Spiders & Steam Trains

*S in the September A – Z Writing Challenge. Stanley obviously knew today’s subject began with S. Written at 4am this morning.

Caution: do not read if you are of a delicate disposition or remotely arachnophobic.

What’s on my mind, dear reader, is the gargantuan spider than was very nearly on my head, not 5 minutes ago.

That’s my decent night’s sleep up the swannee.

I popped out of bed to the loo just before 3am. Once back I couldn’t return to sleep so, lights still off, I lay on my side reading my kindle.

A thud. An audible thud and I think, something’s just landed on the pillow in front of my face. I turn the dim light of the kindle towards it and fuck me, my heart stops. A bloody great spider inches or perhaps even inch, from where my head was a moment ago. In panic I use said device to flick the beast, and it is a beast, away from me.

Now I’m really awake. No idea where I’ve bloody flicked it to. I put the bedside light on and scour the pillows, the duvet, behind the mattress. Where the heck is it?!

I’m up on an elbow, heart racing. Now I’m not especially phobic, just unwilling to share my bed with an arachnid that takes up most of a pillow.

Then I hear it. Bloody footsteps. As I look towards the lamp on the other side of the bed this thing stalks around the light shade. Oh my Christ! It’s a monster!! I may only have small hands but it’s the size of my palm.

As I watch, it does a full scratchy circuit of the lampshade. Gets back to where it started and sets off again.

I have a glass of water but the dimensions of the neck of the glass are nowhere near big enough, even if I did throw the contents out onto mother’s carpet. There are no other containers within sight.

It’s now on it’s third circumference of the lamp. It’s staying on the shade but what if it doesn’t? I cannot switch the light off on my side of the bed and sleep with this creature in the room. What if it jumps back on the bed?! Do spiders jump?? They don’t. Do they?!

Do I move to the spare room? I’m frozen in actual shock. Over a blooming insect. Are they insects? That’s not the point, I shriek at my fractured mind!

I focus and find myself trying to work out how I might be able to deal with this hideousness. It is just ridiculously huge. We get some corkers at the farm but I’ve never been eyeball to eyeballs with anything like this.

It’s on its fifth exploration of the light and now it’s going up to the top and back down as it rotates around. If it goes down the inside of the shade there’s no way I’ll reach it or sleep.

Mum has a shoe box on the chest next to the bedside table. Ok, so if I could get that, could I flick this horror into it and close the lid? Would that even contain it? It looks like it would have the strength to lift the blooming lid with its eight hefty arms and crawl out. Even if I trapped it with a heavy weight on top it’d still be in the room.

It has to go. I can open the window and fling it out. That’s the only way. The shoe box would work tho. That way I don’t have to get too near and can surely trap it and cover the 1m distance to the window? I could use the lid to flick it into the box, slam the lid on, get it to the now open window and upturn the box over the driveway. I have a plan.

I stand and move around the bed, pinning the beast with my eyes to make sure it doesn’t sneak away while I’m not paying attention. I’ll take the shoes out of the box, use the lid to swipe it into the box on it’s next circuit round and then bingo.

I open the box, one eye still riveted on the skittering critter who is going for a record breaking number of revolutions. The box is full of packs of photos. Dammit! I haven’t time to take all of them out and then perform my manoeuvre. Stanley will surely have dropped off and buggered off by then. And Stanley, ok he does need a more menacing name but it is the middle of the night, is not sharing this space with me! Sorry Stanley. You’ve got to go.

I’ll have to manage with just the lid. Mum has 2 records on top of the box. I take one of those: Trains in the Hills, Steam Locomotives of the London Midland Region at work on steeply graded sections of line. What? On LP?!

I half thought the spider might be dad come to visit, as I’m in his room tonight. And now this… maybe…

No matter, sorry dad. I grasp the album and the lid. I’ll swipe the thing into the lid with the album and then bash the lid out of the window before it can skitter out. If you come back again dad, be a bloody butterfly.

I have a plan. My heart is literally in my mouth. My tongue marks time along with the beats.

As it emerges from behind the light I react. He deflects my first swipe and speeds his pace! Gah!!! I swipe again, increasingly desperate. He’s in! He’s on! He’s moving! I’m moving!

I thrust the box lid towards the window I’d opened. It’s too big for the gap!! Shit! Panicking I up end the lid anyway hoping my nemesis will drop through the gap out into the night. It lands in the window mechanism. The window mechanism! The gap between the inside and the outside! Oh help. It’s still moving. Racing for the corner. Any moment now it’ll mount the frame and be back inside! Am I even awake?! Is this a vividly real nightmare?!

I slam the window shut. They are old Upvc windows. Mum is always saying how rubbish the seals are. Please let them be strong enough to keep this terror out? He’s too big to fit through. He couldn’t force his oversized body through. Right? Right?!

I have no idea. My breath is quick. My heart pounding like the timpani section of the orchestra playing a terrifying soundtrack in my mind. How have I not woken mum up?!

I didn’t want to kill the thing and I doubt that is even possible without the use of heavy duty explosives but I do wish to sleep without one eye or ear open for a creature dressed in black, crawling, calling: I’m back!!

Oh yuck. I head back to bed. The window is secure. The curtains are closed. I hear no skittery footsteps. Just the sound of my heart returning to minor not major coronary.

What to do?

I come here. I write. And now, having written, I breathe. Calm is restored. Do I turn the light off and try to sleep? Maybe not quite yet…

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