I lied to you.
I told you I would return when the spiders had removed your skin, inch by inch, bite by tiny bit.
And I haven’t. I thought you’d appreciate a visit before then, as you lie there. I thought I’d tell you a story.
Once upon a – no, don’t try to move, the poison will hit your nerves soon and you’ll regret it – there was a person. An avian. Female. New to this world, but sharp as a needle. She was a friend, and now she is dead. That is the end of the story.
Yours? Yours isn’t a story. This is merely the fulfillment of a prophecy. You can hear the tapping, the soft click, click.
Spiders on steel, is there any sound so faint? You couldn’t hear them unless they were walking in time with each other, no ordinary spiders these. The clickying, ticky-clack sound of a hundred thousand tiny spiders all stepping exactly at once, and all heading directly towards you.
Isn’t that nice?
They swarm, and they are climbing up your table. I’m sorry we couldn’t leave you in your bed, but your friends might have found you early, and we can’t have that happening. That would be hope, and there can’t be any hope. Only the spider bites.
They aren’t getting louder, you know. It’s just they’re climbing up beside your ears, tappy-tappy, we thought of allowing you to move your head, so you could see this coming, but then you could have killed some of the spiders, and she won’t allow that.
I don’t agree. It’s not like we’re going to run out of spiders, there are hundreds of thousands of them, and I could walk in any direction and kill hundreds. The tappy-tap fades as they stop marching in time and climb over your body, and I’m sure by now you can feel them climbing up the insides of your wrists and over your body, the backs of your knees, the souls of your feet crawling with spiders with feet of their own. And teeth, of course, but that’s later.
Hundreds of thousands of spiders. How many legs is that? A faint white noise of spiders in motion, unlike anything you’ve heard before, and you certainly won’t hear again.
Not much longer now, they almost cover you entirely. I can’t see them from here, they’re inside the cocoon of silk, but I’m sure you can feel them. And there, all still, all quiet. Nothing but a faint tickling feeling all over your body, of thousands upon thousands of spiders, all perfectly still.
They stand. They wait.
Gosh. I didn’t think you could still scream under all that. Astounding what the body can take, isn’t it? I am surprised. They bite, each removes barely a tiny patch of skin, but there are so, so many of them to go though. You might think that this will be over quickly, that you can’t have enough skin for this frenzy to last more than, say, an hour.
You would be wrong.
Oh, yes. Hope. I will be along with my dagger, shortly. But I couldn’t possibly put you out of your pain, that would be hope.
And there can’t be any hope, anymore.
Only the spiders.