Jump to content


Guest emmasi

Recommended Posts

Story Title: Arachnophobia

Type of story: one shot

Main Characters: J&M

BTTB rating: T

Genre: Thriller

Does story include spoilers: No

Any warnings: L

Summary: Jack faces his greatest fear: spiders.



n. A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.


n. An intense, abnormal, or illogical fear of a specified thing.


n. An abnormal fear of spiders.



She’s right there, but I can’t get to her.


She’s frantic now. I can hear it in her voice. I can feel it in my heart. It’s beating so fast, so hard. She’s right there, but I can’t get to her.

And he knows it, the bastard.

If I take another step, I think my heart might break. Not in the metaphoric sense, I mean literally breakdown. If I take another step, I’ll die. I know I’ll die.

But she’ll die if I don’t.

“Jack, please! Please!”

Why do I always do this? Why is it this one thing that can always break me?

Martha’s on the other side of that doorway. The door’s not locked. Not even closed. It’s open, and I can see her. She can see me, doing nothing; standing still like an idiot while she pleads for her life at knifepoint.

I can’t do it. I want to step in and save her, but…

I can feel his eyes on me. Not the random criminal who’s decided to take a cop’s wife hostage – no, that type I know how to deal with. There’s someone, something else standing in my way.

I’m a grown man. I’m a thousand times bigger than he is. But… he has more legs. And I can almost feel them crawling over my skin as I stare at him, assessing their span on the opposing wall. Ten centimetres at least. I shudder to think…

Again, that’s not a metaphor.

My breath shudders in my throat and I can’t quite breathe again for a few moments, still staring at him, locked in his multifaceted gaze.

“Jack, what are you doing!?” Martha screams at me. She can’t see it from where she is. No one can, but me.

“Shut up!” the crim commands her roughly. She whimpers as he presses the knife to her throat.

I hate myself for this.

I force my left foot to shuffle forward. My breath has returned to me now, ragged and audible. I know the evil thing can hear me. I bet it can feel the hot heavy breeze from the depths of my lungs, even from this distance. I swear I can see the hairs on its back prickling with twisted satisfaction.

Its front leg arches and any courage I had mustered shrivels and dies. I wish he’d do the same.

I step back and the criminal scoffs – he thinks that it’s him I’m scared of. Not likely, mate. I could shoot that loser from here if I wanted to; if I could take my eyes of the real enemy long enough to take a safe aim.

Martha’s crying now. She knows it’s hopeless. Knows I’m hopeless.

Why is this so hard? Why the hell does it still affect me like this? It’s a f***ing spider for God’s sake!

I try to focus. I have to get Martha out of here safely.

“Let her go,” I stammer, with all the authority of an insect caught in a web.

“Or what?” asks the criminal. The smug bastard. He actually thinks he’s got the upper hand; that I’m afraid of him.

Idiots like him are a dime a dozen, and if he was really serious about hurting Martha, he’d have done it by now. In fact, I bet if I walked away now, he’d let her go and make a run for it.

“Listen mate,” I put on my best negotiating voice, “Just let the girl go and you can walk away.”

Yes. Martha will be safe and I won’t have to go any closer to that filthy arachnid to make it happen. That knowledge gives me the confidence I need to meet the criminal’s next question.

“Just like that?”

“Just like that,” I assure him. And I sound assured myself.

I breathe an inward sigh of relief. He’s gonna go for it. I don’t even care if he gets away this time – there’s always next time. Or so I think, until the spider makes a sudden move.

I jump back, visibly shaking on weak knees. The crim thinks I’m trying something. I have to quickly throw my hands up to show him that I haven’t gone for my gun. Martha cries as he reluctantly relaxes the steely pressure on her throat.

But now he’s got the idea in his head.

“You got a gun, coppa?” he asks me. What is this, the seventies?

“Yes, I do.” I exhale my words, trying to sound cool in my state of panic. If that son of a bitch spider would just leave me the hell alone, I could go in there, rescue Martha, and put that crook behind bars! But no, it’s still sitting there, staring at me, watching and waiting for me to come close enough for it to pounce. No freakin’ way.

“Give it here.”

“Sorry?” I ask, snapping out of another death stare.

“The gun,” he repeats. “Give it here.”

He holds out his hand, beckoning me to come forward and deliver my weapon.

What the hell!? Does he honestly expect me to go in there? Is he insane? Is he out of his mind!?

I am NOT going past that spider!

A cold chill runs through me. A split second of clarity presents itself in the wake. Maybe I can slide the gun across the floor.

I put my hand to my holster. My hand is sweating and I fumble to get a hold of the weapon. As I grasp it, I feel a sudden rush of power. I could shoot that spider right off the wall.

If I give up my gun now, I’ll be completely defenceless.

“I can’t.”

I know it sounds insane. It is insane. If it was sane, it wouldn’t be a phobia, would it? But right now, the prospect of blowing that spider apart – sending all eight of it’s disgusting exoskeletal legs to different ends of the room – is the only thing keeping me from fainting.

Yes, you heard me, fainting. Did I mention I’m a grown man? I imagine that it could be quite difficult to remember that at this point.

It’s a f***ing spider…

“What do you mean you can’t?” the criminal asks.

“I can’t give you my gun,” I repeat.

“Well then I can’t let her go.”

“Jack!” Martha squeaks. I can see a thin line of blood on her neck.

Jesus, what am I doing?

“Listen, I can’t give you the gun, but if you just let her go I promise I won’t use it!”

“Right,” he smirks darkly, “And I’m expected to take your word for it?”

It was a stupid thing to say, really. Even I wouldn’t buy it, and I know that it’s coming from the bottom of my heart.

My heart, incidentally, feels like it’s nearing it’s final thump. The spider’s taken an ominous step towards the doorframe, but I can’t react. I can’t risk setting the crim off again.

My skin tingles unpleasantly, as if somehow picking up the vibrations of it’s unholy scurrying. I can’t take much more of this.

I won’t. I’m getting out of here. I don’t care anymore. I’m getting out of here.

“Fine,” I say, and it’s not fine at all. But I don’t care. I can’t take this feeling in my chest anymore. The tight strangulation all through my body that’s going to suffocate me and kill me at any minute.

I take the gun out of its holster – probably faster than is wise, seeing as that guy has a knife to my wife’s throat.

Go ahead, kill her. See if I care. If that’s what it takes to get me out of here, go the f*** ahead.

What am I thinking? Of course I care! I don’t want Martha to die! She’s my wife! I love her!

I have to remember to think at all. I have to remember that there is more than my life at stake, and Martha’s life is more important than mine. Even if she wasn’t my wife, she’s a civilian in need of police assistance, and I’m the police goddamn it!

The gun’s in my hands. The spider’s on the wall. If I tilted the gun just so, and pulled the trigger… The criminal would think I’m aiming at him and slit Martha’s throat. Jesus.

I unclip the chamber and empty the bullets onto the floor. If that wasn’t part of his plan, then f*** it. He can come out here and pick them up. I am not taking them in there.

With a wary eye on the eight-legged fiend, I crouch to the floor. I imagine it taking this opportunity while I’m low to the ground – vulnerable – to leap off the wall and…

I shiver. I can’t even finish that thought. I can’t, because I have to focus on Martha. She’s watching me, praying that I’ve found the guts to do something – anything – to help her.

I keep my eyes on her. She’s the one thing strong enough to keep me from losing control. She may not know it, or even appreciate it, but there aren’t many people I’d stay trapped in a room with a massive spider for.

I hold my breath and close my eyes. I force them open again and take aim, sliding the empty gun through the doorway. Almost.

The gun hits the doorframe and bounces back. I sent it with such force that the spider has been prompted to run in the opposite direction. Not far enough for my liking.

Christ, it’s not natural for something that abnormal to exist.

My back’s against the wall. The opposite wall to the spider, mind you. I think I fell…

Constable Jack Holden, striking fear into the hearts of criminals everywhere.

God, I’m sweating now. I can feel it on my forehead. Well, something’s creeping slowly down the side of my face. It better bloody be sweat…

I shiver for about the fifth time. Whatever confidence I had is gone. I just want to get Martha and get the hell out of here. It’s taking all of my strength and resolve not to run without her. That’s if I could run, or even stand.

That guy’s coming towards me. I really hope he’s not expecting a fight because I feel as weak as death. His knife is pointed at me now, but I think he’s just warning me to keep back. I cringe as he passes the spider. Ugh. How can he do that? It’s possible he hasn’t seen it. I hope he doesn’t. If he knew that I was this worked up over a f***ing spider…

Martha’s cringing in the other room, holding the slight cut on her neck. At least she’s not trying to step up and tackle the guy while his back is turned. It’s just like her to do that. Thankfully, I’ve been so uninspiring that she’s lost all hope of winning any fight in which I am her only ally. Bless her.

“You look a bit shaken up, mate,” the crim taunts me. Like I care. “Maybe you should keep a better eye on your woman in future.”

He grabs the gun and the bullets off the floor – I don’t even attempt to stop him – and then runs out.

I swallow and close my eyes. That part’s over. I open my eyes to see Martha, alone in the next room. I want to go to her and tell her that it’s alright, but it isn’t. Not for me. The spider is still there.

How can I still be thinking about that after everything that’s happened to her?

How? Because phobias aren’t meant to be rational. That’s kind of the point. Not that it makes me feel any better. If anything, I feel worse for hiding behind it.

She needs me, but I can’t go to her. I stay seated with my back against the wall, afraid to move in case the spider does the same. I can’t stand it when they move. I just know that at any minute, he’ll change course and come straight for me.

Eventually, Martha realises that I’m not coming to get her. She stands up, looking almost as shaky as I feel and a damn sight angrier. She glares at me, but I can only see it from the corner of my eye. I’m staring at the spider.

“Jack,” she says hoarsely. “What happened to you?” She knows that something is wrong with me, but if she knew what it was…

She follows my unblinking stare to the wall behind her. She jumps back – girls don’t like spiders either, as a rule – but quickly regains her senses.

“You’ve got to be joking…” she growls. Her eyes snap back to mine, branding me with shame. “You almost let me die because of a spider!?”

I don’t answer her, but I do at least look at her. She doesn’t seem to appreciate what an effort that is, letting my guard down even slightly. In fact, she seems even more disgusted with me.

She shakes her head and grunts in sickened frustration. She bends down and removes one of her thongs.

“What are you doing?” I demand. Is she crazy? She’ll just make it angry! It’s gonna flip out and run at me, I can feel it!

My chest tightens again and I press my back hard against the wall. I think if I press any harder, I’ll go through it.

She sneaks up on it, holding her breath. I couldn’t breathe if I wanted to. She raises the thong over its cold-blooded shell of bastardised velvet.

“Don’t!” I yell.


I huddle into an instinctive ball, eyes shut tightly, heart once again threatening to breakdown.

God, what has she done? What if she’s knocked it off the wall? What it’s on the floor, pissed off and barrelling towards me right now!?

I can’t look. I can’t pull my arms away from my head. I feel something touch my shoulder and scream.

“Jack!” Martha says sternly. She shakes my shoulder again. “Get up!”

I try to register it as Martha’s fingers touching me, and not the legs of a massive, murderous spider.

I open my eyes and immediately duck for cover again as I come face to face with the squashed remains of my nemesis. I go cold and dry retch. I think I’m gonna faint…

“I killed it, Jack,” Martha informs me, pointing the back of her thong at me. “Now get up.”

I don’t so much get up, as throw up. Just a bit.

“Ugh…” Martha’s had enough of this pathetic display and leaves. She scrapes the back of her thong on the doorframe as she goes, leaving me to ponder the mangled corpse.

It’s disgusting. It’s wrong. It’s… so wrong… That’s what I was afraid of. That crumpled smear of guts and shell. That’s what I am afraid of.

I crawl to my feet, leaning against the wall as I stumble through the abandoned house. I’m vigilantly aware of every cobweb and dark shadow as I try to catch up with Martha.

I’m not sure what I’ll say to her, or if she’ll even listen. It’s likely that she won’t. I don’t blame her. I just wish I could explain how pathetically crippling arachnophobia really is. It’s not a joke, even though she thinks it’s funny, or did once. I don’t mean to say that I hope she’s learned a lesson from all this. If anything, it’ll make her understand less.

How could I put my fear of a spider above my fear for her life? I wish I knew.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.