The egg sac seemed to explode.
One moment the egg sac was mostly intact, quiet and still in front of her, and the next moment spiders banged against the glass walls of the insectarium, scuttled across its floor and the underside of the lid, legs tapping against the glass and plastic, the sound like grains of rice spilling on the floor. Patrick shrieked, high-pitched, like a child. Julie scrambled backward. Even Bark jumped.
But Melanie found herself drawn forward. She didn’t know how many of them there were, but they were frantic. Dozens of them at least. They’d been packed in the egg sac, and they came out in a swarm, their bodies unfolding, alien and beautiful. Big and fast, black apricots thundering against the glass. Skittering. She put her palm against the glass of the insectarium, and the spiders flew to it. It was like the plasma ball she’d had as a kid, one of those globes with an electrical charge in the middle. She remembered the way she’d put her hand on the glass and the filaments of plasma would be drawn to her flesh. She could never feel the current, but she knew it was there. In the same way, the spiders flocked to where her hand pressed against the insectarium. Even though she couldn’t possibly be feeling them through the glass, the vibrations went through her flesh anyway.
She pulled her hand back.
“Holy shit.” Bark leaned forward and pointed to the corner. “They’re eating that one.”
Julie trained the lens toward the small group of spiders—three or four, though it was hard to tell given the way they crawled over one another—that were tearing into one of their brethren.
“Whoa! Do you see this?” Patrick pointed to the other side of the insectarium. A large group of the spiders—maybe half the number in the container—had gone to the other side. Some of them just seemed to be pushing against the glass, but several were actively throwing their exoskeletons against the glass. They wanted out.
“What the fuck?” Melanie stood straight up. “Are they trying … ?”
All four of them looked at the cage on that side of the insectarium. Inside, Humpy, Patrick’s favorite lab rat, was oblivious to the arachnid swarm banging against the glass of the insectarium, desperately trying to get at his small body.
Excerpted from The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone. Copyright © 2016 by Ezekiel Boone. Excerpted by permission of Random House Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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