Danbury Court

by JN on 04.05.10 · View Comments

Darla Feckingham hated spiders. Hers was a quiet bold hatred, but with an authority and fearlessness that compelled her to walk or crawl right up to it, her two eyes staring straight into the spider’s eight. In retrospect I’m not sure whose glittered more, whose were more evil and terrifying. I wasn’t terrified of her then, I found her babyishness tiresome. She wasn’t a first choice playmate; she was the one on whose door I knocked when there was no one else around to play with. When my other friends around the trailer park were off visiting their dads for the weekend or summers, I’d trudge myself down to Danbury Court. Danbury Court was the “wrong side of the tracks,” which, in a trailer park, is saying something. Danbury Court proves that there will always be a wrong side of the tracks, even when you’re already standing on the wrong side of the tracks.

Darla’s intensity scared me. She was like a cat, reflexively snatching a spider out of places invisible to me, to my own eyes. She would pick them up, let them skitter up her hand before gently, slowly plucking out one of its legs.

And she’d watch as it struggled, as the spider curled into itself. We all have a survival mode, even spiders.

And then she would pluck out another one, and perhaps another before delicately placing it on the ground before her.

“Why are you doing that,” I asked her once, horrified by the calm scene playing out in front of me. I was incredulous to find myself sticking up for a spider, but her coldness was jarring.

“I want to see what he does,” she replied, disconnectedly, completely focused on the struggle of the spider as it tried, in vain, to get away to safety. “It’s funny when they think they can get away.” This was usually the point I realized that nothing good ever came from Danbury Court. And so I would wander off, Darla oblivious to my presence anyway, and back home to read on our porch.

Darla moved away shortly after a little boy set his family’s trailer on fire when playing with matches. Nobody stayed long on Danbury Court.

It’s funny to some when we struggle, when we think we can get away.

  • Creepy beyond creepy going on here. Well written and nice and bite-sized.
  • This is a wonderful piece of writing, Stacy. It gave me shivers.

    Don't let anyone pull your legs off, sweetheart.

  • Kailynne
    So glad to see you writing again,.
  • PiecesOfAmber
    This. is so. fucking. good. And also extremely discomfiting. It makes my guts churn.
  • Thanks, babycakes! I mean, I'm sorry that your guts are churning, but it means a lot that you like it.
  • twobusy
    Beautifully rendered, and profoundly creepy.
  • Thank you. :)
  • This made me think of abuse relationships. I've witnessed people in situations where it seemed like the abuser was pulling off legs, causing as much pain as possible, either emotionally, physically, or mentally, just to see what the victim would do. Cold and calculated.

    I love the way you write.
  • Thank you so much for saying so. :) Warm & fuzzies.

    But yeah, abuse. It comes in all forms. I guess I wrote this not just because of the memory specifically, but because it seems so much lately that people do things deliberately to hurt others, but do it in such a way that it's almost gentle and they do it just to see what the other person (the spider, in her case) will do. It's frightening to me that people can be that way. It's a slow, burning cruelty. And it can be physical or mental. *shudder*
  • There's always one of those kids. I always wonder if they all band together and turn into politicians or podiatrists or something....
  • Or on death row?
  • Haunting.
  • She was haunting. Or haunted. I guess, though, so am I.
  • Who isn't, really? It's the ghosts within us that reveal the spirits we have.
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