Thursday, February 4, 2010

Babushka Killing Jars

A response to Nathaniel Lee's "Killing Jar" in Mirror Shards.

The basement stairs, weathered two by fours pocked by knots, looked like they might collapse with even Elias's scrawny ass. Billy held a mayonnaise jar, the lid in his other hand, as he stood on the threshold of the stairs and wondered whether scaring his sister was worth the probability that he might break his neck on these stairs.

"Go on," said Elias. "You aren't scared are ya?"

"Where's the light switch?"

"There isn't any lights down there. Besides, you don't want the spiders to hide away when they see the light."

"But how will we see down there?"

"A couple squat windows that are mostly covered with dirt splashed by the rain let in a little light so your eyes will adjust."

Billy stepped forward and felt the stairs shift and creak under his weight and he paused but the stairs held. He hurried down the rest of the stairs and felt spiderwebs brush across his cheek, sticky webs that stuck to his fingers. Billy wondered how long it took the spiders to create these webs, just the web would start Tess screaming.

"What are you waiting for?" asked Elias. "The best spiders are under the staircase there. Be careful."

Billy stretched over the stacks of newspapers and brown grocery bags filled with junk and looked for a spider. He thought he saw a movement, a strand of web that drifted in the air. A bulky angular body crept along the underside of the stair it's hairy legs black against the dim stairs and bubbles of saliva emanated from below the black eyes. Perfect, thought Billy. Tess got upset when Puddles, their golden retriever, slobbered on her. Billy raised the Mason jar but the spider scurried forward and the jar cracked against the bottom of the stair but the spider wasn't in the glass. Instead, it was just outside of it and it dropped down onto Billy's hand and bit him. Billy felt weird, as if he was falling from a tree and the room prismed into thousands of pictures like looking through a mirrored kaleidoscope. He heard Elias's voice as if it was far away and he was at the bottom of a deep, deep hole.

"She's poisonous," said Elias.

Billy found that he had eight hairy legs segmented and he felt awkward as he flailed his legs around. Somehow his flailing managed to turn his body and he saw dozens of Elias's coming at him each of them holding a mayonnaise jar. The mayonnaise jar merged into a single jar that fell over him and the air ruffled his hairy legs, which tickled. The jar slid along the floor and then tilted and Billy felt himself fall along the glass.

With a muffled voice Elias said, "Another creep to add to my collection. Welcome to your new home, Billy."

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