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Something Crawling…

Something crawling


Estimated reading time — 8 minutes

Bryan Miller was sitting at home, watching TV alone. He was dressed in his favourite pajamas, and slouched lazily in his armchair. It was a Saturday night, and he wasn’t exactly the type of person to do something exciting. He flipped through the channels aimlessly, wondering whether to find something interesting or allow himself to be claimed by sleep. A British soap opera, a Wimbledon match, some news about a new wildlife study center opening – nothing appealed to Bryan. Then, he settled onto a horror movie. He didn’t really care what it was about, he just decided to watch it until he nodded off.

Now, Bryan wasn’t a man who got scared easily. There wasn’t much that could chill his spine. He found horror films to be repetitive, haunted house attractions were a walk in the park, and he thought that ghosts and aliens and such things were plain nonsense. However, there was one organism on the planet Earth that truly frightened him – spiders. The unnatural way they moved, their spindly legs, not to mention the fact that many species were venomous. He didn’t mind the fake spiders in movies or horror attractions – they were fake after all. It was real spiders that scared him to pieces. He couldn’t stand to be in the same room as one. That’s why a sizeable portion of his salary went to insecticide and making sure that his home wasn’t welcome to any unwelcome ‘visitors.’ And yet, Bryan always feared that one might sneak in, trailing disease and venom along its hairy, twitching eightfold appendages.

That night, as the horror flick was half-way through, Bryan felt his eyes getting heavy, and began to get out of his chair so he could go to bed. As he planted his feet on the ground, Bryan felt a sharp sting on his left foot.

“OW!” Bryan cried loudly. He pulled his foot up and looked down, and let out a larger shout at what he saw. It was a spider. Not a very big one, as large as his palm, but it was terrifying none the less. Its thin legs were dark brown, but its back was a haphazard mixture of red, yellow and blue. It looked like someone had spilled three tiny jars of paint on the arachnid at the same time, producing an odd mixture of hues that even the most ambitious artist couldn’t replicate. Bryan glanced at his foot and saw that a small red welt had formed on the side of it. He turned his attention back to the spider, only to see it scuttling away!

Terrified by the aspect of the spider running away and hiding somewhere else in his home, Bryan grabbed one of his slippers and threw it at the spider. He made his mark, breaking some of its legs and flattening the body. The crumpled, half-alive remnants of the bug feebly limped around in a bizarre, desperate manner. Seizing the opportunity, Bryan ran forward, picked up the slipper again, and thwacked the spider with it until it stopped moving. As his adrenaline lessened, Bryan peered down to see the crushed mass of spindly legs that was previously a spider, and then saw a few of the same appendages on the underside of his slipper.

“Well, I’m never wearing this again”.

After disposing of the disgraced footwear, Bryan grabbed some paper napkins and started cleaning up the dead spider’s corpse. Honestly, this is the worst part, Bryan thought. Alive spiders were scary, but dead ones were disgusting. Bryan went to the bathroom, desperately holding his hands away from himself in a sort of Frankenstein-walk, till he could wash them twice over.

Once he was done (and very disgusted), Bryan saw that the movie was still on. As Bryan rearranged some books that had gotten knocked over, he reached down for the remote. Instead of the rubber buttons and plastic casing of his remote, he felt a smooth, twitching surface, and then something crawling on his fingers. His head spun around to see a spider, which had climbed onto the remote and was now climbing up his arm.

“AAAAAHHHHH!!!!” Bryan shouted.

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He shook the spider off. As it fell to the floor, Bryan noticed that it looked very similar to the spider from before. In fact, he was willing to bet it was the same species. Before it could get away, Bryan picked up his second slipper and smacked the spider to death (again). Then, he threw away the slipper (again), and went to wash his hands (yet again).

The beleaguered man grabbed some more paper napkins and went to his living room to clean up the mess. Only to see no mess at all. There wasn’t any trace of dead spider, which didn’t make very much sense to Bryan. He searched around his floor for the arachnid’s corpse, but found nothing.

“Maybe it was blown away by the wind or something,” Bryan muttered to himself.

‘Or maybe it isn’t dead. Maybe it’s still in your house,’ suggested a voice in the back of Bryan’s head. Bryan opted to ignore this unhelpful theory and decided to call it a night, feeling too tired for any further action. He went back to his bathroom for a final time to brush his teeth. Bryan yawned loudly as he squeezed paste on his toothbrush and stuck it in his mouth.
His feelings of drowsiness were swiftly replaced by a feeling of intense panic. Bryan felt as if there was something in his mouth other than a toothbrush. Something moving. Something alive. He hastily spit out the offending object, then stared in shock at the creature in the sink before him. It was the spider. The same spider, with the same red, yellow, and blue markings. Dead from the impact of hitting the sink.

How did it get in his mouth?

How was that even possible?

How….?

Bryan’s mind was racing with explanations for the inexplicable occurrence, all resulting in the furtherance of his confusion.

“It crawled on my toothbrush when I wasn’t looking. Then, I put the toothbrush in my mouth. Yeah, that makes sense,” Bryan told himself.

Of course, the realisation that he had seen the spider three times in one night did not do anything to quell his fears. Is it an infestation? It’s an infestation, Bryan thought. Oh no. Oh God no. Anything but that. Suddenly feeling light-headed, Bryan opened his mirror cabinet and took some anxiety medication. He always kept some. Just in case. Bryan closed the cabinet and checked in the mirror to see if he looked as worse as he felt. Only to very quickly notice the same spider crawling just underneath his left ear.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!”

Bryan desperately slapped at his face, trying to get the spider off. He had closed his eyes, too scared to see the malevolent monstrosity. Even though he couldn’t see it, he could still feel it. Crawling all over his face. Its filthy legs covering every inch of his face. It felt like it wasn’t just on his skin, it was inside his skin. He felt it crawling under his skin. He felt it in every blood vessel, every bone, every fibre in his being. It was disgusting. It was terrifying. In his struggle, Bryan tripped backwards and fell to the ground.
He no longer felt the arachnid moving in his body. He jumped up and ran away from the bathroom as fast as he could.

This wasn’t making any sense. There has to be an explanation. This can’t be happening. This can’t be happening!

“This can’t be happening!” Bryan shouted at the top of his lungs.

He raced out into the living room in an attempt to escape from the purgatory that had now become his house. Bryan was about to cross the room and jump out of the door, if not for the scene on his floor that horrified him to no end. There were several of them. Maybe tens, maybe hundreds. The same spiders. The same brown legs with the same haphazard red, yellow and blue colouring. They were all over his floor. Crawling over his chair. Crawling over his books. In his empty shoes and across the coatrack.

It was at this point that fear had tipped over into indignant rage. This was his floor, his chair, his books, his shoes. HIS house. These spiders, these revolting, repulsive things were crawling over his property.

No.

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He was done being scared. He was beyond fear, and had now crossed into anger. Seething, destructive anger. Bryan stormed over to the nest of arachnids and started crushing them all with his bare feet. The trauma of the night’s previous events had led to vengeful rage and a lust for vengeance. Bryan stomped all over the spiders, no more caring about the mess or the germs or the broken appendages. He shook the spiders off a book and used it to squash the spiders that accommodated themselves to his armchair. He kept on killing off the eight-legged creatures until he was satisfied that they were all dead. Exhausted, Bryan felt his anger simmer down, and he sat down in a corner of the room that wasn’t covered in spider carcasses to think over the events that had transpired.

Before he could do much thinking, however, Bryan heard something thumping on his door. What now? Bryan thought wearily. The thumping got louder. And louder. Bryan got the imminent feeling that he should be running away. That there was something to run away from. And that something was coming in forcefully. Before Bryan could put action to thought, the entire front of his house was torn down, and the monster responsible entered. That monster scared Bryan stiff.

It was the spider. But it was colossal. It was easily four times Bryan’s height. Its legs were thick and hairy, pounding against the floor as it walked, causing his house to tremble every time it moved. The behemoth had effortlessly destroyed a quarter of his home, and continued to destroy more of it with every step it took. Bryan could clearly see the spider’s face. There were eight black eyes, and two mandibles that snapped menacingly, with some foul green ooze dripping from its mouth that burned holes into his floorboard. Bryan attempted to make an escape, but the spider pounced forward, destroying his roof, and pinned Bryan down with one of its legs. Bryan couldn’t move. He almost felt his ribs were cracking under the spider’s pressure.

“No. No, stop. Please!” Bryan pleaded.

The spider moved its terrifying jaws closer, continuing to hold Bryan in his place.

“NO! Please stop! Someone help me!!”

The spider inched its face forward, preparing to take a bite. As it lunged, Bryan let out one final cry.

“BREATHE!”

“Breathe, Mr. Miller! You’re fine. You’re safe.”

Bryan opened his eyes. He looked up to see a man in his forties in a white coat. The man had placed his hand on Bryan’s left shoulder and was looking down at him with concern.

He took in his surroundings. He was in a hospital. On a bed. His arm was hooked up to an IV, and he was dressed in a patient’s gown.

“Don’t worry, Mr. Miller. There’s no need to be scared,” the man (apparently a doctor) spoke in a soothing manner. Sensing the question in his patient’s eyes, the doctor continued. “You were having a panic attack in your sleep. You’re lucky I had come by to check up on you. You’ve been through quite a ride, to say the least.”

Bryan could do nothing but utter a confused “What?”

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“Allow me to explain. Last night your neighbours heard you screaming, and called the police. Apparently, you were bitten by one of the venomous spiders that had escaped from the nearby wildlife study centre, since we found it crawling on your face.”

Bryan remembered how he was bitten on the toe, and looked down to see the red welt had now turned to an ugly rash.

“But…but…I saw a giant spider…” Bryan helplessly uttered.

“Ah. Yes, well, the species you were bitten by has been known to cause wild hallucinations. Judging by your screams, I’d say you’ve seen some nightmarish stuff.”

“You have no idea.” Bryan sighed. He started to get up, only to find that he couldn’t. He looked to the doctor in confusion.

“The spider has also been known to cause paralysis, so you won’t be getting up in the next few hours. By then the medicine will kick in and you’ll feel much better.” The doctor smiled down at Bryan. “I’ll send in one of the nurses to look after you,” the doctor said as he walked out.

Bryan nodded, realizing that he could still move his head. Then, he started to laugh. Quite loudly in fact. It was all a dream. A nightmare. A hallucination! Bryan silently thanked the forces above that none of it was real. Now, to wait until he could walk again.

“I swear, I’ll never go near another spider again. Thank God, it’s over.”

Bryan began to feel thirsty, so he turned his head to see if the nurse was on her yet, when he noticed something crawling on the side of his bed. Some small wretched thing, with thin, dark brown legs, and its back was a haphazard mixture of red, yellow and blue.

It was a spider. The same spider.

And it was crawling right towards him…

Credit: Mr. Fahrenheit

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