Ebens existed in a numb void of unawareness. His eyes were open sometimes, but he possessed neither comprehensive nor sensation. Only in his dreams did he feel the spiders covering his body, squirming under his skin. Only there could he scream and try to dig them out with his nails. There was no relief from his torments. Struggling only made the spiders more aggressive, swarming over and under his skin. The worst was when the wicked creature with glowing red eyes laughed as she used her legs to entrap him all over again.
A sharp ripping pain at his mouth suddenly woke him from his stupor. Ebens screamed with his own voice for the first time since his capture. He looked about the cave in his daze, unsure of what had just happened to him. Several large spider legs were removing him from his captivity.
He dropped to the cave floor like a lifeless doll. Towering over him the creature leaned in close and whispered something unintelligible before she abandoned him. As she departed the spiders began to close on him again.
Ebens tried to sit up, but his body remained paralyzed. His thoughts were clearer, if panicked, and he could see the other lads trapped on the ceiling. Webs covered some of their mouths while others were left to drool obliviously. Spiders crawled over all of their exposed faces, even passing over unblinking eyeballs without protest.
Ebens shivered, knowing that he had been in the same state only moments ago. He could hear the spider talking with someone at length.
“Oh, you really do not want to do that.” The creature said with demonic joy. “You are welcome to enter our home. You can join the boys in keeping us warm, and then I am certain to have your ‘sanction’.” There was only a brief silence before she continued, “I have made my deal and it is not with you. Not with the violent young thieves or untrustworthy humans. It is with the clockwork Doctor. I have no need to trust your kind.”
She paused once again, Ebens strained to listen to the whole conversation but failed. The creature spoke once more, this time speaking seriously. “The doctors taught me that in this world you are either the killer or the victim. We are done being the victims. Attack us and they die. Keep us here and your boys will remain ours. Goodbye.”
There was a loud bang and the spider slowly crept back to the cave. She approached Ebens, still helpless, and reached for his arms with her upper legs. She raised him slowly, his body hanging limp in her grasp.
“Good news little thief, you will not be needed today and you may soon earn your freedom.”
He tried to respond, but he did not posses the strength. She reached for his mouth with one of her legs and placed it on his chin. She manipulated his mouth and began to speak for him. “But we have been very ungrateful and unwelcoming.”
“True, little thief,” She said as she carried him up the wall back towards the ceiling. “But with your help we will make it to the warm south. We’ll escape those that want to use us. We have been most generous keeping you alive and comfortable. Now you will repay our kindness. Is that not fair?”
Ebens wanted to protest, he didn’t want to return to the ceiling and spiders. All he could manage was to cry.
“Oh, it is too late for that. Is not prison exactly what little thieves deserve?” The monster cackled and reached Ebens former webbing. She wrapped him with four of her free legs. She started to sing a twisted lullaby to him as the numbness returned and his awareness faded. The last thing he comprehended was her final promise, “Struggling is fruitless, child, but do not worry. When we no longer need your precious warmth your suffering will end.”