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Watch Where You Go
The Call of Nature is answered by a Spider...
Watch Where you Go
By Nathanielle Sean Crawford
Considering it had been freezing on and off during the last few weeks, the warm spring breeze was a somewhat pleasant change. Still, the bees and the mosquitoes and the host of other biting stinging insects brought out by the early spring weather gave people something to complain about once more. So naturally, Devon complained.
An hour-long detention was bad enough, especially after the normal school day left him with a sore nose and a binder full of homework drenched in toilet water. The nose came about when Devon got it into his head that punching a guy who was twice his size for destroying his precious work was the brilliant course of action. Though both he and the offending student were given the same detention, Devon still had to make up the homework for that day, with the throbbing pain as a reminder of his wonderful problem solving skills.
The pain subsided a bit a second while another pressing matter took priority in Devon’s mind. As he found his way off the high school campus, a full bladder screamed to be released like it had been doing from the moment when he began his detention. Normally he would have gone as soon as class let out, but detention began five minutes after the bell rang, and Mrs. Richter was the teacher he’d be serving with. Rather than risk another write-up he arrived only to be denied a trip to the restroom for duration of the hour. Now of course, it was too late to go back into the school building as all the doors were now locked, so Devon had only one alternative: Taking the shortcut through the woods.
Devon’s home was a trailer in a park near the edge of the woods. During the winter it was impossible to use the shortcut because of the snow and ice, but when it was accessible it provided a nice cool shortcut to and from school. With the river a few feet to the left and trees to the right the path was a nice quiet alternative to the noise and pollution of the town.
For the first time since that day Devon had nothing to complain about. The trees were still bare of leaves, but the smell of the river and the woods was refreshing nonetheless, and he took a deep breath. There was a little shade and the breeze off of the river cooled him down immensely. But the sound of the river only made things worse, and it awakened Devon to the second reason he decided to take this route.
Once the road was out of site and the nearest human being was at least a mile away in either direction, he detoured off the path and found a secluded spot beside the riverbank. There, he dropped his backpack and stepped behind a tree to water the flowers. Overwhelming relief flooded his brain as he, in turn, flooded the ground and he let out a tremendous sigh.
“Thank you, God!” He cried, not caring who could hear him.
When Devon was finished he zipped up and took another deep breath, surveying the beauty of the river. Then he looked down to notice the spider web he accidentally peed on. It was mostly destroyed and the spider ran about in panic at the sudden loss of its home.
“Yikes,” Devon cringed, feeling somewhat apologetic. “Sorry about that buddy. Hope you can make another one…”
Devon shrugged and grabbed his book bag before returning to the main path.
By force of habit Devon started humming a few bars to a song by Linkin Park. During the long walk home it was his favorite way of passing the time, at least when he wasn’t thinking about homework or online games. Mostly, aside from the occurrences of the past twenty-four hours, life was fairly easy going. His parents weren’t going to ground him for what happened, not after he explained the whole situation. Life wasn’t all that bad.
“Nah,” He thought out loud, taking a deeper breath. “Absolutely nothing could go wrong anymore.”
That was when a rock moved behind him, accompanied by a low hissing sound. Devon stopped in his tracks, hoping it was only his imagination and not some wild animal loose in the town. This close to the mountains it was entirely possible, though he had never seen anything wilder than a few birds and some squirrels in these parts.
The hissing wouldn’t stop, and a few times Devon heard a curdling sound like the sound of a churning coffee machine. Heartbeat increasing dramatically and adrenaline rushing, he slowly turned around. If he hadn’t all ready relieved himself, the sight of what was now standing in front of him would have caused him to loose control. It was about the size of a Saint Bernard, with thin hairs covering its eight legs and segmented body. Eight round black eyes glistened in the light of the sun, all focused on the sweating, shivering senior that stood before them, questioning his sanity..
Logic screamed at him from inside, “THIS ISN’T REAL! THAT SPIDER COULDN’T POSSIBLY EXIST, BECAUSE IT WOULD DIE FROM THE GRAVITY ALONE!”
But in spite of Logic’s efforts to bring Devon back to reality, it was the quieter, softer voice that made the most sense. “You ruined its home. It has a grudge against you. Run.” And without a moment’s hesitation, Devon turned around and bolted down the path. Home was quite a ways off, but with any luck the spider would be too slow to catch up with him. This wasn’t a badly contrived horror movie after all, the victim didn’t always have to run impossibly slow to give the creature a chance to catch up with him.
As his legs began to wear out from the ever changing terrain Devon listened for sounds of the super spider’s pursuit. Not that he knew what a pursuing super spider sounded like, but he figured something that huge couldn’t go chasing down prey without making a lot of noise.
“Whoa!” Devon panted, slowing to a stop and dropping his backpack for a moment. He took a few deep breaths, bending forward and placing his hands on his knees as his heart pounded.
As he recovered, he thought out loud, trying to makes sense of everything. “A spider *gasp* can’t, *pant* get that big. *Gasp* this just isn’t possible. I’m gonna look around once, see that it’s not actually chasing me, and forget that any of this ever happened.”
Devon looked back along the path, grateful that the spider wasn’t behind him. He looked in all directions, even in the trees above him, noting with relief that the spider was nowhere to be seen. Chalking it up to stress and a lack of caffeine, Devon put it out of his mind and threw his backpack over his shoulder once more.
Before even a moment had passed, the super spider leapt from the bushes and landed front of him. It made a dreadful noise that sounded much like a speeding car screeching to a halt. Thinking quickly Devon swung his backpack at the spider, hoping to cause some damage, or at the very least stun it so he could get away. The super spider scurried to the side as fast as a normal sized spider would, disturbing Devon’s sense of logic even more, but giving him enough space to run by.
I’m not on drugs, He thought as he bolted through a larger clearing. The super spider was definitely behind him now, but it was staying to the side of the path and leaping from trees and rocks when it was possible. I don’t drink, and as far as I know I’m not insane. So what the hell is going on?
Devon stopped every few feet to pick up a rock and throw it at the super spider. But the spider was either too fast, or it was out of reach, and Devon only lost ground to it.
Home was straight ahead. When the path lead into the woods, away from the river, Devon could make out the trailers and a sliver of the road that lead around the park. The spider was still leaping from tree to tree, but they were slowing him down, and it seemed as though Devon would make it.
But what if that thing hurts someone? He wondered, never slowing his pace as he leapt over a fallen tree. Of course half the people in the park own guns, so it wouldn’t get very far.
Satisfied with his solution, Devon was pleasantly relieved, as he got closer to home. Then, only a few feet away from the end of the path, he tripped. It was a dug up root that he normally missed, but in his haste forgot to watch out for it. The weight of his backpack caused him to hit the ground harder, and the wind was knocked out of him. Muttering a string of obscenities and wincing in pain Devon tried to pick himself up, only to notice the super spider standing a few inches before him.
Devon was so close to the monster now that he caught the foul stench of rotting insect bodies on its breath. He wanted to gag but the pain and the fear prevented him from doing anything other than looking into the menacing eyes of this freak of nature.
Spider kills random kid the headlines would read. Of course they would all blame him for disturbing the spider’s habitat, and the PETA would want to preserve it. Or if he wanted to go with the best-case scenario, perhaps they would name it after him right before dissecting it.
The Devon Spider, He thought, laughing from the sheer absurdity of this. Guess I’d better say some last words.
“Um, sorry for trying to hit you with my backpack?” He said, on a whim.
Devon’s heart skipped a few beats. As if the idea of spider the size of a dog wasn’t illogical enough, now the thing just responded, in a perfectly human sounding English voice.
Abandoning all sense of logic Devon repeated himself. “I’m sorry for ruining your home and trying to hit you with my backpack.”
The spider’s first four legs crunched up briefly, and returned to their normal position. Devon guessed this was as close to shrugging as it could get.
“Look, it’s no big deal about the backpack.” The spider continued, again in perfect English. “I’ve been hit with worse. But I appreciate the apology nonetheless.”
Devon was only partially relieved that the spider didn’t seem to want to kill him. But his mind was rioting over the thousands of other things that were wrong with this picture.
“Um…how are you speaking to me?” He asked finally, trying to make some sense out of everything.
“Shocking isn’t it?” The spider replied. It showed no facial expressions nor did any of its mouthparts actually move, rather, the voice came from it as if there was a person right next to him doing the talking. “Long story short, I’m sort of a quasi-spider god.”
“I didn’t know spiders could establish an official religion.”
“Well, I’m not exactly a god for the spiders.” The spider explained, as if this were something to be ashamed of. “A couple years ago bunch of kids started practicing their little morbid rituals. They’d feed insects to my web and thank me for giving them stuff or whatever. Before they came along I was just like any other spider, I built a web, waited for food to get caught in it, and eat. When they began doing their rituals and praying to me I began to realize that I had certain abilities, the least of which was the ability to think like a human. It was as if, by worshipping me, those kids endowed me with these powers so that I literally evolved into a god.”
“If any of the Christian groups in this town found out about this, they’d eat it like pudding.” Devon joked nervously.
“Pretty much, yeah,” The spider agreed. “That’s why I never really left these parts of the woods. I can understand things on a really high level, speak to people in any language, change my size and even move faster than light, but I’m not invincible. If I let you hit me with that backpack, you’d have crippled me seriously.”
“Hence the quasi part of the quasi-godhood.”
“Anyway, all I really wanted was that apology. Have to answer the call of nature? I don’t mind, every other animal does. Just watch where you go next time.”
“No problem.” Devon didn’t really know what else to say. Except, “Can I go now?”
“Sure. Just one more thing, don’t tell anyone about me. Not only do I value my privacy, but also I don’t think you want to spend the early years of adulthood with Medicaid taking care of your living arrangements, if you catch my meaning.”
Having all ready decided that hell would freeze over before Devon mentioned any of this to anyone, it was no problem agreeing to the request. The spider disappeared without a trace, leaving Devon to climb to his feet, uninjured but in pain nonetheless.
Taking one last look behind him as he brushed himself off, Devon debated whether or not he would ever take the shortcut again. Being chased down by a quasi-spider god with unimaginable powers had a somewhat negative effect on a person’s view of the world. And it certainly had that effect for him.
Finally, with swift and indifferent resolve he said, “Oh screw it. It could have been worse.” And then went home.