Of Arachne's Complext Texts by Shelly Jones

CW: suggested suicide

Arachne: Hey Em – want to come over and weave together? You said you were going to show me that loop stitch technique.

Minerva: Hey Ari – yeah, sure. I just need to do some chores for my dad, then I’ll come over.


Arachne: Did you see this video about how to keep tension in the weft? Such a cool technique!

Minerva: Oh that – yeah, that’s made the rounds before.


Arachne: This knotting weave might look nice in the project you’re working on.

Minerva: Hmm, maybe. Haven’t had much time to work on that lately. So much to do.

Arachne: Yeah, saw the news. Another war, huh?

Minerva: Yeah, you know how Dad is. Duty calls. Peace!


Minerva: Saw your work at the art exhibition. Where did you learn the tapestry weave?

Arachne: Oh that? It was just something I was trying.

Minerva: Why didn’t you tell me?

Arachne: What’s the big deal? I wanted to try something new.

Minerva: You should have told me.

Arachne: Told you what?

Minerva: That you were showcasing your work in that exhibition. It embarrassed me.

Arachne: My work embarrassed you?

Minerva: You showed me up. My dad saw what you did.

Arachne: What’s your dad have to do with it?

Minerva: He expects *me* to be the best.

Arachne: I’m sorry your dad puts so much pressure on you.

Minerva: That’s not what this is about.

Arachne: Then what’s it about? Your own insecurity? Are you such a bad friend that you can’t be supportive of me? Of my work?

Minerva: Your work? Who taught you how to weave? Me.

Arachne: So? Why aren’t you happy for me? I won first prize in the exhibition.

Minerva: For that shit? Your stitches were too loose, too tight. All over the place.

Arachne: You’re just jealous. Afraid of your dad.

Minerva: You should be afraid of me.

Arachne: What?

Minerva: I’m coming over there and ripping out all of those stitches you call art.

Arachne: Stay away from me. I’m blocking you.

Minerva: text message unable to send
Minerva: text message unable to send
Minerva: text message unable to send

911 Call: What is your emergency?

Minerva: She isn’t breathing. I didn’t do it. I didn’t do anything. She was like this when I got here. Oh god, oh god. I didn’t mean for this to happen. Oh god. Please send help.


Shelly Jones, PhD is an Associate Professor of English at SUNY Delhi, where she teaches classes in mythology, literature, and writing. Her speculative work has previously appeared in Podcastle, New Myths, The Future Fire, and elsewhere.

Author's note

"Of Arachne's Complex Texts" was inspired based on a one-word prompt: webs. I immediately thought of the myth of Arachne as told by Ovid. The word "texts" kept rolling around in my mind and I decided to re-write the myth as a modern day text chat between Arachne and Minerva. The myth resonates in a modern context as audiences are, unfortunately, all too familiar with tragedies that often unfold through bullying, jealousy, and (mis)communication.