The following is based on a true story. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.
What Lurks Beneath
Terror grips me as I look around the kitchen. The counter is clean. The dishes are drying in the rack. The only thing out of place is the cooling pasta on the stove.
I step closer and peer into the pot, then let out a shaky breath. There's still enough left for another meal, a small lunch tomorrow or a snack after work.
I step away from the counter and drop my gaze to the cabinets near the floor. I don't want to do it. My heartbeat quickens as I glance at my husband in the living room. He's unaware of the danger lurking in front of me. To him, women's work is simple, a daily chore he doesn't need to bother with.
I look back at the cabinet and take a deep breath. I can't let the food go to waste.
I curl my fingers around the knob and pull. Ever so slowly I lower into a crouch until I can peer into the murky depths of the cabinet. Plastic bowls are stacked neatly on the shelf. They're what I came for, but I can't help myself. I look deeper.
A light scratching noise draws my attention to the lower shelf. Did I imagine it? Is something back there, or is my husband just heeding mother nature?
I lean back on my heels, unsure what to do next, when suddenly I see it. A dark body flashes through the gloom, its legs flying as it scurries to another hiding place.
I scream, then leap to my feet. I wrench open another cabinet, with only a slight pause as my fear is already aroused, and grab the orange can left at the edge of the shelf. I aim it at the villain, then with an evil laugh, I spray.
The creature leaps to my feet. It lands on its back, legs flailing, taunting my soft side with its misery. It wants me to let him go. We've done this charade before, and it knows I'll cave it I think it's suffering.
I hold the can closer and let loose another spray.
It writhes on the floor, spinning in circles, a desperate dance that will only lead to death.
Calmer now, I reach for the broom and with a viscous swipe, fling it onto the patio.
Suddenly, it's back on its feet. It runs in circles, panic driving it into the wall where it falls once more to its back.
I give it another push and it plunges off the balcony. I set down the broom and return to the kitchen. While I'm sliding the leftovers into the tupperware, my husband calls from the other room.
"Everything okay in there?"
I smile to myself. "Yes, dear." I've won, for now.
Is anyone else terrified every time they have to open the cupboard?