By Helen E. H. Madden
Let me tell you something about Spring.
It's not about renewal or hope. It's not about flowers or fluffy bunnies or baby birds. It's not about allergies and pollen. It's not about the crazed and dazed state of fever people slip into as they slip off layers of clothing and run amok in fields of daisies and such crap.
It's about little monsters that wake up hungry and ready to feed.
You see, every year around the end of summer, beginning of fall, we get one of these in our backyard...
Pretty, isn't it? A delightful little sack of horrors waiting to hatch. This little beauty will spend all of Autumn and Winter tucked away in some tiny corner of of the house, brooding and sheltering the creepy crawly delights inside. Sometime in the Spring, that mummified papery sac will burst open and out will stream a thousand or so baby monsters, each with eight legs a piece. They grow up to look something like this...
Our yard becomes the domain of at least one of these beauties every year, sometimes two. We call them Shelobs, they're so damned huge. After sleeping so long in that egg sac, they wake up so hungry, so the first thing they do is string their webs this way and that across our back deck. I can't tell you how many times I've walked out my back door and right into their traps, nearly strangled by those thick, heavy strands of sticky silk. I've been the big dinner that got away more times than I can count.
But I love these little darlings, these eight-legged freaks. They're such artists. Each web is a wonder to behold, and the way the Shelobs wait in the center, oh so patiently, for their prey to come to them is truly chilling to behold.
It's a feeling I understand all too well, for you see, spiders aren't the only things that wake up hungry in the Spring. After months of hiding inside the house, burrowing beneath blankets, shrouding myself in heavy sweaters and woolly socks, something hatches inside of me. It's a feeling that crawls through my belly and along my limbs, an uncontrollable need to feed my inner predator. One warm afternoon, I'll pull out my silken traps - a chemise, stockings, garter belts - and patiently lie in wait for my prey to appear. When he shows, I'm quick to pounce, tie him up and suck the life out of him until he's nothing but a shrivelled husk and I'm too satiated and drowsy to move. On that day, I can't say whether I have two legs or eight, but the effect is still the same.
Come Summer, the heat and humidity will whither my desire, and the predator inside me won't wake again until Autumn. Then I'll spin my webs again one last time before Winter forces me back into hibernation, chilled body buried beneath layers of clothing, heavy sweaters, woolly socks. I'll waste away until Spring.
And then I'll wake up hungry again.
Ensnared, Work In Progress by Helen E. H. Madden