Tappety tappety tap.
Something about the low light amplified the tiny sound that seemed to grow louder as it continued.
Tappety tappety tap.
She leaned forward to try to peer into the darkness beyond, but the leather cuffs that secured her hands behind her back restrained her movement.
Tappety tappety tappety tap.
The sound began to slow as it drew nearer, yet whatever was making the noise remained out of sight.
An involuntary gasp escaped her lips as a spider, like none she had ever seen before, tappety-tapped its way slowly toward her. Even as anticipation unleashed a caterpillar of fear that crept up her spine and over her scalp, she watched, transfixed, as its skeletal form crossed the floor.
The meagre light reflected dully off its bony thorax, from which extended eight legs that consisted of the clean, white phalanges of long, dextrous fingers. The tap-pet-ty tapping of its bony legs echoed down the dark hallway, then halted. The arachnid raised its front legs in the air as though surveying her as an unexpected intruder in its lair.
She held her breath and sat as still as she possibly could, not wanting to attract it or arouse its suspicion. Her pulse pounded in her ears and throbbed in her temples as she willed it to hush, but that was to no avail.
Tap tap tap. Tap tap.
It slowed, then raised one of its bony legs in the air and pointed it directly at her.
She froze, but was unable to take her eyes off the creature. It had no eyes that she could see, nor antennae, yet somehow it sensed her and knew exactly where she was.
Tap-pet-y tap-pet-y tap. The creature advanced toward her slowly, deliberately, and without any regard for stealth.
It crept onto her shoe, one fingery leg at a time, and sat there quite motionless for a moment, although it seemed much longer to her. Shuddering, she shook and kicked her foot, but it clung tenaciously to her shoe, entirely undeterred by her movement.
When her foot was back on the floor, the bony legs began to step carefully over her bootlaces and buttons, stark against the soft leather. As it stepped onto the skin of her calf, she winced at the icy coldness of its touch. The creature proceeded up her leg, each tiny footfall sending tiny chills racing across her skin and up her spine.
She tensed as it approached the hem of her skirt which rested just below her knee due to her writhing and squirming in her efforts to free herself, the creature’s pace both mercifully and agonisingly slow at the same time. ‘Oh dear God, don’t let it go underneath’ she thought, although the words were borne more of repulsion than a prayer. Her muscles clenched everything under her clothing as tightly shut as she could make it, relaxing only when the fingery legs stepped onto the fabric of her skirt.
A tear escaped down her cheek as she released her breath slowly, yet her body remained rigid as she watched the ghastly spider advancing over her skirt toward her abdomen.
Further and further it crept, over her stomach and onto the bodice of her dress, crawling slowly but definitely upward. As it crossed her collarbone, she gave thanks for the high neckline and collar of her dress so that it wasn’t actually touching her skin.
She watched it intently, trying to keep her head still and only move her eyes as she tracked its movements.
She moaned as the first cold, bony foot stepped onto her throat. One by one, the others followed in succession, slow and purposeful. She twitched involuntarily with surprise as one of the forelegs reached up and stroked her cheek gently, creating an icy trail tracing her teardrop’s journey softly from her cheekbone to her jaw.
Then the creature’s bony legs wrapped around her throat, crushing her trachea in its grip. Pressure built behind her eyes, in her ears, in her skull, pounding the beat of her panic and fear with its crushing weight. The fireworks behind her eyes imprinted themselves in starbursts of purple around her eyes. Tears flowing freely, she struggled against her restraints, aching for breath and for release.
Her vision began to dim as her heart fluttered wildly in her chest, but her eyes sprang wide open when she felt a profound sting in the flesh beneath her jaw, and remained fixed and wide as she felt its mouthparts mashing her carotid artery before its venom stilled her resistance and slowed her heart until each beat was almost imperceptible. The agony of asphyxiation gave way to coldness as the bony spider drew deeply, its abdomen swelling as it gorged itself on her lifeblood.
Time slowed as darkness overpowered her senses and pulled her into its final, eternal lair.
Only when she was completely still, her lifeless eyes still staring into the darkness, did the creature end its gory feast.
It fell to the floor, flexed its bony legs, and headed back into the dark hallway.
Tap-pet-y tap-pet-y tap.