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"Osborne" (Spider-Man/Marvel Fanfiction)
So, I love Marvel. Especially Spider-Man, I've read some comics, seen the movies, and read all the Fandom Wiki pages on the ordeal! I want others to get a good read and be on the edge as I twist and mix all the plots a little.
Algebra wasn’t my favorite part of school. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t enjoy it all that much either. The stack of books in my arms seem like a giant loaded burden that all I’d like to do is pass on to some one else.
The loud clapping sound of footsteps echoes behind me. I turn, reluctantly, to see my best friend, Peter, racing towards me. My arms grow even heavier and two books off the top of my stack fall to the floor.
I sigh heavily.
“Need help with those?” Peter asks.
“Nah,” I say. “I think I’ve got it.”
I scoop up one of the textbooks and return it to my pile. Three more fall off.
“Are you kidding me?” I spout.
“Just let me help you already, Harry.” Peter pushes me back, grabs the cluster of books and puts them into my arms.
He raises his eyebrows at me.
We continue down the hall for a couple short moments of silence before Peter speaks up.
“Ned and I were wondering if you wanted to help us build the new Lego set he got.” Peter smiles like a child. Oh, right, he was. “It’s the Millennium Falcon.”
“Oh, boy, how exciting.” I throw a small hint of sarcasm into my voice.
“Please, Harry,” Peter says. “We never hang out anymore. Our families never see each other ever since Uncle Ben….”
He trails off, his eyes cloud with grief.
Uncle Ben was like a father to him. Even close to being one for me. I couldn’t imagine losing both the closest men in your life.
“I know, I’m sorry.” I say. “I’ll try to make it tonight.”
“Thanks.” Peter says. “It’s not just you, either. Aunt Mae has been so caught up and she hasn’t been able to invite you and your father over for dinner.”
“And you have that reporting job.” I say. “Not to mention the Stark internship.”
Peter nods, guiltily.
The bell rings and Peter adjusts his backpack strap.
“I’ll try and make it.” I say.
“Good!” He calls, already heading towards his next class. “There’ll be food!”
Turning down a hall to my right, I enter the closest door into my classroom. I find my seat and situate myself. It’s hard to be comfortable in these chairs.
It takes me a couple minutes before I realize something is off. Very, very off.
The seat that used to be dormant in front of me is now settlement for a mop of long, blonde, almost white, hair. My mouth slowly draws open.
The figure in front of me spins around slowly. My teeth clench. She’s wearing a dark green sweater and a white jean skirt. Her eyes are so bright I look at my paper for a minute to make sure I’m not blind.
“Hey, there.” The girl smiles brightly. “My name’s Gwen.”
I don’t know what happens to me, but my blood runs cold and the name feels bitter on my tongue.
“And I asked?” I spit out. I wince at the sound of my voice. I’m about to apologize when Gwen continues.
“You’re Harry, right?” She continues to smile. Maybe she’s deaf? “Harry Osborne?”
I look down at my papers. Even deaf people know if you’re being ignored the other person doesn’t want to talk to you.
“Hmm,” Gwen mumbles. “Well, fine. Be that way.”
I smile victoriously.
“Nothing wrong with being shy.” Gwen flicks a piece of her hair back and turns around in her seat.
“I am not shy!” I say in a low voice.
“Sure.” Gwen says, not turning around.
I guess she’s familiar with the ‘two-can-play-at-that-game’ scenario.
“…So, our next partner pair-up will be…” I realize Mrs. Kingston is talking. “Mr. Osborne and Miss Stacey!”
I look around.
Who’s Miss Stacey?
Gwen turns around and flashes a ‘HELLO, MY NAME IS:’ sign. Underneath it is written in scribbly, pink gel-pen writing is;
“What an unfortunate accident!” Gwen chuckles. Except, I think by the way she said it, it was no accident.
“Well, nice to meet you.” Gwen says. “Partner Osborne.”
“Your dad is Norman Osborne, right? The renowned scientist?” Gwen asks. “If so at least we should get an A. Hopefully intelligence runs in the genes.”
“It doesn’t.” I say as the bell rings. Everyone stands up simultaneously. “But that doesn’t mean I’m not smart.”
“Good thing.” Gwen slips a couple folders and notebooks into a bag and heads towards the door.
“You asked, didn’t you?” I ask. “You asked to be my lab partner.”
“My friend, Michelle, told me we’d get along well.” Gwen says.
“Michelle Jones?” I ask. “You mean M.J?”
“Yes, that’s who I’m referring to.”
“Of course, she did.” I mutter to myself.
“Anyway, nice to meet you!” Gwen shouts from down the hall. When did she get down there? “See you at… house… at… o’clock!”
“Wh-what?” I shout back. What did she say?
Gwen grins and waves at me before exiting the school.
“Who was that?” I turn to see Ned Leeds and Peter.
“Huh? Oh, um, just some girl from my class.” I stammer.
“Wow, she’s cute.” Ned smiles in his stupid little way.
“Stacey, right?” Peter says. He looks a little sullen. “Gwen Stacey?”
“Yeah, I think so.” I nod. “You know her?”
“Not really,” Peter says. “She’s the daughter of the police captain. She was at the station when Uncle Ben died. That’s how I know her.
“Oh,” I say. “Stacey. Now I see.”
“So, are you coming tonight or what?” Ned asks.
“I’ll try,” I say even though I know I’m not going to be doing anything else.
“’I’ll’ try is the best we can do, huh, Ned?” Peter shrugs while looking at Ned.
Suddenly I feel like I’m invisible.
“Well, we’ll either see you tonight or tomorrow.” Ned says.
“Tomorrow is Saturday, Ned.” I say. “No school.”
“Oh, you’re right!” Ned laughs. “Then you have to come tonight.”
“We’ll see.” I say.
“There’ll be pizza.” Peter says as Ned and him head towards the door of the school.
“Pizza!” Ned hollers before exiting the school.
I wait a few moments before leaving, too.
I don’t bother telling my father I’ll be out late. If I don’t have school in the morning he won’t care. He probably won’t even realize I’m gone.
I rap on the door of the Parker’s apartment.
Flour- covered and crazy-haired Aunt Mae opens the door with a huge smile. She had such a beautiful smile. Sometimes I wonder what my mother’s smile looked like. Father never showed me pictures of her.
“Harry!” She wraps me in a warm embrace. “So good to see you, dear!”
“You too, Aunt Mae.” I smile.
“Ned and Peter are in the ‘base’” She air-quotes the last bit with a laugh. “I’m finishing up on the pizza now.”
“Okay,” I say. “Thank you.”
She’s already in the kitchen when the smoke alarm rings off. “How do the Italians do it?!” She shouts.
I walk into Peter’s room without knocking.
“Your aunt is going to burn the whole apartment complex down.” I chuckle.
Peter shakes his head. “The whole of Queens.”
“Maybe Brooklyn, too.” Ned puts in.
“So, we’ve gotten one-quarter of the way through.” Peter says. What a nerd.
“Nice,” I say. “How about I watch?”
“If you must.” Peter smiles at me.
I take a few moments to glace around his room. It’s a wreck. An awe-inspiring wreck. Clothes lay in heaps on the floor. His bed is unmade. Gadgets and gizmos galore are spread about. And what was with the excessive amounts of backpacks?
“Your room looks like a college dorm.” I say.
“Well, with the Stark internship…” Peter says. “It kind of is.”
We all chuckle.
“What is it you do?” I ask. “For Mr. Stark?”
“Um, well, it’s mostly…” He stumbles for words. “It’s like secretarial work a lot of times. Sometimes I do paperwork, cleaning, run errands. Web design.”
“Doesn’t really sound like your type of thing.” I say.
“Well… it gets me credits.” Peter says. “And that’s what matters.
“Oh, right.” We look at each other for a few long moments and I feel an invisible threat between us.
What was he hiding?
“Pizza is ready, boys!” Mae calls. “And there’s somebody here for you guys!”
We all glance at each other before racing, stumbling, and groping the door handle. We clamber into the kitchen to see two additional people other than Aunt Mae.
Michelle Jones and Gwen Stacey stand smiling.
“Aunt Mae?” Pete asks cautiously. “What are they doing here?”
“We’re here to study, of course.” M.J. says.
“Right.” Peter mutters.
“You mean you knew?” I hiss.
“Sort of.” He shrugs. “I forgot.”
“Way to go.” Ned says, only he’s serious and not sarcastic. Of course, he’d enjoy being around a bunch of girls.
“We brought the books, erasers, and pencils.” Gwen smiles. “I hope one of you has a sharpener.”
We all eat pizza and ice cream but for some reason something keeps bothering me. It wasn’t Gwen, either. I could sense something. Something dark. I’m staring at the bookshelf when I think I see a couple of the books shift. Black liquid seems to seep from below them.
It was probably just the greasy food and all the sugar.
We study, eat some more, talk about random things, and even build with Legos some. I’ll have to admit. It wasn’t too bad. Turns out the girls weren’t too bad to be around.
After one o’clock we all start heading home. Since Gwen, M.J, and I all live in the same direction we travel together. It’s a little awkward at first but bearable. Leaving M.J at her house, Gwen and I carry on in silence.
“Wasn’t too bad.” I say. “Hanging out with you girls.”
“Oh, good to know.” Gwen smiles at the ground. “Any ideas for our lab project?”
I shake my head, no.
“Well, here’s my stop.” Gwen says. “Thanks for walking with me.”
“Sure,” I shrug. She gives me a look and suddenly I feel bad. “Anytime. Gwen.”
She smiles before heading up the brick steps.
It doesn’t take me long to get home. When I do I would swear the house was empty except for the faint sound of my father’s record player sounding from his downstairs laboratory.
“Dad?” I yell from the top of the stairs. “Dad, you home?”
I head down the stairs slowly, cautiously. At the bottom I pause.
Viles, pipettes, tubing, bowls, petri dishes, and other experimental paraphernalia lay about. I didn’t come down here often and even knowing my father was a scientist still left me dumbfounded at times.
“Harry?” I turn to see father sitting at a desk.
He looks awful.
Sweat dribbles from every part of his face. His lab coat hangs off one shoulder. His hair is ruffled and his glasses are missing.
“What are you doing down here, son?” Father asks.
“I just wanted to tell you I was home.” I say. “Did you need anything?”
I must catch him off guard.
“N-no, no I’m fine, Harry.” He stammers. “I just need to catch up on some work.
You always need to catch up on some work, I think.
“I’ll be upstairs then.” I say, he’s already turned back to his work.
“There’s various leftovers in the fridge!” He calls once I reach the top of the steps.
I walk down the hall, into the living room, past the parlor, and into the extremely large kitchen. One thing about having a rich scientist as a father was you never ran out of rooms. Or food.
Foraging through the pantry and fridge, I stumble upon a loaf of bread and a package of ham and some cheese. I grab some mayonnaise and quickly conduct a sandwich.
I eat in the quietness of the kitchen. Since it’s already past eleven p.m. all of father’s employees are gone. It’s just him and I. Mostly me. Seems like he doesn’t even exist. Or I don’t.
I’m listening to the muffled sound of my food being bit and chomped when I notice an odd noise. At first I think it was just my imagination. But then I hear it again. More clearly this time.
A scream. A loud shrill scream. Coming from my father’s laboratory.
“Dad?” I ask, cracking his door.
“Don’t come down here, Harry!” I hear him yell. My teeth clench. “Don’t… come down… here!”
“Dad, what’s wrong?” I holler.
“Nothing, everything is just fine!” He yells back. “I just need some time to myself, that’s all.”
Part of me wanted to believe him. But a larger part knew he didn’t mean it when he said nothing.
The scream rings out again but this time I don’t hear it as well. I’m already shutting my bedroom door and curling into a corner of my room.
I sit. For a long time, it seems like. And then my phone rings. Not a phone call ring. Just a bing to tell me some stupid notification.
Ned has sent me the link to some video. I click it, watch it. Watch it again. And again. And again.
Sure, I had heard about Spider-Man. Everyone in Queens had. But this time it was different. He was fighting someone.
“The new villain of Queens calls himself ‘The Green Goblin’.” The reporter is saying. “An innocent bystander caught this amazing footage from outside a coffee shop on George Avenue in South Queens. Queen City Police Department’s Captain Stacey says they’re searching relentlessly for this new criminal.”
“No way.” I mutter.
Somehow a large sum of me broke apart. And when I say ‘large sum’ I mean it felt like my life crumpled before my eyes.
I knew. Somehow. I knew.
My father was The Green Goblin. I had seen that costume. When I was younger and exploring his lab. I had seen that costume and the glider. I had retrieved parts for him to make that glider.
No, maybe he sold all of it to someone else. To Green Goblin.
No, the scream from downstairs told me otherwise.
My father was the Green Goblin.
What did that make me?
The next day at school I do everything in my meek power to avoid talking to anyone. Who knew I could fail at that so miserably?
“How’d it go with walking the girls home last night?” Pete asks from beside me.
When did he get there?
“You walked the girls home?” Ned says his face lighting up.
“Are you two always together?” I ask, trying to dodge the question.
“Pretty much.” Peter says. He retrieves some textbooks from his locker, which is beside mine.
“What happened?” Ned asks.
“What do you mean?” I reorganize a little so some more stuff can fit in my locker.
“With Michelle and Gwen!” Ned says.
“Nothing,” I say. “Absolutely nothing. We walked, Michelle left pretty early, and Gwen and I walked.”
Ned gives me a look of disbelief but Peter seems to be ignoring me. I don’t get him.
Without another word we all head to our separate classes. I sit in Algebra thinking about anything but numbers and y finding x. I try to focus but my mind keeps wandering back to the same thing. It materializes in my mind, I can see it crystal clear.
Queens’ and Brooklyn’s number one villain.
My breath catches in my throat and I cough. Our teacher, Ms. Periwinkle shoots me a dirty look.Geez, sorry I coughed. Now I know why she doesn’t teach Biology or Anatomy.
“Can anyone tell me what the answer to this problem is?” Ms. Periwinkle asks.
I doodle in my notebook aimlessly as the room fills with silence. Turns out a bunch of science and art prodigies can still suck at math.
“Mr. Osborne?” Ms. Periwinkle frowns. “I’d like you to step up to the blackboard and answer this problem for the class, please.”
It’s not that I can’t figure out the problem. It’s that I can’t show the work for it. I just know how to answer it, I just don’t know how to get to the answer.
I warily scooch out of my seat. I notice that Gwen is giving me a thumbs up but her face shows relief that it’s not her standing up there. Ms. Periwinkle waits with a piece of sky blue chalk. I pluck it from her skeleton-like hand and walk up to the board. I stop once my nose is about two-point-five centimeters from the blackboard.
The problem reads;
What is 5349 to the third power equals?
I think for a few moments, the chalk hovering right beside the board.
I hear someone tapping their foot, another their finger, impatiently as they wait for me to work it out.
I begin to scratch.
28, 611, 801
I step back from the board. Ms. Periwinkle is frowning, as usual. See, the problem is, the school thinks I cheated if I can write the answer but not the numbers and symbols leading up to it. I know she’s disappointed but I can’t do it any other way than in my head.
Ms. Periwinkle stares at my answer for a few beats before snatching her problems and answers book of her desk. She thumbs through the pages before stopping abruptly.
“The answer you have given is correct,” she says. “But I need to see proof of the work. How’d you figure out the problem, Harry?”
“I did it in my head, okay?” I snap. “I did what you want, can I sit now?”
“No, you can’t sit at your desk until you finish this problem.” Periwinkle says.
I hear Flash Thompson laugh in the background.
“Fine,” I slump to the floor. Sorry dad, gonna be home late again.
“That’s it.” Ms. Periwinkle remarks. “One-and-a-half hours of detention everyday after school for the next… hmm… week.”
“Fair enough.” I shrug.
Bell rings, classes go by in a blurred frenzy.
Then, as I’m walking to detention, Gwen barricades my way.
“Why would you go and do that?” She spit
“What?” I exclaim. “Do what? What are you talking about?”
“In algebra.” Gwen crosses her arms and purses her lips.
“That’s really none of your business, Gwen.” I say, trying to push by her.
“How is it not?” She says, pushing her way in front of me again. “I’m your partner, your disapproved behaviour reflects poorly on the both of us, Harry.”
I frown on the inside, she has a point. There was no way I was letting her know that, though.
“What do you want me to do?” I ask. “Apologize?”
“Yes, that’d be nice.” Gwen says, adjusting her backpack straps.
“Fine,” I say. “I’m sorry.”
“Not to me!” She laughs and lightly punches me in my shoulder. “Periwinkle.”
“No,” I say. “No way. You’re asking to much of me.”
“Why do you have to act like such a thug?” Gwen asks with a smile. “You try and act so tough. You plan on taking over the world with your math skills and sarcasm?”
I know she didn’t mean anything by it but suddenly my dad is standing there, in the Green Goblin suit, trying to talk my into destroying everything around us.
“What do you know?” I spit. Gwen flinches. “You’re just some rich girl who’s grown up with everything handed to her because her daddy’s Captain Stacey.”
We stand there for a few seconds in awkward silence.
“Wow,” I see that Gwen’s eyes have glossed over as she holds back tears. Real way to impress the girl! Idiot. “You’re really something, aren’t you?”
“Gwen,” I say as she takes a couple steps away from me. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that.”
“I’m sure the son of a renowned scientist is just so deprived.” Gwen mutters.
“Work on your own science project. I don’t really want to have you over.” She wipes her eyes with her oversized sweater before trotting off.
“Gwen!” I call. “Please, can we talk about this?”
The door slams shut with a loud bang. I stumble into detention and take a seat. Three other people have taken seats, two that I know and one I don’t quite.
Michelle Jones. Why was she in here?
Felicia Hardy. She’s probably in here for stealing.
And the other person who I don’t know that well.
He looks older, either a Junior or Senior. I can tell he’s already been shaving. He’s on the football team, I’ve seen him there before. Although, I do know this, he’s not just some dumb jock. The notebook he’s writing in and the camera hanging from his neck say that much.
“What are you doing in here?” M.J asks.
“I could ask the same about you.” I say.
“That’s not an answer, Harry.” Michelle says.
“I was being sarcastic.” I shrug. “Now, you?”
“I like to come here and draw people in distress.” She doesn’t look at me as she draws ferociously in her sketchpad.
“Look,” She says holding it up. “You know who that is?”
I study it.
“Me…?” I hesitate.
“Oh, man.” M.J exclaims sarcastically. “Nothing gets by you!”
I roll my eyes and turn away from her. My attention resumes to the pretty-much-stranger. I analyze every little thing about him. His hair, back pack, stubble, varsity jacket. Then I notice how extremely massive this guy is. And I don’t mean ‘gosh, this guys does nothing but eat potatoes in every form’, no. I mean this guy looks like a two-and-a-half angus bulls crawled inside his body. Pure muscle.
The varsity jacket. It’ll have his last name printed on it. I peer over my desk and the next one ahead of me to get a better look.
Eddie Brock. That’s right. I’d heard about him but never met him. The only person Flash Thompson was scared of, for some reason. Oh, maybe the mass amount of muscle for a seventeen-year-old? Yeah, that could be it.
“Hey,” I say. “You’re Eddie, right?”
At first he doesn’t do anything but then Brock slowly turns around in his chair.
“Yeah,” he says. “You’re Harry Osborne, right? I met your father during a newspaper report I was working on.”
“You’re a newspaper reporter?” I say. “Awesome.”
“Yeah, I work as a paid intern for the Daily Bugle.” Eddie replies.
“I never even knew there was an article on my dad.” I mutter, mostly to myself.
“Yep,” Eddie nods. “It was about him, Dr. Pym, and Dr. Connor. The Super Soldier Serum? You must’ve heard of it.”
“You mean like Steve Rogers? Sure, everyone’s heard of it.” I say. I just didn’t know my father helped invent it.
“Technically speaking, they developed it. It was originally created by Dr. Abe Erskine.” Eddie says. “Several people have tried to make updated, more versatile, serums. Howard Stark, your father, and Bruce Banner are just a few to name.”
“I didn’t know about any of this.” I say.
“I have the article with me.” Eddie says as he reaches into his backpack. “Would you like to read it?
“You carry the article with you?” I snort.
“The article was critically acclaimed.” Eddie doesn’t miss a beat. “It’s been the most praised, not to mention paid for, article I’ve written.”
“Oh,” I say, wishing I had kept my mouth shut.
Eddie hands the cut-out article to me. I begin reading.
The Serum Doctors by Eddie Brock Jr.
When we think about our fighting soldier, Captain America, how many times do we think about the creator of the serum? The creator of him? I’m sure never. Today, we change that.
‘We wanted a better change.’ said Dr. Curt Connors. ‘We still want that. We’ll never stop wanting that.’
The trio of scientists have all been working together on separated projects.
Dr. Pym has been working mostly on a sourceful technology known as the “Pym Particles” that has the unusual capabilities of shrinking and enlarging objects and even humans.
Dr. Curt Connors has been working on a regenerative solution. He said in an earlier report that “… the body is incapable of healing itself. This material, this formula, can do the impossible. It’ll save the government, and citizens, millions upon billions of dollars in prosthetics. No one will be left out because of any loss of limb or deformity.’
Dr. Norman Osborne has been working on developing the Super Soldier Serum into a better, more useful, and approachable formula. He said that ‘the serum doesn’t need to be supplied in large quantities. It needs to be supplied to the right users, mass production is not the key. Selective issue is. If every soldier in the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marines got the serum than anyone could, and would, join the military. This is faulty because you’ll have a worthless investment in a group of worthless soldiers.’ Osborne later noted that ‘…not everyone deserves the to have access to the serum. It has greater value than a few nickels to mass produce it. This symbiote aligns its voice with a face. It has potential greater than what is known than our meek minds’.
When I’m done I feel like a portion of my mind exploded. How had I not known any of this? I thought my dad built weapons or something like that. I had no idea he did… all of this.
“What do you think?” Eddie asks.
“It’s unbelievable.” I say. “This is the same Norman Osborne, right?”
“He’s an incredible man.” Eddie chuckles. “But I mean my writing, what do you think?”
“Oh, right!” I feel like such a dunce. “It’s great Eddie, really good.”
“Thanks,” he says before shoving his camera around. “I’m still working on my photography skills.”
“I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it.” I say.
Eddie reaches out his hand and I shake it.
“I’ve got to go but it’s been a pleasure meeting you, Harry.” Eddie says.
“Thanks, you too.” I smile slightly. “I guess I can go to.”
I realize Felicia and Michelle are already gone. Eddie and I exit detention and then the school house. He waves as he walks away, I wave back.
I walk for about two minutes down the street and into my house. I can tell I’m not alone and my father was not alone before I came either.
Does he hide his suit when he has company? Or does he parade it around like it’s the greatest thing in the world?
He never parades me around.
“Are you seriously jealous of suit?” I mutter to myself.
“Are you… talking to yourself?” A soft voice says from behind me. I turn to see Felicia Hardy standing there in a black pencil skirt and grey blouse.
“What? No.” I say before crossing the floor and standing in front of her. “What are you doing here? Robbing my house?”
“What? No.” Felicia mimics with a smile. “I’m here because I’m one of your father’s interns.”
“Oh,” I say, relaxing. A little. “He has interns?”
Felicia laughs softly and then looks at me as if I’m going to continue.
“Okay, you’re being serious.” She hugs herself. “Yes, he has about seven, I think. Not including Dr. Connor’s interns who help him quite frequently.”
“Why are you one of them?” I ask. I never thought about my father having interns. I know he has employees but I can’t imagine him trying to teach someone.
“I’m one of them because I like to learn.” Felicia grins.
“Okay, I’m here because I get school credits.” She says.
I frown again.
“And your dad has some expensive crap that he, obviously, doesn’t need.” Felicia throws her arms out in surrender.
“This stuff doesn’t belong to you, Fel.” I say. Why’d I just give her a nickname?
“Okay, fine.” She frowns at me, her eyes twinkling.
“You do have a beautiful house, sir.” I hear from past Felicia. I look to see father, Dr. Connors, Dr. Pym, and a large group of students walking from the parlor.
“Harry!” Dad exclaims. “You’ve finally arrived. I thought maybe you’d left for Cancun and you weren’t coming back.”
A laugh from the crowd.
“Well, I’m here now.” I say.
“Yes, you are.” Father says with a fake smile. “I see you’ve met Felicia.”
Felicia walks over to stand with the other students and my dad throws an arm over her shoulder. I cringe.
“This is Dr. Pym and Dr. Connors, you’ve met them before, no?” Father gestures to each in turn.
“Of course.” I nod curtly.
“Harry, if you could, I’d like to have a private talk alone with these two,” Father says. “Could you finish the tour for us?”
“Of course,” I repeat.
“Thanks,” Dad says as he walks back. I notice a green glint in his eyes that wasn’t there before. “Son.”
Once the adults leave I turn to all the students.
“What have you seen so far?” I ask. “I’m sure you don’t want to see the same thing twice.”
“We haven’t seen your bedroom yet.” Felicia smirks. The group bursts into laughter and a couple people give Felicia a high-five.
“We still have yet to see the wisteria gardens.” Someone else says. “I hear they’re beautiful.”
I peer into the crowd trying to connect the voice to a face.
‘…the symbiote aligns its voice to a face.’
My dad spoke about this thing as though it were living. Like it had a mind of its own. Like it made its own choice. What even was a symbiote? And what did that mean? What my dad said, how does this symbiote align a voice to a face?
“Harry, everything okay with you?” Felicia drags me from my thoughts.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m okay, yeah.” I nod my head to reassure her. Only, I think it does the opposite.
“Wisteria gardens, right?” I ask.
“Yes,” the voice says. “Please?”
“Anything for you…” I trail off when I see who’s been talking.
Without another word, I lead the interns down the hall, through one of the dinning rooms, across a parlor, and out onto a patio area. I continue through a shrub thicket and proceed to lead them right to the wonderful wisteria patches. There’s hundreds of them and I can hear several people coughing with the overwhelming fragrance.
“This what you wanted, Gwen?” I ask.
“Yes, thank you.” She stares at the flowers in awe, knitting one aimlessly between two of her fingers. “They’re beautiful.”
“Just like you…” I scream. Of course, the scream is on the inside, the rest isn’t.
The students burst into obnoxious laughter and I can feel my face heat to a nice pink. It’s only half as bad as Gwen’s tomato red cheeks.
“Oh, my… Gwen!” She’s already covering her face and running back towards the mansion. “Gwen, please, I’m sorry!”
I race after her, leaving the laughter behind in a hurry. Branches and stems slash me in the face but there’s no way I’m letting her get away again.
I reach out and grab her forearm, her skin is smooth and warm.
“Gwen, please, I’m sorry!” I plead.
No, she’s laughing!
“What the…?” I pull back. “Why are you laughing?’
“Because… it’s… funny…!” Gwen says between her chuckles. She wipes her eyes.
“I thought I hurt your feelings!” I shout, embarrassment shooting through me like snake venom.
“No, of course not, Harry.” She says. “The only thing you hurt is your morale.”
“Why would you say that?” Gwen asks.
“I don’t know.”
A look of disappointment.
“Because it’s true, Gwen.” I say.
“You shouldn’t say that.” She frowns.
“Why not?” I ask.
“You can’t do that to her. She’s a nice girl, besides what people say.” Gwen smiles at her feet.
“She? Gwen, what are you talking about?” I ask.
“Felicia.” She says.
“Oh, no, no! Felicia and I… we have nothing. There’s nothing between us.” I exclaim. “At all. I mean it.”
“Oh,” Gwen says. “I’m sorry for saying that, then.”
“Harry?” I hear a familiar voice say from behind me. “Who knew our meet up would be here at your house today!”
I turn to see Eddie smiling with his camera in hand.
“Hey, Eddie!” Gwen smiles brightly before skipping over to him and giving him a hug. “Where were you?”
“Hello, Gwen.” Eddie returns the hug, it looks like a bear hugging a lemur. “I was talking to the doctors. They had a ‘top-secret private project’ for me.”
“Aww, you lucky duck!” Gwen exclaims.
“What is it?” I ask.
“Told you, bud, top-secret.” Eddie smiles as he claps me on the back.
Just then, Father and his partners come from the patio and into the yard where the students have all gathered in random chatter.
“Well, it’s about time for everyone to be getting back to their own homes for dinner.” Father begins to say. “ Thank you all for coming and make sure everyone has their projects done by next Thursday. Eddie, Felicia, and Miles, you have a little while longer one yours because they have more… work.”
Why them? No offense, but it’s not like they’re the most honorable students at school. Eddie is a jock, Felicia is a thief, and Miles… well I don’t know much about him.
“See you at school tomorrow.” Peter says from beside me. When the heck did he get here? He walks off, his head low and his backpack heavy.
Why is he acting so… off?
“This is for you.” I catch Father saying, he’s handing Eddie a fairly large vile. “Study it, test it, and develop it. But do not let it touch you for long periods of time, Ed.”
The vile contains a black goop. There’s a small piece of masking tape across it that reads: sym– and then it’s gone into Eddie’s backpack.
“Yes, sir.” Eddie nods his agreement.
And then everyone is waving goodbye, giving hugs, and driving, walking, jogging, or riding away.
I’m alone with my father except he’s already in his lab and I’m already in my room.
At the computer.
What is a symbiote?
341 search results: search for ‘symbolism’’ instead?
An organism in a symbiotic relationship… the smaller of the relationship…destroys… beneficiary… larger partner is the host… host does NOT benefit…symbiote… parasite…
“Oh, my gosh.” I mutter. This thing is a disease. A thing. It’s… alien. Eddie has something he’s not supposed to touch except… I think he’s not supposed to touch it at all. My father wants the symbiont to get to him. He doesn’t want Eddie to study the parasite.
My father wants to study the parasite on the host.
Anger and confusion flares up in me like snake venom.
Suddenly I recall something. The symbiote takes over the host.It controls them. Changes them into something they aren’t. I remember that night having pizza and ice cream at Peter and Mae’s.
That thing I saw moving through the book shelfs… it wasn’t because of the greasy food. That parasite was in Pete’s house. That’s why he was acting so odd lately.
If that thing got Peter it will have no problem getting Eddie, too. What exactly did it do to them? My father referred to the serum he’s been working on and the symbiote as the same thing in that article Eddie wrote. I think my father is using parts of it in the serum. Which means the serum isn’t just doing good things. It’s destroying the host, too.
I’ve got to warn Eddie somehow. Before it gets him. But I don’t have his number. And I don’t know where he lives.
“I’m sorry, Eddie.” I say. “I don’t know why he’s doing this to you….”
I do know.
My father isn’t Green Goblin because he wants to be. He’s Green Goblin because that thing tells him to be. My father doesn’t only test his serums on participants.
He tests it on himself.
I sit. Sleep. Read. Do some math problems. In my head, of course. Discuss some science stuff with Gwen over Skype. Turns out she wasn’t as angry at me as I thought she was. We didn’t bring up the wisteria conversation.
I asked why she became one of my father’s interns. Turns out, she isn’t. She’s one of Doctor Connors.
“Dr. Connors has a brilliant mind.” Gwen says. Her voice breaks ever so frequently over the screen. “What he’s doing with his formula is for the interest of everyone. Not just some other way of making a buck.”
“And my father and Dr. Pym aren’t doing that?” I ask with a frown.
“It’s not that,” Gwen says. “It just seems like their serums aren’t as vital. As useful and needed.”
As I think about it I realize she has a point. Someone being able to heal and unhealable injury definitely beats being able to shrink or channel anger into a weapon.
“Yeah,” I say. “I suppose you’re right.”
“You should come.” Gwen throws out. “To one of the meet ups. You could be an intern to any of them. It would give you and your father time together.”
I ponder the idea for a moment. My father and I, with more time? Almost seems too good to be true. I think to which students I saw with which doctors. Gwen with Curt, Miles with Hank, and Eddie with my father. Peter… who was he with? Felicia was with my father.
“Who is Pete with?” I ask.
“Parker?” She asks. “He’s with Doctor Connors, as well.
“Eddie is with my father, right?” I ask.
“Eddie?” Gwen frowns in thought. “I didn’t know you even knew Ed.”
“We just met.” I state.
“Well, yes.” Gwen crosses her arms and leans back in her swivel chair. “He is in your father’s circle. He was with Dr. Pym but for some reason Dr. Osborne kept begging him to join his.
I think back to who my father had pointed out with having ‘private projects’. Eddie, Felicia, and Miles. All of whom were in his circle. Except for Miles. Why would Dr. Pym have Father assign a report to one of his students?
“Morale.” I say. “Miles Morale, what do you know about him?”
“Nothing much.” Gwen takes a sip from a mug. “He’s definitely favored by Dr. Pym. He was one of the first who joined the internship.”
“Oh,” I say.
“So, are you going to join or what?” Gwen smiles.
“Actually,” I say. “I think so.”
After all, it’ll be a easier way to get closer with Eddie. Then, if I’m quick enough I can warn him about the symbiote.
“Great!” Gwen claps her hands enthusiastically. “Look, I’ve got to go eat dinner, I’ll vid-call you again at like… nine?”
“Yeah, sounds good.” I say. “Gwen! Wait.”
She nods her approval of my request.
“What do you know about my father’s serum? His formula?” I ask.
“Nothing, we’re not allowed to talk about our projects with other students.” Gwen says. “That includes anybody’s teacher’s projects, too.”
“Okay, thanks.” I say. She nods before hanging up. My screen goes black and my eyes immediately focus on my reflection. I look so much like him. I could be him. I could be him so easily. I could drown in my career and test things on myself. I could become The… no.
I slide my chair over to another part of my desk where I begin to sketch some faces. I draw Eddie first, then Felicia, and then Miles. I have to give it to myself. From memory, they turned out pretty good.
I find myself staring at the picture of Eddie. I need to warn him. He could be opening and studying that vile right this moment. And I’m sitting here drawing pictures of him. Then I remember something he said. About who he wrote the article about my father for.
The Daily Bugle.
I can see Ed there. He might not be working there now but I might be able to talk to one of his fellow employees. I Google the address and set my GPS to the place. I walk downstairs and head out the door. I press a button on my car keys and the headlights of my Volkswagen Jetta light up and the horn beeps once. I slide into the driver’s seat, put it in gear and pull out of the drive.
“In the next four hundred feet,” Siri says deliberately, “Make a sharp left.”
I do as she says. I remember when I was younger I used to change the setting so ‘Siri’ was ‘Mom’. I did everything in my small capability to make mother there. To make her come back. But she never did.
“Merge right onto exit ramp four-fifteen”
We go like this for another half-an-hour before we arrive in uptown Queens below a skyscraper that isn’t just the Daily Bugle but several other corporations as well. I walk over to a large guide map that shows where I am and where all the other businesses are. I go down through the list before stopping when I notice something.
No. 278: Oscorp Industries Genetic Progression Branch
This must be where Dr, Connors works. He must work for my father, as Oscorp is his business.
I continue down the list until I find;
Daily Bugle Journaling Headquarters
The building is full of people. Mostly business men and women, dressed in suits and pencil skirts. Although, several janitors, kids, and more casually dressed people file about, too. I walk straight ahead to a half circle desk with four receptionists behind it. I find a spot in line behind the one with least amount of clients.
“Next.” The receptionist calls. She grins oddly and I notice that behind the glasses she’s just a young girl. A young girl I know. “Can I help you?”
“Fel?” My words come out as a hoarse whisper.
“Speak up, Harry.” Felicia smiles, her dark bangs hanging at her lashes.
“I didn’t know you worked here.” I state.
“Yeah,” she says. “I forget sometimes, too.”
“Being a receptionist didn’t strike me as your fancy.” I say.
“Well,” Felicia quickly types in something to her computer. “It helps out your father. I also work upstairs in his office but he needed me downstairs today. Is that who you’re here for?”
“No,” I shake my head. “No, I’m actually here to go to the Daily Bugle.”
“The newspaper?” Felicia tilts her head. “Oh! You’re here to see Pete, huh.”
Peter? What? No.
“Peter works for the Daily Bugle?” I ask. “No, I’m actually here to see Brock. Eddie Brock. Junior.”
“Oh, Eddie.” Felicia frowns. “Yes, Peter works for Jameson. Didn’t you know?”
“No, we don’t talk much.” I say. “Which floor is Eddie on?”
“Floor 316.” She says. “If he’s there. I haven’t seen him come into work today, though.”
Of course not. He’s probably unscrewing that vile. I sigh. “Thanks, Fel. Have a nice day.”
“You too, Harry!” Felicia clicks on a pen before answering a call.
As I head to the elevator I pass a younger man arguing with a security guard. His hands are out in exasperation. He beats his chest with an angry fist.
“Look, I’m telling you, sir, I came in here with it and now it’s gone!” The man is shouting.
“Without any idea of who the thief was, we can’t help you.” The guard says, irritation clearly showing on his chubby face. “Please, call the police department and tell them your problem.”
“Fine!” The man mutters. “I’ll tell them Wingsman Business Complex has some lousy security employees!”
The officer snorts and crosses his arms.
“Can’t even keep your own wallet in your pocket in the city anymore.” The man grumbles.
Just then, a middle-aged woman waltz up, her face red.
“Sir, I’d like to report a stolen wallet.” She huffs.
“Do you have any idea what the suspect looks like?” The guard grumbles. “If not, I’m going to ask you to call the police department and tell them your problem.”
I see Felicia smiling pridefully from behind the counter. She stretches one arm behind her and tucks a clump of hair behind her ear. I think I know what the suspect looks like. Felicia Hardy is notorious for being a deceitful thief ever since the first grade when she stole a little boys lunch after kissing him on the cheek in front of everyone.
Frankly, that little boy was me.
The elevator rings and I scoot in, surrounded by others. I hold my breath as the mingling smells of perfume, cologne, and body odor of all sorts engulfs me. Suits shuffle back and forth and women wipe their nail-polished hands on their skirts.
Another chime and a load of people crawl out without a word. I wait in silence as the door closes again and scoots up the shaft. Ring, more people on and another bunch off. This group is louder and two of them I easily recognize. I slide into the crowd towards the back of the elevator.
They both wear T-shirts, black slacks, glasses, and white lab coats with Oscorp stitched across the back in bold, green letters. Dr. Pym slaps my father on the back as my father laughs at a inside joke.
“Her father must be proud.” Father is saying. “Too bad she didn’t join one of our circles. She has more potential than that one armed Connors can handle.”
“I agree,” Hank says with a nod. “Curt takes all the greatest students for himself.”
“Parker would be nice to have, too.” Dad says as he itches the back of his neck. “Richard was a very intelligent man, it’s easy to see Peter doesn’t follow far behind.”
“What about Harry?” Hank says. “He must have part of your brilliance in him.”
“Harry takes after his mother.” My father says simply.
That must be enough to the end their conversation because for the next two floors all is silent again. They get off on the floor before mine and I let out a deep breath.
One more chime and I climb off, wiping my shoulders like I can clean away all the germs, as well. I look at a arrow guide quickly before veering to the right. The hall is white tile everything. White tile walls. Floors. White tile ceiling. I feel dizzy just looking at it.
Then, the white stops and the walls turn tan and grey carpet replaces the floor. A glass door with the words ‘Daily Bugle’ are painted on it. I push through and walk to, yet another, receptionist.
“Hey, I’m Betty.” She smiles brightly. “Welcome to the Bugle, how can I help you today?”
“Hi, I’m looking for a Eddie Brock.” I say. “Junior.”
“Eddie’s out for a interview.” Betty informs. “I can call him and tell him you’re here. Then you can wait there until he gets back?”
“Yes, please.” I say. “That’s perfect, thank you.”
“Anytime.” She smiles. “You can have a seat right there, Mr… what is your name?”
I smile back at her as I get to my seat.
“Osborne.” I say. “Harry Osborne.”
I wait for two and a half hours before Eddie finally shows up.
“Hey man.” He says as he shakes my hand. “Sorry for the wait. I was interviewing the other circle students.”
“No problem.” I say. How was I supposed to tell him my father wants to experiment on him? Why hadn’t I thought everything through before hand? “Which circle were you interviewing?”
“Dr. Connors and Dr. Osborne’s.” Eddie takes his camera off from around his neck. “I already know all of the Osborne circle, of course, but it’s still nice to have an easier excuse to get to know them better.”
“Oh, yeah, I’m sure.” I nod my head.
“You should join.” Eddie beckons me to follow him and we head past several desks and reporters and journalists. “It would be nice to have you around.”
“Thanks,” I say. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately but I just haven’t asked about joining it yet.”
“You should.” Eddie sits down in a swivel chair behind one of the desks, he nods towards another one and I take it. “Would you like some coffee?”
“Oh, no thanks.” I put my hands out. “Not a big coffee drinker.”
“I wasn’t either, until I had to stay up all night, every night, for writing stories.”
“Well, that would give you a good reason.”
An awkward laugh exchange.
“So,” Eddie asks as he takes a sip of coffee. “Is there a particular reason you wanted to see me?”
I’m about to speak when a loud burst of laughter comes barreling through the large office. Eddie seems to tense with curiosity. We both lean in our seats to get a better look at who’s causing the commotion. A small group is making their way down the hall and I feel the hair on my neck stand up. I grit my teeth.
Pete, Gwen, Ned, Michelle, and Felicia are all parading down the aisle towards us. I glance over and see Eddie’s jaw is locked and his fists are clenched. Either he doesn’t like people causing a ruckus or he really has a beef with Peter.
“Harry?” Peter stops in his tracks, as do the others. Everyone stops laughing and the office grows silent. “What are you doing here?”
“I came to talk to Eddie.” I reply sternly. “I could I ask the same of you.”
“I work here.” Peter shrugs. His arm is over Gwen’s shoulder and I can’t make out if it’s just a casual thing.
“Since when?” I ask, standing up. “How come I didn’t know about this?”
“I didn’t think it was that necessary.” He says.
“How long has he known?” I point at Ned, my voice comes out like venom.
“Not long.” Peter removes his arm from Gwen and gives me a look. “How long have you been hanging out with Eddie?”
Eddie let’s out an awkward chuckle as if he’s trying to let everyone know he’s still in the room.
“Since the other day.” I mutter. “How do you keep the Stark Internship and keep going with this?”
“I just do.” Peter says. “How long are you going to avoid joining the circles?”
“How long, how long, how long.” Michelle says, her voice laced with sarcasm. “Geez, you guys sound like a Charlie Puth record. Broken.”
Gwen and Felicia giggle a little at her joke and I’m half tempted to as well.
“I just think that I’m not cut out for the sciency stuff.” I say.
“You mean you think your’re too good for the rest of us?” Pete hisses.
“All I’m saying is I didn’t think you were much of a writer.” I mutter.
“Well, I am.” Peter says. “And since Ned works here, he got me a good position.”
“I have to give some credit to Betty.” Ned smiles sheepishly at the secretary.
As Peter and I glare at each other, Gwen suddenly puts her hand on our shoulders.
“Hey, did you guys hear that?” She says. “The doctors are coming. Why would they be coming up here?”
“How do you know it’s them?” Eddie asks.
“Just do. I can recognize their voices.” Gwen shrugs.
“Hello, Betty.” I recognize my father’s voice. “Are some of our students in here?”
“Yes sir, they’re over there.” Betty says.
“Thank you.” Dr. Pym’s voice answers.
Everyone seems to tense up as the three doctors and a two young girls step around one of the office panels.
“Harry?” Father says in surprise. “What are you doing here?”
“Here we go again.” Michelle says.
“I came by to see Eddie.” I say. I notice father shoots me a subtle glare. Subtle, but full of venom. He must think I’ve found out about his plan.
“Gwen, Felicia, I’d like you to meet two of our newest students.” Dr. Connors interrupts. “This is Miss Elizabeth Allan and Lily Hollister. Miss Allan will be with you Felicia, so if you could show her around when we get back to Oscorp that’d be great. Gwen, same goes for you except it’ll be Lily.”
I find myself staring at the Allan girl. She’s gorgeous. She has Gwen’s blonde hair, but unlike Gwen’s blue eyes, Elizabeth has emerald green ones. She wears a light grey sweater and a pair of jeans with flats. She smiles at me and I turn away with a hope that my staring wasn’t too obvious.
“Harry, we were heading down to the labs now.” Father says. “I’m sure everyone would be delighted for you to accompany us.”
“Sure.” I nod. I never told my father no.
“Great,” Dr. Connors says.”Let’s get going. Mr. Leeds, shall you join us?”
“No thanks,” Ned shakes his head. “I’ve got some work to type up.”
Eddie’s chair squeaks as he climbs out of it. He finds a spot beside me as we all head out of the Daily Bugle office. Father and Dr. Pym lead us to the stairwell. I guess elevators are too overrated for Dr. Connors, I think, recalling their rude conversation about their fellow colleague. The drowning sound of footsteps makes my ears hurt as the whole group clambers down the stairs. Once we’re out of the stairwell, everyone begins to stand beside different people.
I end up between Eddie and Elizabeth.
“You’re Norman’s son, right?” Elizabeth ask me. It’s odd to hear my dad’s name.
“Yeah, my name’s Harry.” I say, putting my hand out. Her grip is a lot firmer than I would expect.
“My name’s Elizabeth, but you can call me Liz.” She smiles as we head through two large glass sliding doors.
“Harry, you can join our circle for the day.” Father says. “Anyone who is with Dr. Pym or Dr. Connors please go with them.”
Peter and Gwen give me a nod and a wave as they head for Doctor Connors group. Lily Hollister follows them. Miles heads after Dr.Pym and a few other students, including Eugene Thompson. Eddie, Felicia, Liz, and I stay where we’re at. Along with a handful of other students, most of whom I don’t recognize.
“Since Harry and Elizabeth are new, who would like to show them the ropes of the class?” Father says to everyone.
Eddie raises his hand. “I can do it.”
“I can help him, too.” Felicia offers. “Two to two is a better ratio.”
“Okay, Elizabeth and Harry, you stick with Miss Hardy and Mr. Brock, please.” Dad says. “The rest of you, you know what to do.”
Everyone shuffles to large circle desks where people sit down and begin to write in notebooks, look through microscopes, filter through slides, and discuss things between each other.
“We’ll sit at the desk over here.” Felicia says before guiding us to an empty desk. We all take a seat, Liz next to me.
“What do we do with them?” Eddie asks Fel. “We have private projects, we can’t just have them help us.”
I’m suddenly reminded of why I came here in the first place.
“Private projects?” Elizabeth asks.
“Yes, some of us get picked by the Doctors to work on harder assignments.” Felicia says. “Right now, Eddie, Miles, and I are the ones working on them. They’re top-secret.”
“What are you working on?” Liz asks.
“If she told you it wouldn’t be that top-secret, now would it?” Eddie smiles, Liz smiles back.
“So, then what do we do?” I ask. I had to figure out a way to ask Eddie if he’d opened the vile. I had to ask him alone.
“We can work on biochemistry?” Felicia offers. “Gosh, I sound like Gwen.”
“Sounds interesting.” I say. “What if we work on… symbiotic relationships?”
I see Eddie shoot me a look and I return his with a nod.
“Symbiotic relationships?” Liz says. “Like… parasitic ones?”
“Yes,” I say. “That.”
The idea of my father trying to test this symbiote serum sickens me. I feel my breath catch and my blood feels like venom.
Suddenly, the lights flicker above and a couple people squeal. Everyone tenses before the lights come back.
“Nothing to worry about guys!” Dr. Pym calls. “We have a guy coming up as we speak. I guess there’s some shorting in the wires.”
The table I sit at all change wary glances. It was just some flickering lights. Why is everyone freaking out so much?
A suction-like noise sounds from behind us and I turn to see a heavier man with circle glasses and a lab coat being followed by a tall African-American with short dreads. He smiles at everyone as he walks by.
“Hello, students.” The heavier man says. “Some of you may know me as Dr. Otto Octavius. This here is Maxwell Dillon. He’s our electrician and he’s just going to fix a short real quick.”
Everyone murmurs their agreement and nods their heads. Dr. Octavius and Maxwell walk past the crowd and into a utility closet where they disappear, followed by Dr. Pym and Father.
Everyone regains their composure and begins to work again. I’m about to jot something random down in my notebook when I see Peter get up and covertly make way for the exit. What’s he up to, now? I’m about to clamber out of my own chair when the sound of a small explosion comes from the utility closet. I notice Dr. Pym, Dr. Connors, and my father exchange wary glances before they make their way towards the closet.
“Everything’s fine, everyone!” Dr. Pym reassures us.
Felicia fiddles with her pencil and bites her lip, someone doesn’t handle well under stress.
“Dr. Osborne, could I have a word with you outside?” Dr. Octavius mutters as he reveals himself from behind the closet door. “Dr. Connors, please round up the students and take them to a lower floor, thank you.”
Otto and Father amble out of the laboratory, their lab coats swishing behind them.
“Okay,” Dr. Connors begins, obviously as confused as we are. “We’re going to head down to the… what’s on the floor below us?”
“The library, sir.” Gwen pipes up.
“Of course! We’ll go there.” Curtis adjusts his coat before adding. “Thank you Miss Stacey.”
“Speaking of Stacey,” Miles Morale is saying. “Look out the window!”
All at once, the students swarm to the window. Blue and white floods the pavement outside the building. What was going on? Police officers line the streets, warning people to stay away from the building. I see Captain George Stacey leading a patrol inside.
“Let’s go now, everyone!” Dr. Connors shouts. Panic begins to spread through everyone’s eyes and their flinchy movements. Fear rises up in me like venom.
“Felicia, Elizabeth, you stay close to Eddie and I.” I say, grabbing Liz’s hand in mine.
“I think we can manage ourselves, Osborne.” Felicia says.
“Fine,” Eddie says. “Let’s just go.”
We all file out into the mass of students and other citizens who have gathered. I guess it really wasn’t just an electric problem.
Or it was.
Sparks fly from the lights above and everyone screeches. The steady sound of an electric current wraps around us and I notice the hair on my arms are sticking up. Liz’s long blonde hair has little bits frantically reaching for the ceiling.
What was this?
Everyone shuffles breathlessly into the elevator. Dr. Pym, who I didn’t know was still with us, punches in our destination floor number. The elevator lurches, the lights flicker, and the group murmurs dreadfully to each other. The glow of the light bulbs disappear and we all crouch in the pitch black darkness.
“Dr. Connors?” Someone whispers, fear lacing their voice.
“It’s okay.” Curtis replies, his voice surprisingly steady. “We’re just going to wait until the police officers get here. Everything will be fine.”
As his last words come out, the elevator plummets. Everyone screams and grabs onto the nearest thing, or person. My stomach flips on the inside as we ceaselessly fall down the shaft. I cover my ears and lean against the wall as I try to block out the group’s screaming and steady myself.
Almost as quickly as it begun, we are standing still again. Half of the group is lying on the floor sobbing. One of the girls is screaming relentlessly and banging her fist on the elevator door.
The door opens slowly, ten pairs of red-gloved fingers carefully prying it open with a grunt of effort. As soon as they’re opened, everyone quickly files out with murmurs of relief.
“Hey, everybody.” The pry-er calls. “Hey, everything is okay. Everyone’s safe.”
“Oh, my gosh!” The girl whose name was Lily cries. “It’s Spider-Man!”
Everyone frantically runs at him for dibs on autographs, selfies, phone-number, and whatever other memorabilia they come up with.
Spider-Man shoots a thin, white tendril to the ceiling and gradually rappels up to a safe spot.
“Hey, now.” He says, his voice calm. “Everyone needs to calm down and get outside, okay? There’s a guy here, the guy messing with the electricity, he’s not so friendly!”
The student’s and others exchange unsure glances before reluctantly fleeing to the stairwell. A few people remain to watch as Spider-Man crawls across the ceiling, drops to the floor, and races off after the ‘guy messing with the electricity’.
“Holy crap, that was crazy!” Eddie laughs breathlessly.
“Yeah,” I say. Crazy doesn’t describe it.
All those people stood around begging for a photo from him. I have seventeen just from our last getaway in Washington D.C. I never thought they were something special, and maybe to me they still weren’t.
I may not know why he doesn’t talk to me anymore but I do know that my best friend, Peter Parker, just disappeared from class and saved our lives.
My best friend was Spider-Man. Peter Parker was Spider-Man.
After I waited for two and a half hours at the Daily Bugle, not to mention sitting in a science class, getting locked in an elevator, and watching another five hours of Spider-Man fighting a new, now defeated, villain, Electro.
Turns out Maxwell Dillon wasn’t an electrician for the sake of it.
I realize at about ten o’clock p.m. that I have yet to tell Eddie about the symbiote. Luckily, due to the eventful day, I’m settled that he’s not sitting at home with the vile open. At least, I hope not.
I hop out of bed and make way to my computer desk. I slip my glasses on and begin researching. There had to be something in my father’s lab journal about the symbiote. I type in a secret html and open a webpage where I continue to hack into the server. Hey, I wasn’t a science prodigy for biochemistry.
Or, hack in and still never know what the password is.
And I’m in.
Access Granted Approval.
Please select security question to answer:
I type in several things that looks like gibberish to the normal teenager. The webpage closes and a new, different, one appears. I type in a few more things, click on some stuff, and voila. As I scroll down through my father’s log I look for any keywords I could use for my research. Symbiote, Symbiotic Relationships, Eddie Brock, Super Soldier Serum, Osborne Serum, and others like.
I come across one that strikes my mind.
Click. Scroll, scroll, scroll.
December 13th, 2017
Student Studies: Eddie Brock; Symbiotic Relationships.
Student Eddie Brock Jr. has volunteered to be administered the newly developed serum (yet to be named). One the 12th of December, he agreed and signed to be fully tested on in the name of science. With the serum having no recent contact with human (or any other) life form, this research is vital. Brock’s testing will be communicated through several experiments with the duration of this year, 2018. So far, he has had 0% contact with the alien symbiote. Other serums Brock has had contact with are named in the following; Super Soldier Serum Type AS3, Goblin Serum Type 1, and Son Serum Type 1. Brock is the first to be injected with the Son Serum and so far there has been no ill effects. He is the second subject to be issued the Goblin Serum; also no ill effects. First subject that was administered the Goblin Serum shows no ill effect.
Goblin Serum? I’m sure it has no relation to the Green Goblin at all. I re-read the entry over and over again, trying to pick everything apart. What stands out? I try to find what I can that could help. What I can that could make a difference; that could give me some answers.
I click the back button and scroll through the entries again.
October 11th, 2017
Studies: Alien Symbiote Discovery
Earlier today, I was called in by Curtis to do a clean, thorough check on a discovery that made. Indeed, it was a surprise. After I arrived Curtis and Hank both led me to where they had encountered, and then concealed, an alien. During investigations through the tube, it was settled that the alien was a symbiote. Symbiote being an organism that lives, and benefits, off a larger host. The alien was, and is, parasitic. That is what defines it as being a symbiote. The alien was concealed and transported to my lab in the Oscorp Biological Experiments Center in eastern Queens. Since then, the alien has gone under extensive experimentation and observation. It was decided that the alien being fractioned partly into several, smaller, subjects. There is now the large, contained, alien and four other, smaller, ones that have been transferred elsewhere for other research. As of now, one sample is with each, Dr. Hank Pym, and Dr. Curtis Connors.
They found an alien in Queens, New York. I lean back in my chair, letting out a long deep breath. How is this possible? Is Eddie really hosting an alien in house? By choice?
That was the hardest part to believe. That it was his choice.
October 20th, 2017
Study: Symbiote Identity
Today, I’m going to describe the alien symbiote in the most comprehensible way.
Species: Alien/ Extraterrestrial
Age: Estimated at 21,000 years
Name: Symbiote, Alien
No. ID: 289451
Affiliations: Norman Osborne
Why would my father affiliate the alien with himself? It’s not like the alien told him he wanted to be partners.
January 14th, 2018
Study: Goblin Serum Effects
After fourteen (14) months of study and testing w/ the Goblin Serum Type 1, I have decided to right down the pros and cons of the formula.
Pros are as followed:
-Suitable amount of strength; strength increased by 63%
-Reaction time increased by 75%
-Agility increased by 78%
-Increased knowledge on weapons handling
Cons are as followed:
-Uncanny amount of aggression
-Impairment of motor skills
All these have been witnessed but the serum is not limited to only these conditions.
I take in another deep breath. Just like I thought, the serum turned my father into something he wasn’t. Green Goblin was who made all those horrible decisions, not Norman Osborne.
I recall the the accounts on James Buchanan Barnes, otherwise known as the Winter Soldier. The Super Soldier Serum and the Goblin Serum must have the same effect on the human mind. They change it, warp it. It makes them see things, feel things, and do things they don’t want to do.
If they already affected James Barnes and my father, how long would it take to affect Eddie?
And what would it do to him with intaking both of those along with the Symbiote Serum?
I called into the Oscorp Intern Program today. I’m in as one of my father’s students. So I guess I’ll be in the same class as Eddie, Elizabeth, and Felicia now. I start tomorrow at seven a.m. They said to talk to the front desk receptionist at the Oscorp facility, so not where Fel works.
The next day, after the phone call, I pull out of the drive slowly, one window down to breath in the chilly spring air. The steady hum of the tires along the road almost put me asleep so I put the window up, take a sip of tea, and listen to the radio instead. I hear my phone go off twice in the passenger glove box, where I always keep it.
Since my father picked a close by, convenient spot to place the Oscorp Center, it doesn’t take long for me to arrive there. I slip out of the Jetta, grab my student lab coat, and lock the doors. Once inside, I wave at the secretary and head into the elevator. As the door closes, someone sticks their fingers in to stop it quickly. This time they don’t have red gloves on.
“Hey, Harry.” Peter smiles. I hadn’t seen him smile for a while. I notice his hair is cut and combed differently and he has a black sweater with black Converse on. Not his usual attire.
“Pete.” I nod.
“Finally decide to show up, huh?” He adjusts a watch on his wrist.
“Yeah,” I say. “For the sake of science.”
“You sure it’s not for Miss Allan?” Peter slaps me on the shoulder as the elevator door slides open with a squeal.
“I’m pretty sure.” I mutter as we walk side-by-side down the hall.
Comotion and laughter sounds from the student laboratory. The door automatically slides open and Pete and I part ways to our separate classes.
Eddie, Felicia, and Liz frantically wave me over to their table. I scoot in beside Eddie, Felicia sits to my right.
“You’ll love it.” Eddie assures me. “After all, aren’t you a science prodigy?”
“I guess.” I shrug.
Midtown High School was full of either science, mechanics, math, or art prodigies. Seventy-five percent of them worked or had an internship with either Oscorp or Stark Industries. Coincidental? I think not. The school is funded by both corporations.
“I don’t think a single person here is a flunkie.” Felicia points out.
“You, maybe.” Eddie jokes. “After all, I don’t think most prodigies go around pick-pocketing.”
“Oh, you’re so funny.” Fel chuckles sarcastically and punches Eddie in the shoulder.
“What about you, Liz?” Eddie asks. “What are you a prodigy for?”
“Math, and engineering.” Elizabeth says. “I’m good with numbers and mechanics I guess.”
“Nice,” Felicia says. “Don’t hear that often.”
“How about you, Felicia?” Liz asks.
“Math and science.” Felicia says. “Have to be good at math to know how much is in someone else’s wallet.”
The table laughs.
“Okay, students!” My father shouts, everyone turns to him. “Today we’ll be working on alien weaponry. As some of you may know, one of our students moved away last year after her father was arrested for harboring these weapons.”
Liz Toomes. Her father was Adrian Toomes. Everyone in school, and Queens, knew about that. Another person found, caught, and given in by Spider-Man. By Pete. After Adrian was caught, Liz and her mother moved away.
“Well today, we’ll be studying some of the very weapons Mr. Toomes used.” Father says. He gestures some commands to a few assistants and they began to divide a couple weapons between the tables.
The weapons glow eerily with either blue, gold, purple, or green hues. I gulp at the thought of one of them being shot at Peter. How does he fight these guys? He can barely make it through gym class. And he failed at the football try out that Ned begged him to try.
“Wow,” Eddie says. “Can you believe Spider-Man fought people who had these things?”
No, I can’t.
“Yeah, it’s pretty crazy.” Liz says. “Now let’s tear these bad boys apart.”
We do just that. For seven hours, we destroy, examine, study, and rebuild the weapons several times. Father talked us through on some things, pointed out stuff we wouldn’t of found on our own. It was interesting. Very interesting, actually.
Liz did the best at examining and she even built a different one out of the parts. Although, we couldn’t test to see how it worked.
At two-thirty, Father excused us all and we filed out towards the stairwell. I notice most of everyone takes the stairs, obviously frightened to take the elevator after the encounter with Electro. A handful still take the elevator, probably hoping to meet the renowned Spider-Man. The sound of footsteps drowns out all conversation so everyone walks with their mouths shut.
Outside of the well, I stop Eddie.
“Can we talk?” I ask.
“Yeah, sure.” He says, crossing his arms. “What you need?”
“I need to know about your private project.” I say.
“I… I can’t tell you, Harry.” Eddie’s voice seems to break and I see his forehead begin to sweat. He is choosing to do this. “I… I would if… I could.”
“You can, Eddie.” I say. “Eddie, I know. I know what he’s putting you up to.”
“What do you mean?” This time his voice sounds angered. Impatient. Defensive. “How would you possibly know?”
Oh, no. He’s already opened it, hasn’t he?
“You opened it, didn’t you?” I say. “Eddie, did you touch it? Did that thing get to you?”
“You need to mind your own business, Osborne.” Eddie begins to turn away. “Learn what’s good for you. I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”
With that, he turns and exits the complex. I follow behind, keeping a safe distance between us. I watch as he clambers through the parking lot and retrieves a helmet off his motorcycle. He buckles the helmet, climbs over onto the bike, starts it up, revs it a couple times, and screeches out of the parking lot. A black, two foot smudge shows his trace.
I stride over to my Jetta and climb in. I quickly start it and drive after him. I let a car get between us to hide me and my car. He takes smaller roads all the way to downtown Queens where he stops at a small town house and gets off. Eddie trots up the stairs and disappears into the house. After waiting across the street for an hour while playing a game on my phone, I decide he’s not coming out. I pull away and head home.
He had to of touched the symbiote. Eddie has taken that symbiote, and whatever else my father told him to take.
I take in a deep breath as I turn on my signal. I know what this means.
This means that Eddie Brock was a lab rat.
A very, very dangerous lab rat.
I listen to my radio play softly as I work on writing up my lab report for the internship. The essay has to be at least forty-two paragraphs and seventeen pages long. I was in for one heck of a night. I’ve only gone through three pencils, and one eraser split in half. Turns out writing can be a waste of time, and money.
As I swap my writing over to digital, I hear the repeated sound of my ringtone going off.
Ding, ding, ding. Ding, ding, ding.
The Spider-Man theme song, I think. I’ll have to change that soon.
I pick up the phone, swipe accept.
“Hello?” I ask.
“Hey,” asks a familiar voice. “I need to talk to you. Now.”
“Who is this?” I ask. “What do you want?”
“It… it’s Eddie, man.” He says. His voice shakes, it sounds like he’s panting. “I really need to see you. I need to tell you… something. I need to tell you everything.”
“It’s…” I look at the clock. “Eddie, it’s one in the morning.”
“Harry, please.” Eddie’s voice chokes. “You’re the only one I can trust.”
“Where do you want to meet?” I sigh.
“Outback from the Oscorp building.” Eddie says. “That’s the only place my mom will let me drive on my own.”
A small, breathy chuckle.
“Okay,” I say. “I’ll be there in… fifteen minutes.”
I think I hear him say a angry curse word before he hangs up.
What’s wrong with him?
I throw a button-up and pair of jeans on before running down the stairs and darting out the door. As I’m approaching my Jetta, I hear someone come up from behind me.
“Harry, everything okay?” I turn to see Dr. Connors standing there. His sleeve hangs oddly where his arm is missing.
“Yeah, yeah.” I say. “Just… girl stuff. Ya know how it is.”
“Oh, yes, of course.” Curtis nods. “Harry?”
“Yes?” I ask, shutting my Jetta door. I lean against the car.
“What all does your father talk about his work?” Dr. Connors takes a couple steps closer to me. I gulp slightly.
“No, not really.” I say. It’s the truth. He doesn’t. I can’t remember the last time we talked about his work. Or anything, for that fact.
But that’s not what he’s asking, is it?
“Harry, someone has been hacking into the Oscorp database every now and then.” Dr. Connors states. “All signs point to you.”
“Are you accusing me of hacking into the system?” I ask.
“We’re… I’m… not accusing you of anything.” He says. “All I’m saying is that the research we do is top-secret. It’s confidential, Harry. No one has right to it. Including you.”
“I didn’t see anything.” I say. Why lie about it? Just tell him.
“Harry, listen to me.” Curtis moves in to where his nose is mere inches from mine. “Your father and Dr. Pym are working on a serum that I don’t approve of. No one does. The government denied them privilege to construct the serum three months ago. They’ve continued to work on it without legal permission.”
I recall Dr. Pym and Father talking trash about Curtis in the elevator. I should’ve known it wasn’t personal. It was business.
“And what about yours?” I ask. “Regenerating people’s bodies is all fine and dandy, isn’t it?”
This seems to strike Dr. Connors.
“Harry, my formula is for the greater good. It helps me.” He says. “It doesn’t turn them into mindless soldiers. Or kill them.”
“My father doesn’t kill people.” I hiss.
“Come on, Harry.” Curtis throws his arms out like there’s something obvious I should know. “Don’t be daft.”
“Look, I need to go.” I say, I open the car door.
“Don’t.” He says. “Don’t go. That call, it’s a trap.”
I slide into the car, keeping my face forward and not meeting his gaze.
“You’re father might not kill people.” Dr. Connors says as he stands back and walks away from the car. “But I’ll say this, his innovations do.”
“I’ve got to go.” I put the car into gear and spin out of the drive. I turn on my signal and veer towards the Oscorp premises. The roads are quiet as I drive slowly down the small road towards the city. My father and I live on the outskirts of Queens so we don’t have as much of the progression and traffic. We’re actually surrounded by a large amount of woods.
As I pull off the small road and onto one of the larger main roads, I notice that one light begins to follow me. I slow down and turn right. The light follows me through the dark. When another intersection approaches, I make another right. Then, as I come to a third intersection, I make another right. The light continues to follow me. Now I knew this light was following me because most people don’t just drive in circles for the heck of it. I pull over to the side of the road, wave my hand to let them pass.
The light clicks off and I gulp hard.
I hear the kickstand of the motorcycle slide down and I unbuckle my seatbelt and lock the doors.
“Why’d you stop?” Eddie says through my window.
I sigh before rolling down my window.
“I thought we were meeting at the Oscorp tower?” I ask.
“We… I had to make sure you followed through.” Eddie mutters.
I take in the sight of him. He wasn’t okay. That’s for sure. His hair sticks to his forehead with sweat. His eyes are bloodshot and black circles surround them. His black sweatshirt hangs loosely around one of his shoulders. I notice that he keeps clenching and unclenching his fists. He was sick. Eddie Brock was very sick.
“Eddie?” I climb out of the car, nudge him back a little bit. “Why did you want us to meet? Who sent you, Eddie?”
“Harry…” Eddie backs up, a sob escapes his throat. He whimpers. “I’m sorry… I didn’t want to do this.”
“Eddie, what are you talking about?” I take a step back towards the car.
Eddie begins to shake more violently. He leans over and dry heaves, drool leaks from his mouth. A black, almost syrup looking, substance begins to come out of his eyes, nose, and mouth. His hands grab blindly at the air. He lets out a gurgled scream and falls to his knees.
“Eddie, listen to me!” I shout. “What did my father give you? What did you take? Which formula?!”
The blackness has almost drowned him now. It moves over him like scales, almost like… spider webs. Eddie pants heavily. He begins to steady himself back into a standing position, the black has now swallowed him. He turns to me, his size has tripled and he stands at least two feet taller than me now.
“Eddie…” I begin.
The black sea moves purposely around him. Eddie flicks his head like there’s a fly on his ear. One of the black arms begins to stretch towards me before lengthening itself and smacking me to the ground.
I grab my face in my hand and stare at him. At this thing.
“I’m… I’m sorry…” Eddie whimpers. A large, red, snake-like tongue slithers out from behind giant closed fangs.
Another long black arm whips out and slashes me across the torso. I fall back and crawl under the car. As large as he is, there’s no way he can get to me now. I hear Eddie let out a muffled screech before everything gets quiet. I know he’s not gone because I can still see his humongous black feet standing there. I take in a deep breath.
“We know you’re here, Harry…. Osborne.” Eddie’s voice has completely changed. The once higher-pitched sound of puberty has been replaced by a deep, raspy bellow. “We need you. We need you, Harry. We need help.”
“Who’s we?” I whimper. “Who’s we, Eddie?”
Suddenly, I feel the sticky heat of breath on the side of my face. I turn my head to see the monster that was once Eddie Brock glaring and growling at me. It’s face is merely inches from mine.
The car creaks loudly as the beast shoves it off me and five feet into the air. He throws it to side and it lands with a loud crunch. I dart away before turning on him, my small, now pathetic looking, pocket knife drawn.
“Eddie, I know you’re in there.” I cry. “I can help you. I can make a cure!”
“We don’t need a cure!” The thing screeches. It takes a few heavy steps towards me and knocks me across the alley again. “We are fine. The way we are!”
“No, no, no, Ed!” I say, stumbling to my feet. “Eddie, who’s we?!”
Another large black tendril flies out and throws me into the air and onto the asphalt. I cough as the wind is knocked from me. I roll over onto my stomach and look at him. I can feel blood dribbling from my nose and mouth.
“We,” the monster says. “Are Venom.”
Eddie, or Venom, whatever he was, left shortly after. His last words still twist my stomach and make me want to sob. My father has practically killed a seventeen-year-old in the name of science. I should’ve listened to Dr.Connors when I had the chance.
As of now, I sit in the Oscorp classroom. I listen to Dr. Osborne ramble on about biological weapons. He’d know all about that, wouldn’t he?
Eddie sits directly across the table from me, Felicia to my right. I can’t tell if he remembers anything about last night but I do know one thing; he seems to be normal again. I watch him intently as he jogs some things down on his notepad. He acts like nothing happened. Maybe he doesn’t remember. A soldier, trained to kill, but oblivious to the number of people they’ve murdered. Well, isn’t that just perfect.
I bet it has a perfect price, too.
“Today we’ll study a well-known pathogenic serum that I’m sure you’re all very familiar with.” Dr. Osborne is saying. “We’ll be studying the Super Soldier Serum. This one, in particular, is TypeXASG so It won’t harm anyone in anyway. It’s what we call a ‘retired serum’. The bodies in it have died long ago and it now has now value.”
More like, no killing capability, I think.
Dr. Osborne begins to pass multiple glass sample jars around. All of them contain a bright, artificial blue liquid. Everyone oohs and aahs at their containers. I hold my tightly. Part of me wants to chuck it on the floor and storm out of the building.
“What you’re going to do is put the formula under the microscope and take notes on what you see.” Dr. Osborne says. “You’ll then put your jars in this machine and takes notes on whatever ingredients you’re familiar with.”
The class begins to open the vessels and take out droplets for sampling. I see Flash Thompson put a bit on his tongue. The idiot must think he might become Captain America.
Felicia’s face seems so still as she watches everyone handle the viles, I think for a moment she might know something. I notice Elizabeth ask her if she’s alright, but for some reason her words seem blurred to me. Muted. All I can think about is Eddie sitting right across from me, acting like he never almost killed me the night before.
My chair screeches loudly as I scoot back and fling myself out of my seat. I’m about to go grab Eddie by the collar and spit in his face about not listening to me when the suction-seal door slides open with a hiss.
Everyone looks up to see Dr. Pym, one hand outstretched oddly, walk into the classroom. His hand appears to be empty but judging by the excruciatingly bright smile on my father’s face, I can tell otherwise.
“Class!” Father claps his hands together once before rubbing them together with excited friction. “I’d like everyone to take a moment to listen to Dr. Pym. Hank, please, shows us what you’ve brought in today.”
Chairs rub against the concrete floor as the other two classes make their way to our tables. Peter and Ned stand in a corner, their eyes fixed on Dr. Pym. I see Curtis standing a good distance away from everyone. He seems different today. Quieter, the look on his face seems… angry.
“So, as my class knows,” Dr. Pym begins. “Along with some of the rest of you, I’ve been working on shrinking and enlarging technology. Well, I’m proud to announce that, with the help of a few of my students and even some of Dr. Connors’ students, that we’ve achieved this.”
A loud round of applause from all the class.
I notice some of the kids are slapping Miles, Peter, Gwen, and some of the other kids on the back. Why didn’t any of our class get offered to help? I think. I wonder for a few moments if it had nothing to do with the students and everything to do with the professors. Then I recall the elevator conversation, if Dr. Pym and Father hated Cutis so much, why did Hank use his students?
“I’m pleased to introduce our newest scientific discovery,” Dr. Pym smiles brightly before tilting his hand towards the floor. I think I see a small speck fall off of his fingers, but it could be my imagination. “Ant-Man.”
Suddenly, like a plant growing but being fast-forwarded, a tall, rugged-looking man stands before us. He pants heavily and his fingers seem to twitch nervously. His suit is red with gray and black accents. I involuntarily smile.
One minute there was nothing, the next there’s a full-grown, six-foot-two man!
“Hi,” the man grins. “I’m Scott.”
I think I hear some of the female students whisper their oohs and aahs. I see Felicia look down at her lab book with rosy cheeks. Seriously?
“Everyone,” Dr. Pym says. “This is Scott Lang.”
“Hi, Scott!” The crowd calls out in distorted unison.
“Anyone want an autograph?” Scott smirks, rubbing his hands together.
The classroom becomes very loud as almost every students stands up and runs after Lang, I notice a few of the students touch his arms. What is wrong with people?
I’m not the only one who doesn’t fan over Scott, though. I realize Dr. Connors, Peter, and Gwen are all missing from the crowds. Where would they go?
An alarm goes off and I jump. Everyone cries out, startled. One of the girls clutches onto Scott. I see Felicia run up to my side. I grab her by the wrist and make my way for the door.
“It’s sealed shut!” Someone squeals ahead from the entrance way. I look around frantically for my dad. He’s nowhere.
How did everyone just disappear? I spin around in circles, everyone races around me, trying to find an exit in their panic. Everything seems blurred, like someone took my brain and all its senses and smudged them around with their thumb. I notice there’s a green shade to the room. There’s smoke… and screaming… and everyone’s coughing.
“Spider-Man!” Someone calls.
I slide wearily to my knees.I feel a tickle in the back of my throat and one hack begins a coughing fit. I try to hold onto Felicia's hand, but by the time I’m on the ground I can’t see her anymore.
I close my eyes once, quickly.
But It turns out to be not so quick at all….
I don’t know how long I’m out.
All I know is the smell that washes over me as little bits of consciousness come back to me. It’s horrid, like dead flesh covered with sewage. I roll onto my stomach and gag. Spit hangs from my lip and I wipe it with the back of my hand. What’s going on?
I crawl to my knees, my lip quivering, and legs wobbling. All the lights are off now. Every once in a while I can see a small spark coming from the broken bulbs and outlets. Debris lies all around me. Broken pieces of roof and sheet-rock. I yelp as a large piece of clear glass gouges through my hand. I fall onto my shoulder and scream. Blood dribble down to my elbow and, as I look at the wound, I see the glass has gone all the way through.
I puke on my shirt at the sight and then sob at the smell.
An odd sound catches my attention. Like someone dragging a long, waterlogged, heavy tree branch through the rubble. I catch movement out of the corner of my eye but don’t dare look. The sound of glass crunching beneath weight catches my breath. I hear a gurgle-like growl, almost like a dog with water in its lungs.
I move my head in the slightest way, as to not draw attention. Once I come to a position where I can see everything better, I lie still. I realize, when I’m motionless, that the room has grown completely quiet.
Over by one of the windows, I see the silhouette of a tall, broad, and alien looking creature. My first assumption is Venom. But as I look closer, I realize this thing is shaped different, and it’s color is different, too. The monster’s muzzle is facing towards me, his arms are out stiffly. His amber eyes are locked with mine, he doesn’t move.
One of the lights flickers back on and I finally get a good look at the beast.
He’s green; deep, dark green. Yellow eyes. Sharp, gray claws catch gleams of light from the LED which is now crackling. A torn, white lab coat hangs haphazardly from his bulging shoulders. He has a muzzle that is scarred, scratched, and covered in scales. A lengthy tail that must be at least eight feet long follows behind him. The side of his throat pulse as he makes a slow hissing noise before taking a few steps towards me.
“This,” the thing says. “Is why I told you to be careful, Harry.”
That’s when it hits me who this man is, just with an arm now.
“Dr. Connors?” My voice crackles. I can feel the little crystals of dust sliding around in my throat.
“I wanted to help people, Harry.” The monster that was once Curtis Connors moves closer to me. The long tail dragging behind him, he flexes the sharp claws over and over again, I gulp at the thought of them tearing into my stomach. “But your father and Dr. Pym have other plans. They don’t use science to help others, they use it to help themselves.”
“That’s not true!” I yelp. “My father helps plenty of people. His researches are breakthroughs!”
“Is that what he tells you?” Curtis’ tongue flicks between his fangs, his lab coat sweeps to one side. “Your father is a liar!”
“No,” I mutter. “You’re wrong. You’re jealous!”
“You’d know all about jealousy, wouldn’t you.” Dr. Connors turns away from me momentarily, I let my eyes fall, taking a break from his unruly stare. “I know what your knowledge contains, Osborne. You know about Brock and you know about your friend, Peter Parker.”
I swallow hard. How does he know I know?
“How do you know that?” I ask.
“I told you, we know when people hack into our systems.” He hisses. “We aren’t just educated in biological engineering, some of us are good with computer technology, as well.”
“What are saying, Dr. Connors.” I knock around.
“You know what I’m saying, boy!” Connors’ arms fling outwards, his muzzle snaps towards me and I jump back. “You hacked into your father’s log and read the accounts he had on the alien symbiote, didn’t you? But that’s not all you saw. You wanted to ignore, pretend it didn’t happen. You know, though. You know that during one of his studies at Oscorp, Peter Parker was discovered and bitten by one of the radioactive spiders that your father had created!”
He was right. I had read that. And I had wanted to deny it. I tried, but I failed. Because here he is, telling my exactly what I didn’t want to hear. I didn’t want to hear that my friends had been changed through the discoveries my father had ruined. Connors was right, my father used science for the worst of things.
“If you hate what he does so much then why did you create… this.” I ask. “Why did you try to heal yourself?”
“I didn’t, Harry.” The monster’s voice changes, his eyes drop to the ground and he suddenly seems weak. “I tested it, before-hand. On lab rats, the first showed severe signs of aggression, a change in behaviour, they even changed in looks.”
“Sounds like the Goblin Serum to me.” I shrug.
“They converted to cannibalistic natures, Harry.” Curtis’ eyes meet mine and I can clearly see his apology. Even if my father is the one who used it, Connors still made it.
I’m about to say that everything is fine, that I understand, when suddenly Connors falls onto all fours and lets out a screaming yell. His claws flex and he returns to two legs, his tail flicking.
“Whatever I do today, Harry, whatever happens, please, know it wasn’t my fault. I don’t mean any of it.” He lets out another agonizing screech before racing off and out of the room.
I quickly climb to my feet, still dizzy from passing out, and race after him. My knee stings and I can feel a wet trickle dripping down it. I hear voices ahead, mostly muffled but some crystal screaming, too.
“Just stay back.” Someone puts their hand on my shoulder to stop me. I look up to see the fully suited Spider-Man standing beside me.
“Why do you do this?” I mutter. Somehow this feels like the first time we’ve talked in months.
“Because it makes up for everything.” Peter says. “It’s my way of escaping what happened to Uncle Ben. You’ve got to understand that.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I ask.
“I didn’t think it was necessary.” He says. “You might not think it, but it would’ve changed us.”
“Don’t die.” I say before slapping him on the back.
“I won’t.” Before any other words, Spider-Man flies off through the debris. I hear a round of cheers ahead.
I head into the midst of the crowd, just in time to see Peter web out through a window and disappear into another wing of the Oscorp building. Someone elbows me forward and I grunt as my foot slides off the side of a piece of rubble.
“Someone just said Captain George Stacey has been attacked!” I hear someone yell. I notice the mop of golden hair beside me. I grab Gwen’s shoulder and pull her away from the crowd.
“Everything’s fine, Gwen.” I whisper. She hugs onto me tight and I can hear her whimper.
The double doors that are only seven yards away suddenly swing open and Dr. Connors newly formed body appears. His muzzle is smudged with dark black blood and his eyes show a fury I’ve never seen before. At the sight of the dark blood and the white-suited limp body being held in one hand, my stomach flips.
“Oh, my… That’s my father!” Gwen screams in agony. “That’s my father, you monster!”
“Gwen.” I say. “Be quiet. That’s not Dr. Connors anymore. That thing isn’t Connors at all.”
“Harry, he killed my father!” She sobs. “I don’t care who he is. He deserves to die.”
“No, no,” I say, I push her away but still hold onto her forearms. “If he deserved to die for what someone else did to him then….”
I think back to Eddie. I was about to hurt him in class today because of what my father did to him. Because of how my father ruined him.
“Then a lot of people would be dead.” I say.
She grips the collar of my shirt hard and sobs into my shoulder. I hold her close as the monster stares at all of the trapped students. I take a look around the room to take it all in. On one side flat wall. On another, all windows, some broke. Ahead, what I’m now knowing as The Lizard. Behind, fallen debris that traps us. The only way out is the windows, and being twenty-three feet up doesn’t exactly guarantee safety.
“Somebody tell me where Spider-Man is or else everyone dies!” The Lizard screeches hoarsely. His tongue flickers and a few of the students step back in fear. Without any compassion, The Lizard squeezes Captain Stacey’s body with a sickening crunch before dropping him into the concrete rubble.
“Right here, rat-breath.” Everyone looks over to the windows where Spider-Man stands planted firmly in one of the empty frames. “You want me, come and get me.”
“Pe-” I cut myself off. No reason to ruin it for everyone else if he’s kept it a secret this long. But why would Dr. Connors want Spider-Man if he knew it was his student?
A giant piece of rubble comes flying towards us and I wrench Gwen and two other students out of its path. A white tendril wraps around it and stops it from smashing into a heavy-set kid with glasses.
“Leave them alone and you can have me!” Peter says, his voice pitchy. I want to feel defended but I know it’s not me he’s trying so desperately to save. I glance at Gwen’s hand entangled in mine and let go before looking at her. Her eyes are locked on Peter, fear flashing in her eyes. I can tell that fear is not just from being faced with a scale-covered monster, but a fear of losing someone you love.
“Hang on tight.” Peter is saying beside Gwen and I. A web tendril wraps around each of us and before I can say anything he kisses Gwen on the cheek and shoves us out the window. I can hear Gwen’s shrill screams as we both plummet towards the concrete ground that’s now one-hundred-feet below us. My heart stops, starts, and stops again for a longer period of time.
When Gwen’s screaming has stopped and my brain has stopped spinning, stomach stopped flipping, I blink open my eyes. Not three inch from my nose is the hard ground.
“We’re alive.” Gwen chokes out, trying to free herself from the webs. “We’re alive!”
“Isn’t that something.” I pull out my teensy pen knife, which is probably not okay to have in Oscorp, and cut away the tendrils. I wince as my wounded back drops onto the pavement. I roll over and crawl onto my knees before peering up at the Oscorp tower. Several more kids are now being tossed out through the glass, rolling through the sky as the webs entangle them. I jump back, startled, as one of the kids plummet directly towards me.
“Look out!” He screeches after I’ve already rolled out of the way. Most of the kids roll onto their feet and take off dashing away from the Oscorp building without looking back. Others stand to see who else is thrown out and try to catch a glimpse of Spider-Man fighting The Lizard. The last thing I want to see is my childhood best friend fight one of the men who has practically been an uncle to me the last twelve years.
I turn around and walk towards the parking lot. As I round the corner, a girl’s body covered and dust and dirt and sweat wraps her long arms around my neck. I let out a huff of surprise.
“I thought I lost you in there!” Felicia cries. “Oh, my gosh…. I thought I lost you.”
I rub her back in a comforting way, not knowing what to say. Behind her, standing by my car, is Norman Osborne. His face is stern. He seems to express nothing.
“Where’d you go in there?” I ask emotionless, I let my hands drop of Felicia and push my towards him. “I looked for you. You had just… disappeared.”
“I was looking for some missing students, if you-”
“Don’t you dare lie to me, you coward!” I screech.
“Harry….” Felicia says worriedly from behind me.
“No, Fel.” I mutter. “You don’t understand what he’s done.”
“Harry, I think we must be in some misunderstanding.” Norman says. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Peter, Eddie, and now Dr, Connors.” I say. “Who else’s life have you ruined?”
“Peter seems to be doing perfectly fine.” Norman mutters, his face missing any expression. “I have no idea what you’re talking about, but we need to get home. I’ve already invited Felicia here to join us.”
“Join us?” I spit. “We haven’t eaten dinner together in twelve years. Oh, fourteen days, and seven minutes. Not that anyone’s been counting.”
I notice my father’s bottom lip quiver the slightest bit.
“I’ll take my car, do you mind if Miss Hardy rides with you?” His voice like venom.
“Of course I don’t mind.” I mutter walking towards the Jetta. Felicia walks around and slides into the passenger seat, she flattens her skirt out and looks out the window. My father remains in his position, leaning against the driver’s door of my car.
“Watch yourself, Harry.” Norman says as if talking to a business associate. “You’re treading very, very thin ice. And if you continue with you ridiculous accusations, so help me, you will regret it.”
“Do you even realize who you’re talking to?” I spit as he moves away from the Jetta and towards the underground parking garage.
“I’m talking to the young boy who seems to like to humiliate me in front of my students.” He says. “Do you realize who you are talking to?”
“I thought it was my dad.” I say, opening the car door and sliding in. “But I was mistaken.”