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Spiders Inside 
a short story collection 
by Lacy Lalonde 

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Read online or order a print copy from ISSUU


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© Lacy Lalonde 2014

Published by Philistine Press 

Cover art by Kayla Hunter








Sample story... 


SPIDER INSIDE

I have a spider in my head, and that is not the worst part. The worst part is that I put it there, and the second worst part is that I can feel it walking around up there. I can feel each of its eight legs moving rapidly and casually across the surface of my brain and along the walls of my skull. I saw the spider before it went in so I can picture it perfectly. I imagine it up there, what it could be doing. When I lay down to sleep nestling into my fluffy duck feathered pillow, maybe it nestles itself into the front of my brain, leaning up against the back of my squishy eyeball. Or in the herky jerky motion of my day maybe it sits comfortably amidst the wires of its new web, stretched across the backend of my skull from one side to the other, enjoying the cozy tight space but surely wishing there was a bit more room. I worry over the damage it is causing me, mentally and physically. It can’t be good to constantly be thinking about a spider living inside your skull. Sometimes I sit for hours entranced by my imaginings of what it is doing up there. Who knows how much damage a spider’s leg can be to a receptor in the brain? I doubt that has ever been tested. While I possibly lay on the brink of death, or worse, mental retardation, I bet it feels very safe in there surrounded by my thick skull, completely void of predators, and with a nice complimentary comfy juicy bloody brain to enjoy all to itself.

Since this travesty has befallen me I’ve spent much of my time wondering why more spiders aren’t doing this. Why aren’t spiders in heads a more common reason for a trip to the hospital? And could this become a growing trend? Might the word spread amongst the countless numbers of spider species? Is this the new threat to the human race?

The strange part is this isn’t the first time I’ve had a spider in my head. It’s the second time. I came across the first spider that would eventually inhabit the space between my ears one evening while I was writing. It was so unexpected that I mixed my evening pills with my night pills. I spotted it standing, or maybe it was sitting-I can’t tell which is which with that species-in the corner of the wall directly in front of me. I made my writing desk face the wall because Stephen King suggested in a book he wrote that it might help. I am a big Stephen King fan. I don’t think he ever wrote about spiders, a lot about rats though. I mostly write romance and I used to so happily at the original spot of my writing desk, under the window that looked out to a green field and bit further a gray ocean. While I wrote I often theorized that perhaps if the sky was more often blue than it was gray the ocean would be bluer too. I like advice and I figured it couldn’t hurt any, to move my desk around, but in the end it did.

My initial response to seeing the spider was to ignore it, this has been my usual mode of handling most things in my life, but I soon found that in this instance I could not do that. Maybe it was the mix up of the pills. Or maybe it was the sundown effect; I am getting up there. Whatever the reason I was stuck with it and once something gets in there it tends to stay awhile. The New Doctor says it’s like when a record gets stuck playing the same song.

I was never particularly afraid of spiders, but I do recall a preference to always remain a safe distance away from them at all times. It was the feeling of their touch that frightened me the most. And this one was just too close for me to ignore, it wasn’t within touching distance but it could be pretty quick. I didn’t know what to do. I casually greeted it, not wanting to seem rude in cased I angered it, who knows what pisses them off. If horror movies have taught me anything it is that being rude or mean, even to a doll, can result in an unexpected and horrifying death. Better to play it safe and assume everything can kill you. I tried to return to my work, resting my fingers onto the keys and waited for them to change my mind. I started to think about a time when I was a kid laying on the lawn in the back yard and seeing the contrast of the large brown spider on the bare skin of my left leg. How I had tried to run away from it but it never let me go. I kicked and jerked as I ran, but somehow it stayed stuck to me even as it climbed up my leg. I ran laps around the yard screeching until mother came and fearlessly swiped it away. I have never forgotten how all those legs felt moving, one after the other, on my skin, tickling the soft hairs on my leg. My mind back to the keyboard I tried to again forget that it was there at all, within feet of me. I even tried to forget that spiders existed as a species at all. In my mind I put white pillows in place of spiders. I imagined a pillow resting in the middle of a web, a pillow wrapping up a fly in silk, and a tiny pillow on the wall facing me. It didn’t really help. I had work to do, love to make, the last thing I needed was a spider on the brain. I rubbed at the corners of my eyes with my thumb and forefinger. The New Doctor says this action might hint at some deeper issue. I pushed at my eyeballs until I saw streaks of colours and then I started to imagine it launching itself at me and, God forbid, landing on my face. I opened my eyes again. I could see its dark body contrast against the soft salmon walls of my room. I waited.

 When it became clear that it had no intention of crawling off and on to another space, preferably out of my sight, any time soon I knew that I would have to do something. Before seeing The New Doctor I would never had done something, I would have gone to bed and lost a night of work because of a spider. I am fine with most other creepy crawlers. Ladybugs are a delight to come across, a June bugs idiocy is fascinating, the sound of crickets is tranquil, potato bugs remind me of prehistoric fossils, and an ant’s intelligence and strength is most impressive. Spiders are like the earth’s monster. Fearful as I was, I resigned myself to fixing this problem. I raised my head and turned my body, meeting its gaze with the hopes of quelling my fear and finding a speedy solution.

It was a gray-looking spider with a medium-sized body and what I had judged to be above average sized legs that made it seem all the more ominous as they were very long and stereotypically spider like. The thought of killing it crossed my mind more than once as the speediest solution but was dismissed each time when I remembered that I do not like to kill things. I especially don’t like to kill things that can fly, sting, bite, jump and move fast. I also don’t like to kill things that tend to be squishy or crunchy or gooey. I could only imagine the sound and feeling I would have to endure as I pressed out this spider’s existence, coupled with the small amount of guilt that would surely come after I wiped away its insides from my wall. The last time I tried to trap something it was a bumble bee. Let’s just say my aim isn’t too great. Looking around my room for help I felt at a loss and wished that someone else was there to take care of it. I thought about The New Doctor and what he had said about not letting the little things take over and how there always was another solution if I was willing to see it. I rubbed at my eyes again.

‘Look’, I said. ‘I understand your species has been around a lot longer than mine. Entire eons more. And believe me I’m sympathetic to that.’ I paused here briefly, hoping to portray some of my sincerity. I was terribly aware of the silence in the room when I stopped speaking. I tried not to let it make me feel foolish and kept on. ‘And you probably feel that you have some sort of right to be here, in my room. And maybe you’re thinking ‘screw you weird old human and the boat your ancestors rode in on.’ And I would agree with you entirely as I personally didn’t decide to come here. It was my ancestors who made that decision for me, and therefore had no say in the matter what so ever. I am merely trying to survive on this land, like you, to the best of my ability.’

I paused here to take a sip of tea. I licked my lips and kept on.

‘Fortunately for me, my species happens to be very resourceful and fortunately for my brother’s resourcefulness I was able to acquire this comfortable living space that you have recently decided to inhabit. So here’s what I suggest.’ I said with a bit of a smile. ‘I will agree to allow you to remain here for as long as you like, so long as you agree not to ever come anywhere near me. It is nothing personal to you as a living being but it is personal to you as a species of arachnid that I happen to find particularly terrifying. You have to understand; to me you’re more than ugly. You’re creepy. And, if I am being perfectly honest, you disgust me entirely. Surely I’m no prize to you either, and I take no offense in this whatsoever.’

I watched as it carefully move two inches to the right and stopped. I kept on.

‘Regardless of this, I do feel that it’s possible for two different species to coexist. I am an animal lover despite my current inability to own a pet. Humans are not the only one’s entitled to live on this planet. Sharing is caring is a principle belief of mine and one that I think should be taken into consideration much more than it is. I not so long ago shared my bedroom with a beetle. And to show that my beliefs are more than just words, I’ll open my doors to you also. Mi casa, su casa, as they say. I will not squish you,’ I smiled at the spider with my right hand on my chest and left hand in the air to show that I meant it, ‘and I’ll do my best to avoid destroying your webs, but please do try to keep the number of them to a minimum and be mindful of where they are placed. Nothing low hanging. I hate walking into them.’

After this point I raised a finger to then stress my serious side, ‘but more importantly than all the spider webs in the world, stay the fuck away from me at all times.’

The spider of course said nothing. I was grateful for that.  It had remained more or less in the same spot on the wall the entire time. Because it helped make me feel better I decided to take that as silent consent, and since I myself accepted the terms it seemed that we were in agreement. A pact between two species, arachnid and hominid. I really had all the faith in the world in our dealing. It continued to stay in that spot on the wall while I sat there typing away.

Despite my faith in our pact I spent the very next day moving carefully through my room half expecting it to have grown many sizes overnight and jump out at me. I thought about calling The New Doctor to tell him about the problem I solved, but to be honest I was a bit shy about the how. He called me a few days later, when things had settled down and I was able to move about at a normal speed. I told him about the spider and how afraid I was and how I almost got stuck. He congratulated me. He didn’t ask how.

Weeks had passed without incident. At times I’d forgotten it was there at all. And there were other times where I wouldn’t see it for days and days. Like the beetle, it was a quiet roommate an we did spend some time together. It seemed to take interest in my hygiene as I’d often find it perched in the top corner of my shower staring down at me. More than once I watched it walk along edges of the ceilings. I took interest in its fabulous web making abilities, watching as it built an entire web from start to finish one afternoon. It took hours to make and the little guy never stopped once, it just kept pulling out more and more silk and stringing it along. It had made this beautifully intricate web across the kitchen window.  It was quite large, and when the sun shone through it in the morning the rays reflected off the silk creating a colourful light show, it was very appealing to look at. I was sad to have to destroy it. But I like to air out my kitchen while I cook, and besides I don’t know that it would have caught anything there. I explained this while I took a newspaper to it, breaking all the strands that held it in place. I often wondered how long the spider would hang around for.

How long do spiders live?

Things were good until they weren’t. It all started to take a turn for the worst that night I found it making its way along my satin duvet that I got as a Christmas gift one year from my brother. If it hadn’t been in motion I doubt I would have noticed it. Technically this wasn’t breaking any rule, as I wasn’t in the bed at the time, but I could have been. And that was cutting it too close. Clearly more boundaries needed to be set. I decided to address the matter straight away. I rubbed my eyes as I spoke.

‘A bed is a personal space,’ I said, wanting to explain, ‘and I just think it would make me more comfortable if you didn’t go near it.’ I paced back and forth along the edge of my bed, thinking about how close we could have been to, there was a good chance I could have sat on it. I left the bedroom in a huff. If I saw it at all the following day I did my best to make it seem otherwise. If I have learned anything from my mother it is that the silent treatment works wonders.

I found it in there again the very next night, this time standing – or sitting - under the covers. The dark gray patch of leggy body sat on my clean crisp white sheet. I was all set for bed, cup of tea, book in hand, spirits high on after concluding a particularly difficult portion of the book I was working on. Thankfully, I decided to switch on my bedside lamp before climbing inside.  I don’t always do this. I dare say that it wouldn’t have been my fault if I sat on it. Immediately I began to regret our arrangement. I started to come up with a series of reasons and arguments as to why this wasn’t working out for me. Its presence and blatant disrespect didn’t sit well with me. I wondered what else it might be capable of aside from poor manners. I wouldn’t let myself be bullied around in my own home, after everything I had done. I let the beetle in, and it left without a word of goodbye or a thank you, and now this.

I yelled at the spider on my bed, ‘I told you this space wasn’t for you! I told you!’

I stood with my hands in fists at my sides, giving it my best glare, waiting for it to move, to slink its way out of my bedroom.  But it stayed, didn’t move an inch. I decided to take matters into my own hands. With the edge of my book I flicked it off my bed and onto the floor, watching it scramble under the bedside table. I really could have been much less gentle about it.

I didn’t see it at all the next day, or the day after. I looked for it when showered. I kept an eye on the walls and windows, nervous with the anticipation. I saw it three nights later, right before going to bed, on the wall, not two feet above my head board. It wasn’t in my bed or anywhere near touching me but again I didn’t feel good about it. Maybe because of our recent dispute, perhaps I could sense a little animosity, maybe even aggression emanating from it. I rubbed at my eyes. I couldn’t imagine anything good coming from an aggressive spider so I decided to take the diplomatic approach again and respectively address it face on.

‘Look,’ I said before placing my book and cup of tea down on the bedside table, ‘I’m sorry about the other night, but you know what you did and you knew how I felt about it.’ I sighed loudly hoping to emphasise my hard feelings on the matter. ‘Let’s just forget it, okay?’

It stayed motionless like it always did when we quarrelled, a characteristic I was beginning to resent. I hated always being the bad guy turned softie just to make things run smoothly. I pulled back the covers and set to do some reading like I’d originally intended. I did my very best to not think about the close proximity of the spider. As my eyes scanned the words on the page I imagined the spider’s long legs slowly creeping down my bedroom wall, stretching out a limb as it reaches the tips of some strands of hair and settling itself down on top of my head. I couldn’t stand it.

‘I’m going to read on the couch for a while,’ I said.

I found the couch to be a sad replacement for my bed but I made do. I even ended up dozing off a while. I awoke a few hours passed midnight and stumbled my way to the washroom for a quick pee. I flicked on the light and, as is habit, looked at myself in the mirror. I saw it right away; I mean how could I miss it? A gray looking spider, its long legs spread wide to cover the most area of my face, sitting, or standing, along the right side of my cheek. I shut my eyes at the sight of it, I could hear my heart thump and my skin grew hot. I wanted to rub my eyes but what if I touched the spider? Out of nowhere I made an angry grunting screaming noise, like an ape maybe, as I slapped my face repeatedly with both hands for a full minute until I couldn’t take the sting of the slaps anymore and I was sure it was gone.

Afterwards I set to shouting, ‘That’s it! You broke the number one rule!’

            Of course I was shouting at nothing, it probably scampered off during all the slapping, but I knew it was still close, hiding under some nook. It knew it could still ear me. ‘You broke the rule and now you must die!’

It took a few comfort drinks for me to stop shaking and calm down, my face still sore from the beating I’d given it. I decided that the next time I seen the spider I would kill it. I’d tried my best to coexist, more than anyone else surely would have.

I practiced stomping it to death with my slipper-covered feet, raising my leg high and landing it heavily onto the floor. I did this repeatedly with both feet for several minutes. I then practiced squishing it with my book, a thousand paged hardcover classic. Perfect, I thought.

Feeling betrayed and a bit tipsy I tried for my bed again. I tore off the sheets, squeezing as I bunched them up and threw them in the corner. I fell asleep atop my bare mattress hoping he had hidden in the sheets.

I woke up  hours later, my eyes open to the ceiling. I could feel it there and at the bottom field of my vision I could see where its legs bent, the tips of its eight legs pressed into my cheek, its abdomen resting on my skin. My face began to twitch slightly above my lip, it moved to a step or two away in response. I wouldn’t let myself miss this time. I knew it had to be quick, otherwise it would see my hand coming. I moved my arm in anticipation, readying it for the swing, this time with more planned accuracy and force. And then it was over.

As you know, the inner ear is a sensitive spot on the human body. It’s covered with tiny delicate hairs and as such it is perceptive to the slightest of touches. I felt every movement that spider made as it climbed over the ridges of my ear and squeezed its body into the hole that lead to my ear canal and down toward my brain. I felt it go all the way through to the other side, the inside. The sensation it caused was so overwhelming and paralyzing that I didn’t even try to stop it.

Dumbfounded, I stared hard at myself in the mirror for several minutes, as if I would be able to see into my head. I didn’t feel anything for a few moments. I imagine now that it must’ve been scared and unsure, completely surrounded in darkness, not ready to take a step, huddled inside the unknown safety of my skull. But soon enough I felt some movement, the feeling of which instantly drove me mad. I wanted to rip out my eyes and get it.

I punched my head, shook it violently, hit it off the wall. This of course only increased the spider’s movements, being battered around like a bug in a jar, which subsequently increased the level of my insanity. I was literally humming with rage as an attempt to control myself before I did something really crazy. I must’ve resembled the Hulk just before he starts to turn green and tear off his clothes. What seemed to be an impossibly long time had passed before I’d exhausted myself, or once I’d gotten used to the sensation of having a spider walking in my head. I calmed slightly and attempted to begin thinking of ways of extracting it from within me.

I first tried lying my head down on one side, plugging the other ear with wads of cotton balls, in the hope that gravity might coax it out. I laid there for hours on my sofa, staring blankly at the wall, wishing repeatedly that I’d just killed the thing when given the chance and how the old adage of no good deed goes unpunished is so true. The sting of betrayal was there too.

With one failed attempt I moved on to submerging my head in hot water. An even less logical idea than the first. I knew good and well that my head wouldn’t fill with water as I’d hoped or that the temperature of the water would somehow cook the spider encased in my skull. But I did it anyway. I was desperate. I drew a bath, made it as hot as I could stand and laid down in it. As I waited for the spider to boil to death I repeatedly drained and refilled the tub with hotter water, trying to keep the temperature up. All this did was allow me to hear it better, with my head in the water the echoing the sound of its fast paced movements sounded like a distant knocking. Tuh tuh tuh tuh. Tuh tuh tuh tuh.  After temporarily thrashing around in a fit of hysteria before I got out of the bath, I turned to staring at myself in the mirror again and begging it to please come out, tempting it with all the flies money could buy. I cried as I pleaded to my reflection. When that stopped I grabbed a bottle of Jameson, wrapped myself in my softest robe and tried to sleep.

It was a restless night, and when morning came I dressed and headed to the hospital. I explained what had happened in full detail, even mentioning the inter species agreement I’d made a month before, regardless of how it made me look. The doctor read my chart, nodding as I spoke, he seemed sympathetic. He peered in my ears but said he could see nothing. He made a comment that could’ve been taken as a light hearted remark, ‘little guy is probably really in there.’

I didn’t laugh, only imagining the ‘little guy’ at the farthest corner of my skull, attempting to avoid the spotlight of the instrument the doctor was wielding, like a criminal on the lamb. Seeing nothing he sent me to get an x-ray. The image that came back was a side view of my head, a profile shot showing my brain and a small mass resting on top of it about the size and shape of a large pea.

‘You have two options,’ the doctor said to me as he examined one of the images. ‘You can leave it there and hope it will die or we can go in and get it out.’

‘How long will it take to die?’ I asked desperately.

‘Anywhere from 6 to 23 days.’ He paused, thinking it over. ‘It depends,’ he added.

I didn’t ask how he knew this. I was too busy trying to grasp at the idea of that thing living inside my head for an additional 6 minutes let alone 6 to 23 days. I had to stop myself from launching head first into the closest, hardest thing I could find.

‘How soon can you operate?’

The doctor smiled. ‘You understand of course that we’ll have to saw through your head and remove the top of your skull, exposing your brain entirely?’

‘Yes,’ I replied encouragingly, understanding how that would enable the doctor to have the freedom to easily capture the spider as well as remove any webs or burrows it may have created in the meantime.

‘Okay. I’ll consult with my colleagues and we’ll begin surgery first thing tomorrow morning.’

The doctor stood up, closed my file and made a move to exit the room, but I stopped him before he could leave.

‘There is just one thing, Doctor,’ I said, holding onto the white sleeve of his doctor’s attire.

‘Yes?’

‘I want you to keep it alive when you take it out. Please. Put it in a jar or something for me?’

The doctor looked at me, a puzzled expression across his face. ‘You want to keep it?’ he asked.

‘No,’ I replied firmly, ‘I want to kill it. I want to pull the legs off one at a time.’

The surgery itself was a success. My skull came off, the spider was captured, my skull went back on and after 18 hours of sleeping I woke up with staples in my head, looking a bit like Frankenstein. Despite all this feeling a little groggy and sore, I was happy, because nestled in my two hands was a glass jar with holes poked in the lid, a courtesy I may not have afforded the spider myself. Inside was a gray spider with a medium-sized body and what I’d judged to be above average-sized legs. It was the spider. My spider. Yet it seemed different from how I remembered. It seemed less ominous, less menacing. I studied it for a while trying to understand, my face pressed up to the glass as I turned the jar over and over in my hand, until I figured it out. The spider sat, or lay, all eight of its legs pulled towards itself, huddled into the far side of the jar. It was afraid. This sight brought me intense and immediate joy. I don’t think I could have stopped smiling if I tried. I felt like a child.

I moved to tip the jar upside down, watching as the spider slid slowly down the glass meeting the hard lid of the jar with a satisfying but soft thud. Tup. It sat motionless with the long thin legs pulled up tightly around the body. I tipped the jar again, a bit quicker this time, not giving it the chance to ready itself. TUP. I grasped the jar between both hands and shook one time, listening as it hit both the lid and then the bottom. Tup tup. And then I lost control. I began to shake the jar violently, beating it to death in a poorly lit hospital room where all that could be heard was a repetitive thud as its body smacked into the top and bottom of the jar. TUP TUP TUP TUP TUP TUP TUPTUPTUPTUPTUPTUPTUPTUPTUPTUPTUPTUPTUPTUPTUPTUPTUP.

Eventually I stopped, still hearing the phantom TUP sound in my head. I lifted the jar to my face and peered inside. Its body was no longer in an enclosed position but spread out as if it really was lying down, relaxing. Still smiling, I put the jar down on the table beside me, flicked the bedside light off and set to sleep.

The moment my head touched that flat hospital pillow I bolted upright and switched the light back on. I looked in on the spider, peering down to the jar from my bed. I brought my head closer and closer to the jar, all the while watching for any change in the spider, waiting to see a hint of life, a slight leg movement perhaps. Being ignorant of a spider’s anatomy, I wasn’t entirely sure whether or not the beating could’ve even killed it. Surely if a human had been in a similar situation they would’ve been dead quite early on, and by the end of it their body would most likely resemble a bloody broken mess that no longer resembled a human body with shattered bones sticking out every which way. But spiders are built differently. I knew that at least. I remembered reading once that a spider can regrow lost limbs. I wondered if I could ever really be sure if it was dead. Yet, there it lay, still in the same position as when I’d first stopped shaking the jar. I allowed myself to feel comforted and fell back onto the bed, switched off the light and set to sleep again.

Ten seconds later, I switched the light back on.

I did this many times throughout the night.

What woke me the next morning wasn’t my intense paranoia over the spider safely secured in a glass jar, but the lovely warmth of the sun. The feeling was so comforting that for a brief moment I’d forgotten all about the spider and the foolish agreement we had made months prior, a brief friendship followed by the spider’s subsequent betrayal and inhabitation of my head which lead to the surgical removal of my skull securing its capture which allowed me to satisfy my need to destroy it. But as fast as that pleasant moment came it was gone again as I turned to look at the spider.

I stared at the empty space that the jar had once filled not hours before, quickly calculating all the realistic possibilities as to where the spider had gone while simultaneously forcing myself to quell the more unlikely and terrifying possibilities of its supernatural escape. My rational brain had triumphed and narrowed it down to one option: someone else had taken it. The doctor. A nurse. A wandering child.

I was trying not to be too upset by this, my missing spider.

It was difficult to move. After the operation, my body seemed detached from my head. My brain was pounding in my ears. I saw the small white capsule full of colourful pills that had been left for me.  Hoping that the pills were pain medication, I quickly washed them down and attempted to pull myself out of bed. My legs felt weak, but once on my feet, I wasn’t really able to walk, and so I hobbled, step by step out of my room and down the hall. My right hand running along the wall kept me steady, my head seemed to weigh a ton, it hurt to lift it, it hurt to look ahead. I kept my eyes to the linoleum floor, watching my cold bare feet make their way. Somehow I knew where I was going.

Not two minutes after I’d dragged my body out of bed and exited my room a nurse had stopped me. She placed her body in front of mine, hands on my shoulders, effectively blocking me. The idea of having to walk around her seemed exhausting and I was certain that she was aware of this. Annoyed, I attempted to shoo her away like a fly. I hated flies – their never ending buzzing and disgusting attraction to fecal matter and rotten food. I never felt any guilt over flattening them out of existence and wiping their gooey insides off my wall. Spiders eat flies, I thought to myself, as if just only realizing this now. The nurse was speaking to me but all I could hear was buzzing. I summoned all my strength, placed my hands firmly around her shoulders, pulled her close to my Frankenstein head and said, ‘Shoo fly! Stop bothering me!.’ And then when that didn’t produce results, I added, ‘Get the fuck out of my way before I suck you dry!’ I can’t be sure, but I may have even made a sucking sound after saying this.

I continued making my way down the hall until I recognized the welcome mat in front of a door. I knocked 3 times. The door opened. I was leaning most of my weight against the wall now, my right leg bent at the knee. I was so tired; I quickly discerned that there was most likely a sleeping aid in amongst those pills I’d taken minutes ago.

‘My dear Sir, I dare say you should not be out of…’ The Doctor started but I cut him off, I wasn’t in the mood.

‘Where’s my spider?’ I asked, trying desperately to lift my head up to meet his eyes.

‘I left it on your bedside table in a sealed jar.’

’Perhaps the cleaner had removed it this morning,’ the doctor suggested. ‘She is very thorough and as I think of it, she has quite a dislike for spiders.’

‘Why?’ I asked. ‘Did one ever get inside her head?’ I laughed, attempting to point at my own head but only managed to raise my arm high enough to point at the wall adjacent us. My body shook so hard from all the laughing that I collapsed onto the floor, slapping my knee on the way down. Then blackness.

I woke up back in my hospital bed feeling weak and drugged. I looked over at my bedside table. The jar was still gone. I sank heavily into my pillow. I felt at a loss and laid there quietly for some time, tears running down my cheek and hitting the pillow with a soft tup. I watched the light slowly leave the room as the sun went down, casting large shadows across the room. I watched them shrink and grow as the sun moved through the room. A small shadow emerged at the far end of the room, slowly making its way alongside the wall. It was size of a baseball, bulbous shaped. My eyes followed it as I sat up to find the thing that was casting the shadow. I scanned the empty space between the walls, back and forth, but there was nothing. Just a bare wall and pink linoleum floors. I looked back to the window where the sun was coming through; it was bright on my eyes accustomed to the dimly lit room. On the windowsill I saw something move, it was small and dark and slowly making its way. I looked across from it to the shadow on the wall, this time I saw faint lines jutting out from the bulbous mass.

I felt my body begin to tingle as I wondered over the possibilities. This rush of adrenaline enabled me to move despite the heaviness of my body. With my bare feet on the floor, my legs braced against the bed, I felt weaker than before. The idea of walking a single step seemed treacherous. I lowered myself onto all fours, guiding myself down carefully, until I was able make my way over to the windowsill. My head felt like it weighed a hundred pounds so I let it sag low off my neck, my gaze going no further than a few inches ahead of my hands. I moved each of my limbs in a jerky motion, making me think of a poorly designed robot. I stopped moving when my head hit the wall, I lifted my gaze up to find the windowsill and then raised my to meet it. I  hurt from the weight of my body that wobbled on my knee caps. But it was ignored when I saw what was now within my reach. With my right hand I let go of the windowsill and laid my hand down, blocking its path. Without any hesitation it turned to go back the other way. I blocked its way again with my other hand, this time it stopped just shy of my skin. I anticipated its touch. I stared down at it, neither of us making a move. As I lowered my face closer and closer it started moving again, faster than before, again in the opposite direction. I watched and felt it scurry over the top of my hand. I almost flattened it as I slapped my other hand down on top of it once it had made it over. I folded my hand over it, feeling its whole body and concentrating on not squeezing too hard. It helped that it didn’t squirm. The body felt so fragile, it would’ve been so easy to squish. I lifted it up to my eyelevel and peered in between two of my fingers. Ignoring its eyes I studied the long legs and dark brown body with a spotted design along its robust backside. I nodded in agreement over its strange attractiveness and placed my ear in my hand. I laughed feeling it scurry, pushing itself this way and that. I started closing my hand around my ear giving it only the one way to go. I waited for it to make its entrance.


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