One of the first things every kid in the Under is taught is to avoid buggars at any cost. Unlike spiders, buggars aren’t afraid of people at all. They run at us instead of away, and their finger-sized fangs are filled with skin-dissolving poison. Mother has a deep scar covering her palm from a buggar bite that almost completely dissolved her hand when she was little. I’d spent my whole life calling to Father when I saw one, watching him kill it with his pickaxe from a safe distance.

But Father wasn’t here now.

The buggars saw me fast, whipping around almost instantly. I screamed and threw the rock at the closest buggar. It hit its mark, squashing the thing into mush, but it gave the second buggar time to scurry up the wall behind me and lunge down at my shoulder with its fangs. I barely felt the sting over my panic, grabbing the thing and beating it against the top of the rock that had killed its mate until the overside matched the underside in buggar guts.

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