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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Calm (emotionally) (09/13/07)

TITLE: The Arachnid Agreement
By Amy Michelle Wiley


I am not scared of spiders.

I may step quickly away from a scurrying arachnid, and at most, allow a small gasp. Thatís the extent of my reaction.

Spiders and I have an agreement. They leave me alone, and I leave them alone. In bedrooms, however, all bets are off. You see, bedrooms are for sleeping in. This means a spider can easily creep up to bite an unsuspecting human, and a person can just as easily roll on top of the spider. In other words, bedrooms are hazardous to both spider and human health.

I have two preferred ways of dealing with bedroom spiders. The first is the Vacuum Method. I simply extend a vacuum hose toward the spider, turn it on, and vwoop! no more spider.

The other excavation method is by way of Cup Disposal. I lay a cup firmly over the top of the spider, slide a piece of cardboard underneath, and carry it either to a toilet or outdoors. The tricky part is shaking out the creature while ensuring it doesnít land on me.

One method I absolutely hate is the Shoe Death. Stepping on a spider produces the most awful crunching squish, and leaves behind a mess of guts and limbs on the floor and bottom of the shoe.

I suppose my composure with arachnids stems from the fact that there is only one poisonous spider residing in my area, and he honors The Agreement. Recently, however, I found myself on an extended stay in another country. One of my first questions when arriving on foreign soil was to ask about poisonous insects. Not because I was afraid, mind you, but because I believe in being aware. I was informed that there are indeed a number of poisonous creatures here, not the least of which is the Red-Backed Spider.

Most of my stay passed uneventfully. But near the end, perhaps because spring is upon us, spiders began pushing their boundaries. I think word was slow in getting around about The Agreement, or maybe Aussie spiders are just exceedingly rude (no doubt because they can push the poison angle for all itís worth).

The first incident happened when I was sitting on the toilet--a low time to strike. A spider had the impudence to drop onto my back. Thankfully it was a very small spider, so I didnít even utter a gasp. I just brushed it off and, good riddance, promptly flushed it away.

The second spider incident not only broke all the rules of The Agreement, but forced me to employ the shoe. *Shudder.* I was walking barefoot toward my bed, just ready to turn in for the night, when I saw him, right next to the bed. Even as I watched, this spider had the audacity to begin climbing the skirt of the bedside table. In other words, it was headed closer to my pillow.

The rest of the house was sound asleep, rendering the noisy Vacuum Method unacceptable, and there was no cardboard in sight, disabling the Cup Disposal. That left only one option. I marched resolutely toward my shoes, carefully shook them out (just to make sure no one was hiding in them), and slipped them on my feet. As I gingerly shook the thing off the table skirt, he made his first defensive move--he charged me.

To my credit, I only jumped back a little, and I gasped even less. After all that, I had little guilt in slamming my shoe upon the horrid thing.

I missed.

I pulled back to assess the situation. My enemy moved to protection under a space heater. That would not do. No way I would let an angry, bold spider stay loose while I slept. I moved the heater and he was fair game.

This time my shoe came down firmly, with all my weight. It was most unpleasant. I pulled my foot off and observed the crumpled ball. As I left the room to clean my shoe, visions of a mangled--but still living--spider creeping upon my sleeping form made me turn back.

He was still alive! Half of his legs seemed to be in working condition, and he was pulling himself, not toward safety, but once again toward me. I showed no mercy. When I was done, he was in several pieces and quite, unequivocally dead.

I cleaned my shoe and the carpet.

That night I dreamed about spiders. Big Red-Backed spiders. Even in my dreams, I didnít so much as scream.

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This article has been read 1936 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Betty Castleberry09/20/07
Funny! Spiders don't freak me out real bad, but I can certainly relate to not wanting them in my bedroom. This was a very entertaining read.
Sheri Gordon09/20/07
A very clever and fun piece. You had me laughing out loud. Great writing.
Lynda Schultz 09/20/07
This one gave me my laugh for the day. Having used all those methods on a variety of critters, including a tarantula in a shoe and a endless number of cockroaches, I could appreciate the story. I even carved up a poisonness snake in my kitchen sink once. Good work.
Dee Yoder 09/21/07
Ugh! I hate spiders, but I hate squishin' 'em even more. Funny story and very imaginative.
Laurie Walker09/21/07
Okay, laughing? Check.
Complete and utter terror siezing my body? Check.
Heebeejeebees for the rest of the day. Check.
Knowing the life of yet another spider has been ended - and not by me? Priceless.
Frank Creed09/22/07
I loathe flys and mosquitos, so I love spiders. I'd pet them if I could. Australia ain't Indiana--that's a whole new game.

Well written, top to bottom. You drew me in, shoe clutched, beating the creepie-crawile to death, before sleeping soundly.

Surely you wore no sandals in this country?
Joanne Sher 09/22/07
Love the voice - and this is just too fun to read. And, of course, I know who wrote it. :) Great detail and injection of your thoughts.
Gregory Kane09/24/07
My favourite line in this piece was ďI missedĒ. Great timing, interrupting the rhythm for a brief moment before plunging right back into the pursuit.
However, as Frank rightly said, some of us love spiders as they are great for polishing off other pests. We sleep under a mosquito net so weíre normally safe from such nighttime intrusions. There was the one time my wife awakened to find a scorpion running down her back, but thatís another story ...
Joy Faire Stewart09/24/07
Love MC voice and the details are superb. My solution? get a cat!
Jan Ackerson 09/24/07
As you know, I love this! My favorite bit is toward the end, when the spider is STILL ALIVE...honestly, it's the stuff that nightmares are made of, but just so, so very well-written. Hilarious.
Jenny Fitch09/24/07
I'm scared of spiders...so, I almost didn't read this one. I'm so glad I did! It was humorous and well written.
Catrina Bradley 09/24/07
Super story telling, lots of good descriptions and details made this a pleasure to read, even tho I was reading about squishing spiders. [shudder]. I feel much the same way, and enjoyed this very much. :) Cat
Lauren Bombardier09/25/07
Oh, my! This is great! Not many can get me to laugh out loud, but you did it. And yes, I do know who wrote this...lol
Lynda Lee Schab 09/25/07
LOL - I've written a few things on my fear of spiders, so readers probably won't mistake this piece for mine. I know it sounds cruel, but in my opinion, all spiders deserve the shoe treatment.
My husband did joke recently that I would never - ever - be brave enough to visit Australia (as much as I would love to visit Deb!) because they have the biggest, most deadly spiders - not to mention snakes - in the world. If that's true, then my husband's right. I won't be making a trip to Australia any time soon (Sorry Deb!). Great idea for "calm," although that definitely wouldn't be me. I freak out with seizure-like shudders at the sight of any 8-legged creature.
Laury Hubrich 09/25/07
Too funny! The class probably thinks I'm totally weird smiling so big at the computer. Thanks, Amy, for furthering the knowledge that Mrs. Hubrich is weird!

Loved this. I go after crickets, too, because they make their cricking sounds and keep me up at night.
Sueanne Dolentz09/26/07
I love this piece. Your voice is so strong and the point of view gives it the perfect tone. I thoroughly enjoyed it...and totally understand the whole creepy, "squishy", I-just-stepped-on-a-spider sound. SOOOO gross.
Loren T. Lowery09/26/07
Amen to your agreement and to your hilarious work. This was fun and a bit "creepy" to read. Arachnids are some of the creatures I wonder about as to why Noah included them on his ark.
Sara Harricharan 09/26/07
Ooooh! You were very CALM. I think I would've called for an exterminator by then-lol-or more accurately, whichever guy happened to be closest at hand. This was too funny! ^_^ Good job.
Elaine Taylor09/26/07
Ireally enjoyed your story. I feel the exact same way about spiders. I think they are fascinating outside in Nature where they belong but inside my house...UGH! Again, good job!
Suzanne R10/05/07
HA! Too funny! I am impressed - you're so calm. I love the title.

And thanks for your comments on a couple of my recent pieces :-)
Joshua Janoski03/24/08
You took a simple story about a spider and made it a real fun read.

I don't have arachnophobia, but I definitely don't want the little buggers crawling on me, especially if they are poisonous and I am sleeping.

Australia may have some of the creepiest creatures, but I still want to visit someday. :)

LaNaye Perkins09/21/08
Amy this was so cute. I am, sad to say, terrified of spiders. I don't like them anywhere! lol You did a great job of this piece. Well done my FaithWriter friend.
Jesus Puppy 09/22/08
Hahahahaa... How could I ever miss this. Having meet you I can just see you taking several attempts to kill one little spider. Poor thing. Squish.

An excellent read as always.