I have a story to tell.
Rays of sunlight shown onto the dark wooden floorboards, bringing to light the ever present dust floating inside the room. I just stuck my head in. Mr. Brady, my realtor, stood behind me, talking a mile a minute about what a great value this place was. His voice was just a blur; I had learned to shut him out. I opened the door wider, and it became obvious what a dump this house had become. I turned around and gave a look to Mr. Brady. He looked back, and smiled, revealing his perfectly straight yet grayish-yellow teeth.
You said you wanted a fixer-upper!" He grinned. "And did I mention what a great value this place was? It was built in the early 1900s by an Eng-" I cut him off.
Listen, this really isn't the kind of place I'm looking for… I don't have the kind of money to practically reconstruct an entire house." He didn't seem convinced. "Really!" I urged. Another fake smile from Brady.
Come on, Mr. Hanson! Lets just take a look around… you won't regret it!" He pushed my back just enough so that I stumbled forward into the foyer. The floorboards creaked beneath my weight. "That right up there is a genuine crystal chandelier. Now, over to our right...
In my mind, his voice got softer. I was imagining how elegant this house must have been one hundred years ago. Though now everything was mangy and unkempt. There seemed to be an unusual abundance of cobwebs, and I took special care to make sure I did not walk into any of them. Moving forward, I wiped my hand over the banister, only to expel more dust into the air. Covering my mouth and moving backward, I followed Mr. Brady into the next room.

This must have been the dining room. Two bureaus built into the wall on the far side of the room stood in cobwebs; old china still displayed behind the glass. There's a "genuine" chandelier in this room, too.
Urm, Mr. Brady?" He turns his head towards me expectantly. "Who lived here last? And... why did they leave?"
His face dropped. You could tell he didn't want me to ask that. Pacing slowly, looking at his hands, he started to explain.
Well, you see," he was getting more and more fidgety. "the man who lived here last didn't leave exactly, you see…" his voice started to trail off again.
Well, what then? Did he die?" I inquired.
Sort of..." He flashed a tight-lipped smile. "He died not too long ago, actually. I know it must be hard to believe that this house hasn't been vacant for all that long, but its true." He paused and averted my eyes. "In any case, the man was found dead, lying in his broad canopy bed. He was enveloped in some... web-like substance." Mr. Brady turned his head back up towards me. "Almost like a cocoon.

He then shrugged like it was no big deal, but before Mr. Brady had even said the word 'cocoon' I wanted to be as far away from this house as possible. The room suddenly held the stench of death. I felt like I was in the house of Ed Gein. My skin tightened up, and a shiver went up my spine as if I had just been chewing on tin foil. A spider scuttled across the wall behind Mr. Brady, though he seemed to take no notice. That certainly didn't help matters. My stomach twisted, and I suddenly realized that whatever was in my stomach would soon be on the floor, or all over Mr. Brady. He raised his eyebrows and put his hand on my shoulder.
Are you alright?" he asked looking worried.
Bathroom," I managed to gulp.

Seeing my throat tighten up and me clutching my stomach, his eyes grew wide, and he shoved me forward through another room that must have been the kitchen, for it had filthy white and pale green floor tiling. We turned a corner, and through an open door, I could see a grimy toilet. I raced forward toward the bathroom, and without thinking about it, shut the door, and spilled my guts out into the toilet. After that I stood over the toilet a few more moments, trying to clear my head and catch my breath. Wiping my brow I moved over to face the sink. Still a little wobbly I clutched the dirty porcelain, my knuckles turning white. My mouth tasted terrible, and I turned on the water of the faucet. Rust colored water bubbled out of the sink. This place really was in awful condition. Turning off the water, I looked upwards into the mirror, and from the ceiling, a large brown spider moved downwards on its invisible twine. Gasping, I jolted backwards, falling into the door. After that, things happened in just a second or two. I was propelled so forcefully that the rusty hinges broke off the door, and it fell backwards with me. At this point, I had realized I was gong to fall, and it was going to hurt. But it didn't prepare me for the shock of not stopping when I hit the ground. I must have lain there on top of the door for a split second before the floorboards gave way. I plummeted into the depths of the basement below me. I was knocked unconscious. The last thing I remembered seeing was a flash of brown shoes and tweed pants standing above me that must have been Mr. Brady's.

It must have been some time later that I awoke, rubbing my head and coughing from the dust. I gingerly flexed both my arms. Nothing wrong there. Then my legs. WHOOSH! Like one thousand needles piercing my skin at exactly the same time, the pain came to my leg. Obviously, something was broken. Clenching my teeth, I tried to sit up. Success. I looked upwards to see a large rupture in the floorboards where I had fallen through. Mr. Brady was not standing there, or anywhere in sight. I tried calling out.

Mr. Brady! I'm hurt! Where are you? I can't see anything!" I shouted in dismay. I waited, turning my ear upward towards the hole. No answer. I decided he must be out getting help, or trying to find the basement staircase to come help me. That seemed reasonable. It also made me feel a little better about my situation. I lay back down, as it was hard to prop myself up on my elbows for a period of time. Everything was very quiet.

Suddenly, I heard something else in the room. It sounded as though somebody had rapped their fingers in sequence against the cement floor. My ears became more alert, and I twisted my head towards the noise. It happened again, and again. Then from two different places at once. Mice, I concluded, gross, yet harmless, mice. I relaxed a little bit again. But the rapping became more frequent, and closer, and greater. I started sweating; not being able to see was making me very uneasy. I could feel something run by close to my leg.

Disgusting," I said aloud. Then I felt something on my thigh, crawling upward. It was light, just barely enough to press the fabric of my pants against my tense leg. It certainly didn't feel like a mouse. There weren't four legs. There were eight. I shrieked and tried to move backwards, twisting my bad leg and feeling a jet of pain race up my entire body, causing me to collapse, face down. Now I could feel more of them, more of the eight-legged creatures climbing onto my body, sharply biting me with more and more ferocity. I was helpless. I gave into the pain. I let my body go limp and tried to accept the fact that I was going to die. I tried to accept that I was suffering one of the worst fates imaginable. And then… somehow, I wound up here. Heavily bandaged in a hospital bed. I still don't know how.


The hospital psychiatrist shifted in his seat. I didn't even know his name… but I had told my story so many times over to a seemingly endless number of doctors, names didn't really matter anymore. The psychiatrist looked up from his notes and commented.
That's quite a story you have there, Mr. Hanson.
I know it is, Doctor... but you must believe me. I mean, I almost died. Why would I lie about something like that?
Clearing his throat, the doctor excused himself out of the white room and into the hallway where he met a nurse. I could see them chatting through the small, square window on the door.
Phew. Glad I'm not handling this one," she snorted, craning her neck to examine his notes.
I think he must have a terrible case of arachnophobia. A lot of people are afraid of spiders," the psychiatrist responded. "Maybe he just hallucinated.
Maybe he's just crazy," she winked. Then she turned, and with her cart full of medications, waddled off down the white hallway.




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