You weren’t looking where you were going. You had your nose pressed into a new, engrossing app on your phone, like a child at a Macy’s Christmas display window. Scrolling, tapping, swiping, following the instructions being whispered into your Bluetooth ear-buds.
When you step off into the woods, the darkness doesn’t register, nor the silence.
The images on the screen come faster, tints of gory crimson, royal blue and black, always black. Your finger flicks in a blur. The voice begins to screech. The ground turns to gravel, then leaves, dry like the crepe-paper skin of an old woman. Then soft loam cushions your footfalls. Vines trail across your shoulders, uncurling tendrils reach for your ears and lips. Still you wander, enraptured. Until…
You’re physically halted. You push forward, the voice compels you to struggle on, its piercing commands, so loud that they burst your eardrums. Trickles of blood loosen the buds’ grip and they fall to the dirt and are swallowed by squirming larvae seething at your feet.
You look up and find you’ve stumbled into the web of some vast malignant weaver. Cloying silk binds your eyes open, your mouth open, your hands, still gripping your phone, try to clutch at your face to tear away the threads. Your arms reach only half way, they too are bound and are now being draw to your sides. Your cherry red phone falls face up to the earth and pulsates there, whether from loved ones trying to reach you, or from fetid creatures tasting the plastic case, you no longer care.
For the children of the monster that has encased you in her undying tomb, her woven cocoon of preservation, now dangle by the millions. They dance at the end of invisible threads, all anxious to encrypt your juice-filled corpulence so that they might dine for days, years.
Round and round they spin, entwining your once rosy glow now faded to an ashen hue. You watch their tiny black bodies scuttle across your vision, never patching your sight. They leave two slits to serve as witness. For what, you wonder?
For her, you realize.
She descends with a jerking motion within your mummified view. She’s covered by bristles that glimmer as if vinyl. Through your silken mask you smell her, corpse flower nectar. She twirls at the end of her own sticky rope until her black dead eyes, arranged like fist-sized marbles, come to regard you, her host.
You fear the fangs that she clacks together, hard as ivory, but she rotates further and from the end of her bulbous abdomen you see her ovipositor, a syringe the size of a dagger, lift and strike toward your belly. The pain explodes in your chest and spreads, napalm oozing through your veins… Which subsides until you sense a new motion within your gut. You feel your self being pumped full. Full of eggs.
As your consciousness pinches to a distant shrinking point of light you hear your phone ring, and ring, and ring.