Lily Childs proposed, in honour of impending autumn and the arrival of many household "visitors" that there should be a week devoted to "Spider Stories" whether real or imagined. (Post here)
It got my own gears going ... respect spiders, but can't stand them.
Here's my tale: (Limited time engagement - it turned out pretty well, so I'm going to do something with it.)
Charlie and Lisa were fighting, again. This time it was over the small off-road motorbike in the boathouse. Lisa had been talking about it all the way up to the cottage. She couldn't wait to strap on her helmet and take to the trails. It was a little windy, which would keep the bugs away, but it was warm enough that a splash through the mud wouldn't cause a ride-ending chill.
Upon arrival at the cottage, however, Charlie had agreed that it was a perfect day for a ride after all, and bolted for the large, weather-beaten barn-like structure near the water. Lisa ran after her and tackled her sister just as she was pulling open one of the heavy barn doors.
Though they were the best of friends at times, Charlie and Lisa spared no punches when fighting was called for. It was a small wonder then, that everyone called them "tomboys".
Mom and Dad had long ago given up trying to come between them. Lisa and Charlie had preferred it that way, and had so far been able to settle their disputes without any bones being broken ... so far.
"Get off!" yelled Charlie, still recovering from being knocked to the ground. Lisa knew from experience she'd have to get her shots in fast. If her sister, two years her senior, got a chance to catch her breath, this would get much harder. Lisa grabbed her sister's shoulders.
"Who gets to go first?" said Lisa. She drew back her hand to slap her sister's face.
With a grunt, Charlie replied, "Me!" and bucked her hips suddenly. Lisa was thrown off balance, and Charlie shot a hand out to grab a handful of Lisa's ponytail. Lisa was slammed hard to the ground, and Charlie jumped on her, panting, redfaced, and pissed off.
"Say uncle." said Charlie.
"NO!" screamed Lisa.
"Say uncle!," Charlie repeated, gritting her teeth. "Or I'll kick your ten-year-old ass into Piper's Creek."
Lisa tried to struggle free. She felt tears welling up. "You always do this!" she cried, "You just want to go because I wanted to go first!"
Charlie pinched her nose hard. It started to bleed.
"Why I wanted to go first doesn't matter," said Charlie, her voice now calm, to the point of being patronizing, "You me from behind, that's against the rules, and now you have to say uncle."
Lisa didn't reply because it was at that moment that she saw the spider. The top of the barn door was clotted thick with spiderweb. When Charlie had opened the boathouse, it had doubtless torn the thick cloud of silk into shreds. The owner of those webs was now descending rapidly on a single strand, as if coming to have a word with the destroyer of its property.
Charlie, who was oblivious to the impending visit, said, "Say uncle, or it's the spit-torture for you." To prove she wasn't bluffing, she pursed her lips and let saliva begin pooling there.
"No. No!" said Lisa, shaking her head back and forth. She was terrified of spiders, and had been since a camping trip three years ago, when she'd been bitten by a big brown spider hidden in their firewood. She'd felt the bite, and, even worse, felt it skitter away down her arm to escape in the brush at her feet. The thought of those little legs still made her shiver.
The spider that was currently descending was just as big, just as brown, and currently on course to land on her face. She could see the thing working its spindly legs behind it.
"Let me up! Let me go Charlie!" screamed Lisa, her voice edging close to panic now.
"Let her go Charlie," came Dad's voice from the car. His tone, however, suggested that he knew he'd be ignored, just as he always was.
The spider was coming closer.
"You asked for it, twerp," said Charlie, and let the spit start to hang down. Lisa wasn't even paying attention to the impending loogie.
"SPIDER. There's a spider coming down on us!" cried Lisa.
Splat. The spit hit her cheek. Lisa didn't notice; she was crying hard now, and her cheeks were slick with tears.
"Uncle! UNCLE! Let me up you fucking bully!" Lisa sputtered, still watching the spider get closer, and closer. It was going to land right on her mouth. She jerked her body, but Charlie was too heavy.
"There we go," said Charlie, smiling. "That wasn't so hard, was it?" She shifted her weight to the side, and got to her feet. Without warning, the spider dropped off its line, and fell the final three feet to land on Lisa's cheek.
Lisa's eyes bugged out. She clamped her lips tight, not wanting it to crawl inside. She wanted to get it off, but fear had disconnected the messages to her hands. Trying to scream with a closed mouth, only a muffled whimper came out. The spider was starting to crawl toward her eye. The tiny legs tickled her skin as they carried the spider across her face.
"Oh! Oh gross!" said Charlie, all malice now gone from her voice. In one swift move, she stooped, and snatched the spider from her sister's face. Charlie stood, and made to throw the spider away.
"Ow! He bit me!" she cried, then dropped the thing to the ground, and stomped it flat. She shook her hand, and looked back at her sister. "Yuck. Are you okay Lise?"
Lisa, able to move again, nodded, and got to her feet.
"Thanks." she said. "I'm sorry I hit you from behind."
"I'm sorry I made you say uncle." replied Charlie, still shaking her hand. "Agh. This really hurts." It was starting to turn an angry red shade.
Charlie kept complaining about her hand until, after an agonizing trip to the hospital in town thirty minutes away, the doctor pronounced her bite to be the work of a brown recluse spider. Luckily, it hadn't injected any venom with the bite, or she could have lost half the skin on her hand. As it was, Charlie's palm and fingers would be too sore to do much of anything for the next week.
"Lucky school's out." said the doctor.
"Yeah. Real lucky." replied Charlie, rolling her eyes.
Out of respect for what her sister had done for her, Lisa tried not to enjoy the motorbike too much.