Short story: Running with Spiders


Every day is a weary lie. I can barely force my face into a convincing smile, but no one notices, too caught up in their own worlds. I wear shoes, but they’re a lie, my feet don’t want to wear shoes, they don’t want to be confined to feebly gripping, clumsy slabs with laces; they want to feel the world and cling to it, never falling. I wear the suit, but my neck doesn’t like that choke-chain tie around it, my legs don’t like to be bound in fabric. I may wear cashmere, but it constricts like cheap nylon, because it’s wrong.

I get to work at nine o’clock sharp, an unconvincing copy of an enthusiastic smile clinging to my face, because this isn’t where I’m supposed to be. I’m not a creature of bright strip lights and open floor plans, instead I’m of the night, of the dark and dank and dusty. I’m at work now, because I haven’t the energy in the day to argue with convention, all my will is used up at night. At night, where truth rules and where I scutter and spin. So I sit down at my computer, fighting the urge to groan, my body is so heavy, so affected by gravity. I don’t understand how people can live like this without the glorious escape.

Craig in the next cubicle starts up a conversation, he always does, and I always react with empty platitudes and polite nodding. Slurping on his coffee, he says,

“Can’t go to the match this weekend, the wife’s said.”

“Oh dear,” I say with the appropriate tone I don’t feel.

“My brother in law died at the weekend, she says we’ve got to sort out his things.”

“I’m sorry,” I say.

“Yeah, and an Arsenal home game it was too.”

“I meant about your brother-in-law dying.”

“Nah, I hated him anyway.”

My work is dull and pointless, the moment I leave the office I forget what it is I do all day. Something to do with numbers, and catalogues and the ever-whining public. All that matters is that eventually it’s over and the moment of freedom is close, true freedom from this dragging carcass. I ride the train, staring at my phone like everybody else, but all I’m looking at is a timer, counting down the minutes, the seconds.

Sat at my kitchen table, my alarm sounds, but I don’t need a clock to tell me, I can feel the change. The same change that has taken over my senses for five years now.  Every night, every night a revelation and a joy. The hairs first, thick and black, poking out from around my eyes and from my arms. And those arms! Becoming longer, thinner, sleeker. I stretch their beautiful form, feel a breeze tickle at the hairs, so slight that I didn’t notice it before, a delicate caress. I’m shrinking, becoming a size that fits my new senses, as those close-fitting walls get far away and irrelevant. The six new eyes pop from the front of my head one by one, each one telling me a new story of the world, but that’s only the start. Vibration sings its song to me, everything I touch is a tapestry of understanding. I am humming, I am alive with the song of the world around me. And then, as my new body solidifies and strengthens, I am ready to run. And I run and leap. Within moments, I’m on top of the sink and leaping down the drain. Faster and faster, encumbered by nothing. Running along pipes at such speed, the power! The freedom I have! I swoop and glide, gravity doesn’t touch me. As I scutter the depths of the world feeling no fear, my kith and kin run with me.

I run with the spiders, for I too am such a beast.

44 thoughts on “Short story: Running with Spiders

  1. Why was I expecting a werewolf when the picture was obviously a spider?! I like the fact that more creatures are becoming a-were (I’m so sorry…), and I knew something was up when the arms became “longer and sleeker.” Wolves no longer have all the property on transformations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Werewolves are great of course, but there are so many options – were-octopus, were-mud-skipper, were-giraffe. I think I’d go for were-octopus, but first I need a swimming pool… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember before Laurell K. Hamilton turned to straight up porn, she had a ton of were creatures, and it was pretty awesome. I like the idea of exploring the different types of shapeshifting. One of the best YAs I read last year had to do with dragon shapeshifters. I was surprised at how good it was.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds great, cats are fine adventurers. I have read Kafka, unfortunately the beetle chap didn’t seem to enjoy changing as much as my spider chap. I think if you find yourself waking up as a cockroach, you might as well enjoy it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this story. After being trapped all day the man-spider’s metamorphosis and escape seems so joyous. There was an large orb weaver spider making it’s web across the entrance to our driveway a couple of nights ago. Fascinating to watch. It takes the web down at dawn and reweaves it again when it gets dark. Spiders are amazing creatures and it is good to leave them alone. I hope the man-spider had some great adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just googled orb weaver and they’re ace. Do you know why they take the web down? That seems very neat and tidy, I have an image in my head of a spider having a bit of a sweep around, leaving no trace of its visit. Glad you liked the story 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My guess is that the spider would want to hide it’s presence from day predators so takes it down. They lurk under leaves nearby waiting for the next night. There must be no wind for the web to last so you only see these on still nights and you need to be very careful or you may walk into one in the dark. They always seem to make them over pathways or drives!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What if… the transformation is actually just a metaphor! What if actually what this guy does is go home and participate in a forbidden hobby. Or what if he is actually just a sports fan and goes running like a regular person. I have so many theories!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love it when people start coming up with stories behind the stories, it sets my mind going too – what if he just thinks he’s changing, but really he’s just running around his flat as a big human, I bet his neighbours hate him! 🙂


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