Ophelia’s Overture Part 5: The Town

The safety of her new home crumbled to dust. The same vile creatures that had destroyed her last one, they were close. There were so many that they all formed a muddled storm cloud that made her head hurt to focus on. She didn’t want to wander anymore; she had just found the perfect place, yet this blight of a species refused to leave her at peace. It infuriated her. It terrified her. She was slow to finish her meal, for her mouth didn’t want it anymore. She needed the energy, and it would be wrong to waste a perfectly good kill. Her tribe, twinkling in the stars, would have been very upset, she told herself.

By the time she was licking the bones clean, she had decided her next course of action: she would scope out the enemy. She vaguely recalled her tribe’s tactic of exploring rabbit tunnels for tactical advantage. To know where your enemy roams is to know where they die. It would be like that…except far more perilous. She was completely in the dark as to what this species was capable of. And someone had snuck into her house last night. The only solution was to swallow her fear and find out. As long as she kept hidden and avoided risks, she’d return unscathed. 

So, after placing the valuable bones from her meal in a strip of bark to carry and burying the rest, she cautiously followed her nose.


With each step, the long spindly fingers of the scent stretched further and further, threatening her with its inescapable grip. Every sense had been dialed to eleven, anticipating anything that might come at her suddenly. She could hear her heart pounding in her ribcage, taste the dirt frequently stirred by traveling feet, hear— What was that rustling in the bushes?! She whirled around, too overwhelmed to have detected what it was until her eyes landed on it: just a chipmunk. The spider woman journeyed on with a twinge of embarrassment. 

It wasn’t long before she saw something ahead other than trees. Familiar shapes of stone and wood and other materials she didn’t recognize. They were more of those strange artificial caves. They had noticeable differences compared to the far back place with the sheep, but they were certainly human. So she would be journeying straight into the belly of the beast. She was already at a risky distance in her current form; she would need to transform.

Though it was practically muscle memory for her, it took an extra moment to recall the process. Like rekindling an old candle. It had been a long time in her blurry memory since she had needed to be so small. She began with the simple familiar incantation of her holy tongue, more used as a nursery rhyme to ground and focus the young tribe member rather than as some key mystical component. She clicked and hummed, focusing on her being and the space it took up. Then, as she felt her mind easily let go of everything else, she held her breath, pushed it down, and forced it through her core and along her limbs. The steady pressure of her body pulsed and shifted and contracted. As her body morphed, the spider woman could feel the very heartbeat of nature guiding her. When she finally opened her eyes, the forest was a big and beautiful place, and she was a mere tiny black house spider, indistinguishable from any normal arachnid.

The scraps of nature and woven web that were her clothes lay around her in a peaceful nest beside the bark holding the animal bones. She doubted the humans would understand their value and try to take them. Without delay, she skittered toward the looming structures. 


Lush grass quickly turned to packed dirt grounds which turned to strange paths of small stones. The human scent enveloped her in a thick fog that left her entirely reliant on sight and touch alone. 

It was like journeying into an unknown cave system, completely in the dark. She realized the more she journeyed that their civilization was very much like a cave, warped and laid flat. There were edges and curves, tunnels and rooms, shaped in strange ways that only made sense to those who created them. It was disorienting to any outsiders. She did her best to keep track of which way she came from, but she knew it was like a poorly made web surviving a merciless wind.

Soon she began to detect whispers of sound traveling along the sensitive hairs of her body. She skittered along the edge of a structure, then another. Heavy footsteps rumbled the ground beneath her, and then she saw a pair of feet, formless and clad in a solid material. It moved too quickly to make sense of, and she shrank away from it, afraid of finding herself beneath its powerful strides and squished like an overripened berry. 

It was her first sight of a human since all that time ago. It made her realize she still wasn’t ready. She was scared. 

And just like the first burst of a sunrise, she turned the corner of the structure and was faced with dozens of them. Some were standing, some walking; one small pair of feet sped past her eyes. An avalanche of strange steps, a cacophony of vibrations crashing like a storm on her body. And over it all was the suffocating odor of human. The assault on her senses overwhelmed her and forced her to scramble up the wall, as far off the ground as she could. 

That was when it all cleared.

Positioned on a ledge, she could now see everything from above. The humans weren’t so big and frightening anymore. They really did look so much like her kind, merely disconnected from nature. Their strides established control over the very ground. Their eyes fixated forward on a singular point. Their movements were sudden and rigid. They dressed in far too much material, despite the summer climate. Yes, they looked similar to her kind, but by their very mannerisms and lifestyle, they were the exact opposite. It was intimidating, for a species to defy nature so effortlessly. It was scornful. 

Yet, there was also something else there: their faces. The way they smiled, frowned, sighed. And she realized, she knew those emotions. Her eyes swallowed their expressions, and they tumbled and tightened in her chest. Memories bubbled to the surface and prickled along her skin. A friend she made. A proud family. A stern yet loving mentor. The names came in vague sounds, almost almost settling into words. The incredible experiences of human connections that made up her entire life swelled in her being, brighter than ever.

It hurt. After so long without a person to talk to or even to see, she wanted that. For a pair of eyes to meet hers with gentleness, with responsibilty, with judgment even. The thought was like sunlight. Like music. And it hurt to see it in a place she had no part of; it was so close and yet had never been farther away.

It hurt, but it was beautiful. The revelation behind her eyes in that moment of observation was indescribable. Everything in her mind shifted. Established information now put into question, assumptions dissolving and reshaping, and a glow of awareness she could not quite pinpoint.


And there were too many questions to count. What were humans? What made these humans different from the ones who had wiped out her people? Perhaps they had been a group of vile outcasts? Why is that girl laughing? Those two are holding hands; are they mates? What is that man trading? Why is there smoke coming from that building? 

What’s their language? Who leads them? Do they have magic? Would they treat her with friendliness? Or hostility? 

She would need to learn more about these humans and decide the worthiness of their virtues. After all, she could merely be getting her hopes up. Whether they were peaceful or not, they were still very fascinating. She could study them in secret. In fact, she was obligated to. If it came to it, it would be in her hands to seek vengeance and restore the balance of the universe. 

Instilled with determination, she made her way to the very top of the building and scanned her eyes over the civilization. The smell of human faded to a buzz in the back of her head. There were maybe ten times more people here than her tribe. So many structures. So many lives. So much to discover.

Finally, she had a new, exciting purpose in life.

[5 pages]

(Maybe humans are kinda rad yo. Just barely got to five with this one! I didn’t want to bloat it too much, but once I finished, it still wasn’t reaching. But I’m pretty satisfied with the finished product. I really feel like each moment has a place in this chapter. I just hope I don’t abuse lists a little too much…)


The amazing owner of WRandR!

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