margaret and the spider by jadamthwaite

24 Jan

Margaret narrowed her eyes and stared at the spider on the ceiling. The spider stared back. Margaret knew she could win this. A bit of concentration, that’s all it took. The spider poked one leg out and waved it at her tentatively. Margaret didn’t flinch. She kept on staring. The spider waved another leg. Margaret kept on staring. Its eyes were sunset-red and she could see herself reflected in them, glossy and glowing like a candle.

Margaret paused to grin to herself. That was a good line. She smiled at the empty armchair on the other side of the coffee table and cleared her throat.

The spider bent its knees, took a deep breath and assumed a look of deep concentration. Then it shuffled its feet and started to tap dance. It made no noise, of course, with its furry little feet and spindly legs, but it was energetic and Margaret had to work very hard to keep eye contact. The dance didn’t last long. The spider huffed and puffed and eventually collapsed into a small black heap on the ceiling, its glowing eyes fixed firmly on Margaret.

Margaret inched her blanket up higher. It was bloody cold in here today. She clasped her hands firmly round the tape recorder, running a bent thumb clumsily across the buttons. On her walking frame beside her, a murky puddle of coffee cooled in a blue floral cup. There were two teaspoons – because she still hadn’t quite got the hang of only taking one out of the cutlery drawer –a pile of embroidered hankies, and a scattered collection of blank cassettes. Margaret took a deep breath and began again.

Margaret nodded at the spider and leapt out of her chair. She only had two legs, true, but she was a demon with a pair of tap shoes. She clicked and rattled her way through the happy little number, finished with a flourish and stared triumphantly at the spider. The spider nodded slowly – sadly – and dragged itself across the ceiling, where it let down a thin ladder of silk and lowered itself gently to the floor. It heaved an enormous sigh and trudged out the living room door, waving one small leg at Margaret on the way out.

Margaret laughed aloud and forced a stiff finger onto the stop button. She looked glumly at her thick ankles laid rigidly across the footstool and thumped her stick on the carpet.

Chance’d be a fine thing, eh? she said to the spider.


Links to Cobwebs


7 Responses to “margaret and the spider by jadamthwaite”

  1. ingridfnl January 24, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    What a beautiful story. I love the whimsy of it… and how vividly it shows her inner self railing against her outer fragility. Really lovely.

  2. Lydia Jayne January 24, 2010 at 10:40 pm #

    Absolutely delightful! I particularly loved how the spider “heaved an enormous sigh and trudged out the living room door, waving one small leg at Margaret on the way out.”

  3. typicalquirk January 25, 2010 at 2:40 am #

    I liked the same line Lydia Jayne did. This story was well written. Margaret is spunky and full of life even though she is older. Well done!

  4. fairyhedgehog January 25, 2010 at 9:01 am #

    It’s a great story. I love her spirit.

  5. phoenix.writing January 30, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

    I agree with everybody else. 😀 I loved the back and forth between the fictional and the real words, the lightness of the characters in the recording as Margaret combats what’s happening in real life. The two teaspoons was a nice (melancholy) touch. ^_^

  6. jadamthwaite February 1, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    Thank you all. I kind of liked the idea of Margaret telling the story herself – only when it came to it, it turned out she didn’t want to tell the real one! I thought writing the prompt might make the task easier… it didn’t!


  1. cobwebs by jadamthwaite « the character project - February 21, 2010

    […] Links to Margaret and the Spider […]

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