The Spider-Fold: 'in case this be my destiny'
By Tilly “Captain Marfold” Waterson
After I finished my microwave noodles, I went out for a walk around campus. College life has been nice, and I’ve made plenty of friends. Haven’t met anyone- not yet. I don’t really think I’m ready for a relationship. But I’ve flirted around, and all that’s brought me was more friends than I could imagine.
No one’s ever really on campus at night. Everyone who is is either looking for trouble or, like me, trying to avoid it. Unfortunately, trouble seems to follow Tilly Waterson the way a pit bull follows a toddler.
I turned around. “You got a problem, man? I have a knife, y’know.”
The girl tore the hood off her face, “Ew, no, no. Nothing like that. I- I’m from Claremont Academy.”
“Then you shouldn’t be on a college campus, you’re trespassing.”
“I have something I think you’d want to see,” she said.
“Does it start with an ‘or’ and end in ‘igami’?”
“Then I can assure you I don’t.”
I continued about my walk, but she persisted, “Tilly! Miss Tilly, please!”
“Fine, what? What do you want?”
She handed me a case file, labeled ‘The Spider-Fold,’ though several names were written and slashed through: Fold Five, Kraven’s Last Hunt, the Owl Saga. Etcetera.
I opened the file. In one pocket there was a spiral ring notebook, college ruled. On the other side, several puppets. Spider-Man, Black Cat, and Daredevil to name a few.
She certainly caught my attention.
So, wow. This is my first actual, written chapter for a case file in four years. Getting goosebumps, sorry. Okay. Keep it together, Tilly. Breathe. Okay. Got it.
To understand the collected file before you, you must first understand the long, storied history of Madison County and it’s neighbor, Athens, New York. Madison County was first- in the 1940s the students there donned puppets of the Marvel Comics characters of the time. Though a school called Kirby Academy was the first to do it- that’s not exactly important for this story, is it? What’s important to take away from this is the neighboring school, Wheeler Academy. After Kirby was shut down, Wheeler became the hub of the origami biz. It was the home of heroes… after the rest of the world picked up on the origami business it became a pretty well sought after school, especially from students nearby--
Which is where the gods get involved.
In 1990, a teacher from local Middle School, Goodman Academy, married the wealthy co-founder of EduFun LLC, stylized as EduFun Edutainment. Tired of the ongoing prank and class war (long, long story we need not get into) The couple founded their own school, Caesar Middle School.
Caesar was a private, up-tight academy with a campus-esque feel, and was home to students with origami Greek gods. Eventually, it split off into a couple other schools, The Carter Institute, Athens Middle School.
That’s when Sebastian Merrick got involved. Sebastian Merrick took down the uptight upper class of Caesar Middle School with his girlfriend, MJ. It made national news, and was what got the origami business on the map.
After Sebastian’s story came out, people from all over the states came out with their own stories. Around this time, books published in 2012 (The McQuarrie Case Files) came under public eye for following this same pattern.
One thing was clear, however, origami had gotten BIG, and it was thanks (At least in part) to Sebastian Merrick.
You’d think he’s some hero, you’d think he’d be one of the most famous kids in the world, but he isn’t- and that’s for two reasons. One: That was two years ago. And Two? He is utterly repulsive to be around. In between reading chapters this boy wrote, I’d look up interviews he did with local media. And my god. He is the worst. Every headline I’ve seen feels AI generated. His Twitter says “Going on a vacation to Florida!” And for the next three days the news is filled with headlines like “Sebastian Merrick wanted for assaulting a family.”
“Sebastian Merrick has started his second religion.”
I’m entranced. I’m a bit of a Sebhead, if you would.
I’ve also checked up on Wheeler. The origami trend is… dying, there. Around the world, origami’s not been what it was. It’s just not the same anymore. But Wheeler Academy has a few heroes, and most famous among them… The Spider-Fold.
The Spider-Fold is the last tether between Wheeler’s past and it’s future. He’s the one who cares for the little guy when no one else does. He’s the one and only Spider-Fold of Wheeler Academy.
…It’s just a shame that he’s Sebastian Merrick.
PART ONE: KRAVPEN’S FIRST HUNT
By Sebastian “Spider-Fold” Merrick
“I- I lost my train of thought,” he laughs.
Keep calm, “Oh, man, I feel you. That is me all day every day.”
The other host smiles, “I- I guess what he was trying to ask of you was, like, could you tell us more about the story of the mouse? You’ve mentioned, y’know, having a mice problem before. Number of times, and a lot of people wanna know, is there some deeper meaning to all of that?”
I adjusted my seat in the chair, and I sighed, “Well, uh, I guess? There’s not much beyond the story I’ve always told, y’know? A couple years ago, I found a mouse in the kitchen of the house I was staying at. And- and I tried to befriend it, y’know? It was carrying a hunk of parmesan into a little hole, poor thing could barely get it to fit. And I broke it up into little pieces for him, and he ran away at the sight of me, hoping that he- that he’d get the smaller fragments through the whole. Um, I- I- I- I- I have an affinity for rodents and pests, y’know? Bugs, Rats-”
I laughed at his joke, “No, no, uh- no spiders. Ironically I’m a little- a little scared of those buggers. But most animals that people kind of just, uh, kill. Without a second thought, they’re- they’re my babies. I love animals, man. I keep a couple rats on my own. So seeing this little animal it was like… a stray dog. Or a cat. To me, it was like… a baby. A little baby I needed to take care of, y’know?”
I bit my tongue, “And then I-” I sighed, “And then I found out about Lyme Disease being associated with this type of mouse. Um, and the person I was staying with was like: Here are some poison traps. Kill the thing. And so I… did. I killed her.”
I laughed to mask the pain, “And then I spent like… two days crying about it. But when all was said and done, I- I went to my rats’s cages and I- I fed them. And it just never really felt quite fair to me, and that’s why I always wanna tell this story.”
Dear Readers and Writers! I’m the Main Character! Ignore the Others…
By Sebastian “Spider-Fold” Merrick
When the 5 o'clock bell rang and I exited detention, I had two things on my mind: Hayden Macintosh’s band concert, and a light. The student all the other delinquents went to for their lights, Winnchester, was sick so most of us were out of options. Without The good ol’ Origami Iron Fist, most of us were out of options, especially me.
I'm what they call a hero. I don't like being called that, it feels demeaning, but once you’re a hero you can’t smoke. I wish I never nabbed that Chameleon kid, wish I never got him sent to a boarding school, and I for sure wish I never took down the Chase Kemp Foundation.
I guess I'm writing to you because you were on Alan's contacts and he said you’d understand- that you’d know a thing or two about Madison County, I guess. Alan’s a great guy. He’s kept me in charge of the origami biz in New York. We don’t talk much, which I honestly prefer, but he has me paid me fairly and trained as a manager while I keep him in the know.
Once I accept that I can't get a light and should probably put my cig away before I get caught, MJ pulls up in her Step Dad's red convertible, smoke blowing out the back. She has an oversized, though not quite uncharacteristic smile. She looks drunk, but I know she’s been off the juice. MJ Astley is the type of person to get drunk off just plain living.
Over the summer, I convinced her to start working out with me and so she put on some muscle. And she did, only trouble now being she’s a lot more scary looking than me, which, not gonna lie, I found super hot. I’m into anyone who can beat me in physical contact, and she’s certainly the type who’d love to any day of the week. She's kept the tips of her hair that same gold color, but her roots have started growing out, leaving her looking like a mexican Kurt Cobain.
Her voice is naturally pretty deep because she hasn’t started voice lessons yet, but she’s still trying, "Hey, pretty boy! You need a lift?" She asks.
As I make my way down the sidewalk to meet my future bride, I notice her swollen left eye. I roll my own, "Babe, your eye, what’s goin’ on?”
Se looked confused, and touched her face all up and down. She cursed, feeling the bruise. “Got into a fight today."
Jumping over the passenger door, I grinned, "Sweet! With who?"
"Uh, this uptight loser, Stewie Baxter.”
"He got a puppet?"
MJ held back a laugh, "No, no… he's just… the worst? Yeah, he’s a piece of crap. ”
I cackled. MJ sped off, my girlfriend swerving out of the way of on coming traffic. If MJ was anyone else, I would've been terrified, but me personally? I trusted my girlfriend with my life.
"Where to?” She asked.
“Hayden has a concert.”
He slammed his foot on the breaks, "THE HELL, SEB! THAT'S ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN!"
MJ rolled her eyes before backing into a driveway and turning around, hitting a mailbox on her way back on the road.
Still speeding, she took his eyes off the road to meet mine, "What time is it?" She asked.
"Like, thirty minutes." She checked her watch.
"Okay, okay, we're gonna make it."
Naturally, we were four minutes late. The guy at the front stopped us, said some crap about maintaining the illusion. MJ was ready to pick a fight with the guy, brass knuckles and all, but once I spat in the poor, distracted, intern's water bottle I knew that was penance enough. Me and MJ waited outside in the parking lot until the sound of trumpets stopped. Hayden exited the
building, talking to his girlfriend, Keana, and MJ's ex, Ximena. Ximena looked MJ up and down
for a second, but the judgemental look on her face quickly faded.
"You're late," Ximena said.
"Okay, alright, listen-" I began.
"Yeah, we know." MJ said, "My fault."
Ximena looked Hayden up and down, "He walked five miles, got mugged, called me, after being mugged, and asked me for a ride, the car broke down. And then it rained.” Ximena’s eye twitched.
I shrugged, before resting my forearm on the door. "So you’re saying… y’all got some walkin in?” I flicked Ximena’s knees, “Yeah, that’s good. Y’all need some work outs, for real.”
"It's fine," Hayden says.
"Did you at least take video of it, Muffet?" I asked Ximena. Ever since she dumped MJ, I stole the nickname her siblings called her. It's funny because she's afraid of spiders, myself included.
Ximena sighed, before offering me her phone. The Wheeler band got worse every year, but me and MJ huddled together right then and there, her head butting against mine and her ex's phone
up against the gear stick, MJ mumbling to herself about the flutes being too sharp, the
baritone's too flat. I'm not even sure if MJ was a band kid of anything, she might've just been a
I zoomed in with my grimy fingers as the band reached the clarinet solo, Hayden's part.
They were bad, like, Hayden specifically was bad badd. The band was trash.
"It's so-" MJ began, I grabbed the switchblade she kept in her water bottle holder, "This is really good!" MJ corrected.
"Yeah!" I agreed, "The clarinets did a really good job!"
"I'm... I'm a trumpet." Hayden said.
Me and MJ directed our bobbleheads back to the screen. Ximena pointed out Hayden among the band, a completely different child entirely.
"Then- then who was-" MJ began.
"I-" I sighed, "Baby, I think that's a woman."
Shedding My Skin: A Scathing Critique On Paganism
By Sebastian “Spider-Fold” Merrick
It's 4 in the morning. I know, almost better than anybody, that MJ is up too. But I don't text her. It goes like this for hours. My sleep schedule is all out of wack, I swear to god.
Instead, I stare at the tiled ceiling of Debbie Don's Dance Dojo. See, Mrs. Amy was kind enough to let me stay here. Amy kind of became a Mother, or an aunt figure for me. Though I
occasionally just slept at home, that was really only whenever I didn’t want to make the long walk. See, the problem with being at home is that my Dad is my Dad.
I fall back asleep.
I wake up, and the clock reads 2 A.M. I don't get it, time is- it's weird for me, man. I think about Ximena, all of the stuff that happened with her. I have a lot of respect for her but I’d never let her know that. I fall back asleep, and suddenly it's midnight, I don't question it. Am I time traveling? I bet I'm time traveling. I wish I could time travel. What would I change?
Save him. I could save him.
And then I wake up, it's 4 A.M again and I feel like my heart is beating out of my chest. My student, my son, Chase- Chase Kemp. He was my son and then he fell. He fell on his face.
AND BACK AWAKE NOW, I couldn't recognize his face. I can't recognize any of the faces, oh
It's 6 A.M.
It's 6 A.M.
Hold on, get breakfast. Get out of bed. Get out of bed. You can't time travel. If you did
he'd still be alive. I stop the music that I fell asleep to, a happy tune that I'm
not sure I recognize, and I groan as I fall to my feet.
"Another day in paradise," I mumble to myself. Breakfast. I need breakfast.
After taking my meds, and before brushing my teeth, I smile at myself in the mirror, holding back a self deprecating laugh, I wink at myself, "Hello again, beautiful." I say.
Instead of breakfast, I settled for coffee. I play this fun game with myself, where I put less sugar in it each time. Boil the frog, by the end of this I’ll be rock hard, like a detective.
As my coffee's being made, and Amy still sleeps in, I overhear arguing between the next door neighbors, these two gas station owners.
"Hey, uh, fellas... Can you guys keep it on the downlow? It's six."
"Fuck you!!" One guy screams.
"Yeah, ay, this ain't fun of ya business, I tell ya, fuck you!"
"Hey, fuck you guys," I mumble as I shut the window.
It is good to be alive.
Upon arriving at school, everything changes, my eyes widen and the catchy tune from this morning enters my mind once again. The students here at Wheeler? Man, they love me. There's
a reason for it, too. Every day, in between classes, I do what they refuse to. What they're too
scared to. Back in the day, it was a different story, there was an entire war going on, but since
then that died down. People around here are too afraid to be openly hateful. I intend to change
First and second period go about as normal as you'd expect, but once that bell rings, it's open season. Anything goes.
The second I step out into the hallway Dane Jackson, the class president, pulls me by the scruff of my neck, dragging me into the teacher's lounge. I've had a lot of mentors, y'know. A lot of them bad, but recently a lot of them good. I've had Alan, Lance, Dane, and you, dear friend. But Dane's kind of my boss. That’s the best way to put it.
When I first came to Wheeler, I found my puppet in a locker, and a case file next to it. The
student body president, Dane Jackson was running a lost and found, and so I brought it in. He
told me to keep the puppet, and we hit it off from there. He's really easy to talk to, and he has
this aura around him, like a siren calling you forward, a quality that I found endearing.
He eyed me up and down before grabbing my shoulders, "My brother in Christ, at least try to
look presentable." He grabbed a comb from his pocket and combed my hair, spitting in his palm
and adjusting my trench coat.
"Sorry, sorry," he scoffed, "It just- it bothers me, man. Sorry. Yeah. Anyways-"
"You got a mission for me?"
He snapped his fingers, "You know it, baby girl."
I smiled, "Whaddya got? The Chameleon back with his bad disguises, we can catch him!" I punched the air, "How about OrigMorbius, huh, drinking his paper blood?"
"Doctor OrigOctopus and his STEM project gone wrong?" I asked, kicking at nothing in particular.
He shook his head.
"Man, I dunno. Frog Man stealing all the frogs?"
He pulled me further into the teacher's lounge, and the first thing I noticed was the crucified reptiles.
Sprawled across the conference table, methodically laid out, were the insides of several lizards, only separated by the silhouette of a human. The curtains were wrapped off the poles in which they were hung, the bleak white of the New York sunlight a bitter contrast to the organs spread out across the table, the silhouette a snow angel among the slime and blood. Sprayed across
one of the walls in bleeding red a message: Kraven is hunting. Beneath the ink, the skin of the creatures, lined up against the wall on crosses.
I put my hand to my mouth. Oh my god.
"Holy s$*%." I said.
He pointed at the angel, "I found Johnny Smithman here, he's the treasurer, remember? He was cold, on the cusp of death. Smithman's a close friend, now... I mean, you should've seen him.
We checked the camera footage, man. He went out for a late night swim, after class."
While I was in detention... While I was in the building.
I could have done something.
Through a quivering breath, I asked him, "Then what? What happened then?"
"He did some paperwork in here, and whoever our Kraven guy is he came in. He had a fur coat on, other than that nothing. Ski mask type guy. Did all this, around... eight? Nine? I didn't check the time, all I know is sun was down by then." I nodded.
"So, you need me to catch the perp? Send me the footage," I said, "He'll be down in no time."
Dane shook his head, "Man... I- I don't know. I came in here to keep you in the know, tell you to stay safe. Johnny, I mean, he had his critics but... he was a good guy. Always on my side. Look, man, I just wanted to let you know that if he's going after people close to me, then you're in for trouble."
I nodded, "I'm gonna find him."
Dane looked offended, "Dude, we're gonna handle it. We have the Novagami Core, Agents of Atlas, the Infinity Watch. All that.”
I remained determined, I wasn't going to let him tell me what to do, not when I could've done something. Me and Dane disagreed about the one topic: Organizations. Dane supported them, and I… I don’t. What he doesn't tell you is that the Nova Core, the Infinity Watch– they all answer to him. There's barely anyone who carries a puppet on their own.
"There's only one Spider-Fold." I insisted, trying my best to remain composed. Despite my
determination, I was tired. Not sleeping does that to you.
"Fine, fine," Dane sighed, "I know you well enough to know you don't care about me or what I have to say."
"Just... take care of yourself, okay?"
"You know I won't," I said, snooping around the room.
"You won't find anything," he said, too tired to try and stop me from looking about, "We searched this place down, I'm talking top to bottom, didn't find much at all."
After a few seconds of searching, I gave up. Pressing my back against a cabinet, I fell to my
butt. I tilted my head to face Dane, catching him playing with the lizard's mouths.
"Fine, I'll bite. What did you find?"
He put his hand inside his coat before producing a small plastic baggy, the kind you hold evidence in, from his inner pocket.
He handed it to me, "We found this on Smithman's person, next to a fake driver's license."
In the bag, stained with dry blood and the smell of scales, was an origami version of the Lizard, rancid and with eyes like an animal.
Strung Together by the Tapeworms in the Webbing
By Sebastian “Spider-Fold” Merrick
The thing I forgot to mention about Johnny Smithman is that he's green. Some people say it's because of an experiment that went wrong, other people think it's just a birth defect. I don't
really care all too much. Apparently, when he was a freshman, he was the Lizard. He got
expelled from his old school, Kirby, and he turned over a new leaf. I didn't know him very well,
but he was a consultant on a number of my cases, he did everything he could to get people to
like him. But everyone was afraid of the boy who was green. I had to save him from bullies a
bunch of times, if there was one thing that bothered me more than anything it was seeing kids
who ain't do nothin' getting their a$&es kicked.
The brutality of it all... it shook me. Down to my core. I figured the kid would move.
The first thing I did was try to find MJ, if someone was out there scarring kids for life, I didn't want to see my girl get hurt. I caught MJ in lunch, comforting Johnny's girlfriend of three years, Susan Smythe.
I didn't care much for Smythe, she was one of my many, many haters. People found my
methods a bit strange, a bit unusual, and I can't say I disagree, but isn't there a quote from Stan
Lee? That that's what Spider-Man is all about, that he's a creep? A weirdo, even? What the hell
is he doing here?
But she didn't mind MJ, though. See the real difference between me and MJ is that MJ has
social skills. She's what the kids call a good person. I just do what I have to do, you
know? I can help people, so I should. And I do. Once me and MJ sit down, we try to piece
together... everything. For once in our five years of tomfoolery, we’re at a loss.
When she's afraid, MJ has this tic. Her lips start twitching and her eyes bug out of her head every time she closes her mouth. Neither of us were too scared, at least not yet. We just needed to figure out what to do, and we needed to do it After filling MJ in on what I knew, MJ raised an eyebrow. "Johnny was swimming?" The bulbs in our heads reflected off of each other: MJ was on the swim team.
"Dude, me and Ben were practicing. We were both in the building, dude."
My jaw dropped, "No damn way, man."
"So, like, you should've seen him."
"I did! I mean, I think? It was, like, pretty dark."
"Like- like how dark?"
"Not that dark, like, a decent level of darkness," he stumbled over his words, F#$%, What the f$&$, bleugh, anyways, he was there before me and Ben showed up. He was writing in a diary, looking like he was trying to find an empty room because the moment I showed up he was out just as fast."
"So, you're implying that he knew something?"
"You don't walk like that and not know something, man."
I grinned, "So... we gotta find the diary, figure out what's in it, and work from there?"
MJ leaned his arm on the table to show off his muscles, "Sounds like a plan, baby girl."
I grinned, repeating his words, "Sounds like a plan."
"How are we gonna get the diary?" MJ asked.
I yawned, before grinning and taking a heaping pile of mashed taters, "Well... think it's time we pay Johnny Smithman a visit."
"He's WHAT!?" MJ asked, spitting out his coffee on Johnny Smithman's poor Mother.
"Hey! Go to hell, lady!" I yelled.
She was taken aback.
"S, we- we should go." MJ said. I sighed.
MJ took me to his place. His parents knew about us, but we still snuck in. For the thrills. MJ took out the big pin board we kept under his bed, and the moment the board was unveiled a string of memories came back to me. My first year as Spider-Fold.... Him. It was the first time I had seen his face in a year. MJ noticed the look on my face, and turned the board way from me, wrapping off the confiscated puppet, the threatening notes sent from both parties, and the reports of his death. With the swoop of MJ's hand, it all went into the trash can.
"Okay," I sighed, "Clean slate. What we doin, babe?”
She grimaced, "Okay, let's think this through. What do we-"
"What do we know? Smithman knew something, obviously, something worth writing down. His parents don't have it, so we can assume that it went missing."
"Yup, yup, yup. So. Timeline of events."
"Johnny was by the empty pool just before the bell rang-" MJ scribbled that down on a sticky note."
"Contradicting Dane's story," I continued, "He returned very quickly to the student council room, and rummaged through the drawers-" I paused for MJ to continue scribbling.
"It was there that Kraven attacked him," MJ added, "He incapacitated him. He prolly stole the lizards from Ms. Conner's lab, after all, she was doing a dissection the next day."
I nodded, "Would explain the lack of blood."
"Smithman's body was found by Dane next morning, Dane called 911."
"Okay, okay," I sighed, "I figured out what we should do."
MJ raised an eyebrow, "Ah, yeah?"
I nodded, "Time we pay Dane Jackson's office a visit."
"But- I thought he said doesn't want us investigating all this? Too dangerous, or whatever
bulls$& he's on."
I nodded, "I mean, guy's got my best interest in mind."
MJ wasn't convinced.
"C'mon, you know what all he's done for me." She sighed.
"Yeah, you're right. Just, still, don't you wanna keep this a secret?"
I grabbed her by the back of her head, pulling her in closer, "MJ, my dear," she blushed, "Who said he has to know, huh?”
Here We Are, In The Tomb of Stones (Part One!)
By Sebastian “Spider-Fold” Merrick
We paid Dane Jackson's office a visit. His room was a cluster of notepads and computers were everywhere. I couldn't see a single wall, much less the floor. As me and MJ sifted through the room, we decided upon some small talk.
MJ tapped my shoulder whilst lifting up DJ's filing cabinet, "Hey, uh, babe, I got a question."
"Would you, like, still be my boyfriend if everytime I laughed I went 'wubba wubba wubba?'"
"I mean, yeah, probably. You got a dumpie."
She nodded, putting the filing cabinet back down.
"Hey, hey, MJ," I said.
"Would you still, like, date me if everytime we hung out I went," I pretended to have a hat, and offered it to MJ repeatedly, "Hello. How's it going today? I am Sebby boy.”
Stifling back a laugh, she grinned. "No." She burst out laughing.
"Hey Sebastian, before you, like, go through his computer, I got a question. Would you still tongue kissme if every time I shook your hand I went 'Hello laddie, hello laddie, please, please. Come into my home."
I cackled, before returning to my serious demeanor, "No, no, I- I don't like that, no."
MJ popped a bubble in her mouth, "Noted."
I made a face, "Dude, bro, would you still give me hickies if I looked like this," I made a
face at her.
MJ started cackling, "Dude, no, what the hell&. You look like the baby from Eraserhead."
"...Eraserhead. It's on HBO Max."
"You've- You've never heard of... HBO Max?"
"I mean I know HBO, that's the show that had the new Watchmen show."
"Watchmen, like the comic. It had a sequel series, it was pretty good."
MJ looked a bit confused, "I don’t know what Watchmen is.”
After a bit more searching, MJ sighed, "Still not over this. You're, like, an emo kid. And you still haven't seen Eraserhead?"
"Am I supposed to?"
"Oh, oh, I'll watch it. Where can I watch it?"
The door creaked, and I jumped up a foot or two, hitting the ceiling.
"Sebastian!" Dane Jackson cheered, gripping my hand a little too tightly, "How does it? How does it?" He waved at MJ. "Howdy do!"
MJ scoffed, "We're doing fine, we just wanted to talk to you, man."
"About what? Because I can assure you, if this is about that Kraven case, my team is h-"
"It's about the Chess club." I interjected, jumping over the back of a seat and flopping into it. MJ carefully sat down in the seat opposite to me.
"What about the club?"
"Uhh, uh," MJ shot me a death glare, "They ran out of," I lowered my tone, "Weed."
Dane spit out his coffee, "NOT THE WEED!" He rushed out the room, cursing.
I stopped Dane, "BEFORE YOU GO, Uh, would you happen to have Johnny's diary? His brother asked me to get it."
"He-He didn't have a brother, at least when I checked. And I had dinner with the Smithman's just last night."
I laughed, "Oh, yeah, he's... homeless. Stole all the chess kid's weed and everything."
MJ built on my lie, "Yeah, man, Seb here has a great relationship with homeless people."
"I shared a brisket with a homeless person once," that part wasn't a lie.
Dane looked ashamed, "Oh, I'm sorry. Must be hard."
"Y'know… poor people…?”
"Yeah," he scratched his neck and sucked in his lip, "Wish I could help you, brother. But, uhh, I left it with my homeboy. Fizzarolli Cannoli."
"That’s a $#%in stupid name" MJ interjected.
MJ leaned in closer, blinking, “I cannot believe that, like it says that, on his birth certificate, and everything."
"MJ, shush." I interrupted her.
I recognized that name. He was a student council member... and he was the worst. He was one of Flynn's friends... one I was avoiding for that very reason. I didn't want to see him. Especially not to ask him for a favor. Everyone else- I defeated them. That's how I became a hero.
But he got away. This son of a %$*#( got away.
I looked at MJ, shooting darts through him. Not the scary darts, no, like the darts of cupid. The darts of someone not willing to hurt their lover– or maybe just too afraid to.
"MJ, go to class. I'll handle it."
"Please." I said.
To find the TombFold's lair, here's what you're gonna do. You're gonna wanna go up Conway Street, you know, the one with all the dogs. Once you start seeing the pitbulls, you know you've come far enough. From there it's two wrong rights and a left, you'll know you're in the right spot once people start telling you to leave. Head to the trailer home, the rundown one with all the gravestones up front. Dead family members, dead dogs, cats, 80 years of family history in this kid's backyard. Don't knock at the door, don't give him time to prep. Just walk right in, the door's unlocked.
Fizzarolli 's sitting in a recliner, looking up at me. He's all decked out in a suit. Upon seeing me he takes out his fake vampire teeth and places them in a cup of water like an old man to his
dentures. His hand was at a metal baseball, but upon seeing who busted in he loosened his
grip. He wasn't afraid.
He will be.
"Y'know," I scoffed, "I should've known this would all lead back to you. Your little Kraven guy, he- he's not so talkative. Not yet. But with you," I balled my fist, "I think I'll have a way with words."
He smiled, his teeth the same color as his skin, "Please, Mr. Spider-Fold. You're here on
business. Have a seat."
I didn't take it.
"Alright, standing then." He rose. He was a foot taller than me.
I punched him, but it was like punching a brick wall. I forgot how much taller than me he was. "You beat my a$& a year ago." I said, "I'm not gonna let you do it again."
He snickered, "Man, get outta here with that bulls$*%. You came to ask me a favor, didn't you? You want lil Lizard boy's diary, don't you?"
I nodded, balling my now sore fist. He was inches away from me now, so he grabbed my hand, gripping it so tightly they were sore.
"Don't you?" He repeated.
I kneed him in the crotch, and as he stumbled back I kicked him in the face and back into his own seat.
"That's more like it," he said, taking a sip out of his fanged cup.
I put my foot to his chest, "You f$&$ing have it, I know you do."
"You think you can threaten me? What? Go back to... ion know? Helping old ladies cross the street. Least then you was doin somethin."
I grimaced, gripping his bat. I grabbed him by the collar of his suit, raising him up. And with his own bat, I knocked his teeth out.
I hit him again.
"Oh c'mon! You can hit me all you want-"
I hit him again.
"Doesn't change the fact-"
"142 WEST WILLIGEN STREET, ATHENS, NEW YORK!"
I dropped the bat. That's when he smiled, the only color on him being his own blood.
"Ah yeah," he brushed the side of my face, "That's a good boy. That's a good boy... y'know, I- I almost made the mistake of threatening you." He grinned wider, "But she's all you have right…? Right?”
I didn't answer his question. I didn't know to answer his question. I didn't want to know the
answer to his question. "Well, maybe that or the boy, but you and I both know that you're too much of a f$*$up to handle a kid…” He grew sympathetic, “Are those tears?"
Yes. "No." I said.
He slapped his thigh, "My god! I made the Spectacular Spider-Fold cry! What do you know!"I wanted to leave, so I did. But as I reached for his door and jiggled the knob, I realized it was locked.
"Oh, Mr. Spider-Fold.... Sweet baby... When did I say I wouldn't help you? C'mon, let's go out back. I promise, I cleaned up all of MJ's blood." He winked at me. His backyard was a dreary, desolate place. Most of the grass was dead, leaving patches of dry dirt all over the place. A plastic swing set cried for help, but other than that the only noise was the silent hum of the men in the suits.
The suited men couldn't have been much older than me and Dane, but their faces wouldn't have given it away. All their faces were disguised, some with bandages, but most centered their whole aesthetic around Spider-Man villains.
...Villains I've fought. This was the auction. I was back at the auction. I thought about the last time I was here, a year ago. All the fighting that went down here, and looking at everything, everything go back to normal. It was frustrating. A year I've done this and nothing.... nothing changed. Nothing ever changes. I kept wanting to go back to before all of this but... this is how it's always been.
Nothing ever changes.
I wanted to punch them, I was angry. I wanted to punch them, I wanted to punch every last one of them.All I had was the fearful looks they shot me, The Spider-Fold, as Tombstone smugly led me through the crowd, a crowd of bozos buying off fake katanas and puppets from Stan Lee's
Ex-Girlfriend. One man eyes me, he has a large vulture head on, a hole carved in his neck allows me to see his hooked nose. He looks so young, but so old. So ugly, yet so beautiful. I wanted to punch his greedy eyes in.
He smiles, before Tombstone introduces me to a guy with a Jack-O-Lantern on his head.
"This is Jack-O-Lantern, he's buying the diary from me.”
“But you said-”
“Sorry, brother. But you just got Tombstoned."
“HEY EVERYONE,” Fizz shouted, “SPIDER-FOLD! THIS IS SPIDER-FOLD! Right here. That’s him.”
Vultures Thrash In Smashed In Pumpkin Bombs
By Sebastian “Spider-Fold” Merrick
"F$&#( this nonsense." I said.
"F$*# this dumb, idiot, bulls$&$ nonsense." MJ said.
"I wanna kiss you." I said.
"Okay." She said.
They said they found him behind the stage, where the theater kids do whatever theater kids do.
Naturally, me and MJ went to check the place out and... it was just as bad as the last. The
outline of the Jack-O-Lantern was sprayed across the wall, cut ropes dangling above it like he
had been restrained. When me and MJ came in, she almost gagged. The smell of the dead
pumpkins was that bad. There were mountains of the stuff scattered across the place. The
mold, the rot, it's what grossed me the most.
"I'm scared," I caught myself whispering.
MJ blinked, "What'd you say?" He asked.
I shook my head, "Nothing, don't worry about it."
"Are you sure we can even go to Dane for s$*# like this? He- he's already onto us.”
I chewed my nail, "Yeah, no. We're on our own. We- We can't let anyone else get mixed up in this mess!. Hell, if I had a choice I wouldn't have dragged you into this mess, anyways."
She nodded, "It's okay. I'm here for you."
That made me sad.
The warning bell screeched.
"MJ, you- you get to class, babe." With no one looking, I put my hand to her chest and leaned in to give him her kiss. For a moment, she melted in my arms.
As she walked away, I shoved her.
"See you at lunch?" She asked.
I smiled, "Only if you look for me."
After I made sure he was gone, I sat down with my back pressed against the wall.
...I thought things had gone back to normal. I've been doing this for five years now, since Middle School. First, it was with those damn OriGods. And that was awful. He manipulated me, he tortured me, and even when I thought I could break the chain, when I cut him off, he made
everything fall apart. School's closed, and a kid. A kid I cared about.
My best friend.
He's gone now.
In the dimly lit backstage, I felt like I was back in the basements, back in the old alleyways, I felt like I was hiding again. When I came to Wheeler, I prayed. I prayed to all the gods that could be out there that things would be different. That I wouldn't have to deal with any of it, never again. And all that brought me was more deaths– more pain. He didn't stop. Even when he sent him off to Ostrander he- he didn't stop. He keeps on coming back. I guess that was when I decided to take in Hayden. Hayden was his brother- Hayden was good. Hayden was what I used to be. And I wasn't going to ruin him, but whatever is going on... I can feel it. This sinking feeling in my chest that all of this, everything, ties back to me. And that it's about to be over. For good, this time. The only problem being… I don’t know what it’s going to take out of me. And I don’t know what it’s going to take out of them, either.
Am I going to lose her too?
"I can help you, y'know," a voice said. It was the kid from the auction, the vulture who eyed me harder than he would a carcass.
"Who the f$*# are you?" I asked through my shaky breath.
He smiled, "I'm just a guy. I'm just a little guy. A goober, even." He offered me a handshake, his puppet on his finger. The Vulture. "Boy do I have a proposal for you," he said.
I looked up, "Aw yeah?" I asked.
"Yeah, yeah, see, listen... I was at that auction, right? And, uh, I won it. Paid ol' Tomby and
everything, you catch my drift? AND THEN THIS FUCKER," he gestured at the outline on the
wall, "F$*#ED ALL MY S%*$ UP. Makes me mad as hell, man... now, see, listen. I got the
notebook off of him but, uh, that auction, eh. I lost so much. Not only did I pay for that diary but,"
he slung his backpack off his shoulder, slamming it into the wall, "I got this.
He pulled out a 3 foot long katana, revealing a hole in the back of his backpack. "I bought this, it was 400 bucks. Paid for the notebook, it was 300. All in all I lost 600 dollars, ya feel? Stole the notebook back, got my money's worth. Now, I'm tryna make a little profit off of this. I'll give you the diary for 450."
"What the f$*#?"
"Listen, I know, a bit steep. But how badly do you want this?"
I nodded, "I need it. It's everything, my whole- my whole world, it's-"
"Listen, how much you got on ya kid?"
I got out my wallet and started sifting through it, "A hundred dollars." I said.
He nodded, "Alrighty, listen, I don't want this katana no more, it goes really bad with my interior decor and all, gimme your hundred, throw in a tic tac and a hair band and we'll call it even. Sell off the sword, pay for the book, you dig?"
I rolled my eyes, handing him my hundred, "Fine, alright, fine." He grinned. "Excellente!" He exclaimed.
Little did I know, that was the last time I would see the Vulture, and that I had just made a
NOTE: The Following Is Taken From Sebastian Merrick's Tape Recorder. All Audio has been transcribed.
Ya see, next thing that happened was as soon as I left detention (I stapled the creepy gym's
teacher hand to a MyPlate poster for touching a freshie) I took the sword out to get examined. I
got this boy, Rico, on it. Rico's a college drop-out, works at his Uncle's pawn shop. What the
brother tells me is, and get this, the sword ain't even worth 25 bucks. Apparently it's some 1:2
replica of Black Knight's sword, and that some kid had it here in the early 2000s.
"F$*#." I cursed.
I figured, this wouldn't make it nowhere on Craigslist, so I took it to my Godfather, Ol Sergeant
Ol Serg was this retired veteran, homedawg practically raised me. I call him, he doesn't pick up
the phone, I figure the old coon is probably up playing Golf, it was Wednesday after all,
Wednesday is a golfing day, and so I called him again later, this time he sent me straight to
voicemail. Made me mad as hell.
Without even thinking, I came up to his house, knocked on the door, offered him the sword for a
couple hundred books, and he says no. Doesn't even think about it, just shoots me a cold one. I
look at him, and I get real angry. This cuh didn't even consider the fact that I genuinely mowed
his lawn the other week, the disrespect, it's a big a$* lawn too, like twenty acres, and this old
rich loser doesn't even have a John Deere, it was a push mower, I was sweating, fuck this
bitch if he thinks he can do this.
We y for a couple of minutes, I take a breather, I call up Vulty, realize I don't got his name or
number, and so I go up to my godfather, and I punch him straight in the mouth like "Fuck you!"
Like, "Fuck you Randy!"
I book it, go to my parent's, he already called, I'm in some tough shit, they say he's gonna press
charges, I'm freaking the f$*÷* out, thinking about how I already got a record, so I book it.
I rent a car from this mad chill guy, bro's name is Clark, he's a mexican, we love that, almost
kissed him a couple times, he said he was gonna be out of time Fold a few days. Bro was mad
*laughing* I ain't know where to go, so I hear about those chill people in California, no
disrespect to the people here in N.Y., but fuck this nonsense. Fuck this fucking nonsense, I am
About half-way through, I'm not even going 10 miles past the speed limit, cop pulls me over, I'm
like, "Woah! Woahh, there!"
And for a moment he's like super chill, it's this black guy so I bet he's chill, but he checks my
I.D., finds out I don't even got my learner's yet, and pretty soon I'm in the back of his police car.
This brings me to that time I spent three nights in a Tennessee jail center, jail ain't that bad, I
met this guy there. His name was Thrash, bro was mad funny, he should be on f$*#in, I don't
know. F$*( in AGT, and some shit, bro was mad funny. Bro was mad funny.
Parents pick me up, drive me home, there's a new Will Wood album, can't even listen to that,
my Dad is that pissed, and so this brings us to, uh, me getting kicked out of the house. Father
beat the s$*$ out of me, smashed my phone, sent me out and about, called me a f$*#(up,
f$*÷*in Codpiece Mothersucker, that's what he is, and yeah, I just- f$*#(, f$*# this f$*÷in
nonsense, I've on god just... been crying, y'know? At least they got me at Debbie Don's though,
and hey, coffee here? BANGIN. Just hurts alot. I'm a bit cold too, but, hey, yeah, I'm fine. I'm
End of Tape
I can't sleep. The heater is broken, and Amy doesn't know I'm here yet. Not that she'd mind it's just– I'd rather not wake her up. I check the clock and it's around 2 A.M., but I'm not sure I can trust that. There's a knock at the window and for only a moment I'm tense, but it quickly fades as the knocks repeat. MJ Astley's at my window.
"I- I got your text. Sorry, I was- I was asleep, I'm so-" she stumbled on her words.
I kissed her.
“Bah,” she said, “Anyways, I, uh, I got the journal." Se held the small green notebook up
in her hand. I was ecstatic, we were- we were finally getting somewhere.
"OH MY GOD, MJ, I COULD- I COULD LITERALLY KISS YOU!"
"You gonna ask how I got it?"
I returned to my bed, sitting Indian style, "Yeah, yeah! Please! Do share!"
"Well, uh, violence. Lots of violence... Beat the s$*# out of that Vulture guy for f$*#ing you over."
"I love you." I blurted.
She flashed that same smile I love, "You're cute. I love you too."
"Do ya- do you wanna read it?" I asked.
I nodded, "Dude, yeah! I don't plan on sleeping tonight anyways."
I snuggled up in the bed, as MJ read. Her voice soothed me, but... something was missing.
"Hey- Hey could you... could you lay beside me?" I asked.
She shuffled her feet, anxiously, and blushed, but remained composed. "Yeah, I, uh, sure. Yeah. Okay."
She laid down beside me, and read to me the dead man's memoir with my head on her chest.
And I wasn't scared.
AN EXCERPT FROM THE DEAD MAN'S MEMOIR / 2ECOND 2IGHT 2EER (HELP! A GINGER IS CHASING ME) ++-- WE'RE IN TH3 BLUEBERRY EMPORIUM, come back here om53!! Right NOWWW %&#@( and soooooooo. We rise. (As written by JohnnySmithman, in hit film the Lizard-Gami #Lizheads!) Get it trending people. Ok, computer. Xoxo. I love you willard
By Johnny “The Lizard-Gami” Smithman
I'm scared and I'm not happy.
Yesterday, I received a letter. It was an invitation.
They wanted me to work on a project.
They said I was smart.
Other people were there.
The Green Goblin.
I didn't know what we were doing.
But he did.
The sixth person did.
He was in charge.
He was The Owl.
We worked on the program. For hours. Different parts.
We weren't allowed to speak to one another.
But we worked, and worked.
My hands were sore
and my blood turned red.
But we did it. We made it.
And then Jackal made a mistake.
He said we were evil. And he showed me the Owl's computer, the full program.
A file known as Wall.exe.
So many words. So many words were banned.
We both knew.
We both knew that if it was launched.
If it was in the computers.
We wouldn't be allowed to talk.
And everyone should be allowed to talk.
Heard a noise. It didn't make me very happy.
The Jackal is weird now. He went away and then he came back talking about prisons... he
I want to write all of this down because I'm scared.
I'm scared of the Wall.
And now I'm by the pool.
... No one is here.
I'm going to be alright.
Everything is going to be alright.
PART TWO: SECRET WARS
Would the pretty boy like a hyphen last name?
By MJ Astley
Alright, let's do this one last time. Sebastian Merrick, my boyfriend, is a lunatic and I'm in love with him. I'm his MJ, even. But that's besides the point. What even is the point: He's the one and only Spider-Fold. How'd he get there? Well. it's a funny story, actually. To understand that, we're gonna have to go back. Way back.
All the way back to 2019... we were sixth graders. That's right, we've had each other for five years now. We got off to a bit of a rocky start, especially because our school was... a tad strange. They had kids and teachers with Origami Gods, and Seb picked up on their god
complexes and made it mission number one to take them down. At the center of his life, was
Flynn is evil. A child, a year younger than us, but don't let that blame you. He is evil to his core, almost ontologically. And he had Seb wrapped around his finger, putting us at odds. Eventually, I helped him break free, and we went our separate ways. We were in different schools at that point, and yet... we both seemed to settle down. He got a stable girlfriend, started mentoring a kid, and I found friendship in my cousin. Eventually, he showed up at my school, Flynn accompanying him. Flynn and his friends fucked all of us over... he had us at each other's throats, and it all culminated when Sebastian's student- his brother, his best friend, his son, whatever- died. Fell straight from the belltower and everything. Seb went dark for a year, and in that moment... I was there for him. I had lost just as much as he had. I still remember, he had locked himself in his dorm and all the teachers would always ask for him.
"Where's Seb?" They ask.
Eventually, I showed up. Walked right in. I offered him my condolences, and he laughed in my face.
"You? Guilty? Don't make me laugh, MJ. You wouldn't be sorry if your own Mother died."
And when he noticed my silence, he bared his fangs, he told me to get the hell out. And without saying a word... I locked the door.
When everyone else had abandoned him, he didn't. Because I knew deep down in my heart that he was good- and everyone who tried to convince me otherwise was insane. Some nights, when he was delirious, he would kiss me, tell me he loved me. And I loved him too. When I moved, he moved with me. That's when Lance and Amy took him in. Seb's household fell apart out of nowhere, and these two took him in. Most nights, he would either sleep on one of their futons in the break room, or sneak out and spend all night roaming the streets and crashing parties with me. That's also when we met Hayden. Flynn's younger brother. He decided to do better, he had a second chance, and he took it. And me? I took down those gods. For him. And for a moment? Nothing but bliss. That was the first time he told me loved me without crying. And the first time I said it back.
Nothing but bliss…
High School was when the shenanigans started. He found the puppet in a locker, like it was fate. But Flynn did too... he became the Hobgoblin to his Spider-Man. He made it mission number one to get payback against me and Sebastian. That's when Seb got mixed up with Fizzarolli and his mafia-- and you’d never guess who they were in kahoots with. The whole world was beating down on him and finally... he fought back. Flynn's off in this boarding school now, Ostrander.
But the damage has been done... another human died. And Sebastian might be too afraid to admit it, but it’s not much longer until he loses himself. I mean, look at him now. We were cuddled up in bed, reading this journal and then... he jumps up. He freaks the hell out, and it's awful to look at. He puts his mouth to his hands, and takes a second to breath, and I can see him ease.
"We'll figure this out," I say, "We have a lead now."
"Yeah, yeah, let's do this! We have a new Sinister Six, let's- let's find out who's on it!"
I sighed and made my way for the window, "No. Sleep first. It's 2 A.M. And I gotta go home."
He sighed, "You're gonna make me do it, aren't you?"
"What are you-" I turned around, "No..."
"That's right, MJ. Nuclear Option."
His eyes turned glossy.
"Seb, I'm warning you, I-"
"Don't you dare."
He's tearing up now.
I sighed, "Fine, I'll... text my Dad." And I joined him in bed, Seb putting his arms around me.
The Meeting in the Library / GREETINGS FROM JOLLY OL LONDON, YA F%*÷ING ANIMALS!!
By Sebastian “The Spider-Fold” Merrick
I sighed, "What the f$*#%, babe, another meeting!?"
MJ fixed my tie, "Love, if you're gonna be one of Wheeler's big shots, you gotta show up to your meetings."
"BUT THEY'RE SO BORING!" I yelled, "I have to do all this nonsense, and for what, huh?"
"Well, for one, you're protected from the school paper. That should be good enough, considering… you’re a bit of, well, an actual menace, y’know?”
"So... you're saying Wheeler's defenders get off scot free with whatever they want? That sounds an awful lot like fascism, MJ, don't you think?"
"Counter point," She kissed me.
"I see your point."
"Now get the f$*# in there," she shoved me into the library, and catching me was the
"Easy there, tiger." Naph says.
"Woww, Naph, so kind. Not like you got Kirby shut down, c$*(weed."
"That was... three years ago... you were a seventh grader."
"Go f$*$ yourself." I said.
He sighed, "Alright. Just- let's get you a seat at the table. Street level, right?"
He lead me to the street level table, which only had four other people at it. It was me, Winnchester, Jerome, Nard, and Dallas. I'm wedged between Nard and Winnchester.
I take note, there's four people at the magician's table (All graduates, Duncan, Naphthali, Seyla, and Jude.) The OrigAvengers are down to four, Guillermo, Ally, and two lesbians with a Yelena Olive-a and Origami Kate Bishop. Guillermo eyes the freshman with an evil look in his eyes.
And finally, there's the Claremont kids. We have these meetings every month, but they usually only make the trip down here once a year. But there's only about five of them, Katie and Caden I recognize, the rest are all freshman and sophomores like me. One of them is, well, Ximena
Strohm. She's the Phoenix. I counted, that's... eighteen kids. And most of them are already graduates.
You might be wondering... why so few? Well, quite frankly, without any major organizations like F.O.L.D., the origami is being left behind. For most of the students, now, they don't really mind.And it's not like there aren't mini-organizations going around, but most of them are run by Dane. Though I love the guy, most people can't stand him. And I can't say that I blame them, he's definitely a bit of a weird guy with a weird past, but he's not bad, y'know?
When Duncan cleared his throat, I knew to press record on my tape thingy.
Duncan: Good morning, everybody. Duncan Anderson here, Doctor Strange, and this begins our…
Duncan: Really? We're at five already?
He shakes his head.
Duncan: Wow, crazy. Anyways, fifth meeting of the Defenders guild! First meeting of
business: We got refreshments in the back, compliments of Jude. He makes a mean egg roll. Second order of business: Checking in. How's everybody doing? How are my little
Jessie (Origami Kate Bishop): Me and Leslie are still looking into the whole Red
Rooms situation, we're ankles deep in it.
Leslie (Yelena Olive-a): Yeah, and get this, we actually noticed something... really weird.
Leslie: OKAY, OKAY, SO, listen to this. I showed you their methods last meeting, and hell, I know them by heart. Find girls who didn't make the basketball team, volleyball team, whatever. Take em in, train em, right? And we know a few of their Black Widows tried to nab some of the Agents of Atlas.
A few snickers.
Nard: They had it coming…
Leslie: BUT, they didn't actually do any harm! Meanwhile, whenever they would take on
She points at Dallas, beside me. Dallas, the blind Origami Daredevil raises his hand, which is in a cast.
Leslie: DO YOU SEE THIS S%*$??
Duncan: So what you're telling me is... The Red Rooms are working with the Agents of Atlas?
Leslie: And wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say... Dane is too.
Duncan: Dane is a close friend of mine, maybe his agents aren't right in the head but... I doubt that. Keep investigating.
Ximena raises her hand.
Duncan: Yes, Ximena?
Ximena: Duncan, you're hot.
Duncan: I am four years older than you. Anyways... I have an update. While me and Guillermo we're spending our second year in the United Kingdom, more research has been done on the greater OU. We've created a Discord server exclusive to us, the kids from the DC, Marvel, Harry Potter, Video Games, and Percy Jackson.
Me and Ximena: There's no Percy Jackson.
Duncan: Excuse me?
Me: They don't do origami there anymore.
Duncan: My mistake.
Duncan (in whispers): Naphthali, f%#$ you, go fuck yourself, you useless piece of shit.
He punches Naphthali.
Duncan: It's all your fault.
Naphtali: What did I even do?
Duncan: F$*# you, man.
Katie (Origami X-23): I know about the Black Widows.
Katie: Yeah, yeah, yeah, me and Caden have been looking into this... Contest of
Champions type gig. It's like a fighting ring, we know there's a Kilgrave and we know
there's a Grandmaster involved.
Jesse: So... you're saying there's a conspiracy going on? Red Room? Grandmaster?
Agents of Atlas? Sounds to me like something else is pulling the strings…
Me: Maybe it has to do with the Kraven huntings.
Everyone stares at me.
Me: The Kraven huntings... three victims so far.
Guillermo: There's only been two, and they've both been villains.
Me: Actually, there's three. Although, G, I understand how anything above two might be a bit, uh, overwhelming, but I assure you your girlfriend would disagree.
Duncan: Are you saying something went under the radar?
Me: Wouldn't be the first time…
Duncan: We already offered you our condolences, Seb.
Me: You don't get to call me that, only friends get to call me that.
Duncan: Fine. Ximena?
Ximena (acting like a woman): Seb, respectfully, you're being a little b$*# baby. We should be focusing our attention on the conspiracy going on, the Grandmasters, the Red Rooms, all that is terrifying. No one cares about a couple of villains getting knocked off, leave that to their families and the cops.
Me: You're not my friend anymore.
Me: CALL ME SPIDER-FOLD!
I paused the recording, storming out the library. Dallas chases after me,
grabbing me with his hand outside the cast. The street level guys were always the nicest to me.
Most of them are as screwed up in the head as I am, which makes them relatable. The problem being
we all see parts of each other we hate.
Dallas grabs my shoulder with his non-cast hand.
"I can help you." He says.
I look him up and down, "You can help me?" I asked.
"Yeah, the- the whole Kraven situation, it's- it's fucked man, and I'd get involved but, y'know," he put his hand on his cast, "A little preoccupied."
I nodded, "I feel you."
"So... what're you looking for?"
"Uh, actually... names."
"Yes, names. There's a situation going on in, six kids were brought on to handle this coding project, The Wall, pretty much an internet filter. We don't have the names, but we have puppets. The Owl, Jackal, Green Goblin, Riot, and the Lizard and Tombstone, those two we already got. The Jackal discovered what the project was, he got hunt down, told Johnny, he wrote it down right before getting hunted. The last person who had it, Jack-O-Lantern, got hunted."
"How'd you get it?"
I flashed back to the cold prison nights, and the broken down cars…
"I don't wanna talk about it."
He nodded, "Crazy life, right?"
"You know it."
"M’kay, so, The Owl. Never heard of him, but I have heard whispers of him. Even the Kingpen was afraid of him, and that's saying something. He's one of the most dangerous people in the city. The Jackal is, uh, Vanderschnitzelackenburgh Wincucker Samuel Flurgh, but everyone calls him Balls. And yeah, he's missing. He actually went to Caesar with you, did you know?"
I shook my head, "Big school."
"Yeah. Fair. Anyways, next person. Your Riot is Karl Blonsky Jr., established guy, he's an intern for the school, and he's leading the L.I.F.E. club. And, uh, Green Goblin? He's a senior, head of the robotics club, OSCP. Surprisingly, he's pretty close to reformation, he's your safest. Most of these guys, they're villains but they're not- they're not... evil, y'know."
I nodded, "Yeah, so, that's... three people I have to talk to, alright, sounds good."
He looked up at me. Well, he didn't look, obviously. Because he was a f%*$ing cripple.
I Don’t Really Feel Like Thinking Right Now
By Sebastian “The Spider-Fold” Merrick
Dane Jackson's crowning achievement, after unbanning origami, that is, is the Ravencroft Business Institute. It's an offshoot of Wheeler that's, by design, supposed to serve as a place for the future business leaders of America. It said that, on the sign too. Call me an anarchist, but my one nitpick with Jackson was his love of good ol' American exceptionalism. Seeing the sign, I sighed, taking time out of my sweet day to vandalize it.
After making my way into that there building (it's disconnected, maybe half a mile away. A bus ride would take about thirty seconds) I was greeted by a lady in the lobby, making me sign in.
As I signed in it occured to me how ironic this all was– that they named it Ravencroft of all places. Upon seeing my signature, she took me to a room with a sign above the door that read "OSCP." The place was buzzing with students working on their own little engineering and science
projects. One of them, a replica of the Eiffel Tower, another a little robot that scurried along the
The name tags were what gave it away, though. Two guys in the back... one a graduate, the
other very clearly a senior. The graduate looked like he'd have a rough couple years, hell, he
looked like he'd been crying. His hair was all messed up and in clumps, and his eyes were
swollen like he'd been crying. The senior, who was taller than him by a couple inches, seemed a
lot preppier, his skin was a lot darker, and he had a fade. The way he dressed, with his cardigan
and scarf, told me he was a bit of a fruit cup. His skin was smooth, and honestly he would've
been hot if it weren't for the smile wrinkles around his mouth.
"Uh," I read the nametags, "Are you two Logan Miller and Karl Blonsky?"
Graduate pointed, "Uh, actually, Blonsky Jr. Karl Blonsky is- er, was- my Father."
"I'm sorry for your loss." I said.
He sniffed, "It's okay."
Lanky patted his back, "There there... there there. There there... And yeah, I would be Logan Miller."
"Hi, can I ask you, a, uh, couple questions?"
Logan shrugged, "What do you wanna know?" He asked.
"Well, what do you know about... The Wall."
Logan blinked, "I've, uh, never heard of it, no."
"Oh, shut the hell up, Logan." Karl mumbled.
"What?" Logan asked.
"Just tell the #$*! kid, okay?"
He sighed. "Yeah, we worked on it."
"And what was the experience, uh, like?"
"Oh, darling, it was awful, just... terrible, love." Logan said.
"Vouch," Karl added, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, we spent two months in crunch. We weren't allowed to know the identities of the people we were working with, it was just... a miserable experience, all around."
"Wouldn't recommend." Logan added.
"So... you guys don't know who The Owl is?"
Karl Blonsky Jr jumped up. Logan hushed me, "Shut the f#*& up Spider-Crease unless you want either me, or someone much, much worse to tear you in two."
I took that as my cue to shut up.
"That... thing is what employed Kraven." Logan said.
"He's the reason pretty much anybody rule breaker in town have gone into hiding," he tapped a random guy on the shoulder.
"You. Person. You got a puppet?"
He pulled out his puppet, an origami frog. "Frog-Fold! Hell yeah."
He looked at me, "What's your name, kid?" Logan asked.
"Spider-Fold." I said.
His eyes widened, and at the same time Karl and Logan sputtered, "No, you're not." They said at the same time.
"What?" I asked.
Logan smiled, "How- How did you get your puppet?"
I didn't know what to say.
He reached for me over the table, grabbing me by the collar, "Where the f#$% did you get your puppet!?" He asked.
"Uhh, I-" It never occured to me how strange it was, finding a puppet in my locker. It never
occured to me how strange a lot of things were, "I found it in a locker."
Logan jumped up, screaming, "THEY'VE COME FOR ME!"
He then grabbed my puppet and scampered off, leaving me with Blonsky.
"Is it okay if..."
He sighed, "Go for it."
"M'kay, well, how did you and Logan learn each other's identities?"
"After they hunted Johnny and Wincucker, most of us were afraid for our lives. Obviously, we weren't worried for," He lowered his voice again, "The Owl, but me, I was scared for the GG guy and he was scared for the OriRiot. I saw that he left behind a paper trail, so... I followed it. Led me to him, and we've just been... waiting things out here."
"Noted. Did you have any idea what you were getting yourselves into?"
"Most of us? No. Johnny was always a bit crazed, we know that. I'm pretty sure Tombstone knew, after all, he was The Owl's right hand man."
I made a mental note of that.
"I don't think Wincucker knew. He was one of those burnt out gifted kids, smart as Hell but he stopped applying himself a year too early. Pretty sure he was a dealer, maybe even got himself
held back a year."
"And me? I was brought onto the project right after my Father died. I was- I was grieving, and I was angry, but I wanted to make a difference," he sniffed, "He told me he worked for my Father. Maybe that's true."
"T-Tell me about your Father." I said.
"You- You're from Athens, right?”
“How’d you know?”
“You have that smell. I- I went to school there. I had a little Luke
Castellan and everything... then I tried Spider-Fold, and then they replaced me and, god, that's a whole other story. But, y'know, at Athens there was a whole blowout with Ouranatox and their
OriGod system. You're young enough to have been there, kid." He smiled. "That company, Ouranatox, it funded my Father's company. Hell, they were practically the same.
Everytime EduFun needed to do something illegal, or needed some cash, that's who they'd go
to. Meanwhile, my Father never did get any penance. He would always sneak out at night,
always having weird visitors at his house. But when he died, that meant... well, that meant
everything died. No more money, he didn't even have me in his will. He left all of his money to
whoever succeeded the business, some twenty year old kid from Virginia. Casper Bengue- Oh,
I'm sorry," he put his arms up in the air, mockingly, "Fako Mustacho! Give me a break. My
Father left nothing with me, yet still..."
"You miss him." I said.
He nodded, "Yeah, yeah."
"My Father kicked me out the other day and... he never did me any good. Never understood me. Still, though, I, uh, I wish he still loved me. But..."
"You're a screw up." He said.
I nodded, "Yeah."
I looked into Karl Blonsky Jr.'s eyes and saw a mirror. I was face to face with the son of
EduFun's owner. F$*#)ing EduFun, and I saw myself in him. That made me mad.
I composed myself, "This is all I need."
His eyes went to the floor, "Okay." He said.
On my way out, I called for him, "Hey, Karl!" I said, "Take care of yourself, okay? And if you ever need an assistant, let me know."
He heaved me by the shoulder, before you go, can I, uh, give you something?"
I nodded, "Yeah."
"Okay, okay, I've been working on something for a while. One of my biggest 'failed experiments,' I guess you could call it, was the OrigVenom Project. WELL," he pulled a small puppet out of a
box, and opened it to reveal a black suited Spider-Fold, "I think I perfected it..."
I looked at the boy, his sleepless eyes and patchy hair.
And I grabbed the puppet.
2econd 2ight 2eer! (BON VOYAGE, ANDY JUST ROLLED A SEVEN... WELL, BETTER THAN THE ALTERNATIVE, BABY GIRL!)
By Sebastian “The Spider-Fold” Merrick
My eyes jolted to life, and I could feel the pool of sweat around me. The nightmare was terrible. I've went two years without the bad dreams, and a year without a bad bad nightmare like this. I felt disgusting, I felt gross, I felt terrible. I wanted to vomit, and so I did. Chase... Lance... I kept going for them. It was for the people I lost. I didn't want to fail them. But I could feel myself doing just that. The first thing I did as I flopped out of the thin blue sheet of my Debbie Don's loft was reach for my phone. I checked Discord, and for a moment I skimmed through all my muted servers. We had a big Discord server with all of my friends from the "PJOU," or at least that's what we liked to call it. And we had another Discord server with all of the kids from Madison County there, and both of them gave me so much anxiety that I muted both, and just had MJ and Ximena fill me in on the going ons of each. After opening Discord, I DM Hayden for the first time in weeks, I know that he lives in the same neighborhood as Debbie Don's because I saved him from getting his s$*%* kicked in way back when we first met. I saved his life.
"Another day in paradise..." I mumbled to myself, putting on my bunny slippers, the same song on the radio as before playing. I looked at myself in the mirror after brushing my teeth and smiled. It was a genuine smile, though I had no idea what I was smiling about. I didn't feel good, I knew that. But for the first time in years I felt alive. And that was good enough. As I met with Hayden, I noticed a few details about him. His hair was pulled back into a ponytail, and despite his oversized jacket he was still shivering. He looked like he hadn't been getting much sleep. There were orange bits between his fingers, and he held his hands in his pockets, trying to conceal his knife.
I pulled the knife out of his pocket, "Hayden, what the &$*#%!? You know what would happen if a teacher caught you with one of these," I clocked him on the head, "That's why you work out, loser."
He blushed, "Sorry, I- I haven't been doing my pushing ups lately. I'm sorry."
I sighed, "Whatever, just... you should listen to me, okay?"
"So... how the hell are you, man? You don't talk to me anymore."
He sighed, "...Not good. Not good, man."
I thought about Hayden, he'd been through more than I had. Having Flynn as his brother... the old camp.
"How so?" I asked.
"I've been getting letters, y'know, you'd think... if I didn't have a home, heh, they wouldn't be able to find me, right?" He sighed. "I've been staying at the camp again." He said.
"%$&#ing what, Hayden?"
"I knew you'd say that! Look, listen, I'm smarter than them. They don't even recognize me– me and Flynn were in the Boston division, I'm in New York. I'm trying to find all of them, burn it all to the ground. Start fresh, and all."
I gave him his knife back, and then I gave him mine.
"What's this?" He asked.
"You're taking on something you know nothing about. Something I know nothing about. Alone. you're gonna need more than one knife."
"I have Keana." He said.
"And if you lose her, huh? Then what?"
Hayden went silent, "I'm not gonna lose her... I'm not."
"Don't be so sure." I said.
After a moment of silence, I spoke up, "You hear anything from Flynn?"
"No, no, he, uh- he went off the grid, yeah."
As we entered the school, I sighed, "Look, Hayden, before you go, I, uh, I wanted to tell you that I'm sorry I'm hard on you, and I'm sorry if I- I'm sorry if I push you too hard. It's just because I don't want you to turn out like-" He hugged me. It was the first time anyone except MJ had hugged me in four years.
As he left, I caught up with MJ.
"Hey babe," I said.
She nodded at me, "Heyy."
"How's Mom and Dad doing?" I asked.
She smiled, "Better than ever." She kissed me on the cheek, out of nowhere, before continuing her conversation, "Yeah, we finally got our compensation for working at Athens, cha ching."
I smiled, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, crazy man, crazy. Still haven't gotten anything but then again, my parents are just... the worst."
She laughed, no, he cackled, "What parents?"
I punched her in the arm, "F$*) you, man, f$*$ you."
"So how'd it go?" A voice asks, from behind me. I turn to see Dally. He was smiling, his arm still in the cast.
"How'd what go?" I asked.
He rested his arm on my shoulder, firing a finger gun at me with his moveable finger, "Your
meeting, you big doofus."
"Babe, who's this?" MJ asked.
I sighed, "That would be Dally, Origami Daredevil."
"Exactamundo, baby boy."
"He's been helping me with the research."
"And what a help I've been! Y'know, being able to see and all, you'd think you'd be better at this." He shrugged, before wincing in pain, reaching for his arm, "Ow... s%*$."
"How'd you get that?" MJ asked.
"Black Widow jumped me." He said.
"Guess you didn't see that spider coming..."
He winked at her, "Yeah, bet you don't either..."
I shoved him.
"What the %$*#!" He said, "I'M JUST SAYIN-"
"The meeting went find, f%*$ing weed cracker. Got some new information, a new puppet, everything."
"Yeah, thank you," he said, "I needed Logan distracted."
He unzipped his backpack, "Yeah, uh, while you were keeping Logan busy, sending him running, I- uh- stole his computer." He grabbed my thigh, "We're a team, baby cakes."
"Hi." MJ said.
"You can join," Dally said.
"Wait, wait, wait-" I broke in, "What? I was just a- a- distraction?"
"I mean," he snorted, "Yeah, isn't that what you always were? You're a joke, dude. Anyways, come with me."
I followed him through the halls and into the library, slamming the computer down onto an unoccupied table.
"Here's what I learned," he began, "His password? TASM2@2014, by the way." he said that as he typed it in. After he opened up the laptop, we saw his screensaver. A detailed, intimate drawing of The Amazing Spider-Man 2's Harry Osborn and Peter Parker.
"What?" Dallas blinked.
"His wallpaper. Are you- are you see- oh, okay."
"Might explain why Cloudy sounded so weird when he was helping me... huh. Anyways, open his files application."
The first thing on his dashboard– thirteen saved MP4s of the Amazing Spider-Man 2.
"Yeah, ignore that." Dally said, noticing my silence, "Head on over to documents, open the word document labeled "program."" I did as he commanded, and what cropped up was a word document with thousands of phrases. As I skimmed through them, my concern only grew…
The Court of Owls…
Kane High School…
The SubCrease Army...
I wasn't looking at any old list of words. I was looking at a blacklist. As I scrolled, it hit me. Something, someone, is trying to rewrite history. Trying to keep people in the dark. Trying to stomp the spiders.
I sat down, "This- This is insane."
Dally sat on the table, "Yup. Insane's definitely the word. Listen, man, this is why I'm trying to keep you out of this, I had cloudy send me this doc after Logan disappeared and-"
"On your phone, right?"
"Nah, the, uh, school issued chromebook."
"Hold on, listen here. You're telling me A. Logan Miller was hunted, and B. You SAVED the document with BLACKLISTED words? Onto your SCHOOL chromebook."
"Like two of the other people who were hunted."
The next day, it happened. And Dane showed me the footage, this time it was in the U.S. History class, and this time... I saw Kraven. His face was obscured, but I watched in horror as the scene was created, and Dally was brutalized. He spent three hours drawing on the board, his artwork obscured due to the camera's angle. Once he finished his masterpiece, he did something weird. He started to erase bits and pieces of it.
Dane sighed, "I didn't want you to have to deal with this but... I think it's time. Go wild."
"What made you change your mind?" I asked.
"Well, for one, everyone else is occupied by this whole 'Contest of Champions' thing, but more importantly, I, uh... I think your next."
He pressed a key on the keyboard, revealing Kraven's whiteboard drawing.
In red, graphic depictions of hell and flames... and in the center, the erased parts? A message:
"Would the Spider-Fold come out to play?"
Tigers Can’t Sing
By Sebastian “The Spider-Fold” Merrick
I have to find MJ.
I raced through the hallways in search for the love of my life, ignoring the hall monitors who tried to stop me. No, I said. I said it over and over again, part of me believed that she was already gone.. I couldn't handle that thought.
Without giving it a second thought, I knocked on her class room's door and wiped the sleepless, glossy look out of my eyes.
"HI! UH, Mac Astley," it broke my heart to deadname her, "Needs to check out, like, soon." Mac perked up, the teacher too.
"Why?" The teacher asked.
Think fast. Think fast. Everyone is staring "Mom! Dead! Hurry up!" the teacher blinked, "Oh, oh my god, I'm so sorry, yes, yes, of course."
The moment I closed the door, I confessed to the crying MJ Astley, "Hey, uh, man, your Mom. She's good, by the way."
"Yeah, Kraven, he's, uh, after me. Which probably means... he's after you. We gotta get out of here," I said, looking for an unlocked door anywhere in the hallway, MJ following close behind me.
"Seb, baby, c-"
"Calm down, right? That's what you want me to do? Absolutely not, f$*# calming down, you have no idea what s$*# we're knee deep in."
"THEN TELL ME, SEBASTIAN!" She snapped. It was the first time she'd ever raised her voice at me. "Please..." She said, "For the first time in your life... be honest with me."
"We'll talk about it later, I promise, right now... we just gotta get you outta here."
She eyed me skeptically.
"C'mon, tiger," I forced a smile.
"Pinkie Promise?" She asked.
And we tied our fingers together like knots.
After finding an unlocked door in the gym, I brought MJ to Debbie Don's. Amy sighed, she had mostly moved on after Lance but... she was still just... so tired. She looked so tired.
"So," Amy began, "What brings you here?" She asked.
"Kraven the hunter."
She sighed, "Okay."
After sitting MJ down on my bed, she started pestering me, "Okay, now tell me, why are they after us? What's wrong, babe?"
I continued at the windows, going from room to room and slamming them shut, locking them. MJ chased me, "SEBASTIAN! SEBASTIAN MERRICK!" She yelled, “Listen to me! I’m… scared.”
“Well, no shit you’re scared.”
“No, I don’t think you get it. I’m scared to be around you, Sebastian! You’re a mess, you’re constantly getting into trouble, you’re-”
I laughed in her face, “Oh, okay. So now you’re worried?” I quipped. I had been doing awful for a year, and now… she was acting like this. Like all of this was somehow my fault. I shook my head.
“Dude, I don’t know what you want from me,” MJ hissed, “I’m as worried now as I’ve ever been. I get that I screw. Around. SOMETIMES, okay? But that’s just what I do.”
“Yeah, well maybe it shouldn’t be.”
“Look man,” she was flinging her hands around, “I’m just devastated, that I’m not as broken as you still are, with everything that’s happened, and I’m sorry that I can’t keep helping you carry this burden-”
“What does that have to do with anything?-”
“-But I’m reaching my fucking limit here. These puppets have taken so much away from us, yet you still run to them every chance you get!”
“No, I don’t!”
“Fucking listen to me! You’re not invincible, okay? I know you thought that when we started doing these fucking death marches, and we always got away in the end, and I get it, but this, right here, is the end. And you should know that, better than anybody.”
“What’s that even supposed to mean?”
“Chase Kemp is dead. And he is gone. And we are never going to be able to move on.”
“What did you just fucking say to me?”
“And I’m sorry, that this is how High School turned out today, but Sebastian, if you go after this Kraven guy, you’d be joining him… and if by some miracle, you make it out of this alive, I’m not sure you’ll ever be the man I loved. And I’m telling you right now that I won’t be here to confirm here.”
“WELL THEN fucking LEAVE THEN! LEAVE!”
Souls As Barren As Mojave Sands
By Sebastian “The Spider-Fold” Merrick
Flynn Macintosh residing at Ostrander was a secret designed to keep me at bay. I knew that much. The truth? He was at Claremont, and going for his nightly walk. I could spot him from the Debbie Don roof. Every. Single. Night. I would be forced to stare as he lived his life completely normally... he never got caught. Not knowing where else to bring him... I brought him to the dump. And using bike chains, I tied him to a chair. Part of me wanted to believe he did this... part of me knew that I'd like that.
As he woke up, he grumbled to himself, "Finally... you came to your senses." He wiggled
around in his restraints, and I punched him in the face.
"Harder, Daddy." He moaned.
"There's a terrorist at Wheeler..." I sighed, "I need to hear your thoughts."
He frowned, "You talk to your baby girl for the first time in a year and this is how you greet her? With work?"
I picked the chair up by the legs and slammed him into the ground, "You're gonna talk to me."
"Aww. You’re sensitive.”
"And you're going to help me."
"Well, now, what's in it for me?"
I sighed, "Nothing. Just thought you'd be interested."
He put his hand to his chest, "Really? You think I like this stuff? You think I get off to… torment and torture??"
"That's what you did to me." I said.
He sighed, "No, no, no, no, all that was for power. I did it because I wanted to see what'd you do... and you didn't disappoint. I mean, hey, look at you! You've let, uh, what?" He counted on his fingers, "Seven! Seven people just..." he popped a bubble in his mouth, "Vanished! Just like that."
"Six." I said.
"Seven," he insisted, "Didn't you hear the news!? Your... your little squeeze Mac-"
"MJ." I said. "What the f$*# happened to MJ?" I asked.
He smiled, "You're really more clueless than I thought, aren't you?" He grinned. "Aren't you?"
"What the f$#) are you talking about?"
"MJ! She got nabbed, couple hours ago, too."
"You know where they are?"
He nodded, "Uh-huh."
I grabbed him by the collar, lifting him above my head, "Then I'm gonna ask you this one more time. Where. Are. They."
"Fine! Fine! Fine! Y'know what, fine. Walk me through what you know so far."
"The wall. It was commissioned by whoever 'The Owl' is to ban certain search terms from within Wheeler and, presumably, other schools. Kraven is after anyone who tries to expose them– or is able to."
He smiles, picking at his nails, "So... you're trying to figure out who The Owl and Kraven are."
"Well, Kraven... you're looking in the wrong direction if you think there's just one..."
"You're saying there's several?"
"I'm saying there always has been. And the Owl– he was the first. The owl is, after all, one of nature's greatest hunters."
"You're the owl." I said.
He smiled, "You'd like that, wouldn't you? But me, I- I've been getting my education done at Claremont. Now– who do you have in charge at Claremont? Now... what are those heroes like, huh? Maybe it's Dane, huh? Would make sense, right? After all, he is the one in charge..."
"You're trying to get into my head."
He smiled, "You're right, I was, that's smart. Maybe the Owl, uh, it could be anyone really?
Dally? What about, uh, Logan... maybe it's someone from those Court of Owls, looking to take a strike at the spider next?" He kicked his feet in his chair. "That's what I love, for once... we're equals. For once, you're at every advantage and yet still... you're not in charge."
"Let's get back to the case."
"WHY!? You're so much more fun! You wanna know what I think, huh? I think you're scared."
"I'm not. No, I'm F$*$ING NOT."
He smiled, "Sure, sure. You're afraid that you're going to be forgotten– that nothing you do will ever have an impact. On anybody. And it won't– it never will."
I kicked him in the mouth, and he laughed, "WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH!?" He cackled to himself, "I KNOW NOTHING, AND YOU- YOU HAVE NOTHING TO THREATEN TO ME WITH! NOTHING THAT YOU-"
I punched him, over and over again. I kicked him, over and over again. I slammed my fists into him until his teeth were knocked in, and his face was a red mess, blood gushing from his mouth.
And the whole time he wouldn't stop- he wouldn't shut. The f$*$. Up.
I hated him.
"DO YOU WANNA KNOW WHAT I THINK!?" I held his arm behind his back until he winced in pain, still, he spoke, "I THINK THAT YOU'RE GLAD THEY'RE GONE! JOHNNY WAS THE FREAK YOU USED TO BE!" I couldn't see. I didn't want to.
"LOGAN AND KASDAN WERE EVIL! THEY KILLED HEROES, AND YET LOOK AT YOU! ALL THE EZRA AND NONE OF THE CRONIN!"
Punching and kicking. "THE JAMES AND THE LONGWAY." Punching and kicking. Die.
"DALLY? NOW, D-" Punching and kicking. "HE-" shut up. Shut the f$*$ up. "HE WAS
EVERYTHING YOU WEREN'T AND YOU KNOW THAT! AND MJ!?"
I lifted him up to meet my eyes, "Keep her godddamn name out of your mouth, you insufferable loser."
"There it is, boy... there it is... you're glad that MJ is gone because without her... you're forced to be human..."
From within Debbie Don's, I cried. I was exhausted, I was in pain... and I was angry. As I sob into my hands, I hear a voice above me.
"Hey kid," she says, "You okay?" It's Amy. Amy Alexander. She stares down at me, and for the first time since she was with Lance... her eyes weren't cold.
"I'm just so... so... angry." I say.
She puts her arms around me, and for a moment I feel like I have a Mom again. Like I'm worth something to someone other than MJ, "It's okay," she says.
Through tears, I can barely speak, "Am I... am I a bad person?"
"You're not," she held onto me, "It's all okay. I'm proud of you- we both are. All of us are."
Tears welled in my eyes, and my voice began to break, "I'm just... I'm just not the person that I thought I was." I thought about eighth grade, when I thought it couldn't get any worse... and that's when I closed my eyes.
"You’re gonna be a High Schooler in a few months.” He said.
I nodded, “Fuck, I’m getting old.”
“Only a few more years until I can start paying you.” That got a laugh out of me, “You have any idea what you’re gonna do in High School? The future?”
“Eh, going to Wheeler. Claremont’s not for me.”
“Good choice, always hated the Claremont kids,” he said.
“I kinda wanna have a High School sweetheart,” I said, “Y’know, something stable. Someone I could hopefully marry once I get out of this town.”
Lance chuckled, “You sound like me.”
“I wanna be like you.” I said.
“Ah yeah, in debt, can’t afford a wedding, no one except my wife. Living the dream.”
“I mean, you’re happy, right?”
Lance thinks about it for a moment before laughing to himself, “Yeah- Yeah, I guess I am. I
mean... I do what I love. I do what I love every day. I love working with kids, working with you.”
His eyes lit up, “And I love Amy. I- I love her more than anything. And if I could put it into words,
“Tell him? Tell her every single day until he believes it?”
He smiled, “You get it.”
“See, you- Lance, you- you give me hope. You have everything I ever wanted and that- that means it’s possible.”
Lance looked at me, “Seb, don’t- don’t ever lose what you have now. What’s painful right now will be maturity when you’re older, just trust me. And believe me, Sebastian. If you want me to teach you something, anything, it’s that you’re going to be okay. You’re going to grow up and be happy, because you have both: You deserve it, and you’re smart enough to achieve it.”
"I'm so sorry," the memories kept on flooding back.
MJ casually sacrificed herself for me.
Ximena became the class president and brought forward a new age for OrigOlympus.
But what about me?
I don’t know. I don’t know who I am, or what I want to do. But I do know I like her, thank you very
Charlie Leavings, girl next door, whatever. It’s clique!
But with a new student, new school year, maybe I can put this behind me, right? Because I was given a second chance.
And I can’t screw this up. Here I am, on the road again. Turning the page.
But this story doesn’t start with a new page, actually. I think I need to start where I last left off.
Five whole months back, a girl moved in from the house across from me. It was dark out, the moonlight was all that illuminated us. But well, there was one thing.
I liked her voice. It was pretty. And British.
Oh no, she’s funny, too.
Don’t screw this up.... Don’t screw this up, you idiot.
And I tripped on her stairs. Stupid. Stupid. So stupid.
“I’m worried, man.” Chase said, “What if this doesn’t work out? Why are you and MJ partnering when you still have nothing in common.”
“Gee, kid, you ask too many questions.” He looks down, “That’s good.” I add. “Just ask the right questions. Do you know what my final piece of advice is? Honor. Your sister, now she’s honorable. Do what’s good, what’s right, know the difference between peaceful protest and chaos. I was never taught that difference, and I paid the price. If I’m extra hard on you, it’s because you could be greater than I ever was.”
And then he hugs me.
And I was absolutely great with that.
“I love you,” I said.
She showed up. Walked right in. She offered me my condolences, and I laughed in her face.
"You? Guilty? Don't make me laugh, MJ. You wouldn't be sorry if your own Mother died." And when I noticed her silence, I bared my fangs, I told me to get the hell out. And without saying a word... she locked the door.
I looked at my puppet. And I thought about all the pain it caused me- but more importantly, the pain it caused everyone around me. I had hurt so many people. I looked at my puppet and tore it in two... Spider-Fold is no more.
PART THREE: IF THIS BE MY DESTINY,
all nightmares start as dreams: a bridge
As the wind caught up with me, I felt a change…
I didn't know what to do– whether to fly like a kite or blow out like a light…
And as the fear of darkness gave way to a fear of color and life…
I felt myself give way to the black and white, resting my eyes throughout the night…
The moon above was made of cheese and for a moment I wondered if there was any for me…
In the great beyond…
In the great beyond for me…
And yet here I was, thrashing and screaming, tearing away at my skin like a symbiote.
As Charon takes me down his avenue, and at dusk to his boat..
In asphodel... we are running through the endless fields of white noise and black souls…
The cruel, cruel truth being? There is nothing left of our days of old.
When life was young, and pain was new
Before we became this thrifted youth
Is there anybody out there? Is there anybody out there to feel the cobwebs touch my skin?
Is there anyone else…
Who feels like these needles are pins…
And all my red flags fade to white…
And yet here we are, awake at night... running. Running from life.
The hunter is swift and the prey is not…
In suburbia, all is not well.
In suburbia, all tongues swell.
He wants his love to know that it is okay
It is not his fault that all is this way
It's not his fault that he's beaten and bruised
And that the bruise is black, not red and blue
But when kraven hunts, he hunts to kill
and when he kills, he kills to live
So when Kraven brought me to his grave
I knew then and there- he'd made a mistake
When Kraven hunts, he hunts to kill
But if he truly wished to live…?
He wouldn't have began to dig!
In The Tomb Of The Stones: Hit Rock Bottom? Well, McLongway, hand me my shovel! I’m going in! (Part 2!)
By Sebastian “The Spider-Fold” Merrick
My eyes jolted to life, and all that was before me was black. I reach out my hand, and yet I am met only with wood. I started to panic as I realized where I was... but before then, I breathed a sigh of relief.
He's not here, I realized. Kraven must've switched the coffins, he's a monster, but even he has a sense of honor.
I pushed outward, but the pressure of the Earth turned the thin of piece of wood hard as
I punched the wood. I punched again, this time bloodying my knuckles. I almost gave up... but there was something else fueling me…
I should be dead. But I'm not.
And his grave? He defiled his grave. I hated him. I cried. I was exhausted, I was in pain... and I was angry...I punched again. It didn't budge.
Through my aching joints, I could feel the leftovers of someone powerful. Someone strong. And now it was my chance to prove that I deserved it. I punched again, breaking through the ground and screaming in agony. Dirt surrounds me as it pulls me in, suffocating me, my screams muffled by the dirt of my face.
The weight is unbearable– every muscle aches. My head is spinning. Everything I'd beginning to whirl around. The strain. Through tears, I whispered to them, "I'll do it! I'll do it!" As I dug my way to the surface– all I wanted to do was cry. But I'm Spider-Fold, god%$*#!it. Out of breath and furious, I looked at my hands, grimy, the black nail polish almost scraped off. And as I looked up– my suspicions were confirmed.
I was exhausted, I was in pain... and I was angry... but most importantly, I was Spider-Fold.
By Sebastian “The Spider-Fold” Merrick
After the scuffle, he put his hands above his head, "Whoa, whoa, whoa! Easy, man, easy..."
I held him up by the shirt, "Tell me who you are, then we'll talk, Kraven."
He jumped up, taking his mask off. He looked a little bit like me, though a bit more tanned and maybe three years older. His hair was straighter too, though the same length as mine it clung to his chin more. He had glasses.
He smiled an awkward, crooked smile. "Hi. I'm not Kraven, I'm a friend. Clearly, you're a very distrusting person, I get it, I respect that. Hi."
I gritted my teeth, "Who are you?" I asked.
"Uh, I am..." he pulled out his puppet, "Doctor OrigOctopus!!" The puppet was based on Sam Raimi's version of the character, though I could hardly tell because the markings on it were so smudged.
"I- I mean- I used to be Spider-Fold but then... I got lost... and then I ended up here." He said.
"That's my question," I gestured around the place. We were along a gravel trail in the forest, it was foggy and it was cold. The grave I had just crawled out of, and was now standing in, was one of many. "Where... are we?"
He smiled, offering me his hand. In it, a puppet. My puppet, the Spider-Fold. "You dropped this, when he was burying you."
"Where are we?" I repeated.
He blinked "That's the question. Yup, ugh. That's the question, yup. Ugh." He blinked again, before offering me a handshake, "I'm James, by the way. James McLongway. And you are?"
I grabbed his hand, "Sebastian, Sebastian Merrick. Glad you could guide me."
As we walked, he spun me his tale and I spun him his. "See, kid, I was one of the Spider-Folds. Back in my day, we had a whole club."
I nodded, I wanted a club, "Did you now?"
He nodded back, "We did, yeah. They kind of drifted apart, though. We started carrying our burdens alone. And eventually, it became too much."
"I know that feeling." I said, "To feel so powerless and alone."
He smiled, "But we're never alone? Are we? When the Sinister Crease took everything from me, my- my girlfriend stuck with me. I called her my rose quartz. And then the Owl came."
I perked up, "What about the Owl?" I asked.
"I was onto something, y'know. Even though I was expelled, I was- I still- I still knew too much. It was my fault."
"It's not. It's not your fault."
"Yes, it is! I refolded my puppet, I fought the Owl and his Sinister Six... I thought I could be the Superior Spider-Fold, and it turned out all I was was Doctor Octopus. A weak and withering corpse. And
now she's gone. And I'm here. And I guess your question always was, well... where is here?"
As we exited the woods, I noticed the tile artwork in which we stood. Where once was a
lightning bolt, was now an owl... and there was something... a small letter. Right there in the middle.
I stepped forward, opening it, tearing the rose shaped sticker off. In rich, velvety-font it read:
Welcome back to Caesar Middle School, Spider-Fold. We've been waiting for you…
And that's when everything hit me. The graves... the prison in New York... the school… everything truly had lead up to this moment.
Whoever the Owl was, they wanted Caesar closed. Who closed it? Me. Whoever the Owl
wanted on their project, they had hunted by heroes. Who was their hero? Me. Everything– it was all me. I had been a pawn, and what scared me the most is I didn't know for how long.
I turned to face James, "Where does the Owl keep his prisoners?" I asked.
He nodded, "They're kind of everywhere around here. This whole place is a prison. Why? You lookin' for someone?"
"As a matter of fact, I am."
He nodded, "The place you should check out is the web."
I pulled out my phone, "Yeah, no service here. Almost dead anyways, no help."
"No," he said, pointing in the familiar direction of what was once Camp Jupiter, "The web."
"What's the password?" Eli, at the front desk, asked me.
"Eli, it's me." I said.
"I don't know you. And that's Senior Eli to you," he pulled out his El Muerto puppet, "I'll Muert on you!"
I laughed, "What else do I have to live for?"
Eli sighed, "What puppet do you have?"
I lifted up my puppet, which now had tears in the mouth area, creating a large smile, "Venom." I said.
He flashed me a devil sign, "Let there be carnage, man."
"Yeah," I said, "Let there be carnage..."
As I made my way in, they stopped James at the door. "Dude! For the last time, I'm Doc Ock! Doctor OrigOctopus!"
"When you came in here, you were Superior Spider-Fold. A hero. No heroes allowed."
I looked at Eli, "Let him in... or we'll eat off your fold. And your creases. And you'll go flying… like a piece s%*$ in the wind..."
He gulped, "Oh my lord... oh jeez..." he said. And he let James in.
The scene from within the camp was pandemonium, people were dancing around, many I
recognized, in skirts. In the grass, an Origami Mandarin, an Origami Mindworm, and an Origami Malekeith passed around a blunt.
Upon seeing me, a couple of my old enemies eyeballed me, but other than that... the place
seemed like a safe haven.
I stepped forward, towards a throne. At the edge of the throne there was a woman, her hair was long with braids going down the sides. She had a plastic crown on, and her forehead was speckled with googly eyes. She was being fanned by two kids with large leaves.
"That's Madame Web," James explained, "She's the queen around here."
I smiled, "Madame Web," I said.
She ignored me, looking at the peasant next to her, "Jimothy, who is this?"
Jimothy checked his click board, "This is... origami Venom."
She nodded, "Fix that pun, darling," she said, "Have you tried Penom? Shrednom, perhaps?
You should try Shrednom."
Naturally, I kneeled, "Oh, lady Web-"
"What are you doing? " James asked.
"No, no," Madame Web said, "I like this one. But please, darling, call me Vietch Jimenez. If my name wasn't something I liked, I wouldn't have kept it after the transition." She smiled, "What brings you to the web, darling?"
I spun her my tale, from beginning to end. It took the better part of the morning away, leaving me starving and with a cracked throat by lunchtime. "I tell you this, Ms. Jimenez-"
"Misses. I am married."
"-To ask for help. I am leading a revolt against the Owl and all of his tyranny."
The entire colony burst out laughing, Vietch nearly tearing up, "YOU?? LITTLE BOY, HELLO??" She got up from her throne, knocking me on the head, "HELLO?? ANYBODY HOME? What makes you think that you could stop an empire like what they have?"
I smiled, "Grit. Sass. And sarcasm. To name a few. Look, you need not get involved, I just need to ask– would you happen to know where I can find an MJ Astley?"
"Sebastian?" A voice asked behind me. I turned, and that's when I saw... her. She wore a thick flannel jacket, and had a scar down her eye, but it was... her. I couldn't help myself. I ran toward her, wrapping her in my arms.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry..." My legs grew weak, and soon I collapsed forward. Still, she held my head up, and let me cry into her as she scratched my hair.
"It's okay, it's okay," she assured, "I love you." She said.
I smiled through the pain, "I love you too..." From behind me, another hug. This one from
Ximena. I had my friends with me. We were all together again and for the first time it was happy. MJ sighed, "Sebastian, please tell us you have a big, bombastic plan to get us out of here."
"Well, about that-"
"Sebastian Merrick!" A voice boomed. It was Fizzarolli. "The Owl will see you now..."
The Battle of the Labyrinth
By Sebastian “The Spider-Fold” Merrick
I'm not coming out of the shadows. Though they're rancid with cobwebs, at least they're safe. When Tombstone brought me into what was once Angela Emily's mansion– he vanished, leaving me alone in this labyrinth. And this wasn't like the labyrinths at Athens, no. This one was real.
And it was terrifying.
In the darkness I hid, scared of the light. But it always bring me back to the Owl...
As I return to it's statue, I drink from it's fountain. I shouldn't– I know I shouldn't. But I'm thirsty. I'm just so thirsty. It's like every part of me is crying out and screaming "bloody murder!" I take a sip, and only a sip, careful not to drink too much. As I stumbled back into the darkness, stumbling through a whole. Hell, a chasm, about six feet around, landing in a pile of grass. I got up, noticing my surroundings, the only light coming from the hole up above. It was square shaped. Unnatural.
They brought me down here to tell me a story– and this was only chapter one. Glittering in the light, there was a sign. It read: Arthur Conan Doyle Academy. Behind the sign, a push door, like the kind schools built in the 80s had. The paint was peeling off, and the color the red stripe that ran through it was muted and dull.
I pushed my way through the doors and was met with the harsh lights of whatever this place was...
Lockers lined the walls, not a single crack was in the tiled floors and the fluorescent lights hummed above me. This was, in fact, a school. I walked down the corridor, going straight. The only thing out of place being that each light shut off as I passed it, nudging me outwards and into the light.
At the end of the hallway, a television, one of those old ones that teachers would wheel in to play VHS tapes. Beneath it, on its cart, was a VHS tape.
Hesitantly, I put it in. The first couple of seconds it played nothing but static, followed by a flash of images. Two friends running around with an Origami Sherlock Holmes and a Doctor Watson, playing around in their backyard, covers for "The Strange Case of Sherlock Foldes," stuff like that. Finally, it settled on a security camera footage of a tall, tall man, thin as a needle at a desk, and behind it a much more burly man, clearly the principal, signing a paper. Once the tall man had his contract sign, he left. And once he turned around I saw the face of Karl Blonsky Jr. – though I knew that couldn't be the case. What did I really see? Blonsky himself.
It was evident to me, right then and there, what I just watched. EduFun's owner signing his first deal, the start of something... terrifying, and years older than anyone could have imagined. I continued down the hallway, meeting a doorway.
Above it, it read: McQuarrie Middle School. Now it was getting interesting.
As I walked in, I was met with a bunch of little kids in owl masks running around with blank white puppets, the only markings on them being blank white eyes. They ran towards me, the tallest barely reaching my chest. Among the crowd, one of them stared at me. His mask was different.
He was a rat. He stared me down from within his mask, a tail trailing out of his pants.
I kept walking, and they ran off, pretending like I wasn't there. At the end of the corridor, there was another rat, signing and handing out books, on the cover it read: The OriRat With A Human Body- By Foldy Wan Kenobi.
I kept walking, eventually coming across a wasp. It buzzed and it hummed, and guided me down a sharp left, ending at a scarecrow at a school desk. Straw stuck out from where its hands and feet go, but the suit gave away who it was supposed to be– Karl Blonsky. The wasp landed on his head, and I heard the sound of whirring, mechanical, metal. Fake. Without saying a word, FunTime's owner raised his arm... and shot himself in the head.
The next doorway led me upstairs, the next door reading: Tolkien Middle School. Tolkien looked just like McQuarrie– the only difference being that outside the school, red, orange, and yellow strands of paper flipped and flapped through the air, illuminating the room like fire and flame, before eventually... being vanquished. At an intersection between the schools, a man entered, this one wearing a golden mask. Still, though. He was an owl.
And he looked down at a younger child in a rat's mask, took it off, and ruffled up his ginger hair, placing an owl mask on him instead.
I chased after him, but he saw me, ran off, and when I turned the corner he was gone.
The next school was... Kirby Academy, the old shut down High School here in Madison, and lining the walls of the place? Faces upon faces, thousands of them, printed out and posted up on the walls.
Kane High School? The same thing, only at the end of it there was an animatronic. A giant, animatronic owl covered in paper machete feasting upon an origami bat.
Tantalized, I kept walking. Rapids Middle School, the floor was a map of the entire town, I kept running, finally finding myself...
At Athens. A sharp ringing was caught in my ear, and the hallway I was on was still smeared with what looked to be my blood. This isn't real, I had to tell myself. But the voices in my head were arguing otherwise. One thing was clear.
I walked down the long corridors, finally finding myself... here. In my Father's classroom. The desks were rearranged, organized in a "U" shape, the faces of the OrigOlympians assigned to each chair.
The intercom buzzed to life:
They watch you in your hearth..." The owls cooed, "We are owls of your children... Ruling behind our masks..." Whispering, I heard whispering, "We hunt those unworthy, those made of glass..."
"Our talons are everywhere... they watch and they wait... if the council judges you unworthy… then banning is your fate..."
"We feel no guilt or pain," they're chanting now, "We do what needs to be done. Beware,
Sebastian Merrick, for our reign has just begun..."
I busted my way through the final door. It was a large, dark room, with big windows outside. The campus' trees and forests were rained on from outside. The floor is raised up along the edges, making the thrones appear higher. On the thrones, I noticed a few:
Ximena's Mother, Angela Emily, Kenzie Luna, Karl Blonsky Jr. (It figures they'd plant some fake victims in there), Guillermo Valenzula, Fizzarlli Cannoli and Tom Run But the real kicker?
In the throne up front?
I had already figured it out– I was just too scared to believe it. He stepped forward, down the steps, slowly, inching, confident and unafraid.
Dane Jackson smiled, “Ready for the final chapter?”
THE FINAL CHAPTER
By Sebastian “The Spider-Fold” Merrick
He sighed, "We could've been something special, y'know? You could've been one of us." He shook his head, "But you had to go sticking head into places you weren't supposed to..." he sighed, "Because that's what heroes do, right? They stop being heroes after a while and eventually- they're like us. Gods. Not those lousy origami gods, no. Real gods. With real power. Power over truth, because that’s where everything lies! That's what you could've been, loser."
He pulled a knife out of his pocket, holding it up to me as the council looked down. The blade
pierced my skin, and he smiled as the blood dripped onto his blade.
"I could kill you," he said, "But that honor's not for me."
The walls flashed to life, blinding me. Images of Kraven stared me down, their heads following me as I trailed around Dane, their blank heads cooing at me like birds, or like part of some hivemind.
"I want you to see what's about to happen... I want you to watch what the world will become, I want you to see yourself be forgotten. Then. Then I'll let you die."
The screens around me changed... And I only realized right then and there that the Wall was only the beginning…
Welcome to the Democratization of Media... we are eager to get to know you :DD !! Rule One:
Rule Two: We are eager to get to know you…
Dane clapped his hands, pointing at the screens, "We have a plan for everyone! Free of charge too!"
Three Red Flags That The Origami Ghost Busters Were Always Neurotypical Narcissists Trauma Dump Gaslighting You Into Systemic Privilege and Internalized Reverse Racism Again Postmodern Origami Ghosts With Facts And Logic! (Number 7 will make you hate
Sign This Petition To Remove Content Warnings From The OrigBoys by Jiniuhunter…
CLICK HERE FOR MORE BUZZWORDS AND AND PIECES OF THINK!
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"Before proceeding," Dane smiled, "You must... agree to our terms of service, now, don't you?"
I held up my video camera, "Uh, no, not- not really."
He lunged for me, "You little cracker-"
"PROOF!" I screamed, "PROOF!" I jumped back, "Careful now, motherf$*$er! I got screenshots, a will to live, and forty dollars worth of Red Bull in my blood and I only had ONE OF THOSE THINGS yesterday!" I punched him in the nose, "F$*" you, jigsaw looking a$*."
"F$&$! That's my f$(#ing nose, you b$*$#!"
I skedaddled out that their doorway. Easy as that. I was free, I was moving, and oh. Oh. Kraven, yeah. Almost forgot 😅
A swarm of them, a murder, if you would chased me as I ran through the Labyrinth. I was Theseus, and this was my minotaur. After finding an exit, I ran. I ran and I ran, realizing my plan
had fallen through. I pulled out a paper clip, flattening it out.
I sighed, Time for plan B, I guess. I ran into the belltower, picking the lock. I knew how to do it pretty well, too, I spent months investigating Chase's death. Trying to figure out who did it only to come to the same conclusion as everybody else- it was Kaitlyn. It was the one part of the building I knew I was safe– and where I knew he would be. My personal Kraven, the one that's tormented me. I made my way up the stairs, for once, completely unsure of what was about to happen.
I knocked on the door on instinct, but to my surprise I heard a familiar voice: "Come in!" He beckoned.
The final floor of the belltower had no bell, the holes that allowed it to ring were more like windows than anything. The ceiling was lined with photos of me and poor recreations of the Spider-Fold.
Sitting on a small, shirtless bed, staring at me with deer-like eyes and a Paul Dano smile, was Chase Kemp. "Hi." He said.
It was the only answer that made sense. The history with Flynn, the people he went after. When it hit me everything fell into place. Chase didn’t die, he couldn’t have. His Momma was Angela Emily, rich family… Angela and Silver who are part of this… Court of Owls? Isn’t that DC? Whatever, who cares. He was 12 when he was pronounced dead, closed casket funeral they said… they didn’t invite me, even though I was closest to him.
Same night he died, had a meeting with Angela about my “future,” whenever I fought back against her, they took everything from me, when I continued… that’s when Chase arrives, to clean up the mess I made. If all of this ties back to me then when they erased me…
They would need someone like Chase Kemp, someone moldable… someone willing to get rid of anyone and everyone who remembers the Spider-Fold…
I took a seat facing him.
"Hi," I said back.
"I understand." I said.
His smile grew wider, and I hugged him, and he cried into me. "I didn't wanna do it-" he said, "I didn't want to. I didn't want to, I didn't want to, I- I wanted you to save me, I'm so-" I patted him on the back.
"It's okay... I got you now, it’s okay. Let's get you of here. I'm gonna get you help, okay?"
"I- I would like that but... how?" We looked down below us, a legion of Kravens had us
surrounded on all sides. Chase looked at me, and I could see in his eyes what he thought. We were completely, and utterly doomed. But I thought otherwise...
I produced what I'd been looking for at Caesar- the beacon arrow. Peyton, Artpollo, used it. It was like any other arrow except it doubled as a giant firework.
Very dangerous in the house, and not recommended for forests. But perfect for here.
"What are we gonna do?" Chase asked.
I smiled, "Well, look to the skies," I smiled, "Follow the beacon."
I approached the ledge. Chase shook his head.
I fired the arrow off into the gray sky, the flame behind it sparkled white hot, like I’d just shout a web. When it exploded it shot out the sun’s rays fizzled down to the ground like a cartoon spider’s legs.
And soon, they emerged. All of them. All of the people I saved, all of my friends. My family, from the shadows and trees, like ghosts.
I turned my back to the ledge, biting my lip. "C'mon," I offered him my hand.
He shook his head, "No- no- not again. I’ll fall.”
I smiled, "You're right. Too bad I disagree. And besides, danger's my middle name."
"Thought it was Preston."
I snorted, "That's right. I'm Sebastian Preston Danger Merrick."
"How am I gonna be sure I'll live?"
I smiled, "I DUNNO KNOW!" I waved at MJ, who was fighting off a Kraven, "BABY GIRL! IS IT SAFE!" She pointed at a mattress.
I gave Chase a thumps up, "It's safe. Now c'mon.”
“HOW DO I KNOW!?” Chase asked, “HOW DO I KNOW THAT I WON’T DIE AGAIN!?”
I turned my back to the ledge, and I smiled, “You don’t. That’s all it is, Chase, it’s a leap of faith.”
And I fell.
I fell and I fell, feeling free as a bird. The air raced around me at breakneck speed and... I lived. WAIT, HOW DID I LIVE!?
I gave Chase the thumbs up and... he took his leap. He's building speed, and... he's missing the mattress. No. No. Not again, and... I caught him.
In my arms. I caught Chase Kemp.
Once I propped Chase back up on his feet (That's gay,) I bolted. We all bolted. All of us, Johnny rode atop Vietch's shoulders, James and Logan gave each other their secret
handshake, Dally flirted with Ximena, it was... perfect. I had friends again, I had family. Chase,
MJ, Ximena, Logan, James, and Vietch... they understood me. The armies of rogues that
followed Vietch, they all- they all understood me more than I knew.
Only one problem.
Standing at the familiar exit, Dane Jackson. Blood dripped from his nose, so he held a handkerchief to it, but with the other hand he he held a gun.
“You’re not,” He said, “You’re not gonna walk through those doors!” He fired a shot at Ximena, that missed. “ABSOLUTELY NOT!”
I smiled, “Dane. Baby boy,” I approached him, “And then what?” I gestured at the dozens of people around me, “ANSWER ME, BRUH! AND THEN WHAT! DO IT, CRACKER! PULL THE TRIGGER! YOU WON’T! NO BALLS!”
“LOOK ME IN THE EYES, BITCH! DO IT, RIGHT NOW, C’MON! C’MON!”
He hesitated for a moment… sweat beading from his face. In that moment, a metal bat swung and hit him over the head. The bat beat down upon him, over and over, and my eyes directed to who it was above him. It was a Kraven. He wore one of those big, poofy silver jackets, and had the same mask that Chase did, though he fought with more viciousness. Dane was a bloody pulp, but this Kraven, he was… he was far more dangerous…
He took off a mask as my gang balled their fists, and we gazed upon the face of… Hayden Macintosh.
“Hey, everyone.” He said.
“I told you,” He said, “Loser. I got your back. I’m at the camp.”
“Hayden, you- I- you-” He smiled, “What? I what?”
“You saved my life,” I said.
“Yeah, don’t mention it. Anyways, we gonna get out of here, or what?”
“How we gonna get out of here?” Johnny asked, his hoarse and rough voice… well, hoarse and rough.
Hayden patted down Dane, pulling out a ring of keys,, “We could steal maybe five to seven cars.”
“No, no, no, we- we can’t, we-” MJ began.
But we were off. After finding the parking lot, it became pretty easy, if I do say so myself. In the front seat, MJ sped off with Vietch in the passenger. This left me in the backseat with Hayden and Chase… my kids. My babies.
“So… Chase… This is Hayden.”
Hayden pointed at Chase, “You are dead.”
“I got better, my Momma was f%#%ing OriGod.”
“You were Flynn’s friend, right?”
He sighed, “Yeah, I was.”
“You were the only thing that made him happy. I guess we’re both Flynn’s brothers.”
“I guess we are.”
Hayden touched Chase’s face, “God, this is just… insane… you’re not dead…”
Chase rubbed the bruises on his knees, “Kind of wish I was, to be honest…”
“I get that, man.” I said, “I mean, look at all I’ve been through.”
Chase nodded, “We’re pretty #%#^$ed. Like, mentally.”
“Hey guys,” MJ said, “You guys wanna stop at Sonic?”
“Late night Sonic with the boys?” I asked the boys.
“Hell yeah!” Chase exclaimed.
“Don’t say that.” I said.
We parked in the Sonic, all of us smiling. As we waited for our food, MJ turned on the radio, changing it to a classic rock station. As Chase dug into his burger, he looked like he was about to cry, “Oh my god, first burger I had in years.”
“I wouldn’t be able to live, man.” MJ said.
“Hey, Uh, Mac,” Chase began, “When did you have, like… When were you a woman?”
“Like, a year or two ago.”
Chase nodded, “Oh- Oh, okay.”
“Do you- Do you need a recap… of everything?”
“I mean- I mean no, it’s just. So much has changed, y’know?”
I nodded, “Yeah. OrigOlympus is gone, Xander and Mallory are redeemed, Me and MJ got together. Things have changed a lot man.”
Hayden put his arm around Chase.
“Is- Is Flynn-” Chase began.
Hayden hung his head, and I thought about my encounter with him. “No, no,” I said, “Flynn, he’s- he’s worse.”
“Oh.” Chase said.
“Yeah…” We all said.
“What’s her deal,” Chase asked, pointing to Vietch. Vietch was taken a back.
“I- I’m from California, I moved here to investigate. I’m a bit of a detective, y’know.”
I handed her the video camera, “Every good detective needs her evidence.”
She nodded, “Thanks, man. I’ll- I’ll be sure this ends up in the right hands. I already have a few contacts in mind…”
She smiled, “Thank you.”
“Y’know, I’d take them down myself but-” I looked at MJ from the rear view mirror, “I think it’s better I sit this one out. Take a break, y’know? I deserve one.”
Chase nodded, “I- I don’t think I could take a break.”
“Yeah, me neither,” Hayden said.
Hayden and Chase cheered their burgers together, “To not taking breaks.” They said.
“Cheers.” Chase said.
After dropping Chase and Hayden off at his Mom’s place. (Good luck, sailors.) It was just me, Vietch, and MJ in the car. We passed by a few of the other rich, fancy cars that other kids had stolen, even noticing James and Logan nodding their head along to the music.
Vietch held onto his video camera, “Where do you want this?” I thought about it for a moment, and thought about the notes I’d been taking.
“I dunno know, man. Could you gimme a while to think about that?”
After dropping Vietch off at her own place, it was just me and MJ. It’d always been me and MJ. I grabbed Vietch’s seat up front, and for a moment, it was just the two of us. It was me, and it was the woman that I loved. A woman who’d always been there for me.
We stared off at the night sky, the two of us in complete bliss.
“Did you really mean all that?” She asked, “The stuff about no more Spider-Fold?”
I thought about it for a moment, before nodding, “Yeah. I- I think I’m done.”
She smiled, “Thank you,” she said.
“For what?” I asked.
“For taking me in, all those years ago. I never- I never did thank you for that.”
“Oh please, you more than made up for it. You took me in like I was a stray.”
She nodded at her puppet, “The Origami Black Cat has a thing for strays.”
“I mean, so does… “
She raised an eyebrow at me, “Not Spider-Fold. Sebastian Merrick… you’re really gonna hold me to that, are you?”
She nodded, “Uh-huh.”
“God, I love you.” I said.
“I love you too,” She said.
She stopped the car once we reached Debbie Don’s, “It appears,” She said, “That you reached your destination.”
Wednesday, December 25th
It’s Christmas Day. The Council of Owls still hasn’t been defeated yet, and they still watch me. Vietch Jimenez and Tilly Waterson work tirelessly to get the word out to someone, anyone, who can make a difference. But it feels like no one will listen.
And even Hayden and Chase have gotten involved, the hunters hunting. They’re broken, and they’re flawed, like me, but I know that soon they’ll get to rest too. They stalk all of us, they send threatening letters. Dane Jackson went missing yesterday. I can already see: Things will get worse before they get better.
I’m starting to see now, I’ve been the hero that Wheeler needs. But not the one that I deserve. I see now, that working alone can’t change the past. It only ruins your future. Mine, and everyone else’s. I have to become less-- people deserve hope, and that’s what I gave them. In my time, I let everyone know that there was someone out there for them, someone looking over the friendly neighborhood.
Without gods and heroes, this world is angry, and it’s broken. Like me.
I had the strength to fight, but now all I need is the strength to endure.
My children are safe, and my responsibility is fulfilled.
And all my rats are fed.
You know I couldn't hurt a fly, my friend
I'm not the type to step on ants
I've nearly cried for moths that die at porchlight lamps
More for the plights of mice than men
See, I myself have been stepped on so many times
It's started to feel like my place
I've failed to fit in into those nests that scrape the sky
Is there room for me in your cage?
Animals are people too, but these people are animals
Hunt in packs and act as though that proves we can't survive alone
And I guess we just evolved disgust for prevention of infection though
Shame was an invention made for prisons, pales, and pest control
Yeah, sure, thumbs are great and all
But I just get bear necessities, hakuna matatas and c'est le vie's
Que sera sera's, what a crock!
I mean, big talk for a chimpanzee
You might seem behind bars, but friend, this cage is inside out
It's awful out here, Socrates!
I've never understood what humans do and want
It's quite confusing to me to try to connect
Never learned how I should feel, instincts somehow stunted
Just seem haunted by my stupid urge to protect
Until frustration makes me wish my teeth were sharp as yours
Chew through their garage doors, these carnivores will no more use my heart
They'll call me crazy but their words all seem made up to me
Maybe they just need more friendship like yours
So gather around Pandora's Skinner's Box, look through the one-way mirror
If you can see in shades of gray the colors are much clearer
Oh, my friend, you've got a friend in me
Let's go and make more enemies
Although my eyes face forward, climb up on my shoulder
Sure you'll see my point of view, I'd bring you with me
To my office in my pocket, but the world would put us down
Lock me up and toss the key
You might seem behind bars, but friend, this cage is inside out
It's dangerous out here, Socrates!
It's lonely out here, Socrates!
Afterword and Acknowledgments
By SF Hades
There is a debate among Spider-Man fans: “Should Peter Parker be allowed to be happy?”
And I think the answer to that question is a bit too complicated for me to answer, but I’ll give it my best shot anyways. Spider-Man works best when you throw everything at him, the good and the bad. When you take everything away from him, but let him see that light at the end of the tunnel. That old Stan Lee quote I mentioned way back, I found it: “You could be any kid. You could be Black, you could be Asian, you could be Indian, you could be anything and you could imagine that you’re in that costume. And I think that that’s what made it relevant, to anybody everywhere, and that was accidental, I mean I don’t think we planned it that way, but, uh-”
This is a Spider-Man who’s like me. Sebastian Merrick is a character I’ve written about for two years now, and in this time he’s been along side me as I became who I am today. And all of these characters, from MJ, to Dane, from Hayden to Chase, they’re all so close to my heart that I feel like they’re part of me.
If there’s one thing about this story that I’m worried about, it’s this: It’s too dark. And you’re right, it’s a bit much. Being buried in your best friend’s grave, being gangstalked, being kicked out of your parent’s house. The trauma, the neglect, it was genuinely… taxing, yeah, that’s the word, taxing, to write a story like this. But I think that’s what I see in Spider-Man as a character, it’s about getting up.
Whenever you’re going through it, whenever you don’t have this site, those who put out good into the world will receive good. Those with great and power and those who choose great responsibility, are the ones who deserve families, who deserve love, or even just a piece a chocolate cake from your neighbor.
So, the question is, should Spider-Man get to be happy? I think, yes.
And a lot of you have made me happy.
The first person I’d like to thank is Origamiluke100, Peyton. Peyton’s a dear friend of mine, and he’s genuinely someone I consider like a brother to me. He’s one of four people I based Sebastian on, and that means a lot. Peyton, brother, I wish you well. It’s ironic, I guess, that Peyton be the first person who edited my first story, he’s been the person I counted on most in this three year journey.
The second person who I want to thank is Noah! Right before the MOU ended, Noah had a simple request: He wanted the MOU to continue. He had a few ground rules, and I made sure to follow them to a tee. Anyone can tell you that Noah is one of the nicest and most genuine people you’ll ever meet.
I’d like to honor my surrogate son, Donatello, I see a lot of myself in you, that same snarky attitude, that same sense of sticking it to others. Take it from me, that can get you into some sticky situations, but I’m always gonna be here for you.
Out of all the superfolders, I’d like to thank CD the most. Though he’s not as active on the site, he’s been a longtime friend of mine over Discord, and even though I plan on taking a break from social media (Why? Well, read chapter seventeen) I still want to stay in touch with him for years to come, he’s genuinely a great guy, and his relentless support of this project was much appreciated.
I’d like to throw in thanks to SLS, Guillermo, Origami_Master53, and again, Peyton, Noah, and CD for introducing fan favorites like OrigVenom, Namorigami, the Amazing Spider-Fold, The BatFold, Captain Marfold, and Doctorigami Strange.
And I’d like to thank a special thanks to Lee Clark, who knows what he did.
Thank you, good night.