The Unswung Bat

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The air around him, moving over moist skin, made Mark feel fleshed-out and dispelled the last touches of sleepy paralysis. He creaked down the stairs.

Some days the microwave shorted out the kitchen circuit. Other days the water-boiler did. Today, nothing went wrong. Otherwise, he would have had to go into the basement, where the Queen lived, to get to the circuit-breakers.

A mess of spiders had swarmed the lower region of the house, crawling in from God knows where, to build a palatial web between the edge of a recessed window and the fusebox. A diaphanous spire, every morning it would catch sunlight from the east and seem to grow. From the corner of the eye a trick of shape and light made it a person. The Queen. A hood shadowed the top of her face but showed foggy features flashing into human lines when she stood just past the edge of reliable vision. Luminous, regal, alive. Head-on, nothing but cobwebs.


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