Alex stared at the ceiling, trying to figure out where the spiders would drop from.  They spun their webs up there, in the little cracks in the tiles.  The webs were black though, and so were the spiders, it made them almost perfectly camouflaged.  She moved her head back and forth, trying to get them to catch them at the right angle so she could see the gleam from their carapace when it caught the light just right.  There was too much light in the hallway, though, it washed everything out.  Alex moved to turn them off, but no, they wouldn’t like it, they would lock her in her room again.  She could almost feel the spiders swarming her, taking little bites out of her and her with no way to fight them and nowhere to run.

“Are there beetles on the ceiling?”

“Beetles?  What?  No.  Don’t be stupid, why would there be beetles on the ceiling?”  Alex kept looking, she’d heard them scuttling.  They’d tried to be sneaky, but she knew they were up there.

“Well before you said that they could be anywhere, why not on the ceiling?”

“Yes, they could have been everywhere, but I killed them all.  You should know that Jesse, you were there when I did it.”

Alex froze.  Right there, that was the gleam.  From her left came the swishing sounds of broom on tile.  Just in time, Bruce was sweeping the floors.  Without taking her eyes off the spot, Alex called out, “Give me the broom, Bruce, I need it.”

“No.  It’s my turn to sweep the floor.”  It was always Bruce’s turn to sweep the floor.  Good thing too, what kind of nutcase actually likes sweeping?

“This is important Bruce, I’ll give it back, but they could be dropping at any moment.”

She could hear Bruce still sweeping, getting closer.  “Please, I’m not doing this just for me, you know.  I’m protecting everyone.  That includes you, not sure if you’re aware.”

When Alex heard him right next to her, she turned and in one quick motion tried to grab the broom and rip it away from him, but he just managed to hang on.  “Hey!”

Alex wrestled Bruce for the broom, fear lending her strength, but she couldn’t get it away from him.  They rolled around on the floor, the tile cold and hard beneath them.  Then they were up again, pulling against each other, neither one with an advantage.  Suddenly the broom came free.

Bruce was muttering as he left.  “I’m going to complain, it’s my turn to sweep the floor, it’s not fair.”

Behind Alex, Jesse was hanging onto the very end of the broom.  Alex nodded to her.  Maybe she wasn’t useless after all.

She brought the broom up into a defensive position, and not a moment too soon, either, as the first spider descended on a black thread.  Alex crushed it against the wall, where it was crushed in a puff of dust.  They came down slowly at first, then faster and faster.  Alex swung her broom as quickly as she could sending up little puffs of dust with every kill.  She laughed as they died all around her.

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