….When do you realise what it is?
I sit up, stunned. Can it be? Please, not again. Please God, not again.
What’s that noise? My body shudders, I find myself afraid even of my own raspy breath which heaves on my lungs vigorously.
Another sound? Another movement? All I know, all I’m certain of, is that I am no longer alone in this room.
My bedlinen is tangled around me but I do not move it. I cannot bare to make any other sounds; it may bring it closer to me.
In the shadows, just by my dressing table, I’m sure I saw the outline of…oh God…please not tonight. I need to sleep. My body is aching, desperate for a night without this terror. I feel a single bead of sweat drip slowly down the curve of my spine. They say that they can smell fear. If they can, I bet I reek.
Wait! I’m sure I just saw….a huge black shadow has just moved across the floor. I’m sure of it. I know this time. My body convulses and I find my legs to be underneath me in a “preying mantus” position. Christ, my yoga teacher would be pleased; fear and not her nasal insistence for “deep calm breathing, Alanaaaaaaah” has finally taught me how to balance.
If I could just reach the door, I would not be alone with it. I’d be able to find someone, anyone, to help me. I know what they think of me, ‘oh that’s crazy Alanna who see’s shadows all night long’. Well I don’t care. More fool them. The shadows come after them as well you know, but they’re just asleep, asleep with their mouths wide open.
I must be brave, I must be brave. I peel my legs out of the bed, my heart racing. The door is three meters away. That mean three steps, four at the most. I can do this. I place my feet on the floor; the scratchy carpet instantly filling me with an itchy sensation that permeates my whole body and makes me shudder, as if something is crawling all over me.
One step down, I was close to the dressing table. To where it was.
I must keep walking. Two steps down.
I am flush to the dressing table now. The third step is looming; freedom is in my grasp. I bring my foot up, pointing it as delicately as possible, as if my wide size eights would cause the terror to come out and punish me for having such un-lady like feet.
But I have to put it down, I have to leave.
And then it appears. The object skims the floor with lightening speed – not keeping to the corners and skirting boards like it usually does, but brazenly dashes across the floor and stops before my door.
One leg, two, three, four…eight legs stood firmly still by the door, mockingly glaring at me with it’s huge beady eyes, daring me to try and open the door, daring me to move.
“You move” it said, with it’s creepy gross spider mouth, “and I will move so fast you’ll shit yourself.”
Stood on my one leg, with my other shaking violently in a pensive position (another yoga one actually, come to think of it, “saluting the sun” this time) the spider’s huge frame – at least the size of a jam jar lid – was like a prison guard, refusing my exit, mocking my feeble attempts at escape.
How would I ever get out? How would I ever be released from his grasp?
Suddenly, with a horrendous bang, the door opens wide, taking the spider with it.
“What the bloody hell are you doing? I heard screaming?!”
My flatmate appears through the smog-like thickness of dark, an eye mask awkwardly pushed over her wiry hair and an unfriendly grimace on her usually smug face.
I can only point, still with one leg in the air. She sighs, and with her sleep deprived arms, she moves the door back, slowly, to reveal the squished reminent of the beast, its proud legs now not-so-proud, crinkled into the shape of the dressing table.
‘Well, that’s dealt with that then’. She said, arching her brow up. She turns and slides back into the darkness of the house.
I put my foot down, walk three paces and get back into bed where I sleep soundly (with my mouth closed, though) all night.