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Edition 15: Webs by Cindy Hernandez

flag USEric moves to a cabin in the middle of nowhere with his cat, Zombie. In what starts out as a helpful quirk, Zombie’s spider-eating fetish lands her in trouble. Spider rule is returning to the cabin, and Eric may be more than outnumbered…Cindy Hernandez’s story wrapped up the judges and she was named a finalist of the 2013 Story Quest competition. SY

When you live in the middle of nowhere, you’re bound to encounter creepy-crawlies, little creatures that fly, hop, buzz, bite, and chirp. Oh, and spiders. Every cabin in the woods has at least a few. Fortunately, Eric didn’t mind them. Not right away, at least.

Dust filled hammocks of spider webs hung in every corner of the two-room cabin, but he didn’t care. As long as the rent stayed cheap and the roof didn’t leak, the bugs could do whatever they liked. The place was good enough. It was a shabby sanctuary away from the city, away from people, away from everything. His meager belongings sat in the middle of the floor next to the fireplace: his guitar in its battered case, a black plastic trash bag with his clothes inside, and Zombie, his grey and white, battle-scarred cat. Zombie settled herself on the bag of clothes, purring for reasons only known to a cat, and Eric cracked open a lukewarm beer in celebration of their new home.

Zombie developed a real taste for spiders and insects in the days that followed. Entire battalions of them disappeared down her throat. Eric would sit on the front porch in an ancient, splintered rocking chair, drinking beer, while the feline huntress stalked her multi-legged prey. She held no quarter and she took no prisoners.

But she was bound to meet a more formidable foe. Eric was roused from a beer-induced slumber by an odd wailing sound coming from outside. He shielded his eyes from the harsh sun as he opened the door and peered out. Zombie lay next to the rocker, and her growls and hisses were dreadful. She pawed at her face, gurgling and gagging, and Eric caught sight of four inky black, bristly legs protruding from the cat’s mouth. One of Zombie’s victims had decided to fight back.

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