You told Dr. Edderkop not to give them wings, but she went and did it anyway, and now the lab is riddled with creatures that could almost be mistaken for bees (if bees were eight-legged and the size of mandarin oranges).
“Aren’t they marvelous!” Dr. Edderkop laughs, playing with the silvery strands they’ve left in her hair. She tugs out a tiny, silk-wrapped orb. “What a sweet gesture.” Her hair is now nest-like, as her bun hairdo came unraveled during the rush to barricade the manor doors.
Outside, the sheriff is still screaming something, but you can hardly hear what. Even with the megaphone, he’s drowned out by the sound of sirens wailing, firetrucks chasing after city-wide flames, and the occasional explosion.
Inside, you watch the things swarm around the doctor’s head, their legs moving with the determination of a puppy being held above water. One of them breaks off and comes flying up to you, flapping its membranous wings. Its eyes are round and black, and huge in proportion to its body, and in those eyes you can almost see the impenetrable darkness of space.
This one, hovering near your nose, lifts two if its middle legs up. A flap opens up from its abdomen, brightly colored in orange and teal. The thing sways softly in the air from left, to right, to left again, in a strange dance.
“It looks like someone is smitten,” Dr. Edderkop giggles madly. “They are such affectionate creatures.”
Something explodes outside, but it’s not terribly startling; the bursts have been calming down for the last half an hour or so, like the way the last kernels in a bag of microwave popcorn hold out almost to the end. The sheriff isn’t screaming anymore, for some reason, so you can hear the fluttering of the swarm’s wings, like hundreds of whispering voices in a soft nightmare.
And you start to sway back and forth, in time with the little guy. Maybe it’s the whispering, or the colorful flap, or the fact that you haven’t slept in a week since Dr. Edderkop started the grafting process. (She insisted on going through all the raw genetic material before it went bad in the fridge, and more than once you regretted stealing so much. Really, who would have thought neotropical canopy spider DNA would have worked so well on North American species?) But still, you find yourself falling into the creature’s black eyes, its swaying coming closer and closer, and you think Ah, what the hell? And as it swoops in, you decide to let your hair down.