When I first started writing “Arachnid,” I’d intended for the monster the stalk Melinda for a longer frame of time. Ultimately, I decided it impeded the flow of the story, and as a result, I had to delete the scene below.
Shortly after writing this scene (where Melinda is soaking in the tub), I had the brilliant idea to take a long soak myself. I did a fair job not allowing the monsters in my brain disrupt me—until I fell asleep. As I dozed, a bar of soap slid off the ledge and landed squarely on my stomach.
Needless to say, I was pretty well done with bath time.
This tub was a brilliant buy, Melinda thought. Breathing in the scent of the oils, her face eased into a soft smile as the heat soaked in and drove away memories of the day. She selected the claw-foot tub at a girlfriend’s recommendation. “Trust me, Frey,” she’d said. “With this thing, I can soak my knees and my boobs at the same time!”
Melinda had laughed heartily at that. Damn, was she right though. Feeling wonderfully relaxed for the first time all week, she sighed deeply and closed her eyes, propping her head up on the tub’s lip. Floating semi-consciously amidst the steam and lavender with only the evening light filling the room, Melinda let time slip past as she dozed.
Something crawling. Her mind woke sluggishly, unwilling to fully stir. What was it she had thought as she’d woken up? Something whispered in the back of her mind like a disturbing dream. Frown deepening, she stretched her arm past the curtain and tugged on the bathroom door, allowing cold air to pierce the steam. It prickled against her wet skin, raising goosebumps.
A jolt of revulsion slammed into her when a dark, many-legged something moved suddenly and grazed her outer thigh. Gasping sharply, Melinda flung herself out of the tub and snapped on the lights.
Spider? Centipede? She tried not to think about how big it seemed in the shadows. Eyes wide, she grabbed the handle of her back scrubber loofa and knocked the bottles of bath soaps and shampoos aside, her knuckles shining white with her grip.
Nothing was there.
You’re losing it over shadows, she thought. Nevertheless, Melinda eyed her towel suspiciously before wrapping it about her and unstopping the drain.
I hope you enjoyed the scene, and that you’ll remember poor Melinda next time you’re soaking in the tub or traipsing about a creepy, old basement. Cheers!