I watched lazily from my chair as the large black spider made its way across the polished linoleum of the day-room floor, its agile limbs working in perfect rhythm.
Reaching the upholstered footstool where my bare feet rested, it stopped and cautiously extended a hairy foreleg, touching the coarse fabric, sizing up the obstacle it had unexpectedly encountered. Then, seeming to lose interest, it moved away.
I thought that was the end of it until I saw the spider pause, turn quickly and head back in my direction. This time, without hesitation, it scaled the vertical side of the footstool, only stopping when it reached the top. It was close enough now that I could clearly distinguish the fat segments of its body and the rapid movement of its mandibles as it continued to explore its surroundings. It was a fearsome looking thing and an unwelcome intrusion into my otherwise restful afternoon.
Within seconds the spider had found its way to the toes of my left foot and once again its interest was piqued. It had discovered a strange new thing; living flesh, a stark contrast to the rough fabric of the footstool and the smoothness of the linoleum floor. I could tell that the spider was as intrigued as I was. It was so close to me now that the fine hairs of its round body brushed against my skin, but I didn’t flinch.
As before, it tentatively reached up with one hairy foreleg, touching my toes, feeling, evaluating, and then pulled back to process this new information and weigh up the likelihood of danger.
Then, all at once, it reared up onto its back legs. I knew it was preparing to attack and yet, still, I didn’t move. In one swift action it pounced, sinking its mandibles deep into the delicate flesh of my foot… and as it did so, I smiled at the irony.
Anyone else would have kicked the spider away and prevented the bite, perhaps even crushed the life out of it with a well-aimed newspaper – but not me.
You see, I had no choice. The accident that landed me here in the hospital also left me paralyzed from the neck down. If it were anyone else, that bite would have hurt like hell.
Thankfully, I didn’t feel a thing.
Colleen Moyne is a published freelance writer living in the lovely riverside town of Mannum in South Australia. In addition to teaching creative writing and establishing several writer’s groups, Colleen has won awards for her poetry and has had poems and short stories published in thirteen different anthologies. Her first solo collection, ‘Time Like Coins,’ was published in early 2019 by Ginninderra Press. You can learn more about Colleen by visiting her website at www.colleenmoyne.com.