Snippet: The Slope

(A piece of fiction written about a LARP character.)

The rats screech and squeak in fear as Alice tosses them into the web. They struggle, clawing and biting, tiny nails scratching the air in a vain attempt to escape. Alice notes that the monstrous spider waits before skittering along the web, dancing to her dinner. Perhaps the thrashing tenderizes the meat, or maybe terror is a succulent marinade.

Alice watches the spider quickly wrap each rat in silk. They make neat, lozenge shaped packages. They are tiny compared to the massive bulk of the spider. Pet store rats can’t be all that satisfying.

Alice tilts her head, considering. Cats would be only slightly more difficult to obtain. The same goes for dogs. But they could be gotten, and would provide better fare. Alice imagines the struggles of a tabby or mutt. She calculates the size of a mummified retriever.

Of course there are even larger prey she could obtain.

Little tow-headed toddlers, lured from the playground or bright-eyed teen-age girls promised a chance at modeling. With the start of the school year there are plenty of freshmen hanging out in parking lots stoned or drunk. The streets are full of homeless men, unemployed and desperate for money who could be overpowered with a taser.

Alice imagines all of them wriggling and crying, pleading to be released. The glamour to be reaped would be oh so delicious.

The spider has withdrawn to its hole at the roots of the dead and withered oak. All that remains of the rats is the cardboard box in which Alice transported them. Alice gives herself a shake, slightly disgusted by the fantasies she entertained, mostly saddened by them.

There’s so much talk of the slippery slopes, of destroying fetches leading to the wholesale murder of humans, she thinks. But it’s not a slope. It’s a drop off.

An unmarked drop off.

And so one must occasionally feel one’s way to the edge, moving slowly, and with deliberation to mark where the ground falls away, or else one risks imitating the cartoon coyote, running on air, solid ground just out of reach. At that point one must remember not to look down.

They hardly ever remember.

Alice backs away from the ledge. The way is clearly marked, the lines apparent. A rat is a rat. A human is a human. The former is for eating, the latter not.

Alice picks up the box and leaves. She’ll not revisit the pet store any time soon. The spider can catch its own meals.