While sifting through old notebooks, I came across a short story I wrote for an art class when I was 14. The lesson was an introduction to surrealism, so our teacher asked us to write a short story involving metamorphosis. Here’s my updated adaptation of that story:
“It was coming up to the half-term holidays and as always my parents had the ‘great’ idea for us to spend a few days at a woodland cottage. It was their usual lame excuses of ‘family togetherness’, ‘the Great Outdoors’ and ‘time away from all that television and internet will do you good’ which made their decision final. I had a strong gut feeling this holiday was a terrible idea…
In attempt to escape my boredom and anxiety, I avoided staying too long inside the dark and dingy hut we called a cottage. I spent hours cloud watching, sketching wildlife, playing Solitaire on the doorstep and staring at my reflection in the pond. But I did not dare venture into the deeper parts of the forest alone for fear I’d get lost in the labyrinth and never get out alive.
For the first two nights, I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned, forced to stay awake thanks to a relentless clicking, scratching and screeching noises from within the cottage walls. Or was it from the floors? What ever it was, I was the only one of the three of us who could hear it.
On the third day after dinner, we sat together on a fallen tree trunk to watch the sunset. It was breathtaking, but for all the wrong reasons. My stomach turned. Something was not right with this place. The burnt orange rays of light were like a red-alert warning. The problems was, the sirens were only going off in my head. That night I sat awake waiting. The walls remained silent. For the first time in two days, I drifted off to sleep.
In the darkest hour of the night the walls trembled with a sinister symphony of clicking, scratching, hissing and tapping. Eyes wide open, I jerked awake. A cold sweat broke out on my brow. I couldn’t catch my breath. I was paralysed. A vile sensation began to creep over me. My whole body covered in a thick, repulsive blanket of silk. Spiders. Thousands upon thousands of black and red spiders. Mouthparts convulsing, ripping my flesh as they infiltrated my ears, eyes and nose, draining my life force. My screams turned to gurgles as waves of spiders flooded my lungs. Everything went black.
When I finally woke up it was morning again. I must have had the worst nightmare of my lifetime. I reached up to scratch my scalp but poked myself in the eye. I supposed I still felt fatigued from the previous nights of insomnia. I crawled out of bed and over to the mirror which leaned against the wall. I could not see myself so I stood taller and moved closer. My reflection was gone. Many eyes glared back at me. Massive hairy black legs were raised ready to strike. Fangs dripped with venom.
Horrified I scuttled across the floor, running frantically in circles trying to escape. I collided head first with a table leg and knocked a glass off the edge. The shattering sound echoed on forever. I felt the vibrations of heavy footsteps. Then, a piercing scream from above. I looked up, but the light was eclipsed by a dark oval shape. The last thing I felt was the friction of the leather sole that crushed me.”