Arachne (extract)

He unlocked the door of Rachael’s flat.  Their flat.  His own flat was on the market, but not many buyers were interested in paying a reasonable price when there were so many small flats on the market.  The flat was silent, but he knew Rachael was in.  She must be sleeping, he thought, as he tiptoed into the bedroom.  She lay there on the bed in the afternoon sunlight, her bump showing underneath the duvet.  She was massive and they hadn’t even had the first pre-natal scan yet.  He pushed aside the gossamer strands of the curtains and lay down facing her, placing his hand gently on the bump of her pregnant stomach.  It really was enormous.  The sunlight coming into the room was relaxing and James felt himself slipping slowly into sleep.

 

He watched through half-shut eyes as Rachael’s bump slowly grew larger and larger.  Eventually it split like a ripe fruit, in a spray of red.  Dozens of tiny spiderlings poured out of the gaping belly, crawling all over James, over his body and face, into his mouth and nostrils, biting his face and eyes.  Just before he closed his eyes, he saw Rachael turn towards him with ravenous hunger in her black eyes, as her fangs bit down on his upraised arm.

 

James woke with a shudder.  Rachael was lying there, still asleep.

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