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This article is taken from PN Review 58, Volume 14 Number 2, November - December 1987.

Primary Effects of Spider Therapy David Zane

The scream of it trembles my candle and halts my pen mid-stroke. On the page I have written: 'The skin of the spider is so soft, smooth, polished, and neat that she precedes the softest skin of Maids, and the daintiest and most beautiful Strumpets. She has fingers that the most gallant Virgins desire to have theirs like them, long, slender, round, of exact feeling, that there is no man, nor any creature, that can compare with her.' Now this wail from the darkened corner, more animal than child, seems to stop the ink from drying, altering the catch of moisture in the air.

On this, as on all the torn nights before I will first attempt to ignore it, as wisdom counsels. There is upheaval in the blood, the limbs are tender in too rapid growth, this will pass, draw in your nerves, Doctor, for the years it takes. Still, in a moment you will rise, the father of it, take your candle, as on all other nights, using the few seconds of silent footwork on the bare wood to invent instant strategies which you know, even before you step from the bed, will prove futile. These are no ordinary nightmares, for nightmares may, with force, be interrupted, nor any somnambulism, for the child never tries to carry its agony away from the cot. It sits upright, eyes turning in its head, moaning, but not from belly or throat, more from the back of the head, ...


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