Peace On Earth

He was dubious, but —

He’d been doubtful about the whole thing for months, seven months, when he thought about it. The dream had only been once a week then, but he’d begun to have it every night, ever fucking night. He’d hunted for its meaning on the Internet. He couldn’t find that, but then, popup ads advertising the dream-catcher showed up on his computer. What was it…? What was the dream catcher…?

After realizing it was a spider, he’d avoided thinking about it, but the damn dream seemed to be creeping into his waking hours. Something needed to be done. So he clicked on an ad…and followed the instructions….

He’d bought the spider and brought it home. Black, with neon blue stripes, it didn’t look like any spider he’d seen before. That scared him. It could be poisonous. It looked menacing. Its shiny black body was as wide as a penny. Its legs, mechanically slender and perfect, tripled its diameter.

The spider moved around the jar. The sound its legs made against the glass seemed amplified. Hearing it, he felt his scrotum grow tight with tension and his heartbeat increase. As he sipped wine and watched, the spider settled directly opposite of him. Its eyes faced him. Drawing its legs in close, it crouched down.

It’s watching me, he thought.

To test it, he got up and moved to the other side of the table.

The spider walked in parallel to him. When he stopped, the spider stopped.

His resolve splintering, he shivered. He’d bought the spider to catch his dream. He wanted to know what it meant, and make it stop, but —

He had to use it. He’d paid a hundred dollars in silver for the spider. He was not a wasteful person. One hundred dollars was an extravagance. He could buy two or three pairs of shoes for one hundred dollars.

Several glasses of wine became a bottle, which became two. The alcohol helped restore his determination. He picked up the jar.

The spider watched….

With shaking hands and dry lips, he unscrewed the lid and placed the jar on its side on the table. “Here you go,” he said in a voice he barely heard himself, a voice slurred with alcohol. “Do your thing.”

The spider scurried out.

Stopping, it looked at him.

“I don’t want to know,” he said to the spider. “Just do what you’re supposed to do.”

The spider raised two front legs and rubbed them together.

Thinking he heard a high, sustained note, he hurried from the room.

He left the light on, though. Just…in case.

Later, the wine’s influence and warm house relaxed him. He fell asleep in his recliner while watching “A Christmas Story” on the living room television.

Later, he awoke. He was drooling. The television was on but made no sound. He heard…scratching.

He looked up.

The television’s ambient blue light lit the spider above him. It was spinning a web. Stopping as he watched, the spider lowered itself until it came down on the bridge of his nose. He wanted to jerk away, scream, or get up and run, but he was paralyzed.

Sweat dribbled down his neck. The spider moved. Each spidery step made him shiver and shudder. He lost sight of it, but felt it go across his forehead. Pausing at his temple, the spider turned and trekked down the side of his head.

The spider reached his ear opening. It stopped. He held his breath. After a moment, the spider entered his ear.

He thought he’d hear or feel its steps, but it was like the spider had disappeared. Waiting for something to happen, he reflected, this was how they’d told him it would be. Nothing was left to do but sleep and dream, and then wait for the spider to tell him what the dream meant.

Maybe then, he would have peace.

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