They’re so lovely, my friends.
I’m watching from the upstairs window, staring down at the enclosure. The first light of day is reflecting off the panes of glass in waves of violet. On the other side, I can sense them scuttling along thick threads of gossamer, their handiwork soon to shimmer like permanent dew as the day grows, the strands catching the golden shine of the sun through the translucent walls of the terrarium.
My time is growing short. It’s personally important to me a narrative exists. I abhor the thought of the incredible events which have transpired being drowned in hearsay or misinformation. If this account confirms the facts while simultaneously damning me, so be it.
I’m glad I had the privacy fence installed, though had I suspected the ease with which the unfortunate trespassers would penetrate it, I might have opted for chain link as opposed to wood. The glass and aluminum dome I’ve erected to provide the colony a protected environment is surely enough to keep them out of view, but the structure itself attracted unwelcome attention. I don’t like prying eyes, and the terrarium drew glances from the occupants of the homes on either side of mine.
My neighbors were offended when the fence went up, of course.
They let me know, too. Not directly. No, they’re too bound by social conventions to be so openly rude. God forbid anyone think they were displaying overt hostility and perpetuating a climate of acrimony in the Cul de Sac.
Instead, they’ve chosen a quieter approach, neglecting to invite me to the block parties and the holiday events they host every summer. I might let them know how little it bothers me, this exclusion, if I cared at all. I don’t. Not for them nor what they might think of me. I never have.
I’ve preferred to spend my quiet time inside the terrarium. The trees I strategically planted in adjacent rows within provide a perfect sanctuary for my tenants. Their webs, once no more than five to six inches across, now occupy the entirety of the space between the various branches. Indeed, the expanse between the trunks of the trees currently plays host to webs reaching widths of five to six feet.
I must admit to feeling more than a little pride in that fact.
I’m getting ahead of myself. This story really begins with a different type of wonder. One of the celestial kind.
It happened mere days before I first became aware of the eight-legged visitors to my property. A meteorite landed in the back yard.
I had heard there would be a shower in the early morning hours. I’d planned to stay up and watch the light show, but a long day working in my home office, staring at the monitor as I crunched numbers for my clients, had left me feeling drained. I fell asleep early.
I believe it was the sound of the impact which roused me several hours later. To be honest, I’m still a bit hazy on that point. I was very groggy and my consciousness was still being filtered through the tattered remnants of some strange dream as I sat upright in bed.
My bedroom boasts a window with a view of the grassy acre behind the house. I’m not one hundred percent positive (I was still very much working the sleep out of my system at the time), but I thought I saw a purplish light glowing back there for a moment. Assuming it wasn’t a figment of my imagination, the phenomenon ended almost as quickly as it began. By the time I’d slipped on my robe and stumbled my way out back, it was dark. Save for the sliver of pale light cast from the crescent moon, the area was draped in shadow.
In that silver moonlight, I saw the crater.
It wasn’t large and neither was the fragment of space rock nestled at the bottom of the fresh crevice. Now fully awake and impelled by curiosity, I approached and peered inside.
The meteorite is six inches in diameter at best. It’s oblong, with a dark coloring that shimmers if you turn in under a light. As if it were coated with a thin sheen of some metallic liquid.
Yes, I kept it. I consider that rock to be my prized possession. I mounted it on a display stand I purchased the following day and placed it on the mantle above the desk in my den. I’ve sometimes spent hours silently gazing at it in wonder, drinking in every detail, from the superficial fissures spread across the surface to the pockmarks peppering its circumference.
I discovered my guests a few days later.