Fear: Arachnophobia

Collette sat frozen in her bed. This tiny 9-year-old had her eyes plastered to the top left corner of her doorway. There was a tiny dot dangling from that corner, but it was enough to send this child into a panic.

She sat staring at the dot, watching it slowly descend a few inches. She tried to scream for her mother, but her throat had constricted so much that it was impossible.

Collette had always been terrified of spiders. But something inside her had amplified this fear by the time she had turned 8. There was something about their 8 knobby legs that made her extremely uncomfortable. Every time she saw their hairy little bodies, all the hair on her body stood on end as well.

This time was only different because Collette felt something inside her break at the sight of this small dot. The harder she stared at it, the more her vision began to shift. She could have sworn that she saw the spider’s size increase ever so slightly.

She blinked rapidly, her heart pounding in her ribcage. She scurried backwards out of her bed and pressed her body against the wall behind the bed frame. As she did so, she felt (more than saw) its tiny eyes turn to her. She was now being watched closely by the spider.

Unblinking, she watched the spider as it moved back up its web and began maneuvering, spinning a web, telling her that it was now here to stay. Mocking her.

Again, she tried to scream for her mother, but all that came out of her was a childish squeak. She was now sweating bullets, unmoving aside from the shiver that had begun to creep over her. This spider was blocking her only exit, which scared her to her very core.

Slowly, slowly the spider’s web began to take shape. She stood watching the spider spin, dance, glide almost gracefully for what seemed like hours. Collette could swear that she saw something within the web, but she couldn’t quite make out what it was. Frantic, her eyes darting from the web to the spider, her vision began to swim again. She hadn’t blinked in the last 10 minutes, and her eyes were burning, but her fear kept her eyes glued to the spider.

Was it just her imagination, or was it bigger again? No, she wasn’t just seeing things; she was sure that it was bigger. What used to look like a tiny dot was now about the size of the top of a pencil eraser. She thought she saw its multiple eyes gleam at her as it worked.

In her mind, she felt its legs tickling her face, her hands, her legs. Her panic had heightened exponentially. She tried and tried in vain to scream for her mother. Her eyes felt as if they were going to pop right out of her head as wide as they were in that moment.

And then she saw what was in the spider web. She stared at it in horror; there, in the center of the web was the most sadistic smile she had ever seen.

Its eyes, though made of web, seemed evil and glaring. Its mouth was wide and menacing, as if it planned to swallow her. How had the spider managed to weave this image into its web?

Collette squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head furiously. She had to be losing her mind. She had to just be seeing things, right?

When she opened her eyes again, she choked out a short shrill scream; right where the small, eraser sized spider had been, there was instead a huge spider the size of a half-dollar. Collette’s eyes were hawk-like, and she could now make out every feature of this spider. Its pincers were dripping with some type of gleaming venom, its eyes now clearly visible were indeed watching her hungrily. It was nearly making the same face as the smiling monster in its web.

She could clearly see the spider growing, growing very quickly, right in front of her eyes. Its body was writhing, as if worms were crawling over eachother just beneath the surface of its exoskeleton. This spider wasn’t even shedding its exoskeletons as it grew. It was almost as if it had skin, pitch-black skin that stretched and pulled as its body swelled.

In mere seconds, the spider was the size of an adult human’s fist. Collette was now near to fainting. How had her mother not heard her scream? She couldn’t make another noise, as her throat had now closed so much that it was hard for her to breath. She could feel herself getting very, very light-headed.

Now the spider’s legs reached the floor of her room. The web was covered by its large body, temporarily hiding that evil, smiling face from her line of sight. But now she feared for her life. The spider stood in her doorway, as if it was contemplating what move to make.

Collette tried one last time to close her eyes and shake the image away. She squeezed them shut so hard that they felt like they might burst in their sockets. Then she heard her mother’s voice. Immediately she opened her eyes, relieved.

What she saw froze every ounce of blood in her small body. The spider was now slowly walking forward, speaking to her in her own mother’s voice. Attempting to soothe her.

“Honey, what’s wrong? Why are you awake? I heard you scream. It’s okay, it’s okay, I am here now. You don’t have anything to worry about honey.”

Collette collapsed, the last thing she saw was the large pincers, inches away from her face. She felt the venom burn her skin like acid as the spider wrapped its knobby legs around her body.

***

Collette’s mother screamed for her husband. What was wrong with her baby girl? The small child had been pressed up against the wall, shaking and crying as she stared right at her mother. She had been mumbling something like “Get away, spiders aren’t scary spiders aren’t scary spiders aren’t…” right before she had fainted.

Her husband ran in as he was calling for an ambulance. He had known that his daughter had been scared of spiders, but he and his wife never imagined that it would get so bad.

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