This is a Halloween story that originally appeared in moonShine Review. It was also reprinted in the Chapel Hill News.
Webs first took up residence inside the yard, coating bushes and grass in an autumnal veil. The spiders weren’t visible in daylight. They worked at night. Small ones and large ones, black and tan ones. Busy as hyperactive knitters on a mission.
At first visitors mistook it for morning dew. Then, guest-by-guest, the tripping began. They showed up at the door bruised, with bloody knees, contusion-slurred speech. At the Halloween doormat red confusion dripped on Jack-O-lanterns, bats, and skeletons. Word spun outside the cul de sac and soon not one visitor knocked on the door or rang the bell. The mailman and UPS deliveryman abandoned letters and packages at other people’s houses.
By November’s end, the web-veil covered crawl space and first floor windows, creeping toward the second floor exterior. Trapped inside this house was a family of three: middle-aged parents and one teenage daughter. Their names do not matter; they were passive onlookers of the here and now. They soon saw the world differently, through opaque cover that dulled the brightness of sun and sky. Only the daughter took action. Lazily, she slowly waved a white sheet out the window in surrender.
But spiders do not understand surrender, only the language of weave, capture, and kill.
And then it happened. The web found those open cracks beneath the doors and vents. In a rolling wave motion, the web flooded in. It climbed walls, upholstery, curtains, ceilings.
Other families’ green-red Christmas lights shone on the web of captivity. Mouths of mother, father, and daughter sealed shut in a swatch of spider-spun fabric. In their refusal to leave this place they had known, they became part of the cocoon. Want, desire, ambition held hostage inside the brick house. The future buried beneath busy legs of overzealous arachnids.
Causes Maureen Sherbondy Supports
North Carolina Writers' Network, Temple Beth Or, North Carolina Poetry Society