It began “not with a bang but a whimper’ as many things end, as Emelia raced out of the bathroom, white as a sheet and stuttering, rousing me from my quilt cocoon in roughly two seconds. What had happened? A fall? A lost favorite toy or woe betide us all, Vomiting?.
By the time my brain had moved this far and managed to get me into a half sitting position Eloise was behind me, shaking and glaring over my shoulder and the half open door through which she had just fled.
“What is it honey?” I murmured as I wrangled her through layers of quilt across my body and onto my lap, kissing her forehead and establishing that at least she was temperature free…
“There’s something funny in the toilet Mummy”
“Funny haha, or Funny peculiar?” I murmured into her hair, letting go of the deep breath of the parent who may have had to clean up vomit for the fourth time this month. Her odd look at my drumroll expression reminded me that while she was not lacking in the speech department perhaps the difference between amusing and strange had not occurred to a 4-year-old.
“Make it go away” she whispered into my collar bone , snuggling closer..
“Why are we whispering?”
“In case it hears me, it doesn’t want you to know it’s there”
This took me a moment. Now brain was fully awake, and i realised that in fact if the ‘something funny ‘ turned out to be a giant Huntsman I was alone in the house with a child who was none too fond of spider disposal either and if it moved from the toilet where would it flee to?
It would become an invisi-spider – one you know is there but cannot for the life of you find until it appears crawling over your shoulder several weeks later as you are having a rather well earned end of day glass of wine in the room furthest from where it was last seen…
Thus, Emelia snuggled safely in quilt and insisting on being placed in the wardrobe to keep her safe from this ‘toilet monster’ and me, encased in spider proof tight necked top tucked into pants into socks into boots with head wrapped in scarf (spider in hair – ewww) I approached the bathroom armed with a broom, to be used for either spider transport or spider death and torture instrument depending on said spiders size.
Bathroom door open, check. Shower, Spider free, check. Bath, spider free, yep, mirror and vanity, all spider free unless the bloody thing could open drawers…and it was about that time I heard a tapping, like a fingernail on the side of a tea cup, coming from the closed toilet lid…strange…water in the cistern, must be, removed cistern lid with broom handle – peering inside, nothing, nothing odd, nothing on the lid, inside or outside…the tapping reached mug status accompanied by occasional splashes…
I felt like taking Emilias tack and joining her in the cupboard – but no, I am Mother, must conquer all on a Saturday morning before husband and father Adam arrives home with paper…to be lauded as spider removal, fear conquering hero…
This was my mistake, putting down the broom, should have known by the rise in volume of the tapping, although i didn’t realise that at the time.
The second mistake was ignoring the strange panting noise that I had been putting down to the dog this entire time, the dog that routinely went walking with Adam on Saturday mornings.
Third mistake was lifting the lid…
Then it was redness and teeth and the sound of Adams key in the lock. Before the black.
If that was a huntsman it was a bloody huge one.