I have to pee. I know they’re waiting.
My eyes water in the early light sifting through the barred window. No, it’s too dark to see if they are clinging in singles or herds. I know they are there.
My small hand slides over the fine mesh wedged between the mattress and the bed frame; checking for holes. No holes. I reassure my racing mind. No holes. I’d checked the night before, like I always do.
Is that the prick of claws gripping the net? I can’t tell. Once again, I stare. I can’t see yet. I have to pee!
I smack the net with my teddy bear and reach between the netting and the bed. I feel for my slippers and give them the quick scorpion be gone shake. Pulling them inside, I push my feet into their soft fuzz.
Lying as flat as I can, I search for stick-like bodies, tiny claws and diamond-shaped heads with enormous eyes. Brown or green, whatever colour…they all camouflage like mends in the netting.
“Mum. Mum,” my voice quivers.
“Go back to sleep. It’s too early to get up.”
“But I have to pee. They are waiting for me.”
“Don’t be a silly girl. They won’t hurt you.”
Smack, smack. The net shakes with the power of teddy blows. I check for claws again. I hear them whispering; gathering for a strike. I hate nasties.
I have to pee!
With one quick motion the barrier is lifted. I run thrashing at my hair. I throw on the bathroom light. In the mirror, I check my hair and swipe frantic hands over my nighty. No Nasties.
Mum said it’s too early to get up. I wait, shivering in my thin cotton gown. Stranded in the dark.
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