Another picture from my steampunk Madam Mesmerelda series. read more ...
“They let the women work with those…things?” Captain Sommers asked, dabbing his forehead with a handkerchief. The Lyrtanian heat was not unexpected, but the humidity of the jungle seemed to magnify it an hundred fold, and it left the merchant-man sweating uncomfortably in his shirt-sleeves.
“Oh, it’s the spiders that specify that bit of the arrangement, my good man,” Doctor Herschel said with a smile. “They’ve some peculiarity where they’ll only bond with females, and once they do, the women are accepted into the hive as if they are spiders themselves.”
“Pardon me, doctor, did you say ‘hive’?”
“Quite so, my good man. The beasts are rather peculiar in that respect as well. Though I’ve noted no physiological differences in the dead specimens I’ve been allowed to examine that might suggest a sort of caste system like, say, a honey bee or ant, they most certainly cooperate the way a hive insect might, and have a definite social order to their activities.”
“Are all of them so large?”
“No. Most of the spiders get perhaps as large as a tea-saucer, when measured across the width of their abdomen. Only one in a thousand will form the bond, but those that do reach some thirty two hands, from leg-tip to leg-tip.”
Captain Sommers had to swallow against a sudden dryness in his throat as one of the massive things emerged from the cave, some twenty feet away. The woman tending it followed shortly after, talking to it in the strange, sing-song of the Lyrtanian tongue. She laughed as if the spider had responded, and stroked the creature like one might a family hound as it skittered up one side of the cliff-face.
“Thirty two hands?”
“Supposedly the Matron’s creature is bigger still, but I’ve never been granted the privilege of meeting it.”
~~---Story by Bobbie & Steve Wilcox, Written by Steve Wilcox From the coloring book, "Madam Mezmerelda's Digest of the Mystic, the Mad, & the Macabre"
Medium: Copic Ink & Copic Markers
Madam Mezmerelda coloring books available: www.etsy.com/listing/463630217…