Along Came a Spider
By Albert Serna Jr
He looks up at the moon for a brief moment, stopping long enough to smell the autumn air as it gently caresses his cheek. A stirring in his back pocket reminds him that he must keep moving, there is no time to enjoy the small pleasures this life has to offer. Fishing in his pocket, he pulls a smashed pack of menthol cigarettes and puts one to his mouth. Perhaps he could take a moment to pause, to breathe, to forget the darkness that surrounds him.
Keep moving, there isn’t much time, he hears from his pocket. The voice, the small but firm voice pushes him forward. Put out the smoke and keep walking, it’s only two blocks more. He tosses the smoke and keeps walking.
The moon guides him on, his only friend left. He can see the house now, a single light illuminating the front room where people sit watching evening television. He stands outside and lights another smoke. They will see you if you keep smoking, the voice says. “No, they’re too busy watching TV” he responds.
He fishes in the bag at his side for something, did he even bring it? Maybe he forgot it at his last stop. He hopes not. Under the mask, the voice hisses. Sure enough, there it is, the reason for his night out. He puts the remainder of the cigarette to his mouth and notices the tag on his wrist. My how far he has come. The doctors tried all they could to help him, even offering to allow him to stay as long as he wanted. But he knew, he knew they couldn’t do anything to save him.
The diagnosis was simple, or at least simple to say. Paranoid Schizophrenia with a mild case of psychosis. He wasn’t crazy, he was just lonely. No one understood that, no one except the spider. But the doctors, the doctors told him the spider wasn’t real. There was no little creature or voice in his pocket that told him to do things. But he knew they were wrong.
He eyed the hatchet in his had and then pulled a bloody paper from the bag. Yes, this was his doctors home. He would prove the spider existed, just as he had to his parents, and his nurse, and his bedmate. And if they didn’t listen, well they could meet a talking hatchet. He didn’t want to hurt anyone, but he didn’t want people to deny his claims. The spider was real, it was as real as the weapon in his hands and the blood on his shirt.
Go, show them I exist, said the spider. It had been in his back pocket since he was a child, and it would be there until he finally died. Until then, he had to show the doctor his spider was real. It was real. It is real. Real.