Another weekly flash fiction prompt exercise; this time from http://quillshiv.wordpress.com/author/quillshiv/.
“The dream-weavers have been here again,” said Fehmida, gazing at the silver cocoons enveloping the trees along the water’s edge. “They came in the night.”
“Procesionarios,” scoffed Manuel, digging for worms in the sand, “or caterpillar moths to you, dumbo.”
“More like spiders,” said Pete, “trying to escape the water.”
The boys grinned at each other, rolling their eyes behind her back.
Fehmida went to stand at the base of the tree, examining the silver trails which threaded amongst the bark ridges, ascending higher and higher into the grey shroud blanketing the branches.
“That’s the trail from the legs of the caterpillars,” said Manuel, “Procesionarios are blind, that’s why they trundle along in columns, each one is following the trail left by the one in front.”
He was standing close to her shoulder, so near she could feel the skin of her neck stir beneath his hot breath. She shivered with anticipation.
“Nah,” said Pete, coming to stand on her other side, “that’s spider’s silk. It’s impregnated with pheromones, so that they can attract mates.”
Fehmida saw his strong brown fingers picking at the trails, and imagined them being wound up in her own long brown curls, tugging her face towards his.
“The dream-weavers leave a trail behind them,” said Fehmida softly, “so that they can find their way back home again in the morning.”
Pete began to scratch at his fingers, which were becoming red and inflamed.
Manuel laughed. “Procesionarios leave fine hairs everywhere, coated with venom that can be dangerous to humans. See Pete, I was right.”
Pete dangled his fingers in the water to take the sting out of them.
“Probably spider bites,” he said, drying them on his trousers. And then, as Manuel looked as though he might be squaring up for a fight, he laughed off-handedly.
“Spiders, procesionarios … whatever … pests the lot of ‘em. Nothing a good dose of pesticide won’t put right.”
“You’re right,” said Manuel, relaxing. He threw an arm round Pete’s shoulders, “come on amigo, let’s go and see what we can rustle up for them.”
The boys walked off without a backward glance at Fehmida. She looked up into the silken cocoon glistening in the morning sunlight. The silver threads shifted slightly as a cool breeze stirred the branches, the weaker skeins becoming detached.
“Dreams,” she whispered softly, “are almost always cast adrift by those who should know better.”