In the darkest they lurk.
The deepest dark of my woods, where the shadows and the damp keep them quiet hostage to their webs, until the link is broken and they rebuild.
Through determined effort.
Until it is ready at last.
Then they wait.
I hear their victims sometimes, caught, stuck, buzzing desperately for help that will never come.
Is that how we all die?
Ineffectually pleading with a force greater than ourselves, begging them to let us go, struggling to fight off the inevitable.
Desperate for one last day of a life we can barely stand.
Would we wish so hard for our future to come to us if we knew it meant death?
That the time we spend thinking and planning is the only time we will ever have, and are ever likely to have.
Will we come to the end and say, hang on a minute, what happened to all the time I thought I would have?
Ah, they will say, you spent it thinking of other things.
But there was so much I wanted to do.
Then why did you not do it?
But there is no answer.
Would it help if I knew how much longer I had to spend on this life? Would I organise the hours and the minutes so that I could make the most of it and not feel I had wasted so much of it?
Waiting for something better to come?
My arch-enemy waits because he must, for his next meal.
He keeps a beady eye, well eight in fact, open.
He watches me as I go around the garden, pegging out the clothes on the washing line, planning his next move.
Ready to run across the garden, or fly through the air.
And get me when I am not watching him.
They’re all at it, you know.
I have to be so vigilant in my daily life, keeping an eye out for them, which feels a little unfair as I only have the two.
Any dark marks on the walls, any unexpected movement out the corner of my eye.
They know if I see them, I will take them out.
I will capture them, holding them inside the arm-length prison I bought for just such a purpose, and tip them outside the open window.
To run away and find their way back.
I used to suck them up the hoover.
But, as mum quite rightly pointed out, when the air is not sucking them up the tube and into the bag, they can crawl right back down again.
They don’t like it up the hoover.
I have seen their eyes.
From inside the clear bag-less void, they watch me through the plastic, swearing their revenge.
So now I put them outside.
I try not to hurt them.
Or to kill them.
Mum says its because they have as much right to live on this planet as we do, and deserve a chance.
I gave them a chance.
I held the shoe over their head and said run.
Was it my fault that they stubbornly refused the option of run or die?
What I didn’t anticipate was the rest of the clan coming to get me after the death of their beloved member.
They crawled inside my hair until I ran away and swore never to kill another.
Still, at least they didn’t impregnate me.
Like a girl I know at work.
She said there was a bump on her arm that was black and she didn’t know what it was, only that it itched.
When she scratched it hard enough, the surface broke and all these tiny spiders came running down her arm.
I hate it every time she tells that story.
It makes me squirm even now.
And its probably not true.
But I dreamt the other night that a spider bit me on the arm.
And now I have a bump just there.
Its probably not true.