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He loved women. No denying that. Pin-ups in Quentin’s bedroom still smiled back at him from all those turbulent teen-age years. But who loved him back? Not his mother. Not hard-of-hearing Aunt Clarisse who called him “slow and a good bit retarded” loud enough for him to hear her cruelty a room away. And certainly not all those pretty girls at school who toyed with him until his heart raced and threatened to shatter like glass.
If they could only understand what it felt like, to be an undeserving outcast. So lonely he’d occupy his time befriending in illustrated nature books the countless species of insects from all over the world, especially the spider.
“Why do you waste your time?” Aunt Clarisse asked. “They’re downright disgusting. Read about heroes who made a difference in the world.”
But Quentin ignored her. Could a hero save him? Transform his ugly face into something of which, head held high, he’d be proud enough to share with the eyes of others? The droop of his right eye, nose off-centered, lips pencil-line thin. No wonder my own mother hated me, he thought.
Five years now in the empty house, he spent his time in the cellar, a bulb casting insufficient light as he worked away at his hobby. Once he’d been content collecting insects –– “the little ones” –– and housing them in the glass terrariums he’d built, but that wasn’t enough.
Quentin stood there admiring the huge spider web he had woven out of rope strung the width of the cellar.
The three murdered women stared down dead-eyed from where he had tied them high into the web. An army of spiders had caught the scent and were now feasting on what once was pretty flesh.
Quentin wet his lips.