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I Wrote to My Queen Saswati Chatterjee

A letter, marked in gold and copper. At the corners, I write my name in the spidery writing she knows to be mine. I dispatch it to the nearest cobweb and watch the babies eat it whole. And then I wait.

The next morning, the woman called Mother is still alive.

I watch her arms carefully during breakfast, for any trace of spider-web or spider-poison. I pick through her clothes, looking for broken spider bodies in case she had found them. The maids find me and chase me to my room in the attic.

***

A letter, marked in honey and milk. I find an old wine bottle and pour three drops onto my words – please please please. 

The spiderwebs in my room are plentiful. The maids don’t come here anymore. I find the fattest spider and watch him eat the letter whole.

The old bitch strides into my room the next morning and throws the covers off me. From my corner, I watch her smirk as she holds up the fattest spider, dead.

***

A letter, marked with tears and sweat. I write and write and write and write. The morning passes and I grow hungry. I drag myself down the stairs. The wood is cold and my legs are sticky. The maids laugh at me. I curse them and eat the bread they throw at me. They sing at me as I leave:

Little freak spider girl,

Little freak spider girl beggin’ for bread,

Little freak spider girl climbing the stairs,

Little freak spider girl, we’ll squish her dead.

***

A letter, marked in blood and bone. I finish writing it and she comes in. I hastily stuff it into my mouth and chew as she watches, one eyebrow raised.

Come now, little freak. Spit it out.

Too late, I tell her in triumph. And now I’ll eat you too.

How? she taunts. How when your mouth is weak and your legs are bound? How when I-

***

A letter, marked in web and weave. I write it, words spasming across the walls, as my arms grow, wide and long and taut. I propel myself off the bed with astonishing speed. I land on the opposite wall, my feet sticking to it like adhesive. I pace the chamber, from ceiling to ceiling, my hands reaching opposite ends before my body has begun.

I hear her coming up the stairs. The maids have long ceased to haunt my floor. The maids are dead.

I hear they tripped over spiderwebs.

***

A letter, marked in hope and triumph. I take the stairs, one arm at a time. They creak under my weight and I laugh an almost-laugh, and watch a thousand spiders spill downstairs. They swell like a wave around me and I am propelled by their force, carried by their love. I hear them spill out of every nook and cranny and as they come skittering down the walls, I hear them say: We’re here, we’re here, we’re here.

***

I’ve eaten the last letter. No more letters.

I’ve spread myself along the length of the dining room. My feet go from end to end. I feel cobwebs form where they touch the cold walls. The walls crack open and the cobwebs fill them in. My family fills the halls, I am surrounded by them. Soon they will live in me. Soon, I will be Queen.

Outside, I hear them trying to set the house on fire. I want them to try. I want them to come, with their great blunt maces and swords and knives and their unending misbegotten arrogance. I will shatter it, as I have already shattered the house. It is only held together by the web that I’m spinning, that I’ve always spun. Somewhere in me, I delight in hoping that they will try to eat me.

Far beyond the windows, I see her. Still cold. Still terrible. Still here.

Maybe I shan’t eat her. Maybe I shall keep her in a room with her mouth and feet bound up and wait for her to write to me.

© Saswati Chatterjee

Meet the Author

Saswati Chatterjee

Saswati Chatterjee

Saswati Chatterjee lives in New Delhi, India. She’s a lifelong fan of horror, video games and dragons or any combination of the three. She’s also got bit of a soft corner for the occasional artificial intelligence. She can usually be found at her Twitter, yelling bad opinions about TV shows.

Her stories have appeared or will appear in Daily Science Fiction, Weird Horror Magazine and Mixed Mag.

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