I hate going to the hospital.

Not because I'm scared of them- I actually like being in hospitals alright- but because whatever thing that has driven me to be there is always so trivial. How dare I waste a doctor's time with something stupid when there's a guy who broke his arm or a woman with pneumonia waiting in line? (And then there's the whole shame of being weighed in, but that's probably just a self conscious female thing.) whatever's bothering me will just probably go away on its own, anyways, so I shouldn't clog up the system with my nonsense.

So that was why I hadn't gone in to see anyone about the fact that a chunk of my face swelled up like a something-big-that-swells-up. The spot under my right eye and my entire right cheek. It was really bad yesterday, worse the day before, and suddenly even worse today. And it ached like a bitch.

Around the middle of my second class, while I was in the back row trying to be invisible, I started feeling kind of feverish. You know, like hot flashes, but when I felt my arms they were clammy.

I discreetly slunk out of class and went to the bathroom for some air. Since this was in the middle of a class period, the bathroom in Dudleymoore Hall was actually empty for once.

The long wall is lined with mirrors and sinks, with rows of stalls across them. On the way in, I caught a glimpse of my face in the mirror and winced. The patch under my eye and on my cheek was a flaming scarlet and had swollen up even more. And because I looked at it, it started to itch just then. So, despite all the advice I'd been given about not touching it, I scratched.

The skin gave way immediately under my fingers. There was a sudden but very definite feeling of wetness. The welt had burst and now my hand, face, and a not-insignificant portion of my shirt were covered in blood and puss and little black clumps.

I might have screamed, then. I ran to the sink, hoping to wash it all off. When I got close I saw in the mirror that the black dots on my face were moving. It took a full minute shocked staring to realize what they were. Bugs. Dozens of tiny bugs crawling around the gash in my face and on my hands and now down my neck-

I screamed that time for sure.

I grabbed a paper towel from the slow as fuck electronic dispenser and tried to get them all off me. At one point I made the mistake of wiping the paper towel on the gash. It cleaned off a lot of the blood, but that only meant I could see clearly the black gunk inside. More bugs were crawling out of the gash.

I panicked and dunked my head under the sink. The automatic dispenser went on and I tried to flush the suckers out of my face. When I finally came back up, the bugs were gone from my cheek, but the gash was still there and full of black. A black hole in my skin that was oozing puss and bright, infection-red around the edges.

While I was busy with that, the bugs on the floor were grouping. There were dozens of them. Maybe more. And- had they gotten bigger? They were little black spots before, now they were the size of a quarter each.

Whatever. There was a nurses office on campus somewhere. I had to find it. I needed an IV drip of antibiotic and a pound of neosporin and maybe an exorcist.

I moved to the side of the room, near the stalls, not wanting to go near the bugs. They swarmed over to my feet.

I jumped backwards and tried to go the other way. They followed me there, too. And now they were definitely bigger. Like half-dollar size.

I tried jumping over them. They moved out of the way where my feet would land, but surrounded the area. Now they were the size of tennis balls. Now I could see they were spider looking things, but segmented more like ants with some kind of shiny film on their black-red backs.

Then, as one, they jumped. The little fuckers sprung from the ground and landed on my legs. I yelled and scrambled backwards, falling onto my ass and scrambling blindly until my back hit wall.

"Mommy!" chirped a chorus of small voices.

"What?" I screamed, among other things.

They were baseball sized now, maybe a little bigger. The weight of them crawling on me reminded me of back when our cats were still kittens and I had to bottle feed them.

"Mommy!" they chorused again.

I smacked as many off as I could. Whenever I did, they would tumble and hit the floor with a little "ouch!" before getting up and crawling back for more. And my face was killing me. While I was frantically swatting them away, I saw something big, blurry, and black move along my cheek. I tried knocking that away, too, but it wouldn't budge.

I shot to my feet and ran over to the mirrors. Out of the black gash on my face, a black-green tentacle-like thing was poking through. It lashed around wildly, getting a little further out each time it did. A spider had made it to the top of my shoulder while I was standing still. The tentacle stopped waving around and patted the Spider.

There was a tiny giggling in my ear and a voice saying, "Daddy!"

And then I fainted.

When I woke up, I was in the bathroom still, leaning against the wall, with thirty kitten-sized spider things curled up on me. It took me a while to realize they were asleep. There was a blinding pain in my face, but the tentacle seemed to be gone.

Don't get up yet.

I froze. "Who said that?"

I did.

"I've lost my mind."

Not yet, no.

Despite the voice's warning, I got up. Carefully, though, so as not to disturb the spiders. A few of them murmured in their sleep. I picked my way over to the mirror and looked at my face. The gash was still there, only on the blackness was an eye. Like someone looking through a hole.

Do not be alarmed.

"Daddy," I said, suddenly having to try very hard not to giggle. "That's you?"


"Get out of my face."

I will not. You must care for my children.

"They're spiders!"

They're babies. They are my babies. Care for them or I will rip myself from the unfathomable reaches of the far deep and join you.

"You mean have the rest of you rip open my face?"


"Okay! I'll take care of the kids!"

Thank you.
The eye vanished. A second later, the tentacle pushed its way out. I bit the inside of my cheek to keep from screaming.

Ow. Owwwwww.

Here, said the voice. The tentacle handed me a damp note written on shiny green stuff that obviously wasn't paper. The words on it weren't in English at first, but right when I was about to say so, the text wiggled and shifted until I could understand it.

"What's this?"

Instructions. Tips. Sacramalthios is allergic to peanut butter and Nagraltomor sleeps with a night light. Make sure Vinyatzalhar eats her mouse livers. If she complains about the taste, tell her to put BBQ sauce on them.

The tentacle sunk back into my face and the eye returned.

I will be checking in from time to time.

And then it was gone. Not just the eye, but the entire gash. My face was clean.

During the exchange, the horde of spiders had gathered aground, waiting patiently.

"Mommy!" they chirped.

"I'm not your mommy."

The note had a list of foods they should eat. I giggled. Vulture. Where the fuck am I going to get vulture meat? And coelacanth? Fuck.

"Mommy we want to go home."

"Well, sorry. But I've got class to go to."

Shit. I was so late. How long had I been in the bathroom? Was class even still going?

"We want to go too!"

My backpack was still on the floor from when I was losing my head earlier. I pointed to it. They all crawled in and by the end of it I had a bag of giggling spiders.

"Try and keep quiet," I said.

"Okay," one whispered. The others started shushing eachother. I went back to class.

So yeah, that's why I now have a room full of spiders. A bunch are asleep in the closet right now, but a handful of them are on my bed, curled up with the cat. The one on my shoulder insisting that he wants to see what I'm doing despite his inability to read is named Jorshakerr or something. He says hi.

Tomorrow is going to be a long-ass day.

Don't think that because this is in the halloween challenge that it changes the fact that it's true.

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