The Silk That Binds You

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I emerge from the basement into a city blanketed in thick silk. Morning is the safest time to be above ground. The major webs have been painted, but you never know if a spider has been spinning in the night. In the morning dew clings to the new webs, the trip wires, the invisible tunnels.  

When you have new gods, you must change your songs to praise them. In the temple we weave our praise, crashing cymbals: biscuit and dustbin lids, imitating the sounds of the spiders' clacking mandibles. In this way we can congregate without being attacked.

When a spider walks into the congregation, we part like the Red Sea. It's a youngling. Its eight delicate legs click along the nave. Silk extrudes from the spinnerets on its banded abdomen.

At the altar it lowers its head to the floor. Then, with a hydraulic hiss and the smell of ozone, it extends its legs until its head brushes the vaulted ceiling. We tremble, although it's extremely rare for a spider to kill in a temple. We think they like the worship.

After the spider leaves, a man runs into the nave and gathers the silk.

I touch his arm. "Leave it, my friend."

"This is holy silk," he says.

I slap his face. "Never say that again," I tell him. "Never believe it." I don't care what horror he's seen. I don't care if he's seen his family trapped in a web, injected with digestive juices, sucked dry. "If you say that again, I'll kill you."

The alien spider silk falls from his fingers and pools to the floor.

This charade of worship we created as an excuse to gather is becoming real. I'll need to address that at the next meeting.

On my way home, I cut fungus from the spider silk, food for my new family. I live in the school's basement, with a dozen children. I still teach.

I teach them that life has always been a trap, a web of unseen forces entangling us in expectations, and wrapping us, invisible.

I teach them that with the coming of these spider aliens, we see the threads that restrict us. We can find a way to cut through.

I teach them that the spiders are not gods. I teach them that we are not flies in the web.

I teach them a new song. 


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