Arachnophobia Short Fiction

Another prompt line, with a 20 minute deadline produced the first draft of this. It’s not autobiographical, I swear…


I KILLED IT
There I was, stuck on top of the bathroom cabinet, wondering how I was ever supposed to get down. It would be at least an hour before my husband got home from the store, could I wait that long? I felt the unmistakable stirrings that indicated I had a serious need for the toilet below me, but I couldn’t reach it with my feet, try as I might.

It started innocently enough. My husband, Mr. Strong Silent Type, had come shrieking out of the bathroom all rattled because there was a quote, very large spider, unquote on the ceiling. I, of course, knew that I was pushing his buttons when I told him it was his turn to kill the bug. My husband is fearless as a driver, intense in business, formidable on the playing field, and a complete wuss when it comes to spiders. His motto: Fear nothing, except spiders, especially anything that looks like it might be a Black Widow. For some reason, that kind really freaks him out.

So, after enjoying the look of sheer panic on his face, I let him off easy. I handed him my shopping list of at least a hundred grocery items, and told him we could swap. He does the marketing and I kill the spider. At the time I figured I was on easy street.

As I heard him drive off, I carted our small indoor ladder into the bathroom. I spotted the spider, and I will say it was fairly large, hairy legged, and might have bitten the head off her husband before mating, I couldn’t be sure. So I went to the kitchen and armed myself with a giant can of bug spray.

Mounting the ladder, I realized the pesky thing had hidden behind the bathroom cabinet and not willing to let it get away, I climbed up and followed, accidentally kicking out. With a crash the ladder fell down into the toilet seat, breaking the lid and skittering sideways into the window, which shattered with an ear splitting crash.

There I was, legs dangling in mid-air some seven feet off the floor. The cabinet on the wall was sturdy, but so was I and I wasn’t willing to bet which one of us was stronger. I angled way over and tried to get my toes to touch the counter, but being on my belly I couldn’t get my footing. Then I saw her.

The spider was advancing. She had me cornered and she knew it. As I watched her evil eyes, all eight of them, I realized I was on her menu. It was do, or die. So I swatted at her.

She jumped. I jumped. We were deadlocked, eye to eye, and neither one of us was backing down. Yet, enough mutual respect was in the air that neither one of us advanced on the other, either.

When I finally heard my husband’s car in the driveway, I was relieved until I panicked. Would this become a humiliating story told around our dinner table for time immemorial, or would I emerge wounded, but victorious? There really was no option. I told the stories about others, I was not the sad-sack subject of them, and no eight-legged beast was going to change that status.

I took the can of bug spray from my pocket. Clinging to the cabinet with one arm, I took aim and let it fly with all my might. I held down that aerosol spray button for as long as I could. A roiling cloud of bug spray filled the room. Even as it was escaping the broken window, I inhaled a bunch of it.

Hacking and spluttering I fell down to the floor of the bathroom amid the broken ladder and window glass. I was on my back gasping as my husband finally pushed open the door and found me. “What happened?” he asked, staring around wildly.

“I killed it,” I answered. Grinning lopsidedly, a thin trickle of blood dribbled from the empty socket where my front tooth used to be. I hoped the tip of my tongue would grow back.

Just then, the spider dropped through the dissipating cloud of noxious fumes on a long web strand. She chuckled, deep and low, and climbed back up to resume her stance on the ceiling. I swear she winked at me, four eyes closed, four open.

I heard her tiny, triumphant voice before I passed out. “No, I did.”

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