Encounter

Adam Wilson is on a motorcycle tour in Europe when a strange object ruins his trip.

Encounter is part 1 of 3 short stories, they are the prequel to my science fiction novel 'Splinter'.

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3. Flight

Now all they could do was wait until it had reached the other side of its search area and then move off, using as much cover as possible. They were about two thirds of the way back to Adams bike when the man started pointing to the right and mumbling something, he was very insistent that Adam go that way instead of back to the bike, Adam did not know what to do, his bike was fast and he was sure he could out run the spider on it, even through the woods. But the man was very persistent, Adam decided to go with him for a short distance and see what he was trying to tell him. As he followed Adam realised they were dropping down into what looked like a rain gully, this took them out of sight of the spider, from here they could make better progress, but it was leading away from the motorcycle. Being out of sight of the thing was better than risking the wrath of the spider, so Adam went along with the man, they made about another 1000 meters before Adam called a halt, he was very tired now and needed to rest. Climbing up to the edge of the gully Adam peered out towards the hole, there was no sign of the spider, Turning to the man Adam pointed at him himself and said “Adam” and then pointed at the man “Jorge” he replied “Eu não falam inglês!” Shrugging his shoulders Adam pointed back towards his bike, “I'm going for my bike.” The man looked blank then smiled in understanding and he pointed the way they had been going, then he grabbed and shook Adams hand before running off.

Adam sat quietly for a while, getting his breath back slowly, he pulled out a cigarette then thought better of it. Climbing back to his feet he headed off towards his bike, stopping every 30 meters or so to check behind him, there was still no sign of the spider. Reaching the camp, Adam crawled into the tent and looked around for his bag, it had his mobile in it, pulling it out he turned it on and waited, no signal, damn. When he came out he picked up his binoculars and looked towards the hole, he took a deep breath, there were now two spiders down there, one staying by the hole doing something to a strange object. The other was still searching the area but it had not got halfway to where he was now. Then slightly to the left, about 50 meters from the first Spider he spotted movement, it was Jorge, he had a shotgun in his hands and was trying to sneak up on the Spider. Jorge managed to get within 20 meters, then suddenly stood up and fired the shotgun, the impact flipped the spider on to its side. He then fired the second barrel directly at it from less than five meters, before noticing the other spider which was now racing towards him. He was still reloading when it hit him, it had stuck one of its legs out just as it got to him and the limb had gone straight through him, the spider pulled back and Jorge fell to the ground, there was blood everywhere. It then turned to the other spider which was not moving, Adam could not see clearly what was going on, the other spider got up and started shaking, it did this for about 30 seconds then moved off as if nothing had happened. It joined the other at the strange object and they both appeared to be doing something with it, Adam started to grab his gear then thought better of it, making sure he had his wallet and phone he put on his helmet and tried to start the bike, at first it fired then died.

The smell of petrol was strong,the petrol pipe had pulled off when it fallen over, Adam looked across and could see one of the spiders heading his way, it must have heard him try to start the bike, he pushed the pipe back on and thumbing the starter he held it, letting the engine spin, then it caught and fired up. Glancing over his shoulder the spider was less than 100 yards away, he dropped into first and gunned the engine, the bike took off and he held on to the bars as they fought him across the rough ground. Looking in the mirror he saw the spider gaining slowly, he knew really needed to get to the tarmac road to make any decent headway. The Triumph was not really designed for dirt riding, it had road tyres and Adam was pushing them well past their limits. Racing up the dirt track as it rose into the hills, he could see the road 500 meters ahead, but the spider was still gaining. It was going to be close, fear was driving him hard, risking everything Adam dropped a gear and red lined the bike, he was now doing 60 in second, flicking it into third he held the throttle open and shot out onto the road. Now he could really get moving, going up another gear he was past 90 when a lorry came out of a side turning ahead, he had no chance of stopping and had to go out around him on the wrong side of the narrow road. The lorry braked hard and stopped and as he flew around the front of the lorry he realised it was not stopping for him. A car was coming the other way, he made it through the gap just as his knee clipped the front wing, straightening the bike he heard an almighty crash as the spider hit the car. Adam braked hard as he saw a bend coming up and turned his head just as the spider passed him in the air, one of its limbs caught the handlebars and flipped the front wheel sharply to the right. The bike hit the road and Adam slid off, glad he was still wearing his armoured gear but then as his hand hit the ground he painfully noticed he had not pulled his gloves on, he snatched his hand back as he started losing skin.

As his body came to a stop his bike carried on and sailed off the edge of the road, dropping down the embankment to the edge of the lake about 200 meters below, it was following the spider down and crashed on top of it when  they reached the bottom. Adam looked down at the bike on top of the spider, there was no movement from down there, he walked back to the car which had ended up crashed into the front of the lorry and peered inside, the driver was dead, the front top edge of the roof of the car was missing along with the top of the drivers head, the spider had cut clean through the thin metal,Adam did not look any further into the car. The lorry driver was sitting stunned in his cab, as he walked over to him something made Adam turn around, there at the edge of the road was the spider, it had 3 limbs missing and was dragging itself towards him.

It was obviously badly damaged, but that was not stopping it, it was unbalanced and moving at slightly faster than walking pace, not hesitating Adam stared running. Clearing the vehicles he threw off his helmet and kept moving, the scream of the driver spurred him on even faster. Stripping off his jacket and dropping that he risked a glance over his shoulder, the spider clambered over the wrecked car dropped to the ground and came after him, it was not moving fast and Adam reduced his pace, fear driving him forward, but his body complaining that he could not keep going at full pelt, slowing down to just keep him ahead of the spider seemed reasonable. Within 100 meters his heart wanted to explode, his lack of fitness was going to get him killed and he was slowing down fast, a thumping against his leg reminded him he still had the big torch hanging from his belt, surprised it he not lost it in the crash he grabbed it and went to throw it away. Then stopped, it was the only weapon he had against the thing, thoughts rushed through his head, if he tried to keep going he would be completely exhausted in minutes, the thing was already damaged and struggling to follow him, but it seemed indefatigable, it would not stop, unless it could not move.

Adam stopped dead and spun around, he waited as the spider approached him quickly, with only three limbs working it was struggling to keep its balance, Adam sucked in a deep breath and held the torch up, at the last second the spider thrust at him with one of its limbs, stepping aside only just in time the limb missed him by inches. Swinging the torch down as hard as he could, he smashed it into  one of the last remaining rear limbs, Adam was surprised as it went straight through, separating the limb from the body, the spider now fell over and stayed there, the last two limbs twitching. Adam now sucked in great amounts of air trying to get his breath back and calm the raging fear coursing through his body, adrenaline had kept him going, now his body had run out, never before in his life had he gone through anything like this. Sitting down on the edge of the road he pulled out a small tin and rolled himself a cigarette, he could now feel all the damage to his body, he had not noticed it before. His left hand was bleeding where it had dragged on the road, his right side hurt like hell and he suspected he had some broken ribs, possibly where the torch he had hanging from his belt had been forced up when he came off the bike, he could also feel his right ankle swelling up inside his boot. A scrapping sound made him look at the damaged spider, it was trying to drag itself back towards the hole in ground with its two limbs digging for traction on the hard tarmac, but getting nowhere.

Another car appeared around the bend, the drivers face showing shock as he stopped and got out, he ran over to Adam and started talking to him, “English, I only speak English.” replied Adam, “Ah, I speak English!” Said the man “What has happened here?” “You would not believe me mate, can you just call the police and an ambulance please?” The man ran back to his car and pulled out a mobile phone, in Portuguese he gabbled away for a minute or two ,then went to look in the truck and the car, he turned very pale and walked back to Adam, as he did he looked at the spider still trying to get away.

“What is that thing?” he asked. “No idea.” said Adam and then he passed out.

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