by Barbara Hughes-Moore

She did not move for days as the spider spun a gossamer prison around her.

She did not speak. She did not blink. She barely breathed. Many thought her mind was sick; they spoke of depression, disassociation; more still feared a coma, a living death. They could not fathom what had brought her to the brink of such misery.

Her windows and doors were locked. They did not know how. No amount of beating could break them down. They could only watch through the glass as the cobwebs began to cover her bare arms and her folded legs and dripped from her hair like a wedding veil.

The spider danced on her eyelashes, staining her lips silver and threading shimmering trails across her throat. It left her pinned in place, a living mural, a monument to melancholy that moved at the slightest sigh.

It was no web.

It was a cage.

Her red hands gripped the floorboards. She had buried him under this very spot. She would never leave him now. The spider knew this, so it spared her eyes. She would always be able to look into the blank gaze that peered up from the crack in the floor. Together, as they’d always said they would be.

She had summoned the spider to be her sentry, to shape a cell for her shame, and it had done so. It served no further purpose for her now. With shaky legs, it clambered up her chin and rested against her lips, like a kiss. She flicked out her tongue and chewed him up.

Its juices spilled down her chin and dripped onto her palms. It didn’t bother her.

A little more blood on her hands couldn’t hurt…

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