And I have oddly mixed feelings about that casualty. I meant to type all this up yesterday, but Life and these obnoxious things called Siblings got in the way. 😛
Call me Eleanor. The day being a Monday, and the time having come for me to do my schoolwork, I was sitting on my bed subtracting a couple of decimals, when my eye drifted, and I saw upon my bookshelf headboard a most feared and dreadful sight:
Note: The author of this chronicle suffers from severe arachnophobia, and getting this picture off of Google made her start hyperventilating in about three seconds, so don’t laugh or judge, mm’kay?
Yes, a spider! Black it was, and furry-looking with horrid white marks across its cursed back. My mind immediately passed the word for the rest of me to get as far away from the horrible thing as possible. “Send everybody aft!” it cried, “Mast-heads there! Come down!” I threw my computer and notebook from my lap, and quickly took refuge behind a pair of scissors and a small blanket.
Yes, I’m a teenage girl. With hereditary arachnophobia.
I watched in horrified fascination at how quickly it moved and how unutterably gross it was as it scaled my bookshelf headboard, crossed the random groove that I’ve never known what’s for, but keep pens and pencils in. Then, clutching the scissors, a kind of maniacal panic came over me and I began to hyperventilate madly, and mutter to myself: “Ohmygosh. *deep breath* Ohmygosh. *deep breath* Ohmygosh. *deep breath*” Etc, etc, as the white-marked arachnid began to climb up Greenwitch. (http://books.google.com/books/about/Greenwitch.html?id=clk-PgAACAAJ This book, in case you aren’t familiar with it. Third in a series, absolutely wonderful.)
By the time it was halfway up, it had dealt me such an awful blow to my senses that I thought I might pass out. Then, as it crawled out of sight, I gathered my wits and my courage about me, steeled my resolve…
…and ran downstairs to find one of my siblings that isn’t scared of spiders. Unfortunately they were off looking for a sheep, so I was obliged to throw a couple pillowcases on my arms, grab my scissors and the broom, and go after the furry black devil myself. After poking at my headboard for a few minutes, Benjamin and Elizabeth showed up.
“All ye siblings have seen a black spider with white markings before, or heard of it, yes?”
“Yes,” they replied with a shudder of fear, as Elizabeth had had an encounter with the selfsame devil I had just now seen. “He moves uncommon fast,” said Benjamin, “And his markings follow an odd pattern of sorts, do they not, Eleanor?” Elizabeth added.
“Pattern!” Cried I, “Aye, Elizabeth, the markings maketh a pattern on him; aye, Benjamin, he moves extremely fast, like all the others of his kind we hath encountered before. Death and devils! men, it is Scurrying Dick ye hath seen, a spider which hath escaped the combined forces of the Vacuum, the Sneaker, and the Boot. It is Scurrying Dick we hunt, somewhere by my bed.”
“Pardon, Eleanor,” asked Benjamin, “Where was Scurrying Dick last seen?”
I pointed with my broom, and explained what I had seen, and swore to turn the room upside down, and the house, and the country, and round perdition’s flames searching for the spider, before I gave him up.
Grim-faced, we set to our task, first searching amongst the books scattered where he was last seen, and among the random flash drives and pens and stitch markers to no avail. Then we looked in the other two shelves, hoping to find it, and do away with this dreadful ordeal.
“Mind,” I said to my assistants, “call out the moment you see anything.”
But they did not see anything, and so we tore everything from the headboard, from the bed, and from the window sill and received nothing for our troubles but a pile of books and blankets. At last, I handed the broom to Elizabeth, hitched up my pillowcases, and pulled the bed away from the wall.
And still nothing when we pulled the headboard out and searched through the random sentimental crap I had stuffed back there.
Yes, I know. Nothing is gained by being a sentimental idiot.
We searched everywhere in chase of Scurrying Dick, but discovered only old tissues and a copy of the Hobbit and Dodger, that both miraculously escaped packing.
Finally, dismayed and discouraged, and dreading where it might turn up next, we put everything back in order. We put the books back, the sentimental crap, the pens and balls of yarn, and still did not find that most horrible of spiders.
As I finished making the bed again, and was preparing to retrieve my laptop and finish subtracting those decimals that led to the half-hour of mad searching, my eye once again chanced to wander…
…And there he was, on the sheet of Evelyn’s unmade bed! Scurrying Dick! O, ye horrible miscreant, dost know how long we searched for thee? fearing ye, yet hoping to find ye that we may take your life, exact revenge for the bursts of fear and adrenaline you inflicted on us?
I raised my shoe-
And the harpoon that was my foot hit its loathed target. I twisted my foot like a corkscrew a few times before raising it, and letting the corpse fall away, only a smear remaining on Evelyn’s sheet.
I grimaced, and picked up the corpse with a stray plastic bag that I have absolutely no idea why was there at that moment, and discarded it into the nearest trash can.
And thus was Scurrying Dick removed from this good green earth, leaving behind only a legacy of fear, a wish of mine to sterilize Greenwitch and Over Sea, Under Stone, and a smear on a sheet.
Don’t worry, Evelyn. Your sheet’s in the wash, and I swear upon… Something that it shall be returned to its rightful spot.