I fear snakes. For the most part, I am a brave person. Living alone, the night, darkness, storms--those things do not frighten me, but snakes scare me. A couple of years ago, I was going to run my bath water, and there in my tub was a little snake, probably 10 inches long. He slithered back down the drain, and I poured every acidic liquid I could find. However, the next night he was back. I called the city, and they could not imagine how he got there. A city worker came and got him. Thought he was cute!
Anyhow, that leads me to what I think is a very freaky story by Ambrose Bierce called "The Man and the Snake." Of course, many of Bierce's stories have psychological overtones; this one offers up a snake.
Like Bierce's stories, there is a twist at the end. It is the getting to the twist in this story that holds court over the reader. Here is Bierce's description of a snake that has slithered into the man's bedroom:
...beneath the foot rail of the bed, the coils of a large serpent--the points of light were its eyes! Its horrible head, thrust flatly forth from the innermost coil and resting upon the outermost, was directed straight toward him, thedefinition of the wide, brutal jaw and the idiot like forehead serving to show the direction of its malevolent gaze.
Long story short, the man attempts to get out of the bedroom. He tells himself he is not afraid, but every move he makes sends the man into a greater frenzy. Finally, he falls on his face about a yard from the head of the snake. With his head bleeding, he looks again at the snake and goes into a seizure, screams, and dies. Of course, it was the play snake that belonged to the herpitologist' s daughter.
Here's the depth of my fear. I will never visit Australia because they have 7 of the 10 most venomous snakes in the world. In addition, they have sea serpents that are just as deadly. I look everywhere I walk for copperheads and any other kind of snake. My daughter had me touch a python once, and it moved with those coils inside its body. I had nightmares for weeks.
A friend sent me a picture of a goat that was being swallowed by a huge boa constrictor. It was nauseating. What friend would send someone who despises snakes that picture.
I do not think about snakes very often. Just when someone talks about scary things. Obsessed by them, I am not. Here is my philosophy about them: I would never kill a snake unless it was poisonous and going to bite me. They too are God's creatures, and I think should only be killed if they are dangerous to a human being or another animal.
Back to the story, it is probably not the scariest story to anyone who is not afraid of snakes. But, the imagination takes it to places that no one wants to go!