Horror and Thriller Fiction posted November 10, 2018

This work has reached the exceptional level
It's not just the cat that curiosity got...


by Y. M. Roger

The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

It was an odd structure, to be sure, if that was even what it could be called. Still emotionally wired from the midnight showing of the latest Marvel movie, Jerel and his friends walked around what they thought to be the edges of it. Strange that it was here, in the middle of City Park, and they had not noticed it before. It seemed to be more aptly described as groupings of intricate trellises loosely connected by more substantial headboards. The groupings were more or less evenly distributed in a circular pattern, and, no matter the direction they chose to walk around the outer edge, they always ended up back where they started. At a minimum, they would bump into another in the group that had been circling, trying to figure the whole thing out. Definitely circular.
“Have you ever noticed this before?” Tony asked.
“That’s a dumbass question, T,” Jerel chided, “you were with us last weekend and the weekend before that – do you remember noticing this?”
“Well, we were drunk the last few times, Jer – could have something to do with our memories.” That was Calvin – always the realist, that one.
Just then, a noise drew their attention to the apparent center of the ‘structure’, and they jumped behind a bush to avoid detection. A hunched-over elderly lady exited the small, vine-covered house there – a simple head scarf tied neatly around her neck, the upper portion draped such that it covered much of her face. She scurried about – quite spry, it seemed, for her age – and began tending the various vines and other plants growing amidst the oddly-built structures. Around her waist, she wore a large pack that rested across her backside; it reminded Jerel of that stupid pack his dad always wore on their biking treks – a ‘fanny pack’ or something – although the old lady’s was definitely larger. As they watched from their concealed vantage point, she would seemingly weave the vines into intricate shapes, supplementing with colorful strands and objects that she pulled from her pack. Her gnarled hands moved with a certain grace about them and her body, stubby and bent, moved in time to their movements.
“Crazy ol’ bitch is wicked good at that,” Tony whispered.
Immediately, the pudgy little gray lady froze, turning slowly in their direction, straining to see and hear any more – because, yeah, it was obvious she'd heard Tony’s voice.  Jerel and Calvin both nudged Tony and gave him the ‘shut up or we’ll kill you’ look. However, almost as quickly as she had turned toward them, she turned back to her work, the pace at which she weaved and entwined appearing to increase, if only in the slightest.
Once again belying what seemed to be her advanced age, she moved to another location and actually climbed up a step or two on one of the support beams. There, she pulled some of the strangest colors and intriguing shapes from her pack and wove them in a most enticing manner to a curious mind. Turning and appearing to look directly at the boys’ location again for an eerie and almost tense few seconds, she then scuttled to the next set of trellises and continued her most curious work. Her actions continued to amaze the friends as she demonstrated quite remarkable balance and agility.
In an effort to figure out what the objects and streamers were, Jerel took the time to survey the trellises with a bit more of a discerning eye. The moonlight that filtered through the trees was an instant beacon as it reflected on some of her chosen objects that resided in the vines now. The effect was a definite beckon to Jerel as he simply itched to touch the shiny objects being brushed by the colorful ribbon. Damn! He really just wanted to know what the old woman was up to!
Then, another curiosity: what were the large hanging ‘plantings’ that seemed to be hung at random intervals from some of the headboards? They looked to Jerel to be large ball-foundations for Staghorn Fern growths, but they lacked the large, antler-like fronds, although the ball-bases were certainly well-formed. He’d always admired the Staghorns his Grammie had; they’d always looked so majestic with that seemingly bland base and those gorgeous, radiating ‘stag antlers’ growing out in every direction. The few hangings visible to Jerel from here, however, were covered in more of an irregular cross-hatch pattern of moss, leading him to believe they were a hanging planter of sorts. Problem was, from this distance, he couldn’t determine what, if anything, was actually planted in them.
Finally, the little hunchback female waddled back from her work and took a good assessing look at it, before turning her attention straight in the direction of Jerel and friends for another strained few seconds. Breaking her indiscernible gaze, she then bustled over to one of the hangings Jerel had been examining from a distance and – once again demonstrating an unexpected dexterity and even strength – climbed up to detach it. She then carried it in her gnarled little arms as she scurried back into her little house and slammed the door.
The guys almost fell out from behind the bushes that had concealed them as they collectively breathed a sigh of relief at her exit.
“Okay, that was some weird shit,” Calvin brilliantly observed, taking a few steps toward the closest set of trellises.
Jerel grabbed his arm.
“Wait, Cal,” he looked all around as if to find someone else watching them, “I don’t think that’s a very good idea.”
Tony laughed as he walked ahead of the two of them.
“Seriously, Jer, did you see how old and hunched over that bitch is?” Shaking his head as he walked and talked, “Pretty sure even you could outrun her on one of your bad days!”
Calvin easily jerked his arm from Jerel’s grip, laughing along with Tony.
“Don’t you want to see what some of this crap is that she was so busy hanging here?” He followed Tony as they both stepped into the area between the outer two trellis groupings, “I mean, just look at this! Here’s a freaking Hershey Bar!”

Tony walked to check that out as Calvin was standing in front of a wonderful weaving of color, metallic, and vines that was undoubtedly a siren song to Calvin’s inner artist.
Sighing heavily and shrugging, Jerel followed his curious friends, deciding he would take the time to get a better look at one of those large hanging objects. As he circled underneath one in consternation, he noticed that it wasn’t moss that lined most hanging basket planters, but actual rope. But not white or colorful rope like he’d seen at the stores; this looked to be more of a thick twine in places and natural vines woven into a rope in others. And there, protruding from between the wrappings, was a piece of material or something. Reaching up to examine the material, Jerel recognized it as the hem of a mesh team jersey, most likely football. He’d begun tugging on it just a bit when Tony’s swearing interrupted his investigation.
“Get this damn thing off me! What the f-”
“Tony!” Jerel warned in a harsh whisper, “Shut the hell up, ma-” But as he turned to face his friend while chastising him, he was shocked by what he saw.
Tony’s hands and arms were completely covered in vines and colorful strips as he fought aggressively to peel them off, but it seemed that the more he moved to get them off, the more of them he pulled onto himself. In fact, as Jerel watched with mounting dread, Tony managed to get his head and torso entangled as well.
Making to go help Tony, Jerel went to lower his hand from the jersey piece, only to find that it would not detach from his fingers. Just as he reached up with his other hand to push on the rope-hanging to extricate himself, his attention was drawn by Calvin nearby.
Jerel looked over to find Calvin’s hands stuck to the colorful weaving he’d been admiring, and, as Jerel watched in horror, Calvin raised the mess toward his face to use his teeth to pull it off.
And Jerel found his voice just seconds too late, “No, Calvin! Don’t!”
The entire woven mesh, including Calvin’s hands, was now attached to Calvin’s face. Struggling with his balance in his efforts to open a clear airway, he fell back against one of the vine-covered support beams. And there he was stuck, without a hope of freeing himself – his ability to stand, much less walk, was gone as he continued to moan and fight. He could not holler or scream – the woven ‘art’ covered his mouth and nose. And, as he fought, he became more tangled in the surrounding vines with every panic-driven movement.
Attempting to go and help free his friends, Jerel felt terror fill his being when he realized that both of his hands were stuck to the hanging, effectively trapping him in place with his hands above his head. He soon joined his friends in the chorus of expletives as he pulled harder and harder on the piece of jersey stuck to one of his hands and the natural ropes to the other.
In the midst of their frenzied struggling, the door to the little house flew open and out scurried the hunchbacked gray lady, only this time she was not wearing her head scarf. She stopped short to survey the activities, and, as she turned directly toward him, Jerel’s terror was ramped to the point that he screamed even before he’d thought to do so.
The old lady’s eyes simply weren’t human. In fact, multiple eyes became visible across the upper part of her face as her attention was drawn to Calvin. She quickly scuttled over to him and reached out to examine a few of the vines that held him captive. Nodding in satisfaction, she turned her attention to Tony’s heated struggles. 
“Please.” Jerel felt the word pulled from his mouth as she reached out a hand toward Tony’s still-standing yet completely restrained form, “Pleeease….”
She turned toward him, her odd-shaped little head angling back and forth in an almost curious gesture. Her head was completely covered in a layer of light gray hair that seemed to be more like a fur. Out of that ‘fur’, much longer, stiffer strands protruded, especially across the top. Opening her over-sized mouth, she revealed a horrible set of fangs as she attempted to mimic Jerel’s word.
She then shook her head and bared her large fangs – an empty, bone-chilling laugh emanating from her maw.
Watching her turn away from him and back toward Tony, Jerel fought with all of his strength to pull his hands from the roped hanging, even to the point of raising his feet off the ground and bouncing.  As he continued to struggle and Tony’s curses turned from frustration to begging, Jerel watched in sheer horror as the stumpy female climbed Tony’s back and sunk her fangs into his neck.
Almost immediately, Tony’s motions ceased and a blank stare washed over his face. The disgusting female stayed attached to his neck for a few seconds more as her multiple eyes all seemed to fade from a maddening instability to a sated calm. As she slowly pulled her fangs free of Tony’s skin, small sprays of blood initially followed the extrication. She then proceeded to lap at the thick, red liquid until the bleeding stopped. Pausing for a few moments to sniff the area and run her tongue along his jaw, she then turned her focus on Jerel.
Baring her fangs again before beginning to lower herself to the ground, she sang as she did so, “FFfffffleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezzz … yeeeeeeeeeesssssssshhh …. FFffleeeeeeeeeeeeeezzz!”
Dread filling every pore, every thought in his being, Jerel fought harder than he ever had in his entire life, curse words and pleas pouring from him in utter nonsense.
Her feet met the ground at the same moment that the suspension of the hanging gave way, sending Jerel backwards against the nearby trellis – the weight of the large mass falling hard against him. He found himself completely enmeshed in the broken weavings as the hanging broke apart. His hand remained stuck to the jersey…a jersey worn by a decomposing body that now fell apart at his feet, a portion of its torso remaining in the jersey.
He began kicking frantically – unable to move his upper body due to the sticky vines on the trellis – his only thought at that moment of insanity to extricate himself from the body and the remnants of the hanging. Of course, the more he kicked, the more he became entangled.
Jerel’s voice had actually begun to fade slightly from his horrific screams, his body becoming exhausted from the fear and the fight. He glanced up to find the old 'lady' standing in front of him. She was angling her head back and forth again, as if she were studying him, trying to figure something out.
Tears coated his face, and he felt the fight leave his body as she reached a gnarled hand toward his middle. A strangled cry left him at her touch.
Not breaking their eye contact, she repeated her song, “FFffleeeeeeeeeeeeeezzz?”
Sobbing and unable to control himself anymore, he glanced across at Tony’s empty stare, a stare that now included tears running down his friend’s face from both eyes. He looked to the side at the moaning, unmoving pile of junk and vines that contained Calvin. He pleaded once more as she climbed his chest, her awful breath ghosting across his face.
A growling laughter gurgled from her throat as she grabbed his hair and yanked his head to the side, allowing her clear access to his neck. The moment the pain of the fangs registered and he managed his last cry for mercy, every muscle in his body let go. The pain continued as he felt the suction of her mouth on his life’s essence, but he was unable to move anymore. He was completely paralyzed.
He felt her climb down and felt himself impact with the hard ground – the dead eyes and speechless mouth of the jerseyed-corpse staring mockingly at him. He then watched in helplessness as she began pulling length after length of the natural twine and braided rope from her pack and methodically bound him in a tight fetal position. She then proceeded to wrap him in layers of that same rope, preparing him, it seemed, to be her next hanging.
Before she covered his head, she sunk her fangs into him once more, taking one last, long pull.
“FFffleeeeeeeeeeeeeezzz … yeeeesh? Mmmmmmm…”
Licking along his jaw as a last action just as she had done to Tony, she continued wrapping him in the rope until all Jerel could see was blackness, and he felt himself lifted into the air.
When the female Arachness completed her hanging of Jerel and the other two, she pulled her entire web back into her little reserved wrinkle of reality’s fabric … until such a time that she ran low on food supplies again.
And another three missing person reports were filed with the Metropolitan police department the following morning.


Horror Story Writing Contest contest entry

"'Come into my parlor,' said the spider..."

Soooooooo, a true 'horror' write? I think so...:) It's my first. Let me know what you think of it... :) ;)

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