Chapter One

Missing Osborn Will Recovered!

Daily Bugle

The seven-year scandal of the missing Osborn will finally came to an end yesterday when a disgruntled Quest Aerospace spokesman announced that the will of Norman Osborn, the founder of the company and noted research scientist has been discovered in none other than the company's vault. Osborn, who died of unknown causes on November 30, 1995, was reputed to have willed his entire fortune and company ownership to his only son, Harold Osborn, then aged eight years. A federal investigation was launched one month after his death when the will mysteriously vanished, along with all related documents. At the time, Quest, Inc., then named OsCorp, was the leading supplier of technology to the United States military. Inside sources then reported that the company was in fact planning a merger with a former rival company which is no longer in business today. One investigator openly declared, "The will would prove that the board members actually had no right to a merger without full ownership of the company. I find its disappearance at this particular time to be extremely suspicious." However, the will's recovery now legally names Harold Osborn, now aged fifteen and a sophomore at Midtown High School, as one of the legal owners of Quest, Inc. when he comes of age at twenty, along with several billion dollars "held" by Quest, Inc. Osborn, who, despite his dark hair already bears a striking resemblance to his father, has been living in a subdivision of Queens with his maternal aunt Mrs. Elizabeth McKay for the past seven years, and was unavailiable for comment.

I dropped the newspaper onto the cafeteria table and gaped at my best friend in astonishment. "Harry Osborn, are you insane?"

"I probably will be eventually, with all of this junk dumped on me," Harry grumbled. "Oh, yeah, there's nothing I like better than being shoved in a suit and forced to shake hands with a bunch of people who gypped me out of this stuff to begin with."

I sat back and tried to picture Harry in a suit. It didn't work.

"What are you so upset about?" I continued, "This is fantastic! You've got your old house back and everything!"

Harry groaned and poured the cafeteria goo of the day from his spoon to the tray with a splatter. "I don't want my old house back, Mayday. Everything was fine until those lawyers started messing around. I was okay. Hey, you know, school, the car, skateboarding once in a while..."

"Oh, yeah. The car." I brushed my hair out of my face. Both of us were fifteen, and nowhere near getting driver's licenses, especially in New York City. But Harry had dilligently been taking his aunt's old car apart for months, piece by piece, claiming the whole time that he'd be able to put it back together. He loved mechanical things.

I adjusted my glasses. Harry had the grouchiest expression I had ever seen on his face. "What does your aunt think of this?"

"She's ecstatic." Harry stirred his peas around with his fork. "She was calling moving companies this morning."

I shoveled my uneaten lunch back into the paper sack. "Park Avenue, Harry. Park Avenue! Now you don't have to worry about money or anything!" I simply couldn't understand what was he so upset about. Now he wouldn't have to worry about getting an after-school job, or scholarships, or practically anything!

I know, I know, money won't get you friends, or stop your little brother from being bullied at school, or even bring your father back from wherever he's gone. But at least Harry and his aunt would stop struggling to make ends meet. The idea of that kind of immense wealth suddenly dropped at Harry's feet was astounding.

"The last time I was in that house was right after...after my dad died. That is the last place I want to live." Harry dumped the contents of his tray into the trash can at the end of the table.

A sudden fear struck me. Seven years ago, Harry had come to live with his aunt and transferred to the Queens Borough Elementary School. He had attended a fancy private school in Manhattan when he had lived with his father. "You're not going to have to go to one of those ritzy private schools, are you?" I asked.

Harry looked disgusted. "Oh, no. Those jerks can try all they want to turn me into Osborn the Younger, but they can't make me transfer. You think- "

The bell rang.

I sat on the metal bench of the lowest bleacher, staring at my shoelaces. The ground was damp. Midtown High School was in the middle of New York City, hemmed in by skyscrapers that towered like canyon walls. The sports field was barely even a field, only a black, quarter-mile rubber track circling a few patches of scrubby grass and dirt.

"So, is it true?"

"Hmm?" I looked up. Pele Kaiele, Amy Thompson, and Megan Falhoul, three other girls on the team, stood in front of me. Pele was nice; we were pretty good friends. I didn't know Megan all that well, and Amy and I had never gotten along. Amy Thompson was the type who would only talk to me if she wanted me to do her math homework for her.

"Come on, Mayday, you know!" All three of them sat down next to me. "Harry Osborn! He was on the news today!" Pele said.

"He was on the news?" I asked incredulously.

"Yeah, you know, the whole billionaire stuff," said Amy. "He had to have told you! I mean, you are friends, aren't you?"

"He did tell me!" I said, feeling a little defensive.

"Well?" asked Megan.

"Well what?"


I stared between the three of them, not sure of what to do. I knew Harry well enough to know that he hadn't talked about this for a reason, and I didn't want to go broadcasting his life to them. Megan Falhoul had the biggest mouth in the sophomore class.

"Um...he didn't tell me much," I said.

I was met with three very skeptical looks.

"Oh, get real," Amy said impatiently. I raised an eyebrow. "How much money did he get? You have to know all about it."

"Well, maybe I have to know, but why do you?" I said. How should I know how much money it was? That was Harry's business, and no one else's.

Amy glared at me and opened her mouth, but Pele elbowed her in the side. "She's right. That's nobody's business."

A sharp whistle burst through the air. "Girls! Hurry up and get on the track! What are you waiting for? Move, move, move!"

"Coming, Coach!" I scrambled off the bleachers and got into my position in the outside lane. The rubber track was wet and slippery under my sneakers. Thunder rumbled menacingly in the distance.

My eighth period was reserved for track team practice. The girls' track coach, known only as Coach, was a short, squat, middle-aged woman in a track suit, who, despite her appearance, claimed that she had run the marathon just three months ago.

I wrapped my arms around myself and shivered. It was September, and it wasn't cold. I figeted in the outside lane. It was a relay, and the runner in the outside lane was the last to hold the baton. It meant a full quarter-mile sprint, and I sighed mentally at the thought. I didn't feel up to it, for some reason.

"Okay, girls, you know the routine! Kaiele, inside lane, get ready! Lowman, second! Cormier, third! Parker, don't conserve, I want an all-out sprint! And...Parker, are you all right?"

I shivered again. The lane divisions on the track wavered like heat waves in my vision. I blinked.

"I...I'm fine, Coach." I wished she would stop shouting. It was making my ears ring.

Coach eyed me suspiciously, then said, "All right." She clenched the whistle between her teeth, yelling, "On my whistle! Three! Two! One! Tweeeee!"

Pele Kaiele snatched the baton and was running. Thunder growled again. Cold sweat soaked my collar. My stomach lurched.

Tweeee! The baton was in the second lane. I couldn't recognize the runner. The track bobbed up and down like ocean waves. I sucked in a deep breath and squeezed my eyes shut. Was I getting sick?

Tweeee! Third lane. I was next.

My knees trembled. The wind gusted.

Tweeee! I felt the cold baton shoved into my hand, and I was off. My sneakers skidded along the wet track. Something was wrong! I wasn't moving as fast as I should have been! My legs felt like blocks of lead.

I stumbled to a stop in the middle of the lap, swaying on my feet, clutching the baton like a life preserver, trying desperately to keep from throwing up.

"Parker! What's wrong?"

I don't know!

Then, in an instant, my knees buckled. The baton rolled onto the grass and suddenly the back of my head banged against the track. I closed my eyes. My arms ached, my legs ached, even my palms ached. I could have lain there forever, like a distance marker. Get to Mayday and you're halfway around.

"Parker!" I felt Coach grab my shoulders and pull me to my feet. "Come on. We've got to get you to the nurse."

Ten minutes later, I was slumped over in a chair in the nurse's office, waiting to be picked up. Mom worked in lower Manhattan, and she would be here any moment. My head pounded.

"Would you like some water, or tea, or anything?" the nurse asked worriedly.

", thank you..." I murmured. It hurt to talk. It hurt to think.

It seemed like a second later that the door swung open, and Mom, still in her work uniform, was there.

"Mayday, what's wrong? They said you fainted-"

"Are you May's mother?" the nurse asked.

"Yes, I'm Mary Jane Parker." Mom helped me to my feet.

"I...see," the nurse said, glancing between us. Even through my nausea, I felt a little twinge of annoyance. This always happened, people not believing me when I pointed out my mom to them. It was hard for them to believe that Mom, with bright red hair and blue eyes, could have a daughter with brown eyes and hair that was almost black.

I wavered there, steadying myself against the door as Mom signed me out. She wrapped her arm around my shoulders and helped me to my feet. Somehow we made it to the car.

Mom shut my door and hurried around the other side. "Let's get you home. I'll call the doctor and get you an appointment." She patted my on my shoulder, "You'll be okay. You'll be okay."

"You'll miss work," I mumbled, fumbling with my seatbelt.

"It's not important," Mom said quickly.

I thought painfully, Yes, it is important! You work so hard already! Don't worry about me!

At home, in a half-sleep, I stumbled upstairs to my room, pulling the door shut behind me as Mom rushed to the phone. The storm was still growling threateningly in the distance.

I kicked off my sneakers and reached up to pull off my glasses. I caught a glimpse of my palms. They were bright red. A wave of nausea swept over me.

"Aaargh! Aaaah!" I gasped as twin lines of pain ripped across the inside of my wrists. Tears of agony leaked from my eyes as I raised my arm. I saw two bright red lines stretching over my veins.

My legs buckled under me and I collapsed on my bed. I was dying, I knew I was dying, and I didn't mind. After this agony, I didn't care.

I dreamed...that Dad was home, that he had never gone missing at all.

That's the last place I want to live, Harry said.

Parker! What's wrong?

I don't know!

My biology teacher droned, Changes in the organism are entirely controlled by DNA. At a certain age, otherwise dormant DNA can become active. Like in the spider or scorpion, for example...

Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Arthropoda, Order Arachnida...

What's wrong with me...?