I eventually named her Cassandra. At first she was small enough to be that spider in the corner, the one with black widow vibes. A friend assured me that she was, “Totally harmless,” just some false button spider.
I’m a saddlemaker. I have stables, and she sat in the corner of an unoccupied stall, hidden from the horses. I’m unsure how long she lived with us before I noticed the smell. It was a mouse, dead, beneath her web.
Bits of it had been eaten. I thought one of the cats had caught it.
But the spider was big, her bulbous body the size of my thumb, and dead mice kept appearing by her web. I was glad: they were a problem my cats weren’t handling.
“You should name that monster,” my spider-identifying friend said.
I named her Cassandra. She was the size of my fist.
Then I found one of my cats, its hind legs and tail webbed and much of its torso eaten. Cassandra was puppy sized.
I needed a cat replacement. I began feeding Cassandra. In the spring we went for walks around the farm. She caught mice, birds and squirrels.
The horses didn’t like her. That was understandable.
One night a ruckus brought me to the stables — Cassandra was webbing my palomino.
Cassandra is still growing. Now I’m short a horse — so I’m designing a saddle that I’d never thought of designing before, and wondering where life is going to take me.