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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25. I Know Nothing

"You... how... you were... Pete..."  My mind was filled with a million and a half questions.  I finally settled on one topic and indignantly said, "You shot me!"

He raised his hands defensively.  "Hey, I had no idea it was you at the time!  I am sorry about that, by the way.  I was just doing my job."

"Your job."  My voice is shaking, both from anger and embarrassment.  "And this is your 'family emergency'."  I mock him with air-quotes.

"You're beginning to sound like Sammi."

I take my mask off just so he can see me glaring at him.

"Well, my... uh, boss, decided I needed to be on the job tonight."

"Because you found out I was Spider-girl, you told him, and he wanted you to stay away from me."

"No... yes... but no.  I didn't tell him."

"What?  Then how does he know?"

"I... I don't know.  He just seems to know things...  All kinds of things."

What?  How could someone just know things like that?  Finally I ask, "Who is he?"

"I can't tell you that."

Of course.  "How did you know, anyway?  About me?"

He waits a minute before responding.  "Well, when Sammi told me you caught a stray bullet from a bank robbery, I thought she was telling the truth.  And maybe she thought she was, too?"  He stops, watching me for confirmation.  I just look at him, not giving him anything.  He continues, "Anyway, when I saw you yesterday and I saw where you got hit, the coincidence was too great.  That's when I figured it out."

"Just then?"  He nods.  "You don't really have a problem with blood, do you?"  He shakes his head.  The puzzle is starting to come together, but there are still a few pieces missing, and more pieces than I thought there were to begin with.  What are they really after?  Who else knows my identity?  How is Pete involved in this and how long has it been?  What's in the envelope?

To whom does the second voice belong?

Unfortunately, I don't have time to ask any of those questions because my spider-sense is tingling.  I hurry to put my mask back on.  Then I stop and look into the eyes of the boy I've been in love with for almost two years.  "I'm sorry, Pete."  I web him to the wall.  "But I work for justice, and you're not getting away again."

"Jo, don't do this!  You don't know what you're up against!  I can help you!"

"Oh, because you've given my so many reasons to trust you right now?"

"I know you can't trust me, but take the envelope.  It has answers, just take it."

I hesitate, but the warning running down my spine gets stronger.  "I'm sorry," I say again.  I grab Pete's parachute pack and jump off the building as police storm the rooftop.

After swinging through the city going nowhere in particular, my anger diminishes.  Now all I feel is upset and sad.  I park myself on the roof of an apartment building, and begin to cry.

...

"Hey!  How'd it go?" Kyle asks.

"Did you find anything out?" Tyler wonders.

I'm back at Kyle's house.  His parents are in their room watching TV.  I can't even look at my friends as they ask for details of my... mission.  Yes, I found things out.  Pete's a lying, thieving, crook.  This whole thing is bigger than I think I can handle.  Yes... I found things out.  But I still don't know anything.  Finally, I say, "Um... yeah," and move my head up and down, still averting my gaze from their faces.

I don't even realize it, but we all stand there in silence for a while as Kyle and Tyler look at each other, and then at me.  I don't want them to see that my eyes are red from tears, and I don't want to talk about how Pete has betrayed my trust.  I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the idea that he's a criminal, a thief, and--worst of all--a liar.

"Jo?"  I startle at my name.  "Are... you okay?" Kyle asks me.

"Yeah."  I pull the envelope from the bank out of the backpack.  "I haven't looked inside, yet.  It's supposed to have answers."

Tyler takes it from my hand.  "'Supposed to have answers'--how do you know?"

"He told me."  I put the emphasis on he, hoping they won't ask if I've figured out who he is yet.

"And the backpack?"

"It's a long story," I say.  "Let's just see what's in the envelope."

We sit down on the couch as Tyler hands the envelope back to me.  "I think you'd better do it," he says.  I gently take it back from him and hold it in my lap.  I thought I had cried all my tears, but suddenly, it's like an invisible hand has turned on a faucet in my head and I can't hold back the water.  I'm so embarrassed.  If Trish were here, she would make everyone else leave and let me tell her what was up as soon as I was ready and could speak.  But my two guy-friends don't have that sensitivity.  They just sit on either side of me, not knowing what to do until I finally say, "Pete."

"What?"

"Pete.  He's the one who's voice I recognized.  He's the one who shot me.  And he's the one who's been lying to me and everyone else about who he really is.  And he's a criminal."  I can barely choke out the last sentence.

"Well, that sucks!"

I give out a little laugh, though still crying.  "Yeah, it does."

Kyle puts his arm across my shoulders and I can't help it.  I wrap my arms around his thin torso, finding comfort there, and cry into his shoulder.  I actually like this better than Trish's method.  "He said he couldn't go to Homecoming because of a family emergence, and then there he was, robbing another bank.  And who knows how long he's been involved in... whatever it is they're doing."

"Do you think he might've killed people?" comes Tyler's voice.

I pull away from Kyle, no longer crying, and say, "No!  I know he wouldn't do that!  He wouldn't let the other guys shoot me even when he didn't know it was me."

"Jo, he shot you in the arm."

"Yeah, the arm.  The other guy wanted to kill me.  Besides, he didn't even know it was me, yet."

"'Yet'?  Wait--he knows you're Spider-girl?" Tyler practically shouts.  Oops.

"Tyler, keep your voice down," Kyle warns, glancing at his parents' bedroom door down the hall.  "Jo, you didn't tell him?" he whispers.

"No," I say and they seem relieved, until I say, "He figured it out."

"What?  How?"

"Yesterday, when he saw where I'd been hit.  He figured it out then."

"Just then?" Tyler wonders.

"That's what he said."

"So, you talked to him?"

"Yeah.  I didn't have time to ask him very many questions, though, because the police got there too soon."  The tears start coming again.  "I just stuck him to the wall and left him there for them."  When I bring myself back together, I say, "But before I left, he told me I didn't know what I was up against.  Told me to take the envelope, that it holds answers.  But I haven't opened it because... because I'm afraid.  Afraid to learn that this is more complicated than we could ever dream."

"Well, are you gonna open it or should I?" Tyler says.

"Tyler!" Kyle chastises.  "Can't you see she needs a moment?"

"Oh!  Sorry, Jo."

"No, it's okay.  I--I'll open it."  I hesitate and then quietly laugh at myself.  "In a second," I say, mostly just to mock myself.  "Okay."  I take a deep breath and undo the seal at the top.  My fingers reach in and pull out a slip of paper the same size as the manila envelope in which it was contained.  When I see what's on it, I'm totally surprised and a bit confused.  "It--it's an equation."

"What?  Like a math equation?"

"Wait--let me see that."  Kyle takes the paper from me and looks it over.  Math and science are his best subjects.  He mumbles a few words as he looks at it.  "This is only part of an equation, but by the looks of it, it has something to do with radiation and some DNA for... genetic... alteration..."  He stops deep in thought, then slowly starts again.  "Jo... what if this... has something to do with..."

"What?  Has something to do with what?" Tyler pushes impatiently.

"Has something to do with how you got your powers?"  Kyle finishes.

The last time I've thought about how I got my powers was the day I discovered them.  It's never really crossed my mind since.  "But, that doesn't make sense.  Where did it come from?  Why me?  And why are... they--whoever they are---after it?"  I ask the questions aloud.  Then I hear a voice in my memory and whisper, "Who are they?"  After thinking for a second, I continue,  "Guys, I almost forgot.  Back at the bank, I heard Pete talking to someone else...  I didn't see them, but when I hear his voice...  it wasn't like when I recognized Pete's voice--I mean, it didn't even sound familiar to me.  But I just had this feeling like, I was supposed to know it, like it should be a part of me... or something...  And I have no idea why.  And he knows who I am."

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