My thanks go to Morgen Bailey for giving this story an airing. It remained at around one hundred words for a month or so then whilst adding, the ending came to me. Anyway, it’s my first flash fiction piece, I hope you enjoy it.
Brian saw the legs first. Two of them. Then there followed another, then another. He counted eight. He was unsure as to why it had come out from behind the wardrobe only to sit on the floor and gaze at him; at least he believed it was gazing at him.
He heard a crash downstairs, Margie was cooking and swearing all at once, he chuckled to himself as a list of expletives, possibly borrowed from the army parade ground, turned the air blue. It still looked at him. Frowning, he reached for the remote control and turned on the news. News? Death, starvation, natural disaster, murder. No news there, he thought.
The spider had moved. He didn’t know where but it had gone, disappeared, hopefully back to the hole it had crawled out from. He gave a final sweep of the room and turned over the TV. More rubbish. He was convinced that evening’s viewing was programmed by people who do anything but stay at home in the evening. After rigorous use of the remote he found a motoring channel and let the host guide his way through the intricacies of some flash sports car.
“Margie”, he shouted, “bring us up a beer love would you?” He heard the voice below in the kitchen, mutter something or other, muffled by the distance and the walls. A few minutes passed and still no ale. The spider was back.
“Margie!” Louder this time. “Get us that beer love”. It wasn’t a request.
Again a minute or two passed.
The spider disappeared. 30 seconds later the door opened, two hands holding a can and a glass arrived and handed both to him.
“You took your time love”. Not even thanks.
Margie looked briefly into his face as she turned and walked from the room, closing the door behind her.
“Did you just look at me?” he called after her. He heard her footsteps on the landing then the top of the stairs, the way the floorboard creaked between the banister and the bathroom door was a giveaway. Then she was back in the kitchen.
He poured the beer from the can and let it settle, continuing to top up the glass slowly. Raising it to his lips he let the first mouthful wash down his throat. The spider was back. “What an ugly brute” he thought. He considered calling Margie to bring the fly-swatter hanging up in the kitchen. “No,” he said to himself, “let’s see what it does next”.
After a further 5 minutes of motoring TV he realised he was hungry. “Margie,” he yelled, “bring me a sandwich love.” The spider regarded him. For a second or two Brian considered throwing something at it but the only things to hand were his beer and the remote control, both necessities and not available for launch. The spider turned and disappeared. A short while later the sandwich appeared. “Cheese? “You know I don’t like cheese in a sandwich.”
“It’s all I got in the fridge,” came the reply.
“Where does my housekeeping money go?”
“I haven’t been to the shop, I haven’t felt well, remember?”
“You won’t be feeling well if you talk to me like that again. I’m the man of the house.”
Margie went downstairs. The spider appeared. Brian heard sobs from the kitchen. “Bloody woman,” he said.
As if in response, the spider raised itself up on the back two sets of legs, looking at him. It charged, racing across the room. Brian watched fascinated, even when the spider struck, biting his foot. He didn’t feel anything, just a strange numbness; which then started up his left leg, reached his thigh then started down the right one. Brian sat following the spider with his eyes as the strange sensation crept into his abdomen, then his arms. Finally he could no longer move his head.
The spider returned to the wardrobe, going backwards under the door, studying the man in the chair. It disappeared.
Five minutes later Margie came through the door with an assortment of cutlery. She closed the door behind her. Looking at her husband she sat down and took the knife and fork in her hands… and waited.