THURSDAY: The Tickle Spiders


Copyright is held by the author.

IT STARTED with the light tickle, a gentle dusting that was just enough to interrupt Colleen’s relaxation.

She set her of tea down and swatted at her upper back, not too hard but enough to brush off any offending dust balls.

Nothing was there.

Passing it off as her imagination Colleen picked her cup of tea up and took a sip. The golden-tinged liquid soothed her mind as well as her throat. This time of year allergies usually tempered any joys she had in life but she had found that a hot cup of lemon-ginseng tea staved off most of the discomfort.

Her mind drifted liked the tiny plumes of steam from her cup of tea: smooth, gentle, and flowing into the room, invariably settling on her worries. Her job, her mother’s dwindling health, her thin bank account, the persistent sputtering of her car’s engine, all these fears and more reared their ugly heads in her mind.

Colleen cleared her thoughts and took a deep breath. She needed to relax. She needed to . . .

The itching hit suddenly. It started on her lower back and quickly spread up toward her neck, her spine tingling with uncomfortable sensations.

With a grunt of irritation Colleen forced herself to address the issue. It felt like more than just a passing tickle from her clothes, and furthermore, it seemingly came from nowhere.

She set her cup of tea down and stood up. Her arms only reached back so far so she had to twist into unnatural angles if she wanted to reach all the areas on her back and neck.

Instantly, the itching grew worse. It felt like a thousand tiny fingers were brushing against her skin, ever so gently feathering the flesh into untapped realms of discomfort.

Colleen’s movements grew frantic. She twisted and turned as much as her body would allow, desperately trying to find relief, but every time she managed to get a spot it seemed to move to another, hard to reach area.

The cup of tea crashed to the floor, the Ceramic tile she spent so much money on effectively separating the cup into innumerable shards.

Colleen fell onto her back, frantically trying to stop the itching, but it was no use. By then it felt as if it was under her skin, penetrating down to her very bones.

Then the itching began to spread upward toward her head. The agonizing sensations crept along her spine, quickly reaching the back of her skull.

She screamed. Her fingers took on a life of their own, digging bloody furrows into the back of her skull.

But still the itching persisted, reaching maddening levels.

Her face was next and in a few short seconds had been reduced to gory pulp.

But the itching still persisted, even increasing in intensity.

Colleen flopped around on the floor. Her head repeatedly slammed into the hard Ceramic floor, over and over again, blood greasing the expensive titles that she had so carefully picked out.

Her skull fractured, tangling her long hair with torn flesh, blood, and fragments of brain and bone.

Then the itching finally stopped, but Colleen was beyond feeling it anymore.


Detective Warner unzipped the body bag and had to stifle a gag when what was left of the young woman’s face poked through the folds. He’d seen many bodies in his career but something about this one didn’t sit well with him. There were no signs of forced entry, no weapons, no motive, nothing. Only a mutilated corpse of a young woman found in her own home. Other than the blood and the shattered cup of tea everything was in order.

It didn’t make sense.

He zipped the body bag closed and stepped out of the bathroom. Two men from Rockdash Funeral Home went in behind him, loaded the body onto a gurney, and began to wheel it down the hallway.

“Wait a minute!” Warner suddenly said, his face flush with alarm. “Hold on a second!”

He moved over to the lump on the gurney. “I thought I saw something.” He reached for the zipper on the body bag. “Something moved.”

The two men stared at the detective with wide, disbelieving eyes.

“Detective,” one of the men said, “we need to load this up.”

Warner stared at the lump under the bag.

Did he really see something or was it his imagination? Judging by the condition of the body he’d guess the latter. But he still had to check it out.

Ignoring the glares from the two men Warner proceeded to unzip the bag again, exposing the young woman’s remains.

“Well, Detective?” the two men asked simultaneously.

“Must’ve been my imagination,” Warner said in a dull tone. He felt an itch on his hand and absentmindedly brushed at it. “Take her away.”

One of the men zipped the bag closed again and he and his co-worker then wheeled it out of the house to the minivan waiting in the driveway.

Warner watched them drive away.

Suddenly his leg began to itch, so much so that he had to use both hands to scratch it. It didn’t help though.

He scratched with more intensity, the fabric of his slacks shredding from the onslaught. It felt like a thousand tiny fingers on his skin, burrowing, tapping into every nerve.

He fell to the floor, writhing in agony. The itching had spread up his leg to his stomach, his chest, his neck, and finally to his head. He tore at his body as the police offers and forensic examiners still in the house desperately tried to help.


“Hey Tom, what’s the matter with you?”

“I don’t know, Greg. Suddenly I’ve got this terrible itch on my hand. It’s killing me.”

“Well, just keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.”

“God! It’s spreading! My arms! Oh God!”

The minivan veered from one side of the road to the other. The driver was delirious with itching, tearing into his body with his own hands in desperate effort for relief.

The van crashed headfirst into a huge tree on the side of the road. The vehicle ignited on impact, sending the dying screams of the two trapped men inside into the clear blue sky.

And all around the carnage thousands of larvae, invisible to the naked eye, squirmed away from the heat to seek out new prey.