The morning was still dark with the pre-dawn haze as Marcy sat up. She wasn’t overly surprised to see that the spiders were there, not really. She was surprised when the woman strode into the room. She was clad in an odd white garment that Marcy was hesitant to call a dress. Certainly, it bore a remarkable resemblance to one, but at the same time there was something much more ancient about it. With dark brown, nearly black hair, and olive skin, she was a wonder to behold. But the part that made it the oddest was that the door she’d come in through was very much closed.
“Who-“ but the question died on Marcy’s lips as the woman sat on the foot of the bed and the spiders went to her.
“Dear child, dear sweet child, you who have protected so many of my children. I am here to meet you. In answer to the question you did not finish, I am Arachne, the mother of spiders.”
Pulling her knees up to her chest, Marcy watched this woman for a moment and then smiled.
“I’ve heard stories about you. And not just the human ones, either.”
“Good, my little ones followed my instructions. Dear girl, you who have risked so much for my young ones, you have not let me down once. Even in meeting you, you are everything my children have described and more. And for that, I would give you something.”
She stood again then, beckoning for Marcy to come to her. Marcy obeyed, but still she argued.
“Its the right thing to do, I don’t need a reward for doing the right thing. And anyway, they saved me.”
But Arachne was having none of it. She touched a hand to Marcy’s forehead.
“Already you could hear my children and speak with them, but now you will also be able to work thread as we work our silk.”
Marcy blanched and pulled back a little.
The woman laughed cheerfully.
“Don’t worry, my dear girl, you won’t have spinnerets. Merely the ability to work thread by means of magic.”
“Oh! Oh wow. Magic? Magic is…is real?”
“You who talk to spiders question if magic is real?” Arachne laughed again and tousled Marcy’s hair. “Dear Marcy, yes, magic is real, as are the gods of old. But, you will learn.”
I’m late. I’m late. I’m late.
Marcy chanted the words in her mind as she ran, heels click-clacking loudly on the stone floor of the courthouse. She cradled the heavy leather briefcase in her arms and ran into the prosecution counsel’s office.
“Sir, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I had to grab these and…the traffic…and…”
Jared, one of the senior partners, stood near the window and didn’t even turn to look at her. Pausing, she looked him over, noting that his shirt was rumpled…and the same one from the day before. His tie was sitting on the table beside a half-empty glass of what looked rather like bad scotch.
“Its alright, Marcy. We don’t have a case any more.”
She blinked a few times.
“Our key witness…he’s dead. Without him, we’ve got nothing. This guy’s going to walk.”
She blanched and set the briefcase on the table.
“Maybe there’s another angle, Sir? Something we haven’t tried?”
Jared turned and grabbed his glass, not even looking at her as he downed the rest of it.
“Marcy, we already tried everything. Even DNA is circumstantial with this guy…Dammit, I know it was him. And now the bastard’s gonna walk.” With a long sigh, he slid the case over to him. “Well, I’m going to work out the best defense I can manage…but…you might as well not suffer too. Take the rest of the day off, go relax or something.”
“I mean it, go on. I’ll make sure you get paid for the day. Go have fun.”
She was reluctant to leave him alone like this, but well…he was the boss.
Once she was out of his sight, she leaned against a wall and wondered what she could do. Then she had an idea. A crazy, stupid, possibly suicidal idea.
I’m either gonna get in so much trouble, or this is going to be awesome. Now I just need to find the Little Ones.
With a glance into her bag to make sure everyone was still alright, Marcy got off the subway. It wasn’t until she got to the neighborhood where the perp lived that she realized she probably shouldn’t let herself be recognized. Ducking into an alley, she sat and called on her new powers. Slowly, she reshaped fabric of her clothing into an entirely new outfit. But…she needed a bit more to make a mask. With a sigh, she took the whole thing in, tightening the weave until it hugged her figure. Then she pulled on her new mask and held her hand out to her Little Ones.
She’d promised them a meal, and a good one. They climbed all over her, taking up a perch wherever they could as she climbed up the side of the building. Again, the blessing of Arachne benefitted her. Her fingers clung to the tiny cracks between bricks as she climbed, pulling herself up with an ease she never could have imagined. She swung herself up onto the roof and stretched, bouncing idly.
“That was fun. Everyone still alright?”
“We are fine, Protector.”
“Great! Then, off we go.”
She was glad she’d swapped over for her old Skechers, even if it meant her shoes were hot pink. They were a lot more comfortable as she ran over rooftops. Part of her was surprised how easy it was to fall back into the old pace, but then, she had been a runner for most of her life. Periodically, she glanced down into the streets to make sure she was going the right way, making her way to the house. Finally there, she grinned wickedly and climbed down. Happily for her purposes, a window was open. She climbed inside and started to look around for the man. She found him quickly enough, sitting at a table laughing and playing cards with his buddies.
“Hello, Mister Richardson.”
“What the fuck?! How the hell did you get into my house, you costumed freak?”
“You killed your daughter, Mister Richardson. And then you killed her boyfriend so he could testify against you.”
The other men were starting to stand now, moving towards Marcy, but she held her ground. Then she grinned wickedly.
“I’m here to make sure you never hurt anyone again.”
The spiders all moved at once. And not just the ones Marcy had brought with her. All of the ones in his home too. She flicked her hand and his clothing started to stitch itself together. The others were screaming, but she did nothing to stop them from leaving. Stepping out of their way, she moved closer to him.
“You’re a psychotic bitch!”
“Now, now. You really should get caught up with the times, we don’t call people that anymore.”
And the spiders began their real work. Marcy didn’t watch. She just thanked them and made her way back out. Pausing for a moment on the roof, she wondered what people would say when they only found his bones the next morning. Then she just sat down to wait for her spiders to return so they could all go home together.