It began in the middle of a cool, starless evening in early July. I was in my room playing an intense video game session of Battlefield 3 since 9 PM. As soon as the alarm clock lying on the beige dresser to my right struck twelve, my Xbox 360 crashed. Furious and depressed, I decided to cut my losses and go to bed. The white cotton sheets blanketing me filled my body with cozy warmth. When seconds grew into minutes, and minutes to hours; my mind sunk into a deeper sleep. I don’t remember what the dream was about, or if I ever had one at all. The only recollection that crosses my conscious is the itchy, tingling sensation crawling along my forearm, legs, and chest like a million spiders.
“Why the hell is my arm so scratchy?” I asked myself.
I threw the blanket off my body to turn on the lights. Once the yellow shine packed the room, my tired eyes noticed several insects as big as dimes on different parts of my arms and torso. Immediately, I freaked out, and swatted the bugs away. Bumps similar to mosquito bites plastered my arm. Once my miniature meltdown subsided I inspected the mattress. Brown, flat spots littered the colorless sheets like tiny freckles on a ghost. I had no idea what they were, but I was sure they were the cause of my intense itch.
I tried to fall back asleep on my office chair, but the scratchy curse the bugs vexed me with denied the desire. Instead, I spent the rest of the night researching more about the pests like a madman. Four hours later, the undeniable conclusion I came to was this. My room had bedbugs. I shared this information with the rest of my family. All of them tried to deny it, questioning me as if I was a paranoid lunatic. When I showed them the proof, they all sighed in grave sympathetic unison.
When the sun peaked its highest, we hired an exterminator to get rid of the problem for us. Before we came to that, we tried homemade solutions we discovered through friends and the internet. Rubbing alcohol, steamers, food-grade DE (A cocaine-like substance in terms of texture and appearance—it’s supposed to cut through the little bastards like a chainsaw). Yet none of it seemed to counteract the problem.
The exterminator’s estimate was $1,000 to spray the house every Friday on a 90 day guarantee. Because we weren’t the wealthiest of people, we were reluctant to sign his contract. Nonetheless, we knew from research the best way to deal with these demonic creature was with professional help. We agreed to the man’s price and sent him on his way.
Two weeks later, the exterminator’s work improved the condition of the house. They weren’t completely eradicated, but less of them were alive. The fewer amount of bites were solid evidence of this. Unfortunately, elation and relief didn’t ease me as one might predict. In fact, it was quite the opposite. My sanity plunged to dangerously low levels. Every time my skin tickled, it was either a product of their mischief or my hallucinations. On some nights their phantoms would appear before my eyes then disappear into oblivion. All of this added up to a severe case of insomnia triggered every time I felt the urge to scratch.
On the Thursday of the third week we phoned the exterminator again, demanding him to break out the heavy duty chemicals. The bugs were still haunting us and we were getting impatient. The exterminator told us that we all had to evacuate the house for him to able to spray the house. For two days, we packed our things in rooms he wouldn’t spray (primarily bathrooms) so the chemicals wouldn’t remain in the material and kill us when we moved back inside. We did as we were ordered with a tedious rhythm. For six hours straight we packed, unpacked and repacked. We lifted and set down heavy furniture into the corners of our bathrooms. I still don’t remember what was worse. The bedbugs or the amount of back-breaking effort we put into the whole ordeal.
On Friday the exterminator came to our house wearing a hazmat suit that could allow a person to survive a day or two in Chernobyl. We left the house to the professional and spent the night at my aunt’s house. The day after, we came back to a home smelling a little like smoke-flavored air freshener. My mother phoned the guy to see if it was safe to stay there. As she talked to him, she nodded her head at us to confirm his positive response. Since the question of the air quality was answered, it was only a matter of the bedbugs to worry about.
Saturday, there was nothing. Sunday. The same. The week after. Nada. The week after that, I’ll let you guess. Bar the occasional phantom itch, there was no definite sign of a bedbug living amongst us, no matter how hard we searched. A blissful current baptized us when we realized we made it out of the hellish storm alive.
It’s been a month now, and I am happy to report the same news. However it still doesn’t eliminate my fear of them. Even now as I tell this story, I still imagine the dreaded bite of the bedbug. They are everywhere you know. Inside the crevices of warehouse floors, on the sleeves of businessmen stuck on I-95, on top of the coffee table the pompous neighbor never shuts up about. They could even be crawling inside your mattress’ seams, laying eggs and waiting for you to fall into their trap. Worst part is—you’ll never know until it is too late.
Credit To – Marquise Williams (aka HonestyAndCapacity)
Credit Link – www.booksie.com/HonestyAndCapacity