So far, it is the only one that has made it out. He can hear the others on the other side of the thin wall, their legs secretive whispers against the wallpaper. This one must be smaller. Or there are simply just a lot of them.
Ben turns the little spider over in his hands. It tickles his palms and he giggles. Granny would scream, and Grandad would leave with his fists clenched, before he “made a fuss”. They don’t make much fuss now.
The room smells of Granny’s febreeze, and waxed floorboard. He can smell something else too, but that’s okay. Maybe someone is cooking next door.
The phone rings on its cradle next to his bed. Ben sighs and puts down the spider. It clings to his finger by a strand of web. He crosses the bedroom. He knows who it is.
“Ben?” Mr Parker sounds worried. “Is that you?”
“Yes, sir.” Ben answers in the way Grandad taught him. Even though Mr Parker sounds funny. Like he’s got an ache in his belly.
“Can I speak to Granny and Grandad?”
“They’re asleep, sir. I told you.” Ben reminds him proudly.
“You said they fell asleep on…” Mr Parker says, rustling paper in the background. “Friday?”
“Yes sir,” Ben says. The spider is climbing slowly up his jeans.
“It’s Tuesday, Ben.” Mr Parker says.
Is it? Granny usually reminds him what day it is. He’s not very good with the calendar yet. He remembers now, Mr Parker said the same thing this afternoon, when he asked why Ben had stolen Lizzie’s lunch. He was just so hungry.
“Granny doesn’t like the spiders.” Ben informs him. “She always cleans them away.”
“Spiders.” Says Mr Parker, as if he’s never heard the word before.
“Yep.” Ben feels his chest swell with pride, as another drops from the ceiling and tangles in his hair. “They like Granny and Grandad though. They like their room the best.”
Ben can hear Mr Parker shouting something in the background. When he comes back, he sounds strange.
“Just … uh. Hang on, Ben.” He says breathlessly. “I’m sending someone over.”
Ben starts to ask what he means, but Mr Parker is gone. But he can hear something else. Sirens, like he hears on the TV sometimes after his bedtime. The house gets cold then. He worries about Granny and Grandad in the winter. But they’re warm now. In their blanket.
The police don’t let him look in their room, when they take him away.