Wednesday, July 27, 2011


By dani harris

The first incident occurred when she was eight years old. She got head lice at school. Her hair fell below her waist and the school nurse told her mother it would be best to shave her head as the infestation was so severe. Even months afterward, Marie had nightmares of the lice squirming around on her scalp. She never let her hair get longer than a pixie cut the rest of her life.

When she was ten years old, her family went camping at Yosemite National Park. In less than an hour, Marie stepped into a red ant hill. The ants were swarming over her entire body ~ even her face ~ before her father could wash all of them off. It turned out that Marie was highly allergic to the ants and had to be rushed to the hospital.

Marie was almost fourteen when the small mid-western town she lived in suffered an infestation of grasshoppers. She was walking into the house when a grasshopper jumped into her eye. Not only did it scratch the cornea, her eye became infected. She had to wear a patch over her left eye the entire first month of high school.

A bee sting at her high school graduation picnic caused Marie's face to swell. Since her tongue and throat were also swelling, another trip to the hospital was in order. But not before the entire senior class had seen her disfigurement. The school mailed Marie her diploma.

Marie had a double dorm room to herself throughout college. The university was concerned about being sued for negligence if a roommate were to become ill from inhaling the fumes from the insecticide that Marie was constantly spraying. The janitor added weatherstripping around her door so that the fumes wouldn't escape into the hallway. Some said that living four years in a room full of bug spray caused brain damage.

At the age of 27, Marie was living a comfortable if uneventful life. Despite the insecticide fumes, she was intelligent and healthy. She set up a consulting business from her twenty-first floor apartment. The closest anyone ever came to her were delivery people ~ Federal Express, groceries, pizza, Chinese or Thai Food. You couldn't really count video calls since those were just two-dimensional images. Marie had her clients make electronic funds transfers directly to her bank and she did everything online. She didn't have a boyfriend {or any friends} and certainly did not want a pet. She had not seen so much as a fly the entire time she had lived there.

The newspaper article said that the venomous spider must have been in the soil of the rare orchid sent to the woman in the apartment above. It got into the ventilation system and came down on its thread through the vent above Marie's bed.

Copyright ©2011 dani harris. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission.


If you like this story, check out dani’s other stories, published on this site: Camellia, guardian angel {sorta} and haboob {another creepy tail}.



dani {not a boy} began writing poetry in January 2010, opened her blog my heart's love songs in February 2010 and is now venturing into prose, though terrified. It seems her terror manifests itself in much of the prose, becoming a short tale with an element of horror or fantasy. Despite her blog's title, Dani does not write only haiku. Her sensual poetry is never too explicit whatever the length.


  1. thank you for publishing my story, Steve. as i told you when i submitted it, i knew it was a story for you when it appeared. {smile}

    i really appreciate your encouragement.

  2. That's brilliant. We're increasingly seeing exotic and poisonous insects surviving in the UK as global warming takes hold. This might just be a possible future reality!

  3. Excellent stuff Dani. Poor Marie!

    Anna :o]