Roxanne had just arrived home from the party, and her feet were killing her. She dropped her purse on the floor, kicked off her extremely high stripper heels, yanked off her bra from under her shirt, and collapsed on the couch. Her stomach sloshed, unpleasantly full of alcohol. Had she remembered to tip her Uber driver? She’d have to check in the morning. Right now, she wasn’t moving. She was going to be still, possibly forever, but at least until the room was stationary and her stomach stopped churning.
It was a hot night, and she was glad she’d left the windows open before she left, so her apartment would be cool and refreshing when she got home. The night breeze wafted in through the living room window and out through her bedroom window, a lovely wind tunnel that soothed her hot skin. She breathed deep, closing her eyes.
There was a loud thud, and then a strange clicking. It sounded as if someone had dropped a thousand hair pins on her tile floor. She opened her eyes, trying to focus her bleary eyes.
On the floor, moving toward her, was the largest spider she had ever seen. Larger than anything in the insect section of the zoo. Larger than anything she’d seen on nature shows. Larger than any spider had any right to be. It was the size of a Christmas ham, reddish brown, with a fat, round abdomen.
Roxanne screamed. Fear gave her a shot of sobriety and strength, and she leapt to her feet on the couch, backing away from the horrible thing, bracing herself against the wall. She grabbed a turquoise throw pillow, uncertain what she was planning to do with it, just knowing that it made her feel slightly more protected.
The spider ignored her and continued its clicking scuttle across the floor. It was closer now, and she could see that its legs were covered in gross, spiky hairs, and it had far too many beady, searching eyes.
She held the pillow up above her head. Should she throw the pillow at it? The spider was far too big to be hurt by it. Should she jump on it and try to crush it? The thought filled her with revulsion, as she imagined the sickening crunch, the splat of its legs, the ruin of her lovely pillow. And what if it didn’t die? Then what would she do?
She whimpered as it crept past her, into her bedroom.
“Oh God,” she moaned, slinking back onto her butt.
The spider was gone now. It was in her room. She wasn’t sure if this was an improvement, but she felt calmer with it out of sight.
She hopped off the couch and grabbed her purse, rooting around for her phone. She dialed her sister. Calm, rational Lisa. Lisa would know what to do.
“Roxanne, it’s three in the morning.” Her sister did not like being woken in the middle of the night. She sounded annoyed.
“I know, and I’m sorry. It’s an emergency though.”
“Oh. Oh, ok. What’s wrong?” Lisa sounded concerned. That was good. Roxanne was glad that her sister was taking this seriously.
“You have to help me. There’s a giant spider in my house. It crawled in through the window and now it’s in my bedroom.”
There was a long pause. “Roxanne. Are you calling me in the middle of the damn night because there’s a spider in your apartment?”
“Yeah, but it’s not an ordinary spider. It’s huge, Lisa! Like, it’s the biggest spider you’ve ever seen. It’s like the size of a dog. Not a Great Dane, but, I don’t know, like, a corgi. It’s a corgi sized spider.”
Lisa sighed. “Ok. Roxanne, you’re drunk. You need to get some sleep.”
“I’m not drunk! I mean, I am a little, but the spider is real. I’m not exaggerating. I need your help!”
“You want my help? Here’s some advice. Go. To. Bed.”
“I’m gonna take a picture of the spider, so you can see what I mean. Hang on.”
“No. I don’t want to look at some spider. I’m tired.”
“Just hold on!”
“She hung up on me.” Roxanne stared at her phone in amazement. Why was her sister being such a bitch about this? She was going to take a picture of the spider, and send it right now. Then Lisa would see that Roxanne was not being crazy.
She slowly took a few steps toward her bedroom, where the spider had gone. She was nervous and on edge, afraid the monster might jump out at her at any moment. She did not want to go into her bedroom. She had to go into her bedroom.
She held her phone out in front of her, camera on, prepared to snap a bunch of pictures as quickly as possible. She took five more steps, counting each one in a shaky whisper.
She spider was perched on her windowsill. She could see it outlined, barely lit by the streetlight outside.There was a squeaky chomping sound, something unwholesome and disgusting. There was a terrible ripping sound as well. What the fuck?
Palms sweating, she flipped on the light.
The spider was gripping a pigeon in its many legs, chewing into its stomach, while the bird tried to flap its wings and get away. But the pigeon was trapped, wrapped in a web, clutched tightly by the spider, who greedily tore the poor thing to pieces.
“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.”
Roxanne snapped one picture and spun around. But her balance was still unsteady, and she tripped over her own foot, falling flat onto the tile, crushing her phone beneath her knee.
Now how was she going to prove that the spider was real? Should she go wake a neighbor?
No. What she needed to do was call an exterminator, someone who was trained to deal with gigantic spiders. But her phone was broken.
OK, she needed to think calmly. Yes, the thing in her bedroom was horrible. But it was still just a spider. She was bigger. She was stronger. She was smarter. She could handle this problem.
Realizing she should have done so long ago, she shut her bedroom door. There. At least the creep was contained. After all, it couldn’t open doors. At least, she didn’t think it could open doors. To be on the safe side, she put a chair in front of the door.
There. She was safe, for right now.
In the morning, she would check to see if it was still there. If it wasn’t, great. If it was, she’d borrow her neighbor’s phone and call an exterminator. And then she’d go into town and get her own phone fixed.
Perfect. A perfect, responsible plan, that would solve all of her problems. It was all going to be fine.
She took several deep breaths and reclined on the couch. She would sleep in the living room tonight. She was truly exhausted, and heavy from all the alcohol. It didn’t take her long to get to sleep.
However, in her eagerness to put the night behind her and lose herself into the oblivion of sleep, she neglected to close the window.
And by the time the clicking of a thousand spider legs woke her, pincers working madly at her skin, sticky web fibers stuffing her mouth, it was too late.