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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Much Ado about Nothing (not about the play) (07/28/11)

TITLE: The Spider
By Fiona Stevenson


How do you describe or evaluate a nothing? Is it the thing you die a thousand deaths anticipating, the thing that does not eventually occur? Is it relational, like the molehill that represents a mountainside to an ant?

To me a spider represents terror, especially the Huntsman, despite assurances that this is a harmless arachnid. Its circular body may measure an inch across, and the hairy legs easily cover the full palm of my hand. There is no threat like the threat of those malevolent eyes to turn my blood to water and my knees to jelly.

It was a warm evening following a hot day. The babies were asleep. My husband was attending a Bible study. I washed the dinner dishes and tidied the kitchen and living room. A glance at the clock showed it would be at least an hour before Hubby came home. There was time to put my feet up and relax with my book.

The book was in the bedroom. Stepping into the hallway between the rooms I saw the Huntsman. It was on the floor on the far side, in front of the storage cupboard between the bedroom doors.

Afraid to go in search of a weapon and leaving the spider to disappear, I slipped my sandal from my foot and threw it. Missed! The spider ran towards me. I jumped to the position it had vacated and inched the cupboard door open.

Armed now with a new can of insecticide, intently watching the crouched spider, I pulled the opposing bedroom doors closed. Trembling finger on the button of the can, I gave a good saturating squirt.

The spider jumped toward me. I leaped even higher. Our positions were reversed. I still held the lifeline can of spray. Now I was between the bathroom and living room doors. I pulled them closed, never for an instant letting the spider from my sight. In my fear-sodden state it did not occur to me that the spider could easily escape under the closed doors.

Another aim, another squirt, longer this time. The spider ran forward and I jumped back across the tiny hallway. In this way we continued until the can of spray was empty and the spider finally curled into a ball in the corner near the bathroom door. I retrieved my sandal and gave the spider-ball a decisive whack before retreating to the living room, book forgotten.

Sometime later my husband came home. Still shuddering and wordless, I pointed to the hallway. With a tissue he shrouded the corpse, flushing it down the toilet, and put the empty spray can into the garbage.

Then he brought me a cup of very hot, very sweet tea.

“What a fuss,” said my Knight in Shining Armour, “over a silly little thing like that!”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Goergen08/04/11
Spiders are definitely not “a silly little thing” in my book either!! I am terrified of them and I could not even read this without shivering and my skin crawling - the spider in the story sounded as bad as a Tarantula! My husband KNOWS my ado about a spider is definitely not nothing!!!! LOL This story was maybe too well told for the reaction it roused in me! LOL
Leola Ogle 08/04/11
Great visuals! I felt like I was right there...jumping around like your MC. Good job! God bless!
Edmond Ng 08/07/11
An interesting read!
Noel Mitaxa 08/07/11
Yup, those huntsman spiders surely have a monopoly on silent ugly. Well-told story, and one which this Aussie reader can identify with, as we have industrial-strength spiders down here. Some of them even eat birds!
Janice Fitzpatrick08/14/11
Oh, I can so relate to your incident-I think that's why it was so comical. Well written. I have always seemed to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time-either under or beside an eight legged monstrous creature! (Shaking at the thought!) :)