Manchester

The many legged spider had caught his prey. The two flies were walking into his web, tequila clouds swirling through their judgement and presenting the home of the predator as an abode of appeal. They had known something was amiss as they travelled with the spider, humour and shared smoke disguising him as a friend. Sitting atop the spider's lap, one of the flies, B, had felt a worry crawling into its brain and, squinting outside, none of the surroundings could be recognised. The second fly, A, exuberated ease, a lukewarm cigarette lit to its mouth. They couldn't remember leaving where they had been but they acknowledged entering the arachnid's lair. Grimy grey walls stood sheer and proud above. Stained wooden boards covered the floor, with a few hinting at a history of laminate. The flies followed their host's direction slowly up the staircase, swaying legs reaching out with hesitation for the next step. A turn of a key behind them heightened the foreboding that had wrapped around their intestines. B swivelled its head in an attempt to search for something but was intercepted by a gleaning grin from the spider. They couldn't remember his, or was it her, name. The silent party reached a standstill. The two flies met each other's eyes and wide eyed looks of surprise were exchanged. A puzzling scent wafted through the room, one of everything just being not quite right. Adrenaline surged through the spider. He turned towards the flies and with a smile that didn't meet his many eyes, beckoned his prey closer. Entertainment was promised. An attempt at a reassuring tone was made to convince the flies that they had made the right decision by coming here. An invitation to the room where he collected his trophies swarmed the consciousness of the flies. A nodded in agreement, the last three Jaeger-bombs blocking out any sense of sense. A flicker of sobriety flooded across B, who remained motionless, stubborn feet stood stationary. The spider skulked opposite from them now, his manic eyes flitting from prey to prey. They registered hesitation from its right-hand side. A scatter of skeletal legs prepared themselves to launch forward before a hollow laugh echoed through the lightless space. B was smiling, willing the spider to stop, to reconsider. Its eyes told a tale of agreement, that the two would concede to accept his invitation. The spider scrambled eagerly across the floorboards, his legs scratching softly through the silence. Just before reaching out for the door handle, he turned and eyed the flies greedily. His gaze lingered on their thighs. Frantically, without time to think, B blurted out a hurried request to smoke one more cigarette in the peace of the street. The spider smirked and reassured the two of how welcome they were to smoke in his trophy room. The tone of authority in his voice was poorly concealed. He watched his prey for a moment longer but, convinced of his own control, he turned to face the door once more. In a surge of speed, B seized A and made for the staircase. With a flash, A snapped back to sense and followed suit. The two flies streamed drunkenly down the stony steps, derelict walls towering over them. The key was jammed into the lock on the spider's front door and B struggled to open it, screaming with frustration. Finally, fresh air flooded through the flies as A wrenched the door open and launched the key into the night, the house hiding under cloud's shadows. The sound of a spider's many feet rushing down the stairs writhed through the silence but to no avail. The spider stopped abruptly, his nose breathing in the fresh scent of food. As he peered into the darkness, he saw the two flies banging on the doors of a bus before they snapped open and allowed entry. His prey had escaped.

Maria Vegro