The author remained perfectly still as the tarantula wandered across his typewriter’s keys. With eight grotesque legs, it spelled out the secret name of death, and he recognized it as soon as it appeared. It was the sort of name that could only be pronounced with one’s final gasp; as such, he didn’t dare utter it, for fear that it’s owner might come forth upon hearing his voice.
He wasn’t certain when exactly this event had happened; it may have only been days prior, though it may have been months as well. Though his memories were extraordinarily vivid, he couldn’t find the document onto which the name had been printed, nor could he recall what had become of the arachnid in question. He’d searched his house for both multiple times. He wasn’t even certain that it had been a tarantula; he felt that it had been, though he’d never seen one before in his life.
Despite this mnemonic blur, he could still remember the secret name of death. Its syllables were echoing against the inner surface of his skull, as though there were no brain within to dampen their reverberation. He felt as though, at any moment, it might slip from his tongue, for it was distracting and ever-present. In crowds of people, he swore that he could hear it erupting from the noise, as sharply as if someone had spoken his own name instead. The sound of it followed him everywhere, even into his dreams.
On the weekends, he began spending entire days at the library, digging through encyclopedias, zoology textbooks, arachnology journals, even medieval bestiaries, searching for any information he could find about the elusive spider. As his search grew more desperate, he stopped sleeping, stopped speaking, and even stopped working; the voice in his mind had grown louder than anything outside of it, and all else would have to wait.
He wasn’t certain when it was that he’d spent all that time at the library; it may have only been days prior, though it may have been months as well. All he was certain of was that he had learned of a spider which could crawl between pasts, whose venom was not a fluid, but rather, a memory. As soon as he saw the name of its species, he shut the book with sudden violence, and never opened another again.