Note: Many thanks to G.R., for helping me with key aspects of the story I was having trouble with. Also thanks to Krazy-Cartoonist-827 on DeviantArt for letting me base this story off his/her picture, "Lullaby".
"In the dark of the night, it hunts. Strange, circular tracks are the only trace it leaves—when it's full. But the recent string of child disappearances has become a more sinister occurrence in light of the tennis shoe found by a set of fresh tracks—the Spider Man's tracks."
Dib stopped his furious note-taking and wrinkled his nose in disgust. "What? The Spider Man? I thought tonight's episode was something serious." He tossed the notepad over his shoulder, frustrated. "Idiots, I keep telling them what they should really look for, but they ignore me. Stupid show. Stupid Spider Man. There's no such thing!"
"A team of experts from Area 51 have been seen combing the area for clues, but so far they've turned up nothing but the tracks, the tennis shoe, and scuffle marks in the dirt. So beware, and be on guard, or the Spider Man may get you next. Until next time, this is Mysterious Mysteries. Goodnight."
He switched off the TV, gritting his teeth. "Will they stop giving paranormal science a bad name? Last week's episode of the Vampire Donut was bad enough. But now this? How am I supposed to be able to prove Zim is an alien if no one gives any credit to the paranormal in the first place because of this crud? And when am I gonna stop talking to myself?"
Throughout the school day, Dib couldn't shake his foul mood. Not even Gaz's threats or Zim's overblown ego fazed him. Deep frustration and anger churned in his gut, even as he dressed for gym.
He glanced across the locker room to the neon green privacy stall Zim had constructed for changing in. How many times had he tried to get a camera in there? He shook his head. Too many to count, and all had failed. That stall was wired with more gadgets than his old invisibility suit. But what really stung was the way all the kids walked past it, as if it didn't stick out from the dirty, grimy, brownish lockers and sickly tan stalls.
Out on the track, his day didn't improve. Zim, of course, was the fastest. He expected nothing less, the alien must have trained his antennae off for conquering. And every time Zim passed him up by another lap, he made sure to rub it in Dib's face.
"Hey Earth-stink, how do you think you're going to catch me with your horrendously slow legs?
"Good Irk hyuman, is your body defective, or is your head so big that it slows you down?
"Bow to the superior speed of ZIM!!!"
Dib lowered his head and pumped his legs faster, his breath chugging in and out in painful gasps. He'd never been athletic, and never pretended to be. But he had to shut Zim up somehow…
His legs protested the added strain and his lungs screamed for more air. He wobbled, his calves and thighs refusing his demands, and pitched forward, barely catching himself from landing face-first in the dust. Zim laughed triumphantly as he passed Dib yet again, followed by all the jocks and weight lifters. Once again, Dib was left with the familiar taste of humiliation on his tongue. Slowly, he pulled himself up and hobbled off to the side to sit on the bench.
"Where do you think you're going?" Barked the coach. "You have another 48 laps to run!"
Dib groaned, knowing that this coach wouldn't let him sit if he was dying. He motioned, exhausted, to the boy's locker room. "Bath…room…gotta…"
"Make it quick," the hog-toothed man snapped. "You have three minutes. I'm timing you."
The boy nodded and dragged himself to the locker room, collapsing against the smooth, cold wall. He leaned his head back against it, grateful for a chance to catch his breath. "Note to self, don't try to race Zim again, just keep pace."
His eyes shot open and he scrambled to his feet, swaying weakly. "Who's that? Who laughed?" He glanced around the room, but couldn't see anyone. "Heh, probably just my imagination." His gaze fell on the clock, and he groaned. "Four minutes… coach is gonna flunk me." He sighed, and trudged to his locker. "If he's gonna fail me anyway, no point in going back out to run another 50 laps."
Dib started, eyes wide. "Wha… alright, whoever you are, come out! I mean it!" He yanked a tennis shoe from his foot and held it like a club.
Dib stood there for a few more minutes, before deciding he was probably hallucinating due to extreme fatigue. He'd been up late every night for the past week, trying to infiltrate Zim's base. Otherwise… he didn't want to think about the alternative. He'd heard enough horrific stalker stories to last him the rest of his life. He tried to keep his mind on changing his clothes and gathering his books, but as he left the locker room, he heard a sibilant voice whisper one word, very clearly.