Posted on PenoftheDamned.com

Routines
by Blaze McRob

Every day, never wavering, Stacey would go on her walk through the forest at the moment the sun started to burst through the ceiling formed by the tall trees. Virgin pines with broad branches of thick needles, they grudgingly fought the onslaught of the light’s invasion, resenting any intrusion into their domain.

This was Stacey’s chosen time to be alone and commune with nature. Even though hazards abounded in the deep woods environment, it was not enough to keep her out. She knew how to spot the signs of the denizens of the forests. This section had its share of bears and a few wolves, but she had never had any trouble with any of them. To be on the safe side, she carried a .38 sidearm and a 30/06. Couldn’t hurt to be careful.

From his observation post high on a tree along the trail, he watched her. Every day with the same routine could be a detriment to one’s health. Predictability. Not a healthy thing in a world where survival or death could hinge on minuscule trivialities. This went far beyond such minor imperfections.

He traipsed along the tops of the heavy boughs, keeping pace with Stacey, having to hold back even because of his prowess of walking from branch to branch and tree to tree. Up ahead it would all be decided.

The forest seemed very quiet this morning. Stacey kept her guard up, knowing that silence meant something large was lurking around, sending the smaller animals into hiding. Probably earlier they had been chattering around between themselves, sending warnings out to each other. Funny how humans couldn’t understand the animals, but animals of different species could communicate with each other. She undid the snap on her holster. This might be the morning she would need to use that hand gun.

The path crested and dropped sharply on the other side, blocking out the light and placing Stacey in a momentary state of blindness. Within a couple steps she found herself entangled in some gooey mesh-like material. The harder she struggled to escape, the more it held on to her.

Panic set in! What was she tangled in? How would she get out?

Once her eyes adjusted to the dark, she knew it was a web . . . a  huge spider web. But there were no spiders that big around here, and the web was thick-like a sticky rope. Birds were caught in it as well as her. Damn it! This couldn’t be!

His days of observation had paid off in huge dividends. Finally he would have a real meal, much more than the snacks afforded him by birds and other small animals. This woman would be a prize. A screaming buffet just for him.

The enormous spider crawled down the tree and stared at his meal. She tried to reach her weapons, but she was too entangled.

Her scream shattered the stillness of the forest as the beast began feeding on her, sucking the life-force out of her.

The last thing she saw in life was his hideous red eyes coming closer and closer to her face . . .

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