Across town, Latasha’s little sister Leah, the early riser, saw the spiders in the pre-light of dawn and screamed. Latasha rushed to the closet and got out her ax while Leah woke the family. Mother corralled the two little ones in the kitchen at the back of the house while Latasha stepped out on to the front porch to face the threat. She dared not send her family out the back door for fear they might have the house surrounded.
“I just wanted you to know.” Carlos spoke with a real swagger in his voice. “They are young, but I figure one of them will bite you. I doubt even you can kill them all when they swarm. All right,” Carlos waved to the spiders and laughed as he walked away. The spiders came rushing in. They were certainly smaller than the one she killed in the warehouse, but there were so many of them, Latasha also doubted she could kill them all.
Latasha split the lead spider easily enough, but wished she had a gun, or something. The second also got split and the third lost its front limbs and fell back. The fourth got some webbing on the ax and prevented Latasha from lifting it right away while the fifth jumped.
Latasha heard nothing, but saw an arrow enter the spider’s body and throw it into another one that was about to leap. Then the air was full of arrows, and in only the short time it took Latasha to wrench her ax free of the webbing, the rest of the spiders were dead, full of holes.
“Show yourselves,” Latasha shouted. “I mean it. Show me who you are.” She paused for a second before she shouted the only name she knew and what she knew. “Ms. Riley! Elf!”
There was a rustling in the bushes and one female elf stepped clear of cover. To Latasha’s surprise, the elf went to one knee. “Elect,” the elf said before she rose again. “We were always counted as good luck by the Amazons for just this sort of reason. Lady Boston, Ms Riley, asked me to keep an eye on you.”
Latasha looked around at the dead spiders. “Thanks,” she said as she heard shuffling inside the house. She jumped. “Quick, can you make an illusion?” She had to think of the word Ms Riley used. “A glamour.” The elf grinned a very elfish grin and waved her hand just before Latasha’s mother opened the door.
“Honey? Are you alright?”
“Yes,” Latasha responded. “All over. I had help.” She pointed to a simple girl dressed in human looking clothes. The girl looked Asian in human form.
“Lieutenant Harmony. Pleased to meet you.” She stuck out her hand and Latasha’s mother shook it after only a brief pause. Harmony whispered to Latasha as if Latasha’s mother was not there. “My Captain taught me the human tradition of hand-shaking.” She grinned again. Fortunately, Latasha’s mother had something else in mind.
“Honey. I don’t care if you got elected. This club of yours is too dangerous. You need to quit that club.” That was when Officer Dickenson roared up in front of the house.
When Lisa, Josh and the children pulled up in front of the house, Josh paused to stare at the rope that was strung from the top of the open attic window to a tree on the edge of the neighbor’s yard. It looked like a steeply slanted laundry line. “Christmas movie,” was all Lisa said as she unlocked the door and let the children run wild inside the house. It had been a while since they had been home.
Lisa and Josh made holes in the side yard all morning and Josh kept trying to talk her out of it. “We can’t just move,” she said. “They are hunters. They would find us.” Eventually, he gave up and they had lunch.
Lisa sent the children upstairs after lunch so they could pack a few things for the night. The dirty laundry stayed on their beds and Bobby in particular complained about having to wear his cruddy old clothes. “No,” Lisa told him. “I am not doing the laundry. They need to smell your presence strongly in the house to believe you might still be here.” At least she hoped that was true.
While the children got ready, Lisa set a few traps downstairs and then called for the helicopter. It dropped a rope ladder to the attic window opposite the one with the clothesline. Bobby and Adam, with their backpacks, enjoyed the climb. Josh and Lisa took a deep breath when they were safe. They dropped a rope for Megan, to secure her in case she slipped on the ladder. She never slipped, but Josh almost did.
When the helicopter finally took off, Lisa got her book. She opened a romance novel she had been meaning to read for some time. She sat at the bottom of the stairs to the attic, though the light was not the best. She knew the night creatures would have to break into the house and she would no doubt hear that, but she did not want to be too far away from her means of escape. That would not be until after dark, and that would not be for a while, so she read and sipped from her thermos of coffee.