by Jeff C. Carter
The hulking spiders thrashed against the metallic weave of their containers, biting into the flex-steel links with their cruel curved fangs. Dr. Lev’s heart beat erratically against his chest, quickening with the anticipation of the pent up chaos soon to be unleashed aboard the Avenir. He lifted his needle and squinted to see the pale glistening ribbon inside. The twin parasitic wyrm inside his own body thrummed like a plucked harp chord and the voice of Rahab sang out in his head.
He could feel Rahab and the other demons in the lightless city of Eclectia’s black ocean depths gathering for the psychic feeding frenzy. His mind spun with the turbulence of their violent emotions and he clenched his teeth to steady himself.
The spider before him raised its fangs and stared at him with eight round ruby eyes. Dr. Lev stared back into the blank insect mind that knew nothing but hunting and hunger, instinct and reaction. It was such a beautiful monster, yet so incomplete. It was an empty vessel, incapable of hatred or the joy of bloodlust. He positioned the needle beneath the spider, aiming for one of the few weak points in its armor hard skin. He eased the point of the needle inside and the wyrm drained through like quicksilver.
The spider’s thick legs gave way and it crashed to the floor. It contracted in a violent spasm, a squeal escaping its body like high pressure steam. Dr. Lev felt the wyrm’s confusion as it groped through the arachnid’s organs, clutching at the unfamiliar nervous system. As soon as the parasite hooked in an eager demon forced itself through. Dr. Lev watched the spider’s eyes smolder with hatred like deep sea volcanoes. The swarming demons of Eclectia writhed in jealousy and fought for the next psychic connection.
Dr. Lev hurried among the other cages with his needles, connecting the spiders to the yearning minds below. Once he had injected the last wyrm into the last spider, he let the metallic weave of the cages unspool to the floor. The demons crawled around the room tentatively, adjusting to the architecture and gravity of their new bodies.
The largest of the spiders reared up and smashed the ceiling lights with its fore legs. The others shrank back in the sudden darkness and withdrew behind huddled legs. Dr. Lev saw his own face now, gaunt and pale, his eyes rimmed with purple bruises and swollen veins. Rahab was looking down at him through the eyes of the colossal spider. There was a nauseating strobe of kaleidoscopic vision as Rahab stared through both Dr. Lev and spider. Rahab withdrew and the psychic feedback ended. Dr. Lev was now alone.
Receive-grasp your fate-reward…
Dr. Lev knelt before his monstrous divinity and trembled. “Rahab, I only want to serve you. To be with--” his dry voice cracked and he hacked up a bubble of blood. He swallowed painfully and his lungs shook. The wyrm within his body had used him up.
Rahab loomed over him and spread its mouth parts wide, encircling his neck with gleaming black fangs the size of sabers.
You will be in spider as spider is in me. Together we will become nothing. All are equal in death.
Dr. Lev focused on his own reflection inside the spider’s dark red eyes and imagined himself in the body of the apex predator. He imagined himself closer to his god.
As the fangs slashed down with murderous intent, he smiled.