Archived here with permission. Thanks, Erika! Conversion to HTML (and any resulting errors) by Laplor.
The spider had been spinning diligently for more than an hour, placing each strand with delicate precision into a pattern she could not possibly see. And yet she knew exactly where each glistening thread belonged. The orb was nearly complete and Vachon hardly dared to breath, for fear he would mar the perfection of her design. He moved the candle he held and smiled as a glissando of light rippled in a silent cascade across the net of shimmering silk.
A moth, drawn by the candleflame, blundered catastrophically into the spider's web, shattering the pattern with its soft, buffeting wings. With a snarl of anger, Vachon reached out to flick the marauding vandal away, but the spider was there first. He paused, remembering finally, the true purpose of the spider's artistry. Settling back, he watched as the spider, with admirable economy of motion and webbing, subdued the struggling moth by encasing it in a pale coccoon.
Vachon waited breathlessly, releasing a small exclamation of pleasure as the spider sank her fangs into the moth and began to feed. He closed his eyes, feeling the prick of his own fangs against his lower lip as he relived his own memories of draining the life from prey caught by his own cunning, skill and careful design.
A door opened and a gust of wind extinguished the candle he held, filling the room with darkness. His face turned unerringly towards the sound of familiar footsteps.
"Vachon?" Tracy's voice called out. "Are you here?" A flashlight beam raked across an iron candelabra just as a small, desiccated body fluttered softly onto the floor. It landed in a pool of melted wax from a still-smoldering candle. Slipping silently beyond the reach of the flashlight, Vachon circled around until he stood behind Tracy, close enough to touch her if he reached out a hand.
He did not, intead he closed his eyes and reached out with his other senses. Her heartbeat sounded loud in the silence, punctuated by her slightly unsteady breathing. Warmth emanated from her like a soft coccoon that lured him closer with its promise of comfort until his own breath stirred faintly against the loose strands of her hair.
And the smell of her, "the sweet fruit in her veins", as Screed had put it. The taste of apricots, the scent of calla lilies that was hers alone, swirled around him, pouring into his mouth and across his tongue as if he had already drunk deeply of her blood. His eyes smoldered and with delicate fingers, he brushed the hair away from her neck. A barely audible ripple of sound emerged from his throat as his lips pulled away from his fangs and he bent his head over her shoulder.
With a sharp exclamation, Tracy spun around and waved her flashlight back and forth. "Who's there?" She tried to bark, but the slight quaver in her voice gave her away.
A single light flared across the room and blossomed into a warm glow as Vachon applied a match to several candles. "Sorry Tracy," he apologized. "I guess I didn't hear you come in."
"Oh, Vachon, there you are." Relief warred with irritation. "Then that wasn't . . . I thought I felt something . . . ? Oh, well, never mind."
Vachon's eyes were large, black and unfathomable as he looked at her. "The dark can have a strange effect on the senses." He offered. "It's always done that for me."
"Yeah," she agreed with a gusty sigh as she shut off her flashlight and flopped into a mouse-eaten chair. "It can play tricks with your head allright." She frowned. "Though I've never been overly imaginative. Not like that." She shivered at the strange impression of a menacing presence hovering just over her shoulder.
"Maybe it's the company you've been keeping lately." Vachon offered as he sat down on the edge of the bed. "You've had to make some pretty big mental adjusments, maybe an overactive imagination is a result." From the corner of his eye, he could see the spider patiently repairing the hole in her torn web.
Tracy shrugged. "Well, if that's the only price for expanding my horizons, I'll take it."
He gazed at her thoughtfully, wondering if she had any sense of the invisible threads that surrounded her, threatening to capture her in their silken embrace. "Be careful Trace." He murmured softly. "Don't fly too close."
Spider webs, moth wings and candle flames to: