Cursory Rhymes

Miss Muffet suffered from congenital Arachnoids-Phobia. It went back to the time she was left unattended under an old oak tree in the grounds of the family estate in Letchworth. She shudders when she remembers how that creepy, hairy sensation curling around her neck frightened her off her tuffet. The screams didn’t elicit any help. Indeed, it took months of therapy at Dr Patel’s Hypnotherapy Centre before Miss Muffet stopped trembling. The centre was quite well known, located behind Bet Fred and the Polski Sklep just off Green Lanes.

Despite Dr Patel’s reputation, however, he was unable to do anything for her other than to stop the trembling. The trauma stunted her growth, which is how she acquired the title “Little”. Dr Patel told her that the experience had overwhelmed her normal biological and psychological mechanisms, resulting in a feeling of helplessness, terror and loss of control. He couched it all in medical jargon, which didn’t help much though it sounded like he knew what he was talking about. It would have been much better if she had been hypnotised into thinking that she was a ring-tailed monkey that delighted in devouring spiders. They have a technique of holding them in their paws and nipping off their heads like a bud.

She should never have confided in Peter and told him about her secret phobia. She knew he loved her very much and it came to him as quite a shock when she broke off their relationship. Peter had his own obsessions, which consisted of an inordinate fear of rejection, inadequacy and loneliness. He would never accept what Muffet had done to him and one day he’d pay her back.

“You just wait and see,” he mused, as he looked at himself in the mirror, flexing his biceps.

It happened all of a sudden. Muffet woke up covered in perspiration. She found herself alone... in a dark wood. Without realizing it, she lashed out in self-defence. Blood flew everywhere and the blows thudded. She was in a small room. A voice hissed.

“It’s nothing to worry about, Muffet my dear. Just a simple case of Arachnoids-Phobia.” 

The voice faded. She felt a furry sensation on her legs, her stomach and then her breasts. She was defenceless and overwhelmed by a cold terror. She opened her eyes and there he was, wearing a weird spider costume but still recognizable.
“Peter!” she screamed. “Have you gone out of your mind?” 

He stepped back and opened his palms towards her.

“Reject me would you?”  

In an instant she was entwined in silk. The more she struggled the more enmeshed she became. He sank his pincer jaws into her neck, rendering her motionless.

                      Poor Miss Muffet is encased in a posset,
                                   With little or nothing to say,
                               Peter the Spider sat down beside her
                              And said “Now you’ll never run away!”

by Wali Hawes


  1. Very strange and sharp and scary. I like it. It's inspired me to try and write something astonishing myself. Thank you. Flash fiction is so satisfying - it makes writing feel possible when life is crazy. More like this please.....

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