Did you realize we are surrounded by creepy crawlies? These creatures are enough to bring on scary dreams if you think long enough about them. One or more of these creepy crawlies could be used as fodder for a nightmare-inducing tale.
If your character has acarophobia (an irrational fear of small bugs), murophobia (irrational fear of mice and rats) or arachnophobia (abnormal fear of spiders), your tale will have the ability to cause the one reading it to have gooseflesh.
Do you sleep with bed bugs? These nasty little creatures are annoying, hard to get get rid of, and they bite. While not all people are allergic to their bites, they still itch. They are so small, they can hitchhike a ride on just about anything! Has there been a bed bug infestation lately in the area in which you live?
Would you be able to get a good night’s sleep if bed bugs had invaded your home? Or would every little itch you experienced, every tiny movement you felt on your skin cause you to visualize them crawling all over you?
Dust mites thrive on dead skin cells shed by humans and their animals. Though their bites are harmless and don’t carry disease, problems from them can arise in asthmatics and those allergic to dust mite feces. Dust mite feces. Yuck. Even though I’m not allergic to them, I really don’t want them anywhere around me.
Dust mites won’t bite you since they only feed on dead tissue, but your typical mattress can contain tens of thousands of them. One square yard of carpet can be home to nearly 100,000 dust mites. That information alone is enough to turn anyone into a housecleaning fanatic! And just the thought of having thousands of these creatures in bed with you would be enough to bring on some nightmares.
They don’t look dangerous, but mice and rats can carry over thirty-five diseases, such as salmonella and meningitis, which they can transmit to us through their droppings and saliva. They love to chew and will destroy whatever they decide to nest in, whether it be an old book or an expensive piece of furniture. As soon as the weather begins to turn cold, they will try every way possible to get into your house and live with you where it is warm. This should be an incentive to add some cats to your family!
Remember the bubonic plague that swept through England from 1348 – 1349? The bubonic plague is carried by rodents, but it wasn’t these rodents (rats and mice) that spread the disease to the humans. The disease was spread by the fleas that fed on the blood of the rodents that carried the plague. These same fleas then bit the humans and spread it to them.
No one wants their house invaded by cockroaches. These extremely hardy creatures that spend daylight hours hiding under appliances and in cracks have the ability to cause allergies and asthma attacks in people. It is a nightmarish thought, but cockroaches can live for up to a week without their head. I doubt any of us have ever seen a headless horseman, but have you ever seen a headless cockroach running around?
Leeches can be found in shallow water under logs, stones, and docks. They attach themselves to aquatic plants. When a leech attaches itself to a person and bites him, it releases an anticoagulant into the victim’s bloodstream, thus allowing it to feast until its appetite is sated. Then it falls off of the host’s body. The blood the leech feasted on remains in its body for months, so it can pass on any diseases from its previous host or hosts. It is possible to contract HIV from the bite of a leech.
Below is the scene from The African Queen that involves leeches.
I am allergic to the bite of any spider, but some present a bit more of a danger. The brown recluse spider is an expert at hiding in basements, attics, and closets. They mainly live in warm, dry climates in the Southeast and Midwest, and they also live in Kentucky, the state I live in. These spiders inject a poisonous venom into those they bite. The bites can take months to heal or, if the poison gets into the bloodstream, it can cause one to fall into a coma or die.
Several years ago, I had a spider fall on me while I was out jogging. Before I discovered the little guy (I’m assuming it was a he), this curious arachnid crawled back in my ear. I’m ever so glad that this invader was not a brown recluse.
Not only am I surrounded by brown recluse spiders where I live, but black widows are also frequently seen around my house. Black widows are identified by a red hourglass on their back. Their extremely poisonous bites cause one to become very ill, but rarely end in death. These spiders like to hide away from the house in places like garages and sheds.
Most people tend to think of honey bees as relatively safe. I even have a hive of them in my backyard. If you happen to be allergic to bees though, their sting can cause great discomfort, even unconsciousness. Multiple stings would require medical attention for the safety of the victim. Honeybees don’t usually try to sting people, but if you make them angry by messing with their hive, especially on a cloudy day, they will chase you down.
Now choose from the creepy crawlies I mentioned above and write a story that features one or all of them. What other creepy crawlies can you think of to use in your writing?
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