Sharon’s note: Yes, I totally stole this story idea from my husband’s poem. Mwa ha ha ha ha ha! Check out the original poem here. Also, check out our YouTube channel to hear him read it. Enjoy this second outing of my Conjure Woman character. Warning: Spousal rivalry.
God, I hated having to do real magic. Ninety-nine percent of the time actual magic wasn’t necessary. Unfortunately the one percent of the time it is unavoidably essential.
Besides, it was five a.m. and the grass was wet. My shoes and socks had soaked through and felt icky. It was barely light out and the yard was annoyingly short of insects. I needed a spider.
If I hadn’t been looking for a spider right then, I would have walked through a half dozen webs on my trek through the dim morning light. As it was, I had only been able to find one small one snuggled among some oak roots. The spider in that web had been a small black widow. Widows could be very effective warriors, all venom and stealth, but that wasn’t what I needed right now. This was a shy little spider and I needed something bolder. Besides, I hated to say it, but sometimes size really does matter.
I finally found what I needed in the very corner of the lot, where an old cement pad lay abandoned, cracked in half. What was playing out was an epic battle. In the crack there was a web. Not much of the web was left, since it had been torn badly by the small red wasp caught in it. The little brown spider, a female with black stripes on her back, began harassing her prey.
I didn’t see how she could win, but the little spider had spirit. She refused to surrender, jumping down on the struggling wasp, retreating as it whipped around to attack her, then plunging back into the fray. The battle raged long and hard, but somehow, impossibly, the little spider won. The red wasp stopped moving and the little spider began to wrap her prize. She was smaller than I was expecting, but here was my warrior.
Talking to animals was kinda my thing. I whispered to the spider and coaxed her onto my hand. Even though she was annoyed at my interruption, bless her, she listened to what I had to say. I had rarely met an arachnid so noble. I told her about my problem and she was more than eager to help.
My friend had called me at three a.m., telling me that there was something was wrong. Her reflection was acting strangely. She knew it was watching her. I had shown up and made her go sit in her guest room where there were no reflective surfaces. When I went into the bathroom alone to look at the house’s largest mirror, I saw what she meant.
The thing in the mirror wasn’t me. It wasn’t moving on its own, but stare too long into its eyes and you could almost see the squirming things beneath its lids. Of course, if you looked at it directly, the movement stopped. The thing in the mirror wasn’t very close yet. It still couldn’t move if you were watching it too closely.
At the end of the day, the thing in the mirror was just another parasite, just another type of bug.The thing that was best equipped to deal with bugs was a spider. My chosen warrior was brave and was willing to face off against the other-worldly terror. After her show with the wasp, I believed that she would triumph.
I cradled the little spider gently in my hands and brought her to the bathroom. As I passed the closed door to the guest room, I could hear my friend still crying. I stopped in front of the mirror and whispered spells to my warrior. Spells to strengthen. Spells to protect. When I was done, I put my hands against the mirror and pushed. When I pulled my hands away, the spider was on the glass, waving her little legs as she explored her new hunting ground. Her belly was visible through the glass as she began to weave. She was on the other side now. The next time the thing in the mirror tried to get closer, my little warrior would be ready.