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When I was twenty-four, working as a teaching assistant at my alma mater, I met her. She was the girl of my dreams, gorgeous and smart and sweet and funny.

She was one of those rare girls, no skeletons in her closet, no weird habits, was comfortable in her own body, and I fell for her - hard. She was a student in my class, and every Tuesday was just heaven because she even signed up for my lab time. I wanted to sing when I saw her come in the first time, her glossy black hair in a neat ponytail (if you cared, she was of Asian descent).

So I talked to her, got to know her, and started dating her at the end of the semester. All through spring we got closer, though we never slept together, and I knew by the time summer came that this was the girl I wanted to marry. So, because my mother raised me right, I set it up that she'd come back home with me for a week to meet my family - I assumed that we'd go and meet hers later in the summer.

At the end of the week (my family loved her, thanks for asking) I mentioned meeting her parents. She paused for a moment and said, "Well... I guess, but my family's a little weird."

I didn't think anything of it - she was probably worried about culture-clash. "Babe, you just spent a week with my crazy redneck family, I'm sure I can deal with yours."

She shrugged and that was that. She went back home for the rest of the summer, and we would meet at least once a week just to hang out.

And near the end of July, I went to spend a week with her family. As I thought, she'd been over-exaggerating. Her mom was a real polite lady,with a habit of covering her mouth when she smiled. Her grandma was one of those tiny little old Japanese ladies who didn't seem to speak English. Her little sister was very shy around me and barely spoke, usually looking down and away from me. Her dad, as far as I could understand, was often out on business and I didn't meet him.

We slept in separate rooms because, well, her mom was pretty strict about that. And this is where it gets weird - the first night, I heard a weird... scuttling noise. There's no other way to really describe it. It bothered me, so I got up and locked the door and turned on the light - nothing in my room. I laughed it off and went back to sleep.

When I asked them about it in the morning, her mother seemed discomforted by my question. She reluctantly told me that there were some rats in the attic, and they didn't have the money to get the exterminators. I laughed and let her know that I could deal with a few rats. For the next few days, we all went out to visit the local sites, and though my girlfriend looked concerned at times, all I did was laugh off any weirdness.

Like when her grandmother creaked out something at the zoo at the kangaroos and I asked her about it - she told me that apparently her grandmother thought they looked tasty. Or when her sister refused my offer of ice-cream because she was lactose intolerant - though my girlfriend had enjoyed desserts with me before. Stuff like that seemed more or less the standard level of weird for cross-culture relationships, though, like the stewed fish with the heads still on.

The scuttling about never stopped, and I guess I should've gotten used to it, though there was still something about it that bothered me. I couldn't put my finger on it. So at the end of the week, I finally decided to sneak out and check out the attic. I'm no fool, so I brought a good flashlight, told my girlfriend (who frowned and told me that this was a bad idea and that she didn't want me to get bitten), and found a nice sturdy stick in the back yard. I quietly pulled down the attic stairs, shining my light into the darkness. Nothing.

So I climbed up and took a look around. It was weird. There wasn't really much in the attic, just some boxes labeled with whatever was in the - "Christmas Decorations," "Stuffed Animals," etc, but in the corner there was a small cot. I knew right then that I should've left well enough alone, but I'd already gone this far, so I moved towards it. There was no one on it, just a blanket and a pillow, and I was a few feet away when I felt something bite my ankle. I swept the flashlight around, panicking, and saw a fleeting shadow at the edge of the beam.

My mother didn't raise any idiots, so I got out of there right then. I hobbled down the stairs as fast as I could, down the hallway to my room, and closed the door. My ankle hurt like hell and was swollen. Whatever it was, I wasn't about to wake everyone up because I'd been poking around their house, so I figured I'd try to sleep it off.

The scuttling.

I woke in the dark. My leg was on fire. The pillow was damp from my sweat. I felt sick. I turned the light on, and there she was.

She was a middle-aged lady, naked and unkempt, with long tangled black hair. She was thin to the point of being skeletal, with a strangely round abdomen, kind of like what you see on starving people, with a thick red welt in the middle.

It scared the living daylights out of me to see her there, but it scared me more when I could see her face, because she was smiling. Her eyes were dark, black from corner to corner, with no trace of a pupil or white, and her mouth was unusually wide, and her teeth were missing. Well, mostly missing. Two close-set black fangs poked out of her gums.

I screamed bloody murder and scrambled back against the headboard.

She lifted her lips at the sound and raised her arms. I noticed with horror the crusted grime around her fingernails. I was going to die. She was going to cut my throat with those ugly talons and I was going to bleed out and then I was going to die.

The door slammed open and my girlfriend grabbed the monstrous woman by the arm, speaking

Black widow by victoriaobscure-d5lx32a

rapidly in a foreign language. Her mother came in right behind her, and I couldn't believe it when they dragged the thing out of the room. I sat alone for a few minutes, sweating from pain and fear.

Her little sister peeked in around the door, and when I didn't start screaming again she came and sat down at the foot of my bed. We sat quietly and listened to the attic stairs slam upwards.

She sighed and smiled in either hope or relief - it didn't matter, because I felt my heart stop in my chest - right in front of her bright white, human teeth, there were two small, sharp black fangs.

"I guess you met Auntie Lacey, huh?"

(This story is credited to a person called Yuki.)