Just one year ago, in a town not much different from yours, there was a young man named Jesse Anders. Jesse lived on the outskirts of town in a small building he inherited from his father, Alan Anders. The Anders house had been in the family for generations, so long that the patrons at the local bar claimed you could still hear the laughter of children echoing through its halls.
Jesse, however, did not have children. He lived alone and had always lived alone since the day he moved in. The bar-dwellers would say, “Isn’t he about marrying age by now?” Still Jesse lived alone, never going to the bars, and the people there had to make their own conclusions. But this was a year ago, after all. This was before that chilly Christmas morning when Jesse pulled himself out of bed, looked out his window, and saw the strangest sight he thought he would ever see:
It was a long expanse of short black hairs stretching across the whole Anders property, only stopping neatly at the borders. Jesse couldn’t believe his eyes. He left his house for the first time in almost a month, running to meet the first passer-by he could and asking, “Do you see them? Can you see my hairs?” And every person Jesse asked would conclude yes, he did have some hairs, but they were no longer than hairs normally are.
The Anders family were not quitters, however. Jesse took one look at his hairs and made the decision then: the hairs had to go. Jesse wouldn’t quit until his property was smooth again.
Jesse took his lawnmower and replaced the steely blades with oversized razors. He added a vacuum to clean out the hairs, and a hose to spread shaving cream ahead of him. Jesse called his new invention the Lawnshaver, and used it to shave the hairs that very day. When he was finished it was already suppertime. He left his smooth property behind to eat and sleep alone, leaving the Lawnshaver outside.
The next day, Jesse rose out of bed, looked out his window, and saw that all the hairs had grown back overnight – thicker and longer than the day before.
Soon Jesse Anders fell into a routine. He would wake every morning to longer and longer hairs, shave them all with his Lawnshaver, then eat supper and sleep alone. It wasn’t a month before the hairs grew so thick and strong that Jesse had to start upgrading his invention: the Lawnshaver 2000, the Lawnshaver XP, the iLawnshaver. By the half-year mark, Jesse’s Lawnshaver was as big as a monster truck, with twelve eight-foot razors and a propane tank of shaving cream.
Passers-by started stopping in the mornings to ask, “Whatever happened to the old Anders house?” The hairs were higher than the roof. The bar-dwellers didn’t want to gossip about Jesse Anders anymore; to them, Alan had no son.
Jesse grew more and more obsessed with his hairs every day. By September he stopped eating regular meals. By October he was an insomniac, lying awake to stare at his ceiling every night. By November he thought he could hear the laughter of children echoing through the halls.
This Christmas, exactly a year after the hairs started growing, Jesse Anders decided to put a stop to it. The hairs were already so long he couldn’t see the tips without a helicopter, tangled and packed so tight and thick that he couldn’t leave his house without shaving. He knew they were growing during the night whether he was sleeping or not, so Jesse decided to just stand outside and wait.
Nothing happened for a very long time as Jesse waited through suppertime, through bedtime, through midnight. He was already so skeletal that he couldn’t eat solid food, so he couldn’t see this as much of a loss. He just had to see what was causing those hairs to grow and grow.
The malnutrition must have gotten to him, though, because when the hairs did grow, they seemed to do it in an instant. He just blinked and suddenly he was surrounded on all sides by pure black hair. He couldn’t see his family’s house anymore. He found himself spinning around in a daze, searching desperately for an escape; his clouded mind unable to comprehend when the atrophied muscles in his legs gave out and he collapsed onto the ground.
This is how Jesse Anders died just one year ago. The official record will claim that he starved himself to death through insanity, but that’s only what it appears to be. In reality, it was the billions upon billions of black widows living in the tangled jungle of hairs that had been the Anders family property. They used no poison, but they murdered him nonetheless.