Title: The Cautionary Tale of the Exterminator
When we moved to Washington I expected to encounter more nature than I ever had before. It promised the beauty of wilderness as well as cooler temperatures than Southern California. We found a nice little house out in the suburbs.
I enjoyed waking up to see deer, pick blackberries and ponder the myriad of fungi and trees. I even thought the small spider that was weaving a web outside the front door was cute, and part of the charm.
A few days into our unpacking the doorbell rang. We opened it to find a man standing there, smiling. He was wearing a uniform with embroidery that said that he worked for an exterminating company. He offered us his services, but we shrugged him off. We were used to handling roaches and ants. We had bought a bug zapper for the moths and mosquitoes. What more could there be? We took his card and didn’t think of him again for many days.
That was until the day that I noticed the open egg sac.
And then several more webs and spiders. But they were simple spiders. No black widows among them. They build giant, easy to spot webs.
And then one day I opened the front door and found my way blocked by a giant web. Still, it wasn’t very thick. I carefully plucked the strings of the web, dismantling it. The spider, which was about an inch in diameter hurried down into the bushes next to the door and I continued on my way.
When I returned home I saw that not only had the spider returned to making its’ web, several others had joined it and were knitting webs across the garage door and some of the windows as well. We were fine with them until they crossed the line. And the line had been crossed.
My husband dutifully went outside and began to spray the spiders with poison.
For a few days we had peace.
Then we saw another spider. This one was about two inches across. It was knitting a new web across the garage doors. It was thicker than the other webs we had seen. Again, we descended upon it. After all, this was our home, not theirs. They had the whole forest behind the house to live in.
We waited a few hours then went outside. No spiders to be seen.
We went to bed that night and when I woke I thought the fog outside was incredible. I moved to the window. When I came closer I began to realize that it wasn’t fog.
I moved from the room. My husband followed. Window to window we looked, and it was the same white.
We headed towards the front door. My stomach twisted. Slowly, I opened it. A sticky, white wall met me. I backed away. My husband headed to the garage, returning with the axe he used to chop wood for the fireplace.
He began chopping at the white wall, angrily. A small hole appeared. And then a larger one.
I peered into the hole, trying to see outside.
My eyes met one large black eye. Then the eye disappeared. I got one good look outside before my husband grabbed my arm, jerking me around. I spun around.
Giant fangs impaled the ceiling. The house shrieked and groaned as the wood and wires tore. The fangs were dripping something glistening. The floor hissed and sizzled where the liquid dropped.
Then the whole house began to get smaller. No. It was being compressed. A great sucking sound began in our ears, and suddenly we were pressed against the ceiling between the great fangs.
As I felt the paralysis creep up my legs I wished I could recall where we had put the exterminator’s card.