Daddy Longlegs


Beth Holloway shot up in bed to the sounds of terrorized screaming coming from her 6-year-old son’s bedroom. Ripping the bed sheets away she ran down the corridor in a panic.

“Joey! Joey!” she shouted, as she burst into the room and turned on the lights. “What’s the matter?!” she asked, searching her son’s tear-streaked, frightened face.

“There… there was a spider.”

“A spider?”

“It was huge, Mom. It was on my pillow and then it crawled onto my face… It… it was going to bite me.”

“Sweetie, you just had a bad dream. There are no huge spiders in this house.”

“It wasn’t a dream, Mom. I swear. It was on my face. Its… its body was the size of a baseball.”

“Joey, you had a nightmare,” she said soothingly as she wiped the sweat from his forehead. “It’s okay. And to prove it, we’ll search your room top-to-bottom. I guarantee we won’t find any huge spiders. Then you can come and sleep with me – just this once. Okay?”

“Okay. But I’m telling you it wasn’t a dream. I felt it on my face.”

*

5 years later – back garden of Joey Holloway’s aunt and uncle in England

Joey watched intently as his sadistic older cousin, Kevin, slowly pulled the legs off of the spider one-by-one.

“Now comes the fun part,” said Kevin, giving Joey a malicious wink and taking a magnifying glass from his pocket. He concentrated a beam of sunlight on the spider’s writhing, legless body until it burst under the heat with a sickening pop.

“I want to do the next one,” said Joey, earnestly.

“Okay!” laughed Kevin and the two boys spent the rest of the afternoon merrily torturing and roasting alive every spider they could find.

*

15 years later – Joey Holloway’s girlfriend’s apartment – 3:20 AM

 “Jesus Christ! What is it, Joey?!” she shouted as she shook him awake.

“What?” he whispered as he opened his anguished eyes.

“You were screaming your head off,” she said, dabbing the sweat and tears from his face.

“Oh, fuck me,” he said sitting up in bed.

“What were you dreaming, baby?”

“I… I had this nightmare when I was just a boy about a giant spider that crawled onto my face from my pillow and tried to bite me… It was so real my Mom had to take me all through the house to show me it wasn’t there… I… I just had the exact same dream.”

“It’s okay, Joey. Here, come lie down with me. God, your heart is racing!”

“It’s… it’s just so real,” he sighed, as the panic subsided and he eased back into sleep in his girlfriend’s arms.

*

50 years later – cottage on Lake Massawippi, Quebec

He sat in his rocker at the end of the dock gazing out across the sparkling water and rolling hills. His wife had died less than a year ago and he glanced yearningly at the empty rocker beside him – wishing she was still there. This was the special place where they had been coming, over the past 40 years, to relax and talk and laugh. She had been the centre of his universe and the rockers at the end of the dock were where the stars collided in love and companionship.

As he turned his attention again to the water, he noticed a large spider perched at the very tip of the dock starting to knit a web. A tremendous, untrammeled fury rose inside his chest and, getting up laboriously from the rocker, he aggressively crushed the insect under his twisting heel and kicked its dead body into the chattering lake.

*

The same day after sundown inside the cottage

He set aside his dinner plate and went to the bathroom to wash his hands. After the foamy water drained out of the sink, he was alarmed to see an enormous spider slink out of the sink hole. He killed it instantly with a wad of toilet paper. But then another emerged and another after that. Terrified, he put the plug in the sink but when he turned around, he shouted in horror as the bathtub was full of spiders spreading out and up across the tiled porcelain walls. He fled the bathroom, slamming the door behind him, and ran to the kitchen where hundreds of spiders had come up through the kitchen sink and were skittering across the counter tops. Running into the living room, the hardwood floors creaked and swelled under the pressure of something trying to get in from below. Flinging open the curtain to the bay window that overlooked the lake, he was confronted with the eight glassy black eyes. Before he had a chance to scream, the hairy brown leg shattered the window and pulled him out into the crisp night air.

*

About Requiem for the Damned

Ask the aliens
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