AGC pages: 26

posted 9th Jul 2015, 5:17 AM

AGC pages: 26
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9th Jul 2015, 5:17 AM

Chernobog

(Part 1 of 'The Stay Over'. This was a 2 part short story I had on my DA account. I always liked this but barely anyone saw it. Oh well, enjoy.)

Ahab Morgan had been traveling as she often did. No rhyme, nor reason, just all a-wandering. She was on the surface, but made no effort to hide her demishaman nature as the spider, other than to remain scarce. Every so often, it was a worthwhile endeavor just to be crazy. If one drinks, they slake their thirst, so how was it any different for Ahab? What sense was there in dehydrating?

She had no idea what the name of this place was... let alone the state or the actual day. Just a sun and moon to indicate time even existed anymore, with the occasional spot of rain as she roamed alone in some backwoods and abandoned rural outskirts. This was a fine way of doing things, Ahab mused. The world was largely quieter this way. More beautiful too. She hoped to do such solemn travels more often.

This night was one that Ahab was met with a chillier rain than she preferred. As the demishamaness, that creature from below, she wasn't prone to wearing her warmer covering street clothes. Although they might not have helped here in any event. Stalking her way under the growing cover of evening into night, Ahab happened upon an abandoned and rather dessicated looking old house. Her favorite.

Alas, this house had no accessible entrance. The doors and broken windows spoke of musty contents and neglect, but they were also boarded over. As a general rule, Ahab preferred not to commit more destruction upon such things anymore than she'd prefer to vandalize a national monument. She had respect for these old relics, even if no one else did. Still, a chilly rain on her back gave wonder if now would be a good exception to the rule. Glancing down amidst some dull looking brown grasses and weeds, she spied a cellar entrance, albeit sadly padlocked.

The shattered narrow window next to it, however, was not. No sacred cows would be served up for beef today, she thought with a smile. Crawling down, which she tended to do anyway, Ahab pulled herself into the darkness of the cellar after getting a feel for the depth to the ground of it.

It was always an assumed risk to do any of this, but Ahab accepted that without much thought. Her general nihilistic perspective, particularly as things pertained to herself, kept the more common fears of mankind from bothering her. Maybe there would be an animal such as a raccoon or badger inside that would take umbrage at her presence. Maybe there was broken glass or nails from an old workshop strewn all over the ground. Anything could happen, really. It was all just another adventure.

Befitting someone who frequented the Subterranea tunnels where she usually explored, the demishamaness' lone eye adjusted quickly as she bristled to shake off the wet cold on her back. It was quite damp down here, but all the best cellars were. The floor was made of uneven concrete, cracked in many places. Wooden supports held the dead home above her aloft on their tired timbers.

From what Ahab could determine, this might have been that old workshop she imagined it once was before having even entered here. But it had changed at some point. A craftsman table and pegboard remained, but all signs of the tools were gone. Instead, old garbage bags with unknown contents strewn the walls of cellar in a mish-mash arrangement. Rusting pipes decorated the ceiling, leading in and out as well as towards an defunct and dirt stained boiler. Small puddles of water touched her clawed feet, hailing water from unknown places.

Searching further about, there was a slop sink with paint stains on the ceramic, but nothing here implied it had been used in ages. Most importantly, there were semi-broken wooden stairs leading to the main body of the house, but a pull at the door reveal it was locked from the other side. It was tantalizing to think what might have been behind the door... the unknown does invite the mind to wonder. It could have just been white walls of peeling paint, maybe a lamp, and some dust bunnies, but it was still fascinating for her to think about. Such was the exploration of civilized decay.

However, on the other side of the room, something else gazed back at her upside down from the darkest of shadows amidst a clutter of old dank pipes and insulation. Even against someone whose vision could pierce the darkness as well as it could, its still quite hard to make out an outline of something that doesn't move. And unlike Ahab's ghostly skin tone, much as snow even in the gloom, he was primarily of an ebony tone like the shadows themselves.

Who was this outsider, he wondered? He knew the look of humans before... something in a much earlier age he spied upon in passing. People looking at the house for a renovation which never happened. Dirt bikers. Drifters. It was much more uncommon even in those limited experiences to see a human female, however. He didn't know why that was. The smell of her skin was distinctive enough, at least. Like faded lavender with a woodsy scent. Even Ahab was not aware of that detail.

He knew enough about humans to know he lived in the old house of one, too. Was she planning to settle here? He pondered this notion... for his kind, he was large. But she was still bigger than he was in form. Could she be a threat? Humans did break the webs of his smaller kin all the time. Without concern or attention. Maybe he would have to assert his territory and drive her off, just to be safe. He noted humans didn't like his kind. Still, for now, it was better to wait. The advantage was his.

Ahab shrugged, giving up on the idea of going into the main portion of the house. It was raining outside and there wasn't much else she could do other than wait it out. The area was generally temperate, but the rain at night was less than pleasant, particularly for one so bare. The cellar here was a little drafty, but far more tolerable than outside at least. Without much else to do, she began to look over the other side of the cellar.

Poking the garbage bags with her foot, she determined they were filled with old clothes, most likely. On her first inclination, finding a well worn flannel and some jeans didn't seem a terrible idea right now but she knew the climate of this cellar meant everything within these bags was almost certainly moldy. She didn't need the skin rash. Sighing, Ahab looked around to find little else on this side. Just some pipes for perhaps a kitchen on the above floor and-

Ahab paused within maybe two inches of a sizable spider web hanging horizontally between the three walls of this side of the cellar. She could see quite well in the dark, better than any person she was certain, but it was still hard to pick out something so thin and stringy, no matter what the size. Spiders did count upon that. Frankly, if Ahab hadn't been so familiar with the topic of spiders and their webs, her eye might have ignored the glimpse as nothing.

Nothing and no one was in the center of the trap. It was a usual spot. The other was very nearby in cover. Here, that could be anything. Pipes. The bags. Maybe some still corner of the ceiling. Or perhaps it was abandoned like everything else here. It was hard to tell. She gave it a pluck with her clawed finger. She expected it to tear easily and maybe a spider would reveal itself. Neither occurred to her surprise. Something monstrous out here, she thought?

"Hello?" she asked aloud, just in case it was something that could speak back. In her adventures, one never knew. Anything was at least possible. There was no answer. This couldn't be taken as a sign of anything, though. If she were a spider being wary or prowling, wouldn't she stay quiet too? She tried to reverse engineer such thinking at times.

Gazing over the trap, she knew it was at least somewhat strong. She couldn't carelessly snap it with her claws. Such same claws and talons also didn't stick to these sorts of things, so there was no word on how entrapping it was. But it was certainly no cobweb. Too clean and orderly. Several moments of silent watching and listening occurred. But Ahab found no clues to reveal a presence.

There was only one real way to know. She glanced out the drafty narrow open window to the cellar from whence she came. It would be raining for some time, it seemed. And she had been lurking around the wilderness of this area for many hours now. One way or another, eventually she would have to retire for the night. And right now, her options largely consisted of slouching on the cold floor in a corner or taking her chances on the garbage bags filled with grimy old rotting clothes. Neither seemed terribly desirable.

In most anyone else's situation, Ahab's third option was inconceivable. But, she was the spider demishamaness and she had stayed in several webs in the Subterranea below, sometimes willing and sometimes with great delay. She was a weird girl, but that was who she was, hence her often lone wanderings. Ahab had long bore a disturbing case of arachnophilia, as if a switch in her mind that should have been flipped on like most anyone else's, was broken off permanently.

Seeing this as the last adventure of the night, Ahab took her open hand and pressed down on one of the firmer looking support stokes of the web's exterior. It gave under the force, but did not break. Even the strongest surface spinners could rarely be capable of such a feat. So, next she tried placing her palm down on the sticky spiral of strands. This resulted in the silk catching on the flesh of her open hand. She pulled it back, watching it stretch almost fifty percent vertically from the original taut position before it released. Not bad. She had seen far stronger, far stickier ones below, but for the surface, this was quite impressive. She estimated such a trap would be the waterloo of larger woodland rodents, like possums and raccoons, to say nothing of most birds.

Glancing about one more time, Ahab cautiously climbed into the web, focusing on touching only with her claws and talons where she would not catch herself. The sticky trap was about three feet off the ground, with a slight tilted slope to it from where she began. In earnest, she hoped to make at least a soft hammock of it for the night. Despite the threat, it was still preferable to the previous options.

Amazingly, it held her weight, keeping her a good foot off the ground level. Like all webs, it stretched, but only so far. Considering the trap was a good seven feet in diameter, she need not worry about dipping down to the cold damp floor in the middle.

As she arrived at the center, bouncing slightly with each crouched step, she felt a tingle of motion in the strands that seemed separate from her own. "Ah, so I'm not alone here after all, am I?" She tilted her head slightly behind her to find a black spider roughly half her height in length, staring back at her with tiny red eyes on a small chalk colored face. "You were waiting this whole time, I see," she said to the arachnid. "Am I unwelcome here?"

There was no vocal response, for certain. However, she was empathic with these creatures. She had a knack of understanding their intent and to a degree, they did with her. Her encounters with the gigantic spiders in the Subterranea might have ended much harsher without such a key trait.

As it stood silently a short distance away from her, she sensed it was gauging her. For what, she couldn't say. Likely, it came down to if she was a threat or not... or perhaps the other way around? She couldn't determine how aggressive it was. It looked like a species she'd seen in a book once, but the name escaped her at the moment.

"Perhaps..." she began, smiling somewhat at the matter. "Perhaps we have stand-off. We both want to see if the other will attack. I mean you no harm, but you might not realize that. Meanwhile, you might also be thinking whether or not to abandon your home or if you can trap me within it. I'm a bit bigger than anything you've handled, I'm guessing. And as you can see, I'm not stuck, but crawling within your web." Suddenly, a light bulb went off. Ahab faced it more directly. "Oh... I get it. I do seem like a threat this way if I can navigate as well as you can, hm? I apologize."

She looked back and forth at the creature and then the web itself. She decided to take a chance. And with that, she eased onto her side and laid down on her back, allowing the silk to catch onto her largely bare flesh. "There, you see?" She raised her wrist with effort, showing the webbing sticking fast to her. If she tried to attack or evade now, her efforts would be clumsy and hindered at best. "I'm just looking to spend a cold night off the floor, all right? If you like, I'll leave in the morning. I know this is your domain, but it seems the only thing you'll be seeing this night is me. I doubt anything else will come crashing through that window pane right now."

It approached her slightly with a few steps more and remained still yet, likely feeling emboldened. Ahab knew even if it bit her and despite the size, she wasn't in mortal danger most likely. It didn't look to be anything bearing necrotic venom anyway. She was tolerant to dealing with most anything else and resistant to spider venom, given the amount of times she'd been bit in the past. The effect of a given venom could still take hold, but it had no chance to kill her as far as she knew. Plus, she could recover somewhat faster than not.

Looking pleasant, despite the nightmarish dressings of her current choice in a bed, Ahab gazed serenely at the arachnid assessing her. "This must be very strange for you, I realize. Don't worry. I get that a lot." She smiled to herself and after taking in the scene a bit longer, wearily stretched as much as the limitations of the web would allow. "I guess I'll see you in the morning. And we'll both have a better idea of what you think of my intrusion, hm?" Sensing it wouldn't immediately attack her, she turned her head slightly to the side and dozed off, quite exhausted from the day's traveling.

As the rain fell with pitter patter and other times with force on the soil outside, the spider struggled to come to some conclusion. What sort of creature willingly climbs into a foreign web to sleep? Why does this human not seem entirely human anymore? He could tell she meant no harm, which made things all the more confusing. He had no clear instincts for dealing with this and despite being more intelligent than his common smaller brethren by a good margin, he wasn't sure what to think. There was much to consider. Fortunately, he had time.

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