Daddy Long Legs

a short story by Kody Boye
Originally published in the New Voices in Fiction Webzine, July 2008

It was hard to sit back and wonder whether or not your dad was human. I had had my doubts about my dad’s humanity ever since I had caught him in the act one night a few months ago. My dad was a man of many morals, many good morals, but he was also a man of many secrets. Every night, my dad would come into my room and tell me good night, even though I was sixteen and near the age of becoming a man. He would then leave and go to bed, sleeping soundly. At least I thought he was going to bed; that quickly changed when I caught him. I had gotten up to open the window when I had seen him standing near the edge of the forest. He was staring at the trees, almost as if something was beckoning him to come into them. At first, I thought he had just gone out for some fresh air, so I ignored it. When he started disrobing, that kept my eyes on him. When he was done, my dad stood there, naked, still staring at the forest. It frightened me, seeing him standing outside, naked, with only the moon to guide him. I had thought about calling out to him, and when I had the window open I almost did call out. I hadn’t called out to him because small hairs started sprouting over his body. I watched in mute horror and fascination as my dad fell to his knees, pushing his hands down to support himself as the hairs continued to sprout over his body. Then, when the moon went behind a cloud, everything was dark for several minutes. When the moon came out from behind the clouds, my dad was gone. I had waited for what seemed like hours until he came out of the forest. The smallest amount of blood ran from the side of his lip, and some even stained his legs, crusted and hanging to his skin only because the hairs on his legs was keeping it there. When my dad walked toward the house, I ran back to the bed and crawled under the covers, closing my eyes and pretending to be asleep. I heard the door open. My dad was checking on me, like he always did throughout the night. When the door closed, my sense of worry only continued to get worse, because I knew that something was different about my dad… Something very different. “Blake? Are you all right, son?” I looked up at my dad and nodded, giving him a small smile. “I’m fine, Dad.” “Are you sure? You haven’t touched your eggs.” I looked down at my eggs and frowned. I hadn’t touched him. “Just not feeling well,” I said. “You want them, Dad?” My dad shrugged and accepted the plate from me, spooning the eggs off my plate and setting them on his own. “Are you sure you’re all right?” “I didn’t sleep very well last night,” I said. “Don’t worry, I’m fine.” Yeah, I’m really fine, I thought, smiling at my dad’s nod. I just found out that my dad’s something else than I thought he was. Nothing’s wrong, nothing at all. I stood and walked to the sink, where I washed my hands and looked out the window. From the window, I could see the forest that my dad had entered. The tall, menacing trees

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seemed to reach out and block anyone from entering by extending their branches, their thin fingers of branches touching the ground. Somehow, my dad had gotten in, right after he had changed into something that I hadn’t saw. “Blake?” I jumped as I felt Dad’s hand on my shoulder. “What’s wrong, son?” “Nothing,” I laughed. “I was just thinking.” Dad nodded and set his plate in the sink, looking out the window before wrapping an arm around my shoulder. “You want to go do something?” “Like what?” I asked. “I don’t know, go to a movie or something? We haven’t done something like that for a while.” “It’s because you work,” I said. “I know, and I’m sorry I work so much… Did you want to go do something?” I nodded. “Yeah, sure.” “How come you decided to take the back way home, Dad?” My dad looked over and smiled, returning his eyes to the road. “It’s nice,” Dad said. “I like driving out here sometimes. It reminds me of the woods.” It reminds me of them too, I thought, shivering. “You cold, son?” “No.” “Are you sure? I can roll my window up if you are.” I looked over at Dad’s window and saw that it was open. I nodded, deciding to let my dad brush off my shivering as a result of his window being open and not anything else. “Thanks, Dad.” “It’s no trouble,” Dad said, rolling the window up. “All you have to do is ask for something and I’ll try to do it for you, Blake.” I nodded, leaning against the door and looking out the window, watching the woods roll by. It wasn’t long before the woods disappeared and was replaced by an image of thousands of tiny hairs sprouting over Dad’s body. “Look here, son; the first spider of the summer.” I looked down at the spider. It stood there, watching us, its long legs poised at an awkward angle that supported its small, thin-legged body. “It’s a daddy long leg,” I said. “Yeah,” Dad grinned. “Cute little thing, isn’t it?” “I thought they were poisonous if you let them crawl over open wounds?” “That’s an old man’s tale,” Dad laughed. “Come here, little guy.” I shivered as the thing crawled onto my dad’s hand. He looked at it for a short moment before tossing it out an open window. © Kody Boye 2007-2009

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“What’s wrong?” Dad smiled. “It’s just a spider.” “I think they’re creepy,” I said, sticking my hands in my pockets. “We’re not going to get any more, are we?” “Not with your birthday present.” I frowned. “Birthday present? Dad, my birthday’s not…” “For another week, but I can’t keep him in the car all by himself.” Fad smiled and opened the door. “I’ll be back in in a sec.” I nodded as Fad disappeared out the door, sitting down and waiting for him to come back in. It wasn’t long before my dad came in with a box, sitting it on the table in front of me. “Open it,” he said. I nodded and stood, opening the top of the plain brown box. Inside, a white ferret rolled around for several moments before taking notice of me. “I didn’t know you were getting me a ferret, Dad.” “I seen you looking at him a few days ago, when we were in the pet store,” Dad said, wiggling his finger inside the box, smiling as the ferret licked his hand. “I figured I’d get him for you.” “They didn’t sell him? Stupid question. I mean, how did you manage to get this exact one?” “I had them hold it for me,” Dad said. “Does it have a name?” “No, but it perked its ears up when it heard the name Zack on the radio.” I smiled and picked the ferret up, cradling it close to my chest. “Then Zack it is,” I said. “It is a boy, right, Dad?” “That’s what the woman said,” Dad grinned, winking. I smiled and hugged Dad, thanking him for the ferret before taking him up into my room. I stared into Zack’s small, beady eyes and all my worries seemed to disappear. That night, I held Zach close to my chest. It was a cold summer night, but I could deal with it. The ferret squirmed and I let it go, where it snuggled in close to my neck. I smiled and stroked its thin, lean body, looking out the window. Dad’s going out tonight. There was no doubt in my mind that he would be out there, doing whatever he was doing. I wondered what actually happened when he sprouted all those thin, tiny hairs. Did he turn into some kind of monster and run off into the woods, or were the hairs not really hairs at all? Maybe he was dissolving into the night… “Stop it,” I said. The ferret squeaked, nibbling the end of my nose. I smiled and pushed it away with a finger, rubbing its stomach. “At least I got you,” I said, continuing to rub Zack’s belly. “You make me feel better.” A boom shook the side of the house. I jumped and Zach screeched, crawling under the covers. I looked around, my heart beating like a jackhammer inside my chest. What the… I heard it again, but this time it didn’t scare me as badly. I grabbed Zach and held him © Kody Boye 2007-2009

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close, backing toward the door, watching the window for any sign of movement. “Everything’s all right,” I said, more to myself than Zach, who was shaking in my arms. “Everything’s…” The blur of something passing the window spurred me out of the room. I nearly tripped, but caught myself on the wall. I grimaced, feeling hot tears flow down my face as I ran into Dad’s room. “Dad! Dad!” I sobbed. “There’s something by the window, there’s…” Dad wasn’t in bed. I crawled between the covers and held Zack close, trying not to think about where Dad was or what he might be doing. “Blake? Blake, what’s wrong?” I opened my eyes and saw Dad. Even though I knew that none of the things were in the house, I was still shaken from last night. “Dad, something… Something was trying to get into the house.” “Something was trying to get into the house? Blake, what are you…” “You weren’t in bed last night.” Dad shook his head and sat down beside me. “I must’ve got up to go to the bathroom or something, because I did come back to bed.” “No you didn’t,” I said. “Where were you, Dad?” Dad shook his head and started to walk out of the room. I jumped off the bed and grabbed his head. “Let go of me, Blake.” “Please, Dad,” I begged. “Tell me where you were.” “I was outside,” Dad growled. “Do I have to repeat myself again?” Dad whipped his arm out of my grip and stormed out of the bedroom. I sighed and closed the door. Zack pawed at my leg, and when I reached down and picked him up, he licked my nose. “I need to find out what’s wrong with Dad,” I said, stroking Zak’s head. “He might get himself into some kind of trouble if I don’t.” I got Dad to stay in the house when it got dark, but it wasn’t easy. We had got into an argument about him going outside, and he had stormed off into his bedroom and slammed the door. I felt like the adult in the situation, but I had to help him. Whatever was happening with Dad was scaring me, and I knew if I didn’t figure out what was happening to him soon, something might happen. It was nine-thirty, almost ten. Dad would’ve already disappeared into the forest by now. This is it, I thought. This is where you find out what’s happening to him. I stood and walked down the hall. I knocked on Dad’s door and leaned up against it. “Dad? Are you still mad at me?” When he didn’t answer, I sighed. “Can I come in?” When he didn’t answer, I got nervous. Dad always answered me, even if he was mad. © Kody Boye 2007-2009

About the Author
Kody Boye started writing when he was seven-years-old, after a teacher inspired him with an object-specific writing prompt. His first story, [A] Prom Queen’s Revenge, was published in the Yellow Mama Webzine in May 2007. His first novel, Sunrise, was published by Library of the Living Dead Press, and is now available on Amazon.com.

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Links of Interest
Kody’s Website Kody’s Personal Blog Kody’s Writing Blog Kody’s Facebook Kody’s MySpace Kody’s Twitter Kody’s YouTube Kody’s Inner Saga Webblog

I opened the door and was blasted with rain. “DAD!” The window was open, and in the distance, I could see him. His screams sent every hair on my body on edge. I jumped out the window and ran to his side. Little hairs were sprouting over his body, and the blood that was leaking down each hair literally screamed that something was going on inside him. “DAD!” I cried. “DAD!” “B-Blake,” Dad gasped. “Y-You’re here, son.” “What’s going on? Dad!” “It’s time you learn what goes on between out family.” When Dad pulled me close, I didn’t resist. Behemoths came from the treeline and towered over us. Their long, thin legs trampled the grass as their small, twin fangs clicked. “Their long legs,” Dad whispered. “Aren’t they beautiful?” “What?” I asked, shaking, gripping Dad’s shirt like it was the last connection to the real world. “This is what I am,” Dad said. “What you are, son.” I looked down at my arms and saw black hair sprouting over them. I looked up at Dad and saw the hairs sprouting on his face. “Just hold on, son,” Dad whispered. “It’ll all be over before you know it.” I buried my head in Dad’s chest as we were engulfed in shadow, when the daddy long legs screamed as a new long leg was born.

Fun Facts about
Daddy Long Legs

- was originally written for a young adult fiction market. - the ‘long legs’ weren’t originally supposed to appear in the story as were-creatures. - Boye originally intended for the story to have different kinds of monsters, but halfway through, settled on having spiders—particularly daddy long legs—as an integral part of the story.

Daddy Long Legs is copyright © Kody Boye 2007-2009 and may not be reused, reprinted or republished without the prior, written consent of the author.

© Kody Boye 2007-2009

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