Posts Tagged ‘spider’

Be Nice to Spiders

Posted: April 15, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
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Velvet ElvisI’m going to back up here from yesterday’s post. I had the webs disappearing because I thought I’d tortured Carl enough. It’s a serious cop-out for a writer to take things easy on a character without justifying it in the story. Sorry, Carl.

By the way, this entire story was inspired by the title of the children’s book Be Nice to Spiders by Margaret Bloy Graham, which my mom would read to me when I was growing up. It didn’t keep me from being afraid of spiders but it did give me a healthy respect for how they eat the bad bugs, even if they do look really creepy.

He stopped seeing fireflies. Carl looked around. He didn’t see any more little yellow lights. The spiders were that weren’t still crawling all over his body were scuttling away from him into the shadows like regular spiders would.

Carl gingerly pulled aside walls of webs to get out of the attic. They strands were so thick they made sounds like crinkling cellophane. They broke away from the wall, dead skin falling into sticky clumps.

A spider ran across his netted face. Reflexively Carl went to swat it. He changed direction at the last second and hit himself in the face instead.

The spider ran onto his hand. Carl put it into a nearby web.

“I hate to seem ungrateful, guys, but all these webs will have to go. You know that, right?” he said aloud.

The spiders didn’t react. They sat in their webs, waiting, like the eternally patient hunters he was used to seeing.

He reached the ladder out of the attic. Carl swept the last of the spiders off his body, careful not to kill any of them, and got as much webbing off him as he could, too. He started downstairs. He had to let Jen know he was all right. Mr. Traumer would be glad to hear it, too. And he had to call a shaman about getting some dreamcatchers painted in the house.


Carl pleaded ignorance to the evening news team that showed up at the house. They filmed the webs from dozens of different angles. The neighbors’ kids came forward with about a dozen videos of what looked like fireflies attacking the house. Carl pleaded ignorance on that, too. There weren’t any fireflies in the spider webs, so where did they go?

There was one video, especially blurry, of Carl running around inside his house swatting at the air. “I was dancing,” Carl said. It was hard to see him through the mosquito netting, which was mostly covered by the curtains and the blinds, anyway.

Jessie stayed with her aunt while Carl and Jen worked with the health department to clean up the property. Carl and Jen insisted on a green solution, hiring a contractor to take down the webs, scoop up the spiders and dump them into the woods rather than use pesticides. One supportive neighbor showed up with a cake decorated with chocolate spiders. Another promised to watch Charlotte’s Web with them when it was all over.

Mr. Traumer talked with his friends in Ontario. Two days after the incident, he brought a Mr. David Bright Wind to the house. He winked at Carl and Jen as he introduced himself, saying, “I heard you have a genuine velvet Elvis that might be for sale.”

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Spider Suit

Posted: April 14, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
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Tawakoni spider web

Tawakoni spider web

Carl felt a nasty itch on his right shoulder. He saw a fairy trying to dig through his suit. Where the hell did it get in?! Carl slapped it hard. His hand was stained with glowing yellow fluid.

The chimney. He forgot the chimney, and the kitchen vent, and the central air conditioner… who knew what else.

He started to reach for the chimney flue but saw it blocked by a pair of spider webs. “Weave on, brothers!” Carl yelled. There were two blocking the kitchen hood, too. Drunkenly-flitting fairies flew straight into them and vanished into puffs of nothing. They looked gross and it freaked Carl out, but he’d deal with his squeamishness if he lived another day.

Two fairies came out of an air conditioning vent and landed on his arm. He could hear them yelling little battle cries as they scratched at the suit. Carl pounded his arm on the floor. The one on the bottom screamed and went splat. The one on top flew off before he could get to it, then it came at his face. He crushed one in his fist. More came at him. Carl swat his arms and legs. Where were they coming from? Carl turned the air conditioner on full and hoped that anything that went near it would get turned into fairy hamburger by the fan.

Fan.

The attic fan.

Carl looked toward the stairs. A handful of fairies came flying down. He didn’t have any mosquito netting left. Maybe he could turn the fan off and stuff it with insulation?

He slapped at a few more on his suit. He was covered in glowing splotches.

He saw spiders coming in through the chimney and the kitchen vent. Carl gulped. He moaned as he put his hand down in front of them and let them crawl onto him. “They’re outside the suit. They’re outside the suit. They’re not touching me.” They started spinning their magic webs on him. He pulled his arm away and a wing of silk pulled with it. “Oh, Godddd….”

Carl almost threw up inside the suit. He ran up to the attic.

The attic was a maelstrom of fairies fighting spiders. Spiders fell, bloodied. Fairies spun into the webs or flew crazily into the walls and the floor, twitched and didn’t move again. The fairies charged Carl when they saw him. He could hear them scream in horror as the webbing on his suit clutched at them.

“You bastard!” one clearly yelled. Then it gurgled and vanished in a cloud of glitter that faded away into nothing.

Carl walked from one end of the room to the other, covering himself in spiders and webs. He screamed as multiples of them walked across his face. Carl promised to send the man who invented mosquito netting a Christmas card.

He stopped seeing fireflies. Carl looked around. The spiders were running off him, taking their webs with them. It sounded like crinkling plastic wrap. The webs disappeared as they touched the ground. A trail of spiders… there must have been dozens of them… made their way out of the house by the attic vent. Carl watched them go, then watched them clear out of the yard as well. One by one, the webs dissolved, turning from silk into wisps, and from wisps into nothing.

The evening news team showed up. Carl went down to say hi. There wasn’t anything for them to film.

Man in a Bug Suit

Posted: April 6, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
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bug suitCarl went inside the house as the sun went down. He wanted to cry. Every surface on the outside of the house where you could string a web had the ephemeral silver strands laid between them. Their house was far enough back from the street and there was enough distance from other houses that the neighbors hadn’t come by to ask what the hell was going on. No one had called the evening news either, thank God, or the health department. Not yet.

He saw two spiders scuttling across the deck as he went inside. At first he didn’t want to leave the door open for them. That just felt like too much. They’d find their own way in if it came to that, like any bug got into any house. Then he thought of Jen, and Jessie, and imagined that his life might depend on it tonight. Carl swallowed down bile as he watched them run into the house ahead of him. He didn’t know where they went after that. He didn’t want to know.

The fairies didn’t wait until the wee dark hours this time. As soon as the sun went down, fireflies appeared like floating matches at the edge of the woods. A dozen. Two dozen. From every direction. More were coming behind them.

Carl put on the bug suit that he bought at a sporting goods store earlier in the day. He even bought the gloves. He didn’t think it would stop them, but it might slow them down. He picked up the butterfly net, which he’d bought there too. The chipper sixteen-year-old with braces at the register had told him, “Good luck with your collection!” Carl had nearly told him where he could stick his own butterfly net but he needed all the good karma he could get. A can of Raid wasp killer was stuffed in his pocket. No guarantee that would work, either, but a shot of mild nerve gas in the face couldn’t be healthy for them. Squishing them had certainly worked fine.

Carl ran from window to window, door to door. He’d nailed mosquito netting over every surface where they could come in. They all looked ready. He looked outside again.

There were swirls of fairies getting caught in the spider webs. They would get close, then it was like glowing whirlpools forming in his bushes and trees. They spiraled in, circling, then vanished in a boiling cloud at the center. Some of the fairies looked like they were trying to pull their comrades away. Carl would have laughed at the melodrama of it, but the phrase you’re next drifted through his head and his sense of humor died more quickly than the fairies were. They were still coming.

Decorating the Yard

Posted: April 1, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
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black and yellow argiope

Black and yellow argiope

As soon as the morning sun hit the fairy, it sizzled and curled into a pile of little ashes and bones. Carl could still see its spindly, bug-like wings. For some reason that creeped him out most of all. Mr. Traumer flushed the ashes down his toilet and gave the jar back to Carl.

Now the jar was filled with two dozen spiders, mostly garden orb weavers – the brown tiger guys – and black and yellow argos… argo-something. Carl twitched his shoulders as he put his hand on top of the lid. He hated spiders. One of them was one thing, but this? He felt like they were crawling on him already, little, tiny legs touching his flesh eight legs at a time. He stood near trees in his back yard. He wanted to start with the webs here.

The spiders crawled and slipped on the glass sides of the jar. They clambered over each other to get to the top. They seemed to know it was time to get out.

They were going to climb on him. He knew it.

“If they do, I’m dropping the jar and we’re selling the house. Forget it,” Carl said. He closed his eyes. “All right, man up and do this.”

Carl opened the jar. He held it pointed straight up, then tilted it over slowly. The spiders started making it up the side of the glass.

Two. A third. Two more. The spiders dropped on the ground and ran for the trees.

Carl closed the jar, careful not to crush any. He shuddered again. He checked his shoes for spiders. There weren’t any underfoot, so Carl walked around to the side of the house.

Carl repeated the ritual three more times. As he returned to the back of the house, he though he saw the beginnings of two webs on the dogwood in the back. Spiders didn’t work that fast, but then, there was no such thing as vampire fairies, either.

He called Jen as he watched. Yup. Definitely two webs.

“Baby! How did it go?” she asked.

“Weird. Mr. Traumer knew about the… whatever they are. He gave me some spiders and now I’m decorating the yard with them.”

Jen made a shivering squeak. “Tell me that you didn’t put any inside the house.”

One was already starting to work on back deck. “There are none inside the house.” Yet. “You and Jessie sit tight. Mr. Traumer says I need to stay here tonight and fight it out.”

“Why the hell do you need to do that? Isn’t that what the bugs are for?”

Carl held up the empty jar. He thought he saw a fragment of vampire fairy bone still stuck at the bottom. “Because I took one of them, and they’ll be coming for me tonight.”

“Whiskey, tango, foxtrot,” Jen said.

“Amen, love.”

Hope You Like Spiders

Posted: March 26, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
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funny spider web“What do I do in the meantime?”

Mr. Traumer tilted back his head, looking at Carl with one eye. It was a look Carl himself had given used car salesmen. “How well do you handle bugs?” he asked.

Carl didn’t like where this was going. “Why?”

“Follow me.” Mr. Traumer picked up the jar.

“Um… can you just tell me?”

“You’re right. The coffee’s ready anyway.” Mr. Traumer went to find a mug. “Spiders. You need to get spiders back in your house. You need some nice, big webs, at the four compass points at a minimum.”

“The exterminator gave me their best treatment. I doubt I’ll see another spider for a month.”

“That’s what I thought. I breed spiders in my basement for just such an emergency.”

Carl rubbed his arms. “Eww. Are you serious?”

Mr. Traumer gave him the look again. “And that’s why I asked how well you handle bugs. Yes. You try waking up tied in flystrips and tell me how well you do.”

“Do you date much?”

“I have a lady friend who’s an entomologist. She calls me a sex bomb.”

Carl was going to need brain bleach later. That was what he got for asking. “I’ll have to pick up the bug baits around the house. How bad will it get?”

“Really bad.”

“Like, haunted house bad?”

Mr. Traumer took a sip of his coffee. His mug was covered with butterflies. “Yeah.”

Carl hung his head on his hands. That left him looking right at the evil vampire firefly guy. Carl knew he didn’t have many options. “All right. Let’s get started.”

Crackling, Electric Touch

Posted: March 11, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
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porch-webPart three of “Don’t Mess with the Dreamcatchers”

The hair stood up on the back of Carl’s neck as they came up the driveway. There were two spiderwebs on the front porch. His gaze darted to the vibrating spiral of a third, in work, by the feverish, dancing dot of a little brown spider like the one that he shooed out of Jessie’s room the day before.

Jessie was asleep in the back seat. “All right. This is war,” Carl said.

He carried her into the house, careful to look out for more webs as he opened the door. There weren’t any, yet. He imagined the crackling, electric touch of spider silk on his neck. There were none in the foyer. In the living room, he spotted one in the rafters of the upper ceiling. It might have been there before, but he wasn’t counting on it. He would need to stand on a ladder to get to it.

None in the stairwell. One in the corner of the hall, near Jessie’s room—a small one, hidden behind a light fixture, that he could have mistaken for dust if he hadn’t been looking. Carl grit his teeth. He wanted to swat it away now, but he had Jessie in his arms, sleeping the first peaceful sleep that she had all day. Carl gave the web an ugly look. He would take care of that one first.

He lay Jessie on her bed and put her favorite stuffie—a fuzzy penguin doll—under her arm. Carl searched her room for half an hour and didn’t find any webs. He was about to walk out of the room and make the call to the exterminator when he finally spotted one. The spider strung the web between branches on the tree outside. Carl snorted. “Well played, spider. Stay out there,” he murmured.

Carl found three exterminators in the area, and one that promised 24-hour response time. Carl made an appointment. It would be better to take Jessie out of the house while he worked, just to make sure the fumes didn’t irritate her throat.

As he hung up the phone in the kitchen, Carl gave himself a head check. “All right, man. The doctor says it’s not spiders. Are you going too far here?” Maybe. He should give it a day and see if Jessie started to feel better. With the antibiotics and more rest, she should start to turn it around.

On the back porch, he saw another web strung between the barbecue and one of the deck chairs.

“The hell with this. Something’s up,” Carl said. He picked up a broom and got to work.

Don’t Mess with the Dreamcatchers

Posted: March 8, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
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spider web

Part one of “Don’t Mess with the Dreamcatchers”

The trouble started when Carl painted over the last dreamcatcher in the house. He didn’t know why the previous owners had loved them so much. They had smiled and said they’d always protected them. That was lovely, but he and Jen had other ideas for how they wanted to decorate the house.

As he was putting away the paint cans in the garage, he heard a shriek from upstairs. He ran back inside the house.

“Daaad! There’s a spider in my room!”

Carl found five-year-old Jessie cringing away from the door. She pointed. Near the door, just a few feet from where he stood, a little brown spider had started making a web in the ceiling beams. They had a house that was built like a southwest cabin, so there were plenty of spaces to string them up.

“Honey, it’s okay. He’s not hurting you.”

“He could bite me! He could crawl on me!”

“If he bites you might turn into Spidergirl. Wouldn’t that be cool?” She was a big Spidergirl fan. Jessie shook her head. Well, that wasn’t working. “I guess not. It’s not fun to be bitten by a spider anyway.”

The spider was about the size of Carl’s thumbnail, and had brown patterns like a tiger. He was a beautiful little guy. Carl found a jar and captured the spider, then swept away the web. He released the spider outside. Without the horrible fanged creature at her back, Jessie was running around the house and making mayhem like she always did.

Carl watched the spider scurry into the grass. He didn’t mind spiders in the house, as long as they weren’t where he could see them, or they weren’t poisonous. Spiders ate the bad bugs.

He went back inside to keep an eye on Jessie. She had a playdate with one of her friends in an hour, so she was watching the minutes until then. Carl played some games with her until it was time to go.

When they got home, Carl found two more spiderwebs he’d never seen before, one in the garage, another on the front porch. The one on the porch was absolutely gorgeous. It looked like it had been there for years, a beautiful thing with razor-thin silver strands that looked like it could be a princess’s veil. He swept them down gently with a broom, careful to put the spiders in the grass without hurting them. Carl wondered if it was time to call an exterminator.

Spider

Posted: October 7, 2013 by writingsprint in Poetry
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The lady smiles as he enters
Her ballroom. A silken black glove
Touches gossamer silver threads.

Come closer, she waves to him.

The floor shifts under his unsure feet.
A shimmer races from
his feet to hers as he commits.

She smiles again. Come closer.

He tiptoes toward her inviting
Gown, red hourglass of her body.
The floor sways with a breath of wind.

Her patient eyes trace shadows.

He cannot know that she is a
Rapacious, scornful woman.
A stumble and she will finish him.

Unworthy of her love.

Breathe Deep and Shudder

Posted: August 20, 2013 by writingsprint in Horror
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silk

“Spider Cocoon” by Natalia Drepina at DeviantArt.com

There were four bodies that looked like me hanging from the ceiling. They didn’t just look like me. They were me.

The first two were husks, dessicated weight sagging down the webs. Those just looked like sticks. The third was distinctively skinny, and he knew what my mouth looked like if it was open in a scream and plugged with spiderweb. The fourth still had plastic-looking eyes, one that was half gone.

“What the… what…”

I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t scream. I tried to turn around, but everything seemed to be moving slowly. I was in one of those dreams where your feet nail themselves to the ground.

From behind me, I heard Henry talking.

“What a shame. I did try to warn you not to come up here. Now what will I do with you?”

He put his hand on my shoulder. I let out a sound that was a cross between a cry and a gurgle. It hadn’t been strong enough to make it out of my throat. I jumped, but not far. His hand stayed on my shoulder like an old friend’s. I counted every one of his fingers. His ring scratched my shirt. The one with the black family crest on it.

I couldn’t stop shaking. Please, God, let me just stop shaking.

“Today is Thursday, Tim. Not Sunday. You’ve been here four times. Each time I try to tell you not to go in.” Henry lifted his hand off my shoulder, reached past me and shut the door. Tears fell down my face. “That’s why you can’t remember.”

He stood in between me and the door. I finally saw him as he was. Uncle Tim, with the salt and pepper hair and the beard. The kind wrinkles. The details had changed, but he hadn’t become less, aged, in ten years. That was when my seizures started.

“Uncle Henry,” I said.

“You never talked before.”

“Mom? Dad?”

“Only in your mind, Tim. It’s just been you and me. Forever.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You aren’t supposed to understand.”

Hit him. Stop him. Do something. I couldn’t move.

Uncle Henry started rubbing his hands together. I could feel the warmth between them from here. A haze covered them, that became like wooly gloves. He pulled his hands apart. Silk stretched between them.

“That’s what they were hanging from.”

“It’s an old family secret. An old, old secret.” He smiled. “It’s time to go in.”

The word of the day is “fear.” How did I do?

“Breathe deep and shudder” is a phrase that I coined a long time ago after watching a movie that disturbed the heck out of me. I remember take a deep breath — they’re supposed to be cleansing — and shuddering when it came out. Being scared is one thing, but for me, shuddering goes all the way to the bone.