A Spider Bite And A Flash Fiction

The fear of public speaking is stronger than the fear of death itself, ‘they’ say, but in my research for this post I discovered something very interesting: according to an online article which cited the results of a recent survey in America, we are now more likely to fear losing everything on our computers than our date with the Grim Reaper.

So when Charli asked us in this week’s flash fiction challenge to show a character confronting something worse than death, I immediately thought of some deep-rooted fears of my own. For instance, my fear of wasps.  And snakes creeping into my bed. And dentists. Not to mention rusty old shipwrecks.

Funnily enough, I’m not too bad with spiders until I got bitten by one a couple of summers ago.  Naturally, I would have expected this to be far more likely in California but this was in England.  While living in California,  I was not only deathly afraid of being swallowed up by an earthquake but also of coming eyeball to eyeball with a Rattlesnake or a Black Widow spider, courtesy of watching all those wonderful BBC nature programmes.

When the children’s uncle came to visit, he always took me aside to warn me of the dangers of these venomous beasts that apparently lurked in the woodpile at the end of the garden right next door to the chicken run.  We never did find a Rattler there but I did come no more than a hand’s-width away from a Black Widow.  We managed to capture it in a glass jar and when we turned it over and saw the tell-tale red ‘egg-timer’ on its belly, I seriously thought I was going to be sick.

So it wasn’t funny when one day, back in  non-venomous England, I sat down on my garden chair only to be stung, most painfully, on my, ahem, bum.  I shot out of my chair fully expecting to see the crumpled body of a wasp, the thought of which gives me chills even as I type this. Instead I watched in horror as a spider scuttled away in between the wooden slats of the chair.

I rushed into the shed to grab a jar whereupon I managed, somehow, to capture the dastardly offender as evidence.

Spider wrapping up a wasp (and no, this isn't the one that bit me!) (c) Sherri Matthews 2012

Spider wrapping up a wasp (and no, this isn’t the one that bit me!)
(c) Sherri Matthews 2012

Now this bite grew in size and was seriously painful.  Aspie D (my daughter), seeing my panic, did what she always does in a crisis: she took to the internet.  Fingers flying so fast that they blurred into one, she soon enough found some information about my symptoms and they didn’t sound good. By now convinced that I had been pumped full of venom (after all, I was feeling a little faint you know…) and needing emergency treatment immediately, I called hubby and he rushed me to A&E (ER).

So there I was, not long after,  in the rather embarrassing position of having to pull down my drawers for a Spanish doctor (female, thank God)to examine the offending bite while explaining to hubby what to look for should it spread into an infection.  (Apologies if too much information.) Still, the kindly doctor told me that I had done the right thing and in the end no harm was done.

Oh, and the spider? The doctor said it wasn’t harmful so hubby let it go,  hoping it wouldn’t show up again anytime soon.  And I no longer sit down on that chair without a cushion. Not ever.

…………………………………………………

I have written about these fears light-heartedly but some fears are no laughing matter.  What fears lurk in our hearts in the dead of night when we can’t sleep, when we worry about unpaid bills, our troubled children, our unhappy marriages or our health?  What fears are to some, worse than death?

Here then is my flash (in 99 words, no more, no less):

No Way Out

Bill leapt out of his seat like an escaped animal as the letter landed on the front door mat. Hands shaking, he ripped open the envelope.

In large, red letters the repossession order stared back at him like a snake about to go for his throat. Rooted to the spot, he fumbled for his mobile as it vibrated into life.

“Bill? Did the letter come…? Bill? Are you there…?”

Bill stared into silence and hit ‘End’ on his phone as he tossed it into the bin. There’s no going back now he thought, as he headed for the garage.

 

 

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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124 Responses to A Spider Bite And A Flash Fiction

  1. Oh dear. He’s been thinking about this, hasn’t he? Awesome, Sherri. ❤

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  2. elisa ruland says:

    Oh, what a story! Funny, but not so much for you. Glad you and the spider parted as friends…
    🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks Elisa…at the time it really hurt and I was so surprised as I’ve never been bitten by a spider before. I thought the only ones that bit were dangerous like Black Widows and I know for sure we don’t have those here 😉 We think it was a Wolf Spider…common here!

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  3. restlessjo says:

    I am ‘not liking’ this tale at all 😦 I didn’t used to think spiders could, or did, bite, Sherri, but yours isn’t the first sorry tale I’ve heard lately. I can’t say I’m fond of the wee beasties. If they would keep still and not gallop about it might be better. Or maybe not….
    Glad no serious harm was done, in the ‘end’. 🙂 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Nor did I Jo..until that darn spider bit me! In fact this has been an ongoing debate in our household. As I said to Elisa, I always thought that the spiders that did bite were venomous and dangerous. I was so shocked, you can just imagine! I was convinced that I’d been stung by a wasp and I was wearing jeans too o_O Anyway, yes, haha, glad you caught that…’in the end’ 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a fear but also an understanding with nature. If it stays outside I am happy if it creeps inside its my husbands job to take it back where it belongs. Your writing piece was fast paced and intense. hope you have a spider free day we are coming into summer soon and I have to prepare myself for snakes, spiders and bugs. Hopefully a quiet year as last year….. one funnel web and a red belly black snake managed to drop by INSIDE the house for a visit.

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    • Sherri says:

      Yikes Kath…a funnel web spider and a red belly black snake in your house? That’s big league as far as I’m concerned. I recently wrote a post about my daughter’s pet corn snake, Charles P. Snake, who recently died but when we first got him he escaped for 2 days and my daughter didn’t dare tell me for rear I would ‘lose my mind’. She’s right o_O Thankfully he stayed in her room (she found him curled up in one of her shoes) and it never happened again. I also can’t bear moths so I was always getting my boys to catch them and put them back outside when we lived in the States and what really scare me are things that hop like crickets. I had one land on me once in the house and I must have screamed for England. Thanks for the feedback on the flash and for the spider free day…although at this time of year we get a lot of spiders spinning their webs outside and I keep walking into them. I hope too you don’t get any surprise visitors this summer, of the slithery and long-legged kind that is 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Yolanda M. says:

    Love the flash fiction – now I’ll be wondering all afternoon what Bill got up to in the garage 😉 I have, what I like to think of as ‘a healthy respect’ for spiders. I also expect them to respect me and my family enough to stay outdoors. So far they haven’t got the memo. Glad to hear the spider that bit you was all fangs and no venom 🙂 I had a snake sleep in my tent back in the day (in Africa – and it was venomous) only realized it on waking of course so that cured my fear of finding a snake in my bed.

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…well Bill was in a bad place but maybe help came at the last minute…
      Haha…love that…’so far they haven’t got the memo’ 😀 I know what you mean. My daughter is deathly afraid of spiders and yet it is her room where they seem to congregate. That spider really shocked me as I didn’t think spiders over here bit but I was proved very wrong o_O
      Okay, now you really have got me with that one… a snake sleeping in your tent and you didn’t know? All night? Yolanda, I have goosebumps as I type this just thinking about it. Thank goodness you were okay…you are WAY braver than I could ever be. I seriously think if I had a snake in my bed I would expire! Thanks so much for your great comment… 😀

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      • Yolanda M. says:

        I wish I could own that badge for bravery Sherri 🙂 but snakes coming into homes and tents in Africa is fairly common especially when temperatures dip at night. Good friends of ours lived with a spitting cobra in their dining room (it lived in a hole in the wall) and it never bit anyone – go figure!

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      • Sherri says:

        Yolanda, I still say you are one brave lady, honestly I do 🙂 We have lovely elderly neighbours who lived in Zimbabwe for many years and have shared many stories of visiting snakes. But to have a spitting cobra in a dining room? Living in a hole in the wall? That just makes my blood turn to ice even thinking about it… o_O

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  6. jennypellett says:

    Oh, a very dark tale – poor Bill!
    I’m not keen on spiders – fortunately my husband can pick ’em up and chuck them outside – we get lots in the house at this time of the year. I think the worst thing that has bitten me is a mosquito – and I react badly to those. Many a holiday has been ruined by me having unsightly wheals on my legs thanks to the little pests. However much repellant I use, the blighted always find that bit I missed!

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes…poor Bill 😦 But maybe something changed before it was too late…maybe…
      Hubby does the same too Jenny as did the boys when they lived at home. But C is deathly afraid of spiders and I don’t like to touch them, especially now, so between us we are useless o_O The garden is full of them right now, I keep walking into their webs, but they seem pretty harmless. So long as they catch flies and wasps I’m happy 😉 Mossies are horrible. I don’t do too badly with them but again, hubby is like you, gets awful welts. I’m sorry you have that trouble Jenny and you’re right, they always seem to get past the repellant. There was a product I used to get in the States that was absolutely brilliant, a moisturiser and repellant in one. It was by Avon but I can’t remember the name. I wonder if they do it here? I’ll ask around and get back to you on that…

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      • jennypellett says:

        I know the one you mean, it’s called Skin So Soft and I have used it – just if I miss a bit, they still find my flesh! Avon also used to do one with sunscreen in it too but that sadly was discontinued. Will have to eat more Marmite, it’s supposed to keep them at bay somehow 😃

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      • Sherri says:

        Yes, that’s it Jenny, thanks, I was going nuts trying to think of it and knew it began with an ‘S’ 🙂 Yes, I remember the sunscreen too. Ahh well, maybe Marmite is the key (and not heard that, will tell hubby as he loves it). What can be better of a cold night sitting cosily by the fire with a mug of tea and toast with Marmite 😀

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  7. We often bring our own events and experiences with us when we interpret a story. Last week I read of three business partners whose business collapsed: the company vehicles were going to be repossessed and their houses foreclosed, and all their company’s computers were confiscated. All three of the partners met in the 3-car garage of one of the foreclosed homes, parked their cars inside, closed and locked the garage doors behind them and started the engines. So the first thing I imagined Bill doing was committing suicide.
    Actually, I was still reeling from your spider bite…
    You keep us reading, Sherri!

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes, Marylin, you are right. That is just what Bill was going to do…but then I thought perhaps help might come at the last minute…but as it stopped right here, there was no help…sad, but true 😦
      What an absolute tragedy to read about these three business partners. my heart and prayers go out to them and their families. How do they recover from that? The harsh reality of every day life with families on the edge and losing everything. Having gone through a foreclosure I know the hell of it…
      As for the spider bite, I still can’t believe how much that hurt 😮 Still, I’m relieved it wasn’t a wasp as the thought of one of those things touching me makes me ill…I have a morbid fear of them 😦
      Thank you as always Marylin, I’m so very glad I keep you reading…that’s my mission 🙂

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  8. TanGental says:

    Great post Sherri. I love spiders but have a healthy respect. There are about ten spiders that live here that can bite. Only two are reasonably common biters – the tube web and the false widow (that’s the one in my post the other day) and while like a bee or a wasp sting are not damgerous. None are, at least not the ones that can live here. Both are foreign but both have had colonies here since the 19th century at least. If you want a scare it’s the daddy long legs. Their venom is awful but they can’t bite. Now if they cross bred with a false widow….
    Your story of your bitten bottom was a hoot – perfect amount of info – and your flash a peach if an awful sickening ending.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks Geoff and also for all the great info, which is quite comforting for the most part! See, I knew you would know your stuff about spiders and their bites! It wasn’t until I was bitten by one that I believed they could bite, at least the ones over here! Ah, I thought that was a false widow, we had one in our house once. I couldn’t believe it what with my black widow experience before. Goodness Geoff, I had no idea about daddy long legs but you’ve just proved my daughter right…she has been telling us for ages that they are venomous but I never believed her telling her they were harmless! When you think how many we get in our houses at this time of year…and I do hope they never do breed with false widows, that would be horrendous.
      Glad my little story amused you…and I did see the funny side of it at the time despite being in a lot of pain, still can’t believe it and I’m not too wimpy, honestly 😉 Thanks too for the flash…I know it was sickening but it was the one I had to write having already got into the mind of it..as we do…and it wouldn’t go away…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Letizia says:

    What a terrible place to get bitten by a spider! We get bitten by spiders a lot here (not sure if we have a lot or if we just spend a lot of time gardening without gloves….) but they aren’t too venomous so the doc has just given us a big tube of the medication to keep, haha!

    I’m a bit afraid of snakes in the loo (explanation forthcoming). When I was a child, my parents caught a non-venomous snake in our house and teasingly told me they flushed it down the toilet. Ever since, I’ve had an illogical fear of one coming up to bite me on the bum!

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Letizia! Yes, it wasn’t pleasant I can tell you! Ouch…glad you have some medication to hand but make sure to wear those gardening gloves 😉 Oh that snake in the loo story is just horrifying. I would be just the same as you. As it is, my ex used to flush our dead fish down the loo in the days when we had a fish tank and I was always worried they would flush back up. But a snake? In the loo? I don’t blame you being fearful of being bitten on the bum o_O

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  10. mijo1947 says:

    You write in such a way that I can picture every moment. What a talent! And the flash fiction is great – all that in 99 words – phew!
    Well my writing course started yesterday so I am hoping if I put some effort in – my blog will improve too!
    However after a weekend in Paris I am struck down with the dreaded lurgy – if I was a bloke I’d say it was man flu but I’m not so it had better improve tomorrow.
    Keep on keeping us all entertained, thanks.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much, lovely to see you again, you are very kind. That’s exciting about your writing course, I wish you every success with it and hopefully you’ll enjoy it too 🙂 So sorry to hear about the dreaded lurgy. We’ve all had it and I do hope you recover quickly 🙂

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  11. Pat says:

    I can certainly feel your pain, Sherri. Spiders creep me out, too, and some of them can pack a pretty good wallop. I guess my biggest fear that grips and paralyzes me is the paranormal. Growing up with ghost stories, a psychic grandmother and things that go bump in the night have contributed, I’m sure, to a lot of that.

    Funny, how you chose this topic on fears, as I just guest posted ghost stories of an old house in the spirit of Halloween this month and change of seasons. We must really be on the same wavelength. 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes, I would definitely say the paranormal grips me too Pat (although that darn spider bite really hurt o_O ). I’ve just read your spooky ghost story over at Susan’s, a gripping read if ever I read one, yikes! I’ve left a comment over there. I’m not surprised that those happenings scared you so much. And yes, we do seem to be on the same wavelength! Have a great day my friend 🙂

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      • Pat says:

        I know, spider bites hurt, especially the wolf spiders. Our dog was bitten by a wolf spider once and his nose swelled up. It took several days for the swelling to go down and years after he still had a place on his nose where the fur never grew back. They’re wicked.

        Yeah, the paranormal can be a bit scary, too, but it’s funny, it’s something I’ve always been attracted to, as well. I don’t know what it is — maybe, the unknown. I find it fascinating and have always wished I could have learned more from my grandmother rather than being freaked out most of the time. I’m getting better at it, though.

        I have a fellow blogger, Beverely Young, who writes a blog on the paranormal. I just came across one of her posts where she was talking about ‘orbs’ (round spots that show up in photos). She said they can be dust but also a collection of energy in places of high spiritual activity. I mentioned I had read Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book this summer where he was talking about orbs and thought I had captured an orb on my walkabout video I did at Pine Valley Ranch. She took a look at it and thought it was definitely an orb.

        I’m sorry — see, I can really get off on this type of thing and I know it’s so far from what you were talking about with spiders. That’s it — I’m shutting up – LOL. Take care, my friend, and hope you’ve recovered sufficiently from your bite. 🙂

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        • Sherri says:

          No, do please carry on Pat, I find it fascinating! In fact, you have sparked something I need to share with you. A while back I posted about a walk around a place called Stourhead in which I shared some photos of a church and it’s graveyard. It wasn’t until I put the photos on my blog that I noticed something unusual about one of them and I asked my readers what they thought. I had in mind at first that it might be a drop of rain on the camera lens but none of the other photos taken at exactly the same time had it. Then I thought it might be an orb, especially as it was directly above a gravestone. When I zoomed in it seemed to me that a woman’s face appears inside but maybe I’m just imaging things. Do you think your blogging friend might be interested in taking a look at the photograph? You just never know 😮

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          • Pat says:

            Sure, Sherri, I don’t see why not. Her name is Beverely Young and the link to her post on orbs I was talking about is: http://ghosttalkblog.com/2012/11/09/orbs-the-good-the-bad-and-the-nasty/. You’ll see in her comments where she responded to my video.

            I think all of this is exciting, especially after I read about it this summer in Wayne Dyer’s book “Wishes Fulfilled”, where he includes some photos with orbs in them.

            Let me know how it turns out. 🙂

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          • Pat says:

            Sherri — I looked for your post on Stourhead with the graveyard photos and couldn’t find it. Maybe, you could shoot me the link when you get a chance. Thank You! 🙂

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          • Pat says:

            Hi Sherri – I see what you mean with the spot of light to the left of the cross. I zoomed in and it looks to me to be a funny way the light is casting on a leaf. But, what do I know. Sure looks to be something out of the ordinary, for sure. Maybe, Bev, can give a better perspective with her experience with these things. I can’t really tell.

            If you go to her post and see my comments with the video, may be you could check it out and let me know what you think about what I thought I saw as an orb. Having a good time — this is fun. 🙂

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      • Sherri says:

        Hi again Pat! That’s very kind of you, thank you, I’ll get over to Beverly’s blog as soon as I can, I can’t wait to see what she thinks 🙂 Sorry, I should have sent you the link, here it is: https://sherrimatthewsblog.com/2013/10/21/a-storm-stourhead-and-a-faraday-cage/
        It’s the fifth photo down. If you look to the left of the gravestone cross, you’ll see the circle about the size of a dime. Do let me know what you think! Exciting indeed 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi again Pat! Just to let you know that I sent over the link to my post with the ‘orb’ photograph to Bev, I can’t wait to see what she thinks. It might to nothing but it’s exciting to read her post and I was fascinated to watch your video again but this time noticing the orbs. At first I thought they were sunlight catching the lens but then as Bev said, the ‘orb’ did seem to disappear and the reappear. Intriguing to say the least, especially as you felt so much energy at the Pagoda. Loving this chat my friend 🙂

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      • Pat says:

        Great, Sherri! Woo-hoo! I’m glad you checked her out and sent over your link. Can’t wait to hear what she says. I think you’ll find you can learn a lot from her on these types of things. I’m always amazed at the topics she comes up with and the depth she goes into to talk about them and educate. I’ve learned a lot from her.

        I’m glad you also got a chance to see the place in my video where I thought there was an orb. I was like you and thought it might be the way the sunlight filtered through or dust on the lens but her post and Wayne Dyer’s photos gave me second thoughts. I had to ask. It was amazing to catch it on video. I’m still mesmerized by it.

        Loving talking with you on this kind of stuff — so much fun. 🙂

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        • Sherri says:

          It is incredible. I showed your video to hubby and my daughter and they both thought it was definitely an orb as you approached the pagoda. Now they are fascinated by the one in my photo too! Bev is so knowledgeable I can’t wait to read more.
          This has been a wonderful discussion my friend…and more to come. Have a great weekend and see you again soon 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Pat says:

            It doesn’t take much, Sherri, for me to get ramped up on this type of thing. It’s fun that your hubby and daughter are fascinated by it, too. So much in the world to learn about. I love it.

            It has been a fun and lively discussion. I’m curious about the 2 men Bev saw in the picture. I didn’t see them. Will leave that for another discussion.

            Take care and have a great weekend. Talk with you again soon. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

      • Pat says:

        Oh wow Sherri! Bev found your orb along with images of 2 men. I’m blown away — that is so cool, my friend. 😀

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      • Pat says:

        I looked at your photo again, Sherri, and I can see the orb now. It is perfectly round. I missed it in the background. Exciting stuff, my friend.

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  12. Amy says:

    What a story, Sherri! spider makes me nervous.

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  13. I have a host of fears, but spiders aren’t one of them, Sherri. Of course, an encounter with a Black Widow might change my mind. Here in the south, there’s a common venomous spider called the Brown Recluse. They have a small body but freakishly long legs and often lurk in the garage. They’re not jumpers, so I’m not that afraid unless they end up in the house, then it’s time for DFD to step in. 🙂
    I love that Aspie D takes to the internet in a crisis…sounds like me!
    I enjoyed your flash fiction piece. Poor Bill, I’d like to think his story ended on a happy note, but after reading Marylin’s comment, I’m afraid that wasn’t the case.
    Thank you again for your awesome spotlight post, Sherri! xo

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    • Sherri says:

      You know Jill, spiders never bothered me until that bite – and also that time when I almost touched a Black Widow. Scared me half to death that did. Ahh…I’ve heard of the Brown Recluse, they are quite dangerous aren’t they? We have had a spate of them turning up here in the UK, no doubt travelled in shipping containers from abroad. I’m so glad you have DFD to step in when needed… 😉 Ha, yes, always the internet…how would we manage without it? I’m glad you enjoyed the flash, thank you Jill but yes, poor Bill it is I’m afraid. I did think about the possibility of a last-minute reprieve but that wasn’t what I had in mind when writing it, sadly…
      Thank YOU Jill, I enjoyed every minute of it. Your blog and you are awesome my friend 😀 xoxoxo

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  14. reocochran says:

    Wow! I am so sorry for that nasty bite, Sherri! I am a nature lover but also don’t want to be hurt. I have had a few spiders bite me, tics stick to my shins and ankles, but I hate, really despise tics, fleas or lice in my hair! I have had all 3, one time or other, the first one from the woods, the second from my sweet daughter who always insisted on bringing home feral kitties or baby wild things, and the last from my artistic, pragmatic daughter, who simply didn’t know that home perms attract lice! I am worried about Bill, but you really compacted a suspenseful tale there! Smiles!

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Robin! Yes, that bite did really hurt but I think it was the shock of it that got me the most! I had a tick bite last summer and went to the doctor about it. Had a blood test but thankfully no Lyme’s Disease which I was really worried about. Oooohhh..fleas, ticks and lice – me too. They’re awful and I’m sorry you had those experiences, wow, that’s rough! I had no idea that home perms attract lice. They are nasty. I’m deathly afraid of wasps. I’ve been stung a few times and it’s not too bad really but it’s the thought that one actually landed on me and touched my skin that sends me over the top….just horrible o_O
      Thank you very much for your feedback on the flash but sadly, yes, it is worrying about Bill…
      And just to end on a happy note, your daughter sounds just like mine with animals 🙂

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      • reocochran says:

        I hope you will give us updates on Bill… this story has me in suspense… smiles!
        So glad your daughter is like mine. They sure are precious and help us to be more kind, too.
        I am afraid of bees, like that they get sluggish in the fall. I try when I am photographing a flower to get close to bees, making me award, they rarely do ‘attack’ but I could imagine wasps being more likely to scare me, too!
        I am glad my kids are ‘over’ this phase, but worried, that one of my six grandkids will come up with one of those hair ‘bugs,’ and I will have to go through the procedures all over again. Off to pick up my kindergartner, Micah, who is so funny and we plan on a park trip and an overnight. He had his mother call me, since his 9 year old (soon to be 10) brother is going to a birthday party sleepover. His first words out of his mouth were, (into the phone), “Nana, I need your help!”

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  15. Luanne says:

    You are such a brave girl!! I’m so sorry you had to go through that!!! Spider bites, even from the most harmless, can be so painful with their hard swelling and they turn hot and red. Ugh, making me sick thinking of it. My daughter has serious arachniphobia (however you spell it). Once there was a spider the size of a golf ball PLUS legs in her dorm room. A male friend helped her by finding it and killing it, but he practically needed hunting gear to do so. That is what happens when you go to college in Oklahoma. Stay away from creepy things, Sherri!!! xo

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    • Sherri says:

      I’m not so sure I was that brave Luanne, you should have seen me panicking over that bite. I seriously thought it was venomous, yikes 😉 My bite turned hot and red and it was so painful. The doctor said I did the right thing by going to the hospital as sometimes they can turn nasty. Oh your poor daughter, she sounds just like mine and would have freaked out with a spider like that in her room. Haha…hunting gear…oh the image that conjures up, you have such a great way of putting things! I hope your daughter didn’t have any more trouble, that spider sounds horrendous. Will definitely do so… can’t stand them! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Loved your spider tale. I hate spiders. They are ugly and creepy and I can only tolerate them if they stay outside where they belong. I don’t think I would have been as nice as you were with the spider. My eighteen year old granddaughter loves spiders. She calls them beautiful and unique. If she finds one in the house, she’ll carry it outside (in her hand) and let it go. Obviously her idea of beauty isn’t mine.

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Donna! Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it but I’m with you, spiders should stay outside. I wanted to squish that darn spider that bit me but hubby was kinder than me about it…but then he wasn’t the one who got bitten, ha 😉 Your granddaughter is much braver than us… 😉

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  17. bulldog says:

    Having been bitten twice by a violin spider on the leg and having the two holes as evidence, I now have a healthier respect for the spider family… but where in the past I would move them from harm in the house… now if they come to visit, they die…
    Bite me once and I might forgive you bite me twice and you sign your own death warrant…

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    • Sherri says:

      Yikes Bulldog, that’s horrible! I didn’t mind spiders too much until I got bitten by one (and stayed clear away from Black Widows…) but now we’ve had some strange foreign spider appearances here in the UK lately and it makes me nervous. Haha…you’ve got the right idea, definitely… 🙂

      Like

  18. Haha, ‘non-venomous England’. That made me chuckle for some reason. Such a wonderfully boring country we live in 😉 But oh dear Sherri!! That spider bite sounded awful :/ Touch wood, I’ve never been bitten by anything like that. When I was in America visiting family with my mother, she was bitten by fire ants, and she’s so sensitive to bug bites so it got pretty bad for her. She ended up having little scars and everything! Like you, she did not venture back over to that garden furniture again.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Lol 🙂 Well it’s true isn’t it Jenny Jen Jen (apart from the adder that is, and I’ve never seen one in my life, ha!). It is wonderfully boring isn’t it but I’ve been worried about some dangerous spiders coming over in shipments arriving on our shores…which is why I panicked when this particular one bit me. Oooh…I know those bites from a fire ant, I’ve had some and they’re horrible. Your poor mother, what a nasty experience for her. I bet she was glad to get back to our common old boring black ants o_O

      Like

      • Indeed! I’ve never seen an adder, either. Although, I have a friend who had one at the bottom of his garden once! How exciting for him, eh 😉 But no, I am glad our country is so terribly boring 😛 Haha, yeah, I was quite relieved to get back to boring old England myself; I was strangely paranoid about the weather!! It made me appreciate our weather here a bit more, you know.

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          I know very few people who’ve seen an adder so that is actually quite exciting for your friend, lol 😉 Nothing like appreciating one’s homeland having spent time away from it, most definitely 🙂

          Like

  19. Sherri, I loved this post. Yes we all fear something. I didn’t know that public speaking was on everyone’s list. (the fear being almost above death) It certainly is on mine. And spiders, forget it. I am terrified. It is good to know that England is venom less. (I will believe you)! Good post. I like your short story too!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Hollis! Thank you very much, I’m so glad you enjoyed it and the flash too 🙂 Yes, apparently various studies show that the fear of public speaking overtakes the fear of death for most people. Amazing isn’t it? It certainly is a terrifying thought so I can see why! Haha…well, it is venom-less apart from the Adder snake (otherwise called a Viper) but I’ve never seen one of those in my entire life so it’s all very tame really. I have a healthy respect for spiders now since that bite. When I moved to California I was absolutely petrified of running into a Rattlesnake. My ex shot one once and had it framed. Can you believe it? You would be quite right to assume that I didn’t take it with me when I returned home 😉

      Like

  20. Charli Mills says:

    Oh, Sherri, how our life experiences and interests continue to connect. I have a bum-mer of a sting story too! Or is it a tale of the tail? ;-D Mine was not a spider but a bumblebee. Taught me not to pick early morning raspberries wearing nothing but a night-shift. I rather like spiders…outside. When the wolf spiders come inside, the Hub is enlisted to relocate them. My eldest had a house in Montana that was full of hobo spiders! Their bite is similar to that of a brown recluse. They set “traps” for them. Shudder. Terrific flash! Love the sense of waiting for impending doom to set in motion a plan of action. Lends a great mystique, reading it.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Charli! Wow, I didn’t expect to see you here today but so glad to find you here 🙂 Haha…I love that…a real ‘bum-mer of a sting story’! This one must really have a sting in its tail…and it certainly does 😉 Ouch! I know that hurt with the bumblebee. I stood on one once and it stung my big toe, made my foot and leg ache the entire day. Good job we’re not allergic….and it’s another coincidence because I’m pretty sure that it was a wolf spider that bit me from our online identification. I’ve never heard of hobo spiders but since they are similar to the brown recluse they must be nasty things. Shudder is right, imagine having spider traps? Hope your son didn’t get bitten. Thanks so much for your comment about the flash, makes my day that 🙂 Hope all is well and you are having a fab time 😀

      Like

  21. Pingback: Facing Fear « Carrot Ranch Communications

  22. I’m so glad that spider bit wasn’t too serious. One can never be too careful though, and that spider looks really scary. Losing everything on our computers must be a very real fear these days, as most people rely on them totally. A couple of days ago, I lost an article I’d spent days writing for our club magazine. Hubby helped me search everywhere for it, but to no avail, so i had to rewrite it quite quickly, as the deadline had arrived that morning. I was almost in tears, but it came out alright in the end, as I managed to remember most of what I’d written. Phew!!
    Poor Bob. I hope he didn’t do something stupid in his mad panic. Good writing again, Sherri. 🙂 xx

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      It was a nasty bite that got bigger and hotter which is why I panicked. The spider in this photo was taken a couple of years ago right outside our back door making a web in my hanging basket and typical of the spiders we seem to find in our garden at this time of year. So far, they seem harmless…and not the kind that bit me I’m glad to say 😮 Oh you poor thing, I can just imagine how you felt about losing your article, but well done you for being able to rewrite it so well 🙂 I admit, my blood turns to ice at the thought of losing everything on my computer, which reminds me, time to back up again. It happened to Aspie D last year, you may remember, and she was absolutely devastated.
      As for poor Bob, well sadly he had his plan and was waiting to put it into action. I hoped maybe for a last minute reprieve but in the writing of it it was not to be…
      Thank you so much Sylvia 🙂 xx

      Like

  23. There are so many things to fear aside from the Grim Reaper, but it is frightening that an American survey listed data loss as one of them. Wonder what the survey would reveal about other countries?

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      That is frightening isn’t it? I know that my blood turns cold at the thought of losing everything on my computer but yes, it would be interesting wouldn’t it to see what other countries would have to say about it. Data loss for some, I suspect, would not even be a consideration…

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Ste J says:

    Rusty shipwrecks? That seems an odd fear, I am fascinated by your explanation for that one haha! I do love the BBC nature programmes, David Attenborough is the voice of nature. Your medical drama was unexpected and I am sorry but it was funny, you have made my day!

    That was a very to the point flash fiction but I am sure very true for a lot of people…to have all they own taken away despite their best efforts with no way out that they can see. It does give me the shivers.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…glad I made you laugh and made your day, the story was meant to be funny but at the time it was definitely not a laughing matter 😮 And I felt like an idiot at the hospital…but moving swiftly on from that little incident and onto rusty shipwrecks. Yes, that is odd isn’t it and to be honest Ste, I don’t think I can give you a proper explanation because it is a totally illogical fear. I have a theory that it might be because as a girl we took our annual holiday on the Norfolk Broads and on one particular Broad there lay a huge boat, on its side, half-sunken, in the water. Over the years, vegetation had grown over and around it but I could still see the outline of it and it made me feel cold and lonely. Ever since, any kind of half-sunken shipwreck or boat and especially if it’s rusty gives me the creeps. Does that explain it better? Probably not but it’s worth a try, ha 😛 As for David Attenborough, his documentaries are the best aren’t they? Thanks for your thoughts on the flash, even though it wasn’t exactly a happy outcome…

      Like

      • Ste J says:

        Ah! I see, it is a melancholy fuelled sadness…I get your angle now…I do tend to like ruined things. Earlier this year I did a post about abandoned amusement parks…there is something romantic in the sadness…I think I may brood too much lol.

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        Oh I do get that…that’s just what I mean. It is a melancholic fear…absolutely. I love that aspect of ‘dark romance’. Maybe that’s why I love Thomas Hardy so much. Your abandoned amusement park post, must read, can you send the link? I bet you captured that very same feeling. Brooding is what I’ve always done so I get that too, lol 😉

        Like

  25. You’ve got me thinking Sherri. What would I fear most speaking or the data loss and even before toastmasters I would probably have chosen data loss. Entire lives are now in these boxes. The photos that would be lost, the phone numbers, the writing. I have memory sticks sitting in different locations just in case a disaster happens to the house. Now I must own entire clouds to house my stuff.
    Yes – a story re the rusty shipwreck is needed.
    Spider bites are horrible and on your derriere not nice. My imagination is boggling at the size of the fangs required to bite through the layers of clothing in that area. 😳
    I’m glad it didn’t cause you serious harm. As you know we have our share of poisonous critters in Aus and new ones seem to be arriving on the scene. We now have the white tail spider, the yellow tail spider and the other day we warned that there is a spider which looks like our harmless Huntsman who is now gracing our homes. I’m wondering if it is like Geoff said – that some are crossing with the other poisonous spiders and creating perhaps a funnell daddy. Perhaps it is that they too are suffering from our actions on the planet getting lead and asbestos poisoning, eating fast foods etc and mutating forming these new more lethal species. Anyway I have probably scared you enough Sherri so I’ll move on.
    Your flash was fantastic. I was left with the vision of the hose in the exhaust. Is this going to be a “to be continued” flash.
    Time for a walk if you are game to enter the Aussie bush. Just on wasps. I have a tree growing which was host I thought to native bees. These things were quite cute little black things. I think of wasps as yellow and black stripes. I left them because it is great to have native bees. Sadly they turned out to be paper wasps, Happily they stung my husband and not me. Spring has sprung here and I noticed yesterday they have returned (last years lot met with a fate that was death).
    Cheers Sherri 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      You are wise to have so many memory sticks like that Irene. We have one external hard drive,shared, and it’s getting full. I need to utilise those clouds. Did you read about backing up our blogs too? What a terrifying thought losing all our data and I remember how you felt about public speaking before you took up Toastmasters :/ Well, that is the thing, the spider itself wasn’t that big and I’m still at a loss as to how it managed to bite me like that, through jeans too. No sign of any fangs either…obviously hidden! Re rusty shipwrecks, hopefully my reply to Ste J above will explain…somewhat! I admit it’s very strange o_O
      I can well imagine in Aus that you have a huge array of spiders, the ones you cite here I’ve never heard of! Goodness, that is a pretty scary thought Irene, mutating spiders…I’m thinking of some kind of alien spider that is yet to emerge, yikes!
      Thank you for your thoughts on the flash…yes, you are sadly right about the hose. Bill made up his mind there and then after his wife called…and to be honest I hadn’t thought of a continuation but who knows, maybe…
      Oh you do make me laugh out loud with your turn of phrase… ‘Happily they stung my husband and not me’!!! Oh I detest wasps more than anything, they are my number one fear and I’ve been stung a few times. They call them Yellow Jackets in the States. You better get those wasps sorted out and fast as with last years, you don’t want them hovering around. I’ve never heard of paper wasps. Do they look like our black and yellow wasps here?
      Definitely time for a walk my friend…so long as it’s nowhere near that wasp’s nest 😉 ❤

      Like

  26. Tom Merriman says:

    For some reason, I’ve never given any though to spiders biting, Sherri. I mean, I must have, thinking of tarantulas and the like, but it just doesn’t seem to have registered with me. How odd.
    Glad we have safe spiders over here, however, and that your bite turned out fine in the end. Hehehe. The end… sorry, bum humour’s lost on me.

    I have an odd fear for lifts and roller coasters, and only use them when I must. Lifts, that is… not roll – well, you know what I mean.

    Thinking of spiders didn’t we have a funnelweb or something that was terrorising towns from south to north a while back… or did I make that up?

    I like the sound of a rusty shipwreck… links to history, you see…

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Tom, thanks for your great comment, just sorry it took me a couple of days to get back to you…it’s been one of those weeks where I cram in blogging here and there and just when I’m about to reply well…you know how it is 😮
      Me neither with the spider biting, I didn’t think any spiders over here did, in fact we have had a running debate over it in my household for years. It is odd becasue we know about tarantulas and black widows as you say but never give any thought to our own spiders. I think it was a wolf spider, light brown but not very big. Quite how it managed to bite me so hard through jeans is another mystery which remains unsolved… 😛 Haha…yes, glad it all worked out ‘in the end’ lol 😀
      Oh yes, I definitely know what you mean, I hate roller coasters, scare the living daylights out of me (but then I suppose that’s the idea, ha!) but lifts not too much although I did get stuck in one once and being somewhat claustrophobic I did panic rather…
      I’m not sure about the funnelweb…but now you mention it, there was something like that. Were they turning up in crates of bananas or something? I know I was worried when I was bitten that it was a foreign spider that might be venemous…
      Yes…the rusty shipwreck…they make me feel cold and sad. But the history part is fascinating. So many stories…

      Like

  27. Like you I’m not afraid of spiders. I thought so until I saw my first tarantula. In fact a tarantula is harmless as long as you aren’t allergic to its furry hair. Still it is impressive looking and although they rarely enter homes, they can. So in the fall I am on my guards. I love birds but I am totally panicked if a bird gets inside my home. Since I leave my doors open very often, it did happen and I’m freaking out. The Hitchock movie has left its marks on me!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Evelyne, I am just the same with birds. I love them too but get them inside, fluttering around? I am terrified, same with moths and butterflies. Beautiful but please don’t flutter near me! The Hitchock movie The Birds terrified me, still does. As for tarantulas, we used to see then crossing the road in one small town where we lived in California. Fine, just so long as they didn’t come anywhere near me. I’ve got a photo of my son holding one quite recently at a place called Longleat which is a wild life safari park not far from where we live. I’m in the background and the expression on my face says it all…not a pretty sight 😉

      Like

  28. TBM says:

    I am terribly allergic to bees, spiders, and other creepy crawlies. I almost lost a finger when something (don’t know what) bit me on my ring finger and it swelled. I was rushed to ER to have the ring cut off. It was a lovely shade of blue when they finally found the cutter. By the way, this happened in California.

    Like

  29. A new type of spider has found its way into the southern parts of the UK in the last couple of years. It’s brown and nasty. Some people have had really bad reactions to its bite. One man nearly had to have his leg amputated and he was on a drip in hospital for ages. There’s also a very unpleasant tiny insect called the Blandford Fly. It lives near water and some people have had horribly infected bites from them, my husband included. He had to stay in hospital for two days with a fever after one of these flies bit him when he was digging the allotment. They are saying that these new species of insects and spiders are taking up residence in the UK because it’s getting warmer here.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Sarah, thanks for your great comment. That sounds like the brown recluse, a nasty so and so. I was worried the spider that bit me was something like that but from our internet identification we are pretty sure it was a wolf spider, which, while giving a painful bite such as mine, is nothing as bad as that of the brown recluse. Ah yes, I’ve heard of the Blandford Fly. Funny, because we lived near Blandford in Dorset years ago and I often wondered if it originated there? That’s awful for your poor husband. We do need to be vigilant with the way our climate is changing. It’s quite worrying isn’t it?

      Like

      • It certainly is. I wonder what’s coming next — whether we’ll get malaria-carrying mosquitoes in our country in the end.
        My husband’s leg has never totally recovered from the bite. The skin is all discoloured and the leg swells up by the end of each day.

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          It is really scary and I’m so sorry to read that about your husband. What an awful thing to go through. We have to be extra vigilant these days with so many things it seems.

          Like

  30. OK spider story freaks me out and No Way Out left me wanting much much more! Keep them coming my friend!!! 🙂 xoxo

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes my friend, and I didn’t want to scare you too much! BTW, loved your spider cakes on FB, so cute 🙂 Again, your wonderful support of my writing means so much because it’s music to my writing ears to know that you are left wanting to read more…and I’m working on it 🙂 ❤ xoxoxo

      Like

  31. What I’m loving? Watching your incredible lightning-speed writerly growth. !! You’re decades ahead from where you were a year ago. I thought something like this might happen, as it frequently does with people who commit themselves to writing in mid-life. But you’re out-pacing my predictions! And that’s exciting!!!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Tracy, you have this amazing ability to know just what to say and when to say it. You see, lately, although I’m ploughing ahead with my writing and loving it and feeling the flow of it after months of all that fear, doubt and self-loathing (well…you know what I mean…) I’ve been regretting one thing and one thing only: I wish I had committed to writing properly 20 years ago. I panic that I haven’t got enough time left to do all the writing I want to do, a sense of urgency. Which I know is crazy as I’m not exactly old…but…so to read your words this Friday morning I can only say thank you so much for your kindness in taking the time to encourage me in this way…this is high praise indeed, woo hoo! I feel like I just got a gold star and zoomed to the top of the class. Made my day this… 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  32. prior says:

    wow – glad you are okay – and did you know that Virginia is the spider state – we have many of theme here – but how helpful that you were able to have the one that bit you – I bet it helped the doc rule things out – and I loved the way you wrote the story – not TMI at all 🙂 ❤

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks Y 🙂 Me too, it was really painful and I was worried that it might be a dangerous spider, we’ve had some arriving in the UK these past few years which isn’t good…I didn’t know that about Virginia. Hope you manage to keep away from them all. My garden is covered in webs at the moment, always the same in October, with the spider as shown in the photo above. They are harmless thankfully…and thanks so much about the flash, that means a lot to me and so glad for the not TMI 😉 Have a great weekend mon amie, I’ll keep tabs on you and be over again soon 🙂 ❤

      Like

  33. Heyjude says:

    Great flash fiction. I hope Bill isn’t going to do what I think he is…
    As for spiders, ugh! horrible things – it’s the way they move, like crabs! And I have a scar on my arm from a spider bite in Cape Town, so I know they can bite. The button spiders are to be avoided there, but you can’t tell that it is on unless it is on its back!! And I hated the June bugs (HUGE flying beetles in the summer) after one got tangled in my (then) long hair. I also screamed…

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks Jude. Sadly, this doesn’t have a happy ending, or at least it didn’t when I first wrote it but now I’m having a re-think, possibly writing a follow-up for this week’s flash…possibly. Writing is full of surprises isn’t it? Ouch, that sounds like a very nasty bite and those button spiders sound horrible and as for those June Bugs, well, no wonder you screamed, I would too. I had a wasp in my hair not long ago, hubby swiped it away and said it was huge. The thought of it makes me ill even now… 😮

      Like

      • Heyjude says:

        I’d like to think he was going into the garage to get into his car and drive to see the bank manager! Or he could be fetching a can of petrol to set fire to the house and claim on the insurance… so many twists and turns you could do with this beginning.

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          Yes…so many. But one I had in mind was none of those. He was going to sit in his car and turn on the engine… However, what I’m now thinking is different again. And I love your ideas too 🙂

          Like

  34. Great flash Sherri – you’ve left it open so we can imagine Bill either had a good or a sad end…I love spiders, but fortunately haven’t had to worry about any poisonous ones – there was a story on the news recently about a woman who lost a finger after being bitten by one in the UK, but it wasn’t the bite that was the problem, it was a flesh-eating bacteria the spider was carrying. I understand your fear of wasps though – it doesn’t matter that I know a wasp sting wouldn’t do me any harm in the long run, I just have an irrational fear of them.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Andrea. The original ending was not a good one when I first wrote it, but as I said in my reply to Jude, I’m now having a bit of re-think for this week’s flash as a follow up. It seems to be writing itself, taking me by great surprise. And for a memoir writer just beginning my journey into the world of fiction, I find this very interesting 😉 And btw, must say again, how thrilled I am for you and your publication of ‘Reckoning’ 🙂 As for spiders, yes, there seem to be more and more stories about things like that happening here don’t they? A reminder to be ever vigilant (and what a horrible thing to happen to that poor woman) but I’m with you about wasps – a totally irrational fear, always have, always will…the only good thing is that this year, there haven’t been as many around as usual, thank goodness 😛

      Like

  35. mariekeates says:

    One of my biggest fears came true this week. My blog was hacked. All my hard work lost. I’ve spent all day today trying to sort it out and have come to the conclusion that, although some of it may be salvageable, the best thing is to start again. It was a tough decision but I’ve started now and I hope I will rise like a Phoenix from the ashes. If you want to see my new blog it’s http://www.iwalkalone.co.uk. Some of the best of the old post will probably appear at some point but for now there is just one. Sheri whatever you do back up your blog right now!!!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Marie, I just went over to your new blog and have signed up. How on earth did your blog get hacked? As I said over there, I am just so sorry to hear this, you poor thing. So ironic, since I just reblogged Chris’s advice last week to back up and kept ‘meaning’ to do it but kept getting distracted… So yes, will do it today, now!! Meant to say, I really like the set up of your new blog and the name too. Here’s to a better day and week ahead. Keep us posted…meanwhile, I’m sending you a big hug… 🙂

      Like

      • Marie Keates says:

        It’s was Chris’ advice that made me back up and saved what I have got. From what I can tell they got in through WordPress plug ins. This is a very cautionary tale. Thanks for following me over to the new blog 🙂

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          So glad you took Chris’s advice when you did, phew. Great timing that for you 🙂 But yes, a very cautionary tale indeed…and no worries, just glad you are up and running again after all that 🙂

          Like

  36. Sherri, I’m so glad you were not bitten by a really harmful spider! What a terrible experience. Glad you are okay. I used to have a fear of spiders that was crazy, but since living in the country, it’s almost gone. 😉 However, when we moved to this fish hatchery, we were told there would be rattlesnakes here, and there are. But I learned how to kill them and have taken to a few of their necks to chop their heads off with my trusty shovel. I haven’t killed one in several years, however.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks Patsy, yes, so am I! It was very painful and took me completely by surprise, or should I say, shock!! Goodness, you are one brave lady, I take my hat off to you! Wow, taking heads of rattlesnakes? I would be so terrified of that snake lunging for me and landing it’s terrifying fangs into me that I wouldn’t go near it. My ex shot one once, skinned it and framed the skin together with the casing from the bullet. Needless to say, when we split, that was one thing I didn’t take with me, he was welcome to it o_O Glad to hear you haven’t had to kill one in a long time, long may it reign 🙂

      Like

  37. Pingback: Flash Fiction: No Way Out Part Two: The Yellow Boat | A View From My Summerhouse

  38. Imelda says:

    Oh, I am so sorry about that spider bite. How ironic that the spider got you where and when you least expect it. Oh, by ‘where’ I am referring to England and not the spot it bit you. 🙂 😀
    I see why people asked you about your plans for Bill. I saw the second installment before this one. Your story here is tight and ended on a cliffhanger.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…Oh Imelda, I do love your wonderful sense of humour, this really made me giggle… 😀

      As for Bill, thank you so so much for your feedback having read both parts. I will have to see what happens for him next, which is a surprise to me as anybody considering I only intended to write just this first and only flash. Writing is a wonderful adventure isn’t it? 🙂

      Like

  39. Pingback: Flash Fiction: No Way Out Part Three: Godsend | A View From My Summerhouse

  40. This was interesting, both stories. My daughter is highly allergic to spider bites. I walked over a nurse to get to my daughters doctors as her arm was swollen twice it’s size. My only real fear other than being caught in a fire is losing what’s left of my mind. 🙂

    Like

  41. Pingback: 99 Word Flash Fiction: No Way Out Part Five: Breathe | A View From My Summerhouse

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