The Line-Thrower

Dazzling, she swung down straight onto the thin band beneath her, it was no wider than one of her feet and so very fragile that she could move it as she pleased, yet it could take her weight and another could take her from above too. She stepped onto the slender line, without fear or hesitation, she knew it would hold her. It was fastened to the wall at either end of the corner, and from that single line she would make her home.

Across, down, up, around, she threw lines across onto the wall all around between the two ends of that prime, beginning, and most important line, the one which, for the moment at least, held the entire structure together. She made vast halls, deep and perfectly wound to suit her body. She made patterns for her pleasure and great dangling fields, like a trapeze artist’s safety net, supported only by a handful of lines. The plains would keep her safe in the dead of night, no wind nor rain could fall it and when she grew hungry, her home caught her meals. ‘How’s that for home-delivery?’

Time was kind to her and before long she grew fat and ready. Though she was at her most vulnerable stage, the giants still feared her and fled at her sight, she liked to be frightening, but truth be told she was more afraid of them. Too many times she had seen her kindred slaughtered at the hands of screaming giants, even the offspring of the giants had little respect for the smaller creatures. She knew worst of all, she had seen some drowned and others cast out into the dead of night, away from their homes, their families, their warmth and, therefore, survival.

‘They’ll be alright outside’ the giants told their offspring, ‘They can go and find a new home’. She knew all too well that suffering, they were lucky to survive, when they did it was a long night and few days, they chose the first dry place they could, it hadn’t needed to be ideal, just a place and a means to survive. They made their homes, some found good places, others were poorer, some waited endlessly for the meals to arrive, but they never did. Often she had seen kin dying, still waiting for that fine meal.

So at last the winter months were coming, too fast for her. She knew her fate now, it was sealed, so she threw her last lines and made her finest bed. Then, when her work was complete, she retreated where few people would ever dare look, only those who knew where to look and those who needed to find her, then lay down and died.

Not long after her death the first of her offspring arrived from the bed of webs, yearning to learn of this new world and its juicy flies, but as the first was born so many hundreds followed.


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