Another Coraline
a fanfiction

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Prologue

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It is important, when reading this story, to remember that a spider cannot talk. Shooting the messenger is never fair, but even less fair is the condemnation of a witness quite unable to carry a message.

Bear in mind, then, that it was entirely not the spider's fault. It was an early-spring spider, without much new insect life to choose from, and it had meandered very innocently among the roots of the cherry trees for most of the night before it decided to strike out across the dusty clearing in search of prey.

It tiptoed over the gray dirt in the moonlight, picking up each delicate leg with great care. Giving a wide berth to the threatening swell of a mushroom, it tapped its graceful way onward.

It thought nothing suspicious of the hole. Spiders are fond of holes, and this spider was no exception. How much the better, then, when it crawled inside and found an inverted world of dark and damp, a shaft dug years ago by well-meaning human hands, pressed all about with mud and sunk deep into the layers of the earth.

There were plenty of roots and stones studding the walls of the well, and the spider made expert use of them. It was nearly to the bottom before it hesitated. There was water at the bottom, brackish stuff, dangerous to any insect and black with shadows. It lapped gently at the crumbling walls, and at the muddy, blackened mass sprawled in the center of the pit.

The spider hesitated. It edged one leg back, then another, poised for flight.

And the mass moved.

It twitched, and extended one spindly, dripping limb. Lifted itself up, trembling, and dragged itself just a little closer to the wet mud of the wall.

The spider fled, as any sensible arachnid would, back up through the tangled roots and stones to the dry, safe world outside.

It saw nothing of what followed, of course, but the reader must remember that it should not be blamed.

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