The farthest corner of the bus was dark and quiet. Nobody ever went back there. The seat was so delapidated it resembled just a large, ripped cushion, and the floor was layered in inches of sludge. Amist all the excitement of the battle nobody noticed the tiny black bundle that suddenly appeared, out of nowhere, on the edge of the seat.
Except Anele. The spider had built her web in the space between the back of the old seat and the wall behind it, and had been watching all the action safely from her post. She was on this bus because it was taking her where she needed to go, and she had wanted no part in the drama of it. She was an old spider. She needed her rest.
But now she carefully left her web and crawled down the front of the seat and onto the bundle. It felt soft under her hairy legs, like silk. Except that there was something hard underneath it all, wrapped in the folds of cloth. Bracing herself, Anele left the light behind and plunged down into the blackness until her legs hit something small and round, and "Hard as the Devil," she thought to herself as she wrapped her legs around it and pulled the object back into the light. She placed it gently on the seat beside her and shook her head in disbelief when she saw what it was.
"Well, in all my days," the old spider mused, "I never expected one of these would fall my way." It was a tiny ball of glass about the size of her head, and it sparkled as if made of diamonds. A silver latch no larger than a pinprick kept the sides locked together; a latch that would have been much to small for any human, but was the perfect size for a spider. Anele gently pushed the latch with her foreleg and the ball flew open to reveal a slip of paper the size of a pinhead, with microscopic writing on it.
Anele, nearsighted as she was, struggled to read the note on the paper. At last she made out:
My beloved friend and companion, do not dispair in your loneliness. I come by wing to join you in your travels in a few days time. I shall board your bus just after the sun falls, so keep one eye open for me. I do hope to recognize you after these many years that have gone by.
Your old friend,
Ghianan! It had been a long time. "Well, I never," Anele mused. "This is getting to be quite a journey." Yawning, the old spider crawled back up to her nest. Her last thought before sleep was, "I wonder what Ghia will think when he realizes that none of this is what he had expected."