Teen-Age Spider-Girl Part 1

Josephina Johnson was an average High School student. She was one of the unnoticed kids with an knack for staying in the shadows. But that's all about to change her Senior Year when she finds herself with unnatural powers like sticking to walls and shooting webs. Can she manage to keep her status as the quiet girl, but get the boy of her dreams to take her to Homecoming, all while battling a chain of bank robberies led by someone she may or may not know? Join Josephina and her friends in their quest to find answers.

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20. Being Shot

“Oh my gosh!  Jo, what happened to your arm?!”  Trish was freaking out when she saw me.  All five of my friends were hanging out at Tyler’s.  They must’ve been surprised to see me come in through Tyler’s bedroom window, but all the attention was on my new bullet-hole.

“I got clipped by a bike messenger.”

“A what?”

“I don’t know.  Actually,” I laughed nervously, “I just got shot.”

“Oh, if that’s all…” Trish said, annoyed.  “Let me help you.”  She helped me to the bed and made me lay down.

“The pain is making my brain all discombulated.”

“Umm… discombobulated?” Tyler corrected.

“Yeah, see where I mean?  Er, what I mean?  I don’t even know what I’m saying.”

“You’re not on meds, are you?”  Sammi inquired.

“No.  Unless the bellut was druggen.  Er, uh… yeah,”  I said and winced at the pain.

“We need to get you to the hospital,”  Kyle said, concern on his face.

“Yep,”  I said.  “But I need to change my hair first.”

“Hair?  You mean you need to change your clothes?”

“Yeap.  I need to wear clothes…  I mean, instead of this,”  I said, gesturing to the spandex suit covering my body.

“What are you going to tell your mom?”  Colleen wondered.

“I don’t know.  How ‘bout the trun-- trut-- …  real deal for once?”  I stuttered.

“Are you sure you’re not drugged?”  Kyle asked.

“...No,”  I said.  “But I am sick and tied…  um, tired…  of lying to my mom.”

Everyone fell silent.  We all started at the knock on Tyler’s door.  “Tyler, dinner’s ready,” came his mom’s voice.

We all looked at him as he said, “Um, okay.  Just a minute, I’ll be right there.”  Then he turned to me, looking straight into my eyes and whispered, “Jo, if you tell your mom about this, she could be in danger.”

I don’t know if it was the intensity of the moment, or the intensity of the pain that kept me from speaking at first.  However, when I finally found the words I looked at all of my friends and asked a rhetorical question.  “Any more danger than all of you?”  None of them said anything.  “Besides, how is she in more danger knowing than she is not knowing?  ...It’s my enemies knowing my identity that will put you all in danger.”

Sammi sighed.  Trish nodded silently.  Colleen just stared off into space and Tyler looked at me intensely.

“Jo, we need to get you to the hospital, now,”  Kyle slowly stated, staring at my bloody arm.

“Yes, I know.”  I closed my eyes for a few moments while inhaling deeply.  When I opened my eyes there was almost tears.  “I--I’m…  losing a--a lot of…  of…  umm…”  I looked at my right hand that was glued to my wound, as if the word were written there.  “…blood.”  I started to whimper.  “L--l--l--let--let’s go.”  My whole body was shaking at this point and I couldn’t get up from the bed without help.  As soon as I stood up, the room was spinning.  Then I collapsed, and everything was black.

It was dark.  No matter which way I turned, I couldn’t see a thing.  Then I heard it, like thousands of tiny feet.  I felt them crawling all over me.  I looked down and suddenly I could see hundreds of spiders coming out of a whole in my arm.  I wanted to scream, but I was afraid some of them would go inside my mouth.  I tried to move my arm, shake them off, but it wouldn’t budge.  I didn’t understand what was happening to me.  Where were all these spiders coming from?  Why was there a whole in my arm?

Gradually, the spiders seemed to disappear and I could hear Tyler’s voice, then my mother’s.

“We were walking… the bank… heard gunfire… stray bullet… her arm…”

“…she okay?”

“She passed out… the car… way here.”

I could hear the voices, but the words made no sense.  Gunfire?  Bank?  Bullet?  Then a sting in my arm pulled me out of the haze and I sat bolt upright.  I came up faster than should be humanly possible, but when you consider the spider DNA in my, it’s not all that surprising.  I gazed around the room--it was empty except for the hospital equipment and the only sound was the beeping of a monitor, racing just as fast as the pulse running through my entire body.  Nurses rushed into the room to see why my heart-rate had suddenly skyrocketed, but by the time the first one in the room was halfway to my bed, my pulse had slowed to an almost-normal beat.

“Oh!  You’re awake.  How’re you feeling?”

I recognized the nurse as one of my mom’s closest friends, Pat.  “Fine,”  I said, then raised my right hand to my head.  “A little dizzy, actually.”

“That’s because you’ve lost a lot of blood,”  she said, gently pushing my shoulders back down on the bed.

I looked out the window and noticed that it had gotten dark.  “How long have I been out?”

“About four hours,”  the other nurse responded.  “You’re probably hungry.”

I hadn’t realized until then that my stomach was growling.  Loudly.  “Not really,”  I said.  My stomach groaned at me again and I looked down at it, as if that would make it stop.

The nurse gave me a once-over with her eyes and said,  “I’ll see what I can do.”  I smiled at her as she left the room.

Pat absently straightened the bed covers and fluffed my pillow.  “So, what happened?”

I wasn’t ready to tell anyone but my mom the truth, and I didn’t know what story my friends may have told, so I simply said,  “I got shot, I--I don’t remember.”

“I’m not surprised--you’re probably still in shock.”

“Yeah.  Does my mom know, yet?”

“She’s right outside.  Do you want to see her?”

I hesitated.  Maybe I wasn’t ready to tell her everything.  Pat gave me an expectant look, so I nodded my head and said, “Yeah.”

My mom practically ran to the bed to hug me.  My grandmother was not far behind.  “Oh, Jo, are you okay?”

“Yeah.  My arm still hurts a little, but not as much as it did to begin with.”

“They gave you some pain killers to help you rest better.”

“Well, that explains it,”  I said with a smile at my mother.

“Sweetheart, you must’ve been so scared,”  Grandma said.

“Yeah,”  I said softly and started playing with my fingers as my gaze shifted downward.  My upper left arm was bandaged to my torso so that it couldn’t be moved.  I was wearing a hospital gown with the words “CENTRAL LAUNDRY” printed on the top front in all caps.  What was I wearing when I got here?  Surely my friends hadn’t dragged me here in my black spandex spider outfit?

“Jo?”  Mom said, interrupting my thoughts.  I looked up into her eyes--those beautiful eyes that I hadn’t exactly inherited.  “Do you remember what happened?”

“Not really.”  I couldn’t do it!  It was so much harder than I had expected.  Where the truth had always come so naturally, something inside me now seemed to be changing, making it more challenging.  I didn’t like it, but I was lying to my mother.  Again.

“Tyler said that you were walking past a bank, and it was being robbed, and they had guns, and you somehow caught a stray bullet in your arm.  Does any of that sound familiar?”

I nodded slowly.  In reality, I was remembering five guns pointed right at me.  “Bits and pieces,”  I said.  As I thought back on what had actually happened, I considered how I managed

to evade the trajectories of five guns going off simultaneously.  Then how did one manage to sneak up on me?  Why had my “spider-senses”--as Kyle had called them--failed me then?

My grandma was sitting in the chair beside my bed.  She leaned forward as she said,  “You’re lucky it didn’t get you in the head or heart or lung.  You could’ve been killed!”

Suddenly, my mind--though it felt like my whole body--was jerked back to just a few hours before, when I was lying helpless on the floor inside the bank.

“You should’ve just killed him!”

“Her.”

“IT.  In fact, maybe I’ll go back and finish the job.”

“No, we got what we came here for.  Let’s just go…”

Fear.

That’s what I had felt--truly felt--at that moment for the first time in my life.  I really might have died that day…  If it hadn’t been for the one with the voice.  The very same who shot me in the arm was the one who stopped the angry guy form shooting my in the head or heart or lung.  To whom did that voice belong, and why did it sound so familiar to me?

“But she’s not dead.”  My mother’s voice pulled me back to the present in the small hospital room.  “That’s the most important part.”

Pat came back into the room accompanied by the other nurse who was carrying a plate full of mashed potatoes and gravy.  “This’ all that was leftover from dinner,”  she said.  “I hope you like potatoes.”

“Are you kidding--I love potatoes!  Thanks,”  I said as she set the plate down and adjusted my bed so I could sit up to eat.

“You can probably go home about Friday, but I hope you didn’t have any plans for the weekend.  The bullet hit a major artery and when you’ve lost as much blood as you have, you’re not going to have the energy to do anything.”

My heart sank.  “Homecoming’s on Saturday.”

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