Moonlight filtering through the shades on the window cast silver rays to transform her web into kaleidoscopic prisms. She seemed to recognize that she was an artist and paused occasionally as if to admire her creation and to display the ruby hourglass embossed on her glossy, ebony stomach as she clung motionless to her last crystalline filament. Search the web. Please go back to the Fiction Hub Contents to read another story or for more information. We believe you will also find that the Dowse Science Fiction Hub has much of interest.
Your free email you dowse. Suggest links. Link to us. About dowse. Back to Fiction Hub Contents. For more information about S. Joan Popek The black widow gracefully spun her gossamer web. Sylvia watched the spider's performance as she did every night while she sipped coffee from a chipped mug. Three, large houseflies had settled onto it. She cupped her hand over the saucer and shooed the flies carefully into the widow's web where they quickly became enmeshed in the strands.
The spider floated effortlessly toward the struggling insects. Smiling, Sylvia watched the life and death conflict, then turned and dropped food into the tarantula's aquarium. The four hairy giants inside crouched expectantly against the sand and rocks covering the bottom of their glass world. She loved her spiders. She felt a certain kinship with them. People thought they were ugly and hated them. Turning away from the window, she caught a glimpse of her reflection in the cracked mirror above the table.
In the dusky glow of moonlight, her limp, black hair hung around her wide shoulders making her already long, thin face seem even longer. Her meager lips pulled tightly against teeth too large for her small mouth as she smiled. On her gaunt face, a smile looked like a grimace of pain. She ran her fingers through her hair, pulling the loose bangs back and hissed through clenched teeth to her image in the mirror. Malicious whispers and smothered giggles had always assaulted her when she entered the classroom.
She had learned to ignore the whispers and the loneliness. She had learned to live in an imaginary world where those people didn't exist--a world where she was queen of the spiders. She looked at Babe, the largest of the tarantulas, and whispered. I wish you could talk. I wish I was like you. Her head pounded. She had a lot of headaches lately. She closed her eyes, kneaded her temples with the tips of her skinny fingers and imagined she was an elegant black widow spider swinging gracefully from gossamer silk.
Fantasy and Science Fiction: Films by Kathi Maio
Sighing she opened her eyes, picked up her coffee and began to read the newspaper lying in her lap. Her hand stopped half way to her mouth. The cup it held hung suspended by its cracked handle. Heat burned her fingertips through the cup, but she didn't notice. She stared at a picture on the front page of the newspaper. The man in the picture was Stephen Mason, the secret love of her teenage years. He had laughed in her face when she had finally worked up enough courage to ask him to the Sadie Hawkins dance in her senior year. Stephen and his ever-present entourage of admiring followers had laughed until she ran out of the school.
Her sobs echoed in her own ears as she ran. She didn't stop running until she slammed the door to her room in the dingy apartment where she and her mother had lived since her father left. Her mother pounded her beer can against the chair she was slouched in. Foam sloshed onto the chair.
Her mother shouted, "Hey! Don't slam the door. You think I want Mrs.
McGurrdy on my case about the noise again? Like I don't have enough to worry about. Working all day at that lousy diner. You could give me a little respect, you know. Always thinking about yourself. Never about your poor old mother. Did you hear me? Shut that stupid blubbering up.
She closed her eyes and shook her head violently from side to side to chase the memory away. She slammed the coffee cup onto the table next to her chair. Pain seared her hand as the scalding liquid doused her fingers. She ignored the sting as she stared at the newspaper. Standing at the entrance of the jet, he was older but still had that same haughty smile as he waved to the enthusiastic crowd of voters who had just nominated him to enter the presidential race for his party.
She hurled the paper onto the table overturning the cup. Spilled coffee crawled over the picture until the man's face wrinkled and faded into a blood-brown stain. She turned the reading light off, lit a candle and carried it over to the widow's web. Her spiders didn't like bright light. She held the candle aloft illuminating the intricate web and its occupant. She sank into the chair and buried her head in her hands, moaning.
Hazy fog swept over her, wrapping her body in its clammy mist. It swirled and caressed her with moist, velvet arms. The throbbing in her head stopped. She couldn't--didn't want to--move. The fog gently lifted and swirled off through the window into the night. She lowered her hands from her eyes and exhaled in surprise.
Her room was gone. She was standing beside a bed. On the bed, Stephen Mason reclined upon a scarlet cover. His breath quickened as she gracefully shed a black silk robe. She wore nothing underneath.
She watched the robe drape onto the floor and gazed down at her body. She was a human spider, sleek and black. She stroked her glossy thighs with delicate, graceful hands, then gazing mesmerizingly into Stephen's eyes, she traced her slim fingers up onto her abdomen and slowly encircled the pattern embossed there. He gasped at the elegant, red hourglass design on her gently curving stomach, then impassioned, he reached for her and began hungrily kissing it. She began spinning her web, wrapping it gently around his body in silken strands until he was enmeshed in its unyielding folds.
He struggled at first--horror and ecstasy radiating from his eyes simultaneously. His struggles slowed until his feeble efforts to escape only entangled him even deeper in gauzy steel. Her body quivered with excitement as she bent to bury her teeth in his neck. His labored breathing subsided into moans of pain and ecstasy. Warm blood filled her mouth, and she shivered with pleasure. The sound of her own moans woke her up in her own room. She sat sprawled in the chair for a long while--remembering.
Perspiration covered her body, and a sticky sweetness clung to her lips. She fought to regain control of her pounding heart.
Fairy Tales With A Freudian Flair
A dream. That's all. Just a dream, she thought. She turned to gaze at the moon outside her window and realized that she was suddenly full of energy. While the tales were originally meant for adults, children would have also heard them from time-to-time — either intentionally, by accident or through adult indifference.
In view of this reality, the pro-fairy tale contingent sometimes argues that what was acceptable for kids hundreds of years ago, should be acceptable today. More extreme and controversial advocates of fairy tales include the now infamous Bruno Bettelheim. A therapist who treated children using unconventional and allegedly dangerous methods, Bettelheim was a proponent of the benefits of using fairy tales in his therapy sessions.
While his well-known, Freudian-inspired work, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales is quirky, it does put forward some interesting ideas on the use of such narratives in workshopping fears in safe, symbolic ways as well as opening up dialogues on mechanisms to overcome adult oppression and abuse. But Bettelheim, it seems, did more harm than good and his legacy is tainted by allegations of abuse. But surely the fault should not be placed at the feet of poor old Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
I suggest a cautious middle-road. Then, perhaps some of the more hair-raising tales could be shared with kids — but under the tutelage of sensible adults. A contemporary Robinsonade — York, York. The polar oceans and global climate — Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Marguerite Johnson , University of Newcastle.
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Jacob and Wilhelm were Grimm, no question. Wikimedia Commons. The first edition of the Brothers Grimm fairytales. Wikimedia Commons , CC BY Zipes has now made major steps to revive the original tales recorded by the Brothers Grimm before they felt the pressure to sanitise and prettify their once gritty tales of wounded children, violent heroes and sensual heroines. Arthur Rackham Snow White. Literature Children's literature Fairy tales Brothers Grimm. Button Poetry. Despite a rise in feminist-themed books for children, picture books remain highly gendered overall.
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