I rushed into the kitchen hoping I wasn’t too late. When I got there Ben my new roommate was wiping a dark smudge off the wall.
“What have you done?!” I wailed.
“Killed a spider. Do you have anything to clean the wall with?”
I looked up, maybe we could clean this mess up and no one would be the wiser. A small shape scurried along the ceiling and disappeared into a crack. It was too late or him now.
“Ben, I’m so sorry,” I said while backing away to the door, “I was going to tell you as soon as you got settled in. I didn’t think any would come out so soon after you moved in.”
“What are you talking about?” he asked.
“The spiders. We, that is whoever lives here, have a non-aggression pact with the spiders. You just broke the pact. They’re going to come for you.”
“Are you joking? Come on it’s just a spider. There’s probably a dozen or more in the apartment.”
“Many more.” I glanced up at the ceiling. Ben looked up as well and saw the tribunal enter. Thousands of spiders crawled out of holes and cracks to cover the ceiling.
“Oh my god,” he whispered.
“Please, spare him,” I pleaded with them, “He didn’t know we have an arrangement. I needed more time before I could tell him.”
A faint clicking tapping sound began. Thousands of spiders making the same noise at the same time in a rhythm that could be understood to those who had joined the pact.
a life for a life a life for a life a life for a life a life for a life a life for a life
“No! He didn’t understand!” I cried.
“What the hell is going on?” Ben asked.
I turned my head back down to look him in the eye. “The spiders have decided that your life is forfeit for the one you took.”
“My life for one spider? That’s not … I’m getting out of here.” He started to walk toward me. Spiders began to fall from the ceiling suspended by nearly invisible threads by the hundreds. He batted them away from his face only for them to grab onto his arm and begin crawling around it trailing a strand of spider’s silk behind. More found purchase on his legs and body. He brushed them off while others swung onto his back. Spiders continued to fall on him wrapping him in their threads.
A hazy outline began to form around Ben but even thousands of spiders could not spin enough to immobilize a full grown man. He began tearing tearing and sloughing off the webbing. Then through an unheard signal every spider bit into the colossal they were attacking. Ben grunted, his arms jerking up and down, his legs buckling under him. He took a final step toward me, face frozen in pain. His eyes pleaded with me for help but I could not break the pact.
He fell to the floor gasped one more time and was still. I waited as the spiders swarmed over him and then dispersed. From the ceiling I heard the clicking tapping of the spiders.
the pact is sealed the pact is sealed the pact is sealed the pact is sealed
Then it was quiet and I was alone in the kitchen. I sighed. Ben had seemed like an actual nice guy. We would have made good roommates I thought. Well no sense leaving his body laying about. I pulled a tarp out of the closet and rolled him up in it. Later after it was dark I would take him down to his car and ditch both in the lake. No wait, I used the lake last time. Maybe the landfill or … I’d find a place. But first I had to clean up all the spider webs and repost my roommate wanted ad.
Next time I wouldn’t wait to tell them about the pact.