The Haunted Spider contest entry (Winning Story) for the Steem Monsters/Splinterlands monster card named The Haunted Spider.
Scatter-scatter-scatter! Pause. I hear the door creaking. Come and sit. Allow me to light a candle for you. Whoosh! Don’t worry. I see you looking around; you can’t see me, but I can see you. I can see right into your soul. I see everything, I know everything. I am there when no one suspects it and I watch and wait for my prey to arrive. Don’t worry, you’re not that prey, not today.
Scatter-scatter-skid! I am here to give you a warning, for the fate that has befallan me, may befall you too. Scatter-scatter. I was once a beautiful young seer, able to predict the future and fortunes of many. I would use my talents to find bed for the night, and pay for a hot meal. I had found a tavern where many patrons bustled in and out every night, many of whom became my regular clients. Though many more folk laughed at my talents, pointing at the young homeless gypsy who’s clan had left her behind.
Then one night, a wealthy man came into the tavern. Lord Wilsum, he was called. I had a vision and did not need any of my cards to tell him his future. His future looked bleak, and death and treachery were in the works. He became cross and hit me, disbelieving, calling me a hooligan. I fell and was mocked by the locals. However, that moment was pivotal for both our lives. He returned a week later, admitting he’d been wary, given what I had said. He revealed that my predictions were true, but those who attempted to betray and murder him had been apprehended. He apoligised to me and praised my talent, calling it a gift from the heavens. He offered me room and board and plenty of fortunes for a lifetime.
I had not realised when I moved in that he would want me to bed him. I pretended to care for him and showed him what semblance of affection I could, for I did feel genuine appreciation. Alas, one day, Lord Wilsum had a guest at his estate, a young handsome man, by the name of Benton, to whom I offered to read his fortune. But instead, that man and I spent the night in passion. He stayed for several weeks, and we kept our affair secret. He sadly had to leave and promised me he would find a way for us to be together. Had I left with him that night, Lord Wilsum would have found us and ensured Benton’s death for the treachery. So we waited for the right moment. Pause. Scratch-scat.
Several months later, a problem arose, as I was with child and could no longer hide it. Somehow Lord Wilsum guessed it was not his and he began to hunt for whomever had been at his estate, regardless whether any man had been a servant or a guest, had stayed for a brief time or a prolonged visit; and began capturing and torturing every man he knew in order to find the one who had betrayed him.
Scatter-scatter-scatter! I ran away, and gave birth in secret. My child remains hidden, thankfully, but Lord Wilsum found me and imprisoned me in his highest tower. The only way I could escape was to cast a spell on myself, borne from a magic I did not understand. Scatter-scatter. I have a new prison now. And I will only be free of this body and retake my human form when I have found both my lover and my child. It has been five years. Scatter-scatter-skid.
Heed the warning I give you tonight. Pause. Lord Wilsum has been hunting me down, not knowing that I have taken a new form. He has become murderous and vengeful. He has been dabbling in the darkest arts of magic to find me and has been sacrificing young men. With their blood, he gains more power, the power to track me down, track down my lover, and find my child. He will not stop until he finds us and kills us, or until I find them and find a way to save them.
Scatter-scatter-scatter! Look at me. Look down, here on the armrest of the chair in which you sit. Yes, this is me. Do not be alarmed, I shall not harm you. Not in the way you think. Pause. Lord Wilsum has changed his name. Today he is known as Sir Garrett Smittey. The envelope you carry, I am guessing is an invitation to this estate to further your studies as a scholar, yes I see it in your eyes. Look at the signature. Skit-scat.
You must flee. You must leave now, or your blood will be spilled and you will be added to his collection of corpses.
Yes, I suppose, as free as I am from my prison in this new form, I have chosen not to escape that which I know and remain in this estate, for it is the place where I can hear the most and see the most people and learn the most in order to find my lover and child.
Now, go! He will not see you leave at this time. He his sharpening his tools. But before you go… Skitter-scatter. Prick. I mark you. Now I can see and hear what you see and hear. You will help me. The only thing that can save you from your fate of death is to flee this estate. If you do not, within the hour, you will be transformed, at which point I shall feed on you. Hehehe. Either you help me, or you turn. And if you turn, then I absorb your life essence and grow in power and size.
Your choice is simple then. Help me, or feed me. Either way, it is better than allowing you to die at the hands of a blood thirsty man who’s gone insane.
Short Form Story
I am the haunted spider. Haunted, hunted, hunting. You may help me in my quest by becoming my eyes and ears. Or you can help me by allowing me to feed on you so I may gain in power. The alternative is a bloody death that would feed my enemy, and no one wants that.
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