The Spider

It must be a dream, Dave thought. That was the only logical, rational explanation. 

But it wasn't.

As Dave stepped onto the wobbly, cheap wooden ladder, he saw the telltale signs of what he saw last night. With every step he took on the barely stable ladder, Dave saw more evidence confirming what he had seen the night before. As his calf muscle pushed on the ladder, his whole body raised up, ascending him closer and closer to the terrifying reality.

Everything else in the apartment was as the landlord had described it. There was a charming oak finish that gave the apartment a rustic, vintage feeling. His feet echoed on the hard wood floors. The view of the buzzing Chicago skyline from the third story deck was worth both the price of admission and the hefty security deposit. After all, this place had a hell of a view. Still, the utilities were included in the price, and the place received a decent WiFi signal. Everything else was as it should be.

There was only one thing the landlord didn't mention.

A fifteen foot tall spider that crouched over Dave when he slept in the master bedroom. 


Dave thought the spider must have been a dream, but then he felt the warmth of the bedsheets, and the trickle of sweat on his forehead. He watched the massive shape fall from the ceiling. Dave could spot a series of long, bent hairy legs the size of a fence post. Eighty obsidian orbs emerged from the shadows as Dave beheld the spider's round eyes. At first, Dave wondered if this was some sort of sleep paralysis, but all notions vanished when Dave found the strength to twist his body off the bed and run out of the room. 

He tried sleeping on the couch, but tried to ignore the massive spider as best he could. Throughout the night, he could see the long shadows of its black body in the Chicago nightlights. It never made it out to the living room, but regardless, Dave didn't get a wink of sleep all night. In the morning, the spider had vanished.

Dave called the landlord, who dismissed his concerns as "first night jitters' '. At least he had been civil about it. Every exterminator laughed him off the phone. After the sixth fruitless and embarrasing phone call, Dave knew what he had to do.

He checked into a hotel, and stayed there for the next week. 


On the third day, Dave noticed the flies. Three small black dots buzzed around him as Dave stepped into the hotel's tiny bathroom. Dave couldn't figure out why there were this many flies in the middle of winter, but he could do nothing about them now. He ignored them as their loud rumbling swirled around his ear, their tiny legs landing on his leg like a pin-prick before fluttering away once more. Dave made a note to buy a fly swatter and some Raid on his way home from work. 

The problem was, the flies followed him to work. It didn't make any sense. Dave took the L to work every day. The premise that three small flies followed Dave to work through public transportation was almost as ridiculous as the giant spider still presumably hanging around in his apartment's bedroom.


Dave's work day did not improve from there. He snapped at three co-workers, was rude to several customers and almost raised his voice to his manager. The flies continued their nuisance siege throughout all of this, buzzing about his ears. The flies crawled over Dave's bagel, erasing his appetite. Dave even saw one of them swimming in his coffee, and then flying about completely unharmed. It was utterly impossible, yet Dave still smelled the hearty coffee bean aroma on the flies' translucent wings as it soared past his nostrils. 

If this kept up, Dave would be either unemployed and locked up in a mental asylum.

Or both.

His dread multiplied the next morning when he flicked on the bathroom light to see twelve flies whirling and wrapping around Dave's head like a black tornado. 

Dave decided to call in sick that day.


He must have been losing his mind. That was the only explanation. 

By the fifth day, Dave had become a walking dust cloud, with dozens of flies droning around his body, turning any food he touched into instant flypaper. It was then Dave made one final shocking discovery.

No one else saw the insects. His coworkers only shrugged. His manager told him to take some time off, and Dave caught the meaning - either take the time off now or have nothing but time off.

Now desperate, Dave knew what he must day.

He had to return to the apartment.


In the daylight, the apartment didn't look intimidating at all. It's rustic oak finish and smooth wooden floors charmed him at first visit, but now Dave same them only as an illusion meant to entrap unsuspecting souls. Still, Dave entered the apartment, the fifty or so flies in tow.

Dave was sick. They had said as much at work. So Dave followed their advice. He walked to his bed, pulled aside the covers, and tried to sleep.

The flies had other ideas. They continued to hum about him in a loud, scraping volume. Dave felt scores of them land on his face at a time. He dared not open his mouth or he would swallow several of their numbers. Dave briefly thought of trying this tactic. Just one disgusting gulp of air and all his problems would be on a one-way ticket to his digestive system. But Dave knew better by now. These were no normal flies. And even if such desperation worked, there would be more to replace their number in the morning.

So Dave lay motionless on the bed. He didn't sleep. He couldn't sleep, not with their constant buzzing on his ears and pricking on his skin. All Dave could do was wait.

Night came, and so did the spider. It descended from the ceiling like a Biblical angel, with several legs instead of wings and probably just as many eyes. Dave watched as the spider gave no notice of his presence. Instead, it diligently crawled throughout the ceiling, with silky ropes covering the oak finish in a large crystalline yarn. One by one, the flies soared to the web, where they remained until the large spider gobbled them up. Some flies fluttered in desperation, but it was no use. Soon there were no flies left, and only darkness separated the spider and Dave.

"Thank you," Dave said. "I didn't understand at first...but now...I get it...I think."

The spider's black obsidian eyes beheld Dave. He couldn't tell if it understood it, but he liked to think it did. The spider crawled back into the shadows, and remained in the corner just out of Dave's sight. Darkness and silence took him soon after as sleep finally claimed him for the first time in days.


Dave didn't see the flies much after that. Every now and then he would hear a buzz or two, but he knew they were only temporary distractions until Peter got them. Peter was the name for Dave's eight-legged roommate. He knew it wasn't the most creative of nicknames, but it was the only one which sprang to mind. 

Every night Dave went to bed, he saw Peter looming over him, devouring the flies. Every night the web would grow, only to vanish save a few tell-tale strands in the morning. Every night Dave would tell himself the same thing he told himself every night.

In the end, he was right about one thing.

This place had a hell of a view.

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