Spider Trap

A dinner-plate sized black hole opened in the air next to Alan Crane’s seat. A black cat with a white fur stain atop its head stepped out of the hole and looked up at the thin, lanky man. The white splotch on its head resembled a skull.

“New pickup,” the cat spoke with a soft, feminine voice. Alan’s head dropped as he released a heavy sigh. He felt relieved it was only a “pickup”.  “Check your node for details. Usual drop off,” the cat stood and turned to enter its hole again. It paused halfway in the hole, then turned to face Alan. He saw golden eyes staring at him from inside the black hole.

“Yes, Janet,” he mumbled. The cat’s head bobbed in a faint nod, then she disappeared along with her black hole. Alan reached into his coat pocket and retrieved a small, transparent rectangle. He woke it and a picture of a dark-haired girl wearing a black visor appeared on the display. He glanced down at the only information provided.

  • Abby Araña: Unique #33 – La Araña. Unique ability – Swarm Summon

“Damnit Janet,” he grumbled at the empty air where the black hole was. “Better get started.” Alan placed his hands on each empty seat next to him and closed his eyes.  “Everybody out,” he thought. A small, bright purple scorpion climbed out of his cuff on one hand. A dark black scorpion crawled out of his other cuff. After that, dozens more scorpions in varying colors and sizes followed out of his sleeves. Once he released them all he sat up straight in his chair and waited for the next stop.

A small crowd of ten people, including a girl with a black visor, boarded at the next stop. Alan breathed out in relaxation, it seemed luck was on his side for once. Once the train left the station, Alan’s scorpions knocked out all the other passengers. Abby did not seem to notice that almost everyone else was unconscious. The girl’s attention seemed focused on her node. Alan sent a single scorpion to sting her to test her reaction. She did not move at all, but Alan felt the nameless scorpion die.

Did anyone see what happened?” he mentally asked his minions.

Spiders crawled out of her skin to kill him. A lot of spiders,” one of his scorpions replied into his mind.

Okay. Get ready,” Alan reached into his coat pocket. “Rush her!” he gave the command and stood from his seat at the same time. He pulled a tazer out of his pocket and fired it at the young girl. Two large, furry tarantulas jumped out of her skin to intercept the electrodes. They exploded as the current ran through them, but Abby did not flinch. She remained focused on her node.

Alan watched his soldiers crawl at Abby from all sides but spiders poured out of her skin like water. Her spiders protected her like living armor, they assaulted anything that got too close. Alan dashed across the subway car towards Abby, his skin hardened and became purple chitin to protect him from spider bites.

He grabbed her hair to pull her out of her seat and dozens of black widow spiders crawled out of her hair to climb up his arm. He felt the spiders attempt to sting him, but his carapace kept him protected. Abby’s black visor fell off when he yanked her hair, and Alan paused at the sight. Behind her visor, her eyes consisted of two black holes in her head. Abby giggled as two giant, softball-sized spiders crawled out her eye sockets and leaped at Alan.

Now, Sleepy!” he commanded the purple scorpion that crawled along the ceiling of the subway car. While Abby’s hundreds of eyes focused on Alan, Sleepy landed on her head and sunk his stinger into her neck. She fell unconscious immediately.

Without her controlling them, the spiders crawled away. The swarm dissipated, but the two largest spiders that crawled out of her skull returned to her eye sockets. They bothered Alan enough that he put her black visor back on her face before he lifted her over his shoulder.

Stabby Dreams

[WP] You finally pluck up the courage to get your first tattoo, a scorpion on your shoulder. When you remove the dressing the scorpion becomes 3D, walks to the top of your shoulder and says "At last! What’s the plan?" from WritingPrompts

Alan Crane stared at the small black scorpion seated on his shoulder. His initial impulse to brush the creature off his shoulder was interrupted by the scorpion’s question. Alan took a quick glance around his messy bedroom to double check for any alcohol or drugs he might have consumed the night before, but he found no traces of anything that would explain away the scorpion as a hallucination.

“Are you real?” It sounded like a silly question coming out of his mouth, but it was the only words that came when he tried to speak. If the black arachnid was not real, it wouldn’t be able to admit it. Alan looked at the site on his forearm where he got the tattoo. The number 40 still decorated his skin, but the spot under it where the black scorpion was supposed to be showed no signs of a scorpion tattoo.

“I feel real,” the scorpion replied. Alan felt needle legs against his skin while the scorpion turned in place to make its case for being real. 

“Yeah, you feel real to me too,” Alan said. “But how did you come out of my tattoo?” The scorpions pincers moved outward slightly, and Alan got the impression that the thing shrugged at him. 

“I just felt like getting up, and then I did. I thought you’d have a plan since you brought me to life.” 

“No plan, it wasn’t intentional. Do you have a name?” The more Alan stared and talked to the scorpion, the more he understood. When he asked about a name Alan understood the scorpion’s side to side dance was meant to be a shaking of the head, as much as scorpions can do without a neck.

“I’ve never needed one… I didn’t even exist until just a bit ago. But I’m not against it if you want to name me,” it replied. 

“Well, I dunno. How do you work? Can you become a tattoo again?” The scorpion spread its pincers to shrug, then it sunk into his shoulder. It became a flat piece of artwork on the new spot again.  “Can you still hear me?” Alan asked. The scorpion emerged from his skin into reality again.

“Heard you perfectly, but I couldn’t reply.”  Alan nodded. 

“So a name. What can you do?”  The second he asked the scorpion’s tail shot forward like a rocket, but it stopped a fraction of an inch away from Alan’s skin. He flinched for all it was worth, but if the scorpion were serious Alan’s delayed response would not have helped him a bit.

“I like stabbing things,” a small drop of green liquid collected on the end of its stinger. “and poisoning them.”

“Okay, your name is Stabby now.” Alan decided. He always preferred simple descriptive names for his pets going back to his first puppy named Barker. 

“I like it,” Stabby said. “So what now?” he asked. 

“I don’t know. How strong is that poison?” Stabby shrugged.

“Never tried it. Let’s go try it. Can we go try it?” Stabby danced eagerly on Alan’s shoulder. Alan nodded.

“Yeah, let me get a shirt on and we’ll go see what you can do.” Alan dressed while he considered what might be an appropriate test. He hoped Stabby’s venom was lethal. His dream was to become a contract killer, and it sounded like Stabby could help him with that. He hated to do it, but in his mind there was only one place they could go to test Stabby’s limits. 

Alan stood outside the elephant exhibit at the zoo and scanned the herd for one that looked healthy.  He held his hand out toward one, palm facing out to show the scorpion tattooed on the palm of his hand which one he picked. Then, he brought his hand up to his face; Stabby stood ready, already out of his skin and in three-dimensional form.  

“Did you see it?” 

“Yes. I’m gonna go stab it, I’ll be right back.” The scorpion hopped off his hand, landed on the grown, and skittered under the outer fence of the enclosure. Alan lost site of Stabby as he wandered into the brush of the exhibit, so he focused on the elephant he chose. 

He should be there any second. I wonder if he stabbed him already,”  Alan thought to himself after about five minutes. 

“I just got here.” Stabby said. Alan looked around on the ground, and on his body, but he could not find the black scorpion.

“You’re here? I can hear you but I can’t see you.” Alan said. 

“Of course you can’t, I’m by the elephant.” 

“How are you talking to me?” Alan asked, surprisingly loud. In the back of his mind he noticed a couple step further away from him after his outburst.

“The same way I’ve been talking to you,” Stabby replied. “You know I can’t actually speak, right? No vocal chords. It’s a psychic link. Anyway, I’m gonna stab the elephant.” Alan felt slightly embarrassed that he thought the scorpion spoke, but it passed quickly because Stabby started counting down.

“Three. Two. One. Stab.”  

One second after Stabby said, “stab” the elephant toppled over on its side. 

This is gonna be awesome,” Alan said to himself.

“I know!” Stabby replied. 

Sharp Response

[WP] You are an assassin with a strict moral code. You’re the best there is but you assess each job very carefully and if you believe the target does not deserve to die, you go after the one who employed you. [Link to post.]

Alan Crane sat on the park bench to go over the target’s file. He ignored the picture of an innocent face, pictures were easy lies. He read through the information then chuckled himself when he read an included note that mentioned the reward.

“100% of your asking price up front. We will pay double if you complete the job, but the good faith money is yours to keep regardless.” Alan shook his head. His reputation was well-established, and contractors often tried to buy their way out of, if they felt they were in the wrong. He laughed when he realized every time someone tried it, they thought they were the first ones. Because most others that tried it were either innocent enough or dead already. Alan collected the file and the cash-heavy envelope then left the park with his decision made.

He drove to a tall glass office building in the heart of the city where his chosen mark worked. Normally he needed to do more reconnaissance, but chance lined things up perfectly for him today. He knew the target personally, though he’d never call the man a friend. A part of him actually disliked the man enough to look forward to killing him. He smiled inwardly as he rode the elevator to the top floor. He did not even have to change, he happened to be wearing a navy blue business suit that blended in perfectly with everyone else moving through the office.

“Sleepy, you’re up.” Alan spoke aloud in the empty elevator. He felt a familiar tickle on his back. Tiny needle legs crawled up his back, shoulder, then neck. A small purple scorpion crawled out of the tight collar, then down the front of his shirt. “Knock out the receptionist and anyone else that’s not Lauro,” Alan said. The scorpion chitted back an acknowledgment as it crawled down his pant leg. Once the elevator reached the top floor the ding sounded, and the doors slid open. Alan stepped out of the elevator while Sleepy skittered along the floor towards the receptionist’s desk. No one else seemed to be on the floor.

“Hi, how can I-?” Her head hit the desk in front of her with a heavy *thonk*.  Alan chuckled. Sleepy’s potency never failed to amuse him. He turned to the office and saw the purple scorpion crawling towards the same door.

“Thanks, Sleepy. You’re the best.” The scorpion went under the door, and Alan let it get a head start before he walked in.  A large man sitting behind a bulky cherry-wood desk. He recognized Alan and gave a smile.

“Alan! Great to see you, friend.” Instead of standing up to greet Alan, the man behind the desk reached into a drawer and pulled out another bulging envelope of money. “I knew you were good, but I didn’t think you were that fast.”  Alan sat in a chair across from the man. As he sat, he shook his arm, pointing the sleeve downward. A small black scorpion fell out of his cuff. It began a steady march towards Lauro, under his desk, while Alan nodded at the man.

“I haven’t done it yet, I needed some more information.” Drops of sweat beaded on Lauro’s brow the moment he heard Alan say the job was incomplete. He tried to play it off with a shrug.

“You know what, forget it. We’re friends, I shouldn’t have asked you. Keep the money as a gift. You can take this too,” he pointed at the envelope on his desk. Alan shook his head.

“Why does a 14-year-old girl have to die?” Alan asked. Kids weren’t strictly off limits for him, he’s seen some wicked ones over the years; but, he was always extra lenient with kids. Lauro sighed.

“It’s complicated, let’s just forget it.” Alan shook his head again, then looked at his watch. “I’m leaving this office in two minutes. Un-complicate it, or call up your wife and say goodbye. Obviously, if I don’t do the job, you’ll get someone else to.” Lauro burst into laughter, despite the danger he knew he was in.

“There IS no one else. You’re literally the last option. Hell, we went through a pedophile before we got to you. You’re lucky number 13. The first 11 are dead, killed by the girl. The 12th seems to have had a mental breakdown or something. He’s staying in an asylum at the moment.” Alan took in the information.

“She’s strong, that’s good. But why does she need to die?” He asked again.

“Because she’s company property. We created her in a lab, and we’ve learned all we can from her. She’s a beta product that isn’t ready to be out in the world yet. You don’t know how dangerous she is,” Lauro said. After he said it out loud, his eyes went wide. “I should have called home,” he added when he realized how flimsy the pretense was.

“You shouldn’t have hired me,” Alan said. He stood, but Lauro put his hands up.

“WAIT WAIT! That’s it! I didn’t hire you! I mean, fine, I did. BUT, I know you, and I know your reputation. I’m not stupid enough to hire you, but I was forced to!” Tears flowed down the rotund man’s face. “We created her in a partnership with another company. And part of the contract covered ‘disposal’. ” Lauro used air quotes, but grimaced at the use of the word “disposal”. He pointed at the envelope. “I just paid you twice, and 12 guys before you. You think I keep that kind of money laying around in drawers? They’re paying for it. I’m just the middle-man. The facilitator. You’re not going to shoot the messenger, are you?” He clasped his hands to begin begging.

“Who?” Alan asked.

“Dana Sharp,” he said. “Earth 1.”  Alan sighed. He stepped forward, took the money from the desk, then turned towards the door. “C’mon Sleepy, Stabby. Let’s go see what another universe looks like.”  Lauro saw two scorpions, a purple and black one, crawling up Alan’s back as he walked out of the door.