My world is woven from a desire to create a reality.
Silken threads intertwine and twist in the moisture laden air,
all the while I wait and ponder the divinity I seek.
* * *
The darkness of the swamp engulfs and challenges this veracity.
Bottle green leaves and vines encircle my retreat,
drawing wisdom from the primordial ooze beneath my feet.
* * *
Patiently I crouch and wait, silent in my lair,
as gossamer strands of silken lace play upon her hair.
The dankness of the mire, the stillness of the day,
This I know is my actuality, my dominion I shall keep.
2014 © Copyright-All rights reserved www.silverthreading.com
Miss Pensie Taylor walked down the dirt road toward the tiny house behind the swamp where she had been born many years ago. Her walk was slower these days as the arthritis had settled in her old bones. Her dress flapped forlornly around her thin legs as the humid sea air blew in from the Gulf of Mexico. Thick trunked oak trees with massive limbs creaked in the breeze, as she walked by.
She shifted her bag of groceries to her other hand to ease the cramp in her hand. She was almost to the swamp when she noticed billowing storm clouds building in the southern sky. The air was heavy and dank around the swamp. Frogs croaked in the murky water. Birds scattered and flew in different directions between the dark trees, as if they were getting ready for the approaching storm by looking for shelter.
St. Michael’s cemetery was across the street from the swamp a ways up on higher ground. Years ago, Miss Pensie’s father had been the caretaker of the burial grounds. Miss Pensie had followed him around as a child, while he read the names of the Confederate soldiers buried there out loud to her.
The cemetery was an old place and had been there for many years. Miss Pensie was used to it and not afraid of living so close to a graveyard. After all the King of Spain was buried there in 1807! It was just the history of folks you would find there. The stories of people who lived long ago could still be felt if you walked around looking at the names of the dead.
The large ornate tombs of white stone surrounded by elaborate wrought iron fences showed up brightly against the many trees scattered throughout the graveyard. Lightening pierced the dark clouds with jagged bursts of fury. Miss Pensie hurried as she leaned into the wind. Quickly she rounded the edge of the swamp that was part of the backyard of her property. Sharp lightning flashes reflected in the windows of her house, startling her.
She opened the back door with a shaky hand and walked into the kitchen to switch on the lights. She flipped the switch a couple of times. Damn, she thought. The power is out already. The storm is not even here yet and there is no electricity, she fumed.
Rain and thunder storms were a part of life in Pensacola, Florida. You never knew when one would blow up. Sometimes they lasted hours, some only minutes before moving on to the next location. Miss Pensie got out the candles and matches from the kitchen drawer where she always kept them. She lit a candle, placed it in the holder then set it on the table. The candle’s flickering light made the room feel welcome.
Hurrying to the old stove, she struck a match and lit the gas. A welcoming flame burst from the burner filling the room with an eerie blue light. Miss Pensie filled the kettle and set it on the flame. A cup of tea sounds good right now, she mused. Maybe this storm will blow over quickly, she thought. It was hot in the kitchen and she wiped sweat from her brow.
Outside the small house, the storm began to build. The wind and rain whipped up into a fury beating against the windows with so much noise Miss Pensie could hardly hear herself think. She looked out the kitchen window although all she could see was the rain blurring and distorting her vision as it struck the glass. Strange dark tree shadows blurred by the rain moved outside in the yard.
Thunder rumbled deeply and shook the walls of her little house. Miss Pensie made a cup of tea and waited for the storm to abate. The wind howled, thunder boomed, and the rain tore at the house for almost an hour.
Miss Pensie sat patiently waiting for the storm to be over with. As quickly as it had begun it was finished. The quiet was almost as deafening as the storm had been. Suddenly, the lights flashed to life as the electricity was restored. Miss Pensie jumped at the harsh glare from the overhead kitchen light. It almost blinded her.
Glancing at the clock on the wall, she realized it was well after suppertime and time to fix a bite to eat. Miss Pensie made a sandwich and sat at the kitchen table in front of the bay window to eat her dinner.
She watched the gathering gloom descend around her tiny house. The swamp was especially beautiful in the dim light. She could see the stark contrast of the bottle green leaves of the river birch rubbing against the deep forest green leaves of the magnolia trees. Water drops glistened on the leaves and seemed to twinkle in the twilight. Crickets chirped and lazy dragon flies perched on the bamboo sticks in her garden.
As the darkness rapidly descended Miss Pensie noticed something out of the corner of her eye. There seemed to be a green mist hovering in the cemetery across from the swamp. It looked like a green fog as it spread and thickened – then dissipated, and was gone. White orbs suddenly appeared and bobbed up and down between the grave stones. The lights moved round and round, as they circled some of the gravestones. Then they were gone too!
“Well what could that be?” she said out loud. That was the strangest thing she had ever seen. 80 years living in these parts and she never saw a green mist with white orbs of light hovering over the cemetery before. She sat for a while more pondering the strange sight she had witnessed.
Finally, she decided that she would investigate and see what could have caused that fog and those lights. Miss Pensie grabbed her large flashlight and went outside. The storm was long gone and stars sparkled overhead in the night sky. The grass was wet and squeaked when she walked on it. A stray toad croaked as she made her way past the swamp to the front gates of the St. Michael’s Cemetery.
The gates were left open at night now since the company that managed the cemetery did not like to send someone out at night to lock up. Most people did not come here at night anyway. They thought it was spooky. Too many lost souls floating about. Miss Pensie did not mind though. The cemetery made her think of her Pa. She was not afraid.
Once through the black wrought iron gates, she shone the flash light around to see if the green mist or the white orbs were lurking about in the depths of the darkness. Nothing. There was absolutely nothing there except the grave stones lit up brightly by the flashlight beam in her hand.
“Humph!” replied Miss Pensie. “Got me out here at night looking for nothing,” she said with irritation in her voice. I must be losing it, she thought. One more look around with the flashlight revealed nothing once again. Miss Pensie turned and walked back outside of St. Michael’s cemetery. She turned and headed back home.
At the edge of the swamp closest to her backyard, Miss Pensie stumbled against a tree trunk that was jutting out into the grass. She felt something on her arm, and there in the beam of the flashlight was the largest spider she had ever seen! She got tangled up in the silky strands of the spider’s web as she tried to regain her footing. No, cemeteries did not scare her, but big HUGE spiders terrified her!
Miss Pensie broke loose from the web, grabbed the flashlight that had tumbled to the ground in the altercation with the spider, and ran. She ran as hard as she could for her back door. Bursting through the door, she tumbled into the kitchen and plopped down into a kitchen chair! It took almost 10 minutes for her breathing to calm down and for her heart to stop beating as if it would burst inside her chest. She was still shaking and sweating profusely.
She drank her now cold tea and looked out the window again. There in the distance, she could see the white orbs dancing around the tomb stones again. It was as if they were taunting her! Shaking her head in wonder, she knew what she would do. She was going to call Sam Pritchard, the County Sheriff. He could handle it. Her hands still shaking, she picked up the phone and called Sam.
Sam Pritchard took Miss Pensie’s call and came out to investigate himself. He knew she was getting on in years and wanted to make sure that she was alright. He had never heard of a green mist or fog with dancing lights in the cemetery before either. This was a new one. He had to see this himself.
Sam pulled up in Miss Pensie’s driveway in his old pickup truck. He knocked at her back door. Her lights were on however, she did not answer his knock. He called out Miss Pensie’s name, but there still was no answer. He walked around the yard a bit and looked across the street at the cemetery. He did not see any lights or mist. Where was Miss Pensie, he wondered.
He opened the back door and then he saw her! She was lying on her side, the phone clutched in her hand. Her mouth was open and a look of astonishment was captured on her face. Poor thing, Sam thought. It looks like she had a heart attack right after she called me. She must have been really scared of whatever she saw tonight.
Miss Pensie was buried in the St. Michael’s Cemetery right next to her Pa, with her Ma on the other side of her. It was a short ceremony because not many people knew who she was because of her age. Her favorite flowers, gardenias were laid upon her burial mound. The white gardenias filled the air with their heady fragrance.
That night, the green mist and the dancing orbs surrounded the hallowed ground where Miss Pensie laid for her eternal rest. Sam Pritchard saw the lights as he drove by the cemetery that night. Many people in town said that they started seeing them too. They figured it was Miss Pensie’s Ma and Pa showing her the way to her eternal sleep. Nobody really knew that it was that damn spider that scared Miss Pensie to an early death!
Nevertheless, if you drive by the St. Michael’s Cemetery in Pensacola, Florida any night of the year, you just might see those dancing orbs of light surrounded by a green fog! I know that people still see them because I have too!
2014 © Copyright-All rights reserved www.silverthreading.com
I hope you enjoyed this bit of Pensacola, Florida lore. The St. Michaels’s cemetery is real, although I did change the location to go with my story. If you want to learn about the cemetery click here. The lights in the cemetery are considered to be real too. I found this information on Haunted Places in Pensacola Florida. Enjoy!
Happy Halloween! Thanks for visiting,
9 thoughts on “The Spider’s Lair–A Halloween Poem and Scary Tale”
I enjoyed reading your Halloween story Colleen. There was a moment when I felt really afraid for you character. Never expected the spider to cause her death.
Great story. Really liked Miss Pensie, the setting and the history.
Thank you. I wrote this during the summer but it works for Halloween. Glad you enjoyed it.
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I loved reading this story the first time, and I loved reading it again. A great poem and story for Halloween, Colleen. I hope you are having a great Halloween 2014. Ours was great, but now the ghosts and Ghouls have gone to bed, so it’s time for me to retire as well. Sleep tight this Halloween night.
Thank you Hugh. Good night. I am off to hand out sweets ♡
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Very good! Liked both poem & story.
Thank you. Happy Halloween!
What can I say Colleen, your imagination and story is fabulous! I was entranced and had to read every word. Brilliant! 🙂
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Thank you so much Amanda! I hope to do more stories with historical references to Pensacola in the near future. I am so glad that you enjoyed it! ❤
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