Hello peeps! Here is more of Betty. Be warned. There is some profanity. The start of the story can be found here…
Links to my novels and short stories can be found on the right under Published Works.
Have an excellent day!
Itsy Bitsy Betty
In the warmer months, more spider friends visited me. Sliding through the slit I cut in the screen, wanting a turn on the track or just someplace warm to hang out in the night. I would find them everywhere. In my sock drawer, in the closet, on books, on my walls, on the ceiling, on my headboard and anywhere they felt comfortable. I liked it. I liked the company. These friends, like Betty, always had time for me. A couple of times, waking up in the night with a full bladder, I would find my entire bed covered with them. A mass of blackness all the way up to my chin, resting on me and my comforter. They would move in a synchronized fashion, opening up for me to get out so I could use the washroom and when I returned and snuggled under the covers, they would cover me again. Amazing, my little friends.
On the last day of school after the lockers were emptied and all the kids were sitting in the last class of the day with their knees jerking up and down anticipating the final bell to ring, they sensed the impending freedom. My math teacher lounged, with his feet up on the desk and hands behind his head studying the ceiling. I suspected him of sleeping with his eyes open as sometimes when in class and heads were bowed in silence over tests, a snore would rumble from the front of the room. The teacher’s gormless expression would be fixed on the ceiling, eyes open, chest slow to expand, like someone in a deep sleep.
Betty squirmed around in the bottom of my bag, sensing the budding excitement in the room. The bell rang and chairs scraped back. The teacher dropped his feet to the floor with his mouth open, bug-eyed and surprised. The students bunched up at the door, desperate to get out and taste summer freedom. The teacher managed to yell at the retreating backs, “Have a good summer kids!”
I was one of the last ones out, not big enough to force my way through but it didn’t matter. The school couldn’t hold me any longer. Well, at least for the next two months.
The straps of my backpack dug into my shoulder, heavy with books. I stumbled down the steps past lingering groups of friends making plans on what to do in the summer. My plans were already made. Avoid my mom, avoid Alex and hang out with Betty. I had a new contraption in mind for her to play on. Built up out of Lego, Erector sets, Hot Wheels tracks, I envisioned the Frankenstein monstrosity taking up a large part of my room. A theme park for my arachnid friends.
A trail had been worn in the dirt adjacent to the backyard fences of houses. I put my hand out letting it trail behind me as my fingers bounced along the surface of the different fences. Chain link to wooden slats to picket fences under my hand, I constructed the contraption for my friends I had planned in my mind. A path cutting through the houses broke up the fences and my hand danced over emptiness. I looked down the path. Alex Cobb leaned against the side of a house with his arms crossed not more than five feet from me. He grinned when he saw me.
“Oh look! If it isn’t Fairy Houdini. Think you could avoid me forever?”
I stared at him, my mouth a black hole, backing up on the dirt.
He darted forward and grabbed the strap of my backpack and yanked me forward, the toes of my feet skimming the ground, “No, no. You’re not going anywhere. Not till I’m finished with you.”
I bit into his hand. My teeth met under the skin and a salty warm liquid squirted my tongue. He screamed, letting me go. I kicked him in the balls but my foot hit his thigh first so most of the energy had been deflected. He dropped to his knees, face ballooning red. I ran, crying, feet jarring over the uneven ground, thinking it would be just my luck to twist my ankle and fall on my face. I imagined I looked a sight. A slight kid with an oversized backpack running through the grass, tears coating his face and blood on his chin.
Footsteps sounded behind me. Grunting breaths gained on me. I snorted back panic and refused to look back. I didn’t want to see how close he was. Then the ground up and punched me in the face and I rolled, the books in my backpack stabbing me in the back, knocking the wind from me. I thought of Betty in the backpack, being tossed around and my heart squeezed like a fist. More tears poured out of my eyes.
Out of breath, Alex stood above me and crushing my hand under his shoe, said, “Are you fucking crazy?” He paused to suck in air and said, “What’s the matter with you? Think you can bite me and kick me in the bits and get away with it?” He lifted his foot and before I could pull my hand back he slammed it down. I heard something crack. Moments later, the pain swelled from my knuckles like lightning under my skin and I screamed.
Dirt became mud in my mouth. Snot trailed out of my nose and my face was coated in dust and grime. Pretty sure some part of my hand was broken and still, all I really cared about was Betty, hoping she was safe, hoping she’d stay inside the bag if she were.
Alex squatted and pulled my head up by the hair and said, “Where the fuck you been hiding at school huh? Jacking off in the washroom? You do that yet ya little freak? Jack off? I bet you do. Probably got a bunch of gay magazines in your bag there to jerk off to whenever you get the urge. Is that what you’re doing fairy? Let’s have a look-see.”
He opened the flap to my bag. I squirmed, pushing up on my hand and it protested with pain and Alex chuckled and yanked on my hair, “Got some guts to you.” He moved his face closer, squinty eyes emanating anger and said, “Now don’t you fucking move.”
He slapped my face, a hard crack with an open hand.
“Don’t” slap, “fucking,” slap, “move.”
My face stung as though sunburned and I envisioned a handprint etched in red on my skin.
I nodded. What else could I have done?
He reached for the flap again and I prayed to a god I didn’t believe in that Betty would stay hidden. I closed my eyes, muttering under my breath, “Please, please, please…”
Alex tossed my school books, one by one, into the dirt still holding tight to my hair with one hand.
“Huh? Nothing in here. What the hell have you been doing-Ahhh!”
He released my hair and fell back on his butt. Betty scurried up his forearm, moving towards his shoulder. Alex waved his arm frantically, his eyes bugged out and his mouth a whitened thin slit. Betty flew into the air and landed on the dirt.
I scrambled over and placed my body over hers. A quick glimpse gave me the impression she was fine.
“What the fuck you doing? That’s a Black Widow!”
I tightened my body, expecting to be kicked in the ribs at any moment.
“Wait a minute. Why you protecting it?”
He nudged me in the side with the toe of his shoe and I flinched.
“Is that the thing you been hiding? What is it? Some sort of pet?”
He nudged me again, harder, “Answer me fuck-stick!”
I didn’t know what to say. If I said no, he’d call me a liar and do something to Betty and if I said yes, he’d call me a liar and do something to Betty. I kept my mouth shut and eyes closed hoping that when I opened my eyes the bogeyman would be gone.
Alex grabbed a fistful of my hair and pulled. My hairs strained at the roots. My whole scalp was on fire. He pulled me up by my hair, off of Betty. She sat in the dirt, little body quivering under the shadow of Alex.
“Holy shit. It is your pet! I’ve heard of tarantula pets but never a Black Widow!”
Alex stomped his foot down. Betty moved out of the way. I started swinging at Alex and I said, “Run Betty! Get out of here!”
She darted away, and Alex punched me in the gut and I crumpled to the ground, unable to breathe. Alex stomped after Betty, teeth gritted, eyes blazing. I couldn’t see her for all the dust being raised and for a second there, I thought she would get away and I would see her later in my room, crawling through the screen to sit on my shoulder while I flipped through a comic book and then Alex said, “Got ya!”
Tears flooded my eyes and even though I was still winded from the punch, I pulled myself over to my friend. Alex patted my head and said, “Losers don’t have pets. I just did you a favor. Next time, don’t fucking hide from me.”
He left but I didn’t care. I’d found Betty. She was a mess. Her deflated abdomen leaked fluids. Most of her legs were squashed flat to the ground. I couldn’t speak. My body trembled and my stomach heaved. Her front legs scratched at the ground as though she were trying to pull herself towards me. I remember saying, “Oh Betty. My friend.”
I stuck my hand just in front of her little head and moving forelegs. She touched my hand with her legs and through my blurring vision, she stopped moving. My chest shook with grief. All around me my spider friends came. They crawled on me, covered me and maybe in their alien way tried comforting me. When my red eyes had no fluids left I was filled with coldness. I was so angry I grew calm even though my body shook with the force of it. While in this cruel calm, I plotted the death of Alex Cobb.