Authors: Aoife Metcalfe
Last night they did this to me.
Last night they all watched as I lived my worst fear.
I still can’t understand
they are doing this.
Tanya’s screams reach a crescendo and fade off.
The ringleader looks around, “Is everybody fed?”
A few answer to the affirmative.
takes his hand off her head at last.
He instructs one
of the boys to take her back to her room. Only when she’s in bed is he let her wake up, by now
surely knows the rules.
goes about this
business quickly. He picks up a still sleeping Tanya in his arms and departs for the school.
I am extremely glad that she is not around
anymore. There is something horribly evil about these people. Whatever that was she didn’t deserve it.
Is everybody fed? What does he mean by that?
They all convene a meeting now, back in their circle.
The ringleader speaks to them now, harshly.
Their cheap tricks in English today are not to be repeated.
There should be no need to bring fear upon people during the day. They should eat enough at night so that this isn’t necessary.
Causing fear during the day may, eventually, make some human suspicious. Their species didn’t survive from the times of Ancient Greece by being
No one must suspect that they are different. They must remember this.
key to survival.
He lets them go.
I duck down as they all walk out together.
He said their ‘species’.
They aren’t human
I think of their beautiful eyes.
I begin to realise that I should not have snuck out tonight.
The answer to this mystery is a bit more than I can handle.
I’ll never be able to sleep around here again. Not knowing what I know now.
I think of calling my Mom tomorrow. Perhaps if I beg and cry she will let me move schools.
I sigh. Leaving wouldn’t solve the problem. All the other students would still be here, among these
I couldn’t leave knowing that everyone left behind is unsafe.
I have to do something.
Warning everyone isn’t an option. No one would believe me and the creatures would, no doubt, hunt me down.
They are all exiting out of
the front of the building now. They shouldn’t s
ee me here, at the back. Still,
I duck down and make myself as small as possible.
I hear them chatting amongst themselves.
Then I realise that I am in trouble.
Angelica is going to get back to our room before me. She will know that I left.
I panic for a moment.
Then I begin to think straight again. I’ll just tell her I snuck off to see Greg.
Surely she will believe it.
I wonder what will happen if she doesn’t.
I hear a male voice, “Whoa, wait a minute. . . Do you guys smell that?”
They seem rather near.
What if they see me?
“Yes, I’m getting it too,”
answers Angelica’s voice. “Its
fear . . . There’s a human somewhere here!”
They have just
If I wasn’t so afraid I’d be amazed.
I try to take some deep breathes and calm down. My fear will lead them to me if I don’t.
They’re voices get nearer and nearer all the time.
There is a human spying on them. It is vital for the species that they don’t let me get away
, they are saying
Now I really wish that I’d
They are about to come around the corner. They will see me.
All I can do now is make a mad dash for it.
“Oh girly, come back here,” calls the ringleader. His voice isn’t sincere, “We won’t hurt you . . .”
I run faster than I’ve ever ran in my life.
It’s no use.
The ringleader appears, from nowhere, in front of me.
I stop dead, afraid.
He puts his hand on my shoulder.
His sparkling eyes never leave me, “Sleep now darling.”
There is nothing I can do to stop it.
I fall to the ground.
When I wake up I am on the chair they used for Tanya earlier.
all standing around discussing,
in frantic voices, what to do with me.
There is an almost unanimous verdict that I must be killed.
unanimous because Daniel is taking my side.
“We’re not monsters,” he argues. “When did we begin thinking that killing people is alright? We have to let her go.”
No one agrees with him.
“Don’t be such a wuss Danny,” says Angelica, flicking back her hair. “She knows about us. We can’t just let her walk out of here.”
I am still a bit woozy.
My voice comes out softly, “Please don’t kill me . . .”
They all turn their heads in my direction, completely in unison.
It is pretty creepy.
They all seem pretty shocked. I find myself wondering what’s wrong with them.
“Is she . . . awake?” A short girl with glasses asks, amazed.
They all look reluctant to believe it.
comes closer, as if to make sure. “That’s impossible; the spell I put on her should work for six hours . . . This has never happened before.”
They all stare at me like I’m the freak.
“This just proves it,” the girl with glasses announces. “This girl definitely needs to die. She knows about us
she can defy our magic. She is extremely dangerous. If we don’t do something about her now we will be sorry. It’s our responsibility to the whole species.”
There is a loud murmur of agreement.
The ringleader is greatly disturbed. He asks me how I defied his magic.
I tell him that I don’t know.
This doesn’t impress him.
He gives the verdict.
I surely need to die.
The danger brings me to my senses suddenly.
I don’t like the way some of them are looking at me.
I realise that I can’t move.
“Don’t do this,” I beg the ringleader frantically. Something within me is screaming that I must save my life now, “I won’t tell anyone about you guys, I promise.”
“I think she’s telling the truth,” Daniel once again backs me up.
I don’t know why he is fighting my corner for me.
I am glad he is though. He is the only one here on my side.
The ringleader tells him that he is weak.
you guys?” I ask, astounded at my discoveries tonight.
The ringleader laughs, seemingly overjoyed at my question.
He never gets a chance to explain it to humans, he says. Since I’m going to die anyway he may as well tell me.
They call themselves the ‘Arachne’. They are the true descendants of a Greek Goddess by that name.
They have powers us humans don’t have. They would live high up in the heavens if it wasn’t for the
diet they have.
Human fear is the only food that has ever satisfied them.
This is why they live among
us mortals. Without a supply of fresh human fear they would soon grow weak and die.
Humans have never become aware of their presence. They live by giving us nightmares in the night
and by many other tricks that cause us fear.
s are the
reason that people have nightmares. Humans only dream pleasantly in their natural state.
They know what scares us. This knowledge comes to them the second they set
eyes upon us. They can use this to their advantage.
All of this explains a lot.
on me last night,” I stammer.
it is time to kill me now.
He raises his hand.
Nothing I say changes his mind. He simply won’t believe that I won’t tell anyone about them.
I realise that my defying of his magic may have hurt his pride also.
He looks me in the eyes; his
tattoos change colour suddenly
. “When I place my hand upon thy shoulder you will enter your final, and eternal, sleep.”
There are a few gasps.
They all know what it means.
I will die.
I close my eyes. I try to keep the tears from coming.
There is no use in struggling. I still can’t move.
They have paralysed me somehow.
“Wait, stop!” A boy yells.
I open my eyes again.
“I have an idea,” he says breathlessly. There is a definite hint of panic in his voice
, “A way she can live on and be sure not to tell our secret.”
looks amused, “There’s a lot of fear in you Daniel. What is that all about?”
He gives her a dirty look.
asks him to state his idea quickly or his chance will be gone.
“Okay,” Daniel steps forwar
d, glancing around at the rest of them
. “We could . . . you know . . . change her.”
My mouth drops open.
He means to turn me into one of them.
The ringleader turns to him, “We don’t change humans often. It’s always a risk for the species, to welcome an unknown amongst us.”
They all debate it.
No one seems to care what I think.
I don’t even
what I think.
Living would surely be better than dying.
Still, I don’t want to be a monster. The thought of being one of them terrifies me.
They leave and make a circle in the opposite corner of the gymnasium. Now they are speaking in whispers.
I await my fate in a horrible suspense.
The ringleader alone comes back to me, “We have decided that you will join our ranks.”
There is a knot in my stomach.
Dread fills me.
A needle appears in the ringleader’s hand. It is filled with a blue liquid, “This is Arachne blood. On
e it enters your veins you will become one of us . . . A word of warning, the transformation will be excruciating.”
I am radiating so much fear now. I get a horrible feeling that some of them are feeding on it.
“Don’t,” my voice sounds so small.
Daniel steps up and asks the leader’s permission to perform this task.
The leader tosses the needle to him with no argument. It is obviously not a job that he was looking forward to doing himself.
The others stay away.
Only Daniel is up near me now.
ls down in front of me. His voice is as calming as he can make it, “I’m really sorry about this Katy.”
I whisper, “Are you going to do this to me?”
“I have to,” he seems so torn. “They won’t let you live. Look, take my hand. Hold it. I promise I won’t let go.”
Tears are streaming down my face as I hold my hand in his.
I will never be human again. There is a horrible finality to it.
“You okay?” His voice is soothing.
He is all that is holding me together right now.
“Yeah, you can do it now,” I answer, resigned.
Then he looks up and comments on a beautiful bird. He wonders how it got into the gymnasium.
I look up to see it.
I realise too late that it was a distraction.
The needle enters my arm.
Pain seems to flow through my very veins. Their leader wasn’t lying when he said
it would be excruciating.