Cobwebs and Halloween

Batman, Spawn! Spiderman vs. Green Goblin!

Thomas grabbed a copy of each comic book that he knew he did not own. He knew his mother would buy them for him. They were only 1.99 anyway. She would not mind. All the colors and scenes of action were fascinating him and also stimulating his imagination; almost too much, because he had cut himself out from reality. He was intensely absorbed by the magnificence of the colors and the smell of the paper.

“Tom! What are you doing there?” Mrs. Andrews asked.

“Sorry, mom…”

He didn’t say anything more, although he had thousand of things going on in his head.

Batman: “Why are you in Gotham and how soon are you leaving?”

“What did you say, Thomas? Are you listening to me? Put these down! You’ve got enough. I can’t keep buying you comics every time we come into this shop! Come on.”

Quietly and carefully he put them all back; making sure they were all in the right order.

Before he left he made sure the comics were standing straight and untouched, and then he left with his mom.

“I wanted those, mum.”

“I know you love them, darling, but you can’t read them all the time. You know I will get them for you at some point, but do read other books I buy for you, ok? They are colorful as well!”

They continued shopping until he saw a Wolverine costume on a shop window. He went closer to see it, but his mother was already grabbing his sleeve.

“I like this mom”, he said, pointing at it.

“Darling…it’s way too small for you.”

“My size!”

“I told you I was going to sew you something nice for Halloween, do you not want me to, then?”

Despite trying to sound really upset and hurt, his eyes were still fixed on the costume, as if he didn’t care.

“A Spiderman one…” Thomas mumbled.

“As promised, darling.”

Although Mrs. Andrews knew that she was a good tailor, she was not too sure if her talent was going to satisfy him and she personally found the combination of red and blue more than horrible. Thomas was six foot and in his late thirties. Sometimes when they were walking quietly beside each other, her arm around his (, as his mom is the only person he allowed to touch him), people would think they were an ordinary couple, unless they met their neighbors, especially the Clarks. The Clarks were the most affluent family in the whole neighborhood. They were the only ones with a swimming pool in the backyard. Their son Dean claimed to be Thomas’s friend, but when given the chance he would corrupt Thomas and cheat him, in order to get his money and then made Mrs. Andrews believe that Thomas had spent his pocket money on sweets that he was not supposed to eat. After all, Thomas didn’t mind Dean’s company.

One day Thomas was invited to go round to Dean’s place for a comic trade.

“The wings of the vuu-ture!”

“It’s vulture, you dumbass!”

Thomas’s eyes were fixed on the pictures in the book. Dean was shaking his head.

“I can’t believe what a loser you are, man! …So stupid that he doesn’t even realize that these are his own comics?  God, am I talking to myself now?! Hey, dumbass!”

He took the comic out of Thomas’ hands, looking him in the eye, but there was no reaction. He noticed Thomas’s big forehead and how he was becoming bald already.

“You’re so retarded, man…”

“I want them back”, Thomas said, lifting up while lifting up his arm.

“Forget it, dumbass! Who said they were yours?”

“I want to have them back…”

Dean smacked Thomas’s head and grabbed hold of the comics. Suddenly Thomas jumped up, screaming, with his hands covering his head. Dean jumped as well and let go of the comics while looking at Thomas, who looked as though convulsing on the ground. Dean stepped back and as he did Thomas came towards him and hit him in the face. Dean fell over.

Mrs. Andrews was preparing dinner when she received a phone call of the Clarks.

Tears were dripping down her face as she was stirring the stew. She could hear Thomas laughing whilst watching cartoons, which cheered her up a little. Halloween was only about one week away and she was only halfway through his costume. She would sit there sewing until midnight, until she was too tired to keep her eyes open, but Thomas’s excitement kept her going. Customers were already complaining about her delays, but they knew she was the best in town.

Thomas always stirred his stew until it had gone cold; he found it amusing licking the food off the spoon. Mrs. Andrews thought that teaching him table manners was pointless.

“That’s dad, mom!” he said laughing while pointing at a photograph on the wall.

“Yes, darling…Finish of your stew. That’s a good boy.”

She always tempted to take the photograph down, but she knew that Thomas would notice it and complain. Everything in the house had to be in its right place, so that he felt he safe. Exactly at ten in the evening he would have fallen asleep while reading Spiderman or Wolverine – his favorites and Mrs. Andrews would come into his room to switch the lights off.

“Mrs. Andrews”, Mrs. Clark said, “I’m not going to take any offense, because I know your son’s condition, but I can tell you that I don’t want him anywhere near Dean ever again.”

She was certain that the whole village knew about what had happened, since it was the Clarks who were affected. She felt that Mrs. Clark would hold it against her forever.

“I’m sorry”, was all Mrs. Andrews could say.

It was one night before Halloween and Thomas’s mother had finally finished his costume. She had never seen him any happier. He was jumping up into the air.

“Spiderman! Spidermaaaan!”

She was happy with her work and the nylon material she used to create the costume.

It was stretchy, but still looked kind of tight on him as his belly was hanging down.

“Don’t get too excited, darling!” she said.

There was sweat dripping down from his forehead.

“Calm down!”

He carried on singing and jumping against the walls, after which Mrs. Andrews became very nervous. Suddenly he started choking on his own laughter. Thomas was coughing heavily. She rubbed his back softly.

“I told you…Won’t you listen to me, Thomas…Take your medicine and go to sleep ok…Be a good boy.”

The day after he was still very excited and would not even eat his cereal, but instead he was reading The Coming of the Hulk in his Spiderman costume. Mrs. Andrews had to catch up with all her customers’ requests, which was why she couldn’t go out with him and therefore she asked Thomas’ schoolmate’s mother to take him out with them.

It was already dark when Thomas and his friend Dave knocked on their first door.

Before Dave could say anything, Thomas was already shouting:

“Trick-o-treaties!”

The old lady looked irritated, but gave them sweets anyway. Before they reached the next door, they met Dean dressed as the Green Goblin. His face was painted green and he wore a purple costume and a purple hat.

“Hi there people!”

“You alright, Dean…” Dave said.

All over the sudden Thomas jumped back and spread his arm as if he was shooting cobwebs out of his wrists like Spiderman.

“Oh dear…” Dave moaned.

“Can I borrow him for a while?” Dean asked.

“Help yourself.”

They were on their way to Dean’s house, because he promised Thomas to give him his comics back. On the way to Dean’s house Thomas was non-stop trying to shoot cobwebs at the Green Goblin, but there were no cobwebs. There was only spit dripping down Thomas’s mouth.

Dean was quiet and walked slowly as he looked around him. Just before they had reached his house, Dean stopped in the middle of the empty path.

A second later screaming kids jumped out of the bushes from across the road and ran towards Thomas. Dean got out of their way as they jumped Thomas, hitting his head, kicking his stomach and spitting on him.

Dean was standing there, stiff and motionless, watching.  Thomas’s cry wasn’t heard, but still sounded terribly loud in Dean’s ears. He turned cold. Thomas was still trying to shoot cobwebs with his wrists, but nothing ever came.

When the screaming had stopped, the kids had stopped, too. They laughed at Dean and then ran away. Thomas’s eyes were looking straight into Dean’s. Thomas was shaking and drooling uncontrollably, trying to lift his arm to shoot cobwebs at Dean, but instead his eyes closed and his arm fell down to the ground.

by Paula Deckard (c) 2005

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