There is a place where dreams and reality blur into a single, pleasure-filled haze. Where the air is thicker than the water, and the water runs with honey. Where there are no rules or limitations, and all pain, pleasure, and paradise bows down in the name of the queen. They call it Silk.
Silk was the kind of joint that leant its name to its clientele, or the other way around. Never in the same place twice, it was the elite of the elite. If you could afford to know where Silk was going to be, you could afford whatever they were selling inside. Butterfly dust, bee venom. Heck, even aphids’ honey was on the menu there. Or so the rumours went.
See, my partner and I had been on Silk’s trail for months. Following one dry lead after another. Like leaves in the fall, our clues on the elusive club were dead and cold, slowly being plucked away by the wind and the night. And the body count had continued to grow. Never mind the unlicenced honey, or the black market powder, those were enough to shut Silk down for good, but the thing that had the force in a bloody hive, was the seemingly endless trail of bodies that Silk left in its wake. Whatever the bastards were doing in there, Funnelweb and I were going to find them.
That was until Funnelweb went missing. The last message I had from him was a web note to say he’d found a new lead on Silk.Some old scarab across town who carted deliveries to the club’s newly chosen locations. It hadn’t taken much to get him to talk. He was a tough old bastard, for sure, but I could hold all six of his legs down, and still have two free to make my point. There’s a reason they like arachnids for the force.
And so, after months of searching, I finally found Silk. The webbed dome was silver in the moonlight. Dew beaded on its threaded sides like sweat on the pelt of some great beast. I could hear the cicada song from outside, and smell the sickly sweet perfume of the honey that dripped from the ceiling.
The rhinoceros beetle at the door lowered his horn, but I flashed the scarab’s invite, and he waved me through. The air inside was even heavier with smells, carrying the pounding of the music. Moisture clung to the bristles on my legs, making them stand up. Silk fibres threaded around my claws, pulling me deeper into the bowels. Bugs of all kinds filled the main floor, while moths with painted eyes and velvet wings served drinks and drugs in equal measure.
I flagged down one of the moths. She pranced over to me, batting her feathery antennae.
“What can I do you for?”
“I’m looking for a spider, name of Funnelweb. I heard he came in here.”
She gave a smile and a flick of her wings. “Not a lot of names in here. But I’m sure whatever your friend wanted, we can find one for you too.” She took a step closer, the butterfly dust on her chest sparkling in the light.
She was holding out on me. Stalling. I couldn’t tell you how I knew. Call it an eighth sense. “Someone here knows where I can find him.”
The moth pouted. “Maybe you should talk to the boss.” She nodded to the bar at the back.
I followed her direction and came face to face with a dame the likes of which I’ve never seen before. Her skin was glossy black and shone like lacquer in the dim lights of the club. She sauntered over to the bar on legs as long as they were thin, and looked up at me with eight of the most luminous eyes I’ve encountered.
“What can I help you with, Huntsman?”
I shook my head clear of the sudden stupor. “How’d you know my name?”
She gave a slight narrowing of her eyes. The barest touch of a smile. “Oh, it’s my business to know. I’ve been hoping you would come, detective.”
I almost smiled back. “You have?”
“Oh, yes. Ever since your partner was here. He told me so much about you, detective. I’ve been just dying to meet you.”
I tried to reply, to ask about Funnelweb, but the words didn’t quite make it out. The dizzying fugue state had returned. The pulse of the music seemed to swim in her eyes, and the lights danced across her skin. She placed two glasses on the benchtop between us, and as she turned to reach for a bottle of aphids’ honey, I saw a striking swath of red down her back.
“Have a drink, detective. Let’s talk about your investigation.”
“Who are you?” I managed.
She slid a glass of amber liquid across the bench with one delicate claw. “You can call me Widow. And I’m going to take good care of you.”
FFM Day 16
Prompt: Write a crime noir styled piece where the character cannot be human.