Mark Ethridge’s Picture Choice: One
Title: Along Came a Spider
Melinda screamed when she saw it, hurled herself at me, nearly knocked me over. I staggered under her weight as she tried to climb me. “Jesus! What’s wrong?”
She couldn’t talk, all her jaw did was move up and down. She pointed, her eyes big as saucers. I looked where she pointed, and saw the biggest spiderweb I’d ever seen. The web looked like rope, and was strung between trees. Several trees. It was covered in rain water, and looked like a caricature of a web you’d see on a tree branch in the early morning dew.
“Jesus, would you look at that thing.” At least I understood why Melinda’d lost her mind. “Can you imagine the size of the spider that made that puppy?” She buried her face on my shoulder and started crying.
I drew my gun, looked at it, “Well. You sure look useless, don’t you?” I put it back. I figured whatever made a spiderweb out of rope was probably bigger than my pop-gun could bring down. Hell, I could imagine the bullets bouncing off, like I’d shot the armor plate of a tank. I looked around, searched for any sign of, well, anything. Anything alive, anything moving, anything looking back at me.
Since I didn’t see anything, I put Melinda down, took her hand and said, “Let’s get out of here.” We eased past the web, heading toward the west.
After a mile, she jumped me again when we came across a bigger web. One with a dead deer hanging in it. Looked like a fly caught in a web, ‘cept everything was 1000 times larger. There were a zillion tiny spiders crawling all over the dear. Little black dots moved around, eating away. I figured I’d better get Melinda out of there, fast. We headed north, since west hadn’t worked so well.
The next web showed up a few hundred yards later. It dwarfed the other two. It spread across a dozen trees that covered three of the four sides of the area. The only way out was how we’d come in.
Hell, I didn’t bat an eye, I grabbed Melinda, picked her up, threw her over my shoulder, and tore out. I didn’t stop running until we cleared the woods, and reached the cabin. When we got there, I headed straight for my truck, “God, damn, but I ain’t staying here with some nightmare spider out there!”
That’s when Melinda screamed, and that caused me to jump out of my skin. I looked where she was pointing. There was the biggest damn spider I’d ever seen on the roof of the cabin. Covered the entire roof. Sucker was at least 30 feet long.
I dropped Melinda like a dead fish, and dove into my truck. Somehow I got the keys out of my pocket, and started the motor. I hazarded a glance at Melinda.
She was sitting on the ground, laughing her ass off.
“What the fuck?”
That’s when Bobby and Krystal came out of the cabin, laughing every bit as hard as Melinda. Bobby, between laughing spasms, managed to croak out, “You shoulda seen your face!”
That’s the kind of friends I had. The ones that plan out jokes like that, and scare the piss out of me.
But you wait. You wait. What goes around comes around. And I know Bobby’s scared of chickens. Especially the ones that peck.
You just wait.
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Mark woke up in 2010, and has been exploring life since then. All his doctors agree. He needs to write.