On the opposite wall, the centipede is there, in its tell-tale spot, right in the middle of the panel.

It has stopped, a tiny oblique line two inches long at eye level, halfway between the baseboard (at the hall doorway) and the corner of the ceiling. The creature is motionless. Only its antennae rise and fall one after the other in an alternating, slow, but continuous movement.

At its posterior extremity, the considerable development of the legs--of the last pair especially, which are longer than the antennae--identifies it unquestionably as the Scutigera, also known as the "spider-centipede" or "minute-centipede," so called because of a native belief as to the rapidity of the action of its bite, supposedly mortal. Actually this species is not very venomous; it is much less so, in any case, than many Scolopendra common in the region.

Suddenly the anterior part of the body begins to move, executing a rotation which curves the dark line toward the lower part of the wall. And immediately, without having time to go any further, the creature falls onto the tiles, still twisting and curling up its long legs while its mandibles rapidly open and close around its mouth in a quivering reflex.

Ten seconds later, it is nothing more than a reddish pulp in which are mingled the debris of unrecongnizable sections.

But on the bare wall, on the contrary, the image of the squashed Scutigera is perfectly clear, incomplete but not blurred, reproduced with the faithfulness of an anatomical drawing in which only a portion of the elements are shown: an antenna, two curving mandibles, the head and the first joint, half of the second, a few large legs, etc....