I’m plummeting towards the ground.
It’s already getting boring.
The rocks rush up to meet me. I don’t even close my eyes anymore. I pass through the ground and… I’m plummeting towards the ground. The spider has settled on my forearm.
“So, um… hi,” I say to the spider. “Do you know what’s going on?”
“A pertinent question,” the spider notes, it has a voice like a venerable doyen of the theatre who has been reduced to narrating a documentary about yoghurt. “Imagine if you will all the knowledge relating to our situation is an apple on that ledge yonder,” it points with a hairy leg to a ledge as we fall pass it. “And I? Why, I am a hungry, nay ravenous mouse on that ledge there.” It points to another ledge some distance away. “If only I possessed the rudiments of flight to navigate the chasm. But tragically I do not.”
I run this through my head. “You mean… no?”
“That is the essence of that which I am currently endeavouring to express. Apologies, it is rare that I get the opportunity to exercise this gift of speech that has been so unusually bestowed on me. Perhaps you would care to hear the tale?”
“Perhaps now is, um, not the time?” I suggest, politely.
“Capital! A fine mind you have, your logic may I say is unimpeachable, impeccable,” the spider says and tells me anyway.
It regales me with a remarkably long and convoluted story filled with pathos, great emotions, and a disproportionate number of juicy flies. It spins a tale, which even has a sub-plot, about a journey full of adventures and discovery for itself who it refers to, without a trace of anything resembling humility, as the humble hero. The spider’s story unfolds and unfolds for what seems like hours.
But basically, it bit a witch.
“Right,” I blink sleepily when I realise it has stopped. “That was… that was… thorough.”
“You are most assuredly welcome, young lady.”
“So now what do we do?”
“Ah! Another most appropriate enquiry,” the spider says approvingly. “For my part, I was considering biting you, sinking my fangs into the soft flesh of your forearm which, even now, rests tenderly, temptingly beneath my exo-skeletoned feet.”
“You what?” I ask, raising my hand. I don’t care how eloquent it is for an arachnid, I will squish him. Back in Footfall, I think I would have just meekly asked him not to. Things have happened since then. “If you so much as twitch your fangs at me, you’re getting a… a… death-slap.”
It adopts an accent I’m not familiar with, but one which reminds me of the market folk in footfall. “Well, it’s instinct, isn’t it? Can’t blame me, can you, squire? Very instinctive creature, your spider. Passionate. Great supporters of the arts.”
I don’t lower my hand.
It adopts a different accent; I still don’t recognise it but this one seems to have alleys and gambling dens in it. It’s actually a very talented spider, “Then I was finking in me ed, I was finking, if I was gunna be stuck in some never-effink-ending effink loop of effink falling, I deffo gorra bite ya, see? Keep me going for weeks, innit? The juices in someone like you.”
I still don’t lower my hand but do find my lip curling dangerously. “And?” I ask.
It changes accents again, this one is filled with green hills and villages, “Sure, I realised I could just pop a wee thread out, and catch the air. I could float back to the rockface, so. But didn’t I wonder? Could I be saving you?”
I lower my hand a bit, “And did you decide you could?”
This time it speaks in a motherly lady’s voice, like some kind of wise healer. “Child, I considered putting out thread after thread after thread. I dared to hope I may eventually produce a structure that could bare your weight, a web of grand proportions. Sadly, however, I realised with the amount of nutrients such an action would require, I would have to drain you dry to achieve it.”
Finally, I put my hand down. I don’t think it means to harm me, I think it just wants someone to perform for, “Right, okay, well thanks for the thought.”
“Then I reckoned I could fashion y’all a parachute from my silk,” it says in another strange accent, one that makes me think of grassy plains. “I posited I could do it slow, so it don’t tear none. Sadly, little lady, the same problem applies.”
Yep, I think l know where this is going, “You decided not to, didn’t you?”
“Yes indeedy,” it says in what may or may not be its normal voice. “I opted in fact for the abandoning you to your fate route. Terribly sorry, but it’s the ol’ survival instincts kicking in. A spider is a spider is a spider. I beg you, dear lady, don’t think too ill of me.”
“Wait, perhaps you could-” I begin, meaning to ask it to find someone to help
But with a puff of expelled silk, the spider is whipped from my arm and towards the cliffs.
“Oh, come on!” I shout after it. It doesn’t reply. “Oi!” I shout.
“Can’t hear you,” It calls back as it drifts off into darkness. “Not a word! Terribly sorry!”
And it’s gone.
And I’m plummeting towards the ground.
It was already boring
Now I’m annoyed.