From the Perspective of a Spider

By Jon Hillenbrand In Dreamscape Series, Stories

One morning, there was a spider in my bathtub as still as the stars in the sky.  I considered it for a moment and turned on the faucet.  The water flooded toward him and the spider swam with all eight legs as fast as it could.  Looking like it was making no progress, it managed to stay toward the edge of the enlarging puddle.  I immediately felt bad and put my hand down for it to grab onto.  The spider refused.  I tried again and again as it took its own path.  Eventually I convinced it to take a hold of my finger and I carried it toward the little door in the glass blocks in the bathroom window.  The spider leapt away from me into the screen and under toward freedom where I never saw it again.

Now from the perspective of the spider…

It had been hours since the sun set and I was no closer to the green.  During the night, I had lost my way having been drawn away from my web by a passing animal which broke free my lines.  Ferociously I tried to reclaim my lines but the wind picked up and it was all I had to hold onto the side of the bricks.  I crouched my body down close to the bricks as my brothers had taught me when I was a child and stuck a lead to the brickface which I could reel out quickly in case a cursed bird decided to take advantage of my exposed position.  The wind passed over the crack in the stone I had found and I held fast for calmer conditions.  During the night, I knew I would have to move. If it rained, the wet would certainly catch me and I could fall into the leaves and mud below.  Up was my only option for now.[/stag_one_half] [stag_one_half_last]I cleaned off my eyes with my forelegs and climbed.  It felt good to be moving even though the wind was still strong.  Higher and higher I went eventually figuring that if I ran into trouble, I could cast off and control my float on the wind if I had more height.  Suddenly before me was a high wall of a new surface type to me.  My rear legs had a hard time digging in but it was possible to slowly crawl across the surface if I used my front legs more than I am used to.  The wall planed out to a long flat surface with a burnt iron smell to it.  I could faintly smell garbage and more importantly humidity coming from behind the burnt iron mesh.  Humidity meant perfect breeding conditions for Moth Flies.  My favorite.  Slow and stupid.

There was a tight opening under the white which surrounded the mesh and I knew I could get through and into the expansive cave.  The sun was rising behind me which meant the Moth Flies would soon be lopping onto any flat surface after being born in order to dry their wings.  If I could set up between the rising sun and the humidity, they would fly right into my clutches as soon as they were awake.  I had to move fast.  Crawling away from the burnt iron mesh, I saw an immense white room.  The walls were criss crossed with an alternating white pattern.  It had the characteristics of a web but flattened out instead of circular.  Was I too late?  If another net had been created, they were clearly on the wrong side of the cave.  The Moth Flies would fly toward the sun as their pathetic eyes would tell them.  I cut off my safety line and made another that would keep me harnessed as I surveyed my mounting points.  This opening was very large.  A proper web would take me about half the night and the sun was already rising.  I could finish a smaller web, but I would catch less than half of what I would need.  Well, half was better than nothing.  Time to salvage something from this terrible night.

I climbed the edge of the window and placed a line.  This would be my mainlead.

I climbed the edge of the window and placed a line.  This would be my mainlead.  I crawled south and placed the south sublead, then across the bottom of the window and up finishing the north sublead.  I figured I would start from the top of the north sublead and trail a line over and down to the middle of the mainlead.  Then if I was careful, I could use the slight wind to inflate the start of the web and carry that line down to the bottom of the south sublead.  I secured it and stood back to see which sublead I should climb to start the radial spars.  The temperature was getting warmer but it was still relatively dark.  I could smell the humidity clinging to my hair behind me and tried to absorb some of it.  I was getting dehydrated from constantly moving all night.

Just then the sun shone over the top of the other building.  It hit me with an immense force and I backed away toward the shadow of the window edge.  My web shined brightly against the dark sky and suddenly I was falling backward.  I throw out a safety line too slowly and tumbled into a deep white area covered in a smooth stone.  There was mildew coating the upper half but it was far above me.  I plastic sheet hung across one wall, which I knew from experience I could never climb.  I tried to ascend the stone walls using webbing to help catch my feet, but the webbing wouldn’t stick.  I held one leg back and crawled as hard as I could with the other seven but made no progress toward the top.  I was stuck.  I turned west to the source of the humidity.  It was a drain.  I knew the Moth Flies would be coming out of there in a short while.  Maybe I could get some water which would help me climb.  I crawled to the drain and slowly approached.  I could hear the slime of the Moth Fly larva deep inside.  They were disgusting at that stage.  How strange that they would grow to be so soft and delicious with their feathery wings which collapsed so nicely under my cocoon.  As I imagined their dusty bodies trapped in my web, I started to grow sleepy from thirst and muscle fatigue.  I was very exposed and visible, but was inside the cave and knew no birds could come in the way I had.  I surveyed the cave one last time and drifted off for a quick nap.  The sun sank away into darkness.  During the night, I became overwhelmed by the humidity of the cave.  I crawled out onto the flat white plain and drifted back to sleep in the cold.

A silence blew me back skyward into the cool warmth of slumber.

Heavy vibrations stirred beneath my feet.  I still floated among the winds of sleep, but every heavy thud brought me lower in altitude.  A silence blew me back skyward into the cool warmth of slumber.  A shadow.  Warmth.  A piercing sound like a jet and suddenly I was in a river as I was shot from my sleep.  Water bubbled white all around me and I scrambled to keep my legs on top of the surface.  My body and upper legs quickly slapped to the water as my lower legs pierced through.  I scrambled, to where I didn’t know.  Anywhere away from the death of uncertain water.  I held my webbing in for fear of being dragged down.  My hairs, so good at protecting me from morning dew, was saturated to my skin.  It would take me hours to dry out if I survived.  My world rotated as pink skin plunged behind and beneath me.  A predator here?  What else did I need?  I scrambled away as a bow wave formed in front of it.  The skin curled in front of me like a tongue and I evaded to the right.  The water was so cold and it was sapping the energy from me.  Another flash of pink skin and I dodged the other way soaking my head as it went underneath the surface.  I couldn’t breath.  I could hear the cave sucking water inside.  The skin blocked my path but my forelegs caught and I didn’t have the energy to let go.  I was pulled from the water certain that death was my new path.  I braced against the crushing of my body or the splash of acid against my soft parts.  But I was then greeted by a warm brightness.  Cool air blew against me clearing the water from my eyes.  The skin stopped moving.  I could see a screen and green beyond it.  I put my legs beneath me, flipping the larger sticky drops away, and jumped.  I landed on the screen and looked up.  It was a hand and a human.  I crawled toward an opening in the bottom of the screen and out onto the bricks turning over and away into the mortar.  I think I could be safe here as the opening was slightly larger than my body outstretched.  I wiped the remaining water from my legs and waited for the rest to evaporate.  The green toward the bottom of this structure meant sustenance.  Now I just had to make it there.

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