The Boy With the Spider Face

The Boy With the Spider Face

By:  Crystal Lake Publishing  Completed
Language: English
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Jeff Pritchet isn’t much different from other teenage boys, with one exception. His monstrous, spider-like appearance and loner persona make him a target for bullying, when all he wants is a friend who sees beyond the surface.The unconventional pair find themselves marked for hatred, and when his bond to Aarav is threatened, Jeff discovers a sinister side he never knew he had, proving that, when pushed too far, emotions can be deadlier than venom.©️ Crystal Lake Publishing

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Pretty Interesting, keep updating
2022-12-19 05:19:55
16 Chapters
Chapter 1
CHAPTER 1Morning sun filtered through shear curtains and across carpet to reflect off the mirror. The boy squinted his human eyes, while the six surrounding arachnid lenses gave little reaction. Detecting light wasn’t their strong suit. But the jointed appendages by his mouth (or pedipalps, as Mr. Drake, the science teacher, taught him) were sensitive enough to detect dust motes riding the September breeze through the cracked window. It sucks, having feelers, Jeff thought, and used his hands to fan away minute particles traveling through the air. Why can’t I be normal like Mom and Dad? He pulled blue jeans from a faux wooden dresser and stuck his finger through a hole in the knee he hadn’t noticed before. “Great.” He yanked a loose thread. “Haven’t even had these a month.” That asshole could have at least waited until I was off the gravel before pushing me down.Jeff combed through what little hair he had on his legs, checking for bruising and scratches in case they ne
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Chapter 2
CHAPTER 2First and second period passed as usual. Jeff kept his head down while those around him whispered and passed notes back and forth. By third period, he’d deduced there were about eighteen thousand seconds left in the school day and was eagerly counting them down, until a curveball appeared in the form of a new student. “Class,” Mr. Drake put his hand on the newcomer’s shoulder. “I’d like you to meet Aarav Jain.” A boy, not much different from any other boy in the class (except Jeff for obvious reasons), stood at the front of the room. His open flannel shirt showcased a faded black tee underneath, and his Converse shoes squeaked as he shifted in place. The noise made a few students grimace, but Jeff’s unease came from the fact that the room’s only vacant seat was next to him.“Aarav just transferred here from . . . ” Mr. Drake looked at him. “Apologies. Where did you say you moved from?”Aarav brushed a few strands of dark wavy hair across his forehead. “O
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Chapter 3
CHAPTER 3Jeff spent the next period writing questions he wanted to ask Aarav over lunch. Where do you live?What do you like to do on weekends?Do you have any pets?He was busy thinking of a fourth question when the bell dismissed the students for lunch. After gathering his things, Jeff decided the whole questionnaire idea seemed forced, and he crumpled the piece of paper before tossing it in the garbage on the way out.“Aarav!” He spotted him at the head of the line.Aarav motioned for him to come join, but Preston’s arm shot out and blocked his path. “Don’t even think about cutting, freak.”The other students inched forward. Aarav finished paying for his lunch and glanced back at Jeff.“I’ll catch up with you in a bit,” Jeff called to him. “Save me a seat.” He retreated to the back.“Nice shirt, princess,” Preston said as Jeff walked away. “Did you steal it from your mom’s closet?”Jeff remembered what his dad had said to him earlier about fighting. No, he thought.
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Chapter 4
CHAPTER 4“Someone’s in a good mood.” Lori shook a sizzling pan full of potatoes and cauliflower over the gas burner as Jeff entered the kitchen, humming. “I don’t remember the last time I heard you sing.”“It’s called humming, Mom.” Jeff sat and rested his elbows on the table, knocking over a saltshaker.“Elbows off, please.” Lori gave him a disapproving look. “I raised you better than that. I hope you don’t do that in public.”Jeff rolled his eyes and obliged. “Of course not. Wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m a monster.”“Exactly!” Sarcasm never was her strong suit. He held back a retort.Lori turned back to the stove. “So, you had a good day then?”“It was okay.” Jeff brushed salt granules off the table, then threw some over his shoulder for luck. What could it hurt, right? “What’s for dinner?”“Aloo Gobi.” She added fresh chopped tomatoes, using her wooden spoon to burst them in the pan.Jeff craned his neck to see. “Come again?”She giggled. Jeff sometimes th
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Chapter 5
CHAPTER 5Half an hour later, Jeff found himself in front of Aarav’s house. The yard smelled of cut grass, which came as no surprise since Mr. Jain hedged it earlier. But aside from the kept lawn, the house differed vastly from any of those in Jeff’s neighborhood. It stood on its own with unique features—flaws, even. One gutter sank a little too low, and the eaves were weathered from the elements. Jeff appreciated the shortcomings. It adds character. Though the year was getting late, most of the flowers remained in bloom, providing a sense of vibrancy to the area even in twilight. Thanks to a nearby streetlamp, it was easy for Jeff to make his way toward the house, though what he’d do when he got there, he wasn’t sure.Why did I come here? He stopped in the yard. The bungalow had two stories and a sizeable patio. The top story had one room with a window looking out, which looked to Jeff to be the master bedroom. A painted porch swing creaked as the breeze picked up.I wonder where
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Chapter 6
CHAPTER 6Though he rarely roamed the streets this late, Jeff couldn’t help but think the neighborhood was unusually quiet. He had no watch to check the time, but he doubted it could have been past ten. Mrs. Brannigan, Mr. Leery—hell, even mid-forties Mr. Cooper—he expected their houses to be dark; but the Loft’s should have been awake. They were recent college graduates, and it was Friday night. Maybe they’re at a friend’s. He crossed the walkway to his house.Climbing the lattice up to his bedroom proved impossible with his injury. His dad’s outburst at dinner replayed in his mind as he searched beneath the front-door welcome mat for the hide-a-key. A welcome mat—how ironic. I guess only if you’re not foreign. The key scraped the porch, and Jeff held still, not wanting to make another sound. They’ll ground me to graduation! The crunch of leaves made him flashback to his encounter with Mr. Jain, but when he spun around, he saw it was Pakora—not a middle-aged man—who’d
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Chapter 7
CHAPTER 7Though sleep was challenging, Jeff managed to doze, but the dreams that followed seared his subconscious like a fire poker. In one, the dead fly in his vomit came to life and buzzed from the wastebasket, landing on his lips. He tried to blow it away, to spit it out when it crept down his throat, but the insect forced itself into his stomach where he could feel its vibrating hums as it laid batches of eggs. His gut grew heavy and bloated, swelling to twice its normal size as hundreds of maggots burst forth, eating their way out from the inside. He fought to scream, but larvae filled his lungs, suffocating him. Then he was upright in bed, disoriented, panicked. After blinking crust from his eyes, his surroundings became clear, and he was grateful he’d forgotten to turn off his alarm though it was the weekend. It was just a nightmare. Calm down, everything will be okay. He silenced the beeping and threw back the covers, disappointed to find yesterday’s transformation was
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Chapter 8
CHAPTER 8Jeff’s heart rate returned to normal as they drove away from Preston. With the adrenaline gone from his body, the pain from the kicks and scrapes set in, but at least his leg no longer ached; though he suspected it might look different the next time he stood in front of a mirror. He felt around to try and gauge how much of it had changed. Don’t let it be the entire leg. Mr. Drake kept his eyes forward, his hands on the wheel at ten and two. His grip wobbled with each bump in the road, reminding Jeff of the exaggerated way actors in black and white movies pretended to drive while fake scenery flashed behind them. Nothing bad ever happens in those movies. Do happy endings really exist? He used to believe so. Now, he wasn’t so sure. Preston’s threat to tell Aarav about Pakora replayed in his mind. He’ll never speak to me again. Then an idea struck. What if I come clean? Tell Aarav the cat bit me, and how I didn’t know it was Pakora. It was an accide
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Chapter 9
CHAPTER 9Students who, based on their expressions, would rather be anywhere else filled the classroom. Preston showed up a few minutes after Jeff and Mr. Drake and headed straight to the back. He cut his eyes at Jeff, but the teacher was explicit that any antics would only lead to another Saturday in captivity, so he kept his head down, working on the assignment. Jeff sat at the head of the class, checking quizzes against the answer sheet Mr. Drake provided. Grading papers isn’t so bad, he thought. Maybe I’ll be a teacher when I’m older. That is, if I’m still human enough. After helping grade twenty-nine quizzes, Jeff was about to start on another when the clock over the door drew his attention. “Mr. Drake,” he said, setting down his red pen, “it’s fifteen till noon. Do you mind if I head outside?”He checked the clock, surprised. “Of course. I guess time flies when someone’s helping you grade.” He arched an eyebrow. “Maybe you should help me more often.”Jeff smiled an
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Chapter 10
CHAPTER 10Thunder growled on the darkening horizon like an angry wolf. Things change so quickly, Jeff thought as raindrops pelted the top of his head. Any other day he might have kept beneath the trees to stay dry, but today he welcomed the rain. One second everything is clear and bright. The sun faded behind thickening clouds. Then it’s all dark. There was no residual pain in his leg from the recent transformation. He wondered if the lessening pain meant the transition was close to being complete. Still, he kept his pace slow, not wanting to beat the storm home. I deserve the rain. The look on Aarav’s face as his father drove away would remain forever etched in Jeff’s memory. It burned behind his eyes like embers from coals. ‘You’re a monster . . . one sick freak.’ Aarav’s parting words rattled inside his head with no intention of fading. He thought of what Mr. Jain said. This entire time I thought he hated me because of my face. He imagined Aarav’s father and his
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