A tiny spirit haunts me at night. It takes the form of a regular-sized spider of the darkest brown.
I keep my window closed at night because I often see it clearly, sitting on a petal in the rose bushes outside my room, lit by the yellow streetlamp, facing me without moving, always staring in. I rarely open my blinds.
I go to the toilet and after a moment I see the small dark shape, waiting next to the wall when I look down. I catch it and flush it away.
When I'm lying in bed watching videos on my laptop I feel the faintest touch on the top of my hand. The spider sits, watching the glow of the screen. I brush it off, startled, and smash it, holding it until it has stopped struggling. I throw it in the trash.
As I lie with my head on my pillow, drifting into sleep, I hear the tiniest whisper in my ear. I can't understand the voice that isn't a voice but I feel the pointed touch of one, two, four, six legs gently stepping into my ear canal, and I cannot move, I am frozen.
Then it leaves.
I can never understand what it's saying.
I can never quite tell if it's a voice I hear or the rustling of its soft hairs upon my eardrum or a shout called out far away in the night or the sigh of a memory in my head.
I can feel those bristles rubbing in the inside of my nose sometimes. I wake up in the middle of the night smelling a musky smell of earth and dare not breath in. The spider crawls out of my nostril and across my upper lip and disappears. If I lick my lips I can faintly taste chocolate.
I do not know who or what this spider is.
If it is the soul of an ancient spirit I think I shall eat it and absorb it into my own life force, or cage it in my hand and take it outside to set it free.
An old gardener died in this house, many years ago, the day before the sixth anniversary of his wife's death. A day later his body was found in his bed, in this room, one hand reaching through the open window for the roses outside and his other hand clutching a box of fanciful chocolates, each one shaped like a rose.
At first the cause of death was inexplicable, and written off as old age. Perhaps the old gardener had no will to live with his finest rose already wilted and in the grave.
However, the coroner was able to spot a small, nearly unidentifiable bite mark on the old gardener's left hand, between the thumb and the forefinger. It was the bite of a China Rose spider - a deadly species which often finds its home among the thorns of rose bushes.
However, this spider is not named for where it lives. It is named for mark of its bite, which stays fresh and vivid for only a day before the venom kicks in, seizes the victim, and the mark fades away. The mark is red and in the perfect shape of a rosebud.
This morning, the paper boy had missed our front step and thrown the newspaper into the rosebushes outside my window instead. I must have pricked my hand when I reached for it, for I felt a sharp twinge, but when I looked I didn't see any blood.
When I handed my mother the newspaper, she studied it a moment before taking it, gave me a funny look and then asked my if I'd gotten any new tattoos recently. I've gotten a couple in the past and always told her beforehand so it was odd that she asked me this now, especially since I wasn't planning on getting a new one for a while.
Just an hour ago, I was fumbling around in the dark for my phone when I jammed my finger on the corner of my nightstand. It was the same hand I thought I'd pricked this morning when I had reached for the newspaper - my left hand.
I held my hand up to the computer screen and something caught my eye - a bright red mark, standing out even in the pale light, in between my index finger and my thumb. It looked as if bright red rose petals swirled around upon my skin, and in the center of them was the dark shape of a spider.
Ten minutes have passed since I finished typing the above. I didn't realize it but I was just staring at the screen. I just looked at my hand again. The red mark is nearly all faded. All I can see is the dark shape of the spider. My blinds are open. I do not know when this happened. The window is cracked. I don't remember this happening. In the yellow light of the streetlamp, as I am sitting on my bed, I can see the rosebushes outside the window. The spider isn't there.
In the yellow light of the streetlamp, nestled in the rose petals, I can see the bed inside the window.
No one is there.
Adhere to me!
"Grammar - putting an order to the chaos of existence!"
- My Spanish teacher
Big thanks to the Jackaroony for the sig!