Brooklyn, New York
Milton Summers High School

Two students walked together down the halls of Milton Summers High. The shorter of the two, a Latin-American girl, fiddled with her wildly hanging brown hair.

“Anya, will you stop messing with your hair, its fine,” said the other girl with odd purplish hair.

The girl mentioned before was indeed the very girl known as Anya Corazon or by a select few as Araña. She looked at her friend and then at her hair, “That’s easy for you to say. Lynn, do you even care about your hair? I mean it’s purple.”

“It’s not purple… it’s…” Lynn stopped.

Anya looked at her friend whose jaw appeared to have dropped, “Hmm…? What is it?”

“Who is that guy? He’s so hot!”

“Oh, God,” Anya shook her head.

[Anya Narrates]: That’s Lynn for you. Off one topic and onto another… Well, anyway, I’m Aña but due to most people’s lack of ability to pronounce that ‘ñ’ in my name I just go by Anya. That’s my friend Lynn Johnson. We’re both seniors here at Milton Summers High and it’s getting very close to graduation time. To think I’m already near the end of my time in high school, it was just like yesterday when I first started and got in a fight with the school bully which never officially took place. See over three years ago I went to Fort Greene Park to fight this jock named Trent. That’s where things went bad. I got caught up in this battle between two old enemies, the Spider Society and the Sisterhood of the Wasp.

As Anya tells her story we see images of a tall man wearing a long black trench coat. He’s ambushed by a group of men being commanded by a woman in a white dress…

[Anya Narrates]: Me being the dumb ass that I was back then, I went out in the middle of it threatening to call the police. Me, a 5’3″ fifteen-year-old high school student with no ability to defend herself… Anyway, one of the men, who I would later learn was a Wasp Drone, who were fighting stabbed me in the stomach. I almost died, but thanks to the man by the name of Miguel Legar I was saved. With the use of a spell I was healed inside the comfort of a web-cocoon and to top it all I was granted the powers of a spider.

“Earth to Anya!” Lynn shook a hand in front of Anya’s face.

“What… what is it…?” Anya snapped out of her train of thought.

“That guy didn’t even talk to me.” Lynn expressed a look of sadness. “He turned away when I was asking him if he was new.”

“Look I feel for you sister but we need to hurry up and get to homeroom. Then we can continue this delightful conversation…”

As the bell rang everyone scurried for their designated homerooms. Anya and Lynn found a pair of desks next to each other and sat down. The teacher greeted the students and turned on the television for the morning announcements. Lynn looked around and saw the same boy she was drooling over in the hallway. Different thoughts ran through her head. The most obvious were the thoughts about being ignored. And then she drifted back to drooling over him.

“Anya, this is gonna drive me crazy.” Lynn pressed her elbows on her desk and rested her head on her hands. “I mean look at him. His brown spiky hair. He’s clearly Puerto Rican… and he’s talking to another girl.”

“Lucas, you shouldn’t have ignored that girl,” said the girl sitting next to him. “That’s no way to start off in our new home.”

“It doesn’t matter where we live, Jess,” he answered. “They’ll all hate me in the long run.”

“You give up too easily. Living in Boston was rough for us, but you have to give these people a chance.”

All that was heard from him was a low sigh. Lynn watched on.

“Lynn, quick eavesdropping,” Anya smacked her shoulder.

“I can’t help it. That bugged the hell out of me. No one ignores me. I’m gonna get to the bottom of this. That must be his sister, a twin even. And she said they moved here from Boston.”

“I hate it when you get like this. Just leave it be.”


ARACHNOPHOBIA
Part I: The Insect Kingdom Re-Established
Written by:
JUSTIN SANTOS


Puerto Rico

While Anya tries her best to calm her friend down we find ourselves in the mountains of Puerto Rico…

A woman in a black hooded robe walked up the road of an uninhabited area. She continued heading down the quiet road ahead. It took sometime but she would finally reach her destination, an abandoned shrine.

“It all begins here,” she climbed the stairs. “The Spider Society will fall and the precious little spider princess will die.”

On the far wall were patterns that made up a giant spider. The appearance of the spider almost seemed sinister.

“Come forth! Cult of the Tarantula! And walk the earth once more.”

As soon as she threw her hands up the wall cracked, breaking the pattern. The pattern was a seal, meant to keep evil within it. A bright light shined before the woman and spread across the wall. Several figures stepped out of the light, none of which could be clearly seen.

“Sister,” called a voice among the figures. “What took you so long? Do you have any idea how long I’ve been trapped in that accursed world? Nina I expected more of you.”

The woman dropped her hood revealing her long brown hair and tan skin. This is Nina Tanner, the woman who trained Anya to fight, a member of the Spider Society.

“I’m sorry brother, but I’ve had trouble attaining the power of the hunter,” she said. “I killed the previous Spider Hunter like you said and tried to take her place but they replaced her with her daughter, Anya Corazon.”

Another light appeared, this time next to Nina. It held the appearance of Anya dressed in her Araña costume which consisted of a low-cut white shirt with a red spider symbol, black leather pants, red gloves and backpack, and a pair of black and red sneakers.

“This is the one who has been causing you problems?” the one talking finally stepped out of the light revealing his inch long brown hair and similar tan skin to his sister. “I’m disappointed. She’s merely a child. How could she cause you trouble?”

“But I’ve trained and finally found the last Tarantula Hunter,” Nina replied. “That is how I was able to break the seal. Finally we can get our revenge against the Spider Society. I want to kill the girl.”

“Sounds like a waste of time to me.”

“But Marcos…”

Marcos, as he was called, was dressed completely in black leather with a large white tarantula symbol centered in the middle of his upper body with its legs extending over his shoulders and down to his waist cut off by a white belt.

“We’re going for the Wasps,” he said.

“The Wasps?” Nina was confused. “I thought you knew. The Wasps are no more.”

“You’re wrong. The Wasps are still around. Our father has taken control of them again. And to top it off he found their initiate, their hunter. It seems someone close to him is the newest Wasp Hunter.”


Brooklyn, New York
Milton Summers High School

It was now lunch period. Anya sat at one of the lunch tables in the cafeteria with her head curled up in her arms. She was sleeping. Patrolling the streets of New York can be tough at times, especially for someone still in school. As she slept she began dreaming.

First she saw the fateful day where she would become Araña. The Spider Mage, Miguel Legar, kneeled before Anya who was laid out on the ground near death. He placed a hand to her wound.

“I have to get home or papa will worry,” Anya struggled to get her words out. “But I feel so cold. What’s wrong with me?”

“You’re bleeding to death,” Miguel simply answered.

Immediately, Miguel started casting a spell still kneeling next to her. He brought his hands together as if he was praying only his index fingers and thumbs were sticking up while the rest were folded over each hand.

“Dark lord of the infinite earth…” he began chanting. “…Weaver of all life, lend me your strength.”

While Anya tried to count down from a hundred he looked down to her.

“Listen to me… listen carefully… I need something from you,” he said. “The most precious thing in your possession. Because life is precious, and it demands the same token.”

Anya held up the locket that was around her neck. The locket her mother had given her. “Something like… this?”

“It will help.”

Miguel took her locket and placed it around his neck. He pulled a feather from his black leather coat. He told Anya he was to be her guardian and that if she chose to fight for the Spider Society he would save her. She agreed. That next day she woke up inside a cocoon made of a web-like substance. She was alive and well.

Throughout the following year she would learn that she gained powers from something called the Great Weaver, after all these years she still didn’t know what that meant. She became the hunter of the Spider Society and helped prevent the return of the Wasp Hunter.

Her dream then shifted to another time. The time she met Spider-Man. He helped her through a tough time in her life.

“My friends and family could die because someone knows who I really am,” said Araña with her goggles up looking at Spider-Man. “So I resigned and renounced my destiny to save them. That’s what you’d do, right?”

“Once upon a time, maybe,” Spider-Man clenched his fist. “But in the end, I realized it’s important to keep fighting, even when my family was in great danger. Because with this power must also come great responsibility.”

Araña looked off into sky.

“Anya,” said Spider-Man. “Anya…”

It was then she woke up. Her friend Lynn had been shaking her shoulder trying to wake her. “Anya, come on. The bell rung for next period. Are you all right?”

“Yeah, I’m just a little bit tired. Let’s get going.”

The two of them walked out of the cafeteria together. Anya walked with her hands in her pockets.

“You know you’re like my sister,” Lynn stated. “You can tell me anything. What’s wrong?”

“I’m just tired. Please don’t worry… I…” Anya started to say something but noticed two guys in front of them staring each other down.

“You think you’re better then everyone else?” a rather large jock wearing the school’s jersey asked. “I think we need to do something about that.”

In front of him stood Lucas who, although he was 6’00”, seemed to be dwarfed by the jock. He looked up at him, “I don’t want any trouble. Let’s leave it at this and move on about our day.”

“Err, I hate Trent,” said Anya. “That no good jock.”

This was the same person Anya was going to fight at Fort Greene Park that resulted in her becoming Araña. Trent pulled his arm back and then sent his meaty fist forward. Lucas simply caught it as if it were nothing.

“I said I didn’t want any trouble.”

Trent threw his other fist which was also caught by Lucas. The spiky-haired youth forced the jock to his knees while essentially crushing his hands.

“Ahh, please stop it hurts,” Trent begged.

“Not before you promise me something,” Lucas demanded. “You’re the big bad bully of this school are you not? For the remainder of this year you’re to promise to not hurt another person. That means keeping your hands off of the girls in this school, any nerds or geeks as you would put it. You hurt anyone and you’ll have to answer to me. You feel me, vato?”

Trent looked up into Lucas’s eyes and saw them glowing bright orange. Staring into them made his whole body feel as if it were on fire.

“I promise! Please!”

“Good boy,” Lucas snickered. “Now get to class. Or you’ll be late.”

Trent ran off as commanded.

Lucas was approached by his sister, “Lucas… your eyes. Get them under control.”

Anya and Lynn still stood behind them amazed that someone actually stepped up to the bully. Lynn was laughing.

“Did you see that? Trent was crying.”

Anya watched as Lucas put a hand over his eyes. “Sorry I couldn’t help it,” he said to his sister. “But I have it under control.”

Jessica noticed the two of them watching. They smiled nervously.

“Sorry we shouldn’t have been watching,” Anya said.

“It’s okay, my brother got a little carried away. My name is Jessica Garcia and this is my just barely older brother Lucas.”

Jessica held a hand out for a handshake and Anya shook it. “Anya Corazon.”

“And I’m Lynn Johnson.”

Anya proceeded to greet Lucas. “Nice to meet you, older brother,” she said with a smile.

Lucas didn’t say anything. He appeared to be mesmerized by Anya, his sister noticed this and laughed.

“Look we’re gonna be late for class,” said Jessica. “Maybe we’ll run into each other again.”

“Yeah,” the girls said together.

The two siblings headed off together.

“Heh, you were totally drooling over that little Latina girl,” Jessica laughed.

Lynn grabbed her friend’s arm, “Anya, he was totally digging you.”

“Oh, come on,” Anya denied it. “You’re just saying that.”


Later

A little later into the afternoon while students began changing classes, a portal opened up and out stepped Nina. No one seemed to notice. She looked around at the students who varied in size and shape. After several minutes glancing at the student body she noticed one that seemed to be troubled.

“It so easy finding new drones,” she began to talk to herself. “Just find a troubled youth and you have an instant henchman at your disposal.”

As she walked for him, an actual tarantula crawled out from under her cloak climbing all the way her shoulder. The school bully Trent leaned against the brick wall of the building contemplating what he saw earlier. He could not see Nina standing before him.

She looked to the tarantula, “Go my darling and make me a fine henchman.”

The arachnid leapt off of her shoulder and on to his. It crawled to the back of his neck where it then bite him. Trent screamed in pain. Before he could grab it, the tarantula fused with him. In that instant the pain ceased. The people around him were confused. An evil grin grew on his face prompting the other students to get away.

“That’s right my drone,” Nina said. “You enjoy feeling this power burn within you. Now let it consume your heart. Let your hatred guide you in defeating the Spider Hunter!”


Home of Anya Corazon

Anya walked up the steps of the brownstone building she called home. At the top of the steps she noticed a note stuck on the door. It read, “Mi Arañita… I’m afraid I’ll be working late at the Herald yet again. Dinner is in the oven. Get your homework done… and please stay out of trouble.”

[Anya Narrates]: Heh, papa’s worried about me getting into trouble. He’s one to talk with all the trouble he gets in for the New York Herald trying to out do the Daily Bugle.

She walked into her home and picked her mail off the floor. She shifted through it before throwing her bag on a table. She then proceeded to the phone and pressed the button on her answering machine.

“You have one new message. *beep* Anya, this is Miguel. Listen there’s nothing going on tonight. With the Wasps finally gone there really isn’t much left for us to do. Nina’s M.I.A. and Ted said something about some online date. I don’t know how anyone could trust a computer to find a relationship. But anyway I guess just enjoy a night off. Get some homework done. I’ll talk to you later.”

After doing a couple more things around the house she went up to her room and put her backpack away. She then laid out her costume she wore when working for the Spider Society as Araña on her bed. The last piece of the costume, a pair of large black goggles with yellows lenses were placed upon the bed.

[Anya Narrates]: That’s the way things have been lately. The Spider Society was formed in 1099 A.D. in Castile which is now modern-day Spain. Their sole purpose was to defend the kingdom from the Sisterhood of the Wasp which as of now are no more. With them gone now there’s no purpose for the Spider Society. I’ve been thinking lately that it might be time to hang up the costume. I’ve tried breaking into the crime fighting thing but fighting regular street thugs is getting boring. All the big baddies are being tackled by the Avengers and these other super groups I can’t keep track of. Not to mention the fact that I’ve been so exhausted lately with getting prepared for college. It might be quitting time.

She got out her iPod and kicked back in her bed to listen to music. She laid there contemplating her future as Araña. Later in the evening she went to the back of her house to throw out her trash. Leaning on the fence next to her house was Jessica, the girl she met earlier today.

“Well isn’t this a coincidence?” Jessica stood up straight.

“Yeah, I thought someone finally moved in next door,” Anya walked over to the fence. “How you liking New York so far?”

“Oh this isn’t my first time here,” Jessica stated. “Me and Lucas were both born here, in Rockville Centre. We moved to Boston when we were seven just before our younger sister Elena was born.”

“Ah. Then welcome back.”

“Thanks,” Jessica smiled before she started to laugh. “Ha, you know my brother was quite taken by you.”

“What? No come on.” Anya still found it hard to believe even after hearing it from his own sister. “Who in their right mind would go out with me?”

“What do you mean? You got this whole hot rocker-chick vibe going for you right now. Lucas hasn’t shown any interest in girls in a long time. It’s nice to see that side of him again. Maybe this is a sign that things will be different this time.”

“What are you talking about?”

Jessica folded her arms, “My brother wasn’t well liked back in Boston. You know with this whole mass hysteria over mutantkind. He got into some trouble one day. Nothing that was his fault. He just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time…”

“Why does that sound familiar?” Anya muttered out. “Oh sorry continue.”

“Well the said ‘wrong place’ just happened to be filled with members of a local gang who beat Lucas nearly to death. Whatever those gangbangers were doing caused the building they were in to catch fire. This fire spread down the block rapidly and five people were killed. The gang managed to clear out but Lucas was unable to leave. When the police arrived they claimed Lucas did it and ousted him as a so-called mutant. From there on he would be shunned by friends and even family. He wasn’t charged with anything due to lack of proof but the damage was already done that night.”

[Anya Narrates]: There’s something she’s not telling me. I can see it in her eyes. Miguel has trained me well enough to tell when I’m not getting the full story. The truth is I’ve been thinking about Lucas’s display earlier with Trent. Sure the guy does have big enough muscles but to hold Trent in place like that and to even scare him like he did. There’s something more to him then meets the eye. He could very well be a mutant who manifested his powers and was unable to control it. It happens. Do you think the X-Men mastered their abilities over night? No they trained to hone their skills. But I think he’s more in the superhuman category. After the fight, if you could call it that, I got this strange feeling when standing next to him. It’s as if I felt his powers pouring out of him, sort of like how mine pour out of me when I change into hunter mode.

“So how long have you been living here?” asked Jessica.

“Since I started Junior High,” Anya snapped out of her train of thought. “Before then I lived in Mexico with my parents. Me and pop moved here after my mama’s death. Pop felt it was a good idea for a change of scenery. Relatives of ours moved up here from Puerto Rico and convinced us to move up.”

“You’re Puerto Rican too, ah my Latin sister!”

“Actually more along the lines of Mexirican.”

“A nice mix that works for you.” Jessica looked up to the sky. “It’s getting late. Better head in before my mom gets upset. You should walk to school with us tomorrow.”

“Sure, see you in the morning!”

[Anya Narrates]: I usually swing to school with the use of my bola, but to have a chance at normalcy. And to make new friends. It will be a nice change.


The Next Day

Anya stood outside of the Garcia household and knocked on the door. The door opened to reveal a woman who could only be Lucas and Jessica’s mother.

“Hi, Mrs. Garcia I’m here to walk to school with Lucas and Jessica,” said Anya.

Their mother smiled, “Oh yes, Jessica was telling me about you. Come on in and dear please call me Erika, I no longer go by my ex-husband’s last name.”

Anya walked in and looked around. She admired her surroundings. A girl around twelve years old entered the room. She began to head for the kitchen when she was stopped by her mom.

“Elena, I told you to get ready for school. Why do you always have to make things difficult?”

“I hate this new school! I don’t want to go back! I want to go home!” Elena shouted at her mother.

“I don’t want to hear another word about this, now get ready!”

“But mom…” Elena’s whining was interrupted.

Anya poked Elena’s forehead with one of her fingers, she accompanied it with a smile, “Listen to your mother.”

There was something about Anya that made Elena silence and even go back upstairs. Erika was surprised to see her go so easily.

“Heh, my mama used to do that to me all time,” Anya looked at Erika and then turned to see Lucas. “Good morning Lucas. Hope you’re ready for another wonderful day at Milton Summers High.”

“I guess if you could call it that,” he said.

“Oh my god he talks,” she laughed while being joined by Jessica.

“Come on guys we need to get going,” Jessica nudged her brother closer to Anya. “Talk to her damn it.”

The three of them left the house together and began heading for school. They talked a bit about different things and finally brought up Lynn.

“What was the name of that friend of yours?” asked Jessica.

Anya had to think for a second, “Who? You mean Lynn? She’s my girl, been friends since seventh grade. Why do you ask?”

“I told Lucas to apologize to her.”

Lucas sighed. “¡Ay, dios mio! You’re driving me crazy with this apology crap!”

“Well you were rude!”

“It must be nice to have a sister to bicker back and forth with,” Anya laughed. “Anyway I wouldn’t worry about it. Lynn has a bit of a hot temper. Honestly I bet you she already forgot about it.”

As they continued onward two police cars rushed passed them down the street. Next was a fire truck which was accompanied by an ambulance. The trio stopped dead to watch the chaos that was unraveling in front of them.

“What’s going on?” Jessica stood up on her toes to get a better look.

Anya’s enjoyment of making new friends ended when she realized what was going on, “Something bad is going down at school.”

She bit her tongue to reframe from saying ‘damn’. She knew that there was trouble and that she should do something about it but with her neighbors standing next to her she couldn’t change into costume. She tried to think of something as a car come flying by them as if it were thrown. All three of them jumped for cover. Anya flipped back and clanged to a wall behind her. She cursed silently to herself knowing this wasn’t what she meant to do. She quickly climbed upward to get out of view of the twins.

The car rolled over. To the side of it Lucas was huddled over his sister. His entire body had become covered in an orange exoskeleton with two wasp-like wings hanging from his back.

“Jess, are you all right?” he lifted his armored face up to his sister.

“I’m straight, you? You got the hunter under control?”

His eyes, which were the only exposed part of his body, became covered by a pair of goggles that seemingly appeared out of nowhere.

Lucas looked over to the school where he saw a strange black mass attacking the school, “For the moment. But you know what usually happens. I’ll end up losing control. Hope you’ve been working on your mage training, cause we may need it.”

“Wait, where’s Anya?” Jessica finally noticed that their new friend was gone.

THWIP!

A spider-shaped grappling hook connected with a ledge of the school. From the roof nearby swung out Anya now dressed in her full Araña attire. She landed atop of a police car. She looked at the black mass with a freaked out look that you couldn’t make out too well due to her large yellow goggles covering her face.

This strange creature appeared as a blob of darkness with eight limbs. Its head turned to face Araña.

“¡Ay, qüey!” she yelled. “Now that is a face only a mother could love.”

“Finally!” yelled the creature. “I’ve been waiting for you to turn up Spider Hunter.”

“Have you now?” Anya scratched her head. “And you would be? I know you’re not affiliated with the Wasps. You have eight-limbs, so you’re a spider?”

“I represent the Cult of the Tarantula,” there was no evidence for Anya to figure out that this was her old high school nemesis Trent.

“Never heard of ’em.”

Trent sent an arm and wrapped his fingers around her neck, “If you thought the Wasps were bad wait until you see us.”

Using one of his new arms he threw Araña into the air sending her crashing into the school wall behind him. She shook off the pain and got up pulling another of her grappling hooks or ‘bolas’ out. She threw the spider-hook, it wrapped around the midsection of the black mass that was Trent. She dug her feet into the ground and pulled the wire. He didn’t move an inch.

While she struggled the twins watched on. Lucas was no longer armored but he was now in a black and orange costume, on the front of his costume was a symbol of a wasp. His sister was now dressed in robes of the same color with a similar symbol on her chest. She slapped him on his back and when she pulled her hand back a stream of orange energy was stuck to her palm connected to his back.

“Lucas I’m connected with you,” she said. “Get in there. We can’t let this freak hurt anyone.”

“Hey, we don’t want anyone to know it’s us in these costumes. So code names all right?”

“Sure… Avispa…”

Avispa as he was now called charged forward, the stream of energy connected between the two siblings stretched as he got further away. You could tell that Jessica was worried even though she was wearing a pair of orange goggles like her brother. Something like this could awaken the demonic spirit that inhabits her brother’s body.

“Here you go big guy, take this!” Avispa yelled slamming a fist at what he thought was Trent’s jaw.

Trent thrust one of his many arms into Avispa’s gut sending flying back as easily as if he were swatting a fly. He flew past his sister making her lose control over the stream of energy connected between them.

“Our ties were severed,” she watched her brother crash into a street light.

She began to move toward him but stopped when a blue USPS mailbox was thrown at her. She dodged it and hid but was unable to get to her brother. Araña leaped on Trent’s back and put her right arm around his neck.

“You wanna choke someone!” she yelled. “Let’s see how you like it!”

With her free hand she pulled a bottle of pepper spray from the pouches on her belt. She shot into his eyes but got no result.

“Damn it!”

“Little girl you’ll have to do better than that!” he grabbed her arm and threw her over his shoulder. “A puny Spider-Girl like you is no match for the Tarantulas!”

“The name is Araña! Don’t ever call me that again!”

“Raaahhhh!!”

Araña turned at the sound of something howling. She saw a once again armored Lucas with eyes burning a bright orange.

“He’s a Wasp Hunter,” she started to become worried as the situation became more worse by the minute. “Tarantulas and Wasps. Where’s my giant bottle of bug spray when I need it?”

[Anya Narrates]: Note to the reader, I’m very aware that tarantulas and spiders are arachnids. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

“Arachnid filth!” growled the voice of the hunter, speaking through Lucas’s body. “This war between us will end here and now!”

He made one step forward but he became overtaken by pillars of water that shot out of the ground. Jessica cupped her hands together making a hand sign that allowed her to conjure that water. When a person becomes taken over by the demon spirit known as a hunter the only way to tame them is by surrounding them with water. Their armor makes it impossible for them to breathe once they begin to suffocate they usually retract their armor.

“I have him under control for the moment,” Jessica said a bit strained from containing her brother. “So if you have a plan to take down this overgrown arachnid now’s a good time for me to hear it!”

“Plan?” Araña seemed almost disgusted by the idea of conversing with someone associated with the evil group she worked so hard with the Spider Society to defeat. “Not in a million years would I have a plan that involves working with the Sisterhood of the Wasp.”

“I heard about you, you’re the Spider Hunter, Araña. I know what you and your people think of me and my brother but we don’t associate ourselves with the lowlife scum of the Sisterhood. Now this is not the time for us to be arguing over something as petty as our personal backgrounds. We have a problem to deal with and if we don’t deal with it lives will be lost.”

“You’re right.” Araña now felt a bit a shamed.

“Come here so I can connect with you. It may not be as easy as it is working with someone of our own faction but I’ll do my best to get in tune with you.”

Like she did earlier with her brother, Jessica slapped Araña’s back. Pulling her arm back, a blue energy was now connected to her palm. This represented the power of the Spider Hunter that dwelled within Araña.

“Okay, chick let’s see what you can do.”

Jessica got into a kneeling position while Araña ran for Trent. She leapt up sending a flying roundhouse kick to his side. Like all other attacks he felt nothing. He swung an arm at her but she dodged and found an opening that she sent a barrage of punches at.

“Is this all you can do?!” Jessica yelled from a distance. “Come on shoot a web-line at him! Do something! What’s the point of being a spider if you can’t do what they do best?”

Trent slammed a fist into the ground that Araña narrowly missed, “I missed the memo that said I was required to be Spider-Man! Eww, that didn’t sound right.”

“You have these powers but it’s as if they’re being repressed for some reason. Do your people not trust you?” Jessica ground her teeth; she knew the situation wasn’t getting better. She needed to think. “Fall back. I noticed something. He hasn’t moved an inch since we started fighting him. In fact he hasn’t done anything until he’s approached by someone.”

Araña fell back and looked at the black blob of a tarantula. “What are you trying to say? Why won’t he come for me?”

“He’s in a barrier,” Jessica answered. “I’ve seen this before. The barrier is invisible to the naked eye. While we tire ourselves out fighting him it continues to increase his power. And to top it off barriers from Insect Kingdom magic weaken other magical abilities, including your hunter powers.”

“Say what? Insect Kingdom who?”

Jessica appeared surprised, “Seriously? You’re joking. You don’t know anything about the Insect Kingdom and you’re with the Spider Society? You and me will have to have a chat later but for now we need to break this barrier. There should be someone nearby keeping it in place we need to search for it.”

“And how do you expect us to do that?”

“That’s simple. I’m gonna form a search party. With the use of your own group’s powers.”

Pulling a pen from her robe, Jessica wrote mystical symbols on her right fingertips. Once done she slammed her hand on to ground with those symbols pressed against the pavement. A circle of light appeared around her hand and then spread around her entire body.

“Ancient summoning!” she exclaimed. “Spiders come forth!”

Puffs of smoke began appearing out of nowhere. As each one faded a creature that could only be explained as a man-spider appeared. This continued until there were hundreds of them.

“They are so creepy looking,” said Araña.

“Hey, is that anyway to talk to the great Scarlet Spiders?” questioned one of the man-spiders as he clenched his three-fingered fists.

“Pipe down, will ya?” said another. “We were summoned into the human world. That means something is wrong.”

This one turned to see its summoner and was shocked to find a person dressed like a member of the Sisterhood of the Wasp.

“A Wasp summoned us? You must be really skilled if you could do that?”

Jessica was now extremely exhausted, she was breathing heavily and barely could talk, “Tarantula… protected by barrier… must find caster… help your hunter…”

They all looked at Anya, easily recognizing the red spider symbol on her chest. All of the creatures looked at each other. After little thought they dispersed and began searching the area.

“So creepy,” Araña said.

It took several minutes of digging through alleyways, climbing buildings, and searching rooftops. One of these spider creatures came across Nina.

“Hey, guys, it’s that chick with the black hood! She’s casting the spell.”

“Urr, damn it!” Nina growled.

She broke the position she was in. Her body began to become covered in a black armor similar to the way Lucas had become covered. Her fingers were now pointed. She used them to slash at the spider creatures. One of them jumped for her. She jumped up after it and landed a dropkick. She then received a number of fists that she all blocked with her armored forearms. Her right hand then grew massive, to the point that she could almost cover her entire body with it. She swung her hand and swatted the humanoid arachnids with a backhand.

Back on the street, Araña and Jessica still stood before the tarantula drone. The barrier that was around him became visible. It shattered to millions of pieces.

“The barrier’s gone!” exclaimed Jessica. “Time to make your move while the caster is distracted.”

This time Araña’s body became covered by her own blue armor. It appeared in small portions. The plates of the armor shifted to take its shape. Across her chest the red spider increased in size extending to her shoulders and ribs. From below her wrist a stinger popped out buzzing from an electrical charge that surged around it.

“All right I’m ready to put him down,” said Araña. “Keep back.”

Araña charged forward. Trent stretched one of his arms to a great length to slam it in front of her. She swiftly dodged and ran alongside it. When she approached his massive body she slashed his left side with the stinger prompting him to grab the spot in pain. Now behind him she ran along the side of the wall to make a u-turn back to him striking his right side with the stinger getting the same reaction from him. She then slid in front of him. He was wailing in pain holding both his sides.

“Lamest villain ever,” she said pouncing forward.

She sent her stinger through his midsection, knowing it wouldn’t cause him any physical harm other than being electrocuted.

“AHHHH!” yelled Trent.

Jessica sat back and watched the light show. Her brother had been released from the water and was back to his normal self.

“She’s a tough chick,” she said to her brother without looking at him. “You have a nice taste in women.”

Back with Nina, she landed a spinning hook kick on last of the spiders causing him to disappear in a puff of smoke. Finally free of these pests she went to check up on her drone. She became infuriated when she saw him crashing to the ground from Araña’s stinger attack.

“I knew it would be too easy to take her out with a drone,” she grunted. “But that’s fine. I have other ways to get what I want.”

Nina made a hand sign with her right index and middle fingers pointed up and the rest cupped over each other. This move made the tarantula in Trent pop out from his neck. With it gone he reverted back to his normal form.

“Trent!” Araña was surprised.

The tarantula jumped on to her no longer armored arm and bit her. She swatted it away before losing feeling in her arm, and then the rest of her body. She had been poisoned. As the unusually strong venom of the tarantula worked its way through her system Nina attacked with her enlarged armored hands. Avispa noticed this and jumped in front of her to save her but was instead struck with Nina’s right hand piercing through his body.

“No…,” Araña muttered.

“Once again someone gets in my way,” before she continued talking she sensed something within Avispa. “This one is another hunter. A Wasp! I wasn’t sticking to our true plan and I still found him.”

“Lucas!” Jessica yelled for her brother.

“It just became your lucky day, Spider Princess,” Nina pulled her hand from Avispa and took hold of him. “It would be harder to track him so I’ll take his hunter first. But once I’m done I’ll be coming for you. So don’t die from the poisoning.”

Jessica ran for her brother but was too late to reach him. Nina vanished along with him. As tears ran down her face Araña collapsed.

“No, not you too!” Jessica grabbed under Anya’s arms. “We need to get out of here.”

With Anya in arms she cast a spell that allowed them to disappear. With the area now clear paramedics made their way onto the scene. While some helped injured civilians and police, some went over to Trent to check on him.

To Be Continued…