It would be 3 days before i got my shot at Rasputin. After chasing Charlotte off she had sat in her web for days, taking advantage of the spider’s system and beheading anything that became ensnared in the webbing. I had looked for her, hungry for vengeance for my poor friend and eager to protect the remaining spiders from her rutheless activities. But it seemed she knew my plan. She did not show herself. Until one day she was there, sitting behind the delicately placed threads of Odessa’s masterpiece; the only trace of her that remained. My blood turned to fire and a rage ignited inside of me. I said nothing. I quietly entered the house, grabbed the heavy lantern, and climbed the porch railing. When she saw me coming she scurried into one of my hanging plants where i had nothing hard to smash her against and couldn’t hit her without destroying the plant i’d been nursing along towards winter. She was smart but she would still be losing her life that day. I’d made up my mind. I’d let her go once and she’d killed Odessa and left the carcass on my front doorstep for me to see. She would not be getting the chance to leave me another of her tragic gifts. No, Rasputin was a killer. If allowed to live she would kill all the spiders i regarded as friends of my little one woman and two dog family. So, i had to become a killer too. She clung to the branches of my hanging plant and refused to let go. I jumped down and grabbed the scissors from the windowsill in the kitchen. I cut the branch she clung to. As i was positioning the scissors around the branch, she had reached out with her folded barbed arms and was clawing at my fingers. She followed my every movement. She was no longer trying to get away. The fight was on. I ran down the stairs and around the house to where she had fallen. I quickly spotted her long green body amongst the branches in the grass. I used the scissors to hold her in place while i dragged the branch away. She squirmed and clawed the air, turning her head this way and that. She reached out at me, as if punching an invisible bag. I took the scissors and smashed the living daylights out of her until she moved no more. Her innards splayed out of her as when one tries to open a too-ripe banana and the top part wont peel so the banana goo escapes from the middle and it is ruined. Rasputin was a threat no more. I scooped her into the water pitcher and carried her to the compost pile. I laid her delicately on top and let the birds and the hornets have at what was left of her. Odessa, i had given a proper burial with a little service which both dogs and a female cardinal had attended. She had a tombstone (the tree stump) and was laid to rest respectfully. Rasputin would be afforded no such niceties. Praying mantises neither numbed the animals they ate, paralyzed them, nor brought about a quick and merciful death. They tortured their victims, unphased by their suffering. I wasn’t sure why God had created these strange beings with their iron arms but if found on my property, they would be given to the birds. As i walked back to the house, both ruby and charlotte were in their webs. I stopped in front of each and notified them that Rasputin was no more. Piper was missing. 1 tell tale spider leg lay in the grass where she usually sat in her web. I knew she had joined Odessa and i began preparing a tree stump tombstone for her beside the other.