Alarmingly Strange Stories

Strings Attached
Cyndi Kirkpatrick

Her children matured quickly. In only a few days they looked like two year-old human children, seeming to understand speech though they would not speak themselves. She had been able to control the first one, her first son, by keeping his appetite satisfied. She had killed him when he was six, an apparent youth in the first flush of manhood who still had not uttered a word, when she found what he had done with the neighbor's daughter. It was the second of now uncountable moments when she had to vanish, leaving behind any life she had built, any comfort she had found. At that time, she had thought that was the extent of the curse but ten years after that, when she had not aged and the desire to mate awoke in her again, she knew that Athena had shown no mercy at all when she cursed her.

When the movers arrived, she had them load the bed and the boxes that contained its drapes into the truck she had rented. The crate with Bill's mummy went there, too. The rest was loaded into the moving van. It would be delivered to a rented address she never intended to visit, let alone occupy. She was good at covering her trail by now. The truck she was driving would be replaced and replaced as she traveled. If anyone ever did miss Bill, and the police tracked him to her old apartment, they would look beyond that in vain. She would be someone else by then, settling into a new town, a new job, a new name.

When they were done with the loading and all the papers had been signed, she started the truck and drove away from her latest life. Her child, now on the seat beside her protected by the bag, the cloth and its egg, would be abandoned along the way once it hatched, if it was like all the others. She would leave this one at some place of public good, a police station or a hospital perhaps. Maybe the people there would know what to do with it.

She never checked to find out what happened to them. She didn't want to know. After that, she would make as fresh a start as she could. Maybe this time was the last she would have to begin over again. You can never tell. A tiny spider fell onto the dashboard and began to make its way to safety. After watching it for a moment with an undue amount of hatred, she took one hand off the wheel and crushed it under her thumb. Turning up the radio, Arachne turned left, onto the interstate freeway.


If you are not familiar with the Greek myth of Arachne, which I have bent in this story, you can find it summarized at this address:


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