“Arachnophobia- (a·rach·no·pho·bi·a) n.; The extreme or irrational fear of spiders. The oldest and most common phobia in the Western culture. The word Arachnophobia is derived from the Greek word ‘arachne’ meaning spiders. The response to spiders shown by an arachnophobic individual may seem irrational to others and often to the sufferer himself.”
-“Arachnophobia.” Fearof.net (www.fearof.net/fear-of-spiders-phobia-arachnophobia/).
I drive home feeling proud of my progress in therapy today. I managed to look at a picture of a spider for a whole 5 seconds. It’s a new record, my doctor told me. So, I turn up my radio and jam out in celebration to my favorite song all the way home. My appointment was an evening one so it’s already past 8:00 and I’m worn out for the day. I picture my bed and soft blankets to power myself out of my car and into my house. As I take off my clothes and switch to my bed clothes, my eyes already begin to struggle to stay open. As soon as my head hits the pillow, I let the sweet caress of sleep embrace me. Blissful scenes play in my head and entice me to drift into a deep sleep. Gladly, I abide and slip into my dream land.
I open my eyes before my alarm goes off and check the time. 3:45 am. I close my eyes to go back to sleep until a feel a sharp stinging on my left cheek. I wait for it to stop but it continues to the point that I can’t ignore it. Throwing my blankets off me and swinging my legs over the bedside, I b-line to my bathroom for the mirror.
After fumbling in the dark for 30 seconds, I finally manage to turn on the light. Instantly, I feel dizzy and my chest tightens. A lump covers my whole cheek. Big, red, swollen, and covered in tiny black pinpoint sized dots. Needing to calm down, I pick up the phone and call for an ambulance.
While I wait, I have the urge to try and squeeze the contents of the lump out. It becomes overwhelming and stronger, and I give. Shuffling to the mirror, I open the cabinet and pull out my tweezers. Holding steady, I successfully get a firm hold on one of the protruding black dots. I gently pull but the dot stays put. Adding a bit more force, I start to pull out a string where the dot was and think maybe it’s just a monster black head. All the sudden, it stops. It feels like something is blocking it from going any farther so it give it one hard tug and the rest comes out. Holding up the tweezers, I examine the stringy substance hanging in front of my face. It looks like….silk. Then, cold creeps up my spine as I face the mirror once more.
From the spot I just pulled the silk like string from, a tiny black dot reappears. It’s moving. Out crawls a baby spider. It drops to the ground as another crawls out and drops as well. My vision blurs and I tremble as more and more emerge until my cheek is totally covered. A flood of tiny arachnids expand from my chin to my eyebrow before I feel them. They’re biting me. Oh god. They cover my left eye and the rippling pain kicks in. In my remaining peripheral sight, I see a man standing in my shower with a wicked smile spreading on his face. The man walks closer and I feel the cloud of fear, horror, and amusement that surrounds him engulf me.
“Did you think you could escape me?” I can’t move my mouth to answer. “Do you know who I am? Oh, of course you don’t. Ignorant, puny, fearful mortal. Fearful, I like that word.” He circles around me as he speaks in an ancient voice. “Let me introduce myself. I am fear. I am your nightmares. I am the monster of everyday life. I am older than life itself. I am Phobos, fear personified. We’ve met before. Before you can remember. I gifted you the fear of arachnids.” He laughs so loud, the ground rumbles beneath us.
I can’t see anymore. I think they ate my eyes. Is this how I’ll go? Eaten by thousands of tiny spiders? I haven’t even lived yet. Maybe that’s good, though. I’ll have nothing to miss. “I guess since I’m killing you, I can give you a heads up on your afterlife,” I feel his hot breath on my ear as he whispers. “I hope you overcome your fear of spiders. You have eternity to spend with my little friends.” The last thing I hear is his fear-striking laugh before the flood enters my skull to feast.