The Spider

posted in: Flash Fiction | 0

Where the Web Leads
Yesterday, I sat outside, watching the smoke curl from the cigarette. A short hiatus, away from the phones, the chatter, the work. I wasn’t supposed to be smoking.

“I need to quit.” Words uttered by every addict.

And as an addict, I enjoyed every bit of dragon’s breath I could expend. Something to control. Fire held between my fingers. A smoldering spark, bringing me calm to ignite my thoughts.

I looked up, because, really, no one ever looks up. My gaze skyward paid off. I saw an ity-bitty, teeny-tiny spider hanging in mid-air. He climbed up and down a tender strand, building, figuring.

A breeze raised hairs on my neck, the same breeze that began to carry him, but he hung absolute. Took the ride. Not knowing nature’s purpose. The spider travelled without thought. Anyplace would be better than suspended above my cement patio. Slim pickings for a spider. All the neighbors sprayed for bugs. 

I considered places the currents would take him. Studied his movements for clues. His travel presented as prefect in purpose. Fine silk thread spurt. He swung low, covered more distance. Never get anywhere on a short string. Nice and long now, beyond normal physics. Abort-Abort, launch not imminent. The spider scurried back up the strand, returning to safety.

But what about later? He will fly. Catch one of those breezes. That’s how it works, but where? Would he end up in the lagoon across the street? Hunting insects to liquify, devour, grow bigger, stronger. Then he’d come back, bite my hand in my sleep? Make me itch for a week?

More likely he would end up smashed in the grill of a car easing along the road separating my home from the wilderness encroached upon. They would hit him, end his life, without awareness. If not by grill, by tire, by simple wind pull and speed. Would this spider be alive tomorrow? Did he care?

A mocking bird sounded reminding me of my task. The fake birds – making calls, trying to fit in. Trying to sound like the landscape around it, failing, sounding fake, desperate. Maybe that bird would eat my spider. Give itself sustenance for the next few hours of being a bird.

I smashed the spent cigarette in the ashtray. Stomping out the last sparks with quick, succinct jabs. Realization struck, the spider didn’t care. He just floated in the currents, waiting to see where his web would take him.

I began to think like the spider.

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