A Twitchy Day

I killed a centipede today. Eugh, I’m still shaken by this encounter.

The sun was early and I had just changed from a morning shower when the kittens barged into my room, the second time that day. They always slip into the narrow space between my bed and the wall. I never cared about it, cats being the curious creatures they are. Looking to shoo them out, I spotted, on the wall, a prickly reddish creature clinging just below the joint of a corner beam.

It was a centipede! I cursed, I panicked and I tried to figure out what to do. Amidst the frenzy, relief crossed my mind that it hadn’t visited me on my bed. Maybe it had? Eugh! It was as long as my hand. Quickly, I ran outside to the patio in search of a parang I knew my parents had left. They always leave their tools everywhere. I recalled the parang being near the patio post, so I looked there, but saw only a sickle. It was usable but the length between hilt and its point was unacceptable. I needed the centipede to be as far away from me when I strike. It creeps! Then on top of a wooden box of miscellaneous things, I saw it, a very long machete, also known as, a parang. Ahah!

So I grabbed it and headed to my room, snatching a mosquito spray along the way. I so love my mom, always leaving useful things around the new house. I might have a use for mom’s sickle someday too. Anyway, the centipede seemed to be sleeping, its antenna limp and close together. Bracingly, I positioned myself, the hand holding the parang thrusting out, the spray poised to blast a poisonous fume. I clenched my jaw. I neared the tip of the blade to the sleeping intruder, angling it, adjusting it, raising it a little. Then tightening my grip, I drove the machete across the crawler’s trunk, with the forceful strength of a perennial sloth. My strike didn’t sever the centipede so I held the parang still, pinning the intruder to the wall. It squirmed and twitched, and my body felt like squirming and twitching with it. I sprayed poison at the centipede generously, okay maybe excessively, and waited, and waited. My cat was eyeing me curiously – literally, my cat only has one eye. I still waited, and the twitching of limbs kept going. The centipede wouldn’t die! I tried pushing the blade further in but the centipede’s trunk remained intact. It was really stretchy, or maybe my parang was blunt.

Suddenly the centipede’s upper half unlatched from the wall and clung to the horizontal blade instead. Eek! Alarmed that it might crawl towards me, I let go of the pressure on the centipede and I blasted it with the aerosol. I chopped at it like a chef would and yelped expletives, as my one-eyed cat watched me like the ever vigilant spectator. Finally, I pushed the blade in and drove it like a saw until the centipede formed two halves. I relaxed, but those little legs were still twitching! I sprayed at it some more with amount no creature could survive. Finally, the recently bought aerosol significantly lighter, I walked out of the room.

The worst had passed. I searched a pair of scissors it in the main room, and with it picked up the remains of still jerking centipede. I took them outside, the cats following me (there were two cats, the other one was outside). Like a curious kid, hunkered down on the rail-less patio (the house stands on short stilts), I studied the centipede, dangling before me, with its pincers, pointy antennae, armour-clad trunk, twitching spasmodically. The sight of its pincers sent chills up my spine. I stared at it long until the pincers closed up, admiring the viciousness of its form. Then I noticed laundry had fallen onto the muddy ground, so I got off the patio, headed to the riverbank, threw the two pieces of centipede into blackened ash of burnt rubbish, headed back to pick up the towel and trudged to the kitchen.


5 responses to “A Twitchy Day

  1. Phew! That was exciting and vividly told. I’ve just had breakfast and am now fully awake. I’ll carry the image to the Egton Bridge Writers’ Group (two villages further up the dale) – I have to be there in 40 mins.
    Today, we are each to present an imagist poem. Centipede on a parang! Now there is an image . . .

  2. Chuffed I am to see this story successfully delivered to an audience. Yes dear sir, make it a poem, as I banish memories inspired from reading this post.*squirms*

  3. I tried to make an imagist poem about your centipede.
    Here is an imagist poem by William Carlos Williams, the great American poet:

    so much depends

    a red wheel

    glazed with rain

    beside the white

  4. Pithy, Harry.

    Which reminds me, poem should be my writing workout! Not strenuous short stories. Going to burrow in boxes for that old poem book…

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