This cave had been the heart of countless stories about brave knights and noble lords who had ventured into its depths on a quest to conquer the monstrous beast within. But the unsuspecting Frodo did not recognise where he was: Shelob’s Lair. As he came to its entrance the most repulsive and pungent smell he had ever encountered assaulted his nose.

The disgusting stench pervaded his entire body; it left him retching violently. His stomach churned and even as he scrambled backwards, away from the dark opening, it was at least ten minutes before he could breathe normally again.What on earth could be in there to create such a foul reek? Nothing but a mountain of unnameable filth piled high enough to touch the ceiling of the cavernous hole could cause it. But Frodo knew there was no other way through or around the towering mountain so, savouring the last breath of sweet, clean air he would have for a long time, he continued on into the blackness. It was as if a gaping mouth had swallowed him up as, after only a hundred metres or so, any remnants of light that had managed to trickle into the gloom were extinguished.

However it was not long before Frodo remembered the gift he had been given and pulled out the bottle.Muttering the necessary words he waited until, faintly at first, it began to glow. Its light grew stronger and stronger, brighter and brighter-and with it so did Frodo’s hope-until the darkness had receded from it and, held aloft by Frodo’s shaky hand, the minute heart of silvery fire as dazzling as the first fully risen star illuminated the cave. What he saw made his heart sink. Revealed from the shadows were columns and pillars 5 times the hobbit’s height, standing like stone watchmen barring him from continuing on in that direction.

Lining the walls were layer upon layer of white, sticky threads.Each strand was as thick as rope and the glue like substance which covered them all was filled with remnants of animals. There were feathers and lizard tails-Frodo even thought he saw the remains of a rotting wooden shield. He could only guess at the size of the creature that dwelled in this cave and he couldn’t stop his mind from picturing all the possibilities of what the monster that lived here looked like. A trickle of cold sweat dripped down his back like a drop of wax sliding down a candle.

His breath was now coming in shallow gasps which echoed in the eerie stillness of the room.Mustering his resolve he began to move forward, with slow, shuffling footsteps, even deeper into the depths of this rotten pit. He had only taken a few steps when he froze. Something was moving behind him.

Even without turning Frodo could feel the aura of malevolence emanating off of this thing-whatever it was- and encompassing him until his legs shook and he could barely breathe for fear of disturbing it. But it was too late. Whatever was behind him let out a long, chilling hissssss. The sound turned Frodo’s muscles to ice. He waited and for a long while nothing happened.Cautiously he began to move until he heard it again: another low, bone chilling hiss.

Slowly-against his better judgement-he turned around and saw the source of the noise. Raising the light clutched in his pale fingers he stepped forward for a clearer look and at once wished he hadn’t. For the light illuminated something so horrible, so gut wrenchingly terrifying that he was transfixed by the sheer evil in them. Eyes.

Huge, malevolent eyes, dark as the night sky, were looming above him. They were seething with malice and filled with a grotesque delight as they examined him. Stumbling backwards Frodo had only one thought: Run.