Mini Story: Bitten

Being bitten by a snake ought to be a spectacular way to die. I should be convulsing, frothing at the mouth, bleeding from my eyeballs. No wait, that was only in that movie. But my point is, something should be happening. Anything.

But I’m doing what I was taught; what we were all taught. If you’re out bush, with no way of getting to a hospital or contacting anyone, just lie down. Stay as still as possible. Snake venom doesn’t move through the blood it moves through the lymphatic system and if you just stay still for long enough yadda-yadda-yadda I’m even boring myself now.

The point is if I’m still alive in two days, I can start moving again. The snake venom would have… I dunno, disintegrated or something. What does it do? I think the word my dad used was ‘degenerated’. Oh, Dad. He’s going to be miserable if I die out here.

Why the hell did I have to get back to nature? Nature doesn’t like me. It made that very clear when that stick suddenly lashed out and bit me. But if I ever walk away from this, I’ll have had my fill of nature. That spider above me is getting closer. Oh no it’s not-it’s-coming-down-it’s-on-my-nose!

It’s massive. Wait, if it’s big that means it’s not poisonous right? I think I read that somewhere. Big spiders don’t need venom. Wait, that doesn’t make any sense. Where did I get that idea –oh-shit-it’s-on-my-eye!

Even though I had resigned myself not to move, I feel whimpering doesn’t count.

If snake venom did go through the blood, I would be dead now, easily. My heart is beating so quickly I can hear it in my ears. I shut my eyes, trying not to move the rest of my face in case I startled the spider. Precious water is being wasted on nervous sweat breaking out all over my body and… oh, the spider’s gone. I hadn’t even noticed it move.

I open my eyes wider and get a good look around without moving my head. Nope, no spider. Well, small blessings and all that. Is the sun a little lower? No, it should be higher. It was early morning when I was bitten by that snake. Unless I’m delirious and I can no longer mark the passage of time. Hang on, I’m lying here in the middle of nowhere waiting to see whether I die or not. Or course I’m delirious. The only thing I can do to manage my sanity is keep this internal monologue going. I’m not sure it’s working.

The night is welcomingly cool. Then it quickly becomes much too cold. I don’t dare sleep because I’d automatically curl into a ball to warm myself. So I stay awake, on little more than adrenaline and… nothing.

I wake up to the sound of cockatoos going absolutely nuts. Without any thought in my head, I jump up, completely panicked by the noise and lack of sense I had. Why the hell was I lying down in the middle of the-


Well, there isn’t much to it now. I’ve jumped. I pick up the canteen I dropped yesterday and start walking back to the car. An hour later, I’m still not dead.

I finally get to the hospital, where I’m reassured that the snake bite wasn’t venomous.

Wasn’t. Venomous.

I get treated for dehydration and severe sunburn.

I will never mention this to my dad.