A long and exceptionally buoyant Summer was coming to a close. The spider nestled outside the kitchen door in his web tightly notched in the crook of one of the uprights of the porch sat patiently as always for the visitation of a new meal. The owner of the residence had observed its evolution over the preceding months from barely a thimbleful to a size almost rivaling a strong man’s fist. The implicit relationship that had ensued between the apartment’s occupant and the imperturbable cootie was based upon the fact that the season had been virtually fly free. The spider’s residence providing a buffer to other genus beyond those pesky Diptera. Their understanding a matter of behavior and continued performance. This impression had been quickly dashed when due to some mysterious oversight the Araneae had transgressed into the house to envelope a hapless kitten. One of a fresh litter of the cat that the man had been bamboozled by his ‘Ex’ ito watch from the current weekend through to the next. His solitary search of the surrounding grounds and within the one story structure yielding no immediate evidence of the fledgling’s presence. That was until the man opened the back closet of the back room to find a tight grid inscribed above an upper shelf. This thickly woven net encompassing the shriveled remains of a tiny emaciated little fur ball vibrating within its tension in mid air. The best supposition to the solution of this encounter offered in the fact of the older structure’s faulty construction yielded ingress of the ‘eight-legger’ via a ceiling fissure straight through from the attic along the pathway of a decaying soffit. One by one over the coming days the remaining occupants of the litter disappeared with the same spiderish alacrity as the first. The evening preceding the arrival of his ‘Ex’ to retrieve her pets was greeted by the disappearance of the tabby mother. The man now loathe to check the corner for further evidence of what he was well aware of what was now transpiring. Though he had not personally seen the perpetrator of these serial disappearances he could only imagine in his mind’s eye how it had grown both in size and boldness. His own bedroom’s battens checked for the possibility of ceding to an unexpected confrontation in the dead of night he pondered not only what he might say in defense to his ex-wife’s expected wrath. he was already in trouble with her lawyers due to his spotty record of alimony payments over the preceding months.
Slowly a plan congealed within his brain that swept away his lurking sensory revulsion over the previous week’s events and the inevitable showdown with this monster to contest any further animal mayhem. By now he estimated that the creature must have assumed a size that at least equaled that of the combined weight of its victims. That in some way must have limited its area of travel as the consumption of six kittens had precluded further travel through the hole int he closet’s ceiling. He had secured the door the to back room that very morning. It being the site where the cat’s basket had been left at the commencement of it’s happy little family stay. His lodger must still be in there? It’s appetite growing progressionally? Would it be a match for a smallish woman of barely a hundred and five pounds? He got out of bed and armed with a flashlight and baseball bat struggled warily up the attic’s steps. It’s small door opened with the greatest of care so as not to unexpectedly loose the possibility of an insect opponent. A carefully inspection from the door jamb as the strong column of light issued from his electric torch verified his theorem. The spider was nowhere to be found in the attic. His gumption amplified by his careful search he advanced to the general area of the closet where the fissure had provided access and shining the light through it spied the glint of small stack several eyes peering back through the hole at him. Judging as best he could he returned downstairs and continued his plot sitting at the kitchen table just before the break of dawn. His wrathful former spouse need only tale down the back hall to the room holding the empty basket. A subsequent search in the usual places under the bed would leave only the open door to the closet. The inevitable would transpire and depending upon the current dimensions of its current occupant his longterm problem and the beast immediate issues would be resolved. The only decision that was left to be made was whether he should attempt to close the room’s door while the spider was busy with its new prey or simply prepare a bag to vacate the entire premises upon verification of the completion of the deed? Both seemed to have some merit? Considering that the initial shock of an attack by so large a creature would cause immediate incapacitation of itself and allow for the requisite serum from the spider’s vomit allowed for it to digest its silk wrapped prey. What would be his reaction to the possibility of the lament of his Ex’s muffled shrieks? he was after all a person who could claim a certain sensitivity to the distress of others. But considering the torment that had been purposely visited upon him by the constant wrath of his vindictive former love, the experience might lead to a balancing of the inner trauma he had suffer over those years. Maybe he would give it a try for a night or two before making a final decision?
But what would he do with his increasingly voracious pet. It’s desire for sustenance would not abate with one hearty meal? The light of the morning sun had enlivened the room before he had come up with a seeking brilliant intuition. His line of trade had left him with an awareness of certain personalities whose unsavory nature in the business of loan sharking demanded that a lesson or two occasionally needed to be taught. Perhaps he could rent out his residence for the purposes of providing an efficient alternative to what he surmised were freshly congealed concrete shoes and a midnight ride to the local quarry’s reservoir? These matters requiring a certain delicacy that an initial test of services might confirm. The accumulated fees for the provision of such services allowing for a more upscale type of existence in another town far away? This seemed a win win solution. A sharp rap on the front door announced the arrival of his shrew. She blustered in irritably beset by some minor interruption that had noting to do with him beyond being the most convenient target of her vitriol. The issue of her valuable time being wasted by her continual presence here solved by his simple invocation that the cat’s basket was still resting in the back room where she had left it. Her curses of possible concerns suggesting the possibility of his neglect in ignoring her pet’s welfare floating behind her as the stamped down the short hallway to the closed back bedroom door. He sat in the kitchen careful cocking his ear to detect the possible events that his mind’s eye so graphically provided. Her tinny voice loudly demanding the whereabouts of the cat amidst short episodes of the the scrape of furniture being roughly yanked aside. “Have you looked in the closet?”, he lazily replied in a purposefully lackadaisical unconcerned tone that he knew would drive her into further fits. A short span of pregnant silence that seemed to last for seconds converted into singular hours ensuing. He sat there somewhat perplexed as to what the outcome had been? Had he imagined the spider’s presence in the dim light of the attic. Had it somehow taken flight through a shattered window in the interim of early morning to better pickings within a local barn or shed? Cautiously he regained his heavy flashlight and bat to explore the hallway and peer into the bedroom’s door now open. Whatever sense of possible disgust he might experience at the possible sight of what lay within overcome with the need for closure. He picked up a small shaving mirror in the bathroom along the way and carefully fished it around the jamb of the room. The occasional brush of the sound of an impotent struggle coming from within the darkened closet was verified visually by a single woman’s empty shoe flipped over haphazardly upon it’s side. He reached in and quietly closed the door in a manner that would not disturb the cloaked embrace now in progress just beyond. The recollection coming to mind of how his wife had always been partial to silk.