The sounds of heavy breathing, the smell of sweat and the sight of people working themselves to their limits was a nostalgic experience. After being injured while practicing for a weightlifting tournament Darren was itching to get back into the swing of things. Being back on the floor with his weight belt, straps and chalk on his hands helped put his mind back into the proper mindset.
After a solid workout, Darren headed to the pier to meet up with his friends to enjoy the last days of summer before university started up again. His friends were gathered on the boardwalk already chatting. It wasn’t hard to find them considering they’re an obnoxiously loud bunch of people, but Darren was used to this and he loved that they were 'his' obnoxious friends.
“Yo! Darren you finished your workout already? You even trying?” Kayden exclaimed mockingly.
“No, I cut it short because I didn’t’ want to lower your self-esteem any further K.” Grinning wildly. Darren having known Kayden since high school was used to his constant jabs so it didn’t bother him. The rest of the group slowly got reacquainted before making their way onto the beach.
Kayden spoke up again, “I know you just got here but you have to check out what we found in the coral the other day.” Intrigued Darren let his friends bring him to a secluded area by an outcropping of rocks near the far end of the beach.
Sitting slightly submerged by the water a rather innocuous looking piece of coral had been brought out from the larger reef. Puzzled, Darren couldn’t help but question what their intentions were for bringing him so far out to see a rather dull looking piece of coral.
“So… Uhh, what am I looking at here?” Darren asks confused.
“Right!” Kayden hurries over to the coral excitedly as he brings out a long piece of wood and jabs at it. “Just give it a second and you’ll see why we’re here.” Almost immediately, there’s movement. In between prodding from his piece of driftwood the coral vibrates into life almost tipping over. What happened next nearly sent Darren toppling over into the soft sand beneath him.
A rather large creature came out from within the coral. The closest thing it could be described as was a tarantula. However, that wouldn’t exactly be true because tarantulas weren’t the size of a small dog. As the spider slowly began to emerge even more alien features began to appear, such as the chitinous exoskeleton, the sharp pointed legs it possessed, radial maw and the way it scurried around quickly from side to side like a crab but clearly keeping the characteristics of a spider. If it weren’t for the fact that it seemed kept at bay by the driftwood bearing Kayden, Darren would have already began heading back to the boardwalk.
“Alright I know you hate bugs but look at this thing! I’ve never seen anything like it! We might have just discovered an entirely new species!” Kayden’s voice brimming with excitement. “Ya but you still know that I hate those things! They creep me out and now it looks like it got an armor upgrade.” Darren was hysterical. “Let’s just leave it alone, if you keep antagonizing It, it might get sick of you and just take a chunk out of your leg. I mean look how sharp its teeth are!”
Almost as if on cue the spider lunged forward clasping onto Kayden’s offhand sinking it’s fangs into his arm. He lets out a shriek as he flailed his arm trying to whip the creature off to no avail. Realizing a second later he’s still wielding a handy piece of driftwood, he begins to pummel the spider over and over. Disregarding the statements he made about an undiscovered species, he was quick to change his tune when he lost control of the situation. In a matter of seconds the creature had leapt off from its perch and began scurrying back to the coral. Kayden was left sweating clutching his arm in pain as he kept pressure on the place the spider bit him.
There was a mixture of laughter and concern as the situation played out. Laughter because the situation devolved so quickly it was comical. Concern because there is no telling whether or not this ‘thing,’ was poisonous til Kayden started showing symptoms. The whole experience taught Darren that if he’s going to hang out with his friends again, he’s going to need a bit more clarification on what they’re going to be doing, because getting eaten by an alien was one of the last things he wanted to be doing right before school starts up again. Unfortunately, that’s not how his summer was going to end. Not for him. Not for his friends. Not for anyone. A storm was brewing and they weren’t aware that they were in the heart of it.
Word Association – Weightlift / Coral / Spider