Eight legs.

I saw them everywhere. Crawling on ceilings, scattering out from the loft’s staircase and hastening back in as I switched on the lights. I felt them crawling on me when I tried to sleep — always on the periphery of my vision.

But I wasn’t terrified of them. They were my family. Unconventional, yet remarkably familiar. They murmured lullabies in my ear as I dozed off to sleep in my room. They caressed me to comfort in the times I woke up screaming from my dreams.

I was six, probably seven.

I came back home to find my dad gravely worried. Mother had gone missing.

That week I felt even less of them. Their stark disappearance leaving a gaping void in my life. I had nightmares that week.

I tried to sleep, but I always just ended up sobbing. Maybe it was my dreams that woke me up, but on the 3rd day of her disappearance, we found my mother’s torso stuck to the ceiling tangled in cobwebs. Her glistening red blood dripping on my dad’s face as he screamed.

I looked at my dad, his face crumpled already, from a mixture of fear and agony. He bawled for hours. I had never seen someone so broken, so defeated. I don’t know if it was due to dad’s pained cries or the shock finally hitting me, but I started wailing too. I ran up to the attic. I didn’t want to hurt dad even more. I cried for hours.

I would have cried more, if I wasn’t interrupted by that deafening gunshot. I ran downstairs and I saw my father lying in his crimson pool.

I shook my father for ages, asking him to wake up, asking him to stop his weird pranks, to bring mommy back, to stand up again and say something again. Nothing happened. I tried pushing on his chest like I saw in some TV shows. It didn’t work.

I broke. I couldn’t do anything. Mommy was gone. Now daddy too. I was alone now. I tried sobbing, but tears didn’t come out anymore. I started hysterically laughing instead. I was sad, but I was also angry, the latter more than the first.

Don’t get me wrong, I was always the weird kid. Mom and Dad went to work and friendless me was accustomed to being alone. But something was different now. I felt hopeless now, I felt detached.

I went back into our house to call 911, I could hear how uneasy the operator was. Maybe it was my calmness or simply how horrifying the scene was. But I simply didn’t feel anything.

After the paramedics came, one of the nurses came to me and started consoling me. I don’t think I needed it.

I got admitted to the hospital for some time till my relatives came to me. I remember hearing on the radio about my incident. But it was all wrong. It said that daddy murdered mom because he was involved in an affair. It said that after trying to hide mommy’s body and not being able to live through the fact that he killed mother, he committed suicide.

Maybe I didn’t notice it before, but I did feel like father was starting to distance himself from us.

The muffled arguments had started to rise in amplitude in their room while I laid awake and listened. The gazes between them becoming a more fiery as the days went by. These things already had crept in my subconscious like a slender spider, scurrying away as soon as I confronted them about it.