By Anthony Horowitz

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Could I have a cup of coffee? ' 'Oh, I think we could manage a cup of coffee. ' She clucked around him like she was an old mother hen, and he the only egg she'd ever laid. Smoothly, with a sense of ascending power, he began to cut through PA 52. 'Sit down,' said Mr Boston, steepling long nicotined fingers. He consulted PA 52 slyly, slantingly. ' 'Mmmm,' said Martin. He thought that Boston, with his near-religious air of relaxed guilt and pinstripe brown suit (shiny at cuff and elbow, and no doubt backside, if backside had been visible) was more like a careers officer than any employer.

A spider could be lying somewhere in there. They often crawl into clothes. I shook the jeans hard. Then I got dressed again and rushed downstairs. My plan was to charge into the street and call for help. But even as I stared at the chains I heard Mum's voice, 'The world's full of murderers and rapists,' and saw the newspaper articles she was always showing me of girls attacked at night. I swayed backwards. For a moment I felt as if I was going to pass out. Flu does that to you. It creeps back on you again when you're least expecting it.

And afterwards I thought, what if the spider is still somewhere in my room, nicely camouflaged for now, but later… later when I'm asleep it could scurry out of the darkness and continue its climb and perhaps even drop off the ceiling - spiders often do that - and on to my bed. And I'd never know. I'd only feel it as it crawled up my neck and on to my face. To wake up and feel its spindly legs scuttling over your face - I can't think of a worse terror. I remember one evening when I was watching a James Bond film round at a friend's house: the one where a tarantula crawls over Bond and he has to just lie there, sweating like crazy, until the thing moves off him.

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