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Old 10-15-2007, 09:17 PM   #126
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Epilogue

Much Later

Keller was sitting in the Oval Office across from the President, with Reeves at his right hand and Hamilton at his left. The president folded his hands.
"Agent Keller," the president said, "as director of the classified organization that was appointed by myself and the other members at my side, all responsibility for success or failure falls on your shoulders."
"I am aware of that, sir."
"Now, we three have read studied the matter of the past few weeks full and have found many points which alarmed us. For instance, the ease at which Otto Octavius and his cohorts managed to infiltrate the entire organization; the misappropriation of the central project designs and the ease of its reproduction; the recent psychological profile that has unearthed potentially subliminal agendas on your part."
He paused, and took a breath.
"These three contributors by themselves have cast serious doubt on both your ability to remain as section chief and the effectiveness of the project at all. Moments after the Sundown abandoned its run due to the Avenger's communicated cease-fire, I made an emergency call to Senator Elie and stopped him from delivering his proposal. His political standings have been ruined thanks to this debacle (what with his alleged conspiracy in the affair), which your group was specifically designed to halt in his tracks. Needless to say, this has cast serious doubt on both your ability to remain as section chief and the effectiveness of the project at all.
"Before I proceed to our judgment on the affair, do you have anything to say in your defense?"
She blinked back to the ship, remembering gasping for air as Octavius' metal apparati were choking the life out of her. He had loomed over her, so full of presence and menace. She had wanted to protect the metahumans from themselves--and when all was said and done, had been completely disarmed and helpless amidst these demigods.
"No, sir."
He looked at the other two and nodded. "Then it is the judgment of myself and advisors that said agency will be disbanded, with no intent during this administration to duplicate the efforts. All records and project designs will be destroyed and the case sealed. You yourself will be re-assigned, after a formal court-martial, and have the option to have your memory selectively blanked. All agents, including Biehn, will be given the same opportunities. Should any of you break the silence, we will disavow all knowledge and revoke your status, thus prohibiting you from a government position as long as you live. Do you understand these conditions and the reasons behind them?"
"Yes, sir."
"Then you are dismissed, Sally Keller. You will be notified of the date of your arraignment."
She nodded, and walked away, flanked by the Secret Service. The double doors closed behind her.

Otto stared at the ceiling of his cell, a cage in a long row of many cages just like it.
It had been the trial of the century. Every limb shackled and tossed before a crowd of deficients, he had been found guilty of conspiracy to overthrow the government, conspiracy to commit murder, and after those he had stopped paying attention. It was all verbal redundancy from there on out, the ending already established, the ending already written.
The Six, of course, had been defeated by the Avengers, being heavily outnumbered, and had given him up entirely for sentence reduction (only ten years). His men had as well, from Belgardt all the way down. Surprisingly, it was Biehn himself who cast the final stone, taking the stand and telling all, from the theft of the Gopher to his capture onboard the Marilyn. Was he now exiled? Quietly executed?
His lawyer, in bitten, rushed tones, had called him in prison and informed him that, a: there was no chance for an appeal, and b: he had left the country. He had quickly hung up, no doubt about to leave that country, just to be sure. Otto wasn't surprised or particularly bothered--cowards generally punished themselves, so he didn't bother.
He glanced across the cell hall, the prisoner and guard in muted tones. Otto turned back to the ceiling; he knew what tomorrow meant for that man. He was probably ordering lobster and wine.
Otto's stare bored into the singular light inset into the cement. The guard finished writing and walked to the end of the hallway. "Lights out!" The lamp winked out, covering everything in darkness. Otto continued to stare, counting the days until his tomorrow.
But I'm smarter.
Insect. Arachnid. Dissected.
He would chew his way out if he had to.

Peter burst into Jonah's office, completely out of breath. Jonah clamped down on his cigar with his teeth and pointed a damning finger. "Those," he barked, "had better be the photos of the bust up on the north side, or I'll have you strung up by your--"
Peter tossed a manilla onto the desk. Jonah hungrily opened it and thumbed through. Peter grinned as the editor looked up, not ready to be defeated.
"Not bad," he muttered. "Not great, either."
Peter held out a hand, still panting. Jonah grumbled and scribbled Peter's reward. Peter narrowed his eyes.
"Twenty dollars extra," he noted. Jonah nodded past him, and Peter turned. MJ was standing outside; she waved.
"Happy anniversary," Jonah said. "Now get out of my office before I have an embolism!"
Before? Peter chuckled and went out, closing the door gently. He turned and got a peck on the cheek. "Good mood?" she asked.
"Better than most of the time," he said. "So--want to hear what I've got planned for the rest of today?"
She draped an arm around the small of his back as they walked to the elevator. "Do tell."
"Well, I thought we could take a leisurely stroll through central park as the sun goes down, then make our reservation at a new Italian place I found, and then after a quick stop at the confectionary oh-so-conveniently located across the street, run over to the theater and catch the late showing of...I can't remember offhand."
"But you knew I was dying to see."
"I'm a husband; it's my job to keep myself appraised of these opportunities."
"And dessert after the show, I imagine?" she grinned impishly.
"Oh, of course."
The elevator doors dinged open, and they walked in. "Sounds delectable," she said, "but how are we going to pay for dinner? My card's maxed out."
"I've got a little s--" he groaned. "I just remembered; I had to give Aunt May some money because her check came in late. I'm fresh out." He sighed. Typical Parker luck.
"We'll have to rush over to the bank and cash that, then," she said. Peter checked his watch.
"It'll take us half an hour in evening traffic," he said. "Well past closing."
She smiled. "Only by cab, Tiger."
He slowly grinned as the doors closed.

Scant moments later, Spider-Man careened through the steel canyons of New York city, spinning, jumping, looping his way down the street. A redhead was strapped to his back, wind whipping her hair around like a banner, laughing (literally) all the way to the bank. They easily made it before closing, cashed the check, took a stroll, watched the sun go down, made the reservation, stopped by the confectionary, rushed to the theater...
...and had dessert, of course.


The End.

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Old 10-17-2007, 06:07 PM   #127
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Brilliant conclusion

You have out done yourself, Wabbit. I have thoroughly enjoyed 'Disarmed' and I'm adding this thread to my subscriptions, so I can re-read it whenever I like.


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Old 10-18-2007, 09:39 PM   #128
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Thanks. It was fun.

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Old 10-28-2007, 09:03 PM   #129
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I read your entire story from start to finish, and i've got to say it was a page turner..er, page scroller...er, you get the idea. It was truly a masterpiece, I can't wait for your next project.


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Old 10-29-2007, 03:24 PM   #130
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Next project? Funny you should mention it...

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Old 10-29-2007, 10:04 PM   #131
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^



I really can't wait!

Also, I said it before and I'll say it again, you are the king of paint!

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Old 11-06-2007, 04:16 PM   #132
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PAINT IT BLACK
by RW



I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door and must have it painted black
Maybe then I'll fade away and not have to face the facts
It's not easy facin' up when your whole world is black

-The Rolling Stones











Prologue

Spider-Man looked up through the water. The early-morning sun winked off the rising bubbles, gently caressed the waves above him, and cast a pleasing golden hue over the sky. It was a picturesque setting, he thought. Very beautiful.
He was going to die in it.
A human shadow was kneeling over him, his cable-thick fingers were wrapped around Spider-Man's throat. His massive frame leaned down on the windpipe, a mouth full of fangs snapping like a bear trap in case the wallcrawler managed to come up for air. The eclipse giggled.
Months ago--
Peter had returned from an extraterrestrial jaunt with a new outfit--black, sleek and too good to be true. It responded to his thoughts, transformed from costume to clothes, and (cha-ching!) manufactured its own webbing. He had assumed it was merely the highest of tech, a convenient (if slight grim-looking) reward from the stars.
But life became strange--he was constantly exhausted, unable to focus. When he did sleep, he was overcome by dark visions--and it climaxed with a nightmare of his 'old' costume and the black one fighting for him like a trophy, grabbing and tearing him apart. After this last straw, he went to Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four to get answers.
The suit was alive. A symbiotic organism, it intended to form a bond with him--permanently. With the alien fighting his every move, he battled his way to a cathedral and unleashed a sonic clamor with the tower bells. Overwhelmed by the noise, he passed out and fell down a flight of stairs. When he woke up, a small wisp of smoke and ooze was apparently all that was left of the would-be body snatcher. Peter gratefully ignored the gift horse and limped back to normalcy.
Of course, normal for Spider-Man meant things like gang wars, the return of the Lizard, and being buried alive for two weeks. But there was always a safety zone once he took off the mask--nobody knew who he was since Norman Osborn, and he intended to keep it that way. And wouldn't you know it? He'd believed so much in the safety of that schism he went ahead and got married. Now, of course, he had the best of everything in Mary Jane--someone who really did know what he was going through and could only help by that knowing. He finally had someone to confide in, to invite into his little corner of the world. It was bliss for a while, with just the two of them.
And then he got pushed.
He had been watching his train come in and, actually, thinking he was standing a bit close to the platform. He began to turn when a hand had slammed into his spine and he fell just as the train bore down on him. Peter had rolled out of the way almost too late (the twin headlights blinded his peripheral vision) and came up on the other side, shivering uncontrollably. Someone had just tried to end Peter Parker's life...and his spider-sense hadn't warned him. Then came the calm: for a long time, it seemed like a fluke. He could almost write it off as a complete accident coupled with a once-in-a-lifetime lethal fritz of his sixth sense.
He came home from patrol one night and thunder began to roll. Mary Jane was cowering in the corner, frightened out of her mind. Once he'd calmed her down, she explained how someone had been in their apartment (their home!), waiting for him. This...thing "grew a mouth right on his mask," demanded to know where he was, and looked, Mary Jane said, just like him. At the time, his classic red-and-blues had been damaged, so he wore a cloth version of the black costume. And this "someone" looked just like that...the alien? Could it have survived?
He checked both of them into a hotel and found a new apartment immediately. This mystery enemy hadn't hurt Mary Jane--this time. But, blast it, they were supposed to be safe from all this! That's what a secret identity was for! But they'd moved, so he was safe--he had anonymity on his side again.
And just the last box had been brought across the doorway, Peter spotted someone in a black costume swing away down the street. He made a hasty excuse, changed, and grabbed the sonic blaster. He had made a trip to Fantastic Four headquarters after MJ's scare and borrowed it--if this mystery attacker knew who he was and had a malevolent alien on his side, the gun might prove to be the edge he needed.
He followed his double into a hovel and was immediately taken by surprise, his spider-sense once again AWOL, and the gun knocked away. His attacker lowered himself to the ground, and looked even more horrifying than Mary Jane described.
He called himself Venom. He explained how Spider-Man had ruined his life, how he would have gladly taken revenge but hadn't the means, how he had gone to a cathedral to contemplate suicide--how it had been that cathedral. Spider-Man had grabbed the gun at that point and blasted him point blank--only to find that, unlike with Peter, the symbiote had bonded with Brock, and could not unravel itself. Venom recovered quickly (too quickly), and overpowered him easily.
Spider-Man had awoken webbed up inside the bell of a very familiar cathedral tower. Venom had chuckled--tit for tat--and left as the bell tilted and the clapper drew back to crush him. Spider-Man ripped a hand free from the webbing and stopped the clapper (nearly turning his hand-bones to powder), and used the clapper's momentum to rip himself free. Venom returned, incensed, and they battled. With the bell continuing to toll and Venom having used most of his organic webbing (and thus most of the costume), Spider-Man was able to beat him, knocking him unconscious with a multi-story freefall.
Venom had been taken into custody, locked away in a super-villain prison known as the Vault, the symbiote sealed away with him. Peter breathed a well-deserved sigh of relief and picked up the threads of his life. He went to work, made love to his wife, visited his aunt...
And on one such visit, found Eddie Brock waiting outside. Very thin pleasantries played out between the two of them in the presence of May, but once they had excused themselves, Brock became commanding. He explained how he liked to avoid innocent death--where possible. He assured Spider-Man his precious biddy wouldn't be hurt if he met Venom on the Seacrest Beach at Montauk by sunup tomorrow, alone. Peter agreed, and Eddie left.
Like heck he was going to play by Venom's rules. If Venom could escape the Vault, he would tear through Spider-Man like wet tissue. He went to the FF and the Thing had assured him they would be as much backup as Spider-Man needed. Peter breathed a sigh of relief again, and returned to Aunt May to relax.
Eddie was helping her fold laundry. He pulled Peter aside, oh so polite--and explained that if the Fantastic Four showed up on that beach, nasty things could start happening to all sorts of people. Peter deflated, and Eddie chuckled.
"That bother you? Hey"--his clothes had transformed into a uniform--"call a cop!" He left laughing, and Peter wondered how to explain to Mary Jane this was his last night on Earth.
She had been irate. "To heck with your secret identity! Call in the marines!"
"It's not that easy," he said bitterly. "Think of what it would mean: the complete loss of privacy, the lawsuits from people whose property I damaged while I was saving the world...the possibly fatal shock to Aunt May. Besides...sometimes the one thing that makes being Spider-Man bearable is being able to slip back into ordinary life as Peter Parker. That's almost as precious to me as you are--and I'm not about to throw you in front of every veangeful lunatic I've ever faced. I can't."
She collapsed against him, and she felt so broken. "Promise me, Peter--promise me you'll get some kind of help."
He sighed--and promised. But how could he keep that promise? Venom would know if he went to the Avengers or X-Men for reinforcements...and this time might not take as kindly to it. The alien madman wouldn't let himself be outmuscled.
He suddenly got it. He needed to know how Venom thought. He (very covertly) went to a psychologist who owed him a favor and loosely sketched out his problem. If Venom had followed, he certainly couldn't think much of it--if anything, he would have smiled at this apparent breakdown on behalf of his nemesis. But he may have just found the crack in Venom's armor.
This morning--
Peter blew out a shuddery breath. The beach was deserted, as Venom had promised--just a little boathouse and pier jutting into the water. He opened the far door (the other being locked), and ducked back. It was empty. He gritted his teeth, shut the door behind him, and changed. He had no spider-sense, no sonics, and nothing Venom couldn't do better and stronger. If he beat Venom here, would he return again? He finished shedding his civvies and put on his mask just as Venom's fist splintered the wood and caught him in the back of the head. He was blasted through the wood and landed with a puff of sand on the beach. He looked back and saw Venom charging him, an unnervingly wide smile on his face. He was Death made flesh.
He wants me to run from him, he thought. Heck, I want me to run from him. But maybe I can throw him off by going for the unexpected! Spider-Man got to his feet, crouched, and launched himself full force and Venom's solar plexis.
Venom staggered back a foot, grabbed Spider-Man by the head and slammed him down into the sand. Spider-Man shook his head and cleared his vision as Venom's fists came down. He jumped out of the way before they could crush his head and rolled away.
On the other hand, predictability is a lot less painful, he thought sourly. He panted heavily and felt even worse--the fight had just begun, and he was already spent. He frowned as he caught his breath. Venom was just standing there, letting him recuperate. Why would--?
He caught something moving in the sand and looked down--
Pseudopodia from Venom's foot exploded out of the beach and grabbed Spider-Man by the face. "Hoo-ee, I’ve caught the mother-load!" Venom laughed. "Glory hallelujah, it’s a big’un!" Suffocating as Venom reeled him in, Spider-Man struggled to break loose--but then the psycho had him in his grasp. He pulled Spider-Man up like a fish and looked him over.
Oooooh.....it’s just a guppy after all,” Venom mocked. His fangy grin stretched even wider. “Guess we’ll have to throw it back!
POW! Spider-Man went sailing up into the air and landed on the pier, his back and butt cracking the wood. He staggered to his feet and dismally realized he hadn’t landed one punch yet. He looked at the other door--anything locked in there he could use? He heard Venom’s bounding footsteps getting closer (pfft! PFFT!) and decided to find out.
Inside, he moved like a doctor facing a patient’s heart attack--he needed to know exactly what to do at this very instant. A boat was docked in front of him. Fuel for the boat was to his left--he took it and upended it all over the floor.
Venom’s fist hammered through the wood. “Knock, knock!
A box labeled “emergency” was near the prow of the boat--he opened it and grabbed the flare as Venom smashed through the rest of the wood, impromptu toothpicks bouncing off Spidey’s temple.
“Oh, Marco!” He leered.
“Polo,” Spider-Man gritted and fired the flare. The floor at Venom’s feet erupted and the symbiote recoiled. Venom himself chuckled quietly and dove into the water. Spider-Man went for the roof and coughed away as much smoke as he could. He watched Venom stand up from the water, already alert and looking for him on the beach, and almost groaned.
I’ve got to compensate for my lost spider-sense! If he can’t find me and goes invisible, I’m finished! He thought furiously. What could--he had it. I’ll hit him with a spider-tracer! I can always track that! It won’t warn me of danger, but at least I’ll know where he is!
He extended his head and aimed for the upper part of the shoulder. If he arced it right, it might land softly enough not to be noticed. He tapped the trigger, watched it land--and the symbiote rippled. No good! It moved the tracer forward and Venom grabbed it.
“Well, well, well,” he smiled. “What”--it crunched between his fingers--“had we here?”
Spider-Man gave up. It’s over. I’m outta here! he thought, and lept into the air. Venom saw him, ripped free a chunk of the pier, and knocked the webslinger out of the sky. He fell into the water and Venom’s hands clamped around his throat before he could even surface for air.
There was no way to win. If he went up for air, Venom would bite his face off. If he beat Venom today, he’d be back. He would worry and move and look over his shoulder, trying to keep his family and friends one step ahead, for the rest of his life. However short-lived that might be.
He was through. Maybe the best thing would be to watch the sun rise as he ran out of air and surrendered to fate. All he had to do was die, and Venom would leave the Parkers alone forever.
But...I can’t just give up! he railed. Like I can trust this nutcase to keep his word? With me gone, he might just go crazy and finish off MJ...or May...I can’t let them down! I CAN’T surrender!
He remembered his talk with Dr. Jefferson and suddenly realized: surrender was exactly what he needed to do.
He punched Venom in the temple, followed up with one to the throat, and kicked the monster free. He stood, gasping for air, as Venom picked himself up. Peter ripped off his costume and threw it behind him.
“You want me?” he gasped. “I’m yours.”
Venom made a show of disappointment. “No more fun? Awwwww...”
“I’m not talking to you, Brock,” he spat. “You listening, alien? Now’s your chance! You wanted me--you got me!”
Dr. Jefferson had listened to Spider-Man’s crude outline and told him that the alien’s behavior matched a jilted lover. He went on to explain that many times in such relationships, the spurned party created a love/hate relationship with the rejector. On the one hand, the injured had no greater urge than to take total, immediate revenge on the other half...but on the other hand, a welcoming back into the fold would be their greatest joy.
At least, Jefferson had said, that’s how it worked in human relationships. If the symbiote had no such ambivalence...well, then at least he wasn’t delaying the inevitable.
Venom shook his head. “You’re wasting your breath, Spider-Man! The symbiote and I--we’re very happy together. It won’t....eh?”
Peter looked down at the sand and saw the symbiote quiver...and begin to snake towards him.
No!” Venom shouted. “How can you? I gave you a home! We shared a beautiful hatred! How dare you! How DARE you?!
Peter gulped. He had planned on using the symbiote’s desire against itself. If it had taken the bait, fine--but it was permanently bonded to Eddie. It couldn’t leave if it wanted to...or so he thought. But apparently, it had little to no trouble gliding over the sand to him. He shuddered as it began to slither up his legs. He’d just made the biggest mistake of all--he’d let it back in.
“You can’t do this to me!” Eddie cried, and tried to pull away. Peter shuddered, suddenly realizing he could feel the alien’s pain. Dear God, had he already been joined? He felt the symbiote wrap itself around his insides, and begin peeling back his thoughts.
And then it was in, and Peter screamed.
Peter and Eddie pulled back from each other, each in agony, and the symbiote stretched taut between them. The world seemed to split open--

Peter opened his eyes. Must have passed out--he was still on the beach, still across from Eddie--
And the symbiote was still all over him. He snapped awake, nauseated--and then relaxed as it began to slough off. The gamble had worked--the symbiote couldn’t break its bond. And the effort of trying had knocked them out.
He stretched and closed his eyes. He would put on his clothes, call the FF to escort Venom into custody, catch a bus back to Mary Jane, and realize that he had won, and it was over.
Until the next time.

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Old 11-06-2007, 10:15 PM   #133
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Amazing work Redwoods Wolf!

I love how you incorporated The Sand and the Fury, I cannot wait to see the progression of your story.

You've outdone yourself once again, RW.

Keep up the good work!


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Old 11-07-2007, 05:28 AM   #134
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Incredible pictures...Incredible stories...Incredible Member...

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Old 12-05-2007, 09:37 PM   #135
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Chapter One

Three Months Later


Peter rolled over and began breathing heavily. He put his hands behind the pillow and smiled up at the ceiling. Ahhh.....life was good right now.
He looked over at Mary Jane. Hair frazzled, sweaty, out of breath; no doubt she would roll her eyes if he told her how beautiful she was, but it was the truth.
"I wish I had a camera for this," he said. "You look amazing."
She put a finger to his lips. "And you are a very sweet liar."
He shrugged. "It's the truth. I mean, obviously you are gorgeous in every respect--but I think I prefer you when you've just woken up."
She gave him a come on look.
"No, really," he said. "I've got a private album of you in various stages of waking up."
She huffed a tired laugh, then whipped a scared look at him. "Really?"
"No." (More of a stash than an album.)
"Better not." She unfurled the sheets and walked over to the shower, his eyes lazily following her. She caught his glance, waggled her finger, and shut the door. Alas.
He could still see her in his mind--holding her jacket in one hand, the low sun setting her hair ablaze, a pert smile. "Face it, Tiger," she grinned, "you just hit the jackpot!" He chuckled. Truer words were never spoken. Peter had had a few girlfriends before, but Mary Jane was in a class by herself--a continual dervish of energy and merry-making. Years later, with vulnerable secrets shared between them, and she was still crazy and spontaneous.
Peter rubbed a hand through his hair (getting long again), and looked over at the clock. He didn't have to be anywhere, but it was late enough in the day to motivate him out of bed. He still had to shave and (he just now noticed) clip his fingernails. Someday he'd develop a laser beam that took care of all that permanently, but until that, a mostly honest buck had to be made. He started assembling clothing (amazing how fast and far you could throw a shirt when your wife smiled that smile) and winced as his stomach rumbled.
He went over to the bathroom and almost knocked--but heard her singing and opened the door instead. She stopped whistling and turned, shampoo running down the curve of her arm. Her eyes flicked down and she smiled.
"I think your spider-sense is tingling," she teased.
"Oh, well, you know," he said, quickly grabbing a towel, "have to be alert for trouble. At all times. You know."
"Hmm. You needed something?"
Right! "Oh, I was just going to make a sandwich and wondered if you wanted one."
"Sure. Do we have any rye bread left?"
"I think we're out."
"We're out of eggs, too, aren't we?"
"Yes."
"Shoot. (I'll have to stop by the store on the way home.) If you can scrounge up the right ingredients, I'm craving a roast beef on....wheat, I guess."
"Toasted?"
She clicked her tongue and gave him the thumbs-up. He closed the door (where the heck were his pants?), put on the bottom half of his Spidey outfit and went into the kitchen.
He flicked on the news and listened absent-mindedly as he rummaged through the cupboards. He pulled down some bread and put it in the toaster--then pulled a double-take and squinted at the TV.
The perky female newscaster was all smiles as the picture-in-picture played behind her. "In a surprising turn of events, the execution date of Otto Octavius has been moved forward to the end of this week. After a lengthy three-week trial, the criminal scientist had been sentenced to death by lethal injection three months from now on Riker's Island. But after heavy talks between New York officials, Octavius' execution has been moved to priority one. Warden Murphy had this to say:"
Murphy's face was solemn. "We're not going to take any chances here--people of his, uh, disposition have a well-established history of prison breaks. Waiting three months would be--uh, would be a joke. Frankly, one week is too long."
Mary Jane rushed past him in pj's with a hamper. She was barely able to utter "Be right back!" before she had already closed the door. He shook his head and turned back to the anchor. "...tavius refused to comment. In other news, a week-long streak of burglaries have the police baffled..."
Peter was no longer listening. Otto Octavius was going to be executed. Mark your calendars. Every time--every time he had brought in some shmuck, they had been sentenced to a prison term. It was to be served with the intent of rehabilitation and correction, and was naturally not even close to how long said shmuck would actually be incarcerated.
But now--sentenced to death!
Otto Octavius had threatened to flood NYC with radiation the first time they had crossed swords--ambitious, certainly. But somehow Spider-Man had earmarked him along with the other scamps he had fought...criminals. Not murderers (though he was and they could be), not terrorists, not evil demigods...but nuts that dressed strangely, robbed banks, and make threats they never delivered. They were dangerous oddities, and his life would be much simpler without them, but he always imagined them giving up, growing old, and working at a supermarket. Not executed by lethal injection.
The world, apparently, had moved on from such antiquated notions.
Mary Jane came back through the door and all that fell from his mind. She kicked the door shut with her foot and set the hamper on the table. "Still warm," she said. She sniffed. "Toast is ready."
"Oh, right," he said, and pulled the charred remains out of the pyre. "Sorry about that."
"No worries," she said. "Hey, I've got a modeling shoot for this afternoon, but I'll be completely open for tonight, if you wanted to do something."
"I think so," Peter said. "I've got a meeting with Dr. Connors later today, but--"
"He moved back from Florida?"
"No, he's doing a guest lecture at ESU, after Brown. Unless Brown was yesterday. But I'm hoping I can have a cup of coffee with him, catch up; maybe some freelance later. Shouldn't take too long."
"When is that?"
Peter checked his watch. "One o'clock. Little over an hour."
MJ raised a querying brow. "Peter, it's twelve fifty-five."
Peter frowned, then his eyes snapped open in a rushed panic. "Stupid daylight savings--!" He frantically raced into the bedroom and MJ calmly readied a pot of coffee. She turned around and her husband was decked out head-to-toe in colorful tights with a backpack slung over his shoulder.
"Typical Parker luck," he muttered.
She leaned forward, kissed him, then gave a small wave as he pulled his mask down and jumped out the window. She chuckled softly. Peter Parker. Forever rushing off somewhere.
Meeting him in college, he was aloof, distracted, nice enough to break your heart--but offset it with a wicked sense of humor. She liked him the moment she laid eyes on him.
She poured the water into the filter and went over to fold some laundry. Heh--that boy had an odd sense of style, even in college. If it wasn't for her steady nurturing, he might very well still be wearing sweater vests and floodpants. She pulled up one of his shirts, one of the few that had a smart-alecky phrase: CENTRIFUGAL FORCE IS A HOAX! She shook her head and set it aside. She passed college sciences, but she would never understand liking them. She'd looked over his webshooters the other day and was fascinated with how both simple and elaborate they were. Walked away whistling at his ingenuity.
They were so different!
She smiled and poured herself some coffee. Marriage was crazy.

Last Night

Mac Gargan, a.k.a The Scorpion, looked over the jewelry store and scowled. To think he was going to have to resort to this!
A police cruiser drove by and he jumped. Come on, now. It was time to focus.
Scorpion jumped across the way and landed on his toes, adroit despite his size. His tail flicked behind him, the compacted weaponry causing it to "wave." He grimaced.
Long before this particular night, he had been a private investigator. Just not a very lucky one. He'd made just enough to live on--the number of times he'd ducked the landlady... Then it looked like his ship had come in. J. Jonah Jameson had payed him a decent amount to trail some college kid--find out how he got those pictures of Spider-Man. He'd followed that punk around for weeks, but Parker always scuttled away just before Gargan could get anything.
Jameson had chewed him out pretty well after his repeated failures and gave him the boot. Another day, another check slipping between his fingers. He'd gone home, almost ready to give up--when he'd gotten a message from Jameson himself, asking him to come in for a slightly different project.
Some egghead scientist had been working on JJ's dime to create a formula. Along with an expirimental exoskeleton, the formula was tailored to give the user superhuman abilities, but with a catch. Jameson made it clear he wanted them to be used for the sole purpose of defeating Spider-Man. Gargan had considered. He was out of luck, out of shape--what could go wrong?
Just about everything. Though he became stronger and faster, the exoskeletal suit fused to his body. Spider-Man wasn't as easy prey as he had thought, and Jameson quietly forsook him.
He wasted months--no, a few years now--of animosity on both of them. And two weeks ago, staring up at the ceiling of some flophouse by the docks, rain plinking into a bucket, he realized it. The weight of how much time had gone by hit him squarely in the gut. So he made up his mind to devote all of his efforts to getting rid of this suit; to going back to some semblence of a normal life. Ordinarily, he'd try to knock off something big, but, well...it had been awhile since he was a private investigator. He'd have to settle for less.
He dropped down to the storefront and opened his satchel, ready to select a few choice pieces of glitter.
The store was cleared out. Completely empty.
His mouth dropped open in suppressed fury. Was the world dead set against him now? He heard a muffled scratching about him and whirled. A lithe silhouette was already in motion--he barely got a glimpse of...whoever. The perpetrator?
A police cruiser whoop-whooped and he slipped away into the night, growling.

Two Nights Ago

"Doctor Amanda Tyler."
She nodded, and took the badge. The guardsman nodded and opened the heavy airlock doors. "Mr. Puschel's waiting for you inside, ma'am."
That's 'miss', buddy, she thought, smiled, and went in.
It was a long, quiet walk to Puschel's office. The silence focused your attention on the machine guns embedded into the walls, the rows of guardsmen. Nobody got out of the Vault easily--if at all.
At last, Puschel. The warden was already standing to greet her--apparently this was urgent. "Dr. Tyler," he smiled.
"That's what I'm told," she said. "Mr. Puschel, I was putting my daughter to bed. Whatever this is about, can--"
"Of course, let's go," he nodded. They left his office and started walking. "Sorry about the late night call--would have notified you earlier, but New York practically runs on red tape. Uh, down here."
"Somebody killed trying to escape?"
"No, nothing like that," Puschel said. "We've had a prisoner interred here for three months, now. First few weeks were fairly typical--banging against the walls of his cell, trying to escape, that sort of thing. After about a month or so, the Vault has a five second power failure--electrical storm, I think--and the prisoner breaks out of his cell before we can dump power to the emergency generators. Take a right here.
"Anyway, the guardsmen here manage to take him down and put him back in his pen before he can get too far. That reminds me, I'll have to tell Scolleti's wife the bad news...uh, in any case, we get the prisoner fastened down and lock the cell tight. After a week he begins complaining of severe hunger pains. Most prisoners stay in the sick act for a maximum of two weeks if the physician can't find anything wrong with them. Our boy here continues this for two months."
They turned a final corner and came down an alcove bristling with power cables, emergency generators, fuse boxes. She gave Puschel a querying look. He snorted a laugh.
"A mistake isn't an error until you refuse to correct it," he muttered. "Anyway, for two months he says he's sick, demanding double meal rations, becoming more lethargic. Three days ago...well, take a look."
They stopped, and Tyler looked in the cell. The prone form of prisoner 23662578 lay on the cold cement, eyes closed, chest still. Eddie Brock, alias Venom. Tyler looked at Puschel, slightly disgusted.
"Three days? she said. "You called me in the middle of the night to make sure he's been dead for three days? God, Gene...you've got a medical staff here!"
"I've been on the phone with New York legal for the past day and a half. Brock's got no next of kin, his ex-wife is unlisted--you think it's easy turning a body over to the state, you'd be wrong."
Tyler's stomach sank. She realized the full extent of her invitation.
"I'm sorry, Amanda," he said. "But you're the most qualified surgeon in the county, and I was starting to panic."
She snapped on a rubber glove. "This is not going to happen again, Gene."
He bleakly nodded agreement.

Twenty minutes later, Eddie Brock had been stripped naked and laid out in the Vault's morgue. Puschel hiked up his pants and nodded to the guardsmen. "They'll be outside if you need them," he said. "There's a button on the head of the table there--press it, and you'll get a five-second sonic blast. It'll unlock the door for the guards. We'll also be monitoring from that camera up there"--he pointed up at the corner across from her--"but really, there's no need to worry. We've been blasting his body with sonic energy and he hasn't so much as twitched. Well, I'll be in my office if you need anything."
He left, locking the door behind him. Amanda sighed. I can read a pulse too. Well, maybe she could get this over with in time to make Ellie breakfast, anyway...
"This is attending physician Doctor Amanda Taylor, performing the autopsy on Edward Brock, at....uh, 11:56 P.M. Warden claimed patient suffered from severe hunger pains at least seven weeks prior to the time of his death, three days ago, at...dammit, I forgot to ask. Well--"
She caught something out of the corner of her eye and she jumped. What the--oh. The light had caught the corner of the table by the wall. More tired than I thought. Where was I?
"Uh, this doctor examined the body and confirmed that Mr. Brock had passed on. The body did and does appear to be in a state of malnutrition..."
She did not see the camouflaged pseudopod snake up and unplug the camera.
"...though it is difficult to confirm whether this is self-inflicted or because of an outside contagion." She sighed and pulled the tray close. "All right. Beginning the pericardial incision."
She picked up the scalpel and pressed it against the chest--
"First, do no harm."
She jumped. That had been--
Brock's hand shot up and closed around her throat like a vise. Her eyes flailed around--the camera!--and Eddie sat up and pulled her close to his face. His breathing was quick, feral.
The button! She reached out--
He grabbed her other hand and twisted it away, muscles working and filled with power.
"I regretfully disagree," he whispered.

"Dr. Tyler" made a brief report--all's well--with Puschel, walked past the guardsmen, the turrets, and out to "her" car. She drove outside the gate--flashing her badge again--and merged onto the highway.
Once out of site, Tyler's face melted and washed away, a snake shedding its skin. Eddie Brock took a deep breath--free air. He turned on the radio, looking for some classic rock.
After all, it was a long way to New York.


Last edited by The Navigator; 12-05-2007 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 12-11-2007, 11:20 PM   #136
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I love it! Can't wait for the next part!


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Old 04-26-2008, 06:09 PM   #137
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Chapter Two

Last Night

A shapely shadow jumped the fifteen-foot gap between the savings and loan and the low-rent brownstone. The jewelry store that she had been casing for two months had just gone belly-up, and she needed to work off some steam.
Felicia Hardy (better known as the Black Cat) did not steal very often. And when she did, it was generally small, portable fare (with an occasional museum piece). And that was starting to get really, really boring.
Dammit, she was better than this. Some punk in a scorpion costume horning in on her grift (a kickass old-timey word, grift.), what was that? She was a professional cat burglar (snicker), and when you're a professional, people know better than to mess with you.
Even Spider knew better than to mess with her.
She jumped from the hospital and fired her grapple, swinging out just above the street lights.
Spider...should she see him? Him and that abosultely normal wife he had gotten while she was away? No. He didn't deserve it. After all, the last time she had visited him...
"Tell me where he is! Now! While you still have a face!"
That black-suited freak had broken a cheekbone. And that had been three months ago! Had Spider come to see her in the hospital? No. Well, technically, he didn't know she was in town yet, but roles reverse, she would have been looking for him. In the paper, on the news, she would have found him.
Unless that black thing had found him...
Forget him. This night was about her. It was her first night back in action ever since--that. It was supposed to have been relaxing, fun--she'd brought her ipod, she was going to listen to music---and look. Some jerk in a scorpion costume had gotten there first.
Which was why she was headed for the financial district. Her fence was going to have a heart attack when she came back with this. Tough. It was time to step up her game anyway. She retracted her grapple mid-swing and fell two stories (the rush!) before grabbing a flagpole one-handed, and looping up onto a graceful perch (and without spider-powers, to boot!). Hopefully, the twenty-first story light was still on...and it was. She smiled. Finally, the night was going her way.
Clint Millar was a lawyer with a thing for cars. And his car was a gorgeous silver Ferrari F430 that he drove in to and from his palace outside the city. He was so proud of it, he apparently had a weekly contest to see who would drive it around for a weekend. Well, her number had just come up.
She let go of the flagpole, falling through the air end-over-end, until she kicked off the building-side and rolled into the spiral parking garage directly adjacent. She slinked past the Porsches, the Cadillacs...there it was, sitting there and shining like a big, glittery diamond. She swallowed, nervousness creeping in for the first time. She'd never done anything quite this big before.
Picking the lock without engaging the car alarm was time consuming, but that click and open door were worth it. She slid behind the wheel, nodding her head at comfort of the seat and placement of the radio. She started the car and listened to it roar--
And pricked up her ears. Someone was yelling at her. Clint Millar, as it turned out. Oops--guess he didn't have to work as late as she thought. She put the Ferrari in reverse and--stalled out. She swore under her breath--it had been a while since she'd driven stick. Give ol' Clint credit where it's due, he was smart--already talking into his cell phone, even as he was running towards her. She finally got the handle of the gearshift and blasted backwards, almost totalling a measly Camry behind her. With a shriek of excitement, she angled the wheel and almost ran Clint over, speeding out of the parking garage with surprising smoothness.
Now, there's a rule for when you steal cars--no joyriding. Just drive it nonchalantly to the pickup point and get out of there. Of course, she hadn't really planned this out beforehand, so there was no pickup point. She was also driving one of the most noticeable vehicles in town--bright silver, for crying out loud. So what the hell.
It didn't take long for the police to find her, especially driving the way she did. But that was fine, she was craving another rush. She just wished the stupid car was a convertible...
Not a whole lot of traffic this late in the day, but enough to make this fun. The ferrari zipped between a motorcycle and a line of newspaper stands, sending up a flurry of yesterday's edition as the police tried to stay in the game. Her relative inexperience made this even more exhilarating. She hadn't had this much fun since--
She scowled. She was thinking about him again. She pulled her cell phone out of her backpack.
"Who is this?"
"Oh, come on, Chuck, you should know my voice by now," she smiled.
"Cat! Geez, I thought you were dead!"
"Just taking a vacation, boy-o. But I'm back and hard at work." She honked the horn as she went on an overpass, frightening the homeless (but probably saving their lives).
"All right, good news. What have we got this time? Diamonds? Maybe a nice Herman Miller?"
"A Ferrari, Chuck."
She smiled at the silence on the other end and whipped around a turn twenty miles faster than she should have.
"I don't know, Cat, that's....wow. Give me a few weeks."
"I'm in it right now, Chuck."
"Tell me you're joking."
The police started yelling at her to pull over, and she held the cell phone out the window. Then:
"Satisfied?"
"Oh, man...all right, bring it over to my garage, but get it here in one piece. And don't do anything stupid!"
"Come on, you know me."
"Exactly."
She hung up, and then noticed the stopped line of cars she was fast approaching. She looked at the cops behind her, at the red light--and, honking loudly, drove up onto the curb. The police following her balked at that maneuver and skidded to a stop. For her part, she almost made it through unscathed when a sedan clipped her rear end and spun her into a skid. She recovered quickly (amazing handling on this puppy) and then noticed more cops in front of her, forming a wall. With an irritated growl, she spun the car around just as the light turned green. The cars began to break up, coming at her like metal asteroids, and she veered over the double yellow-line into the side of the road she was supposed to be on. Too late, she saw that the formerly trapped policemen had had the same idea, and--
--ssskRASSHH!--
The eye of the needle was threaded, but just arely. She grimaced at the unseen damage...Chuck was going to kill her. She looked in the mirror again and blew out a vexed breath--the police had been able to squeek by their own and were still in hot pursuit. She approached the overpass and her hand slid to the e-brake. The police came up fast behind her--
--and she pulled up on the e-brake, spinning the wheel at the same time. The car slid out in an arc, smashing through the hand rail and the back end swinging over the edge--and then finally falling to the lower level, escaping into the night.
Chuck had reamed her out. Ten minutes of frustrated fist-clenching and yelling, and her buzz had been killed. She'd get some money off of it being sold for scrap, but...well, whatever. always tomorrow night. She walked out to the roof and sighed, looking up at the moon.
"I saw that little chase of yours."
She jumped, looking around. There was a voice...but she couldnt pinpoint where it was coming from.
"You're going to have to do better than that tomorrow morning."
"Who are you?" She should be able to see him.
"Oscorp. Tomorrow night. Come alone, but expect company."
And then nothing.
"What just happened?" she muttered.

Present

"Tiger, let's go to Fiji."
His sagacious reply: "Huh?"
They had both returned from their respective excursions--he from the meeting with Doc Connors, and she from her modeling shoot. They were both lying on the couch, watching a comedy, when she'd popped the question.
"Why Fiji?" he asked.
"Why not?" she replied. "We never get to go anywhere together, Peter, we've always got work or...your second job getting in the way. It'd be nice to run away from things for awhile."
"Oh, no, I get that, but why Fiji?"
"Because I've never been there," she said. "Because it looks relaxing. Because I saw it on a magazine coming home from the shoot." She sighed at this last.
"How was that, by the way?" he said, turning down the volume.
"Oh, just don't ask," she said. "It was...yeah. Nothing special. How was your meeting with Doctor Connors?"
He shrugged. "I got there late. We had a cup of coffee together, got caught up. His son's almost ready to start junior high. He's finally able to teach gain at a university, even getting some grants. He offered me a job down there as a biochemist."
"What did you say?"
He looked at her, surprised. "Well, I didn't say anything. I'm not going to make that kind of decision without talking to you about it."
"What do you want to do?"
He thought back to his conversation.
"Well, look, Dr. Connors, I need to give this one some thought--I'll let you know soon."
"Well, try to let me know within a week, Peter. I need a lab assistant right away--I'd like it to be you, because I know you and I know you have the experience, but I can't wait around forever."
"A week? Doc, that seems a little rushed for something this big, don't you think?"
Curt had sighed. "Peter, you've got a problem inherant in almost everyone I've seen. You're intelligent, you know how to apply yourself, but you're just not motivated. A part-time photography job was good in high school, but you're a college graduate now. Do you want to support a family like this?"
"Well, not forever, but--"
"Peter, take it from me. I'm not going to tell you how to live, but please listen to me when I say this. The only way to get anything you want in life is to go for it as soon as possible. Because before you know it, you're not a young man anymore and you're wondering what happened. It goes by like that, Peter."

Peter was still thinking about it. "I'm still thinking about it." He looked at her, her eyes lidded, and her shoulders drawn into each other. "Are you all right?"
She sighed. "I'm sorry, Peter. Today was pretty bad."
"Yeah, kinda seemed that way," he said. "You want to t--"
A cavalcade of sirens moaned past the window. "Probably nothing," he said.
There was a muffled fwoom and the Japanese Peace Lily rattled on top of the bookcase. "Ah, nuts," Peter said, and got up. "I'll be back as soon as I can."
She kissed him on the cheek as he left and sat back down on the couch--just as her stomach rumbled and she realized she hadn't gotten any food. She was feeling too lazy to drive all the way down to the grocery store, but she could get some sandwiches from a store right down the street.
She put on her shoes, her jacket, grabbed her purse, and walked down the stairs. The day hadn't gone well at all. The modeling shoot was a Vanity Fair-level project with a first-time photographer. So much money was flashing in front of his eyes, he panicked. Everything became disjointed and sloppy, and she wondered now if there had been a single usable shot out of the entire affair.
And then she had been walking home and stopped by a coffeehouse. She saw the couple, first--a high-level businessman and his trophy wife, smiling frostily at each other wile seated at the opposite sides of the table. And then she had seen kids--swear to God, young kids--driving away from the parking lot, whooping and hollering. It reminded her of the good old days (as though they were so long ago), when she, and Peter and Harry and Gwen and Flash had had similar crazy times.
And then Flash had gone off to the military, and Harry had become swallowed up in drugs, and Gwen...
And then she saw the magazine. Palm trees. A clear sky. Blue ocean.
Wasn't life supposed to get that way?
She smiled. Here she was, getting all depressed--her, Mary Jane Watson-Parker! Wife of the Amazing Spider-Man, and his loveable nerd alter-ego Peter Parker. Life was far from terrible, or over. She was just in a funk, that's all.
She looked up at the cloudy sky and went into the sandwich shop. As she sidled into her place in line, a couple of friends were talking in front of the man in front of her.
"...explosion across town, can you believe that?"
"Yeah, I was just coming from over there. Sometimes I wonder if this place is ever going to get back to normal."
Well, it can't be too bad, then, she thought. Peter's not in serious trouble. And her shoulders--which she hadn't even realized were tense--relaxed.
"Yeah, and get this--on the news last night, cops found seventeen women cut up and killed in an alley somewhere."
"Jesus!"
"I know, can you believe that? Sick people in the world, I tell you."
Mary Jane frowned. Grocery store was starting to look better every minute. But then the line started to move, and she ordered the sanwiches, and watched people get their orders. One man, a lanky redhead, had gotten his sandwich, frowned at it, then took it back up to the counter.
"Excuse me," he said. "There's something wrong with my order."
"What?"
"Well, just look," he said, and opened the bag. The man on the line leaned in, squinting--and then there was a silver flash, and his throat opened up with a red spray.
"Your blood's in it," said Cletus Kasady and began to laugh, the blood from his knife dripping onto the floor...

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Old 04-26-2008, 07:20 PM   #138
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Amazing!

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Old 04-26-2008, 07:35 PM   #139
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This was absolutely brilliant, your writing is truly astounding. I certainlly liked the use of the characters and the flashbacks to certain events. And the ending to the chapter! Oh my, Cletus Kasady...and Mary Jane in the same place! I can't wait to see how this unfolds!!!

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Old 05-05-2008, 03:29 AM   #140
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Chapter Three

There was a full second of complete silence. Kasady stood there, eyes hidden by the harsh overhead glare, his lips curled into a hateful glee. The hand holding the knife was fidgeting, eager, and his other hand was slightly extended, as if by invitation.
Then Mary Jane was grabbed by one of the two men in front of her, who pulled her out of the way as the other tackled Kasady.
"That's the spirit!" he laughed, as the other began to hit him in the face. Kasady threw the man's weight off, wrenched his knife-hand free and buried it in the man's neck. Mary Jane gasped as Kasady stood up, dumping the shivering body in front of the pastries. People began to scream. The man who had pushed her grabbed for one of the big coffee dispensers as a weapon, but Cletus got to him first and slammed his head into the curved glass over the cinnamon rolls and coffeecake. Somebody set off the fire alarm as Kasady finished him off, and the paralysis broke.
Mary Jane ran for the front door beyond the dining room, but was knocked over by an elderly woman. She landed on her back and found Kasady's not-eyes locking onto her. She couldn't get to her feet, and he began stalking towards her. Her flailing legs kicked over a chair and he stumbled--but only just. She got to her knees, knocked over a table, and lurched towards the door. Her fingers reached the handle just as Kasady grabbed her by the hair and hauled both of them to their feet.
"Red always was my favorite color," he smiled.
She swung at him, but he caught her hand and bent it behind her back. She yelped as Kasady pushed her through the door and onto the sidewalk. He pulled her along down the street, past the bus stop.
The businessman never saw it coming. The penniless guitar-hippie didn't either. Mary Jane was too stunned to scream, but everyone else made up for her.
Kasady pulled her closer to her and went down into the subway. "All I hear," he said--and whether it was to her or himself she couldn't say--"is 'Baaa, baaa, baaa.' Time to kick over that fence." He grabbed an elderly woman's cane--for a horrifying second Mary Jane thought it was Aunt May--and broke it over her face, sending her tumbling down the stairs. "Why are you doing this?" she screamed, but he didn't answer her. A group of young men were charging up the stairs to attack him. Kasady didn't go on the offense--instead he slammed Mary Jane into the wall, and then pressed her in place with his back, leaving her immobile and he with both hands free.
"Let her go," the lead youngster commanded.
Kasady chuckled. "Can you live with yourself if I don't? Or if I crush her right now?" He began to press harder. MJ squealed, hating her helplessness.
"Don't!" the leader pleaded.
Cletus growled. "You sheep." One of the peripheral young men had edged slowly towards him, ready to grab Kasady's knife-hand. Cletus didn't even look at him as he flipped the blade into his other hand and slit the man's wrist. The leader chose that moment to rush him, and with a simple backswing, Cletus killed him, too. The rest of the men fell on him.
Oe of them managed to live long enough to drag Cletus away from the wall. Mary Jane had time to take a step before Kasady's arm lashed out and clamped around her ankle. She fell to the ground and watched what happened next.
Now, it wasn't that Kasady was a great fighter, and he obviously didn't have any professional training with that knife. The young men were mostly bigger than his lanky frame, and stronger. But they weren't as fast as he was, and he wasn't afraid to kill.
It was short, inelegant and terrifying. The approaching subway drowned out the sounds of the knife entering into them, one after the other. After the other. After the other.
Then it passed, and Cletus tossed her over to the wall and stood over her, shaking himself off. He noticed the blood on his hands and wiped them clean on his face in grotesque streaks, testaments to his kills. Mary Jane threw up. Shivering:
"Why would you do this?" she asked.
"I had a light breakfast," he said, and pulled her back to her feet.

Spider-Man let go of the webline, rebounded off a bus, and landed across from the smoking ruin. Someone had blown up a fountain, took a good chunk of the nearby school playground with it, and made the park benches into toothpicks. Ash was still being lightly tossed about, mingling with the fall leaves, as the flames died. There was an ambulence nearby and a few police officers. Spider-Man jumped over on top of the ambulence, behind a crowd of policemen.
"Anyone hurt?"
Detective Gauge looked up at him. "Nothing serious," he said. "All the kids had finished recess when the bomb went off. A few people across the street where hit by debris, but that's all." Spider-Man nodded. "Any witnesses?"
The detective shifted uncomfortably. "Look, this is a crime scene and you're not a cop. Just let us do what we do and--"
Spider-Man didn't hear the last part as something zipped between buildings on the far side of the school. His spider-sense made a single-note buzz. "Right, right, excuse me ossifer," Spider said, and swung away. One of the men tapped Gauge on the shoulder.
"Sir? We've got reports of a multiple homicide at that bread place near Adams and Breyfogle..."

MJ is going to murder me for taking so long, Spidey grimaced. And I hate to leave the scene of a crime like that, but the police can handle...is that...? He swung lower, hopping off an emergency stairwell and scuttling over some rough brickwork to get a better look at the runner. Dark figure, lithe, white hair..."Cat?"
She stopped and looked up at him, open-mouthed, wide-eyed, flatfooted. "P--Spider..."
She almost dropped the bags she was carrying--bags lumpy with cash. Peter frowned under his mask. Funny--my spider-sense wouldn't recognize her as a danger... "So we're playing it that way--" Now was how he was going to finish before his spider-sense gave him a John Williams fanfare. He jumped off the wall as it was smashed by--
"Scorpion?" Spider-Man asked, perched on the opposite side. "What is this, 'Animal-Themed-Match-Ups-Dot-Com'?"
Scorpion growled--in frustration, it sounded like--and then barked at Cat. "Keep going! Don't let him catch you!" He aimed his tail and sprayed acid, hitting the emergency stairwell. Spider-Man rolled on the wall out of its way and sprayed a web-net in front of Black Cat. Scorpion's frustrated growl increased to a fever moan as he thrust his tail at the infernally fast Spider-Man.
"I think we got off on the wrong foot," the wall-crawler said, pinwheeling his arms as the tail barely missed him. "I mean, just because you're a spider's natural predator doesn't mean we can't get along!"
"Just butt out, this isn't your problem!" Scorpion said, and swept low. Spider-Man cartwheeled out of its way one-handed, landing on a trash can. He looked back to see Black Cat scaling over his web barrier with a grappling hook. I'm handling this like an amateur, he thought. Time to step up the g-- But Scorpion punched through the flimsy can with a solid tail-thrust, sending Spidey sprawling.
"Greenie, I can't tell you how much I hate having my thoughts interrupted!" he said, and fired a volley of web-balls at his face. Pop-pop-pop! That's it... he thought as Scorpion rushed him--and then slung a thingle, thick strand across the alley and stepped back. Scorpion learned about Newton's law of action and reactions the hard way, flying back and rolling down a submerged stairwell. Spidey caught up to Black Cat just as she slung the bags over his web wall.
"Cat," he said. "Felicia...what's going on? I thought you'd given this up."
She scowled at him. "...I don't have to justify anything to you, Spider." And she swiped a backhand at him. He ducked back...into the arc of Scorpion's tail, swatting him down to the ground. Spider-Man rolled to his feet just as the green meanie threw a metal door at him. Spidey grabbed it with both hands.
"Come on, Scorpion, I clearly signaled for a curveb--"
!--ZAAPPP--!
Spider-Man fell to his knees, legs rubbery. I forgot he has two weapons on that stupid tail, he thought, and that he's not a complete idiot. He shook his head as the two criminals sprinted to freedom, out of his reach. "Man...some days you can't win for losing," he muttered. "But Scorpion and Felicia...what in the world has those two working together?" He grimaced. "If it's the new Sinister Six...I quit!"

Mary Jane inhaled in quick, shallow breaths. The cops had finally caught up to Cletus Kasady (as the detective called him), but not before he had sliced his way through the subway station and up into the lobby of Pierce & Pierce. Luckily for the receptionist, Detective Gauge had shown up with another two squad cars before Kasady could do anything. His gun was pointed at Cletus, whose knife was pointed at MJ's throat. The other cops were trying to flank him, but he kept jerking and twitching away from being surrounded.
"Don't take another step towards that elevator," Gauge said, the gunsight level with his right eye. Don't shoot, MJ ran through her mind, don't shoot, don't shoot
"Or what?" Kasady giggled. "You'll put out a warrant?"
"Let her go, and we'll settle this man-to-man."
"You're the eighteenth person who's said that to me this morning. Come on, lawman, go shake down a hot dog vendor for some crack money. I've gotten plenty of my fix today..."
Ding!
"You get in that elevator, and it's out of my hands," Gauge said. "You will be fired upon!"
Cletus yanked Mary Jane inside and waved at Gauge as the doors closed. He jabbed his finger into 13 and the elevator went up, quietly. The silence was worse than the mayhem.
"Why--" Mary Jane licked her lips, reconsidered the question. "Why am I still alive?"
Kasady's dim brass reflection chuckled. "Told you--red's my favorite color."
"I'm alive because I have red hair?" she asked, almost offended at how absurd it sounded. "What kind of reason is that?"
"Reason and I used to share a room. But I was the only one paying rent, so I kicked his ass to the curb." And then he exploded in hyena laughter.
"I'd like an answer," Mary Jane gritted, "if it's not too much trouble."
Kasady's darkened eye socket raised an eyebrow. "You're a strong woman, aren't you? Stronger than an average model, anyway. Maybe I shouldn't kill you. Or maybe that's why I should kill you...burn that bridge when I come to it."
Ding!
Down on the ground, Gauge was trying to get a newsvan away from the site when a desk fell through the thirteenth floor window. One of his snipers buzzed in his ear."This is Rey--he's on the thirteenth floor, and I've got him in my sights. Do I have permission to fire?"
"Not yet," Gauge said, as Kasady approached the window, the woman in front of him.
"I want you all to see this!" Cletus shouted. "You cops and you journalists--watch your system fail!"
"Do you have a clear shot?" Gauge whispered.
"No, sir," came her reply. "He's moving too much."
"Shoot to wound if you can," he said. "But take the shot when you get it."
"Trying to uphold law and order--HA!" Kasady shouted. "I blew up a playground before LUNCH! Order's what you cowards pull over your eyes so you don't have to face the truth! Law is what you weaklings put around yourself because you don't have the guts to do what I do! Well, good news, boys and girls--school's out...FOR...EVER!"
He edged towards the window, holding Mary Jane by the throat. Peter, help me!
"I'm gonna kill this girl because I met her for lunch! And all you bronze badges and drooling idiots--you're gonna remember because she's hot! How's THAT for a good reason, BABY?!"
BLAM!
His shoulder exploded in a spray of blood, and he fell back into the office with a shriek of pain. Mary Jane wrestled free and pressed herself as far as she could against the opposite wall, as the S.W.A.T. team poured into the room, surrounded him and shielding her. Cletus' lazy eyes caught her glance one last time.
"Idiots... " he muttered. "You'll...see..."

Eddie Brock watched the broadcast very carefully.


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Old 05-07-2008, 09:57 AM   #141
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Simply astonishing, RS. Keep up the superb work, this story is flowing very smoothly with good character development and action.


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Old 05-10-2008, 08:00 PM   #142
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This story will be taking a brief hiatus as I relocate. The author thanks you for your patience.

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Old 06-20-2008, 06:24 PM   #143
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Chapter Four

Peter slammed through the door, his camera catching on the knob.
"Mary J--" was all he had time to get out before he took notice of the apartment. It had been cleaned up since the morning. Mary Jane was over the stove, bumping rapidly between the various pans.
And Santana was playing.
She looked up at him, all smiles. "Hey, lover, how was you morning?"
"...Concerning. I'm so sorry I wasn't--"
She waved it off. "Duty calls, I getcha."
He set his stuff down. "No, come on, MJ, talk to me about this. That must have horrified you."
"Come on, Tiger, nothing ever bothers Mary Jane Parker!"
He winced. Her smile became brittle.
"I'm sorry," she sighed. "Old habit."
She collected herself, still pleasant but now a touch grim.
"I really just want to get back to life-as-we-know-it. The sooner the better."
"You don't want to vent about this? Even just talk?"
"Not unless you really want to."
He considered. "I'll respect whatever you decide. If you need a shoulder to cry on, I'm here, but I won't push you."
She ruffled his hair. "You're so good to me. Now go turn on the news while I finish lunch, I want to see tomorrow's weather."
He sat, feeling as though he'd been outmanuevered, and turned down the music. The TV squawked at him as he flipped for the news:
"--one question: 'do I feel l--' "
"--no-win scenario is a possibility ever comman--"
"--cannot--destroy my dest--"
"--ighs in the low fifties for the next week as a cold front pushes in from Canada, with clouds tomorrow and a thirty percent chance of light snow by the end of the week."

"Did you hear that, honey? No swimwear ads." He tried to sound light.
It worked. "We don't push those until late April."
"Ah, how silly of me...I guess when a guy can see you year-round, it slips his mind..."
"--anks, George. Making headlines across the Northeast, spice magnate and one-time suspected sysndicate leader Wilson Fisk returned to his home shores this morning. The corporate heavyweight had taken a two-year hiatus from his enterprises, he says, to 'restructure and 're-orient.' "
I'll bet,
Peter thought. I'm sure it had nothing to do with those gang wars rippling across his territory...which have now destroyed each other and left a big power vaccuum...
He watched the bald giant smile at the press, waving from the podium. A king and his subjects.
Then the image dialed back to a picture-in-picture and Peter tuned back in to the anchor.
"--is stock jumped forty points with the return. Coming up after the break, neighbors report strange sightings at a suburban cemetary, but first, a city-wide killing spree invol--"
Peter hastily shut it off and grimaced. So much for life-as-we-know-it. "Sorry."
" 's'okay. Lunch is ready."
They ate and spent the rest of the day together as they'd intended.

The low-lying clouds were cobalt blue the next morning, almost obscured by the golden skyscrapers. It would have made a nice photo. Spider-Man didn't much notice--he was looking for someone red.
Who, to his surprise, he found almost immediately. It probably helped that he was fighting someone with telescoping legs thirty feet up.
Daredevil, in Spider-Man's estimation, was the only crimefighter he had any acquaintance with who could near his own acrobatic prowess. He was certainly displaying the traits now, working his way around a punchy Stilt-Man like one of the cirque de soleil people.
"Can we talk?" Spider-Man asked.
Daredevil didn't respond, per se, but he smiled wryly as he tossed one of his trademark billy clubs. It ka-tonngged off of Stilt-Man's armored thigh.
"That almost hurt!" the criminal shouted.
"Come on, hornhead, that armor's too strong for blasters, we both know that. Use your harpoons and tow cables, go for the legs, it might be--"
"I get the reference," DD grunted, arcing under Stilt-Man's arm and onto his back. In one smooth flick, he connected two of his billy clubs' cables, forming an impromptu nunchuk, and wrapped it around Stilt-Man's neck.
"Hey, what--" was all the criminal could say as Daredevil heaved backward, sending the metal giant falling. Daredevil flipped onto an emergency fire escape as Stilty fell with a clatter that reminded Peter of loose cookware.
"Heh."
"Thanks for the assist," Daredevil muttered. He lowered himself and began to subdue his fallen adversary.
"Hey, any time I get to trot out Empire Strikes Back is a pretty good day."
"I saw yesterday's news."
Spider-Man didn't say anything.
"Let's discuss this upstairs."

Perched on one of the Chrysler Building's eagles, Spider-Man started out at the city, as Daredevil leaned against the wall behind him, silent.
"I don't know what I'm doing," Spider-Man said.
Nothing from Daredevil.
"When I was younger...this made a lot more sense. More clear-cut in those days--power, responsibility, self-sacrifice. And I wasn't completely naive, either, I knew that the worst people are not bank robbers or mustache-twirlers. I knew there was evil...I just didn't expect it."
He sighed.
"And MJ gets kidnapped by this...creature.
"I feel out of my league. I'm working a part-time job for the world's most psychotic boss instead of pursuing a real career. My wife has to be the most stressed-out woman in the world--heck, I'm getting an ulcer...and the crazies are getting crazier.
"Is this right any more, where I am with my life? Is this responsible? Heck, fair, even?"
Still nothing.
"I've got a job offer in Florida. We could get away from this...watch the sunset every day without worrying about stretching checks or who's going to escape from super-villain prison this time. I could give her the life she deserves...instead of...this," he finished, lamely.
He heard Dareveil inhale. Then: "There are hurricanes in Florida."
Spider-Man chuckled.
"I think you should talk to your wife, not me. And you should take a vacation. You're certainly allowed." There was a beeping noise. Spider-Man frowned.
"What are you doing?"
"Stilt-Man had a cell phone on his person--I hadn't noticed it before."
"You want me to read off his contact list?" Spider-Man asked, nonplussed.
"No need." Another beep. Then:
"Abner. 212-5 *BEEP* Andre. 212-67 *BEEP* Arnold. 212-3 *BEEP*"
"All first names," Dareveil murmured. "And New York area codes..."
"Yeah, who knew a guy named Stilt-Man had so many friends. Well, I'm gonna go before your lawyer rates drive me to debtor's prison."
"I'll send you the bill," he deadpanned. "Talk to your wife. Take a vacation."
Spidey nodded, about to respond, when he saw a familiar shapely silhouette twenty stories below.
"I'll see ya," he said, and dropped off the edge. He swung hastily after her, and landed on a roof about a football-field away as she took off. He fired a webline in front of her, trying to catch her attention. She turned in mid-air and landed facing him, too far for him to see her expression.
"Cat!"
She backflipped over the edge and out of sight. He made a running jump and landed on the same ledge, looking down. Just an empty rooftop below him. He dropped down onto the skylight.
"Felicia?" he stage-whispered. And then--
--spider-sense!--
the skylight shattered beneath him. He fell down a spiral staircase and through a closed art gallery. He coughed, waving away the dust.
"Cat?"
" 'The cat who walks by herself'? No longer!"
That wasn't Felicia--
His spider-sense allowed him to dodge a projectile that blasted the dusty brickwork behind him. Simultaneously, a dog-sized metal thing had lept from the shadows, and he swatted it away, rolled to his feet.
It was a robotic bunny. Spider-Man frowned.
Naw...
A figure stepped out from the dark. Pointing a smoking umbrella at him, her skin was bleached white, with reddish hair, she was wearing what could only be described as female-stage-magician-wear, a pocketwatch, heals...and two white, fluffy bunny ears on top of her head.
Felica dropped down behind her, and a herd of the mechanical rabbits emerged from the dark.
Spider-Man groaned.
Black Cat and White Rabbit, he thought. There's a fortune cookie in here somewhere.

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Old 06-21-2008, 07:05 PM   #144
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What an absolutely wonderful chapter, RabbitSamurai! Your story is coming along very nicely and I can't wait for the next chapter!

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Old 06-24-2008, 07:18 PM   #145
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Chapter Five

White Rabbit's cybernetic bunnies circled Spider-Man, hssing static. The villainess ehrself raised her umbrella, cocked it. Through gritted teeth, she whispered, "You're late. You're late. You're late."
Spider-Man sighed.
"This is the exact opposite of intimidating," he said. "Besides, aren't you a Batman villain?"
"Like you don't recognize me," Black Cat muttered.
"Actually, I was talking to her," Spidey said, "but sure, fit that bill, too. Cat, I thought--"
He jumped onto the wall to avoid White Rabbit's parasol blast, and then pulled it into his hand with a quick web-snap.
"Sorry about that. Cat, I thought you were a reformed baddie, somebody on the right side of the law, and now you're running around with White Rabbit, of all people. And Scorpion, too--boy, you've been scraping the bottom of the barr--"
That was when he saw a trio of bunnies making off with an abstract piece of art. His hand went out reflexively, but he was still holding the umbrella. Well, what the heck, he thought, lined up the sights, and squeezed the trigger.
The first bunny exploded in a cascade of sparks and put the other two off-balance, the statue swerving perilously.
"Hey, that was pretty fun..." He squeezed off another round and blasted the last bunny, leaving the middle teetering with the sculpture.
"Hey is right!" White Rabbit shouted. "Those rabbits are mine!"
"They're about to be the city, county, and state of New York's," Spider-Man replied. "Five bucks I can shoot the little guy's legs out from under him one at a time."
At that point Black Cat ran over, up the wall, and spin-kicked him from his perch. Spidey rolled to his feet, still holding the umbrella, and dodged three quick slashes from ehr claws.
"Okay, benefit of the doubt time," he said. "I'm going to guess you are still reformed, but you're under mind control." He ducked under a kick. "Blink once for yes, twice for no."
He blocked a slash with the umbrella. She snarled in frustration.
"Can't even blink, huh? The indoctrination must go deep!"
One of the bunnies jumped at him, howling a tinny wail that fragmanted as he blew it apart. He looked up in time for Cat to give him a left hook to the jaw.
"Listen, lover," she breathed, "it isn't mind control."
"Well, obviously," he said, "no self-respecting hypnotee would throw such a weak punch." He sweep-kicked her to the floor. "But aren't we split up now?"
She launched herself at him, going overhead adn rebounding to land on top of him. "Well, we seem to be in a different position now," she breathed.
"Subtle as always," he said, and knocked her away. They both got to their feet. "Catch!"
He threw her the umbrella. "What--?"
"I didn't say to stop," he said, grabbing a bunny with a web and throwing it at her. Reflexively, she blasted it. He grabbed two more and lobbed them at her, one of them sticking to her before she could blast it. He continued to lob more at her until she was a web/metal mess, helpless under the weight of the bunnies.
And the sad part is, no one would believe this if I told them, he thought, and backflipped over in front of a fleeing White Rabbit. "Sorry, sweetie, but the Mad Hatter cancelled the dinner party. Hey, he is a Batman villian. Maybe you two could get together."
She reached into her jacket pocket and Spider-Man quickly webbed her hand there. Pulling her close, he reached in, grabbing what her hand was curled around. It was a cell phone.
"Is that who you were calling now?" he asked. Hmm...I wonder--
He almost flipped it open before he turned and saw Black Cat escaped, adn the bunnies discombobulating themselves. Well, I'll sort this out later, after I settle these furballs. Metalballs? That just sounds odd. They started towards him, their little red eyes glowing.
"Okay, fun's over," he said. "Call them off."
"The spider becomes the fly," she smirked. "I like the irony."
He spun her around, planting her between him and them. "And now the Rabbit's the carrot. Still like the irony?"
She grimaced and squeezed a cufflink. The light in their eyes died.
"See how easy that was?" he asked. "Now, we've got a nice little 6 x 8 cell for you at Riker's Island, with all the curds and whey a girl could want."
She hmphed.

Ten minutes later--with no sign of Felicia, to his annoyance--he was sitting above the ruined skylight and looking over the White Rabbit's cell phone.
Abner...Andre...Arnold...Were these the same contacts on Stilt-Man's phone? Guess I should have been paying attention.
He considered calling one and trying to pass himself off as White Rabbit, but somehow doubted the timbre of his voice would reach that high. He continued through the contact list.
Felicia...interesting, but figures...Herman...Jalome...Lobo...Lobo2...wait a minute, is this the Lobo Brothers?
The Lobo Brothers were werewolves, who also had some beef with the Kingpin.
A puzzle piece comes into view...but unless I'm mistaken, full moon's not for another few weeks...wait a second, what am I doing? White Rabbit's crazy! She's nutty enough that any of this information could be unreliable. Heck, the phone itself might not even work.
Expirimentally, he dialed his wife's cell phone. It rang once...twice...
"Hello, who's this?"
"Hey, green-eyed lady. It's me on someone else's phone."
"Oh, hi. How's work?"
"It has it's ups and downs--I nabbed this phone off the crook I ran into. I grabbed what appears to be a whole gang in her contact list."
"Wow. You gonna go lay the hammah down?"
"No, I don't have any idea where these people are for sure. Hey, what are you up to right now?"
"I'm finishing up a commercial--ten more minutes, and then, I don't know, grab a bus home or something."
He listened to the sweet litl of her voice and decided spur of the moment that he was going to take this woman to Fiji.
"Hey, you want to meet me at the coffeeshop in the library downtown?"
"What for?"
"It's a surprise." He remembered the last few days. "Uh, a good one. I promise."
"Sure, I could use a good surprise."
"All right. I might get there later than you, I want to check in with someone about this phone. But I'll be there soon."
She kissed him good-bye, and he reciprocated, and then hung up. He looked down at the traffic, simultaneously wondering how in the world he was going to afford a trip to Fiji and not caring in the slightest. Maybe I'll have to get another job...in Florida. He chuckled and dropped down to the White Rabbit, webbed to a lightpole twenty feet up.
"You scared of heights?" he asked.
"No."
"Oh, good. Because I didn't call the cops yet, so you might be up here for a while."
He looked up, suspicious. Had he just heard something...?
He snickered and then looked at the phone. He opened it and looked at the list again. Herman. As in...? He dialed the number.
"This better be an emergency, Rabbit."
"Is this Herman Schultz?" Spidey asked.
"...Who is this?"
"I know where you live, Shocker." He hung up. Then he laughed and swung off, seeing if he could catch up to Daredevil.

Shocker hung up. "Damn Spider-Man." He looked around at the others. "I'm afraid we're going to have to speed things up."

Mary Jane had finished the commercial, grabbed a bus to the library, and settled in with her mocha. Now where was Peter...?
"Mary Jane?"
She stood up--but she wasn't looking at Peter at all. It was someone in black.

White Rabbit dangled on the lamppost, in a huff. The greatest criminal mind of our age--of any age!--and here she was, strung up on a lamppost twenty feet above the ground with nobody around.
She heard a sound from around teh corner.
"Spider-Man? Are you finally going to cut me down and spare me this humilia--"
Then she saw the source of the noise and became mesmerized in terror.
"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!" she whispered. "The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!"
The darkness chuckled, and took her.


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Old 06-24-2008, 08:03 PM   #146
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Extravagant work as always. I like how you've included White Rabbit into your story. You seem to have a knack for writing.


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Old 07-13-2008, 03:43 PM   #147
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Chapter Six

MJ started. The man was tall and lean, dressed simply, with red hair and a crazed gleam in his eye--
No, he wasn't. He just had red hair. She shuddered.
She clenched her teeth, biting down hard. She'd stop shaking if she made herself angry. And she needed to stop shaking. Not like anything was going to happen today anyway--yesterday was madness.
She wondered where Peter was. Peter could bend steel with his hands. She could crumple a paper cup.
She was starting to cry. She forced it back with years of training--that sour emotion that might tear your guts to pieces, but by God, nobody sees it.
God, where the hell is Peter?

"What's he doing now?"
"Putting some flowers in those little bins. His wife's not with him."
"He's been at that family mausoleum for a half-hour, that can't be all he's doing."
"That's all he's doing, sir."
"All right, I'll check back," Detective Gauge sighed. "Wait, are there any news vans out by that cemetary?"
"Not that I can see, sir."
"Huh. Well, over and out, then." He wiped his eyes and replaced the phone. His partner chuckled at him from the other desk.
"Two days without sleep and you think our spotters need to watch Wilson Fisk put flowers on the family grave?" she asked.
"He always needs watching," Guage yawned. "I need something to keep me awake Rey, you want anything?"
She shook her head, not looking up from her papaerwork. Then something thumped against the window, and she did. She half-smiled.
"What, a bird hit the window or something?"
"Someone's here to see you," she countered.
"Probably Murphy and his tri--" he stopped when he saw. Spider-Man was hanging upside-down outside a foot away, with Daredevil on the rooftop across. Spider-Man waved. Gauge forced the window opened.
"Detective...Guage, right?" the wallcrawler asked. "We met on the playground the other day." He paused. "I didn't realize how second-grade that would sound."
"If you're looking for information, we don't have any," Guage said.
"Au contrair," Spider-Man replied, and pulled out a couple of cell phones. Guage took them, confused.
"What's this?"
"It's a contact list of an underground metahuman criminal fraternity," Spider-Man told him. "Names and numbers, some of which might not be reliable. But DD and I think we've got a good handle on who's in this gang--Abner Jenkins, the Beetle; Andre Gerard, Cyclone; Arnold Paffenroth, Tatterdemalion--"
"Not to be rude," Rey said, "but isn't this your area? We're not some special task force, we're the morning shift."
"Well, I figure, you guys are always either cheering or jeering me, but you're never alongside me," Spider-Man said. "And I know at least some of you think we're taking away your jobs. Being a blue-collar man myself, I can understand the feeling. So--why not a little cooperation for a change?"
"Hmm." She paused. "Doesn't the blood rush to your head when you're hanging like that?"
"Not as often as you'd think," Spider-Man said.
"This list is all second-stringers," Guage said. "Why do you care?"
"Second-stringers that usually operate by themselves," Spider-Man reminded him. "And with this amount of stunted ambition, whatever they're planning's going to be noticed. Now where was I...Mac Gargan, the Scorpion; Herman Schultz, the Shocker; Lorina Dodson, the White Rabbit...I don't remember Lightmaster's real name...or Slyde's...and then there's the Lobo Brothers--"
"The werewolves."
"Yeah...and Zelda Dubois, Princess Python; the Stilt-Man..."
"And the Black Cat," Daredevil chimed in.
"Right," Spider-Man said. "And her."
"Any idea where these people are?" Guage asked.
"Nope. Well, we'll handle what we can from our end. Ta-ta." And with that, he and Daredevil swung away, leaving the two cops a little speechless.
"I'll take this down to Barry and see if he can trace any of these numbers," Guage said, and left. He realized, bitterly, that he wasn't tired any more.

"Well, that's my good deed for the day," Spider-Man said. "And now I have to go meet with my wife."
"Remember what we talked about," Dareveil reminded him.
"Yeah, yeah..." he said, and turned away, swinging east. Then he growled. All my clothes are back at the apartment! Let's see...five minutes to swing home, ten minutes to swing to the library, half an hour to apologize to my wife for being so late...yeah, that sounds about right. At least I've got her surprise...
He arrived home shortly, grabbed his backpack off the couch, and went into the bedroom.
Black Cat was laying on the bed, holding a rose.
"Subtle as ever," Spidey said, going to the dresser. "What do you want?"
"I just thought we could kiss and make up after that little spat with White Rabbit," she said. "You know I didn't mean it."
"Well, you know I don't normally allow criminals into my home, but I'm late for a meeting with my wife, so if you'll excuse me and promise not to come back, I'll forget this."
"Must be nice, being married."
"Eh, it has it's ups and downs."
"We never had any downs."
"You thought Peter Parker was boring."
"But this...this isn't." She got off the bed, sauntering over to him. "A man and a woman...equally matched, without any complications...no strings attached...remember those days?"
He stopped gathering clothes. "Those were fun days."
"Maybe we can revisit them," she said, tracing a finger along his spider-emblem. "Start working together again..."
"Maybe."
"I mean, you know I'm not a criminal," she said, getting closer, "I just had to get your attention."
"I'm rapt."
"So what do you say...partners?" Her mouth was open, mere inches away.
"Working together?" he asked, voice low.
She chuckled. "Working...playing..."
"Working on finding your friends...?"
Her mouth closed with a snap. She stepped away from him. "Why, you--"
"What? You thought I'd leave my wife for you?" he snorted. "I told you before, we're finished. So unless you want to tell me where your compatriots in crime are, you can get out of my house."
"So that's it, then?" she asked, frothing. "I'm just another target, huh?"
"That's it, then."
"Fine. Enjoy life with Mary Plain," she spat, and lept out the window. Damn you, Spider-Man.
Peter grimaced. There goes that ulcer again. He started shoving clothes into the backpack. Freaking ex-girlfriends...

Moments later, Peter walked up to Mary Jane, holding some foamy beverage. "Hey, you," she smiled. Peter sat down across from her, noting the smile was a little strained. "Sorry I'm late," he said.
She shrugged and noddded at his drink. "What's that?"
"It's a...very long name for waht amounts to completely unhealthy deliciousness," he said. "It's pretty good." He sipped some, and then was ambushed by his wife's sudden kiss. She sat back, licked her lips contemplatively, then nodded.
"Delicious," she said.
He laughed.
"So what did you want to talk about?" she asked.
"Oh, yeah," he said, and reached into his sweater jacket, making a big show of looking around. He slid it mock-secretly to her.
"What's this?" she asked.
"Expensive," he smiled. "Open it."
She did, and squealed. "Peter!"
"I know."
"It's two tickets to Fiji!"
"Yes."
"For two weeks! In two weeks!"
"Indeed."
"Peter, you're the best husband I've ever had!"
"...uh..."
"And, you know, the only one."
"Oh, good."
"Oh, you have no idea how much this has made my day! When did you get this?"
"This morning."
"Can we afford it?"
"Barely."
"Oh, I'm so excited!" she hugged him from across the table.
He smiled. "I like seeing you like this."
"I like seeing you."
They were happy.

That night:
"I'm thinking of taking that job with Curt Connors," he said, and lit another candle. He counted them. That looks about right...
"Really?" she said from the bathroom. "In Florida?"
"Yeah, I think it would be good for both of us," he said, and shut the windows and drapes. "You'd be more happy down there, and I could get a real job for a change." He paused. "Okay, it's all ready."
She came out of the bathroom, and Mary Jane glowed in the evening ambience. She looked into his eyes.
"Peter...you're the only thing I need to be happy," she said.
He realized he'd been holding his breath and let it out. She got into bed and motioned for him.
"And I'm very happy..."
He kissed her slowly, shivering as a cool breeze arced along his back.
And then cable-thick black fingers tightened around his throat and he couldn't breathe.
"We come in peace," the darkness chuckled, as he blacked out.

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Old 07-17-2008, 07:47 PM   #148
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Default Re: Redwood Wolf's Fanfics

Whew! I finally got around to reading the latest chapter. As always excellent work, but I especially loved the dialogue.

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Old 08-20-2008, 02:57 PM   #149
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Default Re: Redwood Wolf's Fanfics

Sorry about the delay. Next entry will arrive soon.

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Old 08-22-2008, 06:10 PM   #150
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Default Re: Redwood Wolf's Fanfics

Looking forward to it, RabbitSamurai.


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