The small object hit his roof with such force that it crashed right through before slamming into the kitchen floor. He screamed in terror while jumping from his couch and running to survey the damage.
His dog began to bark incessantly.
After reaching the kitchen, he peered through the hole in his ceiling to see the blue sky.
An airport resided nearby that sent planes over his house all day and night. He studied the little crater embedded within his linoleum and presumed he would find an errant bolt or some such thing.
The dog continued barking.
He did not perceive a bolt within the smoking hole, but rather a spider. This wasn’t a spider he recognized, however, and because it scurried on ten legs, he couldn’t even be sure it was a spider at all. However, it disgusted him as all spiders do, and so as soon as it left the pockmark and approached him, he stomped on it.
When he lifted his foot, he saw not one spider, but two.
The dog’s barking intensified.
The two spiders darted toward him. He assumed one of them had been attached to the other before his initial strike. They must have somehow distributed the impact. He brought his foot down upon both of them at once. He pushed hard while twisting and turning to pulverize them.
When he withdrew, four spiders appeared.
Still barking, his dog tried to attack them, but they avoided his teeth and scampered onto his back. The dog yelped, raced to the unlatched screen door, and then burst out into the open air.
He intended to chase his dog outside in order to help it, but two of the remaining spiders blocked his path. He hopped over them and dashed to the screen door. When he reached it, he saw his neighbor bent over the dog and brushing it as though trying to flick away the spiders. Suddenly, the neighbor stood and flailed her arm around. He perceived several specks—the spiders—stuck to her.
His eyes next fell upon his dog. It laid motionless on the front lawn and looked as though it had been … deflated.
A faint pricking sensation agitated his ankle. His eyes bulged when he saw a spider fastened to it. His leg grew numb even as the spider doubled in size, then tripled. The swelling continued until it exploded. Two new spiders emerged and dug into his skin. He stumbled backwards before falling into the corner near his screen door. Through it, he saw his neighbor laying prone, emaciated, next to the dog.
Before he could pull them off, those two spiders burst into four, which soon became eight, which next produced sixteen.
A year later, a single spider remained still in an open field of wilted vegetation. Several hours elapsed, but with each passing moment, a sheath formed around the spider. This resulted in an imperfect, impenetrable orb. Three other spiders did the same at different locations across the planet.
Soon millions of spiders surrounded the orb. Multitudes scuttled beneath it, lifting it from the ground. Others formed a cylinder around it. As the spiders climbed atop each other, the column grew taller and taller. The encased spider elevated as well due to the mound swelling under it.
At last, the monolith ceased its ascent. The human eye could not have perceived the top of the configuration due to its sheer height.
Total silence surrounded the tower. Though it gave not the slightest sign of falling, the surface of the structure trembled as the spiders fought to remain interlocked.
In perfect tandem, the spiders comprising the cylinder’s base combusted. Each and every spider throughout the conduit exploded just as the spider beneath it did the same, which created an upward thrust that propelled the protected spider beyond the planet’s atmosphere.
The three cocoons at the other sites also escaped gravity.
Leaving behind a planet devoid of humanity, they each rocketed into space with a different trajectory.
Copyright © 2019 by Scott William Foley
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this story may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews or articles.