A blonde teenage girl stood on top of the George Washington Bridge's suspension tower. She looked over her shoulder, a hint of sadness in her crystal blue eyes, and fell to the river below. High-pressured winds blew past her, ruffling her golden hair and denim jacket and skirt. A thin string fired from the air and tightly wrapped itself around her leg and was given a firm yank.
She suddenly went limp, the line snapped, and she plunged into the green and murky Hudson River. A chilling laugh seemed to come from the depths of water.
Peter Parker slowly opened his eyes and sat up in his bed, covers and bedding strewn everywhere. He let out a depressed sigh and got out of bed when his messy room came into sharp focus. He groaned slightly as he walked to the bathroom and ran the shower.
"That stupid dream again," he muttered.
After a quick shower, he decided he should at least get dressed. His Aunt May made it clear yesterday that moping about the house in his unwashed pajamas for three days was more than enough. Peter threw on a dark blue shirt. He then threw a red, open-buttoned Hawaiian shirt on top of it.
Next, he put on a pair of faded jeans, followed by a pair of red broken-in Nike basketball shoes. Aunt May never understood why he spent all that money on those athletic shoes since he never played any sports. Peter had his reasons for choosing his footwear, but he was never entirely sure how to break it to his elderly aunt that he could stick to the walls.
Peter than slumped back on his bed and looked over at his alarm clock. He then checked his watch on the alarm clock, his cell phone clock, and the replica Colorado atomic clock mounted on the far wall.
"Quarter to six…on a Sunday," Peter said. "Imagine that." He then looked out his window to the house next door. The shades were drawn closed, but a small light was visible. "You were right, MJ. I did hit the jackpot…I just wasn't smart enough to hold onto it."
He picked up a picture frame on the nightstand next to his desk and grinned slightly. Inside was a picture of him and an attractive redhead hanging onto each other at an amusement park. He put it down next to another picture, one of him and a blonde in a similar position but on a boardwalk.
"I better call Matt before I decide to do something stupid." Peter picked up his cell phone and punched in a speed dial number.
"You have reached the home of…" a female computer voice said.
"Matt Murdock," a male voice said.
"If you would like to…" began the computer voice again.
"Leave a message…" the male voice added.
"Please do so…"
"After the beep."
"Hey Matt, it's Pete," Peter said. "Fist off, get a new answering machine. Second, I need you're advice, but not in the lawyerly way. Call me back when it's most convenient to you, Horn-head." Peter hit the END button and stuck the phone in his pocket. "Must be gettin' ready for church… or Elektra's back in town."
"C'mon, Kurt, just a few more blocks," Scott Summers said to his dozing friend.
Kurt Wagner tried desperately to keep his eyes open as he and Scott cruised the streets of Manhattan in Scott's red convertible.
"Scott, when you said we'd be taking in the sights of the city, I didn't think you meant so early in the morning!" Kurt said in his thick German accent, between yawns.
"Well, Kurt, since Logan decided not to run us ragged in the Danger Room because of the teacher strike, I figured this would be cool," Scott explained.
"Ja, but at dawn?" Kurt asked, slightly agitated. "Not even Logan gets up this early."
Over the past few days, the teacher's of a New York City area high school got into a dispute that resulted in the district being shut down for a few days. No one really knew what the strike was about but it eventually spread across the state and taking drastic measures, the superintendent decided to close down the New York State school districts to better handle the demands of the teachers. Oddly enough, neither teacher nor student objected to it.
They were currently stopped at a red light. Kurt turned on the radio and loud music began blaring over the speakers. According to the brief announcement by a D.J. it was some type of extreme station but to Scott, it sounded like white noise played at too high a level.
"Find a better station or turn it off!" Scott shouted over the noise coming from his radio.
"No way, man!" Kurt objected, yelling as well. "This is cool!"
The sound of a loud horn honking caught their attention, and Scott slammed down on the accelerator, thinking the light turned green. They tore through the intersection and nearly ran into a blind man at the crosswalk.
"Sorry," Scott said, turning the radio off. "You all right?"
"I'm fine," the blind man said curtly. "I think you need to get your eyes checked."
Scott chuckled sheepishly and threw the car into reverse. Ignoring the stares of the other motorists, he managed to clear out of the intersection and go down the road.
"A guy can't even get outta five o'clock mass these days without getting run-over," Matt Murdock muttered to himself and went on his way.
Scott rounded a corner and parked in an alley. Scott was sweating by this time and Kurt was laughing uncontrollably.
"You are in so much trouble!" Kurt exclaimed. "The Professor's gonna take your car away!"
"Shut up, Kurt!" Scott said. "You're not telling anybody about this."
"And what makes you say that?"
"You do and I tell Kitty who threw her chocolate chip cookies away."
Shock came across Kurt's face. "You wouldn't!"
"Wanna take that chance?"
"All right, I won't say anything."
Peter stood on the top of one of the towers that supported the George Washington Bridge. He loud out a loud sigh and hung his head.
"With great power comes great responsibility," he said to the murky water below. "Well, Uncle Ben, you never told me what to do should they collide…and who would get hurt in the crossfire."
Having been deemed a superhero in a few tabloids, and a masked menace in another, for a little over a year gave Peter Parker an interesting level of anonymity. As his costumed guise as the "Amazing Spider-Man," he was free from the restraints of being a straight-A high school student, but the recognition of his deeds were only counted in supermarket tabloids and regarded as either an urban myth or masked menace by the Daily Bugle. Only two people knew of this, another in the costumed-hero business, also of equal anonymity, and a government agent that only regarded him as a unique specimen. He wasn't sure what the agent really wanted with him, but he knew it couldn't be good.
Peter looked down the tower and saw that some of it had been recently repaired, as indicated from the large welding marks that ran from the top of the water to almost half way up.
Getting chased by the schizoid father of your ex-best friend will do that, Peter thought. "Farewell, Gwen. Sorry I couldn't save you."
He took a quick look around the bridge and saw that no else was around at this time, being real early in the morning on a Sunday. He knew no one saw him this far up but it was out of habit than anything else. He exhaled deeply and tumbled back. He then executed a series of back flips and landed with almost no injury on the almost empty bridge. He slowly walked down the bridge, feeling a slight pain in his thigh, passing a few cars on their way out of the city.
"Hop to it, Kurt!" Scott said. "We have to meet the others in Central Park in a few hours."
"And why aren't we driving there?" Kurt asked, his lungs ready to explode from having to jog from a parking garage ten blocks away.
"It's better for you, and besides, gotta get those burgers out of your system somehow," Scott explained, before jogging off again.
Kurt rolled his eyes and followed after. He suddenly had a devilish idea but thought better of it.
Don't want to end up on the news, he thought and picked up the pace.
It was around 10:00 by the time Scott and Kurt managed to jog to Central Park. Scott sat down on a nearby bench, sweat streaming from his face. Kurt dropped by him a minute later, his face flushed.
"Like, what happened to you two?" said a voice.
Kurt and Scott craned their heads and saw Kitty Pryde approach them. It took a while to register it was her, since she decided not to wear her hair in its usual ponytail.
"We jogged!" Kurt exclaimed, staring at Scott.
"Don't…you feel better?" Scott replied between raspy breaths.
Kurt's stomach growled in response, causing Kitty to giggle.
"We have everything set up, unless you guys want to stay here and sweat," Kitty said. The boys groaned as they got to their feet and followed Kitty down a path. "I didn't think so."
Flash Thompson sat on the hood of the sports car his father bought him for making Midtown High's Football MVP. In the back and passenger seats were two of his teammates.
"Hey Sanchez, toss me a beer," Flash ordered.
"I dunno, man, won't we get in trouble?" Derek Sanchez, the star running back, inquired. "What happens if the cops catch us?"
"And what if they don't?" Flash countered. "Then we would've missed on a prime opportunity to get toasted."
"Can't argue with that logic," Stan Lawrence, the starting defender, said.
Sanchez groaned and tossed Flash a beer can. The quarterback popped it open and began to chug it. The guys cheered him on and shouted loudly when Flash crushed the empty can against his forehead.
"Who's the man?!" Flash shouted.
"You the man!" the others replied.
The cheering than faded away when something caught Flash's eye. It was a guy dressed in red and blue walking into Central Park.
"Parker," Flash said. "This is gonna be good."
Kurt stuffed his face with chips, pork rinds, and French fries. Rogue stared at the spectacle before her, occasionally shaking her head.
"I cannot believe you can put all that away and not get sick," she said in her Mississippi accent. "That must a mutant power or somethin'."
"Yeah, the ability of having a bottomless stomach," Kitty added. She and Rogue then exchanged high-fives.
"Hey, don't make fun!" Kurt said with a mouthful of food. "Got to carbo-load after what he put me through!"
"Kurt, I said I was sorry," Scott replied, tending to a portable barbecue. "What more do you want from me?"
"Give me a minute; I'm sure I can think of something." Kurt went back to eating the junk food spread before him.
Scott chuckled and flipped over a few burgers. He wasn't much for spontaneity, but when Jean called him up to have a small picnic in Central Park, he had to go for it. After all, Duncan Matthews wasn't around and he and Kurt needed something else to do instead of cruising around the city. Jean was currently getting a few extra supplies out of the black van the others came in. Scott was a little surprised that Rogue decided to tag along. Usually she doesn't go for group activities.
"Are those burgers done yet?" Kurt whined.
"No!" Scott said. "They'll be done, when I say they're done!"
Loud whooping and cheering interrupted the quietness of the park and the teens looked around and saw a group of jocks run by, chasing some guy dressed in red and blue.
"C'mon, guys, can't we talk about this?" they heard a voice say a few yards away.
"No way, nerd boy!" shouted another voice, one that seemed eerily similar to Duncan Matthews'.
"Should we, like, check it out?" Kitty asked.
Scott turned down the fire on the grill. "Kurt, get Jean, then meet us on the other side of the park."
"You got it." Kurt then disappeared in a puff of black smoke.
"Let's move," Scott said to the others. "Could be a mutant."
Peter was a deer caught in the headlights as Flash Thompson and the rest of his starting line-up cornered him against a tree. He looked around and saw no one else was in the park.
"Come on, Flash, can't we talk about this?" Peter pleaded.
"No way, geek wad!" Flash shouted. "M.J. said I had to be nice to you, but I don't see her around. Do you?"
"She's dating him?" Peter asked himself. "My karma sucks."
The football jocks yelled and charged. Peter expertly dodged their punches, but he dared not to counterattack. With his luck, he'd get in trouble for throwing the first punch. The three jocks circled him, cracking their knuckles. They shouted and their fists came from three sides. Peter rolled his eyes and ducked. Their knuckles collided and the team recoiled in pain. Peter stood up and walked away.
"Don't you turn your back on me, Parker!" Flash yelled and charged.
Peter sighed and executed a flawless back flip over the jock. Flash tumbled forward and ran into a bench. He groaned slightly and fell to the ground. Peter than turned to face the other two.
"Well, I'm waiting," Peter warned.
"Let's get outta here, man," Sanchez said to Lawrence.
"Yeah," Lawrence replied. "My dad always said not to pick on anybody weirder than me."
The football jocks quickly beat a hasty retreat. Peter waved them good-bye and checked his watch. A couple yards away, a small crowd had gathered.
"Guess he didn't need our help, after all," Jean commented. "Nothing overtly mutant about this guy."
"Well, I can afford to be wrong once in a while," Scott admitted.
"Uh, Scott?" Rogue said.
"Yeah?" Scott asked.
The Southern Goth simply pointed and Scott saw the guy in red and blue scale an old tree with his bare hands. He took a look around, expertly balancing on top of a swaying branch, and leapt from it, landing on a nearby picnic table. Amazingly, the table didn't break and the guy seemed unfazed from it. He got off the table and then ran off at an unnatural speed.
"You guys saw that, right?" Scott asked his friends.
"Uh-huh," they replied in mild shock.
They slowly approached the tree the guy just climbed. The only evidence of him being on it were the scuff marks from his shoes. Rogue examined the ground around the base of tree. She saw the guy flip onto the trunk and was hoping he left something behind.
"Found something!" she called out, picking up a wallet. The others gathered around as she took out an ID card. "I think Mr. Parker needs to get pants with better pockets."