© Copyright 2006 - Darkraptor1 - Used by permission
Storycodes: Other/mf+; driders; wrap; silk; cocoon; susp; web; captives; nc; X
London was silent.
The sound of cars, of crowds, of people, were all gone.
The city, for the first time in its history, was totally silent.
There were large webs strung up through the city, between every building and every street. On each web were up to two dozen silk bundles. They were still and quiet most of the time, but occasionally they wiggled ever so slightly, and a muffled cry could faintly be heard.
The crows were the only free creatures in this city. The driders may be the rulers, but the crows were the ones who truly enjoyed the benefits. They had a feast gathering the food that had fallen on the ground. They could stay wherever they wanted without being chased away. One of the younger crows was gliding through the air with half a hot dog in its mouth. Looking around, it flew down towards one of the giant webs. Its owner was dozing on it, oblivious to the bird.
The crow landed on one of the silk bundles. It took it's time settling down, enjoying the softness of the silk beneath its feet. The bundle wiggled slightly, disturbed by the unexpected weight. Ignoring it, the crow began to eat.
The cocoon shook slightly as its imprisoned occupant sobbed.
Theodore hadn't heard or seen any of the spider creatures for several hours, but that didn’t stop him. He kept running, trying to get as far away from the college as possible. His exhausted legs were screaming for relief. Finally, he had to stop. Theodore collapsed behind a large bush, his lungs aching with fatigue.
The sun was going down on the horizon. Night would be falling soon. Checking his watch, Theodore saw that he had roughly a half hour left before night fell. And he had no intention of being outside after dark.
Sirens filled the air as several police cars drove past the bushes, no doubt heading towards the campus. Peeking up, Theodore saw a few SWAT vans as well. As long as the cops weren't dealing with him, he didn’t care what happened to them.
He rested a few more seconds, gathering strength into his tired limbs. He'd have to move, and soon. Those things could be here at any moment. Finally, he stood up. His apartment was only a few minutes away. Best to head there, where he could figure out what to do next.
The college student took off into the growing darkness.
Paris sounded like a tomb. Silent and still.
As in London, thousands of cocoons dangled in the city, from webs, from buildings, from anywhere the driders could find a spot to hang their captives. Two thousand mummified humans were dangling from the Eiffel tower, swaying ever so gently in the wind.
There was movement at the base of one of the support structures. A pretty face looked out, eyes surveying the surrounding area. Good. Nothing in sight. Those cocoons though… the woman at the base of the Eiffel tower found them both disturbing and attractive. Watching the bound humans swaying like wind chimes, tethered by strands of silk.
One of those cocoons was only a foot or two above her. She couldn't tell the occupant's gender or age, but the eyes pleaded with her for release. The woman knew that release was impossible. The silk the spider creatures used was almost unbreakable. She wouldn't be able to do it with her bare hands. "I'm sorry." She said. "But I cannot help you."
The human sobbed, tears flowing from his/her eyes as he/she shook in her cocoon. But the strands wrapped around the human held him (or her) prisoner quite securely. There was no escape, now, or ever. The woman took off, unable to watch anymore. She could hear the sobs long after she was gone from the Eiffel tower.
She had to sneak past a few of the spider creatures, but that was a simple manner. It was even simpler to find the hidden trapdoor that led into the underground shelter.
After descending thirty feet, she reached the airlock. "Professor." She said to the intercom. "It's me. I've returned."
"Oh good. Come in, come in!" The airlock hissed and opened, letting the woman in. As it closed behind her, she looked around. This shelter was crude, but it would serve as the underground headquarters quite well.
"Ah, Monique!" Professor Pierre said as he walked up. "How was your search?"
"Not good I'm afraid. I found no one. Well… no one who could still move." The professor shook his head.
"I was afraid of this. Two days, and only three of us still free."
"I hope we remain free for a little longer."
"Father?" Monique looked and saw Pierre's daughter Mona enter. "I've completed searching all the known databases from the internet."
"Well, there's nothing official about these creatures. No one has ever seen them before. It's an entirely new species!"
Jean Pierre stroked his mustache. "Hmm…you said official. Did you find some… unofficial information?"
Mona looked rather pleased with herself. "Yes I did. The best match I could find for these creatures was this." She held out a piece of paper with a drawing on it. It looked exactly like the creatures.
"That's it! What is it?"
"It appears that these creatures are called Driders. A human/spider crossbreed."
"And where did you find this information?"
"From role playing databases."
The professor chuckled. "Well, at least we know the name of what we're up against. Can you find out anything else about them?"
"I'm working on it. Give me a day or so."
Pierre nodded. "Please work fast daughter. Our very lives may depend upon it."
Mona went back to the database room. Pierre turned to Monique. "Why don't you take a rest Monique? Going out nowadays is very tiring I suspect."
The woman smiled. "Thank you professor, but I feel I should survey the ground above. We need an early warning system so we can see our enemies before they appear."
"Now that's a good idea." The professor said. "While you do that, I'll keep working on our weaponry. If only we had a sample of drider blood, then I'd be able to tell what we're going up against."
"I might be able to arrange that." Monique said. "I just might be able to grab a drider or two for you professor."
"Oh Mona, I don't want you risking your life! We can't afford to loose you."
Monique smiled reassuringly. "Don't worry professor, I'll be all right."
Near the parliament building in London, there was a slight rumbling sound. A small, hidden trap door was opened, rocks were pushed aside, and a form emerged. The British prime minister crawled out of the hatch, clutching his automatic shotgun tightly. He peered around. There were many of those gigantic webs around, but thankfully, there were none of those spider creatures.
Getting to his feet, the prime minister sprinted across the ground, heading for an abandoned café across the street. Nothing emerged to threaten him, but his finger was on the trigger, just in case. The café was deserted. There was nobody around, which was perfectly fine with the man. Best to stay indoors, out of sight, until he could figure out what to do. Judging by how quiet the city was, those spider things had probably taken over. Was it just here, or was it all over the country? There was no way of knowing.
Unless…The minister crept through the café, searching. "Come on." He muttered. "It has to be here somewhere…"
There. The minister gave a small shriek of joy and went over to the laptop computer that was plugged into the wall. Pressing buttons, the minister quickly connected to the internet. Maybe he could find out what was going on.
Several minutes later, he finished his search, and it wasn't good. From what few websites that were still functioning, he learned the horrible truth. People who could get online spoke of cities being invaded by giant spider creatures, half spider, half human. Entire cities and sometimes entire countries were taken over by the creatures. And more of them were coming out of holes in the earth.
As the minister read report after report, it dawned on him what was going on. It was an invasion. Earth was at war. And judging by the reports, humanity was loosing. But there was time… there was still time to mount a counter offensive if they could regroup and…
There was a loud ticking noise. They were coming. Clutching his shotgun, the minister went as quickly and as quietly as he could into the back of the building. Hopefully, there was a way out of here…
The city was quiet when Theodore reached his apartment. Things seemed normal, nothing out of place. But he could hear a lot of talking coming from the nearby buildings. His apartment had never looked so inviting as he went inside. Turning on some lights, he walked over to the sofa and collapsed, completely exhausted. Every muscle in his body was aching. Sleep sounded so good, so refreshing.
But Theodore's curiosity got the better of him. He had to know what the local news was saying about this earthquake, and about those spider things. Weakly picking up the remote, he pressed the power button.
"…And in today's news, we have been receiving reports of earthquakes all over the world, all of them measuring off the scale. We go live now to our field reporter, Christopher."
Theodore leaned close to the screen, his eyes riveted to the action going on.
"…As you can see behind me Lauren, the fires here are raging out of control. Fire crews are working around the clock, but don't expect to be finished before the end of this week."
"Christopher, can you tell us what has happened to the local community college? We've received reports of strange, well, things appearing."
"Lauren, you're not going to believe this, but… wait… what the hell is that?... James, tilt up…ahhhh!!!"
There was a loud shrill screech off camera. There were frantic screams as the white silk began to come down. The reporter was webbed in the face. Theodore watched as he struggled around, frantically trying to tear the webbing off his face, giving muffled screams. Then a white glob hit the camera, and the screen was full of static.
The newscaster stared at the static-filled screen, dumbfounded. After a few seconds, she found her voice. "Uhh…ladies and gentlemen, we've had some…uhh…"
"Well, should have figured it would come to this." Theodore thought. "After all, I felt they were coming."
Theodore froze. What had he just thought? He realized with a chill that he had felt these things coming. Over the past few weeks, there had been a strange feeling going up and down his neck.
"Oh mom." He thought. "If ever I needed your help, it would be now."
As if answering, there was a knock on the door. His weariness forgotten, Theodore ran towards the door. It had to be Shauna! It had to be…
The door was unlocked and flung open… but Shauna wasn't there.
Instead, there was an aged woman, in her late fifties or early sixties, Theodore couldn't tell. She was panting, exhausted. "Oh thank heavens!" She gasped. "I was hoping there'd be someone here!"
Disappointed, Theodore greeted her. "Uhm…can I help you?"
The woman smiled. "Oh goodness gracious, yes you can! I had to flee my house, and I've been searching for someplace to stay. Can I rest here for a moment?"
Not wanting to be rude, Theodore nodded. The lady walked into his apartment and collapsed in a chair. "I suppose I should introduce myself." She said. "My name is Lindsey."
She smiled. "Why that's a nice name! A bit old fashioned, but still nice!" Theodore smiled and nodded.
"Why did you flee your house?"
The lady paused, as if recalling an unpleasant memory. "Well, there were these… spider things, heading towards it. My car was being repaired in a shop, and I had to run on foot. But somehow, I got away from them."
"You saw them too?!"
"Yes. Nasty things aren't they?"
Theodore thought. "I wonder how you got away. They attacked my college, and I was probably the only one to escape."
"Well, it seems like they've apparently spread. My house is about an hour out of town, so it's a good thing I work out, or I'd never make it here."
"An hour?!" Theodore gasped. "Then they're heading right for us! We've got to get out of here!"
"And I agree with you fully. But we've got a little help on our side. I saw a detachment of tanks and trucks heading out. The national guard must have been in town."
Theodore wasn't listening. He was already running through his room, grabbing everything he could think of that he could take with him. He had to get out of here, and fast. Running into the kitchen, he began to grab some food out of the fridge and the cupboards.
"Where are you going?" Lindsey asked.
"As far away from here as possible." Theodore said. "I'm thinking of heading for New York City. From there maybe I can catch a boat or something and get out of here."
"New York city? That's three days from here! You'll never make it alone!"
"Are you saying that you want to come with me?"
Theodore crammed some cereal into a backpack. "Lady, I don't want to be rude, but I don't think you'll be able to keep up."
"Now listen here young man, I spent years jogging and sprinting around my house every morning. I'm probably more fit then you are. You're gonna need help, and I'm the one to give it!"
Sensing that time was urgent, Theodore was in no mood to argue. "All right, you can come along."
Lindsey clapped her hands in delight. "Oh good! I'll go get some supplies from the store. We're going to need all the provisions we can get."
"While you're at it, you might want to get a shotgun. Maybe a bazooka or two."
The two laughed. "Oh my lord, you're funny Theodore!" Lindsey said, slapping her knee. "I don’t think I can get those, but how about a butcher knife?"
"Well, I guess that's better then nothing." Theodore said as he finished stuffing a jacket into his backpack. Picking it up, he threw it onto his shoulders. "I suppose we'd better get going."
"But you're exhausted!" Lindsey pointed out. "You'd better rest."
"I can rest when we get out of the city." Theodore said quietly. "Right now, I don't want to be anywhere near this city if those spider things get close."
Lindsey could tell that further arguing was going to be pointless. "Oh very well. We'll find a place to hide outside the city. Then we'll rest up before heading on."
Taking his keys, Theodore and Lindsey left the apartment. The college student turned off the lights, and shut the door. Without looking back, he turned and walked away.
"Wait a minute." Lindsey said. "Don't you have some family members, or any friends that you want to take with you?"
"Well… I do have a girlfriend. Her name is Shauna. Red hair, blue eyes, the prettiest thing you'd ever seen."
Lindsey nodded. "Well, where is she?"
Theodore sighed. "I don't know. I lost her when I fled from the campus. I don't know where she is."
His companion considered this. "Aww, I'm sure she's fine. We'll probably meet her on the way."
Theodore didn’t say it out loud, but he highly doubted it. The two went through the staircases of the apartment building. Theodore had a little chill as he realized how quiet it was. "Boy, it's quiet." He whispered, as if he was afraid something… inhuman would hear him.
"I know." Lindsey whispered back. "I don't like this one bit."
The two reached the main gate. "Well sonny, here we go!" Lindsey said. "New York City, here we come!"
They opened the door… and froze.
A hundred Driders were standing outside the main door, looking rather hungry.
Theodore felt his heart plunge. "Oh shit."
Lindsey however, didn’t hesitate. "Run!"
The two turned and ran. "No, not that way!" Lindsey shouted. "Over there!" She pointed to an alley next to the apartment building.
As Theodore ran for the alley, Lindsey turned and ran the other way. "Wait!" Theodore shouted. "Where are you going?!"
"See you outside the city!" Lindsey shouted over the sounds of the Driders chasing her. In seconds, she was out of sight.
Theodore had no time to ponder her fate. Fifty Driders were coming after him, their fangs glistening in the streetlights.
Theodore ran for his life.
There were several minutes of gunshots, knife slashes, and curses in the underground bunker. The professor and his daughter didn’t hear any of it. They were huddled together in another room. But they could hear Monique fighting the Drider that had somehow entered the bunker.
But at last, after several minutes, the sounds of battle ended. Opening the heavy door, Jean and Mona peered out.
Monique was sitting on the floor, wheezing with fatigue. Next to her lay the giant body of a female Drider. Though its blue blood was dripping onto the floor, it was still breathing.
"I don't believe it!" Jean said excitedly. "You actually defeated one! How did you do it?"
Monique struggled to find her breath. "It was nothing professor. Really."
"Well, we must restrain this creature if we are to study it."
"But how father? How do you suggest that we restrain a large spider like creature with ten limbs and enormous strength?"
As if on cue, the drider began to change. Right before everyone's eyes, the spider abdomen and legs began to shrink and twist. Jean and Mona groaned in disgust, but Monique kept silent. The abdomen shrank and disappeared completely. The eight legs split up and began to twist together, creating two hideous legs. But the legs began to change as well. The black shiny skin began to become pink and soft. In less then a minute, the three had a Drider that looked perfectly human. A little... too human.
"I'll be!" Jean exclaimed. "They have the power to turn human in appearance! This is amazing! Who knows what other secrets these things posses?"
He knelt next to the Drider, which now had the shape of a gorgeous, naked young woman in her thirties.
"Mona," he said. "Go and get me all the belts, all the straps, all the duct tape, all the sheets, and anything else you can find that we can use to tie this thing up."
Mona smiled. "With pleasure father." As she went off, Jean turned to Monique. "Monique, could you find me one of those beepers I have? I need two of them."
Monique nodded and walked off, leaving the professor alone to study his captive.
The British prime minister was very fortunate. The back door of the café led to a small street, which in turn had a manhole cover that led into the sewers. It wasn't the prettiest way out, but it was either that, or end up as spider food. Fear lent speed and urgency as he opened the manhole and jumped down into London's sewers. The smell down there was revolting. But then again, it was either this, or go back and face who knows how many spider things. Holding his shotgun close, the minister began his trek through the sewers. Much to his annoyance, he found that the spider things had been down here too. Webs and spider silk covered the walls.
"Well hello prime minister!"
The voice made the minister jump. He drew his shotgun, only to find a white cocoon hanging from the wall next to him. There was a woman in it, her eyes wide with madness.
"My, what a surprise it is to see you down here! Have you come for a visit?"
"Uhm… I'm sorry, what?"
"I said Mr. Prime minister, have you come down here for a visit?"
The minister shook his head. "I'm afraid not. I'm trying to get away from these spider creatures."
The woman gave a giggle and wiggled with laughter. "Ah, I know what you mean. I managed to hide for about ten hours. The fear drove me nuts! I decided to just give myself up to them."
"Uh yes, I can see that. Let me get you out of there." The minister withdrew a large combat knife from the shotgun.
"It's no use. You might as well give yourself up. They're very gentle with you when you cooperate you know. They asked me if I was warm and comfy when they were wrapping me up."
The knife tore at the silk, but barely made any headway. Spider silk, especially Drider silk, was a lot tougher then it appeared to be.
The lady continued to giggle. "You know, I voted for you in the last election. The other guy was a jerk."
"Oh, why thank you. Tell you what, if we get out of this, I'll give you a free overnight stay at Buckingham palace."
A loud screech down the tunnel overshadowed the woman's reply.
"Goody!" The woman giggled. "They're coming! Are you going to join us?"
Dropping the knife, the minister grabbed his shotgun. "I'm sorry, but no. I've got to be going."
"Oh well. I'm sure I'll see you again soon!" Shaking his head, the minister turned and ran past the bound bundles of humans dangling in the tunnel.
The insane woman watched quietly as the prime minister ran away. He was such a lovely fellow. Very nice, and quite handsome. She looked forward to seeing him again.
"Oh hello!" She chirped as her captor came up to her. "Have you come to visit?"
The city was a battleground, and Theodore was stuck in the middle of it. His legs were pumping as he ran through the alleyways, just staying ahead of the things scrambling behind him. "Duck!" His instincts shouted. Theodore complied, just barely missing a glob of webbing that shot past his head. Sprinting to the exit, he leaped out of the alleyway onto the street.
"Kid!" A voice shouted. Spinning, Theodore saw several soldiers and a tank sitting in the middle of the road. There was a loud shriek, and several of the spider things shot out of the alleyway.
"Get down!" Theodore threw himself on the ground as bullets shot over his head. A hailstorm of lead cut into his pursuers, tearing them to shreds. The college student groaned as blue blood began to soak into his clothes.
Theodore got off the ground, his heart still pounding from his narrow escape. He looked up to thank his saviors. "Hey," he panted. "Thanks."
"No problem. Now you just get out of here and…"
There were screams of terror as an avalanche of white descended upon the troops and the tank. It took Theodore a few seconds to realize that it was silk. Where the troops had been only seconds ago, there was now a large mass of silk enveloping them. He didn’t stay to watch the Driders swarm over their prey as he ran down another alleyway.
For the next hour Theodore ran through the streets, dodging all the Driders he found. The civilians of the town were being captured left and right, each caught in silk, then dragged away to be mummified and kept in storage. Hundreds were caught in the first hour. Then thousands. Within two hours, every single citizen of the city was mummified. The armed forces inflicted some damage upon the Driders, but inevitably, they were overcome by sheer numbers. And then they too, were mummified in silk.
The city was now silent, it's every human inhabitant a prisoner of the Driders.
Except for Theodore. He had managed, somehow, to evade capture. His instincts served him well, always warning him of the next attack. He had reached the city limits, where he was leaning against a large office building. There were plenty of hiding spaces outside the city limits, where he could rest and begin the long trek to New York City. But where was Lindsey? Had she made it too, or had she been cocooned like everyone else? Judging by the smoke and fires rising from the city, the odds weren’t good.
"Well hello there kiddo." Theodore spun, and looked into the face of his unlikely companion. "Bet you didn’t think I was going to make it, did you?"
Theodore gave a small grin. "To be honest, no, I didn’t."
Lindsey chuckled. "Ahh, those spider things can't keep up with me! Looks like you've got my legs as well!"
"Well, I never run like you claim to."
Lindsey put her hand on Theodore's shoulder. "Come on kiddo. You've got to rest. New York City can wait. We've got to rest for a while." Theodore had no objections.
They left the city borders and walked out to a small forest. There they found an abandoned sewer pipe, long since dried up. Lindsey's mothering instincts kicked in. She helped Theodore into the pipe, where she fussed over his comfort and how warm he was. "Are you sure it's not too cold?" She asked.
"Honestly, it's fine." Theodore said firmly. "If I didn't know better, I'd swear you were my mom."
Lindsey chuckled. "Well… I do miss being one." She went quiet, as if remembering a memory that had been long buried. Theodore too, went quiet. Where once Lindsey had been happy go lucky, she was now quiet and reserved.
"I lost my only baby years ago, when I was still young and when the whole world seemed to be a friendly place." She whispered. "That baby only one I ever had." She sighed, and a small tear came out of her right eye.
"I'm…I'm sorry to hear that." Theodore whispered. "I… I lost my mother. She was killed in a climbing accident when I was little."
Lindsey looked stunned at this revelation. "Really?"
"Yes. I still remember the funeral… seeing her body in the casket." He paused for a moment, trying to keep his emotions in check. "I've… I've missed her ever since."
Lindsey said nothing as she sat next to him. "Sounds like we've got something in common." She whispered. The two sat there for a while, neither talking.
At last, Lindsey broke the silence. "You get some sleep Theodore. I'll keep watch."
She let go of his hand, and slowly walked out of sight. Theodore didn’t have the strength to ask if she was going to rest.
Theodore's subconscious still expected the alarm clock to wake him up. That was why it was a big surprise when he heard it. The very loud sound of limbs thundering through some trees.
Fully awake within seconds, Theodore quietly crept out of the sewer pipe, his senses on full alert. Where was Lindsey? Was she alright? Had she been captured? There was only one way to find out. Creeping upwards, Theodore reached the edge of the embankment and peeked over it.
There was a Drider in the forest. Unlike the other ones that Theodore had seen, this one was huge. Almost the size of a large van. Much to Theodore's surprise, it was talking to an unseen accomplice.
"Yes my highness, I found the one we were looking for."
Theodore froze. He had heard that voice… but from where?
"Let me see her." The large male Drider turned, exposing his abdomen. Theodore had to cover his mouth to conceal his gasp.
There was a cocoon webbed onto the Drider's abdomen. Unlike the countless others Theodore had seen, the occupant's head was completely exposed. It was Shauna.
"Let me go!" She shouted as she wiggled in her tight cocoon. "I want out of this thing!"
"Oh, I don't think so." The unseen voice cooed. "You're too important to let go." As Theodore's girlfriend continued to struggle and protest, the voice spoke. "Take her to the city with many towers."
"Yes my highness."
Only then did Theodore realize where he had heard that voice before. It had been at the college when he had escaped.
"What are you going to do to me!?" Shauna shouted as she squirmed beneath her wrappings.
"Oh, don't worry." The unseen voice cooed soothingly. "I promise you'll enjoy it." There was a zipping noise, and a glob of silk covered Shauna's mouth.
With that, the Drider turned and walked away into the city, with a mummified Shauna strapped to its back. His heart was now completely in his throat. Theodore's mind was a blank canvas, wiped clean by shock. These things had his girlfriend. Theodore didn’t wait. He turned and began to sprint out of the forest, towards the cloud covered horizon. This was no longer an escape. This was now a rescue as well.
Bit by bit, the world's cities and governments begin to fall.
No matter how great the army, or how large the manpower, country after country begin to fall under the relentless assault of the Drider civilization.
No matter how many are killed, more and more Driders keep coming from under the ground. Their entire civilization is leaving the underground and heading to the surface.
Despite the ferocity of the battles, few humans are killed. Instead, millions are captured, cocooned and placed into storage as the Drider's source of food.
In this Great War, humanity is loosing. The Driders are winning.