Terror at Three Feet

Wet Scary Eye With Runny Mascara by D Sharon Pruitt

Image Source: D. Sharon Pruitt

I fumed as I shifted my weight from left to right, halfway up to the attic.

My husband had left the ladder down, and it blocked the hallway nearly completely. Trying to squeeze around it for the fifth time that day, I decided to bring the damn boxes left in the hall up to the attic myself.

I am fearful on ladders, even ones of just a few feet, so I ignored the little itch I felt on my wrist. I slowly moved up each step, struggling with a box that was a little too big and a little too heavy to make this easy.

He was going to get an earful when he got back, that was for sure. He suddenly decided to get off the couch and leave the house? I took another step, concentrating on staying in balance. What’s that little tickle?

My husband was down the street taking a walk with our toddlers, so I was doubly annoyed that he didn’t hear me grunting as I tried to carry the boxes up the rickety stairs. I felt an itchy flutter.

I shifted my eyes from my feet to my left wrist. It took a moment to process what I was seeing.

Red light crashed in on my senses. Whant–wahhh, whant–wahhh, whant–wahhh! Vision blurred, elbows locked, scalp of icy tightness, gut-punched, too-loud alarm! Run. Run. Run.

My system overloaded as I saw the long, narrow-waisted demon crawling on my hand. A wasp.

My memory’s a blank as to how I got down the ladder with the heavy box, out the door, across the yard.

I came back to myself running down the street to my husband and seeing his puzzled look. He was holding hands with our sweet boys. I was gasping, unable to explain the panic, trying to slow my pummeling heart. I held him tight while my breathing slowly returned to normal. I drew the three of them in close.

I have never been inordinately afraid of bugs before or since, but in that moment, I felt the deepest terror I have ever known.

My husband put the boxes away himself.

Wasp face

Image Source: USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Laboratory

About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days, and writing my memoirs. I am a teacher and writer living in Connecticut.
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43 Responses to Terror at Three Feet

  1. Marcy, my dear, if you are terrorized by a wasp, definitely DO NOT watch “The Fly” – I watched it last night and forgot how good/creepy the movie was.

  2. Terrifying! Ugh, I’d have dropped the boxes, fallen off the ladder, broken a bone!

  3. Angela Ryan says:

    Your husband should have put those damn boxes away in the first place. :)

  4. winopants says:

    I too have an unrational fear of wasps and bees. My neighbor has a bee hive next door and it freaks me out!

  5. Well, I’m a beekeeper and I love wasps so I can’t relate to your fear. . .but I can relate to the fact that your husband should have put those damn boxes up! Glad you’re okay.

  6. Anytime you are in some sort of confined or difficult to access space the most innocent thing can be terrifying. Never mind a wasp.

  7. Oh MAN. I’d have fallen and broken my neck. “It might STING ME” is a huge motivator!

  8. iasoupmama says:

    Yikes! I’m bad on ladders, too, but add a predator in there? Bad news…

  9. whoasusannah says:

    Ladders and boxes are mens work.

  10. Ugh I hate ladders too. I have an attic with a pull-down ladder, and I have never once been up there.

  11. Jared Karol says:

    Wasps are nasty creatures. I think your reaction is totally justified. I may have done the same thing. . .

  12. Oh man! I’m allergic to bees/wasps so I’d be in a TOTAL panic. Glad he ultimately put away the boxes!

  13. mamarific says:

    I feel the same way about roaches. The panic is overwhelming. “Scalp of icy tightness”…perfect.

  14. Ladders, scary insects, empty houses and dusty attics – sounds like you have the makings of a terror flick! I’d have freaked and those boxes would still be in our hallway. Happy you’re safe and organized!

  15. Gina says:

    This read like a fictional horror story. I’m not scared of that stuff but NO ONE wants to be stung by a wasp especially while dealing with errant boxes.

  16. Ericamos says:

    Stingy bugs are my worst nightmare! I’m impressed that you safely got off the ladder with the box in tact.

  17. ew. that is some ugly close up!! next time wait for your husband! ;)

  18. I’ll take any manner of creepy crawlers but the stingy ones are the WORST. We spend all summer knocking down their &*$%@ nests. I just found one I didn’t know about in a shrub out front, now that its foliage is gone. It was the size of my fist. GAH!

  19. Oh, man! That thing really does look like a demon up close. Glad you’re OK. I bet your husband won’t leave you alone to put away boxes anytime soon. Lesson learned for him!

  20. Meredith says:

    Ack! I’m cringing for you. No more putting boxes away!

  21. 50peach says:

    Panic, indeed. No fun!! I bet you had nightmares for days!

  22. Dana says:

    Oh my god, right there with you! I’m more scared of stingers than I am of walking on a roof in flip-flops.

  23. Oh, I don’t like wasps at all. Thankfully ladders and heights have never scared me. That does remind me of a great story with me and a huge wasp…perhaps I will tell it one of these days. Hopefully, I can do it as much justice as you have done here.

  24. dberonilla says:

    I love that we both wrote about our worst fears this week! I also love that you ran down the stairs, out of your house and down the street! That is the best reaction EVER!
    I’m glad that you were okay and not stung. Whew.

  25. Robbie says:

    I am terrified of ladders too! Sounds scary and I hope you weren’t stung!

  26. I hate wasps too. Last summer I saw something on the window sill I assumed was just another plastic bug that my kids leave lying around to scare me and without thinking, I picked it up. Yep. It was real. And still alive. Then the next day I sat on a wasp that was on perched on a chair. So I’m with you; I hate wasps. ;)

  27. Ginny Marie says:

    Wasps don’t have that effect on me, but what a place to have wasp trouble! Yikes!

  28. mamawolfeto2 says:

    I’m not too afraid of bugs-I’m a gardener, and they’re part of the territory-but inside the house is NOT the place I want to run into a flying one!

  29. beverlydiehl says:

    I know I am like ten thousand times as big as a wasp or spider, but they still terrify me.

    Had a cricket living in the bathtub for about two weeks. I’m not AFRAID of crickets, per se, but I know it’s supposed to be lucky to have one on your hearth. Would it be UNlucky to kill the cricket in your bathtub? How about if you just crippled him trying to scoop him out and take him outside, accidentally breaking his little cricket legs?

    Eventually, he went away.

    • Marcy says:

      I don’t usually kill bugs either. I’ll try to take them outside. I try to feel all ethical about it, but it’s also so gross when they squish. I’m assuming you had a separate shower somewhere ;)

  30. Alicia says:

    This my all time favorite story of yours!!!

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