Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Spidersight Review



by Tirzah M.M. Hawkins

Genre: Horror 

Have you met Fred? He's the imaginary friend of 5-year-old Missy. Missy insists to everyone that Fred is real. No one believes her until Fred starts doing horrible things.
Missy seems like any other 5-year-old except that she believes that she sees spiders that no one else can. Her parents are only mildly worried because every 5-year-old has a big imagination. But bad things start happening wherever Missy goes. People start dying.
Come along for this paranormal, creature horror, and you just might end up more afraid of spiders after you finish reading.

Fred's tiny feet tickle me as he moves down from my shoulder onto the arm of the chair. I briskly rub my arm to get rid of the itchy feeling. Fred often crawls a little ways from me when he knows I'm not going anywhere for a while. I think he likes to explore. Everything must look so giant to him.

Fred's been with me for as long as I can remember, but no one else can see him. He's big. I have to use both my hands to hold him, and he often sits on my shoulder. I make sure to walk carefully so he doesn't fall off. His body and every one of his eight legs is covered in fine hairs that are soft to stroke.

I named him Fred after Fred on the Lucy show that I watch with Mommy and Daddy. I imagine that if Fred were a human, he would be a big bumbling lovable person like Fred Mertz.

Fred is the reason we are here. Well, he and the other spiders. No one else can see Fred and the other spiders. No one believes they exist.

But I'm not making them up. They follow me wherever I go. There are so many I can't count them all. Right now, they are spread out over the walls and ceiling of the room. I can sense they feel a little cramped in the tight quarters.

I wonder if Dr. Wilson will be able to see them; he is an eye doctor after all. Maybe he has some special glasses that he can wear to see them. If he does, I'll ask him to give them to Mommy so she can see my spiders and know that I'm not making them up.

Fred pauses at the end of the armrest, and I imagine he is thinking about leaping to the floor.

I remember Daddy reading to me in my spider book that certain spiders like Fred are delicate and can shatter like glass.

"Be careful, Fred," I whisper to him forgetting in my worry that he and I are not alone. Realizing what I’ve done, I look at my mom, my heartbeat quickening. She doesn't like it when I talk to Fred.

"What did you say, Missy?" She glances up from her magazine.

"Nothing, Mommy." My fingers pick at the edges of my book.

"You said something. What was it, pumpkin?"

I look down at my hands. "I was talking to Fred," I say meekly.

My mom stiffens before returning to her magazine with a sigh.

I turn my gaze back to Fred who has unwittingly been a trouble maker. It's not his fault. He doesn't know any better.

Fred is much more interesting than the other spiders. They don't do much except follow me. When I go somewhere they all follow me, and when I stay somewhere for any length of time, they spread out in the room. I often feel as if they are watching me, waiting for me to do something.


Rating: Four out of Five Stars

In this story, a young girl named Missy has an "imaginary" companion named Fred. Fred looks like a big, fuzzy spider. Fred isn't exactly a spider. I'm never sure exactly what he is. 

In reality, Fred is a vampire-like entity or possibly a demon. His followers are other spider-like entities who do his bidding, killing whomever he commands them to. Every time someone is killed, Fred grows bigger. Fred feeds on Missy's fear and anger. He encourages her to make decisions that result in the deaths of those she deems a threat.

The story has the flavor of a 1970s or 1980s television horror movie. This isn't a bad thing. Some of my favorite movies are vintage television horror movies, including The Believers and  Devil Dog, Hound of Hell.

This book is a quick read. I finished it in two nights. If you enjoy creature-based horror, you'll enjoy the story. If you're afraid of spiders, I recommend giving it a miss. Because of violent death scenes and plentiful profanity, this is not a story for younger readers.

I found myself relating to Missy. No, I don't have a herd of demon spiders killing people on my behalf, but like Missy, I was bullied and ostracized at school and always felt like the adults in my life found me a disappointing little freak. The story challenges the reader to wonder if they would have been able to resist Fred's siren song. Fred is a master of manipulation. 

My only complaint about the story was the lack of clarity about what Fred was. Fred's narrative only appears as brief snippets. I would have enjoyed a little more of his origin story and a deeper look at his motivations. Perhaps the author is planning a sequel and will reveal more about Fred at a later date.

I keep wanting to call Fred Boris. This can be blamed on the song Boris the Spider by The Who. 

Overall, this is an enjoyably creepy tale that easily earns four out of five stars. It's a perfect Halloween read.

Tirzah M.M. Hawkins is an author of all things dark including horror, fantasy, and snippets of sci-fi. She began writing stories when she was ten years old. Some of her favorites at that age were The Hobbit and The Chronicles of Narnia.

After watching too many horror movies at a young age, she has only recently been able to start sleeping with her feet uncovered at night.

She lives with her husband and their many fur (and feathered) babies including at any given time dogs, cats, horses, goats, pigs (that have happy lives until they are eaten), and chickens (who are only around for eggs).

Her favorite hobbies are reading, writing, researching, school (she currently is board certified as a holistic health practitioner and is enrolled in a doctorate of natural medicine program), singing, and listening to music.

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