Unreal Serial: a new series of short stories in serial form.
Wicked Web, Part 1/6
The little spider didn’t mean to destroy human civilization. Like all creatures, its intentions went only as far as its imagination, and its imagination went only as far as its instincts. Thus, the only thing the spider thought that fateful night was of eating bugs. Humanity’s end was the furthest thing from its mind. That was but an unintended consequence.
Yet maybe it was the spider’s lack of imagination that did us in. It was a breezy, spring night on a mountain cabin porch overlooking an evergreen valley. But the spider didn’t weave its web around the eaves where night wind might blow. Nor did he tuck his snare between the porch’s wooden spindles or under the yellowed security light that attracted delicious gnats.
Instead, the little spider strung its string across the door frame, side to side, corner to corner, back and forth, creating a crisscross as deadly as it was intricate. And delicate: Dan came out for a cigarette and walked right through the spider’s trap.
“Dammit!” Dan swore as gooey web tangled his face and wrapped around shaggy brown hair. The cob clung to his Heavy Metal t-shirt, curled around his torn jeans and worst of all, the tensile substance snarled the cigarette dangling from Dan’s lips. No amount of swiping or wiping would unstick it, either. “Double dammit!”
Dan considered the situation at hand. This was his last cig; Jennie stormed off an hour ago, taking her pack with her. Dan couldn’t buy more because the shop down the mountain was closed until morning. Plus, Dan didn’t have any money. He had no other option but to smoke this web-coated cig. Not in his mind, at least. Addicted for ten years, since he was 14, Dan couldn’t imagine that he could just not smoke the cigarette. Thus, beer-bleary and desperate for his fix, Dan shut his eyes, lit up and inhaled.
The spider’s web hissed softly as burning tobacco incinerated it, but the cigarette itself tasted as smoldering and voluptuous as always. And as always Dan relished the instant mood boost: stress melting into relief – a brief reprieve from his day-to-day woes.
Dan leaned on the porch’s bannister and took another puff. A smattering of dusty orange lights flickered between jagged evergreens in the valley below and a grey billow rose from the Johnson’s chimney directly across. Dan didn’t notice the plume flew straight up. Nor did he didn’t notice his cigarette smoke did the same: went straight up, as if pulled by a string.
The spring breeze was gone. The moon and the stars had vanished, too. No celestial bodies of any kind flared in the matte, charcoal sky. But Dan still didn’t realize. He just scanned the view and sucked his cig.
Wait – Something inside Dan shifted. Something stirred.
To Be Continued…