Sandy hated spiders, hated and feared them. She remembered the time she accidentally locked herself in a tiny cupboard beneath the stairs when she was four years old. She spent two agonising hours in the darkness with spiders crawling all over her. They were more imagined than real but still terrifying.
Now she was staring at a tiny one hanging by a strand from the fluorescent light above her face. She couldn't move as she was in a hospital bed with two broken arms and minor third degree burns over her body and every movement was painful. They had pulled her out of the wreck just in time.
She watched the Spider drop down towards her face. It was still some distance away but she could feel the panic begin to rise. It continued dropping till it was a few feet from her face and she could see it clearly.
She tried calling for the nurse, tried crying out but all she could manage was a hoarse croak. The spider dropped a few more inches and it seemed to grow larger. She thought she could see its huge evil eyes then she remembered the tarantula. She was just eight years old when her younger brother bought a Tarantula as a pet against her wildest protests. He waited till her eighth birthday party then gently placed it on her back. She was all dressed in her best party dress and about to cut the huge birthday cake her mother had baked.
At first she didn't feel anything till the tarantula reached her bare back then she froze. It crawled on to her shoulder, up her neck onto her cheek then she saw the enormous furry leg and shrieked. In fright, she threw the knife across the room, narrowly missing some guests and her hands started brushing and slapping her face while she danced around the room. It had no effect on the spider who took refuge down the front of her dress. She gave an even louder shriek and tore her dress off then commenced jumping around the room in her knickers and vest till she tripped and fell against the food table pulling the whole thing down on top of her, covering herself totally in birthday cake and fizzy drink. He was a horrible brother then and he teased her mercilessly but she wished he was here now.
The spider dropped some more and she felt the sweat run from her brow and her heart beating against her rib cage. She remembered the next time a spider caused havoc in her life. It was the first time she made love, at least it would have been the first time if it wasn't for that damn Spider.
She had been going with the boy for three months and they were very much in love, or so they thought. She finally decided that night would be the night to lose her virginity and they chose his car, on a dark night at a well known love spot. A flat clearing above a Lake. They weren't alone but all the couples had an unspoken rule to be invisible to each other.
They quickly divested themselves of their clothes and got down to the serious stuff when Sandy, who was on the bottom, spotted the spider. Cars are perfect place for spiders. Plenty of places to hide, warm and plenty of food, sort of insect road kill. The Spider was big and plump and climbing over the mirror. Sandy screamed at the top of her lungs. She started thrashing around trying to escape out of the car. The boy meantime was trying to protect himself from the flying legs and arms in the confined space.
The Spider sat on the mirror and watched the scene with some amusement, assuming spiders can be amused. It dropped down to the dash board then on to Sandys shin and scurried up her thigh. Sandy went ballistic and the flying legs managed to dislodge the handbrake. Slowly the car rolled down the slope picking up speed.
Just when the spider was about to enter forbidden territory the car hit the water and sunk four feet. Sandy and the boyfriend broke free and clambered up the bank, naked, wet and covered in mud. Halfway up the slope half a dozen car lights beamed straight at them and a voice yelled out " Is somebody being murdered down there".
Sandy lay in the bed and sighed. She hadn't shown her face for weeks after that and the boy dumped her.
The Spider swung gently from its strand inches from her nose. 'It will probably stick its thing in me and lay thousands of eggs which will all hatch and eat me alive' she thought. Why is it, she wondered, that as soon as someone discovers you are afraid of something they somehow manage to bring the subject up.
Like the time one of her work mates found out about her spider phobia. She suddenly had one of those Internet photos of the woman whose face was crawling with spiders, that had hatched inside of her, shoved in her face. She loudly screamed and covered the offender in hot coffee then ended up being reprimanded over that. Causing undue disturbance they said.
She croaked out a yell as the spider landed on her nose. It stood there, grinning. She was sure it was grinning. It knew she was helpless. Like the time she had to do a presentation on arachnids.
She tried to tell her teacher about her phobia but a) she didn't listen b) it was not important or c) she was a bitch but at least it didn't involve live insects. However, she was sure she could handle photographs and she could certainly write about them. She actually was quite an expert on arachnids, at least that is what she told every one.
"And I suppose you are that good you could identify them" he said.
"Of course," Sandy replied. She failed to notice the glint in his eyes.
The presentation went well. She had plenty of power point presentations, hand-notes photographs etc. Then right at the end she asked if anyone had any questions.
"Yes I have" and a boy stood up.
"Could you identify the spiders I collected."
He plunked a small aquarium full of spiders in front of her. Sandy froze her mind racing. 'It is okay' she thought 'there safely locked in there. They can't get out'
"Like for instance this one" the boy stuck his hand in the aquarium and pulled out a small spider with long legs and stuck it under her nose.
She experienced a sudden overwhelming desire to run out of the classroom, screaming, but she knew she was trapped. If she did, life would be hell for the rest of her school life. Mentally freezing all her muscles she looked at the expectant classroom then at the tiny Spider and named it correctly.
Once again, she was able to identify the spider.
This carried on for four more spiders each one stuck under her nose. The class gave a round of applause and she sat down utterly drained.
The tiny Spider got tired of sitting on her nose and wandered down to the side of her mouth. 'Maybe ' she thought, 'if I open my mouth quickly and stick my tongue out I could catch it and swallow.' The thought revolted her and she clamped her lips tightly shut.
The little Spider seemed to like living dangerously and crawled over her lips causing them to tickle and twitch. 'I wonder what spiders taste like' she thought. She remembered the time her brother had put raisins in her cheese sandwich, skilfully making them look like spiders. Their aunt and cousins had decided to visit them. She was half way through the sandwich when her brother casually remarked that he had seen some spiders crawl into her sandwich. In response she peeled the bread back to reveal about a dozen Spiders half of them bitten through. Sandy immediately screamed and vomited over her cousins. Her brother was grounded again and her cousins didn't speak to her for years and even then kept a safe distance away.
The Spider got bored with her mouth and moved to her chin. Squinting her eyes downwards she could see it standing there. For all the world it appeared as if it was trying to make up its mind where to go next.
'Please', sandy thought, 'please don't go down my nightie'. She really didn't think she could control her panic but the spider seemed to have made up its mind and made its way back to her mouth, right to the middle of her mouth where the lips meet. Sandy saw her chance and inhaled through her nose. With all her might she exhaled through her lips and the little Spider was blown away. At first Sandy was relieved but then began to wonder where the Spider went to. It couldn't have been far away. She lifted her head and scanned her nightie and bedclothes but no sign of it.
She settled her head back on the pillow but she couldn't keep her mind off the spider. 'Where the hell is it?" she thought then yawned and fell asleep dreaming of giant spiders crawling down her nightie.