I was a mischievous kid.
Nothing extreme, but pulling pranks on the neighbors, on my classmates, on my parents.
You know, the usual: ringing the doorbell and running away, hiding stuff, maybe some egg and toilet paper throwing, but that too rarely.
But even that “rarely” was too much.
There was this old lady down my street.
She was a sweetheart, always giving out cookies, but she was…weird.
She had a raven as a pet, and often had the lights on all night.
My friends and I often joked that she was a witch.
Well, one day, I was dared to throw eggs at her house, and I…did.
Nothing happened, but the next day, she came to our house.
I was home alone, my parents still at work.
She came knocking on our door.
She was smiling, and was holding a platter of cookies.
“Little David, it wasn’t nice of you to throw those eggs at my house, you know?
I could’ve baked cookies with them.”
I blushed in shame, and tried to say something, but she cackled.
“You are quite mischievous, let me teach you something…don’t listen to your friends when they ask you to do something stupid.
For this, I will make a choice instead of you…
Your only friends from now on, will be the spiders of the world.”
She said, her voice getting eerier and eerier, and in the end she flicked my forehead.
Then, smiling she pushed the platter of cookies into my hand, and left.
I swear I could see her getting younger and younger, and by the time she left my eyesight, she must’ve been younger than mom…
I was confused, and scared, but didn’t give much attention to what she said.
But as I was walking upstairs, I saw a small house spider in the corner…
And, I am pretty sure the little fella waved at me.
But back then, I just shrugged it off.
I still remember that night.
I could hear whispers.
“Man, this house is amazing.
The big humans are rarely home, so we can stay in corners.
And since it’s always warm, there is always food getting caught in our webs.”
One voice whispered.
“Yes, but the little human might kill us.
I heard from a friend, that little humans like to torture us…”
The other voice continued.
I looked around and saw nothing and no one.
I went back to sleep that night thinking I’ve been dreaming.
But the next day, at school, one of my friends caught a spider in a matchbox, and showed off with it.
The poor spider was sitting quietly in the corner of the shoebox when we opened it.
But that wasn’t true.
Because I could hear it…
I could hear its screams.
“I WANTED JUST TO WAIT FOR FOOD TO COME INTO MY WEB!
WHY HAVE YOU LITTLE HUMAN CAUGHT ME?
OH MY, YOU WILL TORTURE ME?”
I couldn’t believe my ears.
I thought something was wrong with me, and ignored it…
But as I was going home, I could hear whispers coming from the bushes, from the ground, from the trees…
I then remembered what the old lady said…
And had to check it out.
So I struggled through the week, my suspicions all but confirmed, before I went to the zoo, to the spider hall. (that’s what they called it.)
And it was a cacophony of voices.
I was all alone at some point and I tried my luck.
“Can you…can you guys understand me?”
Complete and utter silence.
“Is the little human talking to us?”
A few spiders asked.
And I quickly answered.
“Yes, I am talking to you, you can understand me then?”
“HOLY Mother of all webs and crafts, the little human can hear us!”
I talked a bit with them before leaving…
Afterwards, did the curse finally sink in completely…
I got further and further away from my friends.
Not because I wanted to, but because they changed, a lot…or maybe I changed…
But I didn’t mind it…
I got my parents to agree for me to have some spiders as pets…
And they’ve been better partners to speak to than any humans.
I spent most of my middle-school, high-school and college almost entirely alone with the spiders…
And I can say, the curse was real, and I’ve been looking for the old lady, but I wasn’t…desperate.
Fast-forward 18 years, now I am 32, and I have a wife who loves spiders as much as I do, although her reasons are normal ones, not the “I can talk to them” reasons.
I have 2 kids who also love them, and spiders that take care of bugs, and (a few hidden tarantulas that take care of rats and mice problems), but they are a secret.
This curse…isn’t that bad…even if I don’t really have human friends…it worked out pretty well…
I was a mischievous kid.