The Spider-Men
By: John “JAM” Arthur Miller

They gazed in awe. Neighbors and friends, necks craned, faces filled with wonder as they stared at the sky. I saw them through the picture window.

“Mom, what‘s going on?”

She stood next to me and said, “I was going to ask you the same thing.”

Mom moved quickly to the front door. I followed her outside. “Something big must have happened to draw the entire neighborhood.”

She was right. Mr. Harms was there with Bev, his wife. And Mr. and Mrs. Askew stood in close proximity to their hated neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Abernathy. The Askews and Abernathys hadn’t spoken to each other in five years, aside from arguing over their back fence. The police usually came to settle their disputes. Now the quarrelsome neighbors stood together in the group, no more than five-feet apart. That’s when I knew something really big was happening.

The metal awning over the front porch prevented Mom and me from seeing the sky. I followed her down the six steps of our porch to the yard. She glanced up, but yellow birch trees blocked the sky.

We moved from beneath the cover of the sycamore and two paper birch trees. Mom said, “Oh, sweet Jesus, have mercy on our souls.” Mom never cussed, so I knew she was praying like she did in church. I tried to find a vantage point where I could see it--whatever it was. Mrs. Askew turned to her husband and put her head against his chest, “It’s the end of the world.” At that moment I got a good view of the sky, looking through the space that Mrs. Askew had vacated and I saw the spacecraft for the first and last time.

Murmurs and occasional shouts filled my dizzy head. Someone was talking in a normal voice like he was checking out a new John Deere tractor, but who it was I didn’t know. Mom was praying in tongues and Pastor Desmond found her and urged her on, saying, “Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.” I wanted to join them, but I couldn’t pull my eyes away from the devil in the sky.

The ship hovered about one-hundred feet above our street. It was spherical and glowed like a ball of blue energy. But it was more than mere energy for I felt a presence, an intelligence that watched. I knew it was a ship because we witnessed it dancing and zigzagging across the sky, marking intricate patterns of blue when it left a few minutes later.

At least we thought it had left. Then, at midnight, a few days later, we discovered that they had come back to visit Mr. and Mrs. Askew.

Their screams woke Mom and me.

* * *

“Are the Askews and Abernathys fighting again?” I groaned from beneath my covers.

Mom walked past my open door, pulling on her night robe. “You just stay here, Danny.”

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About the Author

The work of John miller, known as JAM to friends and fans, has appeared in over 67 publications. A single father of three, JAM coaches junior football and owns a publishing magazine called Liquid Imagination. JAM’s harshest critic is himself, and he finds it easier to promote other writers.
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