Spiders in the dark

Thousands of tiny baby spiders cover the sleeping boy’s face.

It is so dark they look like grey smoke, silently drifting up from under the bed. It is too dark and they are too small to see as individual creatures. The baby spiders blur into thousands of tiny eyes, round bodies and hair-thin legs, constantly moving.

A single spider is nothing, but the horde has a single mind, and a single purpose. The horde has come from many nests under the bed. All children of a single mother, who waits upside down under the bed. A mother the size of a dinner plate hangs upside down under the mattress and waits, black and hairy, still and silent. Her mouth parts moving together. Her many eyes bright in the darkness. She waits among the many webby domes attached to the underside of the mattress on which the boy sleeps. Grey webby domes recently full of eggs, now empty and abandoned.

Her army of tiny children are on the move.

The boy sleeps on his back, arms by his sides, upturned face covered in tiny spiders. An unnatural position for a sleeping boy, but there is nothing normal about this night. Half the pillow, and the boy’s entire face are a light grey, constantly moving mass of tiny bodies and hair-thin legs scuttling. The boy’s chest rises and falls regularly, he is breathing normally, completely relaxed. The spiders have not disturbed the boy’s sleep, quite the contrary, he is under their spell and perfectly content. More content that he has ever been.

The tiny spiders stop seething and settle. Waiting.

The boy opens his mouth.

He opens his mouth and the spiders rush in. Three seconds and they are all inside, a boiling dense mass of bright eyes and tiny round bodies and hair-thin legs. The boy closes his mouth carefully. He does not harm the precious baby spiders. His throat works once, twice, three times. The tiny spiders have all gone inside, still living.
Now their mother comes slowly out from under the bed. One long, many jointed, hairy black leg at a time. She comes out slowly and walks up the side of the mattress, onto the covers. One leg at a time, onto the boy’s chest. His chest rises and falls gently as he breathes, and the great mother spider, the size of a dinner plate, watches him with her many bright eyes. Her mouth parts moving against each other. Waiting.

The boy opens his eyes.

He looks at the great mother spider standing on his chest. It is dark, and she is dark, but he can see her clearly. She is not heavy, and he is not afraid. She is the great mother spider, and he is her new nest. A warm home for her several thousand children.

The boy closes his eyes.

He is content.

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