It was a stupid thing to do, but it was just supposed to be a prank.
There was a creepy girl at school, Maria, she didn’t hurt anyone, but she was a freak and it made us all uncomfortable. Why couldn’t she just be normal? We played jokes on her from time to time. It’s a mean thing to do but we were kids and I think we thought of it as a kind of fair punishment for the fact that she was so weird.
I put a centipede in her soup. A big old house centipede I trapped in a tupperware when I found it crawling around the bathtub downstairs. At lunch when she got up to buy a soda I dumped it in and stirred it around. It was a jittery little fuck but I mashed it a few times so it was almost dead. She sat alone and no one else stopped me, we all hated her. I ran back to my table and my friends and I were crying from laughing so hard.
She wasn’t supposed to actually eat it.
I thought she’d see it on her spoon and freak out and be off food for a few days and we’d all have a good laugh. But she wasn’t looking or it looked too much like meat because she didn’t notice anything was wrong until one end was in her mouth and the rest was dangling down her face.
I was too far away to see if it was still writhing around, but it may have been.
She made this sound I’ve never heard another human make and the entire cafeteria got quiet. It was like “RWAAARCH”. Her bowl went flying and there was soup everywhere and she was spitting and crying and making the biggest scene I’ve ever seen in real life.
The place had erupted in laughter. Nobody really knew about the bug they just thought the freak had finally freaked out. I felt a little twinge of guilt because she looked over at me at the same time all my friends were patting me on the back. Her expression changed from terror to malice as she put together what must have happened. I just stared back, what was she going to do?
Maria didn’t come to school for three days.
When she came back, she was different.
She wasn’t wearing her freaky witch clothes and her frizzy hair wasn’t going in a million directions. She looked normal. She stopped mumbling and started talking to people. A few months later I saw her at the mall, I think she had friends. I started thinking the whole prank had knocked some sense into her. But that’s when the bad stuff started happening.
The first one was totally normal. I’d seen a house centipede or two in my house every year since they freaked me out as a little kid. Usually they weren’t upstairs though and this was a big fat one crawling on the wall towards me as I was reading in bed one night. Usually they crawled in this unpredictable zigzag, but this one seemed to be motoring right towards my bed with purpose.
I got up and found an old tennis shoe and smashed it against the wall. I got some paper towels and clean the guts up. It was pretty disgusting.
The next night I felt something move under my covers across my foot and up my leg. I threw the covers off watched three of them skitter into my closet. I stayed up until four cleaning every surface of my room and making sure there weren’t any hiding places near my bed where they’d want to hang out anymore. I feel asleep in fifth period and drooled on my notebook. Ashley Murmal saw.
I stopped at Target on my way home from school and wandered around the pest control section. I came home with a bag of glue traps and put some under my bed. When I pulled them out in the morning there were still alive writhing tangles of centipedes glued to every available particle of surface area. I counted twenty before I gave up in disgust and threw them in the trash bin outside.
They were everywhere after that, it was an infestation.
I’d shake them out of my shoes in the morning and find them on the clothes I took out my closet. They’d drop down from the ceiling when I was in the shower and I could never sit still for more than a few minutes without feeling one somewhere on my body.
I became accustomed to the feeling of a house centipede crawling up my back and looping around my neck.
The thing is, they never bothered anyone else. My mom and my sister couldn’t see them. At first I thought the infestation was just centered in my room, but eventually I bought more glue traps and showed them the masses they collected. The told me it wasn’t worth getting so freaked out over a single spider. They couldn’t see them.
The look of concern on my mom’s face was enough for me to back down. I told her I had arachnophobia and didn’t bring it up again.
I don’t know if I’m going crazy, but I know she can’t help me.
They’re crawling over me right now and when I open my mouth to speak they go inside. I used to gag when they went down my throat but all the coughing scares people, so I’ve learned to live with it. The only time I even pull them off of me anymore is when they start to crawl into my nose, it just tickles too much. This is my life now, every day there’s more of them.