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Jeff didn’t know how he became a fly but the whole situation pissed him off. He worked three shifts a week at the county landfill where he cleaned the office, guard shack, and restroom every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. “Crap pay and trash benefits,” he’d tell the bald-headed manager from New York at the mom-and-pop pizza shop across the street. He never laughed but he smiled every time. Jeff liked him. He didn’t like the guy from the back who brought orders to the front and wore his hair in a ponytail. He smelled like pepperoni and never smiled at his joke, no matter how many times Jeff tried to explain it.

 

Jeff existed alone, often gazing out his cracked kitchen window to the small-town streets and local shops of Longview, one-story below. Rent was cheap for the small space, a necessity according to Jeff’s bank account. The bald-headed manager said bad things happened in the apartment a few years ago and that was probably why it was so cheap. Jeff believed him. Not just because he was the manager, but because he smiled at his joke. The history didn’t bother Jeff, little did, except not having anyone to sing him happy birthday when August 8th rolled around. He ate his cake and blew out his candle alone every year. Jeff had no family and no real friends.

 

Jeff’s life changed when he had a heart-attack and died.

 

The heart-attack hit hard, though Jeff remembers it only hurting for a moment. He walked in after his shift at the landfill, laid his small pizza from across the street on the counter, and when he turned to the recliner, he dropped. Then came darkness.

 

His next memory is blurred by the haze that often connects dreams to waking consciousness. He witnessed his body from above, like a spirit recently released from the restraints of flesh. The feeling of near weightlessness fascinated Jeff, and he spent the first few hours after dying hovering above his old self in confused wonder. Jeff never understood science or religion; he was the only person in Longview to get expelled from both Vacation Bible School and the Cub Scouts; but he had heard of the light he was supposed to go into. So, he hovered and waited, and he waited and hovered. When the light didn’t show, he floated higher. He tried to pass through the ceiling but it wouldn’t work and it hurt his head. Jeff decided to rest and think about his situation. If he had “passed” and become a spirit or a ghost, why couldn’t he pass through the ceiling? The question felt important, but thinking while dead proved difficult for Jeff and also hurt his head, so he let the thought go and waited a little longer.

***

 

Jeff’s fly life truly began when he met a moth named Moth the night after he died, though time passed differently dead so the hour isn’t certain. The world moved slower. Days and nights blended into one long dusk and dawn. Seconds and minutes waltzed along at a nearly rhythmic pace.

 

At some point Jeff gave up trying to figure out how to pass through the ceiling and began looking for another way out of his apartment. His dead body, sprawled face-down on the floor below, smelled stiff and cold. His ratty brown recliner sat empty in the corner of the room. The silver tape that zig-zagged its back and criss-crossed the seat cushion had frayed and torn in several places allowing yellow foam stuffing to poke through. The ratty recliner, a couple of end-tables and lamps from the thrift store, and a TV were the only real pieces of furniture in the room. Jeff remembered the landlord telling him the place looked “pitiful.” Jeff remembered because it gave him the perfect opportunity to tell his joke, but just like the guy with a ponytail from across the street, the apartment manager didn’t get it either, even when he explained it to her.

 

With the television off, the lamp gave off the lone light in the room. Although he knew it wasn’t “the light”, it drew him. As he focused on the bulb, Jeff caught a glimpse of movement inside the shade. Something was flying around the bulb. Sporadic bursts of bright then dark flitted back and forth and cast shadows on the ceiling and walls. He froze. Sensing movement through his new eyes made him queasy. Jeff reached and caught the ceiling again. Still under the impression he was simply a spirit having difficulty navigating his new lot in life, Jeff’s head swam and stomach churned. He tried to close his eyes but couldn’t. He thought it odd but let it pass for the moment. He clung tighter to his perch and focused his gaze on a plump spider sitting near the corner of the ceiling. It didn’t move, unlike the moth who continued to fly frantically around the inside of the lampshade. The spider’s stillness calmed Jeff, and his dizziness and nausea passed. He watched the spider closely as it perched above the ratty recliner.

 

“What are you looking at?”

 

Jeff jumped and bumped his still throbbing head on the ceiling again. The slight voice came from behind.

 

“Over here,” it said.

 

Jeff swung to the sound. The moth from below had abandoned the lampshade and now hung beside him.

 

“Name’s Moth. I was wondering when you’d come around.” Moth pushed away from the ceiling then fluttered awkwardly back into place. “You didn’t move all night.” Moth dove back into the light, spiraled two laps around the inside, sailed back to the ceiling, and continued, “Spider watched you all day, but she left you alone.” Moth sprang from the ceiling and circled to Jeff’s opposite side. “Stay away from Spider.”

 

Jeff wanted to speak, wanted to scream, but couldn’t figure out how to make words with his tiny mouth.

 

“Cockroach crept out last night and sniffed your ass. I told him to leave you alone, you probably weren’t dead, just tired. He reminded me of all his kids, said they ain’t eaten in hours, but I told him it wouldn’t be right to feed you to them if you were still alive.” Moth paused but only for a breath. “Snuck right up behind you. You didn’t flinch.” He turned slightly and poked Jeff with an antenna. “You gotta say something. If you are dead I might as well let Cockroach haul you off and have at you next time.”

 

“I’m not dead.” The words formed in Jeff’s little brain and somehow found their way out. “I’m not dead,” he stammered.

 

Moth sprang from his upside-down perch and sprinted three more laps around the light. This time, however, he emerged and landed on the edge of the shade. “Good. Not dead is good.” Moth rose and fluttered around the corpse and landed on dead Jeff’s cold nose, “Of course, it’s all a matter of perspective, am I right?” He looked back and forth between dead Jeff and not dead Jeff as if to emphasize his point, then slowly lifted off the cold body.

 

“How can you see me?” Jeff hovered down to Moth’s level. “I’m a ghost. I died.”

 

“You ain’t invisible if that’s what you mean, and you certainly ain’t no ghost. I see you and hear you, big guy.”

 

“Then what am I?” Jeff asked.

 

‘What kind of question is that? Come check it out yourself.” Moth fluttered toward a lonely mirror which hung on the back wall.

 

Hesitant at first, Jeff followed. The flight carried him away from his dead body and away from Spider. Moments later he stopped in front of the mirror, where Moth was waiting. Jeff momentarily focused his gaze on Moth, not sure he wanted to see what death looked like, if he could see it at all. After what seemed like hours (but time passed differently dead so the second wasn’t certain) Jeff quit caring and looked up. When he did, he saw a fly.

 

“You’re a fly! Little legs, big eyes, wings,” Moth nodded as he spoke.  

 

Jeff rose, and the fly in the front of him rose. He hovered in place, and the fly in front of him hovered in place. The fly in front of him mirrored every move Jeff made.

 

Jeff didn’t like the look of death and buzzed a straight line to the front door. He soared back over his corpse and past the recliner. He wanted out. He wanted out of his apartment. He wanted out of his tiny new body. He wanted out of the whole strange situation. So he flew, and he flew hard.  

 

He flew straight into the door.

***

 

Jeff woke to Moth sitting beside him.

 

“You still alive?” Moth lifted an inch or two off the floor then settled. “Say something if you’re not dead. You bounced back two whole tiles when you slammed into it.”

 

“I’m alive,” Jeff managed, though he hurt all over. “What’s going on?”

   Moth shrugged. “I don’t know. Cockroach said you used to be the human that lived here, then you died and went into a fly’s body. Then we met, and I told you what Cockroach said, and–”

 

Jeff cut him off. “What do you mean, ‘'went into a fly’s body”?

 

“Don’t know,” Moth kept his voice low. ”That’s just what he said. Spider might know more, but I already told you we should stay away from her.” Moth glanced back towards the corner. “Never go past the recliner. She can’t get to you there,” he leaned closer, “I think she’s a witch.”

 

“A what?” ​

 

“A witch,” Moth repeated. ​

 

“What do you mean, ‘a witch’?”

 

“Just watch her awhile, you’ll see. I hear she knows things.”

 

Jeff eased back, “What kind of things?”

 

Moth leaned in even closer. “Who knows what all a spider knows? She’s been here the longest though. Nobody knows how long. Cockroach says his dad and grandpa told him the same thing.” Moth took a step back but kept talking, “Cockroach also says that after she comes out and does her dance, or ritual thing she does, anyone who gets near her corner never comes back.” Moth eased out of Jeff’s personal space but pointed an antenna at him as he did.

   Jeff let the conversation die. He wanted to be left alone so he could think, but as daylight faded, the apartment came to life. Several of Cockroach’s kids ventured out onto the counter in search of the evening meal and Moth fluttered off to say hello. A beetle scurried along the baseboard, stopping occasionally to check his surroundings, a mosquito that no one seemed to know landed on dead Jeff’s cold cheek then quickly skittered away disappointed. Jeff watched and paced under the television. The freedom of flying fascinated him, but he knew nothing of his new terrifying world.  

 

Moth fluttered back to the stand and stood by Jeff. “Why are you still hanging out around here? Get out and see the world!” Moth flew a lap around Jeff and landed in front of him. “Come on, follow me.” Moth poked Jeff’s wing and lifted off.

 

Jeff followed, “Where are we going?”

 

“You’ll see,” Moth paused, “or hear.” He looked back at Jeff, “Spider’s starting her dance. At least that’s what everyone is saying.”

 

Jeff followed but slowed as they passed over his corpse. “I thought you said not to go near her.”

 

Moth circled back to him. “I did, and we’re not. We’re just going to watch from the back of the recliner. I said don’t go past the recliner, remember? Cockroach said she won’t mess with us there.”

 

Moth reached the recliner first and quickly landed. Jeff touched down beside him without taking his eyes off of the plump black dot squatted in the ceiling corner above.

 

“What’s she doing?” Jeff wasn’t certain he really wanted to know, but before Moth could respond, he heard and saw the answer. Beautiful vibrations washed across his antenna as Spider stepped away from the ceiling and danced on the air.  

***

 

“Told you.” Moth’s wings quivered as he mouthed the words.

 

Jeff froze. He had never witnessed a spectacle both so beautiful and horrifying.

 

Spider floated mid-air, six inches from the wall and ceiling. Her legs bounced up and down. Beautiful vibrations filled the room as she played her invisible chords. Her plump body swayed to the rhythm. The sights and sounds overwhelmed Jeff and he couldn’t look away.

 

Then her voice, soft and smooth, beckoned him. “Hello, Jeff the Fly. It’s a pleasure to finally see you face to face.” She slowed and the vibrations slowed. “I see you’ve met Moth.” Spider lifted one of her front legs and motioned to Jeff’s new friend.

 

Moth screeched, “I told you! She’s a witch and she knows my name!” He fluttered behind Jeff and whispered in his ear. “I told you.”

 

Jeff wanted to remind Moth that it was his idea to get this close, but Spider’s performance quickly overwhelmed his fly brain and commanded his full attention.

   

“You may leave if you choose.” Spider’s silky voice slid across Jeff’s antennae. “I promise, I won’t pursue.” She let her body fully rest and the music died. “Besides, your new friend is leaving without you.” Spider’s legs moved and the music restarted.

 

By the time Jeff turned to flee, Moth was already halfway past Jeff’s dead body. Jeff the Fly flew after him and stayed low to the floor. They buzzed past his head, over the worn carpet, and towards the television. Moth landed first with Jeff only seconds behind.

 

“I told you she is a witch!” Moth fluttered quickly up and down as he talked. “She knows my name! How does she know my name, Jeff?”

 

Jeff ducked deeper under the TV. “You were the one who said ‘who knows what a spider knows’, and you were the one who took us there!” Jeff paused a beat, and for a moment wondered if maybe he should be as scared as Moth. He glanced up at Spider and took a breath. “How does she do it? How does she float? How does she make the music?”  

 

“Hey man, I'm just a moth, I don’t know.” Moth lowered his voice. “But Cockroach said he saw something one time that he ain’t never forgot.”

 

Jeff peaked around the corner. Spider still bounced on air as her melody played. “What did Cockroach say he saw?”

 

Moth motioned him closer to the wall, completely out of Spider’s view. “He said he saw a fly, just like you, go up there, and then,” Moth lifted a wing for privacy and pulled Jeff under, “then, she ate him.” He paused and nodded. “He said music was playing and the fly, some new guy who slipped in through an open window and didn’t know any better, went to say hello. You know, just being friendly. But, once he got close, he got stuck in something. At least that’s what Cockroach said it looked like from his view from the back of the recliner.” Moth stood slightly, “Yeah, Cockroach said it was the wildest thing. The fly started bouncing up and down with Spider, like they were dancing to her music.”

 

“What happened?”

 

“Cockroach said the new fly just hung out there in the air outside her corner and every once in a while Spider would go over to him. Sometimes they’d dance. Other times, she’d cuddle up next to him. Finally, he shriveled away to nothing. Cockroach said she loved him to death and then he laughed. I told him I didn’t think it was funny at all.”

 

“Do you believe him?” 

 

“I do now.” Moth settled onto the wall behind the television as the first rays of sunlight illuminated the room. “How about you?”

 

Jeff didn’t respond. He couldn’t get Spider’s music out of his head. He wondered how she did it; the music, hovering in the air without wings, knowing his name. Maybe she was a witch. Maybe she–

 

“Hey, Jeff.”

 

“Yeah?” Jeff turned to Moth.

   

“You’re going to hang out here with me while I sleep ain’t you?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Good.” Moth settled under his wings. Silence for a few moments, then, “Hey Jeff,”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“I’ve been thinking about what you asked.”

 

“What’s that?” Jeff said.

 

“You know, about when you died, how you became a fly.”

 

“What’s your theory?”

 

“It’s not really a theory, more of a fun fact.” Moth lingered much longer than usual in his pause, waiting until Jeff prompted him to continue. “Did you know I used to be a caterpillar?” Moth lifted a wing but didn’t stand.

 

“Okay. So what does that mean?”

 

“I don’t know. It’s just that I used to be a caterpillar and now I’m a moth. You used to be human and now you’re a fly. We both changed into something different. When I was a caterpillar I couldn’t fly. It was a completely different life. I was slow and constantly worried about getting stepped on. Now I have wings and can go where I want. Plus the view’s better from the air, I can see everything. But, I also have to worry about Spider now. I never really worried about her when I was a caterpillar crawling on the floor like Cockroach.”

   

Moth tucked himself back under his wings and quietly settled. Jeff waited for Moth’s inevitable continuance of the conversation, but it never came. Instead, Jeff heard soft, muffled snores. He glanced t0 Spider's corner. Even from across the room he could see her, a plump dark dot dancing to her own music. Without warning, her gaze shifted his direction and the music stopped. Jeff quickly ducked deep underneath the television and settled completely out of sight.  

 

At one point, during the quiet daylight hours, Jeff thought he felt Spider’s vibrations, but when he investigated, her corner was clear. He checked three more times before finally settling down against Moth’s wing and drifting off to a restless sleep.  

***

 

The landlord found Jeff’s body the next day. She screamed and nearly killed Moth as she ran out the door frantically waving her arms. The police showed up, then the fire department. Eventually, they sorted the scene out, put Jeff’s body in a bag, and wheeled it out the front door. Jeff thought seeing his body go would bother him more than it did but he’d begun to enjoy the odors his former flesh created as it decayed, and the thought that he could think those things nauseated him.

 

An older woman moved into the apartment the day after they wheeled Jeff’s body and belongings out. According to Moth, Cockroach was extremely upset about losing the recliner because they wheeled out a food stash he had hidden under the seat cushion, and Mama Roach just laid a dozen more eggs.

   

“He just kept going on and on about it. ‘We’ve got over two hundred kids. We need more food. We’ve got over two hundred kids!’” Moth mimicked Cockroach.

 

“Did you tell him they took the television and stand? Did you tell him we’ve been hiding out behind a picture frame?” Jeff squatted beside Moth on top of the newly hung picture, across the room from Spider and her corner.

 

Moth chewed on a wool fiber he’d found on the floor. “No, I told him he needs to keep his hands off Mama Roach.”

 

An embarrassing little laugh escaped Jeff but he caught it before Moth heard. He’d never met anyone like Moth. Moth made him smile.

***

 

Jeff spent the next several days fighting the urge to visit Spider. He wondered if she could help him understand. Her music called to him every night, but fear and Moth’s constant warnings kept him away. Jeff settled into his new routine; sleeping and hanging out with Moth behind the picture frame during the light, and listening to Spider play her music when the room went dark.

 

A week later, Cockroach showed up unannounced. The previous day, Moth had an unfortunate encounter with the new tenant and lost a leg. He survived, but needed rest before he could fly again. Word spread quickly through the community about the incident. Cockroach vowed revenge and started gathering information about the woman. He slipped into her purse and found a partially opened piece of hard peppermint candy and a card with her name on it, Ethel Wright. According to Cockroach, the picture on the card was her, down to the same blue, Hawaiian themed moo-moo she wore every day. Jeff had no idea what Cockroach and Moth hoped to accomplish through their plotting and planning, but he played along. It took his mind off of Spider, at least when her corner was quiet. When she danced and the music vibrated across his body, nothing could distract him from her performance.  

 

As Jeff listened to Moth and Cockroach scheme, a commotion in the kitchen caught their attention. Jeff turned in time to see Ethel slam a book down onto the counter and yell “gotcha!”.  Cockroach and Moth both called out a warning to three ants who had wandered from underneath the toaster, but it was too late. Ethel smacked the countertop twice more before wiping what remained of the trio away with a paper towel and tossing the evidence into the trash can.

 

“We need to get out of sight. I got a bad feeling,” Moth said, as he wedged himself deeper between the picture frame and wall.

 

Confused, Jeff backed against the wall but didn’t crawl behind the frame. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Cockroach scramble along the baseboard, back towards his nest. That’s when he heard it, near the kitchen, the familiar sound of an aerosol releasing its spray.

 

“Get down here man!” Moth’s voice echoed from below. “And don’t breathe too much!”

   

Jeff scurried down the wall and into the small cavern created by the hanging picture. He caught his breath. “Is that poison?”

 

Moth nodded. “This is bad.”

***

 

Ethel sprayed and sprayed. Day after day she sprayed. Both Jeff and Moth felt the effects. At one point, three days into the terror, Moth, still hobbled from the loss of his leg, faded in and out of consciousness. Jeff thought he’d lost him. His heart broke as his neurotic buddy struggled to breath the toxic air. The situation for the rest of the community remained dire. Even Spider’s music fell silent.

 

The slaughter affected every part of the small apartment as deadly droplets of the poison drifted into the main living area and slowly settled into even the tiniest of crevices. Insects of every size, shape, and color lost their lives during those dark days, including dozens of Cockroach’s children and grand chidren. He and Mama Roach survived, along with the little ones that hadn’t yet left the nest. Many were not as lucky. Ethel murdered entire families. Jeff personally witnessed a brave ladybug die mid-flight and plummet to the floor. A few minutes later, one of Cockroach’s surviving great-grandchildren scurried from under the baseboard and toward the ladybug corpse. His little legs gave out half-way there, and he died before he reached her body. Ethel’s rampage devastated the community. Families and friends huddled silently together inside walls and cabinets. Fear reigned as the droplets continued to settle. Few ventured out and most that did never returned home. ​

 

Then one night, long after Ethel had scurried off to bed and Moth was napping deep behind the picture, Jeff heard a beautiful, soft sound move across his antennae. He lifted his head and he heard another. Then another. And another and another. At last, Spider’s music again filled the room and Jeff went to her without thinking.

***

 

Jeff scanned the apartment from above. No signs of life, other than Spider dancing as she played the air. Her plump body rose and fell to the rhythm of the music she made.

 

​Spider looked directly at Jeff as he approached. “Hello, Jeff the Fly.” ​

 

Jeff froze mid-flight. Spider stood in front of him, mid-air, legs slowly pumping up and down playing her song. ​

 

“Do you enjoy my creations?” Spider slowed her dance and the music quieted. “I made this one for you. Come hear. Come see.” She backed up and stepped from the air and onto the wall. ​

 

Jeff inched forward, saw nothing, and stopped. “How do you know my name?” ​

 

Spider gently laughed. “And by that you mean ‘Are you a witch, or the devil perhaps? I’ve been accused of both.’” She lifted two legs and bounced them on the air. Beautiful notes washed over and through Jeff, immersing him in her horrible majesty. “The answer is no. I am not a witch, nor am I the devil.” Spider grinned, “Come closer Jeff the Fly, and I’ll tell you more.” ​

 

Jeff spoke as he slowly hovered closer. “How do you walk in the air and make music by moving your legs?”  ​

 

“So many questions, yet none that matter. Come closer Jeff the Fly. I will teach, and you will learn.” Spider motioned Jeff closer with one of her spindly front legs. ​

 

Jeff eased forward.

 

“I know your name because I observe. I watched you from above for almost two years. I watched you nap in your recliner every day after work. Every night before you went to bed, I watched you eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and drink a glass of milk. Every night, sandwich first, then milk. I watched you come home one day, lay your pizza on the counter, then topple over dead.” Spider motioned him closer and Jeff mindlessly obeyed. “I know because I observe, and I observe because I am curious.” Spider stepped forward and reached out to Jeff.

 

Jeff paused. A bright glint in each of Spider’s eight eyes bounced off the dim light from the lamp below, creating a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of contrast and color. In sporadic bursts, the lightshow illuminated Spider's transparent silk web into an array of colors visible to Jeff’s fly eyes. The colors danced to her music. The music matched her movements. Her movements drew him closer. It was beautiful.

 

Jeff went to her and within moments caught his left wing in her web. He flipped sideways. Panicked, he looked above. Deep purples and reds swirled with shades of blues, greens, and yellows as her eyes played tricks on the light. Colors pulsated to the rhythmic vibrations as Spider crept along the array towards him. Together, they danced. Jeff pulled harder and a jolt of pain ripped through his thorax as his right wing tore from his body. The sacrifice didn’t help, and his thrashing from the pain only served to further entangle him. ​

 

“Calm down,” Spider whispered, now from behind. “It’s my web you’re wrapped around.”

 

Frantic, Jeff flipped on his back. When he did, he saw Spider at his feet, visible through the explosion of colors around her eyes. The closeup view of a spider’s face brought Jeff to a level of terror he never knew existed. Frantic, he jerked and twisted but couldn’t break free from her trap.

 

“Calm down or you will make it worse.” Spider eased beside him. “Now, hold still. I don’t want to rip you open.”

 

Jeff tried to shut his eyes as her fangs flashed toward his midsection, but without eyelids he saw the whole thing. Terror kept him still.

***

 

Jeff's insides burned as Spider's venom spread. “Why?” It was the only thing Jeff could think to say. ​

 

Spider smiled. “What do you mean ‘why’? I am a spider and you are a fly. It is what I do.” She stepped back and squatted beside Jeff. “We have time to chat if you would like. The venom will eventually liquify you so I can feed, but it takes a bit to work.” She stood and cleaned a fang with one of her legs. “Or I can leave you to sort through your final thoughts alone,” she paused and cleaned her other fang, “whichever you choose. Again, I am not evil. Some might even argue that I am showing you kindness by allowing this choice.” Spider leaned in and whispered, "My sister thought I was weak for even taking the time to converse with a species such as yours." She lowered her voice even more, "of course, she was an ignorant barbarian, so I killed and ate her." Spider smiled and backed away.  

 

Jeff’s mind reeled. He panicked and fought to free himself only to become more entangled. Seemingly unconcerned about the escape attempt, Spider crept away, out of Jeff’s sight. The vibrations played for several seconds as she crawled along the array. Then they stopped. In the silence, Jeff once again thought of Moth. It was never silent when Moth was around.

 

Jeff knew he was going to die and he didn’t want to die alone.  “Please, come back.” He called to Spider.

 

“I’m here.”

 

Jeff swiveled his head. Spider had already scurried to his side. Liquid oozed from her needle point fangs. Streaks of light red mixed with the liquid's milky color. He couldn’t tell if it was her venom or his insides. Jeff thought probably both then he screamed. He couldn’t help it.

 

“We’ll have more time to talk if you lie still.” Spider slipped behind him. “Here, this will help.”

   ​

Jeff gasped as her silk constricted around his wings and legs. Spider’s cords spun around his body while she held him close. He understood what was happening but was powerless to stop it. Spider backed away and looked at him. “Do you still believe I’m a witch, or maybe the devil? Am I good or evil?”

 

Jeff, woozy from the effects of Spider’s venom and exhausted from trying to free himself, turned to her. “Why?” He struggled to speak as his body began shutting down. ​

"I’ve already told you why,” Spider lifted a single leg and stroked Jeff’s quivering head, “I am a spider and you are a fly. I am not the devil or a witch. You are simply stuck in my web, a trap you couldn’t see until the end. My silk is invisible to your species. I promise it’s not a trick.” Spider lifted her two front legs and brought them down on her web. Her beautiful music filled his head. “See, not magic.”

 

​Jeff tried to focus but failed. His stomach burned. “If you’re not a witch,” he struggled to breathe, sucking shallow breaths between sentences, “how do you know all those things? You’re just a spider.”

 

​Spider reached out and tilted Jeff’s head to meet her gaze. “Tell me Jeff the Fly, how do you know what a spider knows and doesn’t know?” ​

 

Jeff began to cry. ​

 

“Don’t cry,” Spider said.

 

“I watched you die as a human and live as a fly. Most don’t get the opportunity to live a whole other life before leaving this existence. You had adventures and met interesting characters. You contemplated good and evil. You experienced both happiness and sadness, beauty and horror. You even made a friend. None of which you did in over fifty years as a human.” Spider crept close, “Where you see a curse, some might see a blessing. For me, you are a great blessing. You enjoyed the music I made for you. You have provided me with pleasant company. And now, you will provide me food.”  ​

 

Pain tore through Jeff’s abdomen as Spider wrapped a long leg around his neck and began to feed. Through the pain, he thought about his friends, Moth and Cockroach. Jeff wondered if they were watching he and Spider "dance" as she held him close, just like the story Cockroach told about the other fly.  

 

Before he died again, a peculiar thought crossed Jeff’s little fly mind. The best friend he ever had was a moth.

 

The end

JP   

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this short story and would like to leave a review, here is a link to it on Amazon. Thanks again! JP

The Peculiar Death of a Fly Named Jeff: a short story - Kindle edition by Parrish, Jason . Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

   

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