One morning in June I was driving my daughter to theater camp when I felt something strange on my neck. Figuring I'd been bitten by a mosquito the night before, I rubbed the spot and didn't think much more of it. Until a few hours later when the spot began to hurt...a burning, stinging pain I'd never felt before. By the evening (a Friday, no less), my neck was swollen and red, and the burn was spreading. I suffered through the weekend with flu-like symptoms, and by Sunday night every lymph node in my head was enlarged, especially those on the left side of my head and neck--the side with the "bite". Until that moment, I didn't even know humans had lymph nodes on the top of their scalps! But guess what...we do. Though I really wish I'd learned that in a book and not from experience.
The area around the bite turned black as the skin all died. When the pain became so intense I couldn't stand it anymore, I finally gave in and went to the doctor. (Yes, I have a phobia of doctors.) Sure enough, I'd been bitten by a spider, what kind though was still a mystery. I was told from the reaction, odds were good it was a brown recluse and that there wasn't much to do at this point except treat the symptoms, which I did, and find the spider and kill it.
Yes, you read that right. They suggested finding the spider and killing it. A tiny little spider in a great big world. Because I don't remember being bitten, we figured I had to have been snacked on sometime in the night...when I was sound asleep...unsuspecting...Vulnerable. For weeks after "the bite", every time I'd see a spider in the house I'd go berzerkers on the thing, until I was confident there were no spiders left. Did I get them all? I'm sure not, but I felt marginally better after unleashing my personal reign of terror. Why the damn spider bit me and not my husband is a mystery I'll never know, but lucky me, I am now the one with the big red circle on my neck that looks more like a hickey than a spider bite.
Here's a lovely photo of "the bite", weeks after it had turned black, scabbed over and fallen off leaving behind the lovely crater. (This photo was taken about the time my doctor looked at it and said, "Ew, that still looks nasty."):
So now that I've officially grossed you out, you're probably wondering what the hell this all has to do with books, right? Oh, let me tell you...lots. As it turns out, just a few weeks before I was bitten by this friendly beast, I turned in ENRAPTURED, book four in my Eternal Guardians series, and wouldn't you know it, there's a spider scene in that book. A big scene, in which a character is being attacked by hundreds of crawling, wriggling, biting spiders.
Life imitating fiction? Gosh, I seriously hope not. Because considering some of the things that "crawl" in my books, that means a spider bite is really the least of my worries.
Eek! My advice: Don't just worry about things that go bump in the night. Keep a keen eye out for the ones that crawl too.