View Full Version : To Catch a Spider. YA. 1,300

March 29th, 2015, 09:42 PM
This is a story from my childhood.
Arabella Spiderski.

Shawna, five, was playing in the backyard with her four-year-old brother, Tommy. Tommy crept up behind her, fist closed. Something dropped on her shoulder and bounced down onto Sandy, Shawna's favorite doll. The girl looked down at something moving on Sandy's face.

The creature lay on its back, all eight legs struggling to grasp onto something to right itself.

"Arrggghhh. A spider," Shawna screamed, jerking to her feet and stepping back, staring at poor Sandy. She couldn't believe it. A dirty, nasty, spider.

"I'll kill you," she cried out at her brother, looking around for something to throw at him A tin bucket with a picture of Oscar Rat on the side would do. Looking around, arm cocked to throw, she couldn't see the boy, hiding behind a tree.

"I'll find you, you krudfish," she yelled in their personal language, deliberately designed so as to placate their parents. Her father had once washed Shawna's mouth out with soap for using a standard curse-word. "You can't hide forever."

Even in her anger, she noticed a tiny voice crying, "Help! Help me ... Mommy." It was louder than a cricket and softer than a june-bug, barely jublical -- another of her special words.

"Did you say something, Sandy? I didn't know you could talk." Shawna bent down to the doll's ear, almost chewed off once by a dog. "Say it again, darling."

"I said, help me, you stupid human oaf."

Surprised, she noticed that it wasn't the doll talking, but the spider. The ugly little creature was still waving its arms around but now ... at only Shawna, not at everything in the world. They were straight out, pointing right at ... her.

"Please! I'm sorry I called you stupid," the creature said.

"Uh, but I am an oaf, right?" Shawna raised the bucket, threatening the tiny monster.

"Uh, uh. Uh, uh. No way, lady. Nice lady. Nice, lovely, lady. Please! Help me to my feet."

Shrugging, Shawna put down the bucket and, picking up a toy shovel, carefully flipped the creature over.

"Now tell me," she ordered, "what you're doing in my yard, scaring people."

"Your yard? This is my yard. My family has hunted here forever, and even longer."

"And what am I doing, talking to a spider?"

"Why not? We're both little girls, and both of us would love to kill your brother. I was minding my business when he picked me up, way high, and dropped me right on you. You don't think I wanted to scare you, do you? I could've been killed."

"Maybe we can get him, both of us? Can, excuse me, but can you sting, bite, or whatever you guys do?"

"I can try, but I think his skin is too thick. I still got my baby-teeth. Oh, and my name is Arabella. Arabella Spiderski. My great-great-great-grandfather came to the United States on a blueberry.

"I'm Shawna, and the krudfish is named Tommy."

"There he is. There he is," Arabella waved. "He's behind you."

Warned, Shawna spun around, flipping the Oscar Rat bucket at her brother. He dropped a prickly-bush limb he was going to swipe her with, turned and ran.

"You can see pretty good," Shawna said.

"I got more eyes than you do," the spider sang out, laughing.

"I'm bigger than you, though."

"But you're a bigger potato-head."

"You're a bug."

"No I ain't. You're an elephant, with that big nose."

The two got along famously. At least after they chased Tommy away. Eventually, when he agreed to wear the bucket on his head, rather like a dunce cap, they let him stay.

Arabella told how her family were mind-control spiders and could take over the minds of flies and mosquitoes, making the tidbits come to their family webs to be captured. They weren't really cruel. Controlling their minds kept their prey happy, even as she and her family ate them.

"Come on. Let's go to my house," Arabella said, concentrating her young mind into that of the humans. "I want to introduce you to my family."

With a snickering Arabella riding on Shawna's shoulder, the two kids, joking and laughing, followed the spider's directions.

The first problem was crossing the street. Both humans held back, fear in their tummies.

"We shouldn't cross the street without an adult," Tommy reminded his sister.

She shook her head. "It's okay. I heard in school that three kids equal one adult. With Arabella, that should do it."

"I don't believe you."

"No. It's true," the anxious spider broke into the conversation. "That's what I heard, too."

So they looked both ways, then ran across. It's a bad thing to do, but Arabella insisted, and they did want to meet her family. Shawna and Tommy had never met a whole family of spiders. But they did feel funny about the whole thing. Wouldn't you?

"Down this alley," the spider directed the two. "We live in this old shed. You better open the door. I crawl in through cracks, but you're too big for that."

Tommy, feeling adventurous, shoved on a wooden door. It squeaked loudly, but did open. It was kinda dark inside with a whole lot of spider-webs.

"Stay in the middle. Mama wouldn't like you to ruin our webbing. Over here. See this one, the shiny one in the sunlight? It's my first web. Mama says we'll keep it forever."

"It's a nice one. I don't think I've ever seen a better web," Shawna said, looking closely, but thinking it was a really bad one. The strands were erratic -- that means everything except right.

"Wait there a minute. I wanna tell Mama we're here," Arabella said, smiling and jumping to the floor.

Of course, all the spiders inside already knew. After all, the two humans were real big to them, and were obvious in the little shed.

Arabella easily found her mother. Mama spider was sitting in a corner, along with some of the ladies, drinking roach wine.

"Mama. Look what I brought. Do we have enough ketchup for both of them? Can we eat the big one for dinner? Don't they look juicy? Better than a fly?" She felt proud of her mind-control, luring two big humans for dinner.

Her mother, however, was flabberflasted and discombobulated. "You get them things out of here. and right now, little girl," she said, angrily. "They'll ruin years of work."

"But, Mama. They're fat and juicy. Just pinch one and you'll see?"

"We don't eat humans, never. They look nice but taste bad. No amount of ketchup will fix that taste. Now, you get them out of here."

"Can we play, then? Huh? Huh?"

"I don't care. You just be home for dinner. Your papa is fixing broiled roach with mite gravy. It's one of your favorites."

Crestfallen, Arabella went back to the humans.

"Mama says she's busy," she told the two, "but we can go out and play. Have you ever played 'pounce'?"


After supper, the kids went to their rooms. Their mother didn't pay much attention, having to wash dishes and take clothes out of the clothes-dryer. But when the children's favorite show came on television and they didn't come down, she became worried.

When she went upstairs to check on them, she found the hallway dark with all the window shades pulled down. Something's wrong, she figured, beginning to really worry. Rushing into Shawna's room, she became tangled in a web made of duct-tape.

The lights came on, her two children running over and laughing. "Got you, Mommy," Tommy said.

Moral? Uh ... Spiders can be your friend but, remember, you ain't no spider.


April 5th, 2015, 03:45 PM
Liked the story it has a bit of humor and a quirky style. Loved the ending and especially the last line :)

May 4th, 2015, 04:40 PM
Haha This tickled me! Maybe you should consider putting pictures to it? Would be a marvelous children's book!


May 7th, 2015, 09:53 AM
I smiled reading this, and that means something, me being sad the last few days.
I really like the moral and the characters are well presented. This could indeed form a nice children's story with a picture or two being thrown into the mix. Compliments on this, the biggest part of the story is that it makes people happy, and I can assure you that this one does.

Rob Dorsey
May 12th, 2015, 05:30 PM
Would lend itself to Victorian style illustration, a'la Charlotte's Web. Do you think children can parse the dark meaning of the little spider's false purpose? Being deceitful enough to lure two human children to their lair for the purpose of eating them is sophisticated skullduggery indeed.

Interesting story. Would you leave it as is or flesh it out to, say, 20M words for a short story? It's not my genre so I cannot judge if there's that much meat there.

Rob Dorsey