Spider

A young boy, no older than seven, sat in a chair pulled up to the window. His legs were folded under him, his small hands resting in his lap. He was alone in the room, and well aware of it, all traces of tension gone. It was a sunny afternoon, and the light that streamed through the window illuminated the boy’s pale face. His crimson eyes, framed by downy white hair, were set on one spot on the windowsill.
There rested a little spider, pattering along in a confused manner. It tapped the glass with its long legs in search of a way out.
“You lost?” the boy asked, his voice so hushed you almost had to lip-read. He frowned thoughtfully, “I’ll help you.”
He hesitated a moment, but there was no changing his mind. He’d decided long ago that he’d only say something if he meant it. Besides, he felt a sort of kinship with the creeper. Trapped. It was a horrible feeling. He left the room for just a moment, and returned with a small plastic cup surrendered from the bathroom and an old index card discarded by his father in the wastebasket.
Carefully, he encased the spider in his makeshift container, feeling surprisingly pleased with himself. He brought the cup up to eye level, grinning.
“Hi, there.”
He turned to leave the room, so engulfed in his deed that he didn’t notice his father’s daunting figure until he walked into his stomach. He looked up at Ryo’s hostile expression, but it was nothing new. He took a few steps back, blinking.
“Night,” he raised a suspicious brow, “what are you doing?”
“I- uh… I was, um… t-taking him… outside.” Night stuttered.
“Taking who outside?
“Um… this... s-spider, sir.”
“…Why?” he taunted, not bothering to hide his disapproval.
“H-he was stuck in the window… sir…” he looked at his feet.
Ryo sighed, “A spider, Night? Just kill the damn thing.”
Night tensed up at the word. Not the death thing again… He looked up, horrified, “But—“
“But what? It’s a spider. No son of mine is going to go soft over a goddamn insect.”
“… Insects have s-six legs, sir.”
Ryo backhanded him, and he staggered and fell to the floor. The cup followed, the spider fleeing. Night cowered, waiting for the blows he knew would come, preparing to distance himself yet again.
Instead, Ryo spoke, “Did I ask you to speak? Do you think yourself smart? Clever? Because you’re not. Not a bit. You’re the sorriest excuse for an existence, do you know that? How can you live with yourself? No wonder your mother committed suicide. You’d drive anybody down that road. Wouldn’t be a bad idea for you to try yourself, either. Spare me…” he grabbed the boy by the collar and growled, “I have a right mind to do it myself. One of these days, I’m gonna smother you in your sleep, and this time, I won’t stop. I won’t pity you. You get what you deserve.” With that he released him, eyes wide with fear and brimming with painful tears.
Ryo’s eyes turned to the spider, scurrying across the floor for the protection of a shady corner. He glanced back at his son and stomped on it.
A wave of pain flooded over Night, his breath catching in his throat. He swallowed.
“What’s wrong with you?” Ryo demanded.
Night took this question in context, and carefully considered his reply. His voice shook, “… Didn’t you Feel that?”
Ryo glared, “Feel what?”
Night cowered further, “Nothing…”
Kneeling, Ryo grasped his son tightly by the shoulders and whispered in his ear in a malicious voice, “Thanks to your little stunt, you’ll go without food. Again.”
“But—“ Night protested.
“Shut it.” He tightened his grip, “If you complain, you won’t eat next visit, either. And after that one, mind you, I’ll be gone quite while.” He sneered.
Night quivered, “Daddy…”
“I don’t care. He released him again and stood.
“Daddy, I—“
Ryo turned to kick him, “I said I don’t care. Suck it up or go die in a ditch.”
Night clutched his ribs, eyes filling with tears as he watched his father approach the door.
“I love you…” he choked, but his words were lost in the slamming of the door.





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