Not too far from the headwaters of the Ohio River, there's an A-frame house. It's close to the headwaters...but otherwise far from Pittsburgh.
All around the front of the A-frame house, the land is terraced. Here, the trees grow tall, and out. For that reason, there's much shade...and coral bells, cale, and hostas all grow here well.
Strung between two coral bells, there's a spider web. In it, a black widow spider hangs.
A fly flies by, and gets caught in her web. She senses this, crawls forward, and spins a cocoon around the fly, planning to guzzle its blood later.
Deep in the cellar, on a wall, words have been branded, via a branding torch...or something MUCH more high tech... The words say, ELLEN BRANDT LIVED HERE.
In the bedroom, a man sleeps. It's nice outside. Hence, if he's asleep, he won't likely stay that way for long.
Anyhew, his smartphone rings. He grumbles, and moves around, under the bedding. He's got a great body. He's like a bull with power...and much sentiment.
He takes up the smartphone, which lies on the nightstand. He wipes his eyes, and checks the caller ID. He smiles; it's a girl he cares about. Whether she cares about him is less clear. She's...kind of dating a Jewish businessman...or was, last Eugene checked.
He answers it. "Hi," he says to her, "sweets."
"Hi, Eugene. Did I wake you?"
"Aw, no. I was just...swimming."
"Of course you were." She doesn't sound too convinced...or convinced at all. She's an alto, and a blonde. She keeps her hair cut in a bob. As she talks, she drives a Chrysler into the mountains.
"You sound busy," he says. "Are you driving?"
"Yeah...just an errand. No big deal."
"You don't sound so perky. Something wrong?"
"Oh no, it's just that... Dan didn't come home last night. I was expecting him to propose when he did."
"Nice to know." He doesn't expect her to sense the sardonicism in his voice. "He probably went to a bat mitzvah, to stare into the back yard with a telescope."
"Gee... And I wonder why I called you."
"Sorry. It's been a long...relationship." He looks around. "You need help?"
"No, I'm fine. Someone said he was going to run an errand somewhere near Spruce Knob. They gave me the directions. I'm going there, to check it out."
"Okay, but... Be careful. If this means what I think it does..."
"Don't be so pessimistic, Eugene. Dan's fine. I've just got to get out there, and see it for myself."
"Mm-hmm, sure you do. Anyway, I've gotta go mountain-biking. I'll catch you on the flipside."
"Thanks, Eugene. I'll call you if I need you." With that, she hangs up, and drives.
Eugene scoffs, and hangs up his own phone. He gets out of bed, and stretches. He drinks some water, and starts dressing for the trip.
"O Cecile," he grumbles. "How I miss you, when you're not in my bed..."
Back in the spider web, the black widow feasts on her game. To her, it never tasted so good.