Interlude: Killing Time

Not all is as it seems… or is it?

Kelly checked her watch again. “Two hours to kill.” She sighed. What was she going to do for two hours?

She looked up to see a woman dressed all in black pounding her stilettos into the sidewalk a short distance up ahead. “Where did she come from?” She mumbled the thought to herself.

The mysterious woman suddenly stopped. She slowly turned halfway around. Kelly unconsciously came to a stop and made eye contact with the woman.

The lady in black stared back at her with piercing black eyes. A smile slowly played out across her lips. There was a seductive feeling to it. She winked and abruptly walked into an alleyway on her left.

“Huh.” Kelly half-smiled. She started walking forward again. Curiosity welled up within her.

She stopped just shy of the alley. She stretched a bit, trying to get a glimpse of what lay around the corner. She sighed. “Well, I do have a couple of hours to kill.”

Kelly giggled nervously. Was she serious? She’d never really looked at other girls that way. This was nuts. She darted forward, meaning to walk right past the alley.

She stopped though, and turned. It didn’t feel entirely optional to her. She swallowed hard and peered into the alley.

At the far end was the lady in black. She had removed her trench coat. She had a black blouse on, the neck dipping dangerously low. The lady turned just so and smiled seductively before slinking out of sight to her left.

Kelly shook her head. “Yeah, okay… This is too weird for…” She slapped at her arm. “Ow!” Her hand came away trailing cobwebs. “Damn spiders.”

She looked up. The lady was leaning around the corner. She gave her another wink and disappeared out of sight. Kelly sighed shakily. “Why not…” She started forward down the alley.

The dull pain in her arm faded from her mind as she began her journey into the unknown. She grinned at the sun above her. She had a couple of hours, right? Maybe this lady would be more fun than the guy she was supposed to be meeting.

She grimaced. She lowered her head and shook it. This was nuts. Her arm was hurting again. Maybe she should just go home…

A cool, gentle wind wafted over her. Unheard voices whispered to her on the breeze. She opened her eyes and jumped. A small squirrel observed her for a moment before skittering down the alley.

She watched it bounce away, suddenly feeling better. She smiled and began to follow after it. The silent whispering voices reassured her all would be well. Of course everything would be well!

She breathed deeply through her nose. Had the air always been so fresh in this part of the city? The alley seemed to be widening the farther she walked.

The end, where the lady had turned away again, seemed farther away somehow. Kelly found she didn’t care much about it. The sun was shining so brightly in the alley, and…

What alley?

She laughed at herself. There were no alleys out here. She blinked the glare of the sun out of her eyes. She sighed contentedly, taking in the rolling verdant fields before her.

A dark figure dipped behind a tree in the woods ahead. Had that been the mysterious lady in black? Wait… What lady in black? She was going to meet…

A man. He peered playfully at her from behind the tree. She grinned back at him. She giggled and began to jog towards the treeline in the distance.

How silly was she? Kelly rolled her eyes. She probably just needed something to eat. Those two hours went by awful quick.

She stopped short of the tree her beau was hiding behind. She giggled. “Hello?”

The strapping young man popped out from behind the tree with a flair. Kelly giggled again. He smiled broadly. “Greetings, fair maiden.”

Kelly blushed. “Fair maiden, huh? Well, aren’t you sweet.” She walked up to him without realizing what she was doing and embraced him.

He smiled down at her. “We’ll do such wonderful things together.”

All seemed well from poor Kelly’s perspective, but from any other angle…

One would see that Kelly was not embracing an attractive young man, but was in the grips of a monstrous black spider. Its razor-sharp mandibles worked open and closed inches from her face as the young man spoke to her in her head.

“You should rest, first.” The young man wrapped a gauze-like white linen about her. Kelly’s eyes grew heavy. “Sleep well, and dream of the sweet music we will make together.”

Kelly’s eyelids slowly shut. “Yes… So beautiful…” She drifted off to sleep.

The spider skittered back from the cocooned woman and considered its handiwork. Only her mouth and nose remained visible. It let slip a small screech of approval. The spider skittered off deeper into the cave to inspect its other meals.

It stopped, rearing up at a screeching noise from just inside the entrance to its lair. The cave was suddenly flooded with dull, yellow light. The spider turned about, darting towards the commotion.

A young warrior in leather armor stood bathed in yellow-orange light. The cocoon before him ignited with a WHUMP as he touched his torch to it. The baby spiders inside screamed just as the ones in the previous cocoon had.

The mother spider reared up on her back legs, screeching indignantly through her quickly working mandibles. The man tossed the torch at the colossal spider’s feet. It skittered backwards.

The warrior unsheathed his sword and paced around the cocoon. The spider was gone when he reached the far side. The seductive sing-song voice of an unseen woman whispered into his ear. The tip of his sword dipped toward the ground.

The sound of another screeching baby spider snapped him back to reality. He spun around, lifting his sword just in time to hold back a killing blow from the mother spider. He fell over backwards onto the hard ground, the spider looming over him.

Kelly stirred inside of her cocoon, unaware of what was happening around her. The man shoved up on the giant spider with all his might and slashed into the spider. Hot, acrid blood rained down on him. Spider and man screamed in unison.

Kelly’s eyes fluttered open. The webbing covering her eyes glowed dull orange from the firelight. What was going on?

She had her answer a moment later. The young man tore the cocoon away from her face. He smiled at her. “Hello, fair maiden.”

Kelly smiled uncertainly. “What’s going on? You look familiar…”

“You were captured by a Dream-Weaver spider. I followed you in here.”

Kelly went white. “A spider… I was bit…” The man freed her with his sword. She stumbled forwards into his arms and embraced him.

The man smiled. “You’ll be safe, now.” He took her by the hand and led her out of the cave.

She looked over her shoulder as they left. A feeling of shock and horror passed over her, even as her mind refused to let her see the carnage she was leaving behind. She turned back to her beau, smiling gratefully.

They walked out into the open fields. The sun shone down upon them, warming them after the cold of the cave. She smiled contentedly, venturing into the unknown with her new companion.