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Without Vanity (Sequel to "To Let a Mockingbird Live")
In the previous story, the main character was a Chilean Rose Tarantula named Crescelia. The name of the family that owned Crescelia was never mentioned. The tarantula’s full name was Crescelia Franc de Jacquesfranschwab Champollione. Crescelia’s daughter was given a German name instead of a French name for some unknown reason. It was Zelindah von Abelschriemenamphelheimer.
Zelindah lived in the same tank that her mother had lived in, with the same log, but the peat moss was changed out. Zelindah had excellent eyesight, for her eyes were larger than any other known tarantula. Her center two eyes were about a centimeter in diameter, and her two peripheral eyes were about a quarter of a centimeter. She probably inherited these amazing eyes from her father, who had the genes of an Ornate Jumping Spider.
One day, the boy (who was not so much of a boy anymore) and his parents decided to move out of the house that they were currently living in. While they were still in the old house the boy came into his room and Zelindah sensed something was not the same. The boy did not seem very happy, as he started to pack up his belongings into boxes. After every other object had been taken off the bedside table, the boy picked up the tank. Where are we going? Zelindah wanted to ask. But alas, she could not, for she had no vocal abilities. The only sounds she could make were little clicking noises, almost like tiny bells, when she was startled. A moving man placed Zelindah’s home into a large truck with the rest of the contents of the house. It looked like things were about to change.
After everything was loaded into the truck, it started up.
After about an hour on the road, the family decided to sing a road song to cheer the boy up. From the back of the truck, Zelindah could hear the family singing. “Ist Das nicht ein Schnitzelbank?” “Ja das Ist eine Schnitzelbank!” “Ist Das nicht ein Kurz und Lang?” “Ja das Ist eine Kurz und Lang!” “Kurz und Lang, Schnitzelbank; Ei, du schöner, ei, du schöner, ei, du schöner Schnitzelbank!” Zelindah could not understand English, and could definitely not understand this German song. In their light-hearted and jovial spirits the family did not notice that the back of the truck had opened.
The family was driving on a dirt road so it was quite bumpy. Zelindah’s tank started sliding more toward the rear. No! This can’t be happening! She thought wildly as she tried to keep the tank from sliding, but from inside the tank, it didn’t help very much. With much despair in her heart, Zelindah’s tank tumbled off the back edge of the truck.
As the tank fell, Zelindah seemed to float freely in midair until her refuge and safe haven hit the ground and shattered. Glass flew everywhere. Zelindah just missed being cut by a large, jagged piece. She was saved from sure death on landing by the peat moss that originally padded her floor and was now a cushion of protection on impact. The family was oblivious to these events so continued to drive.
Zelindah’s tank was completely destroyed. She had no choice but to gulp down the water that was left in the dish, leave her mother’s home, and crawl in the direction that the truck was headed. The road was the only sign of civilization in this barren, desert land, so Zelindah chose to follow it.
By nighttime, Zelindah had to find something to eat and a place to sleep. She hadn’t had a meal for a couple of weeks, so she was very hungry. After the sun went down, Zelindah heard some crickets starting to chirp nearby. She crept up behind one, careful not to make a sound, because the cricket would stop chirping and Zelindah would not know where it was. As soon as she came close enough, Zelindah grabbed the cricket and held it firmly so it would not get away. She looked into its eyes for a second, as if to say, I’m sorry I have to do this. I wish I didn’t need to kill living things for food. This will only hurt a little bit. After this, Zelindah paralyzed the cricket, waited until it was fully unconscious so it would not feel pain, and ingested the insides.
Zelindah found a soft bed of dirt under a bush, so she decided she would stay there for the night. There was no way that she would be able to catch up to the truck, so she supposed she would take her time. In the morning, Zelindah started off down the road right away. By the mid afternoon, she was parched. It seemed as if there was no water for miles. But then, Zelindah climbed up a hill, and when she got to the top, a creek! She crawled down the hill toward the river of gold, until she got to the bank. It was about ten feet down from the edge of land Zelindah was standing on to the edge of the water.
Zelindah looked down, and the height made her dizzy. She gently lowered herself down onto the closest ledge to the top of the bank. Suddenly, the dry dirt crumbled beneath her, and she automatically grabbed hold of a projecting root. Zelindah dangled there for a couple of seconds, until she managed to lower herself down onto the next ledge.
There was a small cliff about ten feet tall that Zelindah was climbing down, but there was no cliff on the other side of the creek. The road ran into a ramp that went across the creek and turned back into road on the other side. In other words, after Zelindah would cross the river, she would not have to climb another cliff on the other side.
As soon as Zelindah reached the bottom of the cliff, she zoomed toward the edge of the water. As she sipped the clear, cold liquid, it seemed to flow through her body, to nourish the parts that were aching. After she drank her fill, Zelindah had to find a way to cross the river.
There was an old piece of press wood near the cliff, and after about five minutes of pushing, Zelindah managed to get it to the edge of the water. She hopped on, and pushed off the edge of the creek. The board floated downstream more than it floated across the river, and by the time Zelindah was across to the other bank, she was about a hundred feet away from the road. It took her until it was dark out to reach the road and begin traveling again.
Zelindah had ventured into a small village, in the middle of nowhere. When she entered this town, she noticed that no one was around. Finally, when she came to about the center of the village, she noticed a mother and her 5-year-old daughter strolling down the dirt shoulder of the road. Zelindah approached them cautiously, for she did not trust them. As she crawled in front of the mother, trying to get her attention, the mother gasped and uttered a soft “Uh”, as she passed out on the ground.
Zelindah was confused. What happened? She wondered. Is she all right? She crawled over to the daughter as if to ask that question. The daughter stooped down and held her hand out while she said “Hi thewe”. As Zelindah approached, she hesitated, thinking Wait. She might drop me, and I definitely do not want that to happen. Even though she considered this, Zelindah trusted the girl enough to crawl onto her hand as the girl said, “Come wif me”.
Zelindah was taken into a large room with wood paneling and a table. The girl then allowed her onto this table, as she sat down and started drawing something on a piece of paper. After she was done, the paper looked like this:
She’s abowt thwee quortewes of an inch tall, wif a big wite moon on huw back. If she is youws, send me a telegwaff message at 3667.
After this, the girl took the paper outside to hang up on the telegraph pole, for this was such a small town that they did not even need telephones. She left Zelindah inside on the table. When the girl came back, Zelindah was asleep. The girl made a little house out of a cardboard box for Zelindah to sleep in, and she carefully (as carefully as 5-year-olds can get) picked up Zelindah and put her inside.
5 seconds after the girl had put Zelindah in the cardboard box; her mother arrived at the door. The girl quickly grabbed the box and hid it in her room. “Honey!” her mother exclaimed. “You made it home ok. That thing didn’t kill you, did it?” She asked. “No mommy.” The girl replied.
Finally, 6:30 came and it was time for the girl to go to bed. After the girl’s mother had left the room, the girl waited for a few minutes and then tiptoed upstairs. She got a piece of apple out of the refrigerator, and brought it down to Zelindah. Zelindah had been asleep since she was left on the table, for she had had a long day. When she woke up and looked at the food, she thought, finally! I get to eat something that isn’t meat! As Zelindah nibbled at the apple, she thought about how she missed the boy.
The following day, the girl was in her room with Zelindah’s box in the middle of the floor. Suddenly, the girl’s mother burst into the room, and when she saw Zelindah in the box, her eyes widened to the size of dinner plates. She screamed, “That thing!” and grabbed her daughter and pulled her away from Zelindah. She ran out of the room, and started lecturing her daughter in the farthest room from where Zelindah was. “But mommy, she was lost!” the daughter was saying. “I don’t care if it was lost or not. A hideous monster like that would be better off dead!” The mother exclaimed. “You just hurt her feelings!” The girl cried. The mother replied, “Things like that don’t have feelings.”
Afterward, the mother came charging into the room where Zelindah was with a broom. Zelindah got up immediately, and ran in the direction she knew was opposite of the broom. The broom came crashing down right behind her, and this made her run even faster.
Zelindah ran through the hallway and out the door, onto the sunlit lawn. Behind her, the mother was waving the broom and shouting, “And don’t come back!” After Zelindah had crossed the road and caught her breath, she saw her family’s truck rolling toward her on the dirt road.
Zelindah almost jumped for joy at the sight of her family, who stopped the truck. The boy opened the door, and started walking toward Zelindah. He stooped down to pick her up, and carried her back to the truck. The family started the engine, and headed to their new home where a new tank awaited Zelindah.