- The Witnessby pome lover
This work has reached the exceptional level
above and beyond
The Witness by pome lover
Unraveled contest entry



Arlen Arachnid witnessed something terrible.

His life could be in danger.  Being old, he didn’t have much time left, anyway, but he wasn’t of a mind to rush it.

He was in the woods, up in a tree, minding his own business, when a man almost fell into the clearing. He straightened up and kept running. The poor guy looked scared, as if he were running from someone. Immediately, there was more noise, and Arlen saw another man come thrashing through the brush. Suddenly the second guy shot the first guy, right under Arlen’s tree. The killer snarled and said, “Goodbye, Hank! You shouldn’t have found out.”

Arlen didn’t move a hair. He took note of the navy Auto Shop shirt the shooter wore, and on the top of his bald head, the man had a birthmark that looked, of all things, like …a spider!

 Arlen scurried further up the tree so if “Auto Shop” looked up, he’d be out of sight. But his sudden movement caused the man to look up. “Huh. Just a spider.”

Glad to be up higher, Arlen got to work. He knew what he must do.

He was a witness! He hadn’t asked to be a witness to a murder. He didn’t want to be one.  However, he knew that if the authorities came and found the body, it was vital that he help them.  And there lay the problem.

How was a spider supposed to communicate with the sheriff’s department? They didn’t have the same language, and as a rule, humans weren’t all that fond of spiders and they might brush him off, or worse, squash him before he could say a word. Well, the only thing he knew to do was to leave them a message. He had to hurry, so, he got right to work. He spun all that day and through the night. Now it was morning. Where was the sheriff?

He wondered if they would come at all. There might not be a clue to lead them here. They might not even know a murder had been committed! He sure hoped they’d come, because he had important information and they needed to be apprised of it.

Arlen was almost asleep when he heard footsteps approaching. He was getting ready to lower his web-sign down by a thread, when he realized it wasn’t the police. It was the killer! The man walked over to the body and picked up his legs. He was moving the body!  Arlen didn’t know what to do. Think, you old coot, he told himself.

“Hi, there, old timer,” said a voice. It was Arlen’s friend, Mark Mockingbird. “You look exhausted. Can I be of help?”

Relieved, Arlen said, “That guy pulling the corpse, is the killer! He’s moving the evidence. Look. This is my sign for the sheriff. I was going to be sure he saw it, but now it’s too late.”

“How do you know he’s the killer?”

“I SAW him kill him! I’m a witness, but how’m I going to let the authorities know if the body’s not here? Which it soon won’t be. And I can’t move my web-sign. Look. See.”

Mark stared at the little spider’s evidence. It said, killer ~ Auto Shop (and underneath that) spider birthmark on head.

“That’s fantastic!” Mark said. “Look, I’ll follow him, and I’ll be back. Maybe between the two of us we can think of a plan.” Then he said, “I hope he doesn’t dump him in the river.”

Arlen sighed. “Well, if he does, you’ll see where he went.”

“And?” Mark said. “How’m I going to let the police know what I know?”

“No clue, but go, before you lose him!”

Mark took off.  Arlen hoped he could follow the killer. Arlen was so tired; his eyes wouldn’t stay open.

Suddenly there was a noise. Someone was coming. Arlen peered through half closed lids.  Pushing her way through the brush, was a policewoman. No, not police, but the law, for sure. Pretty, too. She was on her cell phone reporting to someone.

“Yes, I think this is the spot, sheriff. There’s blood and…”

Ah, Arlen thought. She the sheriff’s deputy. Good.

Arlen was shaking the leaves on the tree, trying to catch her attention, and… he did!  She looked up, saw the spider and the web, with something written on it. Curious, she moved closer. She read Arlen’s message and stared at the little spider.  “Sir, you’re not going to believe this,” she said into her phone. “A little spider left us a message about the killer and… I’m not joking! Wait, I’m taking a picture of it. There, I sent it.”

The sheriff said, “Unbelievable! I’m on my way. Secure the crime scene. Keep contact with your spider friend. Oh brother.”

The deputy stared, hard, at Arlen. “Little spider,” she said, “If you are smart enough to do all this, you are smart enough to understand English. Here goes. I am going to ask you some questions. Nod your head up and down for yes, turn it side to side for no, okay?” Arlen nodded once.

First, My name is Mary Ellen, but you can call me M.E.”

Arlen shook his head back and forth.

“You don’t like that?”

He shook it again.

Then she laughed, nervously. “You couldn’t call me anything, anyway, could you? OK. Forget that. Did “Auto Shop” say something, like ‘I’m dumpin’ you in the river’?”

Arlen shook his head.

Suddenly Mark Mockingbird flew back and landed next to Arlen. He looked at the deputy and asked Arlen if he was okay.

“Yes!” Arlen said excitedly. “But what did you find out?”

“He put the guy in the back of his truck under something and took him to the river, like you said he might; he tied a weight to his foot and threw him in.”

“OK,” Arlen said. “Fly around this pretty deputy’s head and get her to follow you to the river.”

Mary Ellen said, “Is that bird your friend?”

Arlen nodded.

“What is he doing? Oh! He wants me to follow him?”

Arlen nodded.

The mockingbird flew around Mary Ellen’s car, telling her to follow him in the car.

Mary Ellen waved at Arlen, and left, through the bushes.

Arlen was trying to decide what to weave about the other thing he heard the killer say, something that Hank shouldn’t have found out, when the sheriff arrived.

He stared at the web and the spider, and said, “I wish I could reward you for helping us.”

Arlen started weaving his next message, “Motive.” He got to the “I” when the sheriff said, “MOTIVE!” so Arlen started on the long explanation and the sheriff said, “I’ve got go see about the body, but I’ll be back.” Then he stopped and said, “Good job!” Running back to his car, he mumbled, Talking to spiders, holy cow!

Arlen smiled to himself, and continued working on his message. It wasn’t every day a spider and a sheriff had a conversation. He rather liked it. Now, if he could just tell him his last bit of information, even though it was vague, it might be of some help.

When the sheriff got to the spot on the river where the mockingbird had led the deputy, a salvage crew was pulling up the body. Mary Ellen started telling Sheriff Brown about the mockingbird and the spider. And the sheriff reported that the spider had more to tell them.

Somehow the media had heard about a body being recovered from the river and wanted to know who he was, etc. After the body been taken to the morgue, Sheriff Brown told Mary Ellen he was going back to see the info the little spider was weaving.

“You’re not going without me,” she said. “I’ve got to see this for myself.” Then, she couldn’t help it; she laughed and said, “This is fun, isn’t it?”

Sheriff Brown just shook his head. “Damndest thing I ever saw.” Inwardly, however, he grinned.

Back in the woods, the two law people found the little spider spinning as fast as he could. So far, the message said, “Good bye, Hank. You should…”

“Okay, we have victim’s first name,” Sheriff Brown said.

“A nick name; probably Henry something,” said Mary Ellen. "That will help. I wonder what he should have done?” They turned back to the spider and it said, “shouldn’t”.

“Ah.” Mary Ellen said, “Shouldn’t have told on him? Shouldn’t have seen something he did? Shouldn’t have tried to bribe him?  I think Hank must have found out something that could get the killer in trouble and he was silenced.”

Suddenly, Mary Ellen interrupted the spider and said, “Do you know if the bird knew the direction the killer went after dumping the body? Or if he said anything?”

Mark Mockingbird, who’d been listening from a branch nearby, hopped down next to the spider and told him that the killer’s truck said “Auto Shop.”

“I can’t write that fast!” the spider said, but he started: kil  truc  AS.

As the two law people watched the slow process, they tried to figure out the message. Mary Ellen said, “Got it! killer’s truck!”

The sheriff was nodding and then he said, “Auto Shop! I should have remembered that. Let’s go see if our man is there.

Arlen was still weaving the killer’s words, when they left. Suddenly he thought, you old coot, why didn’t you ask Mark if he got the license number of the truck? The killer probably didn’t go back to work. Mark was a whiz with numbers. Arlen kept thinking it over and over, trying to send Mark a mental help message. (and, since this is fiction, it worked!)

Mark appeared and said, “You called?”

“Funny bird. Yes. Did you happen to notice the license number of the killer’s truck?”

“Oh, right. Yeah. It was … I think it was JJL 4059.”

“Mark, you’re a whiz! Thanks.”

“No problem. They coming back?”

“I don’t know, but I’d bet at least one of them will, just to see if I have anything more to tell them that they should know. And, I do! Also, it’d be nice, if they came to say goodbye.” And Arlen thought to himself, I think my time has just about come. Hope I can finish the license number.

Mark was watching the slow but beautiful writing of the license number of the killer’s truck. He noticed that the spider seemed to be fading as he worked. Mark made a snap decision. He flew to the Sheriff’s Department, which took him a little while and tired him out. Thankfully, he could see Mary Ellen through the window. He tapped loudly and repeatedly on the window and finally she looked up.  Mark flapped his wings and flew in circles.  Soon, the deputy came out side. “What, little mockingbird? What do you want?”

Mark flew off and came back and flew off and came back. Mary Ellen sighed and texted the Sheriff where she was going; got in her car and followed the bird. They had not found the killer at his place of business, but he, apparently, was still in the company truck. The guy at Auto Shop said he’d gone out on a call and given  Sheriff Brown the address. Mary Ellen felt this call with the bird was probably important, too.

When the little bird flew into the wooded area near the parking lot, Mary Ellen parked, and followed the path in. When she got to the spider’s tree, she saw the web with the message, Truc lic JJL 4059, and underneath that, Good Lu. Mary Ellen looked around for the little spider and saw the mockingbird on the ground with his head bowed, standing next to his little friend. Mary Ellen took a picture of the message in the web and of the bird and his dead friend with her phone. She looked down at the bird and said, “Thank you!

The next day there was a big story on the front page of the newspaper along with three pictures. One was of the killer who was caught, another of the spider’s web with all the messages on it that had helped with the apprehension of the killer, and 3rd, was the picture of the mockingbird standing next to his spider friend who had given her all to help the law solve a murder. The last line of the story said, “As the darkness settled, and the long day ended, he unraveled the truth."

Author Notes
2049 words


© Copyright 2024. pome lover All rights reserved.
pome lover has granted, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.

Be sure to go online at to comment on this.
© 2000-2024., Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms under which this service is provided to you. Privacy Statement