Both spindly legs whip up, lightning fast, and hook around the gun sights. I jerk back, yelling in fright, pulling the trigger like a madman.
Not a single shot fires. But...I feel the resistance through the pistol as the black sticky body emerges from that toothless mouth.
The safety! The safety! The horrific creature dangles from the sights. I drop the gun.
Stupid, stupid, stupid, cockhead.
The creature lands with a wet splat. The guns clatters next it. It lays a proprietary claw on the barrel, daring me to reach for it. I’m too busy trying not to vomit with fear and disgust.
I take a step back and examine the weakly moving thing.
My worst nightmare.
A gigantic spider.
Only this one had been ‘improved’ with long, spine covered front legs, wicked clicking pincers and fangs Dracula would have been proud of. The saggy black abdomen, a bit smaller than my fist, pumped rhythmically, revealing hundreds of tiny slashes that flashed a fleshy red as they opened and closed. Some sort of gills? Deep creases show how it must have squashed itself to climb the hosts’ windpipe.
Ribbons of thick white fluid ooze out a back orifice. The trail leads back across the pavement, up the woman’s cheek and into her mouth. I didn’t need a reminder where it had come from.
Its pincers flexed intermittently. I breathe out raggedly for the first time in a minute.
It looked sick.
I edge closer and flinch when two large eyes flick open, fixing on me. The intelligence and need in those black orbs turns my blood to powdered ice.
I wondered if sudden disconnection from the host had disorientated it.
See, that’s my biggest problem. Formulating theories when I should be chucking bricks.
A back leg unfolded from its streamlined position against the saliva and blood coated abdomen. Alternating sides more legs pull away from the abdomen, trailing stringers of sticky secretions. They settle around the pulsing body sac.
My brain finally kicks in with “Hey buddy, this thing’s about to get mobile”.
The body rises. A very large, spidery creature crouches under my hovering face. Its legs could cover a dinner plate.
I wanted to stamp on it but it was too big. What if it ran up my leg?
It took a shaky step toward me.
I straightened like a pole had been rammed up my butt.
“No way, you ugly fucker,” I yelled at it and ran back to my pack. I ripped out a sawn off shotgun from a deep side pocket.
With a round jacked into the chamber I check the safety is off. Twice.
“Right, we’re not at home to Mr Fuckup for the rest of today, are we?” I asked myself.
“No. We. Are. Not,” I answered, most positively.
I took a step back towards Granny only to pull up short. The parasite scuttled towards me at high speed.
I feel instant regret for breaking from my neurotically inspired Rules. I stuck my nose in where it didn't belong and look what happens.
Too late for breast beating now, I thrust the stubby barrel out at arm’s length and pull the trigger.
The creature sprang off the ground as I fired. The load of lead passed harmlessly beneath it. It lands on the shotgun, bunched its legs and launches at my face.
So terrifyingly quick.
I caught a glimpse of flailing legs, extended like a net as it flew through the air.
My eyelids chose to snap shut in denial.
I lunge backwards, dropping the gun and waving my hands like a drowning man dogpaddling, hoping to knock it away.
It wouldn’t be denied.
Sharp claws briefly grip my fingers then it’s scampering over my hands.
It latches onto my face.