Rick McQuiston

THE SPIDER

The spider was perfectly motionless. During its short life it had managed to

perfect the art of concealment and camouflage, they were necessary attributes for

its survival. Its prey was intelligent and usually quite adept at eluding the spider's

grasp, and it knew this all too well. Many times it had lost a potential meal, too many for its liking.

Vague assemblages of memories floated about in the spider's tiny, fragile brain, occasionally converging to form a coherent collage of past events capable of recognition and even in some cases reflection.

The thought of its last meal, a rather plump housefly that fought valiantly right up until the moment of injection, strayed across the spider's mind. It had apparently become injured while flying into a small window. Obviously it had thought it was an open pathway to greener pastures. But that had been quite a while ago. Too many midnights had passed since that fly had succumbed to its venom. Pangs of hunger relentlessly tapped into the spider's mind, attempting to shatter its delicate grip on life. The strange sensations it had been experiencing also reasserted themselves, further adding to the spider's discomfort. The beakers of liquid it had stumbled across in the back room of the house had hardly proved to be an adequate quencher of its thirst, a fact that the spider was becoming all too familiar with. It had thought they had contained water but it quickly discovered that that was far from the truth. Still, the fluids were intoxicating almost to the point of being addictive, and although its thirst and hunger were still raging it did feel somewhat rejuvenated.

The spider recalled others like itself in the back room as well. Some were large and hairy and others were small but all were housed inside various sized bottles with wide labels attached to them.

Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans), Northern Funnel Web (Atrax robustus) and Brazilian Wanderer (Phoneutria nigriventer) were but a few of the

specimens inside the room. The spider also noticed several small mice in glass boxes on the tables. It could not reach them however because they were surrounded by much equipment.

The spider's stomach began to contort. The cat it had swallowed had been digested and it now had all of its eyes focused on the family dog. It was a large dog, much bigger than the cat, but the spider did not care, hunger directed its actions. It pounced on the poor creature in a flash and greedily sucked down the corpse.

The spider was surprised that its hunger still was not satisfied. It wondered in its mutating and rapidly expanding brain what exactly it had drank in the back room in the house. The complex neurotoxin dripping from its expanding fangs occasionally dribbled onto its own legs causing necrotic lesions; but it did not care, the pain was minimal compared to its hunger.

The spider was barley able to squeeze through the doorway but finally managed to do it. It sensed food nearby and an obstacle like a wall or a door was not about to stop it.

It entered the room and quickly squatted behind a large couch, attempting to hide itself. But it was no good, it was far too big. So it instead opted for a swift, violent attack instead of a slow, calculated one.

The little girl sat in front of the television unaware that she was being watched. She was singing along to her favorite program while eating the ham

sandwich her mother had made for her. She was also looking forward to that evening when her daddy had promised her he would play tea party with her. He was always so busy in his laboratory that he usually didn't have much time for her or her mommy but she knew the work he was doing was very important and that it would save lives one day.

The spider's fangs drooled in anticipation. It watched the little girl closely, waiting for the opportunity to strike. The hunger it was feeling was maddening, prohibiting the spider from applying patience to its hunt. It knew it would have to attack soon…very soon.

The little girl's mother strolled into the living room to see if her daughter wanted something else to eat. She screamed when she saw the half eaten ham sandwich lying in front of the television…covered in blood.

The cockroach squeezed through the tiny hole in the wall. It was hungry and desperately needed to find food. The room was very strange; there were many containers with spiders in them and small mice in glass cages as well. It entered the room cautiously, being driven by its desire for food. The thirst it suffered from was

also strong, and it was pleased to find some glass containers with liquid in them.

It scurried over to them it began to lap up the water.

And then it realized it was not water.