, who generously volunteered her time at very short notice.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
They were maybe ten metres from the door into the sacristy when Jack’s foot caught on something, a strong, sticky filament that stretched, barely visible, from the end of the pew beside him to the open doorway of the small room, and into the darkness beyond. He’d barely brushed it, but that was all it took; there was a flurry of movement, black against black, and something surged through the doorway towards them. Jack swore and scrambled backwards, tripping on his own feet and almost falling, as Ianto fired off several shots and retreated in a slightly less panicked, but equally hasty, manner.
The shadowy creature only came out as far as where they’d been standing, before scuttling back into the dark room. Ianto could hear Jack practically hyperventilating behind him. “You okay, Jack?”
“No, not really,” Torchwood’s mostly fearless leader admitted, voice a bit shaky. “Why’d it have to be a spider?” There was a hint of a whine in his voice.
“The universe has a cruel sense of humour?” Ianto suggested. “Seriously though, that has got to be the biggest spider I’ve ever seen. Must have a leg span of at least two and a half metres, and a body around a metre long. Wouldn’t want to find that in your bath.”
“You’re not helping,” Jack gritted out. If there was one thing in the universe he absolutely couldn’t stand, it was spiders. He could hold his ground against Daleks and Cybermen, stand firm and fight the good fight against seemingly impossible odds, and battle rogue Weevils all day long, but let him catch sight of an eight-legged creepy crawly and he was out of there.
“Sorry.” Ianto threw a sympathetic look Jack’s way. “But we’re here and so is that monster; best to have a clear idea of what we’re up against. You want to call in the rest of the team? The way it’s behaving, I’d say the second heat signature is probably eggs in its nest.”
“So there’s going to be more of those things?” The idea didn’t exactly fill Jack with delight. Ianto wasn’t jumping for joy at the thought either.
“That’s a safe bet, unless we make sure they don’t hatch.”
“Let’s do that then. I don’t suppose we happen to have the flamethrower in the boot, do we?”
“Unfortunately not. Sorry, but I prefer not to take it anywhere unless I know it’ll be needed, just in case it accidentally goes off and sets the car on fire. Can’t be too careful with alien tech.”
“Sensible I suppose, but a bit inconvenient under the circumstances.” Jack took a deep, slow breath and let it out, trying to calm himself. “Okay, I can deal with this; I was just startled.”
Ianto knew that wasn’t entirely true, Jack’s fear of spiders was well known to him, but he also knew that Jack was no coward. “What do you want to do?”
“We’re here, the others aren’t, so we should try to take care of it ourselves. If it looks like that’s going to prove too risky, we’ll call for the rest of the team and the flamethrower, but that’s Plan B. When you shot at it, did you hit it?”
“I don’t think so; I couldn’t see it clearly and it moved too fast.” Ianto was a good shot, but hitting fast-moving targets in poor visibility would prove difficult for anyone.
“That’s what I thought. Okay, first off we’re going to need more widespread light than we can get from our torches.” Even on full beam, they only clearly illuminated what they were pointing at, leaving everything else in shadow.
“We could start a fire,” Ianto suggested. “The floor’s paved with stone and mostly clear of anything flammable.” After getting rid of Weevil squatters, he usually cleaned away as much rubbish as he could in an effort to make the place seem less appealing to them. “If we use one of the old church braziers it should be reasonably safe.”
“Why don’t we just set fire to the whole building? That would put an end to several problems in one go.”
“Tempting as that sounds, there’s too much danger of it spreading, especially after the recent dry spell.” Even Wales, land of rain, got dry weather occasionally.
“Good point. Okay, let’s do what you said. Even a small fire should give us better visibility.”
There was plenty of kindling available in the form of several pews crumbling from dry rot, and the fire, once lit with Ianto’s trusty lighter, did help, illuminating the dusty interior of the church more brightly and evenly than the beams of their torches could have managed. By its light they could clearly see the strands of spider silk issuing from the sacristy in all directions, no doubt there to warn mama spider of anything approaching her nest. It also gave them a clear view of the desiccated bodies of nearly a dozen Weevils that had fallen victim to her. Bundled in webbing, they appeared to have been sucked dry.
Jack shuddered. “I don’t like the look of that. If mama spider was able to subdue and eat a bunch of Weevils, it doesn’t bode well for our chances. Last thing I want is to become an everlasting spider snack.”
Ianto could well understand Jack’s trepidation; the idea didn’t exactly fill him with joy, either. “We know she’s fast and probably venomous, and with all the web lines, getting close enough to have any hope of hitting what we’re aiming at could be dangerous. Drawing her out into the light would be better than trying to sneak up on her in the dark, where she has the advantage.” Ianto studied the approach to the sacristy, a thoughtful expression on his face. “Although… I wonder how conductive spider web is,” he mused, as an idea started to form.
“What’re you thinking?”
Ianto pointed at what he estimated to be the longest strand of web. “That one should do. I want to try something, but I don’t know if it’ll work, so I’ll need you to stand beside me and shoot at mama when she comes out. Aim for her eyes if possible; that way even if you don’t kill her, it should slow her down.” Ianto led the way across the nave, crouching down beside the taut filament, and Jack got into position beside him, Webley aimed at the darkness beyond the sacristy doorway. With the light from their fire making their surroundings so much clearer, his chances of hitting whatever he shot at were vastly improved.
Setting his gun beside him on the floor, where he could reach it in a hurry if he needed to, Ianto pulled out his trusty stun gun and turned it to its highest setting. He tipped his head back, looking up at Jack. “Ready?”
Jack would have liked to say no, but instead he gave a curt nod. “I suppose so. What exactly are you going to do?”
“This.” Ianto touched the stun gun lightly to the strand of spider web and pulled the trigger. He had no idea whether it would have any effect, but there seemed to be something distinctly metallic about the web substance, so he figured it was worth a try.
The moment his stun gun touched the web, the spider surged towards them once more, but it didn’t get very far this time because a split second later it started to jerk and sizzle as a massive charge of electricity poured through the web, up its legs, and into its body. Jack emptied his gun into the twitching creature as Ianto dropped the stun gun, snatched up his automatic, and fired off a full clip, the black body of the spider more or less exploding under the multiple impacts. By the time they stopped firing, what was left looked more like a deflated black balloon than anything else. It was smoking slightly.
Ianto let out the breath he’d been holding. “Well, I don’t think she’ll be causing us any more problems.” He approached the charred remains and nudged at a decidedly crispy leg with the toe of his shoe; it snapped off and crumbled into ash.
“Torchwood one, spider zero,” Jack said, relaxing a little. “Good thinking.”
“Thanks, I thought so; but we should probably do something about the nest before we start congratulating ourselves.”
Jack pulled a face. “Oh, that’ll be fun,” he muttered sarcastically.
“Can’t leave the job half done; the last thing we need is an infestation of those things. Who knows where the babies might decide to set up shop?”
“I’d rather not give them the opportunity. Fine, let’s get it over with. Y’know, this hasn’t turned out to be anywhere near as much fun as I’d been expecting.”
“On the other hand, it’s lucky you suggested this little jaunt, or we might not have found out about our friend here until it was too late.”
“That doesn’t even bear thinking about!” Jack gave an exaggerated shudder.
“Come on.” Ianto patted his lover consolingly on the shoulder. “The sooner we finish up here, the sooner we can call it a day and go home.”
“Well, when you put it that way…”