Beautiful, If Not So Ugly - John Fetto

The troops moved by, not ten feet below the ridge where all four men lay, clinging to the flat land like men clinging to a cliff with only their fingers digging into the dirt stopping them from sliding off. Hawley lay off to Willie’s, peering over his forearm, not at the troops below but at orange black spider that was climbing his sleeve and was crawling along the fabric of his jersey. Each spiked leg, picked slowly towards the bare skin of his wrist. It would have been almost beautiful if it hadn’t been so ugly, black prickly legs stepping along to the beat of the troops walking down below. Anytime they could look up, see peering through the fronds, and if they did, Hawley and his friend would be pricked by bone shattering lead. No matter what they all must still and not make a sound. Hawley didn’t move, even as his eyes crossed watching the bug, and sweat ran down his cheeks. He didn’t move even as Willie reached over and with pinched the spiders head with fingers black with dirty, grimy nails. Thick ugly hands but just then they looked beautiful as the held the head of the spider and watched as it’s little legs kept wiggly until it stopped.