It began like so many other stories in the wind, On a hilltop overlooking a vale. A farmers yard, clean except for the odd wisp of straw and a gardeners fork that was resting against a steel gate, the clucking of hens and the mooing of the cows mixed in with the gentle bleats of the sheep and the goat tied on a rope wearing a dog collar. A news reader may have described the scene as bucolic and the scent in the air of newly turned over hay certainly lent itself to that description.

It’s time to introduce our protagonist to this story. It has eight legs and two  grasping pedipalps and a narrow segmented tail that ended in a stinger that arched over its back like some futuristic un-yet designed suspension bridge support array. It turned its body by means of complicated manoeuvrings of its many legs and maintained balance like a fulcrum bridge. By this perfect balance it could maintain a spin on two feet like a ballerina in a pirouette a behaviour usually only seen in the wild. Right now it was spinning in an anti-clockwise direction its pedipalps held up in the air and its tail turned over almost touching its own back in a move that would have made Margot Fonteyn proud.But this was no demure female ballerina but a wild rogue male that had been banished from the desert sands by its titular leaders for going rogue and eating its own children and killing anything that came close.

It was the alpha male gone wild that spawned a play by the late great Cuckaburrow playwright the arachnid Bellatrix the female wolf spider. And it was this play that has inspired so many other spiders and many-legged creatures that tonight’s battle would take place to bring the killing to a symbolic end, and to have a damn good show  by the fight going to the death of one or more of its competitors. The warm up would be some dancing by both hostile opponents while doing some more killing of other convicted felons. Such was the vicious killing wheel that turned diurnally, day after day, beneath our feet.

Unfortunately, a written account of the actual events was lost in the great fire of ’86 so nobody actually there can testify them all being long preserveI. But i thought I’d share what I know. I imagine the combatants arrived on the wind on threads of silk on the evening breeze..




Published by Andrew Mark Watkins

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