Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Waiting for Dinner

I sat on the wall of the darkened room, scanning for any sign of movement. My six eyes grew heavy with exhaustion and I blinked hard, squeezing them into the flaps of my face muscles. Even with my eyes closed in the dark, I could see everything clearer than most people could. My feelers twitched above my head and I tapped one of my long hairy limbs against the white wall. I accidentally scratched some of the paint off, and self-consciously moved a centimeter away from the spot.

The room was empty and cold, save for my warm body, the only source of life in my apartment. There was a vacant chair in the middle of the room, and that was the only furniture. At one time she had sat there and I had crawled into her hands, into her lap, and we would talk for hours. I used to tickle her arm with my leg and she would giggle quietly. Now the chair was dusty and a layer of my own webbing blanketed it's antique wood.

I could feel my temperature dropping slightly as I became more malnourished. I couldn't remember if she was supposed to come today to drop off food. She came almost every other day with a meal for me. Why did she still come? What was in it for her? While we no longer bonded, it was still a genuinely pleasurable experience to see her, to know that she was doing something for me out of kindness, love, fear, guilt and obligation.

The hours and days ran together. I would just wait for her to come. There was no one else. No one even knew I existed. I was really, genuinely alone in my predicament.

It hadn't always been like this. When she first found me, she had told her friends and they had come to see me. They were other humans like her, with skin and only four limbs and only two eyes. They didn't drink the blood of flies when they were thirsty. They were freaks. I couldn't believe she would bring them to me. One of them pulled out a small black box and it made a clicking noise and flashed a bright white light directly in my eyes. I had screamed and cried in pain, unaccustomed to light after years of nocturnal seclusion. I reached out one of my legs and scratched the human's weak, flimsy face skin. The humans began yelling and hitting each other and ran for the door. A splash of the human's red blood landed in a puddle at my feet. She watched me in regret and then slowly turned her back on me.

I looked out the window, careful not to show my face to anyone outside. Bored, I watched as humans pushed carts with smaller infantile humans in them, the smaller ones being the leaders. I watched small adolescent humans pulling at their canine counterparts. I assumed that humans mated with canines. I watched them make that joyful purring breathing noise they call laughing. I knew I couldn't do that.

Bored, I tried to guess the time based on the number of feces I had left against the wall today. To cheer myself up, I crawled down the wall and tried to work up the energy to do a nice frantic scurry. The hard wood floor was covered in layers of dirt. I tried to brush it off with my furry leg, but really there was no point.

Smaller spiders than me would occasionally come visit, but they never stayed long. They simply wanted to look at the legend, the majesty of the loneliness of my existence. They gazed upon my giant limbs and round, black, fur covered body in awe of my emotional, physical, and mental imprisonment. I was their revered god and I was also the thing they feared becoming.

The day swam into evening and my thoughts grew quiet and repetitive. I began to weave a web absentmindedly. My urine stained the white wall in a muted splatter the shape of a cow's head. I named it Johanna. I had nothing to do all day, all week, all lifetime, but to wait around and think to myself.

The knob door finally creaked with the force of someone turning it's rusty elderly hinges. The door flung open and she entered in a flourish. She wore a knee length white skirt with no leggings underneath. Her peachy skin was hair compared to other humans, and exposed beneath the loose linen. Her sneakers paced gingerly over the defecation splattered floor. She tightened her pink hoodie around her long yellow head hair, as if in protection. She smelled like everything, like the outside world. She was a buzzing ball of glowing energy, flitting through the room like a fly I could never kill.

"Arachnid?" She called.

I scurried toward her but didn 't dare touch her. My feelers burned with the desire to wrap my web around her, but I knew that if we were to become intimate again, she would have to make that move. I stared up into her two brown eyes, and she set the dinner on the floor for me. She smiled wordlessly and turned to leave the apartment. I wanted to call after her, but my desire for nourishment overrode it. I looked up when she closed the door behind her, with a heavy slam, and locked it twice with both deadbolts so no one could get in or out until she reappeared with the key. I slurped up the mottled fly guts and gobbled it down into my gullet. I listened to her footsteps clack softer and softer as she ran down the stairs and let herself back out of the building. She probably took a fresh breath of freedom air as soon as she was outside, or maybe did a lighthearted dance to herself and I would swallow, close my eyes, and restart the clock as I waited for her to return.

Dedicated to Andy Palmer (he's not dead he just inspired it) (I just knocked on wood.)

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