Today you, tomorrow me.
Tyler barked from across the room. The uncharacteristically aggressive tone of his voice causing all three of us
to turn around and face him.
Mark and Jess exchanged cautious glances, hesitantly lowering the rolled up magazine which Mark intended to use to
smash an admittedly large but obviously harmless spider that was casually dangling from the living room light fixture.
This wasn’t uncommon. I lived in a farmhouse surrounded by woodland with the closest neighbouring property being almost
a mile away, unless you count the guest house which was basically a glorified cabin with two bedrooms which we just so happened
to be using for our little get together so as to not make a mess of my parents house once the inevitable drinking games ensued.
Spiders in the house were a regular occurrence and here in England, even the big ones are not dangerous.
Unless of course you happen to be a big juicy fly.
In the nicest possible way, Mark was.. well.. a bit of a dick! He was your best friend one minute, then talking behind
your back the next. The kind of guy who was used to being the funniest one at a party and wasn’t afraid to take things
too far in order to get a laugh. The type who’s idea of lightening the mood was “dead baby” jokes.
Tyler, on the other hand was quite clear about the fact that he didn’t like.. well.. anybody! Quietly confident and kept
to himself. He wasn’t mean or anything. Just preferred his own company to that of others and had enough MMA experience
to beat blood from a stone.
The only thing these two guys had in common, was Jess, my annoying but thoughtful little sister. While Jess had never
shown any particular interest in either party, both of them had their own little ways of expressing their feelings for
Tyler simply kept his distance, seeming to always be around when she needed some comfort or to borrow some money.
Mark used his “humorous” personality and boisterous “alpha male” confidence to show her that HE was top dog.
In this particular instance, Jess had noticed a fairly big spider dangling menacingly from our “poor mans” chandelier
and in typical teenage girl fashion, leapt across the room, cleared the coffee table in a single bound and screamed
“EWW! KILL IT!”.
To which Mark had decided to “heroically” step in and slay the unsightly beast before Tyler interrupted him, quickly crossing
the room and gently pushing a hand against Mark’s chest before cupping his bare hands carefully around the spider and
smiling at my nervous sister as he backed up towards the cabin door, opening it with his elbow and heading outside.
Jess smiled back causing Mark to sigh audibly and roll his eyes as he slapped the magazine against his palm.
We watched as Tyler stood in the doorway, tilting his head as if examining the weather before crouching at a large plant pot
just outside the door, the contents of which were long dead due to being neglected.
He opened his hands and let the spider scurry off into the dried out, crumbling leaves of the dead old plant and spoke softly…
“Today you, tomorrow me”
Although his calm voice was barely audible from the door, we all knew what he had said. He would use this term every time he
found anything somewhere that shouldn’t be. A spider in Mark’s bathtub, a mouse in Jess’s dresser or a wasp that got itself trapped inside my car on the way here almost causing me to crash by beating itself repeatedly against my windshield.
Mark finally found his voice again and let out another sigh, louder this time as he threw the magazine onto the coffee table.
The sudden noise getting everybody’s attention.
“Dude, don’t put it so close to the door! It’s just going to get back in”. He droned, causing my sisters eyes to widen anxiously again.
This was met with Tyler silently smiling at the creature as it scuttled freely into the leaves, then glancing out at the open field where the
main house stood. “It’s going to rain”, he said matter-of-factly.
He was right, the greying sky and ominous clouds gave a clear indication that a storm was most certainly on it’s way.
“Pft!” Mark snorted, “it’s just a spider dude, you should of just let me put it out of our misery!” He said, his gaze shifting between me
and my sister, as if seeking some form of approval.
“So? Why does his life mean any less than yours?” Tyler said, closing the door and making his way back inside, dusting what I can only assume was a strand of webbing from between his fingers as he spoke.
“Just because some people don’t like them doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a chance”.
I couldn’t help but smile at this statement. I’m not a huge fan of anything creepy or crawly, but the fact that Tyler, somebody so
outwardly confident and physically capable has enough warmth in his heart to care for something, even if nobody else does.
It was exactly those qualities, coupled with his outrageously ripped physique, that made him so attractive to me. It was also the main reason I agreed to this little escapade in the first place. While I don’t care much for alcohol, social gatherings or, well… Mark.
I thought that maybe if he could see the beauty in something as universally repulsive as a spider, then perhaps he might even be able to see the the beauty in me…
I know I probably sound petty, but I have always been a little jealous of my sister. Her gymnast frame and silky blonde hair made her easy on the eyes.
Even her irritating, high pitched voice added to her demeanour, giving her an air of vulnerability that guys seemed to love!
Honestly, she could easily be compared to a traditional “Disney” Princess. I, on the other hand…? Well…
I was broke from my thoughts by a distant flash of lightning, followed by a low rumble of thunder, made all the more tumultuous by the miles upon miles of empty fields leading up to the forest which cradles our property.
“Told you” Tyler said, a small smirk appearing on his face as his suspicions were confirmed as if on cue. There was a brief moment of tension as the boys stared at each other, only to be broken by Jess thrusting a bottle of whiskey against Mark’s chest.
“Here! open this while I go get us some shot glasses!”
Mark obliged, offering one more glance at Tyler before noisily twisting the lid off the whiskey bottle and taking a long swig from it before
setting it down aggressively on the coffee table and slumping back into his seat.
I let out a sigh, shrugging my shoulders as I inched my way into the centre of the room, making sure to sit on the chair between Tyler and Mark.
Partly so that I could be closer to Tyler but mostly to deter any more eye contact between to two of them.
The night went on and tensions died down, the sound of rain hammering against the cabin roof and the rumbling thunder made us all grateful to be inside the house, safe and warm, drinking by the fireplace which was burning excessively, mostly due to me trying to secretly tip away my shots of whiskey. Like I said, not a fan of alcohol, but I couldn’t be the only one NOT drinking.
I glanced up at the dark, ornate looking clock above the fireplace and blinked in surprise when I read the time, “2:36am”.
I drew in what I hoped would be a gasp but ended up being an embarrassing fit of coughing brought on by the taste of whiskey on my tongue as I pointed at the clock, and tried to catch my breath.
“Oh my God!” Jess squealed, jumping to her feet. “What!?” I bark, startled by my sisters sudden outburst, glaring at her as she jumps to her feet.
“I have to pee!” She laughed, scurrying across the room and disappearing down the hallway to the bathroom at the back of the cabin.
The boys and I all breathed a collective sigh of relief as Mark once again reached for the whiskey bottle and proceeded to pour us all another shot.
I lifted my glass and placed it to my lips when I heard my sisters voice calling me from down the hall, growing in urgency. I paused to make sure I heard what I thought I did.
“Lucyyyy! Heeeelp!” She crowed, causing the guys to look at each other with concern. I however, recognised my sisters remarkably “subtle” way of telling me that she needs my help in a way only a girl would understand… if there was another spider, she would have called on one of the boys.
I pick up my bag and head down the hallway, digging around for a moment before tapping on the door and pushing it open just enough to fit my hand through, taking note of the fact that having our parents out of town has done nothing to inspire her to grow up and start organising things for herself.
I’ll spare you the details of the conversation that followed and skip to the part where I walked back into the room with an audible sigh which was met with a resounding “SHH!” from the boys who were now both on there feet, their faces pressed up against one of the windows looking out into the darkness, there hands cupped around there temples to block out the reflective light of the chandelier.
“There’s somebody out there…” Tyler said. This normally wouldn’t of bothered me and at first it didn’t, until I heard it…
Loud, deliberate footsteps, moving along the wooden decking that surrounded our cabin. Now, at the risk of sounding like a big baby, let me add some perspective.
I live approximately 4 miles by dirt road from the nearest town on a farm with my parents, who currently were not home, hence our little “party”.
There’s a storm raging outside and none of us have noticed any cars pull into the open plan driveway. Now, not only is there somebody outside the house who didn’t think to knock on the door, but they are now walking around the house and to make matters worse. They’re getting faster…
The footsteps seem to quicken in pace, a sharp cracking sound being made under them as the old wooden boards of our deck splintered and creaked under the pressure of our unseen sprinter. The sound moved rapidly along the side of the cabin, so loud it could have been coming from inside. My concern turned to panic as I called for my sister, noticing that the sound was heading towards the back of the house where she was undoubtedly still in the bathroom, preening herself in the mirror.
“Jessica?!” I called out, not even attempting to mask the obvious tremble in my voice as the guys moved back away from the window and moved in unison towards the hallway. A clatter of footsteps coming to a halt and stumbling high heels could be heard as they practically run strait into her in the hallway, her eyes now wide and puzzled. “What’s going on?”
I pressed a finger to my own lips and raised my hand to keep her quiet. The footsteps… they had stopped. We all stayed silent, occasionally glancing at each other as if to communicate our growing apprehension, the silence finally being broken by Jess’s voice, her tone no longer the usual sing-song annoyance it normally was.
It was now filled with a sickening fear as she raised a hand and pointed directly to the window and whispered “O-oh my God…”
A chill ran down my spine and we turned around, as if in unison staring directed at the looming, dark shape that now filled the window frame.
It wasn’t moving save for the occasional twitch, but stood unnervingly still in the heavy wind which we could heard was still whistling between the fragile old wooden panels that made up our cabin walls.
We stood close, huddled into a group as if seeking warmth, our arms touching as we stared, frozen in fear at whoever… no… WHAT-ever was staring back in at us.
Then, as if to answer my curiosity a bright flash of lightening tore through the darkness, illuminating the creatures hideous frame.
It was hard to get a good idea of what this thing looked like, the bright flash of lightning doing little more than accentuate the unnatural shape of the beast, briefly illustrating it’s pointed, insectoid looking head and sharp, jagged shoulders that seemed to point directly upwards, as if the head sat between them in a wet, brown crevice that I assume must have been a chest.
I gasped, my chest starting to throb with the familiar kind of pain that made me instinctively reach for my bag, turning my head slightly, trying to glance into my bag but not wanting to take my eyes off the shape fumbling around inside it for my asthma inhaler.
The dark shape remained still at this, only tilting it’s head in what appeared to be curiosity, although the tilt was more of an unsettling crack which resulted in the monster looking at us from a slightly different angle.
The rain beat down around the thing and the thunder that followed the lightening caused us all to jump out of our skin. Me and my sister screamed simultaneously the way only sisters can, almost mimicking each others scream in both length and volume, the only difference being a couple of key notes.
Mark grabbed a hold of Jess’s wrist and pulled her towards him. More for his own comfort than hers, I’m sure. Tyler took a step towards the window and raised his hand.
“What are you doing man?! Are you crazy!?” Mark spat, moving quickly behind my sister and now holding her by the shoulders like some kind of tiny, blonde meat shield as Tyler held his hand up.
“Shut up” Tyler hissed as we all watched the monster raise a long, jagged appendage and press is against the darkened window frame. The tip of which clattered noisily against the glass, there were no hands… Just a single, sharp claw.
This was apparently too much for Mark who once again assumed the mantle of “Alpha” by picking up an empty shot glass and hurling it across the room towards the window.
“GET LOST!” He yelled, his voice cracking with obvious fear. The tiny glass smashed loudly against the wall, scattering tiny fragments of glass around the wooden floor of the cabin.
We all froze as another flash of lightning lit up the frame of the monster which had moved backwards slightly in reaction of Mark’s attempt at frightening it.
The momentary radiance giving birth to an all new horror as the monster tilted its head back, a series of gurgling, snapping sounds seeming to come from inside it as it opened an elongated, bizarre looking mouthpiece… and it screamed… the baffling sound clearly a disembodied mixture of the screams me and my sister had emitted just a moment ago.
Tears started to fill my eyes and my legs trembled relentlessly as the garbled amalgamation of both our voices poured out of the thing just before it disappeared again. The rattling sounds of it’s unhesitant footsteps now crashing along the decking and up the side of the building.
We all huddled together again, our eyes following the sound as it made its way furiously up the wall and across the roof, it’s speed unnaturally fast and the sounds of its claws against the tiles not seeming to follow any kind of pattern, instead just sounding as if they simply crashed down wherever they landed at random intervals.
The sound grew distant, then stopped altogether and we stood for a while, the fire starting to burn dimmer and dimmer as we waited for any kind of movement, any indication that this thing was still there.
Tyler was the first to move, slowly raising his hands and lowering them slightly, as if signing to us to remain quiet as we started to move around. I turned my attention to Jess who was shaking, sobbing hysterically but trying her best to hold back any noise.
I rested my hand on her shoulder and raised my inhaler to my lips, taking a deep breath and closing my eyes, trying my best to exude some semblance of calm in an effort to soothe my little sisters whimpering.
Tyler and Mark stood over by the fireplace, what started as a whispered conversation now building up to be a buzz of hissing and snapping, punctuated with quick and stern gestures, obviously blaming each other for the monsters sudden outburst.
Mark eventually lets out a sigh and glances at the door, staring at it for a moment. “We have to get out of here!” He announced, glancing at the ceiling and listening for a second before walking towards the door. “Lucy, we need to make a break for the car”.
“No!” Tyler snapped, stepping towards him. “You saw the same thing we did… You have no idea what we’re dealing with here! That.. that THING is intelligent! It probably WANTS us to make a break for it! We need a plan…”
“Who died and made you queen?!” Mark yells, the echo of his voice now apparent in the overwhelming silence of the cabin. “Shh!” I chime in, frowning angrily at him. “Tyler’s right Mark, just.. l-lets think of a plan okay.. it’s not safe out there!”
Mark scoffs and shrugs his shoulders, rolling his eyes at me and forcing a derogatory laugh “Ha! Oh what a surprise! Lucy agrees with Tyler! Hmph!”
He throws his arms up exhaustively and walks an anxious circle around the table, picking up the bottle of whiskey and taking another swig.
“Look, if you want to stay here and get eaten, that’s fine by me! Just give me the keys, and I’ll go by myself!” The presence of alcohol now making it difficult to differentiate between Marks confidence and stupidity.
I subconsciously clutch my bag tighter to my chest, knowing my car keys are inside. Then suddenly, Mark lunged for my bag, snatching it out of my hands, shoving Jess aggressively when she tried to intervene, causing her to fall back against the chair.
I let out a stifled scream, trying to protest his actions. I was too late, in one movement he tore the bag from my hands and made a break for the door, fumbling around inside as I crouch down to pick up my sister, now more concerned about her health than Marks.
Tyler darts towards Mark, charging him and tackling him with a loud clatter into the door, the brittle wood seeming to bend and augment under the pressure of the two boys falling into it. Tyler starts to pin Mark against the door, fighting over the bag and trying to pull it away from him, all the while pinning him against the fractured, splintering wood.
Eventually the door gives way, the loud crack of the rupturing door-frame causing everybody to fall silent and scramble away from the door. I feel the colour start to drain from my face as we all listen intently. The boys back away from each other, the contents of my bag now strewn about the floor near the doorway.
I spot the car key on the ground, as does everybody else in the room. However, a sharp clicking sound from above us pulls everybody’s attention to the ceiling and both the boys start backing up slowly. Mark reaches for the whiskey bottle again, shaking his head and letting out a sombre sigh before taking a deep swig.
“I’m sorry Tyler…” He says, his tone low and ominous, not the kind that would register as a sincere apology. Then out of nowhere, he turns around, swinging the bottle at Tyler. Jess and I both scream, shielding our faces, expecting the glass to shower us as it smashed, but instead, the thick glass bottle strikes Tyler in the back of the head with a deep, dull thud, dropping him immediately to the floor!
We uncover our faces, bringing our trembling hands down to see Tyler on the ground, still conscious, but barely as he clutches the back of his head in pain.
Jessica tries to stammer out something barely audible but chokes on her tears as she falls down to her knees, covering her face once again.
Mark points the bottle towards me and shakes his head, backing towards the door and leaning down to pick up the car keys. He looks around cautiously as he makes his way to my car, his face darting up to the roof, then around the sides of the house. Jess crawls her way over to Tyler as he groans in pain on the ground, clinging to consciousness as she tries to comfort him.
I side step to the window, watching Mark as he clutches the bottle, taking an immoral pleasure in the fact that he’s shaking so badly that he can barely hold onto the instrument that put us all in danger.
He backs up into the car, letting out a broken yelp as the sudden feeling of something solid catches him off guard and he drops the bottle on the ground, his hands shaking violently as he starts to scratch at the car door, trying to push the key into the lock. I watch him struggle for a few seconds before he freezes, as if he’s just suddenly given up on trying to get in the car, but he doesn’t move, just stands perfectly still.
It takes me a moment, but I soon discover why. The sound… the broken and distorted but eerily familiar sound of my sisters voice.. “Luuucyyy… heeeelp”…
I look down at Jess who is still sobbing into Tyler’s shoulder as he sits up, trying to compose himself and I can’t help but feel sick as this Godless abomination mimics my sister.
I watch from the window, feeling my knees bend instinctively as two, large, clawed appendages reach up from the other side of my car and scramble over the top of it!
The thing was massive, it’s limbs cracked and bent unnaturally as it practically unfolded itself from it’s hiding place and stretched out a bizarre and uncomfortable looking form.
It’s face, still hard to make out in the darkness, seemed to warp and change as it loomed in closer to Mark. It’s sat perched, so still that I would of thought it had frozen in time, like the worlds ugliest statue. Then, with no warning it’s front appendages widened, freeing a smaller pair of.. arms..? Legs..? I don’t know!
Something shot out and snatched Mark so harshly that his heels almost touched the back of his head and I turned around, crouching under the window frame and covering my ears as I tried to drown out the sounds of whatever it was doing to him.
I don’t know how long I sat under the safety of the window frame, but I was suddenly jerked from my position by a terrifying tremor as it rippled through the cabin.
I crawled across to my sister and Tyler who, like me, had remained still. “Jess! Jess are you okay? Wh-what was that…?”.
She didn’t respond. She instead stared across my shoulder, her face white and her eyes shimmering. The reflection of peculiar, freakish movements gave me an overwhelming sense of dread. I felt the wave of fear pass over me, only suppressed by the desire to protect my sister as I turned around and watched helplessly while the frightful atrocity came scrambling in through the broken doorway, pulling itself through the gaps awkwardly like a spider through a plug-hole.
It shifted and rocked as it leaned it’s top heavy, lumbering torso towards us. The light of the cabin made me question every time I’d seen the monster, as only having it this close had given me enough of a chance to focus on it’s face. It had two parallel plates which clung together to create a mask which appeared vaguely human… They writhed and twitched as a thin, wispy antenna poked around behind them, sliding over it’s dark eyes like an obscene windscreen wiper.
I tried to speak and as I did so, the bottom of it’s face plates moved, letting out a probing tongue like proboscis. I was certain that it was trying to copy my movements. I was reminded of the long pause it took before devouring Mark and I braced myself, closing my eyes and tensing my whole body.
I tried to focus on something other than the feeling of warm, wet air that seemed to radiate from the monster, the rain which covered it’s body starting to drip onto my legs as I sat in front of my friends awaiting the inevitable.
A harsh tug caused me to gasp and I kept my eyes closed, my back bending as I’m dragged backwards and I collided with something else. Torn between curiosity and self preservation, I cautiously opened my eyes to see Tyler. He stood between us and the monster, a hand raised up in the air.
I wanted to scream, my chest hurt and my lungs felt like they were getting smaller as the creature curiously wrapped it’s long, wet, stringy antennae around Tyler’s outstretched hand before recoiling slightly and wheezing out a raspy screech, it’s facial features contorting hideously again as it propped itself up onto it’s back legs, staring down at him and clicking menacingly.
We watched in both horror and amazement as the back half of the thing started dragging it towards the doorway, it’s fore-limbs lagging a little before they too started to move. It clambered around the doorframe and twisted it’s body outwards the same way it came in, glaring at Tyler from the doorway as it reversed.
We held our breath, half relieved, half braced as it lowered the top half of its body with a threatening snap, leaving only its face in the doorway as the unsightly mouthpiece throbbed and spluttered while a sinister but somehow comforting resonance rattled out of it…. “Today you… Tomorrow me…”
CREDIT : Gemini
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