I killed a spider today.

I didn't even think about it.

And then a while later, I was thinking about how serial killers start out as kids who are cruel to animals. Am I such a terrible person for not feeling remorse for taking a creature's life? 

But then I was kind of relieved when I did feel remorse. I thought about how that spider was only doing what it was born to do. Crawling around, finding a place to spin a web and catch bugs. What a simple life. I'm a little jealous. Here's a creature that knows exactly what it's supposed to do, and does it despite the risk of being squashed by my shoe. 

The only crime it committed was trespassing. Or having a lot of legs, if you ask a girl. But neither was his fault. He might have been born in this house, in a little white cottony pocket like the one in Charlotte's Web. You would think that movie would have raised awareness about spiders and their innocence and intelligence. But no one except that little girl ever gave them a chance. 

Spiders and death. Everybody's worst fears.

Well, there's also dentists, snakes, public speaking, clowns, and murderers and stuff. 

I wonder what it's like to really be afraid. To have a real phobia. When you see that spider or dentist or grim reaper or whatever, and your heart is drumming at the speed of a hummingbird's wings, your life is flashing before your eyes, your mouth is so dry you can't scream, your pupils dilate and the adrenaline cuts off the circulation to your digestive system and sends it to your brain and muscles. Time slows, and you know the worst is happening. You're going to die. You can't breathe. You're getting bored as the life flashing before your eyes was really not that interesting, but it's coming to the end, and you really regret not asking that girl out or telling your parents you didn't hate them. Your skin goes pale and clammy as your body goes into shock, unable to compensate for the absolute state of terror that your mind has put it in. And then, I guess you lose consciousness or something. 

In those moments, when you know that the end is near, isn't that when you're really alive? 

My parents tell me I used to be afraid of the dark when I was a kid. I would never go to bed without my nightlight, and if I could I would have left on every light in the house. I would have the most wicked nightmares where ghosts were chasing me or monsters were eating me, and my mom and dad had to put my bed on the floor and clean out my closet to convince me there weren't monsters there. You would think I would remember such a traumatic time in my life, but I honestly have no recollection. Gradually, the nightmares became less frequent, and I lost that nightlight.

I am afraid of one thing, though. Zombies. I never tell people, because they would laugh, or worse, try to scare me. And I'm not afraid of haunted houses, or if I watched a zombie movie with friends I wouldn't run and hide. But the idea of real ones. The sound in those movies of cracking bones and rotting flesh and tortured souls, somehow that just gets to me. And the fact that you can't kill them. Maybe that's why they scare me. You can kill a spider or snake or a dentist and they won't bother you anymore.

Zombies, they are just slowed down a bit while their dismembered hand searches for their decapitated head. 

The End

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