To kick off my Writing Prompt Challenge blog posts, here is the first prompt from /r/writingprompts I was motivated to undertake. Hope you enjoy it!
You never kill the spiders in your home, you just whisper "today you, tomorrow me" when you set them outside. Now ,in your most dire moment, an army of spiders arrives to have your back.
(Credit to /r/writingprompts, you can find the original thread here!)
"Today you, tomorrow me."
As I stood there in the street … I wasn’t sure if I was caught in some twisted wet dream of a fourteen year old me … or the nightmare of a Stephen King Carrie rip-off.
The forlorn wail of sirens somewhere in the distance still registered somewhere in the back of my mind, heat pulsated from the flaming engine of the slag heap that was once my car, the upholstered leather seats of a mid-range Toyota coup set alight by the fireball which had melted the hood down into canyon of blackened metal. The heat to my left was offset by the downpour of freezing water to my right, where a city maintenance truck had barreled over the divider and pulverized some poor fire hydrant and released a geyser that probably rivaled Ol’ Faithful—I wouldn’t know, I’ve never seen Ol’ Faithful, but just go with it.
Fireball. Molten car.
“Oh shit!” I’m not sure what snapped me out of my startled daze, it could’ve been the blue jump-suited city worker who was a man much larger than me in size … and girth. But the more likely suspect in this case, was the buxom blonde bombshell strutting toward me. She was hot. Like really hot.
In more ways than one.
I yelped, tearing my eyes from the increasingly shrinking amount of cloth covering less and less of her sensuous curves as twinkling pinpricks of flame ate at the retreating edges. She cackled maniacally as a flick of her wrist sent another blazing bolt of flame my way. I stumbled more than dove, out of the path the sizzling spell for the safety offered by my slag heap.
I trembled in place, hugging the ground and cherishing the shallow puddle of hydrant water that soaked my shirt. What I had done to wind up in this situation? Beneath the flames—which this close sounded like the snapping of a hundred California redwoods—I could hear the steady steps of her stilettos hitting the asphalt. The metallic taste of blood wet my lips as I peaked up over my arm. In a cruel twist of fate, the kind of joke life seemed to play on you at your lowest moment, I could see the butt of my Springfield XD, and with it the 9mm rounds that would’ve probably saved me, and put this bitch into the ground.
“When they said you were the worlds greatest bounty hunter … I’d expected more.” Her voice was paralyzing, a tone and lilt so sweet that it could’ve passed for one of Willy Wonka’s beloved candies. I felt the pressure of her heel in the small of my back, pinning me down, threatening to push through and crush my spine. Her shadow which fell across me was just as curvaceous and eye-catching as the rest of her—and I hated that I’d die, half-aroused. By a shadow. “Are you going to say anything? What’s it that you mortals say? Any last words?”
Bounty hunter? Any last words? Who’d this lady think she was, Judge Dredd?
“L-lady.” I squirmed for a moment, feeling the pressure of her heel raise off me, and flipped onto my back. Damn, what a view. “I—” look at her eyes you moron. Her eyes. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Oh you don’t?” She seemed amused. Raising a delicate hand, tongues of flame blinked into life. “I figured you’d die with a little mo—”
And just like that. She stopped. It was as if she were an animatronic at Chuck E’ Cheese, and someone had just yanked the plug. Her eyes were fixed on the horizon, straight down Fourth Street. I took a hesitant breath.
“A little more?” I ventured.
That’s when I heard the sound, beneath the emergency sirens becoming slowly louder, the crackling flames, the pattering of water, there was a skittering noise. It grew by the second in intensity, moving from a tinkling of needles on tile to a simmer of bacon grease in a pan. Even the paralysis of imminent death couldn't stop my curious self from shimmying to one side for a better view of what had rapt the Human Torch’s attention.
“What the hell?” her and I muttered in unison as we watched a mottled wave of earthen tones wash down the avenue. A million arachnids of varying size scuttled over mailboxes, cars, fences … homes. Everything in their path.
The Flaming Bitch—seemed an apt name—took a step back, then a second, then a third. She snapped her arm out, a scorching ball of flame spun toward the endless swarm. The sea of arachnids parted, then rejoined. Her fireball dissipating harmlessly against the shred of street that had been momentarily exposed.
They were a few feet away from my face now. For some reason my mind hadn’t thought of the idea to run, but running wouldn’t do me much good right now anyway.
Hundreds of spiders in the front of the horde parted, as if making way for a king. Curiosity replaced fear. The Flaming Bitch and I watched in stunned silence.
A lone spider hobbled out to the forefront, one of his eight legs conspicuously absent. I recognized the little bug, he’d been in my kitchen not a week prior.
Today you, tomorrow … me.
The four words I’d repeated countless times, flashed through my mind. The same four words I had whispered to this seven-legged creepy crawly the morning I’d released him on my porch.
I glanced back at my would-be killer, wondering why her voice had dropped to a basso more appropriate for James Earl Jones. She glanced down at me and gave a quick shake of the head.
“Leave him now, or perish.” the voice commanded.
It wasn’t The Flaming Bitch, no, it was the mother-lovin’ spider.
What. The. Hell.
Hope you enjoyed that quick read. I would love to read your own story inspired by the prompt, or your thoughts on my piece above! Share it below in the comments, or post in the Reddit thread to see what kind of feedback you get!
I post on this blog rather sporadically as some of you may have noticed! As I balance out writing with "the day job" I will do my best to post more consistently.
Thank you for your support and feedback!
Matthew Taylor was born February 13, 1991 in Simi Valley, California. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from California State University Channel Islands, where he served as treasurer and briefly President of one of the campus's two political clubs. While earning his degree he continued to write and hone his craft, eventually releasing an initial few short stories on Kindle.