As told by Spider Bitch
If I went to your house, and stood there smirking at you with my long black hair in my face and the fangs hanging out with a little trickle of blood left over from a squirrel I picked off a tree on the way in, would you confuse me with your babysitter?
I like to make it really obvious that I’m not a babysitter. I don’t know how anyone makes that mistake.
My job for the last three days had been to watch fat Susie and her naked flying friend. Donny helped me, in between errands they sent him away on. Darling Diana had other work to do, in the central office. Donny hated this, but I didn’t very much care. She’s just one of many people I’d rather not have on my mind.
At first Susie threatened to break the lair into pieces if we didn’t let them go. We knew she could do it. She’s strong like a freak. Professor W. pointed out that we were under miles of water and they’d drown, and that seemed to shut her up. The whole time she was yelling and swearing, Skybach was floating near the ceiling with his hands behind his head, and I saw the way she looked at him. Her anger died slowly away. Regardless of what Professor W. had to say, I think that watching him not care would have made her stand down.
After that she spent most of her time in the dining room playing dominoes with Donny. The naked man floated around, just looking out the windows, while I glowered at them all from my perch in the top right corner. Every so often Susie would break something and I’d have to shoot spit across the room to glue it back together.
“So, you’re…fast?” Susie said to Donny one day, twiddling her thumbs while waiting for his move.
“Mhm,” he said.
“That’s cool,” Susie said. “Really cool.”
A minute passed.
“So, are you in school, or – ”
“SHUT UP! EMERGENCY! SHUT UP!”
The lights flickered and dimmed while our intercom blared its automated warning and the building shook. I tumbled out of the corner with limbs curling, stuck to a strand of web and spit fresh filaments at other walls. Donny and Susie hit the floor, Susie making foot-and-hand-shaped dents, and Skybach hit his head on the ceiling and started swearing. Then we were tilting, and everyone but me was scrambling and banging up against the walls. There were crunching sounds, and a squelchy, rich bubbly-pumping. Then we were zooming through the water, watching colors turn. Going up, and up. The ocean glowed white like ice when we exploded into atmosphere.
“SHUT UP! EMERGENCY! SHUT UP!”
Our lair slowly spinning, we crested in the air – who knows how many hundreds of feet high. Skybach zipped from window to window with a look on his face like a dog has when you finally let it out of the trunk.
“Oh, shit!” Said Susie.
In the distance, I could see a person levitating. She slid from one window into another and disappeared as we turned on axis. She was sitting almost in the shape of a pretzel.
The alarm stopped blaring suddenly, and Professor W.’s voice blared over the intercom. “Will those in the dining room PLEASE, for the love of GOD report to my office?”
Professor wanted Skybach to go talk to the hover-girl. But she wanted me to go with him and tie him onto the lair with spiderweb so he wouldn’t escape, and since everyone but me is afraid of Susie (but can’t admit it) she had to come with us. Skybach was supposed to carry us both. Donny was going to stay behind as backup.
I’d been playing around with my spit a lot since the debacle in the parking-lot. I knew now how to create filaments that could be broken, given just the right amount of pressure. So I did, and I used those to tie us all together and tether our group to the lair.
The girl looked like she was doing some kind of meditation. We were about a hundred yards away when her eyes opened.
I hoped whatever she was doing to levitate our lair didn’t require her undivided attention. The naked man might make her lose focus and drop it.
“Are you hurt?” She spoke without raising her voice at all.
“No, I’m good!”
I sighed disgustedly at the happiness in the naked man’s voice. I and Susie sat on his back, like children riding a camel. She was behind me, extra tied-up. Not that it would matter if she tried to break the web, but she was scared of heights. I saw it in her face when Professor W. told us the plan. I thought if she was tied up good she’d panic less and not be shaking like a friendless rabbit.
“You’ve been kidnapped, though?” The sky-woman still spoke at a normal, inside volume.
“Yes, ma’am! You come to set us free?”
“Are all of you kidnapped?”
“All except the Spider-Bitch. Hey, that’s her name – don’t look at me like I’m being disrespectful. Danielle, right?”
The woman in the air smiled slowly. “You remembered!”
“Aww,” I said sarcastically.
The floating-lady looked at me. “You – Spider-Bitch! – release these people, now!”
She tried a fierce stare, and looked confused, and tried again. My eyes are nice black pits, like sharks have. I don’t get stared down often.
“Listen – Danielle. It’s not my job to release the prisoners. We’re here to find out why you’re doing this, and then make you go away. Or join our side. We’re the good guys.”
Susie laughed loudly and rudely.
“Shut up!” I turned and spat snot in her eyes. “As I was saying,” I tried to continue over the sound of Susie’s gagging. “We’re the good guys. If you fuck with us, we will – ”
A sudden backwards tug interrupted me, followed by a massive splash. That bitch did drop our lair! Fast as a blink, I spit web at the sky. It opened like a parachute when we went down (dragged by my spider cords) and I yanked it to me, gluing every edge to Skybach.
“Don’t you fucking move,” I hissed in his ear. He didn’t, and we fell hard, through the water, into the ocean. My web held a big bubble over our heads. Everything was dark but the round top of the web where it shone like a crystal ball. My legs and Susie’s were dipping into the cold, freezing cold water. The whole front of Skybach’s body was, up to his chin. He could only keep his face inside the air pocket by craning his neck back almost as far as it could go, and he kept gasping and coughing. Susie pushed forward and I spit web as fast as I could to keep it sealed while she reached past me, putting her arm under Skybach’s chin. She took the blows of the rushing water better than his face could.
We stopped moving all of a fucking sudden, and I spit more web at every edge.
The lair loomed up like a moonrise and began to pass us. A shadow darted from bright window to window, and then stayed at the closest one. I couldn’t see him, but I knew that it was Don. In a second, the slack between the lair and us was gone, and we were getting dragged up again.
“Take a breath,” I said, through gritted teeth. Vibrations told me, somewhere, my web was going to break. Skybach’s body had begun to sag, and fat Susie was gripping us both very tight. I did not feel afraid of dying. But I didn’t mind her strength. The web was shredding. It felt like angry whistles in my body, and then, suddenly, like nothing.
The part of the web that broke was what tied us to the lair. It zoomed to the surface high above us, and went through. But we were still rising. The bubble wrapped in my silk was taking us up. If I could hold it together a while longer. The silver ceiling rippled while we moved, and I watched with my mouth at the ready. Our air was my own precious treasure.