He had to leave now. He got up to run to the door, but the bedding sank down further. He tried to take hold of the bedstand, but it too was made of silk and melted away. Pete had no leverage and sank further and further down into the silk fronds.
“Help me!” he screamed.
Some of the silk fronds entered his mouth. He could breathe through them, but they muffled his yells. He looked around and the pure white bedding was now mottled with crawling black spiders, running through the fronds of silk and onto his skin. He screamed again and thrashed about, but it only made the tangles worse. He felt little pinches all over his body. They hurt at first, but then his skin became numb. He began to feel light-headed, and then extremely sleepy. He wanted another nap; he tried to move out of the bed once more, but he could no longer move his arm. It had no sensation. He could barely feel the hundreds of little creatures crawling over him, scuttling through the web, under his shirt and over his skin.
Before he passed out one more thing went through his mind. This is the price you pay, he thought, this is the price you pay.
The young male spider’s eight eyes beamed with delight. The plan had worked! It had taken two years of preparation. It took five months to find the right abandoned building. It took all winter to clean it up. It took four months to learn the human’s strange language and another forty days to find an audio recording and splice simple messages in. It took another three months to figure out how to put a message on Craigslist.
Then three seasons later, after several near misses and one frightfully close call with a sexually frustrated Exterminator, they had trapped their first victim, perhaps the only one they would ever need. During these two years, seven generations of spiders had come and gone.
Stay strong, the Matriarch had told him, do not flee to the forest to catch your own flies. Our plan will work.
So day after day he had laid fresh silk down into the bed. Day after day he had watched the shadows of humans come and go past their apartment. Day after day he and the Nest became hungrier and hungrier.
But this was a human, and he was all theirs! The man was fleshy too; the male spider crawled to the Nest Matriarch and asked how long this creature would sustain them. She moved her legs and sent vibrations through the silk to communicate her thoughts.
“Two years, easily,” she said, “I’m going down to manage him a bit, would you come with me?”
He crawled out of the wall with the Matriarch to descend on the human. Their prey was waking up and needed to be tranquilized before he started screaming again. The spider and the Matriarch dropped their lines and landed on the bedding. They crawled through the webbing until they reached the man’s leg. Twenty-five other spiders were perched there, eating his outer layer of skin. One young female had laid eggs in his inner thigh. The male spider took a small bite out of the man’s flesh; it was delicious.
Their prey started to yell and thrash about. Three spiders became dislodged from their spot on his leg, but the Matriarch was holding tight. She injected the man with some more tranquilizer and a few moments later, his body relaxed again.
He’ll give us food for two years, easily, said the Matriarch.
I think he’ll give us three years, the young male spider responded, perhaps FOUR if we manage to keep him alive the whole time!
Jon Maas is a writer living in Los Angeles. He has two novels out on Amazon, the Epic Fantasy City of Gods: Hellenica, and the Dark Fantasy Spanners: The Fountain of Youth. Both are available for free under the Kindle Unlimited program. He has a third novel, Flare, that he hopes to release shortly. He writes on his bus commute to and from work.