The lid closes. It’s just the spiders and me. I rest my forehead on my knees.
The small ones are fast and already run my arms and around my neck. My skin prickles, and tremors shoot through me. With my nostrils pinched shut, I barely part my lips and take shallow breaths whenever I don’t feel scurrying legs near my mouth. My hair moves as it fills with the nesting creatures, and a slow crawler with a furry belly sneaks onto my ankle and under my jeans.
My entire form shudders and shakes, wanting to hyperventilate.
Breathing slow is torture. I need to distract myself. I try to forget the constant movements and itching and think about Treston. He’s watching me. Has he decided I’m not worth his love? The thought sickens me more than the spiders, and my heart swirls down my chest, landing somewhere near a kidney.
The big spider scaling my chin brings me back. There must be hundreds crawling along my flesh now. On my arms, my neck, my face. Down my shirt. Ugh.
More shallow breaths—controlling my panic hurts.
I try to think about Emerson. His kiss, his feelings. The way we grew up together. But I can’t stop thinking about the haunting creatures.
I bang on the lid. Cool air rushes in, and I stand, keeping my eyes and mouth closed while I’m brushed off.
“I think you’re good. Just shake your legs before you step out,” says Luke. “Now go clean your clothes out in the private area. You’ll get your score later.”
In the curtained area, I undress to nude and shake everything out twenty times. When a spider falls, I grab my shoe and crunch it. Maybe that will help me sleep tonight. But I doubt it.
I’ll be feeling spiders for the next year.
Thanks for reading!