It is no secret that I detest bugs in general, and that I fear them. Some people would call my fear irrational, but I think they're just being unfair. I think everyone secretly hates bugs. Some people would just rather not look silly by acting afraid of them. Well, I don't care how silly I look. Bugs should stay the hell away from me.
When I was eighteen, I was home from TSU and staying in my room at my grandparents' house. While I had been away at college they had rearranged my bedroom, moving my bed in front of the windows. I hate sleeping by windows. I'm afraid someone will trying to pull me out of it while I'm sleeping and kill me or something. (It's not funny: it happened to my aunt.) However, I wasn't strong enough to move the bed back myself. I weighed one hundred and two pounds and had absolutely no muscle to speak of, so for months I slept with the constant terror of being attacked in my sleep.
In February I started seeing a guy I'd met through my best friend, and I started spending two or three days a week with him. As it warmed up into spring, my grandparents started turning off the heater and opening the windows to air out the house. When I wasn't home, they opened my windows, too. I hated it, of course, and they didn't do it on the days I was home, but when I wasn't there they did it anyway.
I don't like my windows open because I don't like hearing the crickets at night. It's like they're mocking me and trying to psych me out. And it works. Which is why I like doors and windows closed at all times. One day I came home to find my windows open, and I closed them immediately. What I didn't realize was that the damage had already been done.
By that time, the guy I was seeing had officially become my boyfriend, and we talked on the phone every night before bed, even if it was just for a few minutes. (I believe you call this the honeymoon phase of new relationships.) At midnight, I told him I was tired and needed sleep.
He said, "Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite." He always said that, and I thought it was kind of silly, but in an adorable way.
My reply was always, "Well, if they do, I'll bite them back."
When I settled down under the covers, I drifted off to sleep. I was out for a couple of hours when I woke up because I felt someone running their hand over my stomach under my tank top. My first thought was it was my boyfriend, but with a jolt of fear I remembered that I was at home and in bed alone. And as I realized this I felt the mysterious hand creep down my boxers and onto my inner thigh.
I was terrified. You can't imagine the agony of thoughts racing through my mind. I sat up as slowly as I could, trying to keep myself from screaming. I pushed back the covers and the moonlight from the open blinds fell on my pale leg. And a long, dark shape emerged from my boxers and slithered to mid-thigh.
That awful movie Slither popped into my head. You know, the one where the alien infects everyone with the slithery creepy snake things that go into their mouths and take control of them.
And I thought, "Oh my god, there's a snake in my bed and it's on me."
Somehow, I managed to keep myself from moving. Though unlikely, I thought it was probably a poisonous snake and if I moved it would bite me and I would die a horrible, painful death writhing in agony.
So I sat there perfectly still with my hands clenched so tightly my fingernails cut into my palms, waiting for my chance to escape. And after a few minutes in which I was sure I was going to die anyway and nobody would ever know how I'd died, the snake slipped off of my leg and onto the sheets between my knees. I could see it's outline against the dark red sheets, and I slid carefully backwards until there was enough room for me to get off of the bed and back up.
And as I was backing away from the bed, my braided hair moved against my neck and I thought there was another one on me. And I lost all of my self-control and started screaming bloody murder as I ripped my clothes off. And as all of the lights in the house came on, I tore across my room, still making that awful, bloodcurdling screech, and tried to open my bedroom door. Which was locked, and in my hysterical state I couldn't figure out how to unlock it, and my mother was banging on the door trying to get in as I was screaming on the other side trying to get out.
Finally, my sister's boyfriend, who had been staying the night, kicked in my bedroom door and I ran screaming past everybody, in nothing but my bikini underwear and completely topless, into the bathroom across the hall and slammed the door, locked it, and stuffed towels under the crack to keep more snakes from getting in.
Well, my family went into my room and turned on the light, expecting to find a rapist or something in there. Apparently, they found nothing. So they all tried to get me to come out of the bathroom to tell them what the hell had happened. By that time, my grandparents had made it down from their bedroom at the other end of the house, and they were all terrified that something had happened and the culprit had gotten away.
Eventually, I managed to say something to the effect of, "There's a snake in my bed! Kill it!"
And so they all went back to hunt up the snake. But they couldn't find anything. And after thirty minutes of me having hysterics in the bathroom, I finally calmed down enough to unlock the bathroom door and wrap a towel around myself and come out. I caught my reflection in the bathroom mirror as I was leaving. I was so white even my lips had no color, my eyes were wide and horror stricken. My whole body was shaking.
"Chanel, you had a bad dream. We promise, there's nothing in there. We checked."
My grandfather didn't sound angry. He was struggling to hide a smile, and I suddenly thought maybe I'd had one of my dreams that carried over to reality when I woke up. It wasn't the first time I'd woken my family up with my screams only to discover it had been a dream. So I apologized and went back into my room, feeling a little foolish for scaring the living hell out of everybody.
But as I was putting my boxers and tank top back on, I caught a slight movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked up, and there on the wall behind my bed was the longest, fattest South African Centipede I'd ever had the misfortune of seeing in my life. And I knew that IT had crawled into bed with me, probably attracted to my body heat, and that it had probably come in my window during the day while I wasn't home, and that the bed bugs could have bitten me.
|Look at it...it just looks deadly.|
And it only took half a second for me to start screaming bloody murder again, and sure enough my family came running back and I pointed at the monstrosity on the wall and ran off, screaming I wasn't going back in until it was dead.
Well, those things are highly poisonous, and nobody wanted to brave going in there to try to kill it. And I was convinced that if it didn't die it was going to come after me and try to kill me in my sleep again ( which I had managed to convince myself was its plan the entire time: it wanted nothing more than to kill me in my sleep) and it wouldn't rest until it succeeded.
I stuffed towels under the crack of my bedroom door so it couldn't escape, and I wrote a note and taped it to the door. "Danger: Ninja Assassin Centipede Captured and Being Held Within. Do Not Enter."
And nobody went into my bedroom for two weeks. I didn't even go in for clothes. I just borrowed my younger sisters' things because we wore the same size. I told my boyfriend about it the next day, an dhe laughed and said I was supposed to bite the bed bugs, not let them take over my room. I didn't find it funny, however, and we agreed not to talk about it.
After two weeks I felt convinced that the monster had either died or managed to escape, so I went back into my room. I found its dead, shriveled body in the middle of my carpet, looking tortured and miserable. I sprayed it with insect killer to make sure it wasn't just faking it, and then had my sister's boyfriend take it away.
But that day I went back in I had my bed moved to the other side of the room, and I put signs on my windows demanding that they never be opened again. And I never, never went to bed again without searching my room for hidden assassins.
And that night added another logical reason for me to hate creepy crawlies. And I just have to wonder...why is it always me? Things like this NEVER happen to my sisters, and it's unfair.