P R E V I O U S L Y I N
S P I D E R F I N G E R S
The little critter sprang right off Steph’s white seashell bedding to skim across the black and white tile floor, scuttling towards a screaming Dr Silberman. He pounced upon the doctors left trouser leg, crawling up on to the white of his shirt. Once there, he managed to hero-leap again…up and further up so that he could vice his five feelers around Silberman's neck. This vibrancy of movement was in direct contrast to Handy Andy's thin and flaky digits. There was not a day that went by that Saul's former limb wouldn't find himself doodling accounts of his former health. The nails of this artist's fingers lost to sickness over the last few weeks...
‘C’mon!’ at Steph, 'C'mon for fuck sake,' who sat there, gawping through her thick layer of shock.
Steph could only flick her eyes from Saul and then on Silberman and then to Jean Capgrass ‘sleeping’ in the bed.
‘What are you waiting for?’ cried Saul as he drew her by the wrist and out the exit. Out they shot into the long passageway, a long snake of door after door stretching towards the egress at its far end. The corridor was bleached by the overhead spinal of electric light. And it was swamped, congested with residents drawn by the noise. Yes, all the mentally fatigued of Floor Two had responded to the curious outpourings from Silberman. In her misty rose night gown, shuffling by her rescuers side, Steph struggled. She tried to keep up with her smelly abductors stride, hauled forward, bobbing and weaving round pyjama clad Bellevue clients.
‘They’ve got security,' she huffed, 'You know that right?'
But Steph got no answer from Saul and yelped a little as others screamed out pointing behind her in disbelief. The sight of a hand sprinting through the mass tangle of legs caused a few mental relapses. Soon, the wisps of Pseudologoi sifted along the corridors with them, slicing out the bizzare happenings, eradicating all memory of Handy Andy.
Handy Andy: Nail-less. Small yet seemingly unstoppable, he climbed at speed and then off the floor, frog leaping up onto the midriff of Saul’s dark blue cape-like coat. With a few more clawing’s, the abominable palm finally arrived on Saul’s shoulder. He firmly attached himself as a five-knuckle-shoulder pad, flicking his torn and slightly crooked index finger straight ahead.
‘I know where I’m going!’ Saul shouted.
‘Bellevue’s got ex S.A.S men for guards.' announced Steph.
‘I eat ex S.A.S for breakfast.’ replied Saul.
‘Not these guys,’ whispered Steph, ‘They’re armed with tasers, nightsticks and years of beating up cowardly zombies.’
‘I’m not cowardly and I don't like being called a zombie, so shut up. And why are you whispering?'
‘Sorry,' spat Steph at Saul's decayed cheekbone,' 'I’ve never been kidnapped by a work of fiction before. Maybe I should be doing this?’ And out it came – an indecent yodelling that could have roused the departed. Saul stopped abruptly to face her as he covered her mouth with his un-dead hand,
'Don't be a dick. I'm trying to be the good guy here.' he hissed. Taking his hand away Steph was motionless for a fraction of a second before she began screaming again. Saul grabbed Steph, his left hand grasping one elbow whilst the stump of his handless right forearm, it aimed toward his open mouth,
'Keep pissing me off and I take a bite, got it Missus?'
'So what's your story?' Asked Saul, 'Did your pet pooch die? Send you barking? Pun intended.'
‘What is this?’ asked Steph.
‘What d’ya mean what is this?’ Saul wondered looking away from the stairwell with a nervous exasperation.
‘Trust me,' answered Saul looking back down to the floors below, ‘Before he died, Spiderfingers told me to find the one with the brightest flame, the one that believes in him the most.'
'Spiderfingers is dead?' Steph asked.
'Yeah,' replied Saul, 'and I don't see any gods invading Earth, do you? I knew he was a liar.'
'...where are we going?' She asked.
‘Back to the house,' answered Saul looking down the flights of steps, 'Listen, there's no time for messing about Missus.’
An orderly grabbed Saul from behind and thrust his rather sizeable arms around the skinny chancer.
‘No, come back! Help!’ shouted Saul as Steph scampered down the hallway.
Suddenly, the official of Bellevue bellowed out in pain, his arms unwrapped themselves from around Saul. He was confused as his ginger-headed cranium was pulled right back. His blue eyes ripped wide open, full with the terror of the unknown. Saul stood back and pinned himself a few steps down off the landing, his left and only hand clenching the handrail as he watched the orderly swing this way and that, thrashing aimlessly at a fearless adversary gripping the back of his neck.
Laptop. Journal of Spiderfingers.
Steph dashed round the man guarding her exit-way to join the onlookers. In what can only be described as a flash movement, Handy Andy dismounted his quarry and splat flat on his back, his index finger curled and uncurled in Steph’s direction. Saul screamed,
Numerous turns had lead the troupe over and over again to the edge of a vast night-infested woodland. And this is why Andy had taken it upon himself to jot down a preferable route back to the big smoke.
Steph ignored him. Her fingers continuing their obsessive dance along the keys.
'Listen y-y-y-yeah?' stammered Saul, 'I’m following Andy’s directions exactly but…this is we-we-weird...Spiderfingers weird.'
‘Isn’t he dead?’ asked Steph halting in her typing. She was sure she had caught him – Zombie Boy eyeing up the neckline of her misty rose nightgown.
Steph felt the dog noises in her jugular. She coughed through them. She followed her release with a question, ‘How am I important?’
‘O.K,' began Steph with a pause, 'so who is Alice?’
‘O.K,’ began Saul his lone hand gripping the wheel so hard Steph could hear a crackle in the bones, ‘Alice…Right…she’s loadsa things really. A weapon...a girl…Spider's da-da-da-daughter. She can put things right.’ Saul pushed the accelerator pedal, hard.
'So,' Saul asked, 'how long have you been worshiping Spiderfingers?'
‘I don’t worship him.’
‘Are you sure he's –
She tried in vain to think up insulting quips that mocked his child-like regression. Amid her fantasy, Steph recollected how in tight corners like this, where strength just might not be enough, the typical protagonist would be endowed with enough cunning to survive. It was time for intel. It was time to learn more about this yarn's bad guy…
‘Who the hell is Aronson?’ asked Steph.
‘Wouldn’t believe m-m-m-m-me.’ replied Saul as his tongue lolled weakly out the corner of his diseased and stinking mouth.
‘You’d…laugh,' replied Saul, 'You really shouldn’t. L-l-l-laughing…make me… wanna tear out your skull and eat you but…story sounds like bollocks to me too s-s-sometimes.’
‘Please tell me,’ pleaded Steph acting calm, ‘I wanna get everything straight.’
‘Been…used…lied to, manipulated…picked on and sacrificed by…by…by...'
‘Spiderfingers?’ she interjected, not knowing how she'd reached the conclusion.
‘Yeeeesssssss!’ affirmed Saul grimacing into the rear-view mirror, 'your “inspiration” is a fuck!’ Saul was looking squarely at Steph’s jugular. She held the neck of her gown instinctively.
'C’mon Saul, you need to tell me about Aronson. It would be cruel not to -’
‘Cruuuuel? Meeeee missusssss? N-n-no…f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-uuuuck…fuck faaaaace letting hisss…biggest fan diiiieee...that's major cr-cruelty.’
‘What are you talking about?’
‘Vicky. She ad-ad-adored him. N-n-n-n-need to stop…Neeeeeed…to eat.’
‘Woof?! Stop the car? I’d rather you didn’t.’
‘Won’t attack y-y-y-y-y-you – will fiiiiiind…someone. Urrrrr.’
'Woof! Woof! Woof!'
N E X T T I M E I N
S P I D E R F I N G E R S
Handy Andy focused his formidable talent upon a pound shop note-pad. He was busy rendering a cartoon likeness of Vicky snoozing on the sofa back home. He drew Vicky's hands cradling him in her lap. Unfortunately, it didn't matter how much Handy detailed his art, he couldn't escape the sound of death. Chomp and crack and snap went the bones in the policeman’s body. Handy knew that zombies merely begin their dining at the cranium. Everything must go.