Penny was following the wooded path to her house when she noticed her friend Marvella standing in the middle of the road, her gaze fixed on something on the ground. Curiosity sparked within Penny, and she slowed to investigate. She approached Marvella, who was poking a spider with a small stick.
Intrigued, Penny watched as Marvella turned the creature over, revealing a prominent red hourglass on its exposed belly. The sight fascinated her, and she reached out, her fingers inching closer to the writhing arachnid. But before she could make contact, Marvella’s voice shattered the air.
“Don’t touch it! It might be poisonous,” Marvella warned.
Startled, Penny quickly jerked her arm back, retreating closer to Marvella while putting a safe distance between herself and the spider. Just then, a boy’s voice sounded from behind them.
“What are you guys doing?” the boy asked, peering over Penny’s shoulder.
“Crap! It’s a black widow. You don’t want to mess with them. They’re poisonous, and one bite can be lethal,” the boy exclaimed.
The girls regarded him skeptically, suspicion gleaming in their eyes. Marvella couldn’t help but voice her thoughts.
“Why do boys think they know everything? We know what black widows look like,” Marvella remarked, exchanging a conspiratorial glance with Penny.
The shared understanding between the two girls forged a newfound connection. Penny looked at Marvella with appreciation, realizing she had just made a new friend in the unlikeliest moments.
Meanwhile, the boy’s embarrassment flushed his cheeks, and he lowered his head apologetically.
“I’m sorry,” he murmured. “Spiders are my favorites. Did you know spiders can survive in space, and their blood is blue?”
Penny and Marvella exchanged incredulous glances, their curiosity piqued.
“How do you know that?” they asked in unison.
The boy, now identified as Whisper, shrugged modestly.
“I’ve read lots of books about them,” he replied with a wry smile.
“Cool!” Marvella exclaimed, extending her hand toward Whisper. “I’m Marvella.”
Whisper eagerly accepted the handshake, a smile spreading across his face.
“I’m Whisper,” he introduced himself.
At that moment, the trio formed an unlikely bond, united by their shared fascination with the extraordinary. As they embarked on their journey through the realm of mysterious creatures, each would contribute their unique insights, navigating a world where danger and wonder coexisted. Together, they would uncover secrets that defied ordinary comprehension, guided by the magic of friendship and the enchantment of the unknown.
As the trio stood there, a chilling realization washed over them. The once-innocuous black widow spider now glowed with an eerie radiance, its form seemingly pulsating with the encroaching darkness. The dying sun’s feeble light cast long shadows, and the air grew heavy with foreboding.
With their newfound bond, Penny, Marvella, and Whisper knew that their adventure had only just begun, and the glowing spider served as a stark reminder that they were about to confront the most fearsome and enigmatic of creatures in the realm where light met shadow.
They suddenly became aware of the lengthening shadows and realized the sun had almost set. They began to hurry. The darkness was the enemy.
—Michael J. Scott
Featured image: Deviant Art