Scarlett’s Undead Web
By Jason McKinney
Scarlett was a spider of no great importance on an average farm in Kansas. The farm was one of many in central Kansas and like every other it had wheat fields and pigs, lots of pigs.
Though Scarlett hated pigs she loved the farm. Thanks to the pigs’ slovenly nature there was always some delicious fly morsel becoming trapped within her web. Without fail Scarlett would skitter down her silk home to feast on the wayward fly, savoring their utter stupidity.
Flies were beneath her and seldom did she ever feel sorry for them. Her pity when feeding was usually saved for the occasional butterfly that accidentally entangled itself with the silvery strands.
Butterflies were rarely eaten and normally Scarlett would free them but every so often she would eat one if she hadn’t had a bit in hours. Scarlett was a tenderhearted spider when it came to insects other than flies but her second favorite meal was grasshoppers.
It was a sunny day at the farm when Scarlett became fortunate enough for a grasshopper and a fly to become stuck one after another on her web. “Well, well, well,” she said, moving swiftly to where the two fought to get free. “My lucky day indeed!’
As Scarlett neared the two awaiting meals, she heard violent hissing coming from the fly. The hissing was near unheard of with flies. Normally they would cry, “Help me. Please, help me,” as she descended on them but this time came only angry, grotesque snarling.
Scarlett paused, for the first time ever before approaching food, watching, listening to the fly flap its wings and growl angrily as it tried to get at the grasshopper.
Warily she eyed the fly. Its normally reflective eyes were dark red and pink and white froth flowed from its mouth. Never had Scarlett beheld anything so violent in a fly. Her heart went out to the grasshopper and for the first time ever she found herself moving to help free the insect.
“Oh shit,” moaned the grasshopper as she reached it. “Better you than him,” it said, turning to look at the fly.
“Oh shut up and lie still,” retorted Scarlett. She moved carefully along, freeing the grasshopper, taking care not to get too close.
All the while, as she devoured her webbing while setting the grasshopper loose, the fly became more enraged, spitting and twisting itself further into its prison.
“And you shut up as well,” she said, giving a sharp snap at it with her jaws. She pulled back quickly, shocked that the spider had tried to attack her in return. The pinkish white froth was becoming redder, causing Scarlett to wonder, if anything, she could do about the fly.
“Pissed off little shit eater,” the grasshopper said, rubbing its legs together to remove some webbing. The grasshopper looked at Scarlett, unsure of what was going to happen before it spoke again. “Thanks, lady. My name’s Jerry. I appreciate you not eating me.”
“Would have been rude considering your predicament. Now,” Scarlett said, rubbing the tips of her front legs together. She cleared her throat before speaking again. “I believe you should move along and never return to this area again. Next time, I might not be so accommodating.”
“Got that shit right,” said Jerry the Vulgar Grasshopper. “Thanks again, toots,” he said, hopping away.
“What a coarse little bug,” she said, turning to regard the trapped fly.
Halfway through the movement, sharp pain ripped through one of her left legs. Angrily she looked down to discover the spider had rolled its web covered closer to her leg. Scarlett was shocked to discover that it had sent its digestive fluids onto the leg, causing it to burn and boil as angrily as she felt.
“Rat loving vermin,” she hissed. Without further thought or consideration she lunged at the fly, biting deep and drinking its life fluids.
The fly twisted and writhed beneath her as she fed. The spider’s fluids tasted hot, almost burning her throat. She’d never experienced anything like it. It was close to painful as she had come but she couldn’t pull away. The longer she sucked the life from it, the more addicted to it she became. It was both horrible and exhilarating to her.
Finally she finished it, her head swirling with the taste of her meal. “Dear God,” she gasped. “That was frightful but filling.”
She moved to the top of her web, head throbbing, her body shaking and mind disoriented. “What was wrong with him,” she muttered, settling into her silken perch. “Shouldn’t have eaten him.” She stared at her ruined leg, which had become useless. “Vermin filth.”
The sun began to set and Scarlett couldn’t bring herself to spin a new web. “I’ll just lay here a while,” she groaned. Her voice didn’t sound like her own. It had grown raspy and sounded more like a growl than the soft sweet voice she had come to appreciate. “I hope I didn’t catch what that ass juice eating dipshit had.” Her words were becoming someone else’s too though she knew they had come from her. Then, without warning, Scarlett fell asleep.
She awoke later that night, stiff and feeling ravenous. Aside from the moment of her birth, she had never felt so hungry. The time to feed was upon her and she was compelled to satiate it.
Scarlett opened her mouth to speak but what came out was a metal on metal scream followed by yellowish pink foam bubbling from her mouth. “Good heavens,” she tried to say but more shrieking poured forth. The hunger, oh how painful it was, began to crowd her every thought.
In the murky night, below her web she heard the crickets’ chirping. The sound caused pains in her abdomen. She descended faster than ever before and was rewarded by the discovery of a trio of crickets.
Leaping onto one she tore its thorax, leaving it twitching before moving to the next. The third was able to make it away but not to safety. Scarlett overtook it, cocooning it for later.
Returning to the first two she was outraged to see that they had scampered off. Scarlett let out another wail, this one filled with rage more than hunger. For her, the third would serve as food for the moment instead of later.
Scarlett wound her way back to her web, now unsatisfied with its location.
The cricket wasn’t filling at all. In fact, she needed more than any insect could offer. She wouldn’t say no if any insect crossed her path but she felt that whatever it was wouldn’t be enough. No. Scarlett had developed different tastes.
She scurried from the web, moving as stealthily as she could when she became aware of the silence. The crickets had stopped their music. She was most of the way across the dirt-covered farmyard when the screams of crickets began. The screams were few at first but grew rapidly.
In the nighttime gloom she saw crickets, rollie pollies and grasshoppers running to and fro in terror. In the panicked insects midst were numerous crickets, most missing body parts, chasing and overtaking the living insects.
“Run!” called out a grasshopper, hopping to Scarlett. It was Jerry and his face was more frightened than it had been earlier. “Lady, you did me a solid so…” he stopped short of Scarlett but not short enough to save him. She ate Jerry in record time and she was still hungry.
Scarlett walked through the chaos, taking a nibble here and there as she came nearer to the pigpen. She had a craving for pork and nothing else would do.
She spun her web, keeping an eye on the pigs as they watched the annihilation of the farms insect races.
One pig kept turning his head toward her as she worked in famished feverishness. He would turn his head to look at her before looking back at the mayhem many times before he collected the courage to approach her. When he did, there was no fear in his eyes.
“What are you doing,” the young pig asked, sitting on the ground.
“Building a home for myself. A spider needs a place to stay… and to eat.” Scarlett eyed him ravenously as he shuffled his front feet around for a better look at her web.
“My name is Wilber and your nest is really cool.” Wilber advanced to the edge of the web, out of Scarlett’s reach.
“Why thank you,” hissed Scarlett. “Why don’t you get a closer look?”
“Okay. Thank you.” Wilber walked closer. The screams of the dead and dying insects faded as their undead counterparts feasted on them. “It’s very cool,” he added excitedly.
“‘Welcome to my parlor’ said the undead spider to the pig.” Scarlett launched off her web, spraying web into Wilber’s eyes. He screamed in pain as the acidic fluid blinded him. He tried to flee but Scarlett was on him, biting his back.
The sun came up the next morning and the farmer awoke to eerie silence. No rooster crowed, no horses neighed, no crows called out.
The farmer gathered himself together and went out to investigate. The air was still and no bug or bird stirred.
From the pigpen he heard nervous shuffling and weak fearful grunts. What he found terrified him beyond belief.
The pigs were gathered at the end, encircled by hissing bugs of all kinds. Grasshoppers, wood spiders, crickets, beetles, wasps with broken wings, flies and many more hissed furiously at the pigs.
In the corner lay Wilber’s mangled partially devoured body. Above him was a bloated spider that had spun a twisted web with the message, “Delicious Pig”.