The Inhabited Flat

I'd been invited down to London by the surgeon who'd carried out my surgery. He wanted to show me off to a colleague of his, a liver specialist. Since I was to stay in London for a few nights, the friend kindly put me up in one of his apartments around town for the duration of my stay. I didn't question his penchant for maintaining lots of little boltholes about town: if I had the kind of money that would make Bruce Wayne look like a pauper, I'd set up little boltholes everywhere, too.

The first I saw of the flat was the front entrance, just off the street. A typical Edwardian frontage, a couple of steps up from street level and a stone archway over the door. Whitewashed walls and a wrought iron spiked fence. I didn't catch the number on the door, but I remember there being a brass number there.

This particular apartment had a landlady, whom I saw briefly before entering the flat. The flat itself looked healthy - the landlady said that the service kept it well-maintained. Or so she said.

The door shut behind me, and I had a chance to take a good look at the place. It was just a single room. Bed, chair, telly, kitchen alcove, bathroom alcove, wardrobe for clothes, and a strand of webbing cutting across the corner of the room that was dripping with spiders.

I looked again - dripping with the little buggers. They couldn't have been around for long, because they looked like they were made of pink glass, or maybe rose quartz.

More of them appeared, using the strand of webbing as a highway - and a big one crawled across the bed. Turned out to be just like the smaller ones - it looked as if it was made of glass.

For a moment I wondered where they were all coming from. Then I looked up.

I think you can already guess what shade of horror I am about to describe ...

Have you ever seen mammatus clouds? They tend to be harbingers of pretty extreme weather over in the United States. They kind of look something like this ...

For a moment, I thought that I was looking up at the sky. Then I remembered that I was in a ground floor flat, and there was supposed to be a ceiling overhead.

What I was looking at was, in fact, a colony of these glass spiders. The ceiling was crawling with them.

Just then the door opened. It was the landlady, standing in the doorway. There was a heavy draught from outside, and as I watched it stretched the strands of webbing past breaking point, demolishing all their carefully-woven architecture and scattering glass spiders, large and small, everywhere.

All that hard work, building their nest. I almost felt sorry for them.

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