They’re clinging to the walls, hanging from the ceiling. Silken threads thick with dust, with age. Some of them are so fragile they seem to disintegrate when I touch them.
The rest cling to my hands. I feel them brushing against my shoulders, my neck, and I have to close my eyes and remind myself that this tomb has been sealed for centuries. There are no spiders left, none that are alive, anyway. Only webs.
Adam pushes them aside, grinning at me, as if he can see my fear. “Scared?” he asks me.
I laugh at him. Of course I am. I hate spiders, so badly that they make me retch. But this, this is worth a few spiderwebs.
The tomb is small, smaller than I thought it would be. Dust litters the floor, cakes the coffin, the ancient chairs, the tables. The coins. Idols stand against the walls, bowls of food so old that they’re unrecognizable placed in front of them.
And everywhere, on every surface, are spiders. Carvings, engraved into the wood and stone, chiseled into the gold. They’re beautifully done, but I don’t touch them anyway. Whoever is buried here had an unhealthy fascination with the disgusting creatures.
But for the moment, spiders are the last thing on my mind. The wealth that is buried here isn’t sought after for its size, but for its age. Its rarity. Archaeologists have found three tombs like this. Three, in ten thousand years. He and I discovered this one, and our fortunes are set for the rest of our lives. We could retire right now, die the richest men in the known world.
As if in answer to that thought, the torches go out, snuffed by a breath of wind in a windowless tomb.
Then the spiders come.