In the cavernous space at the centre of reality, there sits a spider. A monolithic creature of a size beyond the inspired imaginations of mankind. It works tirelessly: weaving, moulding, repairing. Each one of its countess eyes is fixated upon an individual thread amongst the immeasurable mass of silken threads which spread out from its web, connecting seamlessly to the fabric of the world.
The spider never sleeps, never eats. It balances effortlessly on the points of six barbed feet, while two pull, coax, plait and alter the very course of human endeavour. Here, a glassy, black eye spies the frayed edge of an international conflict. There, its silk glands tie a chord which binds a husband to his wife – a union of untold happiness and fecund coupling.
The world spider, the world weaver, carries out its duties without guidance and without any hint of intelligent design. The only pattern is the one emblazoned deep within its arachnoid mind. The spider will entertain no favours. It has no concept of clemency. It is incapable of judgement.
A barely developed chord beneath its thorax gives a twitch. Those monstrous eyes rotate to, align with, and come to focus on the source. A garden spider, distant kin of the great weaver, struggles with futility against its bonds. Icy steel grips its sides painfully. Clawed feet scratch and tear at its prison, seeking purchase, seeking escape. The looming silhouettes of its tormentors can be heard to jostle and goad one another with childish dares.
‘Rip its legs off,’ one cries out.
‘I wanna see what a spider’s guts look like?’ says the other.
The steel presses tighter against its body and the little spider chitters in an inaudible cry of anguish. Its mouth-parts knock and rub together in a pain. The weaver rocks on six legs. It gently lifts and caress its brethren’s life-chord with the remaining pair. The line is too taut; nicks and frayed strands are already evident along its length. The weaver hangs its great head in a solemn apology. It cannot bear to look as the tweezers clamp further and the tiny life is lost. It simply winds the severed strand back into itself and continues to weave.
One eye, one giant orb of obsidian glass, refuses to turn away from the tormentors. It remains fixed: ever vigilant. It watches them grow. It watches them hunt. Soon, even spiders are not prey enough for these creatures and the insects give way to rats, to cats, to dogs. They scour back alleys and wastelands for animals to torture and dissect.
Another eye twitches and joins the first in its vigil, then a third, then a forth. The weaver’s attention shifts lazily. It lifts the weave, grips it between sharp mandible jaws. Its mouthparts brush delicately at the threads connecting the tormentors to the world weave. The caress stirs ripples that are felt throughout time. Like sonar, the ripples resonate down the length of the threads. The dissonance tingles in a feedback built of vibration; a map of their life-path. A map of smooth lines, random turns, and intertwined lives.
It shudders. A knot.
The tormentors, no longer boys, but men lead a small child away from her mother.
It waits. The line in its mouth grows taut, frays at the edges.
This week’s Prompt: The lives of many are intertwined.
Weaver is dedicated to grammar
Nazi…genius and fellow Muse, Michelle Mueller, who has an irrational love of spiders and all things creepy-crawly.
If you would like to join in on the Horror-Off Flash Fiction Challenge, these are the rules:
- You don’t talk about Horror-Off
- Stories must be flash fiction (1K words or less)
- Stories must have conflict, character, and resolution
- Stories should be in the horror/fantasy/sci-fi/spec fic genre
- Prompts are to be posted on the Flash Fiction blog post (post or link to your FF submission in the comment section below )
- This is just for fun and scares, so don’t expect any prizes.
- You don’t talk about Horror-Off… except when you talk about it