“There’s another one in the bathroom!” she shrieked, barrelling into the kitchen and scuttling straight into me.
“Careful,” I said, rubbing my leg. “You almost knocked me over.”
“It’s huge! Will you go in there and – deal with it?” she pleaded.
I shook my head. “I’m in the middle of sorting dinner.”
“It’ll have gone by now, anyway,” I replied. “Remember, it’s more scared of you than you are of it.”
“It crept right up on me, all beady eyes and spindley legs,” she shuddered. “Can’t you dispose of it in some way?”
“What happened to live and let live?” I smiled.
“Makes my skin crawl,” she winced. “They move so fast.”
“I quite like them, really,” I replied.
“Whose side are you on?” she snorted.
“Well, they’re actually very useful, for keeping pests down. You know, they reckon you’re never more than ten feet away from one.”
Her eyes widened. “Don’t tell me that! I’ll have nightmares.”
“Come on, they’re pretty harmless. They don’t bite unless you corner them and they’re rarely poisonous,” I continued, winking. “In this country, anyway.”
“I think they’re horrible,” she replied. “When you look closely at them, you can see they’re covered with tiny hairs. Disgusting.”
“But they’re incredibly adaptable,” I reasoned. “Common on every continent, except Antarctica. Do you know, some of them can jump several times their own body length.”
She rolled her eyes. “Great, thanks, as if I’m not freaked out enough already.”
“They eat all sorts, even birds,” I said, creeping up to her. “Not us though, mind. Usually.”
I lightly tickled her back and she sprang away from me.
“Buzz off!” she cried. “It just doesn’t bear thinking about!”
I laughed and turned back to the food. “But, you have to admit, what it can do with the web is quite amazing.”
“Okay,” she groaned. “That’s enough of the science lesson.”
“I’m only saying that theyre rather extraordinary creatures, in their own way.”
“Well, I just wish they’d keep out of my way,” she said, waspishly.
“I’m sure the feeling’s mutual,” I replied.
“I’m going to see if it’s still there,” she said, moving towards the door.
“No, don’t go anywhere, dinner’s nearly ready,” I called, clearing a space to eat. “I don’t want it to get cold.”
She came back over and sat down.
“I know it’s irrational,” she sighed, “but it’s like some deep evolutionary instinct. I can’t help it.”
“The fact of the matter is, humans are a part of the world we spiders live in,” I shrugged. “You just have to accept it.”
I held up two silk-covered bundles.
“Now, what do you fancy for dinner?” I asked. “Bluebottle or daddy long legs?”
‘Highly Commended’ in the ‘Flash Fiction’ (max 500 words) category of the Aber Valley Arts Festival.