The ancient pact between man and beast has been rent asunder

Long ago, in the misty dawn of 2012, my beloved and I moved into our present abode, deep in the heart of the Courthouse neighborhood of Arlington, VA. Comfortable and in love, we thought we were alone in our two bedroom condo.

skittling noises

We were not.

Awoken one night by the horror of the void-like nature of existence (and also my bladder), I stumbled into the dim, flickering light of the hallway… and saw it. A creeping abomination, as big as a baby’s foot, nothing but legs and pincers and hairlike protrusions, hailing from the pit of the deepest Hades, defying the laws of nature itself, clinging to the walls and even the roof above my head. Scutigera coleoptrata, I later learned from the sages of the sacred tubes.

With no thought to my own safety, I dove into battle, nude as a babe and wielding nothing but a slipper. Despite the ferocity and hideousness of the beast, I was victorious, and roared in triumph, scraping the ichor off my weapon (and into the commode).

But it wasn’t over. The next night, its brother came. And then another, and another. Again and again, I prevailed in battle, only to howl in frustration as the rest of the brood mocked me from their hidden refuges, coming forth the next eve.

I won’t deny it, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth between my beloved and I. Would we have to flee from our domicile?

No. This was our castle. We would not be driven from it, not even by these demon hell-spawn.

It was a dark time, and dark times sometimes require dark solutions. We consulted many sages – some offered potions, dangerous concoctions that would temporarily render us homeless. A few strange souls even took the side of the hell-beasts, insisting that they were benign, even helpful. How lost must one be to endorse peace with such creatures?

These were no solutions. We would not leave our homes, and we knew these creatures were not our friends. No friends would ever terrorize us in the night like these fell beasts.

So I made a journey. I must admit, my memory is hazy – was it a journey of the body, or the spirit and soul? I don’t know. All I remember is facing the Scutigera goddess herself – so terrible to look at I kept my eyes shut – and being offered a pact. If I kept the peace, her brood would keep to the shadows, forever hunting the unsighted vermin of our castle, and forever keeping their hideous visages out of view of our oh-so-fragile eyes.

And for many years this pact kept, and life was good. There was much feasting, laughter, ribaldry and joy. And in the shadows, I assume, there was much skittering and devouring of unseen vermin, and whatever joy such shadow-beasts must take in their littered burrows.

Until yesterday. Yesterday, while I was preparing the next feast, it appeared, in the bright light of the day. This was no tentative creeper, this was a bold explorer, thrusting itself forward along the wall of our kitchen, in search of nothing human minds can contemplate. I didn’t hesitate – I armed myself with a paper towel, and aroused my long-dormant battle-skills, quickly slaying the beast with a decisive blow. I don’t know what I’ve done that aroused the ire of their goddess, but I know this:

I am ready for the battle to come.

(I know you know this, but I thought I’d spell it out for others who may not.)

Also, I think it’s cute the way they scurry across your face when you’re sleeping.

If they find your ear, do they consume your brain, or take control of it?

Meh, a centipede won’t get within 100 feet of you…

TLDR: he squashed a bug.

iiandyiiii, did you get naked every time you fought one? Like you were in the ancient Olympic games?

I will not sully the memory of those sacred battles with your tawdry nonsense…

I just now got this… :smack:

To defend: this is the pact. But when life loses its meaning and is taken for naught, then the pact is to avenge.

Well, I can never unsee that picture. Thanks so much. 'Preciate that. Also the guy who thinks it’s ‘totes adorbs’ when they scurry across your face at night. I am an insomniac now, do you think I’ll ever sleep again? Oh…No. I am awake for the duration and you Reimann, it’s now your job to keep me company in the wee hours. I insist. :).

(p.s. I have only ever seen a centipede in my house once, the cats cornered one in the laundry room.)

OH man…I am sllooooowwwwww today. WHOOOOOOOSH!!!:smack::smack::smiley:

I raise my flyswatter in salute to your honor, good warrior. May your battles always be glorious, may your victories be always.

OP needs toads.

Don’t confuse me with facts. The faultless rebuttal to that fanciful article is that if house centipedes had any real use, God would not have made them so freaking repulsive. QED.

So I, too, raise my fly swatter in one hand and a rolled-up magazine in the other in silent tribute to the heroics of the OP. And I thank what gods there may be that I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a house centipede in the decade or so I’ve lived in this house, although I have met and done battle with them in the previous one.

Centipedes… meh…

If you want an insect with ATTITUDE, it’s the so-called ‘Parktown prawn’, named for the suburb of Parktown in Johannesburg, South Africa. It’s actually a species of king cricket, nothing to do with prawns, except for its bright orange color. They are the most excessively and disgustingly HORRIBLE insects. They can be up to 3 or 4 inches long, and more with their long gangly legs and antennae, and they look like this.

But their appearance - which no photo ever seems to do justice to - is the least of it.

The worst thing is that you go bed at night and switch off the light, and after a few minutes you hear a loud scraping, rustling sound behind or under the furniture. You switch on the light, and it immediately stops. You look around, but you can’t see anything. You switch off the light, and just as you are about to go to sleep again, the noise starts up again. Then you know it’s a Parktown prawn walking around like it owns the place.

And you CAN’T just leave it. You have to start moving the furniture. If you do nothing, the chances are that you will wake up with a jolt in the early hours of the morning to find a Parktown prawn walking heavily over your hand… or over your face. They are NOT scared of humans.

If you try to catch it, it will jump. They can jump amazingly high and far. And if a Parktown prawn gets the idea that you are after it, then instead of jumping away from you, it will jump aggressively right AT YOU and cling tightly to your clothes with its barbed claws. It will grab you by the collar and stare you in the eye. “You lookin’ at me? Who you lookin’ at?” Yes, they have an attitude.

And even worse, they have the ability to discharge their stomach contents at will, in the form of a thick, black, sticky goo which has the most intense and disgusting smell you can imagine, and which is very difficult to get off clothes or carpets. And it will DO that if it decides it doesn’t like your ugly face. And you crush them at your own risk.

That’s why they are bright, shiny orange. Most animals and birds will give them wide berth, as they are NOT nice to eat, due to the horrible-smelling black goo.

Cats, however, are an exception. Cats consider them to be better fun to play with than mice, and will bring them into your house so that you can share in the amusement of a contest of wills with a large pushy insect.

Look, iiandyiiii, just be glad you don’t live in any of the Southwestern states.

Or South America

These type replies give me far more satisfaction than a simple “LOL”! :wink:

I remember visiting the Sonoran Desert Museum many years ago. They had all those critters live on display. I couldn’t sleep well for a few days.

So you believe. Except for that one factor you’ve forgotten:

You have to sleep.

They do not.

Pleasant dreams…

10/10 for narrative style, the world needs more epic saga-style narrations of everyday events. :smiley: