Nine one five, eighty eighteen.
Nine one five, eighty eighteen.
Jessica was singing it to herself in her head. A jingle, like humming the theme to The Price Is Right (Drew Carey will never compare). She couldn't forget this number, after all. It was the ultimate solution to her pain, to her rejection.
It wasn't a self-help number. No counselors waited on the other end of the line to talk you out of suicide. She wasn't that kind of desperate person. No, when you got right down to it, simply put, Jessica had a boyfriend problem.
Keith was an asshole. No, he was the asshole of all assholes. On the scale of douchebaggery from one to ten, Keith was an eighty nine point five. There was no telling how many times he'd broken promises to come over, only to be caught drinking at the strip downtown with some hussy in a short pink mini-skirt. All he did was go to work, come home and look at porn all day, or go out and cheat on her. He was an ungrateful, conniving bastard, and she'd had enough of it.
She took the steps up to her apartment and sank in to the loveseat, covering her face in her hands for a few moments. It was go time. She pressed the talk button, and the dial tone was a welcoming sound.
She'd first found the ad posted on a brick wall in an alley between the Earthbound Trading Company store and a White Castle, walking home from her rounds as an orderly at Metro General Hospital. She took the alley every day to cut over from Fifth Avenue to Union Street. She'd seen the occasional tagging here and there, maybe a few faded flyers, but this ad caught her vision almost immediately. The posting was made from some sort of silky, threaded material that stuck to the masonry with a persistent diligence. She'd tried to rip it from the wall to take with her, but it wouldn't budge. It was like a steel block, welded to the wall, and yet it felt so soft, so smooth, to her fingertips.
"Is your significant other acting less than significant? Are you married to a fat slob who doesn't deserve you? Boyfriend can't keep his schwance in his pants? Does he have you tangled in a constant web of lies? Call The Widow now! We are open twenty four hours, seven days a week. We guarantee a complete one-eighty in his attitude after one session. We will UNRAVEL him and make him see things YOUR WAY. CALL NOW!"
Nine one five, eighty eighteen. She'd dialed it before she was ready, her fingers seeming to follow the motions before she was fully aware of them. Maybe her sub-conscious was trying to tell her something. The receiver picked up almost immediately, but there was no sing-songy customer service representative to greet her on the other line. Maybe it was a small business. All she could hear was shallow, heavy breathing, and a rapid clicking noise. No -- hundreds of smaller, individual clicks, all in the same moment.
Jessica was starting to feel a little disconcerted with her decision to call and she was about to hang up, but she finally heard a voice. It was feminine, but held a very low and monotone rasp to it. It sounded like a demonically possessed Jennifer Tilly.
"Good evening. I've been expecting your call," the voice said.
"What do you mean?” Jessica asked. “I haven't called this number before."
"I know all about you, especially about your boyfriend Keith. Except I wouldn't exactly call him that. He certainly doesn't treat you like you're his girl, does he?"
Although it was certainly true, it pissed her off to hear this from a complete stranger. Was it really that obvious? How did this lady know so much about her personal life?
"You're so beautiful, darling. You don't deserve the treatment you've received. In fact, your situation is so dire that I'd be willing to extend my services to you for free."
Jessica didn't have money problems, but the fact that this strange person knew about her and her misery ignited a rage within her. She was fed up with Keith.
"Well, you sound a little...unconventional. But sure, I'd love to receive your assistance. I do love him, but he's just not a good person anymore. I hope this helps. I've tried everything." Jessica said.
"Oh no, dear. Not everything."
The lady hung up. Her line was dead. She had four hours to call her asshole boyfriend, convince him to come and stay over for the night, make dinner, and probably fuck his brains out so he would stick around. How did this "Widow" plan to change Keith permanently? It was unfathomable, but she was desperate to save her relationship at this point. Maybe things could be salvaged.
Or maybe she would know that they really were doomed, and the Widow would tell her it was time to move on.
Jessica made rigatoni with marinara sauce, the same dish she'd prepared on their first date in this very apartment a few years ago. She was optimistic. The Widow would help her rekindle the romance in their relationship and light a fire under Keith's ass. Soon, he would see the error of his ways. He was on his way now. Everything was falling into place. She was proud of herself. She'd opened the windows to the small veranda awning overlooking the center quad of her apartment complex, and a smooth summer evening breeze filtered gently through the living room. The lingering smell of tomatoes, basil, and homemade wheat noodles boiling in the saucepan mingled with the fresh air. It was a nice nig--
BAM. BAM. BAM.
Someone was rapping at her front door with ferocity. Maybe it was Keith. (He was usually more aggressive when he'd had a few drinks. Maybe he'd stopped by Jonesy's for a drink or two before coming over to loosen up. Normally, he wasn't too obnoxious if he'd had a few, but this was out of character for his normal behavior.) She felt uneasy.
She'd dolled herself up with tight-fitting seersucker Capris and a sun blouse that fell about her hips suggestively. She was irresistible. She wrapped some of her hair around her finger in a strand and took a deep breath. She smelled nice...like strawberries. Her slightly trembling hand gripped the doorknob as she opened the door. He was about thirty minutes early. Definitely strange for Keith.
No one stood there when she opened the door. She heard rapid clicking above her, and as her gaze moved skyward, her life flashed before her eyes. This is it, her brain told her. You are about to die.
Rough, hairy tendrils slapped at her face as the giant black thing descended from the ceiling on top of her. Jessica fell to the carpet instantly, trying to hold her hands up to push the heaping form away from her. Her hands slid fruitlessly off a leathery dark abdomen. She thought she was having some sort of psychotic episode, but as she heard the door slam shut, she saw nothing. The clicks were roaring now, deafening to her ears.
Nothing again. In a split second, there was no black monster. She saw feet in heels now, open toed. Painted toenails. What the fuck?
The woman was gorgeous and exotic in her appearance, oddly beautiful, although her sense of fashion was a little strange. Cobweb designs were tattooed up and down her bare, pale arms. She was wearing a black, sleeveless gown that fell about her figure. Her lips were a juicy blood red, contrasting sharply with her pale skin, smooth hewn facial features, and the dark material of the gown. Jessica was too stupefied to stand or move. She lay on her back and watched. The first time she'd been on her back in months, as a matter of fact.
"Weaknessssss. You are weak, girl. YOU MAKE ALL OF USSSSS LOOK WEAK!"
The black thing was on top of her again, and now she felt befouled. She didn’t have time to think about a woman turning into a monster because survival seized her mind and blocked out everything else. The edge of her blouse was being lifted. Something razor sharp and pointed was digging into her flesh--boring in to her body like a power drill. Her stomach felt like it was on fire. Her vision blurred, and her eyes couldn't focus at all. Something HOT was running through her, felt like acid in her veins. This is it, she thought. I am going to die under this thing, this monster.
Nothing. Her abdomen was still burning, but as quickly as she felt it invade her, it was gone again, along with the black thing on top of her.
Was she losing her mind? The woman and the hulking dark mass were gone. She still felt that searing hotness flowing through her body. A smooth, red, pinpointed bruise surrounded her navel. She still felt like she'd been hit by a train. Something was going on here.
More knocks at the door. Less forceful, this time. It was Keith. She flung herself towards the gateway to her residence, flinging it open with an exasperated wail. There he was: his normal, grubby, ill-kept self, that dumb grin on his face. For once, he looked glad to see her, and she felt the same way. She kept back tears, and decided she would keep the incident to herself. She made a note to visit a psychologist this weekend. A combination of twelve hour shifts at the hospital and her emotional wreck of a relationship was definitely starting to get to her.
"Hey, baby. Looking good. Oh, I can smell it from here. You made my favorite," Keith said.
She led him in to the kitchen, pouring two glasses of dry cabernet. She lit candles. The night was steadily creeping back to a normal pace, but she'd closed the windows. Rattled, she tried not to let it show in her face as they began to have dinner.
She coiled the long, steaming noodles around her fork. The dripping marinara was piping hot, but the smell seemed "off" to her for some reason. Not enough spices? She was starving, and yet as she watched him shovel the meal into his gullet, she couldn't help but feel revolted. Not by HIM, but by the food. She tried a bite herself. She couldn't even swallow it. It tasted like dirt. She coughed and hacked violently before running to the sink, gagging.
"Jessica, are you okay? Is your stomach upset? This is all my fault. I'm sorry, I know I haven't been trying very hard late--"
She looked up and stared at his face. It was like he was talking in slow motion. His cheeks looked so plump, so puffy--like she could tear them off his face in an instant. She was tingling all over. There was an unbearable itch deep within her innards. Like having a thousand mosquito bites in her uterus that needed to be scratched and satisfied. She knew he could make it feel better.
"Go to my bedroom, now. I have something for you, big boy." She flashed him a devilish grin, trailing her fingers down the side of her hip to her Capris, unfastening the button. She couldn't be any more obvious.
The look on his face suggested that Christmas had come early. He didn't waste a moment rising to his feet. It took a lot of motivation to bring Keith away from a well-prepared meal.
He'd always been a selfish lover in bed. She pushed him down to the silky white comforter, straddling him and ripping her bottoms off in a matter of moments. No foreplay, no warm ups, right to coitus and penetration. He wanted to get off as much as she did, anyway. She felt strong and powerful, in control, for the first time in years. Her teeth were vibrating inside her mouth as she bit his neck playfully. And then a little more playfully. He was inside her, and it felt good. Too good, too fast--she was already almost there. She knew he'd already arrived by the look on his face. Oh, God, she was hungry.
"Baby, your teeth, you're a little too rough--oh my God, AAHHH!" Keith screamed.
Her little ones, her young--she could feel them leaving her now. Exiting her body and crawling up through his urethra to roost inside his moist haven of living tissue, blood, and meat. His body would give them life and satiate their voracious appetite for flesh.
Jessica raked her razor pincers down his neck, shearing the skin from his throat like a Snicker's bar wrapper. Oh, the clicking. Keith's eyes were bursting open like overfilled balloons, as the skittering beauties crawled down his chest and began to devour his muscular frame. She didn't itch anymore. She felt fulfilled. Well, almost. There was that last part.
She had him suspended from the ceiling after a few minutes of tedious work. He hung, lifeless, and she was clumsy with her spinnerets at first. However, eventually she grew attuned to them as if they were hands or feet. It was awkward, but now she had him fully encased for the little ones. Her babies that would grow big and strong, that loved her so much more than her unappreciative, selfish mate.
At least Keith would finally serve a good purpose in life.
A sharp sound invaded her ears, and she dismounted from her web anchor on the ceiling.
The bedroom phone was ringing. A pathetic woman in her weakest hour. I have to help her, she thought to herself. She needs the Widow.
Jessica picked up the receiver. It was tiny in her pincher claws, but she was more agile, more dexterous now. Sure of herself, as she had never been before. The girl's voice sounded desperate, defeated.
"HELLO? Anyone there?! I need help with my boyfriend...what the hell is that clicking noise? He's lying to me right now and I think he’s with some other girl downtown. Please, I've tried everything...."
She was on a mission to make women more powerful, to harden them against the deception of their mates. Men were a tool to utilize to bring about the young, and nothing more.
She adored the sound of her new voice as she tested it for the first time.
"No, dear. Not everything."
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