I was sitting next to her bed holding her hand.
My young daughter had one of those old glass thermometers, that used to be filled with Mercury, hanging weakly out of her mouth. Her pale pink gown still had dried blood on it from earlier that morning. With matted hair full of dirt and leaves she had started to scratch her head.
She was a mess. She didn’t want to be awake. She needed sleep. She needed to get well.
I could feel the sweat that kept breaking out between our palms. The nurse was standing working through some checklist on her chart. Blood pressure, pulse, temperature, IV liquid rate, wound check.
My daughter had been bitten.
When the nurse left a very tall lanky man had walked in. He was wearing sandals and wrapped head to ankle in gauze. He looked like a mummy with glasses on. When he spoke it was muffled. If it weren’t for the clipboard I wouldn’t have realized he was a doctor.
“Telllll meeee whaaat happpeeened” he asked barely understandable.
My daughter took a deep breath that sounded a bit like a gurgling creek. When she spoke it didn’t sound like her. She spoke in a high-pitched monotone voice. It was as if she were just a tiny little creature instead of a 12 year old. She was nearly as tall as me but spoke like she was 2 feet tall with lungs filled with helium.
“I was playing in the backyard with my friends when one of them dared me to climb the tallest tree.”
She had stopped long enough to take in another wet breath. The doctor stood motionless and waited patiently for her to finish. I was thinking mummies probably made pretty patient doctors. After a few more long breaths the doctor began to examine her wound as he waited for her to continue.
When he pulled the gauze off of her shoulder it was very red and pussy. Then he lifted her covers and I noticed she had dozens of the same wounds all over her body.
What the hell?
I still had no clue what happened. When I arrived at the hospital the nurse had told me she had been bitten but this looked like she had been devoured.
“And once I reached the top I stopped to sit on a big branch. But there was this big spider that had babies on her back. They attacked me”
Then, as the doctor uncovered her last wound….
all the wounds busted open and the spiders began to cover everything.