Some time in the future, far enough that you won’t live to see it, but near enough to be plausible, there lived a spider.
Like most spiders, he wasn’t very pretty. But he was happy being a spider, because he got to hang out in quiet corners, and munch on the unfortunate bugs that wandered into his web, and bask in the sunshine when there weren’t any of the two-legged monsters around.
The spider’s favorite corner was a dark, dusty one along the floorboards of an old wooden cabin that smelled faintly of rot. But he didn’t know — couldn’t have known — that this cabin belonged to a little old lady who had a penchant for making potions.
It was a warm summer evening when the wizened old woman’s cauldron was bubbling merrily over the fire, and she bent over a dusty tome, muttering to herself as she added pinches of this and handfuls of that to the mixture. Suddenly, she swore loudly, “Blast! I’m out of spider legs!”
With an elasticity that one wouldn’t think possible, the woman got down on her hands and knees and crawled from corner to corner of the one-room cabin, searching for a spider.
Our eight-legged protagonist, upon overhearing the crone’s lament, curled himself as tightly as he could in his corner. He had just lunched on a juicy fly, and was rather looking forward to a nap, and keeping all of his legs.
But alas! The milky blue eyes found the spider, and the gnarled fingers snatched him from his web before he had a moment to protest!
The spider found himself eyes to eye with the old woman, one leg pinched between two of her dry fingers. He squirmed and wriggled but the witch’s grip held fast.
The milky eyes softened as the woman looked at the helpless arachnid. “Poor thing,” she tutted. “All you want to do is keep your legs, and all I want to do is make myself young again.”
“I’ll tell you what,” the crone continued. “I still need your legs while you’re a spider. But I can make it so you don’t need all eight legs, so the ones I take won’t be missed.”
Before the spider could grasp what the witch had said, two of his legs were plucked off and dropped into the potion. With a snap of the bony fingers, the spider felt warm and tingly, and pain became a distant memory. His back itched as wings sprouted from it, and his belly ached as a thorax grew.
Within moments, our ugly little spider had been transformed into an ugly little gnat.
“Be free, friend!” cried the witch as she released the former spider.
Bewildered, the gnat buzzed around the room, trying very hard to make sense of what had just happened. Unwittingly, he buzzed too close to a dusty corner, and before he knew it, found himself immobilized by a spider’s web.
What happens when I’m terribly bored and my mother asks me to tell her a story? This happens.