The crime scene was covered in gossamer-thin webs, perfectly preserving it. The mother huider took up most of the room, but she had been protected with a layer of extremely fine, sticky threads, almost like a mourning veil. Beneath it, her ichor stained the lush carpet and had already begun to dry and attract fairies.

Alan brushed them away. “Shoo!” he said. “Get out of here. This isn’t forensics, dammit, it’s janitorial services.”

“She’s beautiful,” Jen said, looking at the crumpled figure.

“That’s one word to use for it,” Alan said. “Creepy is another. Spiders weird me out, and huiders have entirely too much spider and entirely too little human for my taste.”

“Did she do all this?” Jen continued, pointing at the webs.

“After she was dead? That’s a hell of a trick.” Alan shook his head. “Nah. Her kids did it.”

“Kids?” Jen noticed, after a moment’s observation, that Alan was very deliberately keeping his head down and his baseball cap’s brim was blocking out most of his upward vision.

She looked at the ceiling and gave a little yelp as a dozen or more cherubic faces looked back, their newborn-like torsos at odds with the multitude of eyes on each face, shining from the dim ceiling, and the many legs and gently bobbing abdomens behind them.

“Yeah,” Alan said. “I won’t say much about spiders, scoripions, huiders, and the like, but I will say this: they are good mommas. Them babies is gonna have it rough on their own.”

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!