Good day to you all! Are you ready for your first short story of the season in this new blog site? If you are familiar with the former Reading Escape blog, then you know that Halloween themed stories come aplenty in October, so here we are! Today’s short was inspired by a Tweet from none other than J.K. Rowling that I scrolled past while sipping my coffee this morning:
The following is a complete work of fiction, but one inspired by the photo she snapped and the Tweets regarding the spider she has posted, so thank you J.K. Rowling for the spark you provided today, for your imaginative literary works, and most of all, for all of the wonderful charity work that you support. Hopefully this will provide a theory to at least one string of your questions regarding the webs. Enjoy!
Why the Web
It was half past nine in the evening when the author decided to put down her pen and call it a night. The day spent at her craft had been productive, but not so much as she would have preferred. It was rather frustrating writing for a deadline and it had been a long time since she had achieved her daily goals. Most mornings had been spent stewing over a paper in search of inspiration rather than creating and typing. Her fingers danced on the keys nonetheless, albeit more to that of a militant march than to a sprightly, energetic tune.
After standing and stretching from her desk, she tucked pages of idea-covered leaves and napkins into a heavily used manila folder. She took the final sip from an exhausted cup of cold tea before turning out the lights. In the dark, the author left the room and enclosed the writing room for the night behind a pair of French doors.
From atop the door frame, a pair of spiders watched with intrigued blinking eyes. They were absolutely captivated by this woman who appeared to have extreme moments of brilliance inside the room, but as of late had been enduring much longer stretches of creative frustration in that small space. Day after day they watched her enclose herself in the room for hours and hours at a time. She was a marvelous spectacle to them and tonight was the night they were determined to see what kept her attention inside.
“C’mon,” the blue hued spider said to its mate. “Let’s have another look-see.” Without waiting for his friend, the blue spider began to walk briskly down the seam of the doors.
“But we’ve never made it through before,” the grey spider reminded, deciding to repel down the door with a long silver thread. “She always keeps that door closed even when she’s in there.” Bounding down, the grey spider furthered, “And even that one time when she did have it open longer than a minute, we lost our nerve, thinking we’d be squished if she saw us. If only we weren’t afraid, we could see what the source of her emotions must be!”
The spiders had a long line of theories as to what kept her so entertained and so busy. The theory they were both willing to agree to was one they hoped to see tonight. Magic. It was the only thing that made sense to the spiders.
“Well, let’s have a look and see if maybe this time, she did not close these properly,” the little blue was determined that this would be the night when they would finally see their theory come true.
The spiders finished the long trek, arriving atop the patina handles of the doors.
“If only we could figure out how to open these, Blue!” the grey spider tugged with all of his might at the gargantuan handle he stood upon, but alas, the little one was not strong enough to make it budge.
Blue was not joining his friend to help open the doors. He was in deep concentration, looking through the glass at the area in the room that captivated the human the most. After a long while, Blue suggested, “Perhaps the opposite should be true, Grey.”
“Eh?” Grey stopped his new efforts of jumping on the handle in attempt to make it move.
Blue continued his thought out loud, “Didn’t you see how frustrated she was today?” Grey nodded and crossed the handles to stand beside his friend. “Maybe whatever she had that was in there making her happy is slipping away?” Blue continued.
The spiders contemplated this idea and simultaneously pressed their faces against the window looking into the room, peeking their eight tiny eyes inside.
Upon the desk they so desperately wished to explore lie a very simple spread; a keyboard, a white framed box that, although asleep now, glowed like the sun while she was inside. They had often suspected that the box was the source of the magic, but there were times when the human would grow very annoyed with the box, even yelling at it at times, which was most peculiar. The pair had softly deduced that surely the magic must have come from something else.
Above the desk was the most curious thing of all. Contained inside a glass box was a slender wooden stick with a pair of half moon shaped spectacles trapped inside with it.
Blue pointed at the box and said, “Those things must be of great importance to have them in her direct line of sight.”
“She does look up at them for long stretches of time,” Grey agreed. “Do you think that box may be the source?!” Grey was hardly able to contain his excitement with this thought.
“Yes,” Blue said contemplatively, as though not thoroughly convinced. Rubbing his chin, the gears began to fall into place for the little spider. “Perhaps also that the magic is simply within!”
“Within?” Grey questioned, looking back at his friend.
“Yes, of course!” Blue was inspired. “The magic is inside the room and I’ll bet it grows upon itself. That’s why she closes the doors, to keep it inside! Surely it regenerates to have stayed so long, but it must be escaping somehow. That must explain why she’s been so frustrated lately.”
“Because it’s not all in there!” Grey speculated. “But why can’t we see it?”
“We can’t see it because it must be really small,” Blue held up his forefeet and pinched them together to demonstrate the type of micro sized magic bits he was envisioning.
“Do you suppose it can fit through the doors?” Grey looked to the seam between the doors that neither he or his friend could fit through. “We’ve always felt a breeze coming out from in there.”
“Yes!” Blue shouted. “That must be it. That’s the magic escaping. “We should help her keep it in there. Let’s seal the cracks of the door so that the magic will stay inside and she won’t have to be frustrated any more! We’ll make it so nothing can escape our silver lines!”
“Righto, let’s!” little Grey rejoiced, jumping up and down. “Then perhaps when she sees how helpful we’ve been, we won’t have to fear her squishing us when we do make it inside!”
“Precisely!” Blue exclaimed. “Why don’t you start at the floor and work your way up. I’ll start at the top. We’ll meet in the middle and tie off our knots!”
The spiders set off to work and labored all through the night. They toiled to produce the most elaborate security system a spider ever made. They knew for certain that no magic would be able to escape tonight. When they finished tying their intricate knots around the handles, they ascended to the top and celebrated, for they knew they had done their human right. Though the spiders were exhausted, neither could sleep from the thrill of their excitement.
In the mid-morning light, their favorite human emerged. She was armed with her steaming cup of tea and a paper tucked between her elbow and side.
At first, the spiders giggled giddily at their chore as they watched her approach, but then their stomachs filled with butterflies as they awaited her reaction.
The woman stopped dead in her tracks, her eyes entrapped by the webs.
She looked left and right, all up and down the door, analyzing the silvery strings that seemed to bind together the entryway. The location of this web was curious, but beautiful all the same. She peered behind the handles, trying to see if the creator of the web was anywhere to be found. The second to last she wanted to do was to disturb the eight-legged artist. The last thing she wanted was to be bit by the spider as revenge for ruining its web.
From up above, in their micro voices, the spiders cheered her on to take down their wall of web to enter the room they restored with magic.
“Well, there is work to be done,” the author sighed. She used her paper to delicately clear the web away. “Sorry, spider,” she apologized, feeling terribly guilty for destroying the spider’s work.
The spiders did not mind. They watched delightedly as the human entered the room, closed the doors behind her, and took her seat. They patiently waited on the hall-side of the doors, looking in through the windows. Surely the room was loaded with magic by now and she would be happily working again any second!
The author adjusted herself in her chair before the now glowing box and instead of opening the paper, as was her norm, to glance the headlines, she let it sit instead beside her cup of tea. She stared back at the doorway for a long while, contemplating the webs.
The spiders grew nervous. “Have we fouled up?” Blue asked Grey, but then, something remarkable happened.
The author burst into one of her old moments of brilliance, sliding her fingers across a page with pen locked in hand. It was not long before the pen was left behind and across the keys of the keyboard, her fingers danced rhythmically for hours.
The spiders jumped up and down and danced for joy! Their nets had worked and the magic had remained inside.
From their great excitement, the pair made a pact to carry on their new routine for the rest of their lives to keep the author happy, so that someday they could safely traverse the room, to also enjoy the mirth of the magic inside.
Every morning for many weeks to follow, the author returned to the writing room to find the web stretched across the handles of the doors. It made her smile every time, though she was not exactly sure why. The spiders knew, of course, and they watched her from above inside the room. They were filled with a glee they assumed was the same as hers, inspired by the magic within the room. They watched her happily at her craft in plain sight, for they knew that if they were spotted by her now, they would only be greeted with appreciation.
Until next week!
Your Humble Author,