into darkness

I heard this was Partytown. Spider central. The only place to be seen. The buzz got too loud to ignore, I needed to pay attention. I heard you can make things happen.

The lights can only be seen a few metres away, but the stories and the hope had spread for miles. A beacon for all creatures of the night, drawn in by the warmth and opportunity we’d heard about. There’s only so much mud and raindrops a spider can take. The older generations have given up and settled for this. They don’t understand, don’t believe that there could ever be any other way of living but their own. They stay in their holes every night, slowly waiting to die. There has to be more than this. So when rumours spread of a place where you could finally be yourself, without fear of prejudice or contempt, it gave hope to so many of us.

We made friends along the way. It seems the news had spread far and wide among many different communities. Some had had jumped at the chance to try and find somewhere that accepts them. Others didn’t really believe this place could exist till they were thrown out, disowned and forced to fend for themselves. Together we laughed and drank and ate flies as we made our way in the direction of this myth we only half believed in. Even if we’d never find the place we were looking for, we’d finally found ourselves.

Across an annoyingly long stretch of wet gravel we finally saw it. The lights. The windows thick with cobwebs; some fresh, some not so. This had to be the place. There was no queue, which was a surprise, but perhaps the mythical status had dissuaded many from even attempting the pilgrimage. We crept inside, unsure what to expect. There was no grand welcome, but there was also no-one ushering us out either. There was no-one shouting at us for being different. for being weird. for being ourselves. We’d found home.

It didn’t take long to work out how things worked, and those already here helped make us feel welcome. We learned what was true and what was just hearsay. There were a few rules to abide by, but they applied to everyone regardless of their background. The penalties were frequently harsh, but were only given to those who tried to push the boundaries too far, too often. There was plenty of space for everyone, though the hallway outside the bathroom frequently seemed far too crowded. Everyone was extremely friendly, and many of us found love, or something like it, amongst the dust and woodworm. Which were delicious.

As fabulous as all this was, the stories of fame and glamour kept resurfacing. Was any of that true? It took a while to get it out of them,  but a couple of the old eight-hands eventually told us about the early days. Apparently the guy who ran this place originally opened it to be some sort of example to the rest of society. Although he wasn’t one of us, he wanted to show the rest of the world that we were fine, normal, nothing to get so worked up about. Back then a few of us had indeed become famous, to an extent, and had admirers all round the world. That’s what we’d all dreamed of, and for a while it was all working beautifully. Then the novelty wore off. People weren’t interested any more. Just being a spider wasn’t enough of a freakshow for them. They wanted more. They wanted dancing spiders, jumping spiders, giant pumped up spiders on sterroids. They wanted spiders who could shock. Normal spiders who just wanted a bit of fun weren’t in vogue anymore. Normal spiders were boring. They were disgusting. They were unnatural. They were fine to stamp on, spit on, throw out the door again.

So the owner slowed, and stopped his attempts to spread our message to the world. The world listened, and shrugged, and wrote us off as scum. But he kept this place open and running ever since. Somewhere for us to exist without the fear and hatred we’d all felt out there.  Somewhere for others to dream about. Somewhere where a spider can be a spider and not have to apologise. So we’d come out of the dark, into the light. Though, you know, us being spiders, sometimes the dark has it’s advantages too. So that’s where I’m off right now, if its OK with you. Thanks. See you around.

Scaryness: 1. Outside is scary. Here I can be myself.