The Black Widow Guide

Amanda Starks
2 min readJul 20, 2023


Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”

Photo by Tom Sid on Unsplash

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” — Edgar Allan Poe

Who is it that skitters beside me in the dark? Are you a friend, a foe, or just another lonely stranger? Like twins, we descend that spiraling staircase together, our fading steps echoing against the yellow tape stretched across the walls.

What prompts you to follow me down into these places that I cannot help but tread? Your presence is prickling; tiny, hair-thin needles whisper across my skin, crawling along like the black legs of a widow.

Where you are most harmless is in the dark, where no one can see me or you in the shadow I cast. In the blackness, we can hide. In the nighttime, we can dream dreams that no one could ever understand and wonder at the brevity of mortal lives, but I can’t help but detect the flexing of your fangs disturbing the particles of the world, and the death, waiting within those dripping tools of ruin.

Why do I anger you? There is nothing to fear from you until I antagonize you. Until it is not you, but I, who begins to follow your mad descent into the dark.

How is it, I realize, that no one really thinks about the shadows we tread, about the creatures we create, about the poison we hold poised over ourselves…until it is too late?

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Amanda Starks

Amanda Starks is a mental health advocate & creative writer who loves diving into poetry and fantasy fiction. You can find her at