Daddy Long Legs

by Surina Naidoo

Based on Portrait 2 & book title: Daddy Long Legs

A four hour long road trip to another house. Julie’s family was moving again. It apparently was not working for them at their old house, and Julie was disgusted.

“Mom, why did we have to move?” she asked.

“Sweetie, I told you many times, it wasn’t working for us here,” her mom said.

Julie still didn’t like moving. She had good friends, good classes, and a good home. She was anxious about moving, but her parents were excited. Julie was taking a nap in the car as soon as her parents hit the road. The car always exhausted her. They finally arrived at the new house, and it looked big and expensive. The house was almost new, with only one family having lived there before them. They heard that that family moved because of some strange feeling in the house. Julie’s family didn’t worry about it though. They mostly cared about how big the house was.

When they arrived, Julie slowly walked through the house and explored the different rooms. She finally decided on which room would be hers, and started unpacking. Julie was putting away some clothes when she saw a strange, tall, shadowy figure that looked like a man holding a spider. She didn’t care about it though. She thought she was just getting those “new house feelings”. Then, she felt something touch her; but once again, she ignored it and continued on with unpacking. She packed her shelves, her desk, and made her bed. Then she went to take a shower. By the time she was finished, she went downstairs for dinner. Her mom had made quite a feast for the move. It all looked amazing: roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans. She was creeped out by the shadow, but decided to not think about it. Maybe if she didn’t think or speak of it, it didn’t happen. She did exactly what she intended: ignored the feeling, and went to bed.

The next morning she woke up exhausted. Her mom made breakfast and dropped her off at her new school. Julie’s first day at school was pretty uneventful. She found all her classes easily, and met a girl named Kristy. At the end of the day, her parents came to pick her up.

“How was your first day of school?” asked her dad. “It was fine.” she responded.

When they finally got home, Julie went upstairs. She took a long bath and played on her iPad for a little while before she was called down for dinner. After that, she went quickly to bed. She was just about to doze off when she heard a really loud clang, but no one else seemed to hear it. She ignored it, but felt an uneasiness inside of her. At around 4:00 am, she heard another loud clang and decided to go check it out. She was terrified, but built up her confidence and went upstairs. She figured out it was coming from the attic. This was the scariest place in the house, and she was beginning to worry about the shadow again. What did it want from her? Why did no one else hear the loud noise? She had so many questions.

She walked upstairs to the attic and put all fear and curiosity behind her. She immediately noticed a rocking chair swinging with the shadow sitting on the chair; its legs crossed, talking to the spider on its hand. Julie scrambled quickly and hid behind a large box.

“So, what is that little girl doing here?” said the spider. “I am not sure, but we can figure it out,” said the man.

How could a spider talk?! Julie saw the man’s white eyes staring at her, his head slightly tilted. He looked confused. Julie shrieked in horror, but nobody could hear her. She ran immediately back to her room.

The next morning, she couldn’t be more excited to go to school and escape the terrors of “home”. She quickly brushed her teeth, scrambled to the shower, and rushed to eat breakfast. She hurried her meal and went to school right away. When she finally got there, she ran into Kristy again. She had to go through another day with Miss Chatterbox, but felt it was better than being at home. She was so tired, but didn’t want to go home. Her parents were at work, and she absolutely didn’t want to be at home alone. At the end of the day, her mom came to pick her up and asked her a couple questions, but seeing that Julie really didn’t want to talk, they both just walked quietly the rest of the way home.

Julie decided to go check the attic again. She couldn’t take it anymore! She had to go check. The attic was dark, but she saw the shadow’s glowing white eyes again staring straight at her. Instead of running away screaming, she decided to talk to it.

“What are you doing in my house?” asked Julie.

“This is actually my house,” said the shadow, “Let me tell you what really happened.”

By this time, Julie was paralyzed with fear. She couldn’t understand what was happening and just decided to listen. The shadow started talking.

“My family and I loved this house, and we settled here for a couple of days. Then my wife saw this spider – the one on my hand here. This spider is special. It is cursed and if it bites you, you will immediately pass out and become a spirit with nothing but white eyes. This is what happened to my family. The rest of my family was able to leave and go to the other side. They tried to persuade me to go with them, but I couldn’t. I thought about what would happen if I left this spider alone here. It would traumatize the world. I decided to stay here with the spider to prevent it from hurting anyone else.”

Julie felt so bad for this poor man. He wasn’t trying to hurt her, he was trying to protect her and her family. He sacrificed himself for the good of the world.

“I am so sorry. Is that why the spider tried to jump onto me?” asked Julie.

“Yes, but you are safe as long as I am here. Move now! The spider hasn’t gotten your family yet and don’t stare it in the eyes.”  the man said.

The next day, she went through some of the boxes and found a portrait that resembled the shadowy figure with a caption that said “Daddy Long Legs”. She was staring at the picture when she saw a spider lunge at her, and this time it actually almost got her! She ran away terrified and went to her bedroom where she saw her mom. She told her mom everything that had happened. They sold the house right away and convinced the town to tear it down. Once the house was torn down, the man was free to join his family, and the spider was killed. They moved into a new house and quickly hired an exterminator to make sure there were no insects anywhere in the house.