Tell A Tale in 500 Words

ENOUGH TO MAKE A SPIDER CRY By IAN BURTON

Enough to Make A Spider Cry

Graham was absorbed in a computer game when an irrelevant spider abseiled into view. Game Over. He closed his eyes in silent frustration.

In Graham’s house Mum and Dad made sure spiders were not to be screamed at but rescued. The rescue method of choice was a glass and a piece of card followed by a thoughtful relocation in the garden.

He opened his eyes and realised it was inside the monitor not on the surface. A spider face was looking out at him, smiley and small dwarfed by its legs neatly arrayed.

“Graham, please do not touch your keyboard. I am speaking through your gaming headphones via the AltGr key. I have an urgent message.”

He knew where the AltGr key was but had little or no idea what it did. “Message? Why? Why me? How do you know my name?”

“Because Graham you are our hero. You saved my great grandmother’s life and if you hadn’t I wouldn’t even be here. And there are many others across the web grateful to you. You are our hero.”

“But...”

“But time is short Graham. Everything in our garden is changing. At first we didn’t know why but studies over many of our generations prove that it’s coming from space. We call it space dirt. It affects everything. We need to discover what causes this, develop ways to stop it else we can’t see a future, not for us, perhaps not even for you.”

Shame silenced him because everyone knew all about the ‘space dirt’ and what was causing it. And everyone trusted that enough was being done... by someone else, some other person in some other country. Graham’s burning cheeks dried his mouth. He had no voice.

“Sorry to bring bad news. This must come as a great trembulation...”

Graham wanted to whine, ‘I’m just a 10 year old. I can’t do anything!’

In the pause, the spider waited for an answer and the look on its face was patient, reverent, expectant, trusting.

Graham managed to say, “I promise I will do everything I can.”

The spider bobbed a bow. “You are an enormous addition to our web mission. Thank you. With you on our side we can make a change.” He was gone in a blink.

The remaining ‘Game Over’ had new meaning.

“New Game?” enquired the screen.

There would be no more computer games. Graham had a new purpose. He cleared the screen, navigated to the search engine, fingers trembling over the keyboard. At last he typed: How Can I Prevent Climate Change? and got 96 million answers in 0.63 seconds.

It was a start.

End 436 words


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