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#JusJoJan 01/01/17 – A Spider’s Tale #FlashFiction

January 1, 2017

A Spider’s Tale

Growing up inside a Grandfather’s clock is quite an ordeal. Even before I was born, I could hear the chime and feel the vibration inside my sack. There’s never a moment’s peace. Well, there are fifty-nine minutes of peace, every hour on the hour, but is it really peace? I mean, I have no concept of time, so I never really know when that chime is going to happen. I can be happily climbing along and suddenly get jarred out of place. What kind of life is this?

Mamma says not to worry so much. Eventually one day I will move out on my own and perhaps find a china cabinet or the underside of a table to call home. Somewhere away from the suspecting eyes of humans. Every spider is taught from an early age that our life is limited by how carefully we creep about, slowly so not to alert attention. No hanging out for long periods on the walls, in windows, sinks or in the bathtub. Those places will get us killed immediately. And mamma should know, we lost our dad before birth because he decided to catch flies all day once in a windowsill. Still, finding a place to squat inside a house in much easier than living outside in the wild.

Today, just after the first set of eight chimes, Uncle Joe takes me and my brother Max out and about. The humans are away – school and work, Joe says. We leave the clock through a small opening in the face, slide down our webbing and then slowly creep along the floor. Our goal is to catch some fleas from the cat in a long string of webs and drag them back to the clock for everyone to feast upon. The cat is easy to find. She’s curled up on a window-pad sleeping. We slowly ascend the wall and make our way across the windowsill. The fleas are jumping sporadically all over the place. Uncle Joe hangs out at the edge of the sill, ready to escape at a moment’s notice. Meanwhile, Max and I are tossing out webbing as fast as we can to catch those crazy fleas. We hear the chimes, but pay no mind. We have hours, right?

Eventually, we gather enough fleas and begin to descend down the wall. Suddenly, we hear a door open and shut. We freeze. A slight breeze leaves us swaying. The cat jumped down. A female voice coos at the cat. It rubs up against the woman’s legs. She moves on into the kitchen. We are safe for the moment. Onward we descend until we reach the floor. Uncle Joe goes across first, checking for the woman. He makes it halfway across when the woman returns and spots him. She shrieks, grabs a broom and begins smacking it across the floor. Uncle Joe just barely makes it to the underside of the clock. Max and I remain near the window, afraid to move an inch. The woman scans the room for more of our kind. Thankfully Max and I are still small. She doesn’t spot us. She returns to the kitchen, rattling things and finally leaves the house again. The clock strikes one chime.

Now all we have to worry about is that cat. It likes to chase our kind, play with us until we are too wounded to move, and then snubs its nose up at us while we die a slow, painful death. Max and I have heard the stories a million times. We glance about, but the cat is nowhere to be found. We take off, dragging our flea-filled webbing behind us. The going is slow. We get near the clock and out pops that damn cat. I feel it’s paw and get knocked off-balance for a moment. Suddenly, Uncle Joe dashes across the floor, catching the cat’s attention.

“Hurry along boys. I’ll hold off this beast,” he shouts at us.

We do as we are told. We tug and pull the webbing, closer and closer to the clock. Then we drag it upward as we ascend it and slip inside the clock’s face. Two chimes, then three. Finally, Uncle Joe slithers into our dwelling inside the clock, dragging one of his legs. He’s been mauled by the cat, but he made it home. Mamma tends to his wounds as best she can, but by the series of four chimes, Uncle Joe passes away, his body taking the ritualistic upturned form. We gather around him for a brief moment. The clock chimes five times. The house fills up with noise – children laughing, parents screaming and the cat meowing. They don’t even know we’ve suffered a death. They’d probably cheer if they did.

©2017 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved.

for Just Jot It January – Prompt: ‘spider’ – Hosted by Linda G. Hill

Today’s prompt is  brought to you by Barb of teleportingweena


  1. Deb permalink

    This perspective just broke me. What a wonderful story.

  2. Love your take on the prompt

  3. Hi Lori, what a lovely story from the spider’s perspective..I did enjoy it though you had me worried they might not make it back in time…..we don’t have a very good attitude to spiders do we….

    • Thanks, Micheal 🙂 No, we don’t. But I respect them greatly and enjoyed writing this little tale from their perspective. I am glad you enjoyed it 🙂

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