The Anthropods

"I keep them in water as a safeguard," Adam whispered.

He squatted slowly. He nodded at the aquarium glass significantly. Adam pointed, tapping the tank with a studied fingernail.

"They can't get to you from under water," Adam assured. "They can't jump from there. That's how they get into you. Jumping."

Adam delivered this grave intelligence with expert conviction.

Reginald gulped.

"In your bedroom even!" Reginald whispered. "This is so illegal. They really don't have these in zoos anymore?"

This was the first time Reginald had seen a live anthropod. He gulped again. "There they are," Reginald whispered. "Look at 'em. Three of 'em. They don't look that dangerous."

Then he bent down.

Reginald brought his head so close to the aquarium that the touch of its glass cooled his nose. Into the tank he gazed, bewitched, all amazement. The three fist-sized, spider-like creatures glared back at him. The anthropods pressed their oily members against the tank glass. They smudged its surface, it seemed, with malignity. But it was the eyes, their nine opalescent eyes that troubled Reginald most. The judgment in them, and eerie calculation--They drew his attention irresistibly.

Then one moved.

First, blinking hypnotically, the anthropod climbed from the aquarium's floor to the aquarium's water line. Next, blinking again hypnotically, it eased over that water line and gripped at the aquarium's exterior edge. Then, hypnosis now induced, the anthropod sprang from the aquarium's edge to Reginald's shoulder, scaled Reginald's arm, sank its knobby head into the flesh of his bicep, and, an instant later, buried the whole of its gangling body into Reginald's body.

"Oh, my God!" Adam shrieked, freed suddenly from his trance.

"What the..." Reginald cried. "I thought you said..."

The two boys hopped around the bedroom in a useless panic.

"What do I do now," Reginald cried.

The lump traveled up Reginald's arm, topped his shoulder, rippled over his rib cage and disappeared into his chest cavity.

"Nothing," Adam shouted. "You can't do anything." Then, more expertly: "But it only lasts a day. Inside a day it'll lay its eggs and die and then the eggs pass out your ass. It'll be a long day. But after just a day you'll be okay."

Reginald gulped. Reginald felt dizzy. A crowding sensation in his chest became then a gripping sensation. Then the gripping sensation turned to a strangle. Reginald coughed. He stooped.

"How do you know all that?" he asked hopefully.

"I'm pretty sure about it," Adam answered. "Just stay calm."

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John Dishwasher

The Anthropods