T. woke me at about two, maybe 2.30, in the morning.
'It's big and it's crawling across the kitchen floor,' she said, showing admirable brevity and conciseness for such an early hour. 'It has four very large feet and it's about a foot long.'
And that's all I really needed to know. I was down the hallway in seconds. I didn't want it to disappear under the fridge or wander into the laundry and hide itself in the washing or maybe eat the washing.
I swung the door to the kitchen open and it whined horribly on its hinges. They all do that at 2.30 in the morning. Maybe oil doesn't work when it's dark. It's one of those mysteries of life.
Why do things look bigger in the light of a full moon? I don't know. And why does something that looks like something that moves also appear to be moving itself? That is, when it's not something that moves but is actually an inanimate object. That doesn't make any sense at all, but it's what I was thinking at 2.30 in the morning.
At first I thought it was moving. Then I thought it wasn't. I took a closer look. Then I put the cricket bat down. I didn't need it any more.
The foot-long something with four large feet was a twig of dried bay leaves. It had four large leaves left, two at the top and two lower down. It had fallen from the hook on the kitchen wall near the stove and landed on the moonlit floor beneath the window and it looked weird and crawly and insect-like, in a ghostly kind of way.
I went back to bed. The next day I made soup and put four bay leaves in it. That's just overkill. You only ever need one.