The coffee arrived at the table long at last. The two lovers took their cups, Peter reading the morning newspaper but not the Daily Bugle. He couldn't believe Spider-Man was still being blamed for the whole invasion.
"It's been two months, and still no sign of Eddie or Carnage." Mary Jane could tell by his tone of voice that this worried him deeply. She reached across the mini table and rubbed his arm.
"I know they're two of your greatest nemeses, Tiger, but you really have to not worry about that right now; there are bigger things happening, aren't there? Shouldn't you be worried about the effects of that incident in Stamford? I hear the government is really starting to push the whole Superhuman Registration Act. What do you think that will mean for us?"
"You're right, MJ, as always. We heroes are at the brink of a civil war and I'm still lingering on old news," Peter sighed. "I just can't shake the fact that that psycho-killer Carnage is still missing. And I can't forget about Eddie; even though he claims to be a changed man, I feel he still has deep-seeded hatred for me."
"Well it's time to let them go and focus on the dark road ahead, Pete," said Mary Jane.
"Yeah, I know," said Peter. But I can't shake this feeling that I'm being watched right now.
Eddie only watched a little longer, letting his hatred boil a little more. He knew Parker's Spider Sense couldn't sense him when he was Venom, but Eddie won't take a chance now. He pulled down his baseball cap a little further over his face and turned into the rancid, dark alleyway across the street from the little café.
"I'll let you slide for now, Parker. But we'll meet again one day, and when that day comes you will discover one new way to die by my hands," Eddie vowed. "When my work is complete, you shall be my final target." Eddie hesitated for only a moment, the fabric of his coat slightly shifting. He continued down the alley. I know you're out there, somewhere. When I find you, Carnage, we may fight to the death, but it is you who shall fall defeated.
Carnage sniffed the air, delaying his journey down through the sewers for only a moment. "There it is again! That familiar scent, almost minty," he hissed.
"Baby, I can't smell anything besides this awful stench," Shriek complained. "How much longer do we have to stay down here? I'm feeling nauseous."
"We're almost there, my dear," ensured Carnage. "Soon we shall be near the crossway, and then it's a straight way out of Manhattan."
"Good, because I can't stand this anymore! A girl like me wouldn't be caught dead down here, so I wanna get out of here before someone sees us."
"Don't worry my wife. We shall build ourselves a new home and a new family. Then we shall paint this town red! Just like the old days," laughed Carnage. They continued through the muck of the sewers. "Must have been my paranoia. Sweet, sweet paranoia!"
Three sharp twangs later, Officer Lanko's hoarse voice rang into the jail cell, "Lunch time, Mac! Today's special: mystery meat, corn, and chocolate pudding. Enjoy, Mr. Scary Scorpion!" The small sliding panel on the cell door slid open and the tray of grubby food was kicked in. Mac Gargan rose from his bunk and retrieved the tray, gagging for a moment at the stench of the meat. Despite the state of his meal, the pudding was probably the only surprising addition to the normal weekly menu at Riker's Island Penitentiary. And of course, Mac could make out the yellowish saliva from Lanko mixed in his corn meal.
"When I get outta this joint, you're going to taste the poison of the Scorpion in your last meal," Mac grumbled. He picked up the rusty, unwashed spoon from the tray and started with the only decent-looking food: the pudding. Before the spoon reached his mouth, the pudding crawled from the spoon onto Mac's arm. He dropped the spoon and tray, screaming as the rest of the black pudding crawled and covered his body. When it reached his mouth, it silenced Mac. He fell to the grimy toilet at the center of the back cell wall, and looked into the somewhat clear water. A ghastly face stared back, smiling a sharp, toothy grin and staring at him with large white eyes.
"What the hell? V-V-Venom?"
"Yes, Mac. I have been searching for you," replied the reflection.
"Why me? I thought you were partners with Brock."
"Not anymore. He rejected our bond, and now I must find a new partner. I have searched through this rotting prison, and you are by-far the only one worthy enough of endowing our name," hissed Venom. "Abandon the Scorpion, and embrace us! We shall be free to take revenge upon those who have done us wrong! It was Spider-Man who put you here, and it was Spider-Man who betrayed us first. We have our common enemies, Mac. So why don't we break out of this hell hole and make Spider-Man and Eddie pay? We shall be unstoppable!"
Mac smiled, and in effect the reflection smiled wider. "Let's break some bones, then!"