It was one of those summer days that was perfect for a leisurely drive with the windows down, feeling the soothing warm breeze circulating through the car. A sister and brother decided to take advantage of the perfect day and hopped into a Chevy Impala. Their drive through empty residential streets slowly took them to a short dirt road the locals called Devil's Hill.
How did this old dusty road become known under such a hellishly possessive name? One answer is that the road is essentially an inverted hill. Yet, the sister and brother had heard of a disturbingly gory crime that had been committed long ago in the adjacent wooded area. As the story goes, two young boys, no more than 10 or 12, wanted to see what it was like to slaughter a person like they had seen their farmer fathers slaughter pigs. The two boys lured a younger child into the woods and proceeded to find out, leaving the locals to call that shadowy area Devil's Forest, for evil must lurk there if two otherwise good boys could commit such an unspeakable act.
The sister, who was driving, could have turned left and avoided Devil's Hill. The brother could have asked her to do just that, but he didn't. They had heard the tales of how a child could be heard screaming in agony on still autumn nights, but it was summer and, more importantly, daylight. So they slowly proceeded down onto the waiting dirt road, taking their time, as one does on a perfect summer day.
The brother was looking out his window, watching Devil's Forest easily drift by. He was thinking about the old tale and turned to say something about its gruesomeness to his sister. This was when the movement caught his eye. Slow, steady and seemingly deliberate, a Daddy Long Leg was crawling up his sister's shirt. He stared in silence as his torturous arachnophobia, with its paralyzing, sweat-inducing terror, gripped his being. Flashes of his recurring childhood nightmare pulsed in his mind...opening the front door...thousands of spiders swarming inside...hiding in dark corners...waiting just for him.
What terrified him more was the knowledge of his sister sharing this illogically intense fear. If the spider reached her neck, nothing good would happen. His mind raced with the possible options. Jumping out of the car seemed a viable solution, but was dangerous for both of them. He could ask her to stop, get out of the car, and then tell her, but the spider could fall off in the car as she got out. This would be unacceptable. Finally, as he glanced from the Daddy Long Leg, halfway up his sister's shirt, to her open window, he knew there was only one thing he could do.
Calmly reassuring his sister not to panic, the terrified, but suddenly rational, brother reached over and grabbed the spider. Even though he knew the safest choice would be to hold the spider long enough to throw it out of his open window, he also knew he might crack under the strain. As quickly as he had grabbed the Daddy Long Leg, he leaned across and tossed it out of her window.
The sister nervously asked the brother what was on her shirt. He told her the distressing truth and the siblings shuddered, but agreed that it was for the best that the spider had been a Daddy Long Leg. For some reason they found them less visually disturbing than other species of spiders, but only slightly less.
As they drove up the other side of Devil's Hill and safely away from its emotional pull, neither could believe that the brother overcame his arachnophobia to do what needed to be done. Yet, the siblings knew the grim truth of the situation. If he had not grabbed the spider, their perfect summer day could have ended with a violent, fear-induced car crash, leaving them to become another bloody legend to be whispered of among the watchful trees of Devil's Forest, where a child screamed long ago.
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