08 – THE SPIDER QUEEN

Jingle could never explain his reaction at this point. By all reason he should have become crazy with fear, but instead the reverse seemed to happen. Toys were used to spiders and creeping things, toys spent a lot of time in dark corners sharing them with all manner of creepy crawlies. Perhaps it was this that calmed him when he realised what was in the darkness.

Perhaps it was that, when there is no other alternative, Jingles reaction was to fight.

“Come on then.” Jingle heard himself call. “I’ll bite your knees off!”

The scurrying in the darkness seemed to increase, perhaps agitated by Jingles defiance. The plush reindeer climbed to his feet and squinted into the darkness, suddenly the scurrying stopped and another noise replaced it.

From inside the cocoon of silk Jingle thought he heard a whispering.

Swinging the torch in a slow arc around him, he checked for the monster in the darkness; carefully searching for the reflection of the flame in the spider’s many eyes. The reindeer saw nothing and in a moments stillness he didn’t hear anything either.

The cocoon seemed to glow from inside and the whispering grew louder as he approached it. Shadows from its core shifted and Jingle could not decide whether it was his imagination or whether something was living inside.

Carefully Jingle tapped the side of its silk wall.

It gave slightly under his fist. like a balloon inflated to almost bursting. This time something did move inside it, Jingle was certain of it and when he placed an ear against the cocoons wall he heard a very definite sound.

The whispering had been replaced with a single word.

“Hello?”

Jingle didn’t answer instead he dug his fingers into the silk and began to dig a hole into it, pulling out handfuls of foamy material that looked similar to the cotton wool that filled his own body. As the balls of silk were thrown aside it began to unravel, threads of it fluttering on the draughts that cut through the old building.

The reindeer did not see these threads, he didn’t care. Around him the scurrying began again, getting closer and Jingle swung the torch to ward of the spiders approach.

In the flickering light a huge leg came into view, the rest of the spider lost from sight. The leg was about the same width as Jingle waist, making the creature far bigger than even Jingle had imagined.

The hole in the cocoon was almost big enough for him to climb into now, the threads inside were less tightly wound now and instead of ripping them free he could push them aside with ease.

He dug his arm into the web and felt something touch the tips of his fingers. In shock he almost pulled his hand away but instead he dug deeper, grasping something deep inside it and pulled.

First Jingle saw three little black fingers, these were connected to a thick black wrist, and before the reindeer knew it a mass of black fur tumbled out from the cocoon and rolled across the dusty cavern floor.

The spider in the darkness began to scamper towards them both and this time Jingle knew it would not stop. The ball of fluff unwound itself and a football round head popped from the fur.

“R.. R.. Run!” It cried as four more legs followed the two it already had and it ran past him with a speed that was dizzying.

Jingle followed, managing to keep the little creature just in sight. It seemed to know where it was going and Jingle had little choice. So when it leapt into a patch of darkness near the caverns far wall Jingle took a deep breath and followed.

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