Vapor climbs into the night air in elegant, wispy streams. It rises delicately into the air before disappearing. It’s one o’clock in the morning. Light snow is falling. I live alone. The neighborhood is dark and still; the ideal time to grab a glass of wine, strip down and hop into the hot tub nestled privately in my backyard.
Winter time always dries out my sinuses, and the steam from the ninety-nine-degree water is refreshing. I lean back, close my eyes, and listen to the comforting water churn and bubble around me. Nothing is wrong in the world right now. I sit content, relishing this perfect moment in time.
That’s when I hear it. Faint stirring and the falling of debris coming from the rooftop of the house. I think to myself, “Son of a bitch! There’s someone on my roof!” I reach for my towel to cover myself when I see it. A long shaky hand emerges from the rooftop. It explores around, touching each of the roof-shingle as if it is trying to find just the right spot to grip. The other hand appears and does the same; then a third and fourth hand emerge.
As it pulls itself up further over the edge of the roof, its thin and long body comes into full view. It resembles a short, toned male, except for the two extra arms. Its skin is jet-black and rough as if its body was charred and burned. I immediately lower myself into the steamy water as far as I can; the water level is reaching just below my nose. I press myself against the side of the tub, hoping the darkness and billowing steam will hide my presence from this terrifying creature scuttling on my rooftop just ten feet away.
In spite of its trembling, it moves from the rooftop to the edge of the house with the purposeful movement of a tarantula, lifting one hand high into the air before bringing it down, feeling around the surface before moving the other limb. Then it does the impossible. It lowers itself over the edge and begins crawling on the wall! The comparison of this man-spider is now complete. I gasp from surprise, taking in a little water through my nose. I snort and contain my coughs as well as I can. I slide deeper into the water, my eyes just above the waterline now, like I was pretending to be a silly alligator.
It jerks its head piercingly upward and sniffs the air! My eyes widen. It flicks its head to the left. Tears swell in my eyes from the fear. It twists its head sharply to the right and inhales the air. I sink even lower and go prone to the hot tub’s wall, my heart thumping in my chest and water splashing in my face.
It resumes snaking alongside my house like a nightmarish arachnid. It goes from window to window, checking to see if any will open. It meticulously pulls on each window frame and presses a clubbed hand against every window pane. Flashes of panic fill my heart at the thought of that horrid thing gaining entry to my home. I try to think of anything within my immediate reach that I could use as a weapon.
Luck seems to be on my side. Every window was locked and shut tight. It drops its shoulder in disappointment and slowly makes its way to the edge of the house, leaps high into the air and lands on a nearby tree. It disappears into the night as if it had never been there.
I slowly slip out the warm comfort of the tub’s water and reach for my towel. One foot over the edge and then the other. The water drips from my body as I exit the tub. Crash! I am paralyzed with gut retching fear from the shattered wine glass I had put on the edge of the towel. To hell with the modesty! I run buck naked for the door!
Ten feet! I see the shape of a man rustle in the trees. Six eyes reflect the moonlight, and it shrieks a god-awful scream!
Eight feet! With loud snapping and breaking of tree limbs, it leaps high into the air and lands on the roof’s edge!
Four feet! I slip on the icy porch, skinning my elbows and knees!
Two feet! It drops to the ground and scurries on the snow. Yellow drool pours out of its mouth, prominently standing out in contrast to its obsidian flesh.
One foot! I lay against the door. The door knob slipping in my wet and trembling fingers! Hissing and gurgling are growing louder and stronger!
I pull myself inside and past the door’s frame, slam the door and lock it! Not a second later, a crash of something slamming into the wooden door booms across the dark house.
I lay with my back against the door in case it tries to force its way through it, but no more sounds come from the other side of the door. I turn and slowly lift my head to peer out through the window. Our eyes meet, only a thin pane of glass separating us. It glares at me intently with six unblinking six eyes, then in a flash, it’s gone.
That was two months ago. It still comes most nights; not every night, but most nights. No one believes me. Every day, before sunset, I check every window and every door to make sure they are locked. I dread the day that I forget to lock that one single window. It will eventually get inside. It’s getting smarter. It won’t be long before it realizes it doesn’t have to move on just because this flimsy window is locked.