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Spiders

  • my memory is a fractured thing. shattered by severe physical injuries, psychological traumas and narcotic overloads. vast gaps are frequent. but so are strange moments that emerge from time to time, without context or meaning but with painful detail. and this is one of them....
     
    many years ago, i worked corporate security at a site located along the chicago river. the site was a pair of office buildings, complete with bar and shopping center and an adjacent parking garage. the buildings were structured to provide the appearance of being a single unit, but were in fact separate entities. they were only joined by the rather well lit walkway that connected them directly along the river.
     
    which is the focal point of this narrative.
     
    my shift was overnights, beginning at 11pm. my schedule dictated that i secure the exterior perimeters before moving inside for a more detailed patrol and ending maintaining posture within the parking structure while randomly patrolling the exterior again. this sequence of events is key to this story.
    during the summer months, when the sun sets around 9pm, night is just beginning as i started my external patrol. the river walkway, which ran by my estimation 150 meters or more, contained over a dozen doorways, three dozen columns and ceilings of roughly five or more meters from the ground. or 20 feet, if that helps. and with bright lights EVERYWHERE to deter criminal activity.
     
    but the combination of lights and proximity to the river had a rather bizarre effect. when i started my patrols, i could see untold numbers of spiders emerging from places unknown to construct webs near the lights for their nightly feasts, as cleaning crews swept them away during business hours.
    the numbers of spiders were beyond count. i counted over 300 individuals within a 1 meter squared and estimated that running the 150 meter walkway, the total was over 50,000 or more.
     
    and all night, you could watch them, racing across their massive webs to capture, kill and consume the vast number of insects caught by the bright lights as they lingered near the river.
     
    the total effect was breathtaking, horrifying and surreal. to see that many arachnids, actively hunting at once was something beyond comprehension.
     
    i'm sure a more intelligent person would have something more philosophical to say about all of this. as for me.... it's something that has inspired the fear of my arts and something to comes to me, unbidden from time to time.
     
    the place still stands today.... and i frequently dream of visiting it again, simply to see so much natural horror in action.