Ensnared in a Childhood Fear: “Floating over a Spider” and “Montanha do Aranha”

A couple of short stories about deadly spiders (some extraterrestrial and one the product of island gigantism) spinning doom.

When I was a child, I had an intense fear of spiders. My dread of those little eight-legged monsters has somewhat eased in my adulthood, but I continue to hesitate whenever I encounter an arachnid

I’m unsure of the exact roots of these feelings. My grandparents’ house often seemed rife with spiders of all varieties. These little creatures turned up when you least suspected. My grandmother reminded me that the spiders I stumbled upon were even more afraid during the encounter.

I don’t know that was entirely true.

The predatory nature of spiders and their various means of securing prey also disturbed me as a child.

Of course, our culture often portrays spiders as creatures to be feared or, at the very least, a serious nuisance. I’m sure that helps foster a touch of arachnophobia in all of us.

I presently find myself at tenuous ease with spiders. Spiders consume many of the insects that I find absolutely the most annoying organisms known, which has created a need for toleration.

With that newfound magnanimity in mind, I wanted to share two science fiction short stories that I was fortunate enough to have published. Both of these stories involve the more sinister characteristics of arachnids (both real and imagined).

Floating over a Spider” was published with Fictional Pairings in April of 2017. I wrote this flash fiction after reading extensively about Venus. I had developed a fascination with the potential habitability of certain cloud layers within the Venusian atmosphere. The plot concerns a floating research abode that unexpectedly requires repairs. However, the crew is unsure as to the cause of these troubling leaks.

Montanha do Aranha” appeared with The Evening Theatre in May of 2018 and concerns the shipwrecked survivors of a Portuguese expedition in the 16th century. These unfortunate sailors wash ashore on a mysterious island in an uncharted region of the Pacific. Desperate for rescue, one survivor gets attention from a deadly apex predator.

Click the title of either of these arachnid–inspired stories to read.

Author: joshuajscully

That’s my picture up there. I’m not totally sure why I look so angry. I may be thinking about how much I hated the Crypt Keeper as a child. I grew up faithfully watching reruns of The Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt. Unfortunately, I missed the boat in terms of writing for either of those programs. I do consider both to have been wildly influential when I think back to my earliest thoughts about becoming an author and I’m grateful my parents let me watch those shows as a kid (although there were probably some nights early in my childhood my mother wished she hadn’t let me watch those shows). If you’re familiar with either program, then you know what genres are my focus. I thoroughly enjoy science fiction, suspense, the twist ending, and some horror or supernatural elements as well. Honestly, when I was a kid the Crypt Keeper scared the hell out of me. As an adult, I’ve really learned to embrace the puns. Historical fiction is a favorite of mine as well, and the root of that is shared with my profession. I am an educator by trade, and I teach American History. I consider some of the best writing I’ve ever done to be within the realm of historical fiction and I really enjoy saturating my mind in the research end of those projects. I would make the argument that storytelling is in my blood. Even my sister mulled, very briefly (about 45 minutes), launching a career as a screenwriter! My last name is one of those Irish (and, apparently, formally Manx) ones with a wonderfully researched history -“the story-teller’s descendant”. On of the first day of school each year, I do share that “my name is Mr. Scully, and that rhymes with Kelly”, just so I do not hear the myriad of mispronunciations on the first day. Several years ago, I started a blog similar to this one to highlight my middle years as a teacher. If that aspect of my life is of any interest to you at all, you can still find that blog online. During my summers, I really have time to pursue my writing projects and this blog will highlight some of that work. My first attempts to sit down and write extensively occurred when I was 15, but only a few years ago did I make setting time aside to write a priority. I’ve also benefited wildly over the years from many willing readers among my family and friends. The direction and feedback from those individuals has been invaluable. Outside the world of the written word, I am an educator, basketball coach, lecturer, and (very, very occasionally) a landscaper. I have only ever known Western Pennsylvania as my home. Although I love a good novel, I am absolutely unable to resist the power of the short story. The latter is really what I hope to be remembered for one day.

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