The Spinners Of Silk Wood

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
The initial prologue for a book, set on the Fictional world of Woodland.

Elspeth is bemoaning the lack of things to do in her village, and questioning why no one is allowed out after dark. She will soon wish that she had not...

Submitted: November 06, 2016

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Submitted: November 06, 2016

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The village of Blackthorn wasn’t very exciting, thought Elspeth as she shuffled home after another night of doing practically nothing with her friends. She had lived here all her life, and every time the school holidays came around, after the initial buzz of six whole weeks off school had subsided after the first three days, she often thought about how unexciting Blackthorn was.
There just wasn’t anything to do. Yes, they could all go play down at the river of Rundurum like they had today. Or go to explore one of the nearby villages if they could be bothered to walk that far, but then there was the problem of the curfew.
Of all the rules this planet had, Elspeth always thought that was the silliest. “No one must go into The Forest after dark”. Rule number one of the planet Woodland, it always had been, and it always would be. Horror stories of creatures which lurked amongst the tall, unforgiving trees plagued every major city and small town on the planet, but no one had seen anything, or experienced any problems in Blackthorn for over one hundred years.
For an entire planet, covered 90% by The Forest, Elspeth thought surely something would have happened in all that time if these monsters were real. But still, she was not going to be the one who stuck around to find out.
She continued to amble down the side streets of Blackthorn, past the Rose and Red Inn (she thought it would be cool, once she and her friends were 20 and they could all go down to down a few pints of ale instead of meandering around, looking for fun things to do. But, that was still 7 years away for poor, bored Elspeth). She walked past various shops and hotels, markets and trading stations, thinking about the day she’d had.
She enjoyed her time down at Rundurum with her friends. Even if it was repetitive, it was still enjoyable. She thought about what stories Lily would tell about her annoying brother, or if Harry would ever get the hint and finally ask her to the Big Market down at Bark, the next village across.
Pondering all of this lead to Elspeth not paying any attention to where she was going. She tripped on a branch that had been left lumbering across the path, and fell to the floor with an almighty thud. Giving herself a minute to compose her thoughts, she looked around at the branch and muttered something dangerous beneath her breath. She noticed as she lay on the ground that the stars were starting to come out in the sky, and thinking she should really hurry and get home, Elspeth made to get up and start running.
Two things occurred to Elspeth at that moment. The first being she was almost at the very heart of Blackthorn, and she hadn’t seen a single person at all. Yes, it was only a Wednesday night and it was very rare that the city would be busy, but she was only one street away from the town centre, there was always someone bustling about around here. The second thing, was the thing that set Elspeth’s heart racing away. The branch was coated in a smooth white substance, and stuck to her leg.
Elspeth grabbed at the branch, and immediately regretted it. Her hands became clad in the material, and she realised then what it was that had clung to her like rapidly drying cement. The smooth, silky, sticky substance was web!
No, thought Elspeth, that couldn’t be right. Web was what those things in that storybook she had when she was younger used to coat their prey in before devouring them full. No, you’re being silly, Elspeth thought to herself, The Spinners of Silk Wood was just a fairytale. One of those ludicrous tales that the elders used to tell the children to stop them venturing out after dark. In spite of this, Elspeth was aware that she was becoming more and more worried at the fact she could not move.
“Hello?” she yelled out, the slightest hints of panic seeping through the question, “is anyone there? I’m stuck. Hello?”

Then Elspeth heard a noise. It sounded a little bit like soft pattering of small feet running across ice, a sort of terrifying-yet-gentle skittering. The panic was rising in Elspeth faster than before now. Where on Woodland was that noise coming from? She heard it again, and this time, it had most certainly come from the rooftop of whatever little building was beside her, some 30 feet above her.
Elspeth arched her neck back, trying to see what creature could have made the noise. And all but instantly regretted calling for help. Her breathing became ragged and frantic, completely uncontrollable, before it came to an ear-piercing crescendo of a blood-curdling scream.
The creature fell toward her. Its eight legs sprawled, making it look like a star falling from the very depths of hell itself and its talon-like, venom-soaked fangs poised to sink straight into her.
Elspeth acted fast, faster than she had ever done so in her young life. She swung the burly branch up with all of her might, connecting with the fangs of the creature. The creature let out a wail not too dissimilar from the scream Elspeth had just produced herself as the branch shattered into several thousand tiny pieces. Elspeth had no time to think, she sprung up like a coiled spring, and began running. Faster than she had ever ran, with no particular destination in mind, just somewhere away from the beast behind her.
She ran down the first deserted street, her feet pounding into the cobbled streets as she went. She rounded the corner into the town centre, where she had hoped to find someone, anyone, capable of helping her. Instead, what Elspeth had found was a plethora of the eight legged creatures waiting for her. Coating buildings intricately with their ghastly white webs, building nesting grounds where they could comfortably create a new home and much to Elspeth’s horror, coating various townsfolk in the web which she knew meant only one thing. Dinner.
In her horror, Elspeth had not realised that one or two of the creatures had stopped performing their tasks and were looking straight at her. Their venom dripped from their mouths the way drool would drop from a dog’s, fixated on the meal they were about to have. The beasts made their way towards her, scattering across the ground to her at a frightening pace for creatures so big. About half the size of a house and all manors of colours; browns, blacks, furry, silky-smooth, large and rounded and skinny and supple. No two exactly alike, apart from the fact they were all absolutely horrifying.
Elspeth was exhausted. Her breathing ragged and heavy, she turned terrified and ran in the opposite direction. Sobbing uncontrollably, she wiped the tears of despair out of her eyes so she could see where she was heading, but instead of seeing a length of cobbled road which lead to freedom, she saw nothing but the other creature, the one that she had narrowly escaped bearing down on her.
With her doom all but certainly confirmed, Elspeth had one last thought. A very rationalised and accepting thought for a girl so young and so utterly helpless. She stopped running and thought to herself, acceptingly, about how The Spinners of Silk Wood was no fairytale. In fact, it wasn’t a fairytale at all. It was a horror story. No, it wasn’t a horror story. It was a real life horror, a warning about the terrible fates which would befall Woodland when the night came.
The absolutely final thought Elspeth had, was how she was sorry she had ever wondered why none of the things in the stories had ever happened. And then the Spinners got her too. 


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