Today, I am going to talk to you about wolf spiders. If you are irish and reading this, then you don't take spiders seriously. You probably never have, and you probably never will. They are insects to you, things to be gently swatted away, things of beauty and delicacy, with beautiful webs that catch the morning dew and make it sparkle in the light of dawn.
You do not know the creatures I know.
True, most irish spiders are relatively harmless. But the words "harmless" and "wolf spiders" are antonyms. Let me explain my interactions with these creatures of the night. I am orignally from Utah, a state in America. It's between Nevada and Colorado (Las Vegas and south park, for those of you that don't know american geography). And in Utah, the wildlife can kill you. It's not entirely likey, but it's enough of a chance to keep you on your toes when you're in the woods. With rattlesnakes and mean coyotes, and spiders that can kill you, and adult would be wary. A child (my age at the time) has reason to fear.
Now, our house had a fireplace, and if you have a fireplace, they should be used. So you need wood. Or coal. We had a massive, black coalbox near our garage. had creaky latches and all that good stuff you'd expect a severed torso to reside in. So, logically, you need a fire when it is cold. Now, another interesting thing that happens when it's cold is that insects, especially spiders seek shelter to remain warm. Now, you can probably see where this is going, but let me tell you first about these creatures.
They have long legs. Not like a daddy longlegs or crane fly's legs. Long, thick, hairy legs. the kind that you see in the monster movies. And they are also well known for their extremely reflective eyes. A good way do spot them is to shine a flashlight around, and if you see a set of eyes shining back at you in the darkness, then there you go. They have pretty potent venom too. Not enough to kill or permanently disfigure, but enough to cause considerable swelling, redness, itching, and pain. Now, for the most terrifying feature of all. The one they don't tell you on wikipedia. They can jump. Yes, jump. That means that they can jump onto you. Their paths are no longer predictable or linear. That means that they can come in contact you from a distace. And in the dark, with only their terrifying eyes to view them by, stopping them is nigh impossible unless you have the hand eye coordination of a surgeon. And these are not minisule jumps of a bumbling creature, these are leaps of a few feet. At my age back then, they could jump up to your waist. Half of you. Half of my body.
So let me set the scene. Dead of night. Far away from any sort of opening, where no-one could hear you scream. Our house was also pretty high up in the mountains, with a winding driveway leading up to the house, like castle Dracula or Wayne manor, except on a hill, instead of a precipice. So I, armed with only a coal bucket, a scoop, and a flashlight, have been charged with the grim task of getting coal. I shuffle forward on uneasy feet, drawing close to the snow-laden box. The lid opens, the hinges quietly creaking open to reveal the empty blackness. The flashlight does little to reveal this mystery. All that is visible is thick cobwebs, and the dull gritty glitter of damp coal. But that is not the only glitter. There is a round, shiny glare, a reply to my flashlight's inquiry. The glare moves, shuffles closer. Closer. It is lost underneath the coal for a few brief moments, lost in it's cavern-like abode. It's abscence seems to inspire more fear than it's presence. Suddenly, it reappears. On the edge of the box. 2 inches away from my belt. I look down at it, the shadow no longer hiding it's the beast looks back, brisltling with hate at my intrusion of it's home. I take a step back. Without warning, the creature leaps into the air, it's speed hides it from my eyes better than the shadows. The coal bucket clatters to the cold concrete, and all I hear are my footsteps rushing towards the door. The fear in my heart is far colder than winter's bite, and no fire could warm the beast's unblinking eyes from my memory.
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