Tuesday, September 20, 2011


          This was written for this week's Flash Fiction Challenge:  Spiderweb Spiral.  Exactly 1000 words, according to my trusty word counter.  Sillier than last week's, for sure!  Enjoy!  And you still have until Thursday night to write your own if you want to join me!  :)

          Josephine lurked in the corner under the bench, scowling as the storm rolled in. The stinkbug she just finished was the only thing to happen upon her web all week, and it tasted just as bad as it smelled. But it was food, and she had run out of options. The storm would wash away the web it was stuck in, and she could start fresh when it was over.
          She tucked herself away in a nice dry space and sheltered there as the droplets fell, again and again. At least she was warm and dry. She fell asleep after a while, and thought to herself, “Tomorrow.”
          Day broke bright and cheerful the next day, smells of earthworms that had been drowned out of their holes in the night and wet grass filled her nose. It truly felt like a new beginning, and Josephine set out to find a new hunting ground.
          She had assumed the side of a park bench would be a good place for flies, as the human giants often ate their lunches messily. Their horrid-smelling lunches of flesh and plants. She often wondered if there were humans who appreciated blood as much as she did.
          The bench, as it turned out, was a bad idea when in the middle of the park. No one used it. Perhaps a bench closer to the jungle for the small humans. Not too close, though. If she chose one too close, she would likely be captured by the small ones like her friend Lucy.
          Lucy went away with one of the fat things in a glass prison, and never did come back. Jo had warned her, but the girl never listened. Hatchlings. They think they know it all.
          After an afternoon of scurrying through the grass past the ant armies and buzzing bees, she found her spot and set to work. This time, she chose the arm of the bench instead of the side by the ground. Spilled food would be higher up, she figured, and the flies would be eager to get after it. Ants were too smart to be caught, most times, and they ruled the ground with the crumbs. It was too bad, too. Their diets made them delicious! She might not appreciate the grain and sugary bits the humans dropped, but she sure loved how sweet it made the things that ate them. And ants were much cleaner than flies. Still, one could not be picky all the time.
          As she looked over the arm of the bench, she noticed a shape that was appealing. A perfect place to begin! The center of the spiral was the center of her web, and she worked outward from that spot mindlessly as she thought to herself. How many webs had she made? One every day or three for nearly a year and a half, now. She was getting up there in age, but she was still healthy enough. She would surely make it to fall, though she probably would not wake next spring.
          Where were her children now, and how were they doing on their own this year, she wondered? She had left a good clutch of eggs high in a tree last year, tucked away where the birds could not reach it, and hoped for the best. She would need to find another spot for her new egg sack soon enough, but Josephine figured she had enough time for a few more webs before she must lay.
          The afternoon remained bright, and she reflected on the weather from the previous day. It had darkened and began raining just after her stink bug. She had been in a pretty poor mood after that, and she wondered if it was coincidental. The day before that she had been hopeful and the sky remained bright, and this morning she was ready to start again and it was lovely out. It had been that way as long as she could remember... Her mood and the weather were linked. She was almost sure of it.
          The next day confirmed it in her mind when a sudden storm popped up just after one of the fat small humans used a small tree branch to scrub away the web she spent the whole day building. She was angry enough to bite him, but his mother sighed, wiped his hands with an awful smelling cloth, and took him away before she could. And the storm rolled in just as she grew angry.
          So it was true. Josephine controlled the weather.
          She tried to tell her friends Melanie and Jackson, but they would not listen. They laughed at her. Perhaps she did not have friends after all. She scurried back to her bench, dodging the droplets from the sky that she brought down with her betrayed heart. She hoped her “friends” would be caught up in one of the rivers of water and end up down the stinking storm drains.
          A few days later, she was fat with fruit fly blood, busy building a new web, and she never saw the quiet, curious human approach. Jo noticed the girl with hair the color of sunlight just before fat fingers grasped and plucked her from where she worked.
          No! Not over there! She didn't want to go to the play jungle! Too many loud noises! Too many stomping feet! Other spiders seemed to like it there well enough, but she preferred the quiet. The safe.
          The child let her go after showing a boy what she found, and Josephine was thrilled to be set free. She ran as fast as her eight legs could carry her, back toward her bench, back toward her spiral. But the small humans were too quick and erratic for her to dodge, and as the sole of the shoe came down upon her, she wondered if the world was going to end with her.
          After all, if she wasn't around to fix the weather, what would it do?

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