On the walk from the garage to the house I spied a cluster web in the corner of the awning. Some fat spider had a few sacks of meat in full view. I couldn’t allow it. Usually I’m ok with  the arachnids, as they do way more good than harm. But this? This was an arrogant display. “Sorry, pal,” I said as I knocked the web from the awning with a broom, then banged the shit out of the broom on the driveway before returning it to the porch. 

Home. Finally. 

“I have to run to the store,” Cathy said kissing me on the cheek. “You shower. I’ll be back in 15 minutes with dinner.” 

A shower sounded perfect. 

“Hey, do you want me to get that new movie with the Thor guy?” she said standing at the back door. 

“Sure. I mean, if you can handle seeing him on a big screen for two hours.” 

She smiled and left. I stripped and started the water when I saw the front legs of a spider emerging from the drain. 

“You’re kidding.” I said aloud to my guest. Obviously, I had no choice but to move him down the drain with scalding hot water. It only took a few seconds with the stream setting on the shower head. 

Convinced he was gone, I stepped in and relished the rush of water against my skin. Skin that begged for a good scrub. As I began to apply soap to the bristles—I spotted a black, pea-sized spider tucked into the side of the brush amidst the bristles.

I threw the brush down, “The fuck!?” 

Now I was skeeved. 

Then, from out of the drain emerged another spider. And another. And a six more after that. I leapt. And of course I slipped—as the spiders continued to pour out of the drain in greater numbers, against the flow of water, scurrying across the tile floor. As I fell, I my head hit the soap holder that I had specifically made to withstand weight. The soap holder held. My head did not. I fell in a deadweight smacking the floor and felt my spine snap at my neck. I screamed, but made no sound. Grotesquely twisted and with my face pressed against the tile, I watched, helplessly, as the white floor disappeared into a twitching black mass. 

When they climbed onto my skin I felt each footfall. I screamed again. Again silence. I told my arms to swing and my hands to slap and my legs to get up and run, but could only lay still. On the floor. With an open mouth—which they then entered, streaming down my throat toward my stomach. My brain lurched. My body didn’t. Then they went for the ears. Their soft fluttering tickling at first but then my brain burned like fire the deeper they dove.

Then all at once – they stopped. 

All of them. It was as though they’d received a radio signal to stand down. To freeze. The water from the shower continued to flow. The animals looked slick in the light. What was happening? I have to get these fucking things out of my bod–

And then I felt the sting of ten thousand bites at the same instant. 


Moments later the back door opened. And closed. 

“Bob?” Cathy called out. “I decided on that Natalie Portman movie instead. For you.” And then spying a spider on the countertop, “Oooh–a spider! Bob?!?” 



Deconstructing Sabbath's Heaven and Hell

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.