R obyn gasped and covered her face with her hands. She wanted to run but she knew that the door was locked, and Nightingale had drummed into her that under no circumstances should she leave the pentagram. She closed her eyes and mumbled the Lord’s Prayer to herself, then something began to laugh, a deep throaty rumble that made her stomach tingle. She squinted through her fingers.
It wasn’t human but Robyn didn’t know what it was. It was tall, so tall that its head almost touched the ceiling. It was covered in scales and a forked tongue kept flicking from its mouth; the eyes that scrutinised her were reptilian but it stood upright on two legs and it was wearing clothes that looked as if they were made from steel mesh. It was breathing slowly and each time it exhaled she could smell something fetid that burned the back of her mouth and made her want to gag. It moved its head slowly as it looked around the room, then it bent its neck to stare down at her. It opened its mouth, revealing a shark’s mouth with row upon row of triangular teeth.
Robyn crouched down, trying to make herself as small as possible. The stench got worse and she threw up, vomit spraying over the floor in front of her. Her heart was racing and she forced herself to breathe slowly. The thing stood facing her, watching her with slanted, yellow, unblinking eyes. Her mind was whirling and she tried to concentrate on what Nightingale had said to her. It was important to address it by name at the first opportunity and to maintain eye contact. And he’d said that on no account should she show fear; but that was easier said than done because the thing standing in front of her could kill her with one blow or bite.
She stood up, fighting the urge to vomit again. ‘You are Sugart, and I have summoned you,’ she said. She could hear the uncertainty in her voice but she clenched her fists tightly and stared into its yellow eyes.
Sugart looked slowly around the room again, and then back at her. Its chest rose and fell and its foul breath made eddies in the smoky air.
‘What is it you want?’ asked Sugart. Its voice was low and menacing and seemed to come from deep within its chest.
‘I want to get out of here.’