- Criminal Websby Heather Knight
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Mistrust those silky shawls...
Criminal Webs by Heather Knight
    The Creepy Crawly Ball Contest Winner 

Artwork by mntphoto at

The garden was abuzz with activity. All the insects were getting ready for the Spring Ball. It would be held on March 21st on the little hill by the daffodils as soon as the humans had gone to sleep.

There was to be a beauty pageant, a talent show and loads of food and drink.

Daisy Dragonfly was most excited. With her lovely wings and her attractive colouring, she was sure everybody would vote her the most beautiful insect in the garden.

'Most insects are ugly, aren't they? It can't be so difficult to win,' she told her reflection. Daisy loved looking at herself in the mirror. It was a good thing she had a little piece of glass that she had found on the ground one day. She treasured it and considered it one of her most valuable possessions.

Lily Ladybird wanted to go to the Ball for a different reason. She had been taking singing lessons and was sure she'd be able to win the talent show.

'Do you think they'll like my singing?' she asked her Mum.

'Of course, my dear. You sing better than that human. What's her name? Monserrat Caba...something or other.'

Bonnie Butterfly just wanted to go to the party to socialize and show off her fantastic body. She'd been on a diet and wanted everybody to see how much weight she'd lost.

'Do you think it's noticeable, dear?' she asked her husband.

'Of course it is. You look slim and beautiful. Not that you were not beautiful before.'

Sylvia Spider was also looking forward to the day of the Spring Ball. She loved places where there were lots of insects... they were perfect hunting grounds... and the new season had made her very hungry.

The day they had all been waiting for finally arrived. It was the perfect day for a party. The sun shone in a blue sky and the tree branches danced in the gentle breeze.

Daisy got up early to brush her wings. She wanted them to be even shinier than usual. As she couldn't reach quite well, she asked her sister to help.

'Don't brush too hard! You'll break my wings.'

'Don't worry, I'll be gentle. But I promise you I don't understand why you're so interested in attending this beauty pageant. I think it's a waste of time and it's also sexist.'

'Spare me the pep talk, sister.'

'You asked for my help, I guess I'm entitled to share my opinion too.'

In the meantime, a few metres away, Lily practised her singing. The trees shook with the strength of her voice and in the house at the top of the garden a window pane broke.

'What the hell was that? How did the window break?' the human in the house asked his wife.

'No idea. If I believed in ghosts, I would say there's one here. Thank goodness we are insured.'

While Lily broke windows, Bonnie tried on her gown for the umpteenth time. It was made of silvery silk that was supposed to glow in the dark.

'How do I look?'

'Magnificent,' Lily's husband said without lifting his eyes from the Insect Tribune he was reading.

At exactly the same time, in her home, Sylvia rubbed her legs together in anticipation. To pass the time, she decided to knit a web sweater for her youngest nephew, Sid.

Finally, eight o'clock came and the most punctual insects arrived at the hill. Many of them, however, decided to be fashionably late.

Sylvia sat in a corner, a cup of mint-flavoured dew in her hand and waited. Nothing escaped her piercing eyes.

Just then a waiter went by carrying a tray full of snacks.

'Do you want a berry, Madam?'

'No, thanks. I don't want to spoil my appetite.'

At nine thirty, the beauty pageant started. Sylvia thought that would be a good moment to approach Bonnie.

'You have lost weight, Bonnie. You look positively ... delicious.'

'Thanks, Sylvia. You're most kind.'

'I have a shawl that would match your dress perfectly. I knitted it myself. Do you want to see it?'

'Oh, yes. Would you lend it to me?'

'Of course. Let me put it on you. Close your eyes. That way it will be more of a surprise. Do you feel how soft it is? Soft but incredibly strong...'

'You're hurting me, Sylvia...'

Those were the last words Sylvia ever said. In her eulogy, the other insects commented how sad it was that she had died at a party. She was buried inside an acorn shell, wearing her grey dress.

Sylvia could have gone home then, but she got greedy. She approached Daisy, who had won the Miss Garden competition and congratulated her.

'Daisy, dear. It was obvious you were going to win. Nobody is as pretty as you are. You know what? I have a present for you. I made you this shawl...'

'Oh, it's gorgeous! Can I put it on?

And that was how Daisy met the same unfortunate end as Bonnie.

From the stage, Lily watched the whole scene. She had never trusted Sylvia and now she knew why.

She couldn't stop mid-song, not without alarming everybody, but while she sang she thought. What could she do? Sylvia had to be stopped.

When the last contestant finished juggling blades of grass, Sylvia came to congratulate her.

'Thanks, I'm glad you liked my song.'

'I have a present for you. It's a shawl.'

'Is it? asked Lily, pretending to be surprised. 'Do let me admire it.'

Lily lifted the shawl with both arms and then threw it forward with all her strength. It landed on top of Sylvia.

'You're under arrest for the murders of Bonnie Butterfly and Daisy Dragonfly,' Lily said.

'What? You have to be kidding me!'

'Not joking. I'm with the FBI. Federal Bureau of Insectation.'

By then, lots of other insects had surrounded them. And they were clapping their little 'hands'.
The Creepy Crawly Ball
Contest Winner


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