Жанр: Ужасы и Мистика » Darren Shan » Cirque Du Freak [A Living Nightmare] (страница 22)


"You can control her?" he gasped.

"I can make her do everything Mr. Crepsley did," I said, trying not to sound boastful. "It's really easy. She's perfectly safe as long as you concentrate. But if you let your thoughts wander for even a second…" I drew a finger across my throat and made a choking noise.

"Have you let her make a web over your lips?" Steve asked. His eyes were shining brightly.

"Not yet," I said. "I'm worried about letting her in my mouth: the thought of her slipping down my throat terrifies me. Besides, I'd need a partner to control her while she spun the web, and so far I've been alone."

"So far." Steve grinned. "But not anymore." He got up and clapped his hands. "Let's do it. Teach me how to use that fancy tin whistle and let me at her. I'm not afraid to let her in my mouth. C'mon, let's go, let's go, let's go go go go GO!"

I couldn't ignore excitement like that. I knew it was unwise to involve Steve with the spider on such short notice I should have made sure he got to know her better but I ignored common sense and gave in to his wishes.

I told him he couldn't play the flute, not until he'd practiced, but he could play with Madam Octa while I was controlling her. I ran him through the tricks we were going to do and made sure he understood everything.

"Being quiet is vital," I said. "Don't say anything.

Don't even whistle loudly. Because if you disturb my attention and I lose control of her…"

"Yeah, yeah," Steve sighed. "I know. Don't worry. I can be quiet as a mouse when I want."

When he was ready, I unlocked Madam Octa's cage and began playing. She moved forward at my order. I could hear Steve drawing in his breath, a little scared now that she was out in the open, but he gave no sign that he wanted to stop, so I went on blowing and started her off on her routine.

I let her do a lot of stuff by herself before allowing her near Steve. We'd developed a great understanding over the last week or so. The spider had grown used to my mind and the way it thought, and had learned to obey my commands almost before I finished sending them. I'd learned that she could work from the shortest of instructions: I only had to use a few words to prompt her into action.

Steve watched the show in total silence. He almost clapped a few times but caught himself before his hands could meet and produce a noise. Instead of clapping, he gave me the thumbs-up sign and mouthed the words "great." "super." "awesome," and so

on.

When the time came for Steve to take part in the act, I gave him the nod that we had agreed upon. He gulped, took a deep breath, then nodded back. He rose to his feet and stepped forward, keeping to the side so I wouldn't lose sight of Madam Octa. Then he sank to his knees and waited.

I played a new tune and sent a new set of orders. Madam Octa sat still, listening. When she knew what I wanted, she started creeping toward Steve. I saw him shivering and licking his lips. I was going to cancel the act and send the spider back to her cage, but then he stopped shaking and became calmer, so I continued.

He gave a small shudder when she started crawling up the leg of his pants, but that was a natural response. I still got the shakes sometimes when I felt her hairy legs brushing against my skin.

I made Madam Octa crawl up the back of his neck and tickle his ears with her legs. He giggled softly and the last traces of his fear vanished. I felt more confident now that he was calmer, so I moved the spider around to the front of his face, where she built small cobwebs over his eyes and slid down his nose and bounced off his lips.

Steve was enjoying it and so was I. There were lots of new things I was able to do now that I had a partner.

She was on his right shoulder, preparing to slide down his arm, when the door opened and Annie walked in.

Normally Annie never enters my room before knocking. She's a great kid, not like other brats her age, and almost always knocks politely and waits for a reply. But that evening, by sheer bad luck, she happened to barge in.

"Hey, Darren, where's my…" she started to say, then stopped. She saw Steve and the monstrous spider on his shoulder, its fangs glinting as though getting ready to bite, and she did the natural thing.

She screamed.

The sound alarmed me. My head turned, the flute slid from my lips, and my concentration snapped. My link to Madam Octa disintegrated. She shook her head, took a couple of quick steps closer to Steve's throat, then bared her fangs and appeared to grin.

Steve roared with fear and surged to his feet. He swiped at the spider, but she ducked and his hand missed. Before he could try again, Madam Octa lowered her head, quick as a snake, and sank her poison-tipped fangs deep into his neck!



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