'Dinner Is Late'
It was late and he would be waking from his afternoon nap soon. She
had to get the children out before the struggle began.
“All right,” she smiled at her brood, hiding her discomfort. “All of you, out
you go! Find some nice cool woods where you can play.”
She watched anxiously as her young, gathered at the center of the
sprawling silken nest, impatiently and eagerly prodded each other
towards...and along...the lighter-than-air single strand that would deliver
them safely below.
From above, watching them scamper nimbly away in all directions,
inwardly she acknowledged the pride she felt. They were beautiful.
Of course, she had their father to thank for that. He was a perfect mate,
and now, they were of age.
The time had come for the preordained ritual and though she had never
given thought to its eventual arrival, she would rely on him to prevent its
going forward. It would be up to him.
He, too, had always known the hazardous course their lives would take.
Revulsion coursed through him as he came forward slowly and stretched out calmly at her feet.
“Don’t do this!” she said, achingly. “Fight me!”
“I will not,” he answered gently. “I could not...ever.”
Her eyes already glowed flaming red as fires of ancient anticipation
beyond her knowledge gained control. Obeying eons of inevitability,
she cried, “Forgive me, my love!”
Weeping, slavering, deliriously moaning in unheard ecstasy, the female
spider ingested her beloved mate.
**Author's note: This 250 word short short story won the Daytona Beach, Florida News-Journal's 2009 Scary Story Halloween Contest.