1. A person held to resemble the so-called walking dead. – Merriam-Webster1
2. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHY WON’T YOU DIE? – The Nut
I apologize in advance to the spider enthusiasts among my readers, but the following tale involves a cold-blooded case of arachnid murder.
Consider yourselves warned.
Now, I believe I’ve mentioned before that I have absolutely no problem with spiders that do not deliberately set out to invade and conquer my living space. Outdoor spiders are just fine and dandy with me. And any species I find in my apartment that can survive outside, I will relocate outside, along with a stern lecture about personal space and boundaries and a reminder never to return.
Giant house spiders, on the other hand, garner no such special treatment. If you have “house” in your name, I know exactly where you’ll be sneaking back to the second I give you the boot.
I have never lived in a home free of giant house spiders. They were available in plenitudes in the house I grew up in; the males blithely skittering across the carpets in the evenings in search of spider nookie, not noticing the wide-eyed little girl hastily balling herself up on the nearby sofa to keep her toes safely out of reach.
They boldly roamed the house we moved into in my mid-teens. Older, more seasoned spiders with wider leg spans and a complete and total lack of fear. We were the new kids in town; they had seniority, and they knew it.
When I moved out of that house and into my first apartment, I thought things would be different.
I was wrong.
True, there were not so many dark shapes scurrying across the floors in the wee hours of my insomnia as there were in either of my previous homes. But there were enough. And now I was on my own. No yelling for Dad to get the vacuum cleaner, not anymore. I was a lone warrior on the quest for dominance over an 800 square foot kingdom, and I would show no mercy.
My weapon of choice was Edgar Allan Poe. I had great success killing most of the early 8-legged intruders I came across with a sizeable hardcover copy of Mr. Poe’s collected works. A solid thud, a satisfying squish, and presto! problem solved. And that’s all there was to it.
Until the day it wasn’t.
One evening I was propped up on the couch, reading something or other, when I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. Spidery movement.
In a flash I was on my feet and reaching for my Poe. I crept up behind the errant arachnid – placing my feet carefully so as to avoid any vibrations that would give away my position – poised the great tome of story and verse squarely above the home invader’s head, and let go.
Under normal circumstances, we would call that “mission accomplished”. Except these were clearly not normal circumstances, because when I gingerly lifted the book to confirm Spidey’s demise…the remarkably un-flattened little bastard took off running and disappeared under a nearby bookshelf before I could even blink an eye.
I looked at Poe’s Raven, who stared glassily back at me from the cover of the heavy volume. “Care to explain to me what the fuck just happened?” I asked it, but apparently even the Raven was too shocked by this turn of events to think to utter its customary “Nevermore.”
We stood there in silence, contemplating the bookshelf.
“Well, I can’t just leave it there,” I told the Raven, setting bird and book down on the coffee table. “It’ll sneak back out the second my back is turned and hide somewhere else, and then I’ll never sleep again.”
Keeping one eye on the bookshelf, I scanned the room for any potentially lethal items that could navigate the half inch of shadowy clearance under the shelf that was harboring my home invader. I settled on a size 11 knitting needle.
Taking a deep breath, I crouched beside the bookshelf, stuck the needle into the darkness beneath, and set about scrambling the spider as I would a free-range egg that had done me grievous personal injury.
When I was positive all that could possibly left of the thing was a sticky heap of broken legs and carapace, I withdrew the needle. The tip was wet with spider juices and sprinkled here and there with fractured bits of unidentifiable appendage. Surely, then, this second assault had succeeded where the first had failed. I pronounced operation Spider Scramble complete, wiped the needle clean, and went to bed.
I awoke shortly after dawn to the unnerving feeling that I was being watched.
Bleary-eyed and ill at ease, I rolled over to check the time…only to see Zombie Spider not six feet away from my bed, slowly dragging itself toward my bedroom closet on its two remaining good legs.
What. The. Fuck.
“HOW ARE YOU STILL ALIVE?!” I roared as I leaped out bed, snatched up the paperback novel from my bedside table and set about beating the spider with a ferocity even I didn’t know I had in me.
When Zombie Spider had been officially reduced to a fine paste, I sat down hard and caught my breath for a moment. Once my heart rate had slowed down a bit, I went to the bathroom and got a tissue to wipe up all the gore with.
Then I burned the tissue, just in case my nemesis had any intention of pulling some kind of T1000 shit and reassembling itself from its own liquefied remains.
It was still hours before I needed to be up and about. I tried to go back to bed, but it was a lost cause. All I could see when I closed my eyes was that mangled body doggedly hauling itself across my floor in the morning light.
Zombie Spider was a scattering of ashes on the wind, but it didn’t matter. It would continue to haunt me just the same for the remaining duration of my tenancy, a shade of uncertainty lying in wait each morning as I opened my eyes. Would I wake to a bare expanse of floor, or would it be occupied once more by a tortured form, returned from the dead to seek me out and exact its revenge?
I may have taken the battle, but Zombie Spider won the war.
Today’s blog post was brought to you by the letter Z, the number 8, and the Sometimes The Double Tap Needs To Be Upgraded To A Triple Challenge, AKA the Blogging A to Z Challenge.
1 “zombie.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, 2016. Web. 30 April 2016.