Volume One: Web of Fate
By: Jeanie and Mark Parker
Ghostwritten By: June Gilbert
I am Mary Jane Watson-Parker, and I'm here to tell you a story of my kids, Mark and Jeanie. And it's quite amazing, let me tell you. I'm very proud of them, but aren't most mothers?
Envision a sunny summer day, my family visiting Peter's Aunt May and my Aunt Anna. We were spending the night at May's home, letting the twins get to know their grand-aunts. Aunt Anna was a little stiff with Jeanie, because of her excitable personality, Jeanie ended up a little hyper. Aunt Anna did better with Mark, who was usually properly "reserved" in adults' presence.
Aunt May adored both of them, envying Jeanie's youthful energy and admiring Mark's cool headedness. Well, that was May: always loving and supportive. Even when she discovered Peter's secret identity as Spider Man, she still loved him enough to try to break through the barrier of a life of Peter lying (or fudging the truth, however you look at it) to her. I was very glad that we now had each other to sympathize with when Peter went off on dangerous missions.
Of course, I also had the kids to keep an eye on.
Peter was playing Candyland with six year old Jeanie and Aunt May on the porch. As I remember, Peter lost nine times, May won three times and Jeanie won six times. Jeanie was very good at it, having beaten her father several times before. May was very excited that she won at all, it was very sweet. Me, Mark and Aunt Anna were just watching, cheering on our favorites to win and sometimes switching out with the losers.
We switched from the porch to the living room when the day drew to a close. Mark was dozing, Aunt Anna had excused herself to head home and Peter looked rather sleepy himself. He probably had a late night last night, I reflected.
Jeanie, however, was still active. She raced up and down the stairs, and tickled her brother into chasing after her. Sigh…
May excused herself to take her medication. Peter was dozing on one of the chairs. I nuzzled him lightly, smiling at his sleepy start.
"Late night taking photos of yourself, Tiger?"
"Um… How'd you guess?" Peter chuckled sheepishly, smiling and kissing me in return.
"Women's intuition, I suppose," I murmured softly, smooching his lips once more, "Not in front of the kids, Tiger-ooohh…"
Anyway, Jeanie put a stop to that little mess by speeding in and demanding a bedtime story. Peter and I told both a very sleepy Mark and an attentively listening Jeanie one of their favorite tales about (whom else?) Spider Man. When they were finally asleep, we retired to the room May kept for us.
Later in the night, I heard noises. When I poked my head out, I saw a flash of long red hair. Jeanie was dashing away, into May's room. I ran swiftly after her, trying to figure out where she was going.
I froze when I saw a man dressed in black backing out the door to May's room. He held a small but vicious looking handgun. I spotted Jeanie hiding fearfully in a corner of the hallway. And then he spotted me.
I froze silently. We stood like this for a while. And then, I heard a furious shriek. A small ball of red hair and angry hazel eyes leapt in front of me. The burglar yelled, and almost fired. There was a spray of green acid, and then the burglar was screaming. Mark, who came out of nowhere, leapt onto the burglar and what I saw I nearly didn't believe afterward.
A spray of webbing, much like Peter's, burst from Mark's fingertips, encasing the man in a cocoon of webbing. Immediately afterward, both children passed out.
"PETER! PETER, the kids are in trouble! Help!" I cried.
Peter raced up to our floor, wildly wielding a crow bar, I snapped, "No genius, they took care of the burglar, now they're passed out. What is wrong with them, Peter?"
"I…I don't know, MJ, they seem fine," my husband murmured quizzically, checking them out, "Mind telling me exactly what happened?"
Irritably, I related the tale. He simply looked confused. Jeanie opened her eyes first.
"Honey! Are you okay?" Peter cried anxiously.
"Mm-hm. Daddy, did we make the mean bur-gluer go bye- bye? "Jeanie asked sleepily.
"Yawn. Good. Now can I an' Mark go bed now?"
"Yes. Yes, of course, little one," Peter murmured.
Jeanie reached her hands up, and Peter picked her up. She put her thumb into her mouth as I reflected she's going to have him wrapped around her little finger, especially when she's older.
He looked at me as I picked up Mark.
I said, "Oh, stop giving me that look, Tiger. They're okay."
Tonight, my children have discovered their inheritance.
It would be ten full years before they truly claimed it, however.
Chapter One: Spyder RED
"Hmmmm hmmmm hum hum hmmmm hmmm. . ."
I busily brushed my hair in preparation for my first day of high school. I had to look good for my debut in the world of high school. My rosy red hair fell in a long wave down to my back, and just for show I put on a colored lip gloss Harry had bought me for my birthday.
I smiled as I twirled in my new outfit of a filmy violet tiered skirt and a lovely lavender tank top. I attempted a flirty grin. Satisfied with the result, I sashayed down to breakfast. Mom was fixing her breakfast coffee with a sleepy Mark tending to his breakfast. Mom set a cup of orange juice, and a plate of veggie bacon and pancakes. Heavenly, I thought.
'Thanks, Mom," I said happily, digging in.
My twin brother, Mark, was somewhat frowsy headed, his mostly green hazel eyes fuzzy, and his brown mop of thatch like hair tangled and somewhat dirty looking. But he was as normal as he ever looked.
I ate, and then I hurried to the car as we readied to go. I gazed happily out upon New York as I knew it. I would be soon attending my first day at Midtown High, the school my dad had graduated from.
Mark is the clever one, not me, I thought somewhat regretfully. I would probably get into trouble with Dad for attending another first day of school party. I got into trouble on that front often enough.
Oh, well. I would still be more popular than him. I raced out of the car, after bidding Mom a quick goodbye. However, she grabbed my collar.
"Sure you'll be okay?"
Grinning, I rolled my eyes, "Yes, Mommy, and I love you too. See ya!"
I headed quickly to my first period. So quickly, in fact, I didn't notice someone else heading my way.
I realized I had bumped into Norman Harry Osborn (Jr.), one of my childhood friends. I smiled as I started to pick up my friend's books.
"Hey, where're you goin', Jeannie?" Harry said, smiling at me.
"First period, where else? I'd get in major trouble if I skipped today. Found Mark yet?"
"Nope. He must be hiding from Bolt, again. I told Bolt I'd get him expelled if he bullied Mark again, but he's still scared of the guy. Sorry. Anyway, see ya at the party tonight. Gotta run, bye!"
I smiled as he sped away.
Frick, I looked up at the clock and realized I needed to jet, or I'd be LATE.
I sped in; barely making it to a seat as my butt hit the seat the same time the bell rang. I only listened partly, because I was distractedly thinking about Bolt. The guy had been one of the most popular in middle school, until I had come and kicked his butt, twice. The insults to Bolt's honor still stung, apparently, even after all these years.
The first time we'd met, he was bullying my brother on the playground of elementary school. I had actually punched him, picking up my twin and snarling at Bolt. Then my brain got a little fuzzy. The rest was history, Bolt bawling his eyes out and whimpering over me biting his hand and Mark lashing out at him with a whip. Funnily enough, that was one of the parts I didn't remember, and neither did Mark.
We had had occasional blackouts all our life, both of us. I think our first one was after a visit to Aunt May's house when we were six. All I remember was a cruel man sneaking into the house and then my head went dark. Well, both of our heads.
Now, in high school, Bolt was a brawny quarterback, and six foot even, and my brother was still the scrawny five foot three of middle school. Well, scrawny for a guy, anyway .He had far more brains than Bolt, who I believed that without bullying nerds into helping him, couldn't figure out which way was up.
I smiled confidently at that. Then I yelped as I heard the bell letting us out of this period. I dashed out and ran to my locker. After grabbing my stuff, I spotted TROUBLE. Well, you know who (Bolt). He sped up when he spotted me alone at my locker. I hurried away, and ducked into my classroom gratefully when I spotted it.
"Jeanie! Over here," Mark, who I shared Biology with this year, beckoned me over.
I smiled, plopping down beside him. He knew I liked to sit next to him when we shared classes. My friends also knew this, so they deferred to him when that happened. I listened to the usual teacher jabber, and smiled at my brother, who just tiredly grinned back, his green as green eyes sleepy still. His eyes were normally hazel like mine, but today they decided on green.
I figured out I shared four periods out of seven per day with Mark. I skipped out the door to many admiring glances from the guys. Even SENIORS were goggle-eyed at me!
I met my very best friend, Mary Connors (adopted daughter of Doc Connors), at the fountain in front of the school.
"Hey, how'd your day go?" she asked, her peaches and cream complexion showing as she smiled at me.
I grinned back, and said, twirling a twist of my rosy colored locks, "Good, except for when Bolt the butthead went after me. Otherwise, everything's okeydokey, girl."
"Ooohh, do tell me about the Bolt incident," Mary giggled, her bouncy black hair showing signs of not spending all summer in her dad's laboratory. She was awfully smart, so I was glad to see her beginning to lighten up a little.
We walked to my house to drop off my books, oblivious to the faint shadow following us. . .
Chapter Two: Spyder Blu
I hopped on my bike. Pedaling my blue seven-speed was a good way to transport my books quickly home so I could meet Harry at The Coffee Bean, our favorite hangout. I loved the musky smell and old, comfortable upholstery on the squashy armchairs and sofas made for reading a good book. Plus, it nearly always had a private booth with the same sort of upholstery as the armchairs or two free, so we could discuss things in peace and relative quiet.
I'm not much of a people person, which would be the perfect task for my twin, Jeanie. Of course, we are fraternal twins, as we look almost nothing alike. Our only similar characteristic is our hazel eyes. We don't even act alike, although there are occasions when each can tell what the other is thinking, I still don't see the resemblance. And I'm the smart one.
Prime example; I spotted a snake once, and got away from it, while Jeanie got bit later on. My silly twin wouldn't stop poking it.
I chained my bike as I reached The Coffee Bean, and scooted to our regular table. As usual, Jeanie was late. She had a real problem with time, as she never kept up with a single watch.
I grinned as Harry breezed in.
"Hey, what's up Mark? Bolt the Butt bothering you again?" Harry asked, flopping down opposite me.
"No," I said, still sheepish about the whole matter last year when Bolt had punched me and Jeanie had practically bushwhacked him (even if we didn't remember it, and there were no witnesses).
He gave me a suspicious look, but luckily didn't pursue it, as Jeanie breezed in, looking happy and carefree as always.
I smiled as Jeanie breezed over, chattering about her day as always. As a waitress wandered over, I quietly ordered our usual orders. I listened to their chat, and laughed in my soft way when a joke was said.
I thought about Spider-Man, Jeanie and I's favorite superhero. I wished I could fly on web strings like he could. What freedom!
"You're looking really daydreamy again, bud. Dreaming that Spidey daydream again?" my sister asked, a somewhat smug smile on her lips.
"No," I spluttered defensively, my easily stainable cheeks betraying my lie.
"Heh, still a daydreamer," Harry chortled, smiling.
They returned to their talk as I watched them. Even now they act like they like each other, I thought longingly. Noticing the happy looks, I growled to myself.
I slipped out. They didn't even notice. Admittedly, that hurt. I wandered to my own hideout, Arana, a small tree house with spiders in recycled terrariums. I greeted each, giving them their food, the kind they didn't catch.
The lot with the tree house was abandoned, and I had de trashed the place and planted flowers and plants. Well, except for the gnarled and massive hickory tree at the back, the only tree in the lot besides an apple tree and a chestnut tree, both of which I planted.
The spiders behaved almost like pets around me, and never bit me. Well, except I was immune to their various venoms, anyway. I had discovered this by dint of having being bitten by Dee, my brown recluse specimen, at least twice. My other venomous friends had never bitten me.
To me, spiders were friends. Comrades, and someone to vent to when a certain sister seemed to enamored of your best friend to even talk to you much. My favorite, if I could have a favorite among friends, was my black widow named Willow.
Speaking of Willow, the spider in question dropped down by one of her threads onto my shoulder. I smiled and allowed Willow to flit onto my hand, watching her scurry dexterously down.
*Markus, what is troubling thou?*
*The usual. A friend who's making advances on my sister, a twin who's too wrapped up in her own life to even notice my pain and an absentee Dad, what the Hell could be bothering me?* I spoke irritably.
I call it "talking", but it's not aloud. Nor can I explain how I do it, really. But I've always been able to speak to them like this, especially Willow, who was unusually long-lived for her species. She had been my dearest friend ever since I was ten. Well, my dearest arachnid friend, anyway.
I smiled sheepishly as I said to Willow, *Sorry Willow, I'm just grouchy. I don't mean to yell. Oh, I already sat your sugar water out, by the way.*
*Quite alright, Mark. Thank you as always for the sweet water,* Willow murmured, smiling, well, as much as a spider ever smiled. Willow dodged off my hand, and then started to consume her sugar water.
I happily unwound as I watched the small citizens of the world of Arana (my name for the spider haven I built) interact and function. Spiders were so much simpler than humanity. I cared deeply for all of them, them being one of my sole means of escaping the boring, hum-drum life of a human.
I startled bolt upright at the sound of my sister's scream. I looked around in shock, trying to decide where it had come from. Then I heard her scream again, and I ran from the tree house, running back to the restaurant just across the street. My eyes widened in horror as I saw it.
A giant spider had Jeanie in its mighty pincers!
Chapter Three: Re-Awakening
I screamed as I saw Mark enter the area, glaring wrathfully up at the spider that held me. I gasped as the spider squeezed tighter. Harry had been knocked out a while ago, slammed against a wall by the mutating spider. My only hope was Spider Man showing up.
To my shock, Mark ran at the spider, attempting to attack it or something. Then he grabbed its leg, causing it to rear back in anger. I screamed as I saw my poor brother picked up by a thread and slammed into me.
I felt a fang pierce me. Another drove into Mark. I was losing consciousness when it started to spin a cocoon around me, capturing the blood seeping out deftly. I whimpered and squirmed until the spider fully ensconced me. Then I felt myself being dropped, then hitting the ground without even breaking a bone.
It felt strange, the change. I fell into a dreamlike state after a while, weakened by blood loss and fear. I saw a small brown house spider crawling toward me. I yelped, and scrabbled backward. Ever since I had been bitten by a brown recluse, I had had a healthy fear of spiders. Not so my brother, who seemed to be a spider magnet.
*You have nothing to fear from me, hatchling,* the spider soothed, climbing onto my chest.
Strangely, I was soothed. Then I screamed as the spider bit me, spreading what felt like fire through my veins. I curled into a fetal position, wailing as the bite on my breast burned like poisonous flame.
*For your own good, spiderling. For your own good, and the good of others,* the house spider whispered, and vanished.
I shrieked as the pain reached fever pitch, and then blacked out.
I woke painfully to see my twin's worried eyes on me. When I realized we were on a dreamlike plain, I wished I hadn't UN blacked out. I startled as I felt a thin male body smack into my own. Wrapping my arms around his shaking form, I rubbed his back numbly as he squeezed me to him. Although his frame was shorter than mine, I realized it was so much stronger.
"Jeanie. . . Oh, God, Jeanie. . ."
"I'm okay, Mark. Mark, really, look, I'm okay," I soothed, ruffling his mop of chocolate brown hair.
"I'm sorry, I tried to talk to it, to calm it down . . . *Sniff* I'm really sorry. . ."
"Wait, whaddaya mean, talk to it? You mean commune with it like you do with your spider pals in Arana?"
Mark looked dumbstruck, "I thought you didn't know. . ."
"Who bought that apple tree with her allowance? And the chestnut a year later? Dad fussed we didn't have space, yet they disappear mysteriously the day I was supposed to take them back? Silly twin. I spied on you that time you got mad at Dad for missing your seventh birthday. You cried a lot until that black spider crawled in front of you. Then you giggled. I guess the talking thing explains all that. I was curious," I murmured as we both sank to the ground.
"Her name's Willow."
"Yeah, whatever. I love ya, twin."
"I love you too, twin."
We just sat like that, me hugging Mark and he hugging me awkwardly on either side of each other. I was so tired of the weirdness my perfectly normal day had degenerated into.
I wanted my Mommy and Daddy, in the worst way. And I think Mark did too.
Until dawn broke, we remained this way. I have no idea how I knew it was dawn when we broke loose, I just did. Mark had torn some of it when I was finally awake enough to do the rest. As I looked, the inside of my cocoon was stained red, and Mark's was stained blue. Our favorite colors. . . Then I realized we were both buck naked.
I wasn't embarrassed as no one else besides us was around (strange for New York), but Mark's easily heated cheeks were stained a bright tomato red. Then I noticed two neat stacks of what looked like clothes on the suddenly unblemished pavement. It was then I realized we were in the back alley of The Coffee Bean, miraculously whole and safe and NOT demolished by a rampaging mutated spider. I nearly yelled and ran inside in joy; it was dratted Mark who busted my bubble by reminding me we were still naked.
I picked up one pile and unfurled a super-suit. Wonderingly, I gazed on a full-body suit in crimson red, an intricate system of black webbing crisscrossing all over it and a black spider with a blood red hourglass on the abdomen emblazoned on the breasts. I turned the hood-like portion up and grinned. It had the same sort of black webbing and two white diamonds were the eye holes, which I noticed covered up my eyes but I could see perfectly well out of. Basically I could see through it if I wore it but nobody would see my eye color. Additionally, it had a mouth hole
I yelped as the suit melted onto me, feeling like a second skin. Some inner instinct told me to pull up the hood. I admired myself in a broken mirror, seeing how the suit DID fit me like a second skin, but covered all the right places. Hell's bells, I looked SEXY in this suit.
Then I remembered about symbiotes (shudder).On thinking about it, I knew it wasn't a symbiote, the scary thing Mom had told us about in Spider-Man stories, because A) I had to pull up the hood, (a symbiote would of done that for me) and B) the suit didn't talk to me. Still doesn't, so I stick to it. My best guess was some sort of bio suit.
I looked over at Mark, grinning when I saw him in a blue version of my suit. The hourglass was a bright crystal blue, and the other part was a deep navy color, fitting him as closely as it did me. It also covered the correct parts, making me notice his newly steely physique. He looked stronger, his slim limbs imbued with a new sort of power.
He still looked scared (looked because I knew my brother too well for a mask to hide his feelings).
"Do you think they're symbiotes?"
"Nah. Mine hasn't talked to me yet, like Mom said they're supposed to. Has yours?"
"Nooooo. . ."
"Well, sweet. I wonder if this thing can form to normal clothes. . ."
No sooner wondered than done. I realized in delight it mimicked the clothes that had been on me last, my lavender outfit. Mark's original clothing was mimicked too, jeans and all. I laughed, pleased, as I whirled around, seeing my skirt twirl realistically. `
We headed cautiously out, and a little more boldly as all we saw in the way of people was a street bum. Then I remembered Harry. Was he okay? Or had all that been in my head? Well, our heads, as Mark had seen and experienced it too. I think. I asked Mark "What about Harry?"
When Mark gave me a blank look, I sighed in irritation, "You lunkhead, He got knocked out by the mutant spider thingy that was apparently all in our heads. Urgh, I'm even wondering if Harry came to the coffee shop at all. . ."
"Calm down. We'll figure this out when we've had some sleep, Mayday. And hopefully sneak in without being caught. By Dad, anyway," Mark sighed.
I grimaced. "Mayday" was an unfortunate childhood pet name coined by my dad, in reference to my habit of getting into trouble at every opportunity. The rest of the family had caught on, and the dratted nickname stuck.
The other statement simply explained that Dad was absent mostly in the hum-drum of things, while Mom stayed constant. Sure, Dad managed to mostly make it for important things, but Mark and I both wished we could rely on him more. Me for stuff like explaining the guy mind, Mark more for a lack of a male bond.