Then my phone buzzes. I answer instinctively. The voice at the end sounds tiny and remote.
Without introduction this authoritative yet barely perceptible voice instructs me to "Catch the spider." A particular species, I don't catch the Latinate name, but I'm informed despite its delicate size. It's poisonous and loose in my house. "Easy to spot as it's luminous green."
My heartbeat quickens, I haul in a lungful of air. I'm not usually afraid of spiders, in fact, I like to let them roam freely in my house.
The tiny voice as distant as it is is full of authority, giving me detailed slightly irritating methodical instructions and I march uneasily in and out of rooms hurling furniture about, looking into the darkest recesses of cracks and corners. "No, not there, you're wasting time, you're too slow, you're not taking this seriously enough."
Now sure enough, I can hear it, limbs scattering across the floor. Unexpectedly it's frozen, momentarily motionless, somewhere in the room. Now this tiny electrical fury drums it's feet as it scurries somewhere in the room around me. I can somehow sense the pulse of its thoughts.
Wherever it is, this uninvited guest, this creature which has invaded my home is doubtless making calculations, planning something unknowable. This creature is far more agile than I expected and what I've quickly discovered, smarter than me. It's waiting and worryingly appears in control of events. What's more it's full of poison. As far as I know there's no known cure. I should leave while I still can. I'm already short of breath and feeling faint.
But the voice on the phone is running out of patience: "It's gone you idiot, don't you realise how serious this is? Listen carefully. You can only aprehend the spider by nipping its hind legs between your thumb and forefinger. It will play dead and once in control you should place it on the palm of your hand to await your instructions. You will only have one chance and if you hesitate..."
Something draws me to a picture on the wall, a line drawing of a figure wide eyed standing by the gate of a walled garden, the path leading to a house on a hill illuminated by a black sun. The figure appears to be locked out or perhaps waiting for something. On the gate, the phrase "Mon Dieu" is inscribed. It looks like the rough drawing of an adolescent, rendered in black ink.
I start to remove the picture carefully. My prey is immersed in its cryptic mathematical dreams. I hold the phone to my shoulder and the voice is silent now as I attempt my manoeuvre, more difficult to carry out because of my cricked neck, carefully nipping its hind legs together, watching its body stiffen into a protective claw as I place it on my hand. Suddenly I hear, "Careful, careful, if you get this wrong you ruin everything," and I realise I'm already bitten. The pain is dull but I can feel the venom shoot through my bloodstream and start trembling as if my body is going to go out of control.