Napoleon was laying in their Alabama hotel after the completion of the last affair. Illya and he both tired and crabby had gotten into a heated discussion about his desire to bed every women they met whether an innocent or enemy. This led to another lecture about his involvement with Angelique and Napoleon had left the restaurant angry returning to his room.
He laid in bed paying little attention to the television movie Camel Spiders in the background thinking about the last time he had been with the Thrush temptress and the spider Illya had brushed off his shoulder before stomping on it. Angelique had given him a flower where the spider had hid.
He couldn’t explain what his attraction for her to someone else especially his partner. She was an enemy yet a lover. Even he didn’t truly understand why he took the chances he did with her. Turning off the horror movie, he fell asleep smiling and thinking of how he enjoyed the challenge of being with her.
Suddenly he woke to something crawling over his body. Keeping his eyes close he could feel cool moistness under his back. He tried to figure out where he was and how he had gotten here as this wasn’t the bedroom where he had laid down to sleep.
Hearing no sound but feeling the cold and dampness seeping into his body he tried to brush off whatever was on him but found his hands bound to the wall above him and his feet to manacles in the floor.
He was able to lift his head only slightly but wished he hadn’t. The mold in the cave created by glow worms somehow produced a dim light on the walls of the cave, and he was able to see tiny spiders scrambling across him. Small webs could be seen from one of his pajama buttons to another.
He yanked at the chain holding his wrist in place and was surprised when they actually came out of the wall. Immediately he unshackled his feet and stood brushing off the crawling creatures.
In the faint light, the floor was alive with movement. Spiders of all size were moving as one all heading toward him.
He began to run further into the cave, a mass of movement not far behind him. The uneven stones caused him to fall frequently only to have the closest arachnids begin to climb on his back. Forcing himself up again, he quickly brushed them off and ran deeper into the pale light.
Finally having a moment to glance back, he stopped not believing his eyes. The little spiders seemed to being eaten by larger ones. He blinked his eyes to make sure he wasn’t imaging it but after rechecking he saw some that were nearly a foot long.
Not turning around to see where he was going he missed his footing and fell into a driphole. He could hear the water below him and feel the rain water that formed it falling down on him as suddenly stopped falling about ten feet from the top. Trying to discover what halted his fall he could see what looked like strings of rope crisscrossing under him.
Trying to move to see exactly how far it was to the bottom of the cave, he found himself struck to the ropes—no wait not ropes but webbing. He couldn’t believe the spiders he had seen could have created this large of webbing covering the twelve foot round hole where he was now struck.
The more he moved the more he became trapped. He knew little about spiders but was aware that they spun webs to serve as nests and traps for prey which he now was.
“Oh Napoleon darling, you look so delicious almost good enough to eat.”
He heard Angelique voice but wasn’t surprised. Just another one of her plans to make him talk. Although unable to see her he smiled and called up to her,
“My dear, you didn’t have to go through all this trouble. A simple invitation to your hotel room would have been sufficient.”
An unidentifiable shadow slowly covered him before he could see what was making it. When the owner came into view, it was all Napoleon could do not to yell out in fear. In front of him on the web was an eight foot high black widow spider. Down her legs ran smaller spider of all sizes heading toward the trapped UNCLE agent.
“Do you like our children?” Her familiar voiced asked echoing cave.
“Our children but their spiders?” He questioned trying to hold the panic in check. The spiders were almost to him.
A loud shriek from Angelique stopped all her children right before they started to scramble up on him. “Of course their spiders. As that dour little partner of your calls me, I am the spider-lady. Don’t you want to meet your off-spring?”
“Thank you but no. I’d rather just get released from this sticky stuff and go away.”
“All you have to do to be released is answer my questions about UNCLE. I’m sorry we can’t play our games anymore. Thrush has given me ultimatum either you talk or I kill you. If I don’t then I’ll be their next target and I enjoy living too much I’m afraid to give up my life even for you my darling.”
“Then this is the end. I won’t sell out UNCLE.” He said his voice becoming difficult to hear as his throat became dry. Trying once more to get loose, the stickiness of the web only held him tighter.
“You know what that means, don’t you? We have had our courtship and mating. It is natural in my species to kill its mate.”
Napoleon shook his head, this couldn’t be real. His throat was so dry that he couldn’t answer her.
“I could just kill you, but my sense of sportsmanship prevents me from doing it outright. So I’ll just give you a little bite and if you survive I may let you go.”
“Why not just release me?” He asked his voice only a whisper.
“Darling, what fun would that be?” Angelique touched him with one of her long with outstretched legs then with another loud shriek she crawled away the children following her. “We’ll be back in a while to see if you survived the bite.”
When her leg touched him, it felt like a pin prick. As the spiders left he began to feel the pain that rapidly spread to his arms, legs, chest, back, and abdomen. He continued to struggle against the sticky webbing but soon chills, vomiting and profuse perspiration had him moaning. He bucked in pain causing the webbing to begin to break away from the walls.
Suddenly the webbing broke loose and he fell into the pool beneath him. The water helped dissolve some of the webbing allowing him to pull himself out of the water. Lying on the wet ground he began having difficult breathing, violent abdominal cramps and spasms.
“You survived,” Angelique’s voice echoed in the shaft as she came down on a silken string she was weaving on her decline.
Napoleon tried to answer her, but his worsening breathing prevented it.
“I’m sorry my love, but Central wants you dead. A few quick bites and it will be over. Your children will get to know their father well.”
As she lowered her head and the smaller spiders began to swarm over him, Napoleon screamed her name with all the force he could manage.
“Napoleon wake up,” Illya called not touching the agent. “You will arouse the whole floor with your shouts.”
The American sat up with a start and began brushing the webs and spiders off himself before he realized there was nothing on his body. Sheepishly he smiled at Illya.
“A bad dream?”
“I suppose you could say that. What was I shouting?”
“I could not make out most of it but something about a spider and the name Angelique,” the Russian said.
Napoleon knew what his partner was hinting at. “I’m sorry I yelled at you before. I know you get worried when Angelique’s around. I do appreciate you keeping me safe.”
“And I am sorry for starting the argument. I just become concerned that one day she may decide to end the games you two play.”
The two sat silently for a while. Illya yawned as he asked, “Are you ready to go to back to sleep?”
“I guess I will just watch some television.”
Napoleon turned on the TV to see Camel Spider showing again, and quickly turned it off. “I think I’ll just read. Go back to bed, I’m fine,” Napoleon said picking up the newspaper with shaking hands.