Justin Boote

The October Featured Writer is Justin Boote

Feel free to email Justin at:



by Justin Boote

She crawled up the side of the bed, and stopped when she reached the blanket. Tentatively she edged closer to the man’s head, then paused. This was the critical stage. Should the man suddenly turn over in his sleep, she could be annihilated. And yet, there was no other choice. She had waited weeks for the right moment to seek its revenge, and there was no turning back now. Her eggs were almost ready to be laid.

A deep, guttural groan reverberated constantly around the room, coming from the human’s mouth. She knew this to be a sign that he was asleep, which was imperative to her plan, but at the same time, could also hinder it. A flailing arm could send her flying across the room to die, splattered against the wall.

Having no time to waste, she crawled closer to the hole in the man’s face, and gently placed a leg on his hairy chin. Nothing. She placed another, testing, then another, until all eight legs and her bulbous body were firmly set.

As predicted, a hand almost came crashing down on her, close to where she sat, almost squashing her, before the arm returned to its original position.

The creature looked around the man’s body with all eight eyes, and waited. Confident that the danger had passed, she crept to the man’s lower lip, then hesitated again. One leg brushed against the lip, then another. The great gap closed suddenly; the man’s features distorting slightly as the head moved briefly from side to side.

The cave opened once more; a clicking sound came as yellowed teeth grinded together. Now was the moment. She tensed as the teeth separated once more, and then, stealthily, sneaked in. Tiny legs tip-toed further down the man’s throat until she reached the corner of the passage.

The man’s cavernous mouth closed, trapping the creature inside. The pink, slimy contraption in his mouth began to wiggle from side to side, almost squashing her. She hesitated, keeping as still as possible, until the wiggling stopped. Then, settling down, she allowed her body to relax, and waited.

A few minutes later, nine tiny, white sacks emerged from the creature, and fell down the bottomless pit, where in a matter of days, they would hatch, and begin their excursion to freedom. Light and hunger would be their only concerns.


Terence Morgan awoke and gagged. He had a nasty taste in his mouth, and it didn’t seem to be caused from the usual concoction of cigar smoke and whisky. Grumbling, he climbed out of bed, and staggered down to the bathroom. He lifted up the toilet seat and spat into the bowl. A grey/brown blob of mucus and saliva plopped unceremoniously in the water.

“What the hell is that?” he groaned out loud. “Gotta stop smoking that damn shit at night.”

Disgusted with himself, although already knowing that there wasn’t a chance in hell that he would take up his resolution, he spat again, and flushed the toilet. As he made his way back to the bedroom, he wondered how long it might be before droplets of blood made a cameo appearance as well. His wife Vera nagged him constantly about his smoking and drinking habits, but the truth was, he didn’t really care. At sixty-three, he felt that he’d already served his time on Earth, and what little might be left, didn’t offer great enthusiasm. He was constantly tired, grumpy because of it, and the only pleasures he gained now were those that ironically sought to cause him further trouble later on.

And, he figured, if it wasn’t the nicotine or alcohol that got him, it might be a whopper of a heart attack. Because of the spiders. There always seemed to be spiders in this house, in the corners, in the eaves, in dark places.

Ever since a kid, he had been terrified of all creepy-crawlies: cockroaches, bugs, ‘wormy-things,’ but especially spiders. How anybody could consider them worthy of anything other than a swift annihilation was beyond him. And some were damn big and hairy, and fast. And had fangs. When his wife had called him a murderer on the many occasions that he successfully rid another from the family home, his argument had been based on logic. At least, his own logic.

“Why do you have to kill them? Why can’t you just pick it up in a newspaper or something and throw it outside?” she would say.

“And why don’t you?” his reply.

“Because I don’t like to touch them. They give me the creeps. But that doesn’t mean you have to kill them for it. They help control the insect population.”

“Well, they don’t seem to be doing a particularly good job of it. Besides, have you ever taken a good look at them? You can’t tell me that a creature with eight-yes, eight-eyes, fangs, and in some cases, poison within those fangs, can possibly be other than what it is. Something that only the damn devil himself could have invented. Some of them can even jump! How would you like to have one jump onto your face while you’re watching those soaps of yours? Answer me that one!”

“Now you’re exaggerating. Those big ones only live in jungles, and those foreign countries where they don’t have electricity. They don’t live here.”

“Ah yes? So what about those African bees that started migrating over here and attacking people? Or the rats that caused the plague? No, you mark my word. With all the pollution and genetics and stuff they’re doing now, it won’t be long before they start growing here as well. That’s why ya gotta kill ‘em now, before they get the chance to mutate.”

Thus, Vera would have no option but to allow Terence to continue his murder spree. The real reason that Terence felt the need to exterminate was his fear of them. On the occasion when he had seen one scurrying under the sofa, he had been incapable of resting peacefully until it was dead. Visions of it climbing up the back of the sofa, perhaps dropping onto his mop of grey hair, and then scurrying down his back, while in his semi-comatose state. And then, it just might find a way into his pajama bottoms, and with those vampirical fangs…

He knew perfectly well of course that the bigger, poisonous ones—the tarantulas, bird-spiders—lived far away, but that didn’t help when a smaller, eight-legged monster went dashing across the living-room floor to hide somewhere, and wait for dinner to appear. And some were still pretty damn big. He’d seen some almost the size of his hand!

Terence considered himself confident enough to face a burglar should one ever enter his home (and on one occasion, he had actually startled some drugged kid going through his things, and kicked him out), a bad-tempered dog with a taste for his ankles, or a damn dinosaur were it necessary, but not creepies. As such, he reckoned he had probably killed thousands over the years, since they bought the house whose garden led into the small wood at the back.

At first, he had loved the serenity and tranquil environment it provided, watching the birds, and occasional deer or small mammal drudging around in his garden looking for food. But that was before the first big spider made an appearance.

When he was a kid, he lived with his parents in a small town in Norfolk. As such, the bugs he encountered at home were generally few and far between, but even that had provoked a nauseous fear that would send him screaming from the room for someone to rescue him from certain death. His father Jim, a lover of nature, would scoop it up in a newspaper, talking to it, as though nurturing a baby of sorts, and put it outside. His mother Doris was the one whose phobia had rubbed off onto Terence.

And when he and Vera had bought the nice, secluded house in the suburbs of Bradwell, he had never once envisaged having to deal with the kind of monsters that patrolled the surrounding area. The first one he had seen, that had somehow made its way into the bath tub just as he was about to step in, had almost caused several broken bones as he jumped back in shock and horror, slipping on the smooth, tiled floor. Later, on reflection (after a healthy shot of Jameson to calm his nerves), he had wondered that if they were capable of making it into the bath tub, then what about his bed?

As a result, he had made it his mission in life to remove all potential heart attack inducers from home at the first sign of intrusion.

And he was extremely proud of his tally to date.


Terence arrived home from the office in a bad mood. He left his briefcase on the table at the front door, and headed straight to the living room, in search of Vera.

“Hello Dear,” she said as he stormed in.

“Just what the hell did you put in my sandwich this morning? A rat?”

Vera looked up from her knitting, startled. “What’s the matter, Terence? Look at you. You’re all pale!”

“What’s the matter? I’ve spent nearly all day in the damn toilet, that’s what! Vomiting, stomach cramps. Whatever you put in my sandwich must still have been alive, because it felt like the damn thing was still biting me!”

“That’s terrible. But it was just ham as always. Does it still hurt now?”

“It’s calmed down a little, but I keep getting little twinges in my stomach, and a tickling sensation in my throat.”

“Well, perhaps you should see the doctor. You’re not getting any younger, you know.”

“So you keep reminding me. And no, I’m not going to any doctor. We can’t afford for me to get laid off now. There’s still payments to be made on the house, you know.”

“Take an aspirin. Maybe it’s just a twenty-four-hour bug or something.”

Terence grumbled something about bugs, and headed to the kitchen to look for the pill box. What he had refrained from mentioning to her was that there had been blood in the toilet when he’d nervously peered in.


That night, Terence opened his eyes and clutched at his stomach. Something was twisting and gnawing at his intestines. Grimacing, he pulled his legs up in a fetal position, and gritted his teeth to avoid waking Vera, who lay by his side. He thought briefly about waking her, and calling an ambulance, but then, something began to scratch and rake at his throat, and Adam’s apple. Something tiny, yet with apparent force was nipping at the muscle tissue inside. He gagged, and tried to force a cough to expulse whatever it was that had somehow got stuck there, yet it would not budge.

The sweat poured from every orifice as he rolled from side to side; one hand clutching his stomach, the other his throat.

What the hell is going on? If it was a twenty-four bug as his wife had suggested, it showed no signs of letting up. His throat felt tickly, as though he’d swallowed a handful of hair. Then, his bowels began to betray him. He had a sudden urge to open up immediately.

Almost falling out of bed, he staggered to the toilet, and tried to calculate how he could avoid ejecting everything from one end without the other spurting everything on the wall and floor. The sink was just out of reach for him to stick his head in it while he sat on the bowl.

Goddammit, he thought. Gonna have to move the damn pedestal one of these days.

He pushed his pajama bottoms down and plopped onto the seat. The pain was still excruciating, but he hoped that whatever was causing it might finally be expulsed with a good push, but as he did so, the squeezing in his stomach intensified. He had an idea that this must be how it feels to have a baby without anesthetic. And from the wrong hole.

As his bowels began to release their contents, the tickly, pricking sensation in his throat increased. He stuck two fingers in as far back as he could, gagging, until suddenly he quickly pulled them back out again.

Whatever it was down there had just nipped the tip of one his fingers.

Panic and a swirling whirlpool of terror overcame him. Forgetting briefly the throbbing below, he began to thrust his fingers in and out of his throat, desperate to release whatever was lurking, until finally, through sobs of panic and horror, a small jet of brownish mucus and saliva flew out of his mouth onto the floor.

“Oh thank God,” he panted, convinced that he’d been in the process of choking himself to death. He wiped his fingers on his pajama top, then the sweat off his face, and settled back, breathing heavily. And then he looked at the mess he’d made on the floor.

It was moving.

Terence stared in shock at the sight before him. Automatically, all muscles tensed, including those that were trying to remove the turbulence down below. The thing that was drowning in saliva and mucus was squirming helplessly. A tiny, hair-strand thin leg wavered briefly in the air, followed by another, then another.

He whimpered.

He felt his face contort into a grimacing mask of repulsion as he contemplated the possible explanations. And yet, his brain had already ascertained what it was that was still struggling to release itself from its watery prison.


He thought about what he’d eaten for supper that night. Maybe, by some remarkable coincidence, a piece of meat had not digested properly, and was now dissolving there on the floor in his stomach acids. Something that looked suspiciously like a…

No. he refused to accept it. Besides, he’d had soup. His dodgy stomach, he felt, was not quite ready for solids yet. And his theory had evidently been proved correct judging by what his bowels…

He sucked in a great lung-full of air.

“No, please no,” he mumbled. He knew he had to look, but didn’t really want to. He thought he might be happier in life if he just stood up and flushed the toilet without a sly peek. He could take a few of his wife’s stronger pills that she took to help her sleep. Five or six perhaps. That would surely kill anything untoward.

But no, the idea that was floating around in his spinning head was impossible. Unthinkable. Yet something had bitten his finger, hadn’t it? It sure as hell wasn’t his tonsil that had pricked him.

Terence decided to confront his fears. Tentatively, trembling slightly with the fear of what he might discover, he stood up and turned to look into the bowl.

He wanted to scream. Badly. But his still sore throat impeded such pleasure. Instead, he whimpered like an injured puppy, and stepped back, shaking his head violently. Unfortunately, in doing so, he stepped barefoot into the mess on the floor and slipped. In his shock, he failed to react in time, and was helpless as his legs were swept from beneath him, crashing his head against the tiled wall opposite.

The last thing he saw before his heart pumped its last was the small, red-backed spider that appeared to be watching him at the entrance to the bathroom…the same type of spider that was now swimming among its many brothers and sisters in the bowl.

Finally free from their dark prison, fed, yet they were all now drowning in their new watery home. For their mother, it signified great sorrow, yet nothing compared to the sensation of a vengeance well claimed.

Justin Boote is a 42-year-old Englishman living in Barcelona, Spain for over twenty years who plies his trade as a stressed waiter in a busy restaurant.

He has been writing for just over a year creating short stories, all based on horror or the supernatural. To date, he has seven stories published in diverse magazines, and is a member of a private writer’s forum, The Write Practice, where he has also acted as judge on two occasions for writing contests.

He can be found at his Facebook page under his own name
or via email at justinboote@gmail.com.