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From Ashes and Dust - 1. Chapter 1: Spiders

Why do I continue when there’s obviously no hope?

I rested on some crumbling steps, my hand on my chin and my legs pulsing under my elbow. While I dreamily stared at the cracks in the cement, I noticed a little spider scurrying along. Curiously I reached down with my good arm, and picked it up, pinching two of its legs between my fingers, to keep it still. I watched as its free arms vainly tested the air for some leverage, and envied the arachnid’s dexterity. Cocking my head a little to the side, I began to pull off all of its legs, until only the two between my fingers remained. I then placed the spider back down, next the mound of quivering limbs and watched in amazement as the two remaining limbs continued to drag the stiffening body behind them. Even though death was fast approaching, the spider still did not give up, and instead, in the face of despair, continued along its path.

“Great,” I thought aloud, “I’m just like a fucking spider.”

And, with my stiff joints cracking, I stood up and continued on my path out of the decrepit city.


I walked for maybe three more hours until the sun stood face-to-face with me on the horizon, and I decided it would be best to find a shelter for the night. From where I stood I could see three suitable options. To my left was a small town house, with moldy red curtains seeping around shattered window panes, giving me the impression that the house was bleeding. That was enough to turn me off from that option, and besides I’m sure the years of rain and wind have not been to kind to its structural integrity and I wasn’t too keen on the idea of testing that theory. My second option was an old rusted car that I had passed a few minutes ago. Although it meant backtracking a little, and breaking my rule of staying on the roads at night, I thought it would be an okay option. And finally, I had the third option of walking into the forest to my right and making myself a little nest under a tree somewhere. Although the idea was cute, I really had no intention of waking up to a raccoon biting off my nose or a bear playing doctor with my chest. So I spun on my heel and searched for the car.

It turns out that I misjudged the distance a little; because by the time I reached the car, the sun was just on the verge of falling below the horizon, but it was still bright enough for me to assess the rusted corpse. The tires were flat and melting into the pavement, and aside from small specks of white, the exterior was completely rusted over. All of the windows were intact though, except the large one in the front had a web of cracks. Overall, I had seen and slept in worse, so I considered myself lucky, although I wasn’t too happy about staying on the road. Even though I had walked all day without seeing anyone, I still couldn’t shake the chills that prickled my spine. Sighing though, I came to the conclusion that it would be more dangerous to wander in the dark than it would be to stay in the car. At least this way, if someone comes to cut me up in the middle of the night, I will hear the creaking of the doors or the smashing of glass and have the privilege to watch the blood squirt out of my chest.

A crashing sound off to my right broke my out of my macabre daydream, and brought my back to reality. I wasn’t too worried about the source of the noise, it was probably just a hungry animal rummaging around in some wreckage, but still, I felt very exposed standing in the open highway. I yanked the handle on the door, but it wouldn’t budge. Swearing, I looked inside and saw that all of the doors were locked. I wasn’t really sure why the previous owners would have bothered to lock it if they were going to abandon it, but I decided this wasn’t the time to play guessing games. I considered just smashing the window, but that would give the cool air an open invitation to cuddle with me all night, and with winter approaching that didn’t exactly seem appealing to me. Instead, I grabbed a thin chunk of metal from a nearby pile of debris and wedged it in the side of the door. I took my left arm out of its sling and positioned my fingers against the handle, where they trembled slightly. I grabbed the bar with my right hand and pushed it as far to the side as I could, while my left hand weakly pulled at the handle. Eventually the lock gave way and the popped open, causing me to stumble backwards and fall on my ass. After a little swearing I stood up and dusted myself off, although there wasn’t much of a point to it, considering everything was perpetually covered in a layer of dust.

Sighing, for what seemed like the tenth time in the past hour, I picked up my bag, which had fallen off my shoulder, returned my arm to its sling, and got into the seat with the wheel and pedals, and closed the now dented door as tightly as I could. I took a moment to ponder what it would have been like to be in a car when they worked. I, just like everyone else, hypothesized how they were run, but no one really seemed to be sure. I just shrugged though, I habit I was used to, and crawled into the back seat. I used my backpack as a pillow and stretched out as much as I could. Before falling asleep, I was sure to take a knife out of my bag and put next to my bag, just in case I got any visitors tonight. Assuming I made it through the night, I planned to reach my destination tomorrow. Although I was sore from this week long journey I was determined to reach my destination.

Just like a fucking spider.

Copyright © 2014 Ace_of_Spades; All Rights Reserved.
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  • Site Administrator

Futuristic with post-apoc themes. I love this genre, and can't wait to read more. The macabre way your character killed the spider and then identified with it gave him a seriously messed up mental portrayal right away--perfect characterization for the story genre. Well done.

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