15 February 2014 @ 09:11 pm
For the first time, Kaine noticed the three statues surrounding the well. He hadn’t intended to give them a second thought until he realized the center statue looked, to an uncanny degree, like him. Upon closer inspection, the statue to the left, the one of the child, resembled Peter--stupid haircut, huge round-rimmed glasses, nerdy sweater, and all. That left the statue on the right, the one of the old man, being the only one he couldn’t place. Kaine stepped towards it for a closer look. At first guess, the statue was of Richard Parker… or more accurately, of his brother, Ben, as it was too old to be Richard. But why? Why show him a statue of a man he never considered a father… or of a man he never considered an uncle?

Then, looking back at the previous two statues, it clicked: that wasn’t Ben or Richard Parker; it was him. When he had been younger, whenever he had dared to think of what he might look like as an old man in the impossible event he should live to see old age, he had always imagined he would look differently than the statue’s depiction. He had imagined himself to look as he had in the past, when he was still suffering from the degeneration, only with white hair and wrinkles. He stared at the statue, imagining it with a beard—which he had grown to hide the degeneration rapidly scarring his face, imagining the hair longer—shoulder length, as he used to wear it to conceal any remaining similarities to the man whose was created from. He imagined the scars that once crisscrossed his face. There was no doubt about it… that was supposed to be him.

This statue had his hair short, as he preferred it now, and though there were many lines that wrinkled his face, not one of them was formed by a scar. He was just… an old man. And that fascinated him.

Without thinking, Kaine reached up to touch the statue’s wrinkled face.

They were transported to the inside of a church, one that Kaine knew all too well. It was his church. The votive candles in the back were all lit, the only light coming from within the medium sized building. Natural light shone in through the stained glass windows on the sides and in the front of the church, the latter illuminating a figure standing behind the altar. It was an older priest with a large nose and pointed chin, who looked up at the group without the slightest bit of surprise that they were there.

“You have been dishonest to those you would call your friends. It is time to confess your sins to them, Kaine.”

No. Not again. Kaine sprinted down the aisle towards the man, his veins practically popping out of his neck in rage.

“Tell them of the innocents you killed,” said the priest as he stepped out from behind the altar.

“STOP!” Kaine screamed at the older man.

Only the older man no longer stood behind the altar. In his place was a woman with short blonde hair, dressed for winter in her light blue jacket and yellow gloves. Attached to the waistband of her jeans was a police badge identical to the one Kaine still clung to so tightly in his hand. On the left side of her face she bore a large burn scar…. She bore the Mark of Kaine.

“Tell them of the woman you murdered.” As the woman spoke, she turned her head at an impossible angle, until her chin rested well behind her shoulder.

“NO! YOU DON’T GET TO BE LOUISE! NOT AGAIN!” Kaine roared. It seemed that no matter how hard he ran, he got no closer to the front of the church.

Only “Louise” was no longer there. She was replaced by a man identical to Peter in every way, only with longer hair. Well, longer hair and wearing the original Scarlet Spider costume.

“Tell them of the brother you tortured,” said “Ben.”

“ENOUGH!” yelled Kaine and unlike his last two exclamations, this was no empty threat. He had finally reached the altar.

Before the shapeshifting figure could once more transform into the Jackal, as it had the first time they met, Kaine tackled it out the large stained glass window behind him.

They landed in an alleyway in Houston’s Third Ward, nowhere near the church. In fact, the entire church had vanished… replaced entirely by the web-covered alleyway. And just like the church, Kaine was all too familiar with this location. He glanced quickly to his left and sure enough, the dumpster was still overturned from when the male werewolf had ripped Aracely from her hiding place. The female werewolf’s red high heel was still on the ground not too far away… And he could smell the severed arm of the male werewolf that had been ripped off his body by his monster.

The monster currently beneath him, where the false Ben had been just seconds before. The creature was identical to Kaine in size and build… but that was where the similarities ended. It had six beady red eyes, two where a humans would be, two directly above them and the final two directly above those. It had no teeth, only long, sharpened fangs; it’s upper and lower canines of particularly long length. Its skin was grey, and on both its chest and back it bore Kaine’s Scarlet Spider insignia almost like a tattoo… only the spider on its back wasn’t entirely for show. Two of the “tattooed” legs sprung out from beneath its back, large, spider-like legs that weren’t all too dissimilar to Doctor Octopus’ metal tentacles… only they were the same grey color as the rest of him.

With two of these legs, his monster stabbed Kaine through the shoulders before tossing him up against the wall of the alley and rising to its feet. The creature was Kaine, but wasn’t. It was the Other.

Kaine!” cried a voice.

It was only then did Kaine notice Aracely. The closest thing he ever had to a daughter was trapped in the Other’s web, exactly as she had before, tears once again flowing down her cheeks from fear-filled eyes.

This holds you back,” said the Other, motioning to Aracely. Her braid flapped across her coat as she continued to struggle for her freedom, as she called out to Kaine to save her.

Kaine lunged towards his monster, but the Other was quicker, and he found himself slammed against the alley wall once more, this time trapped there by the Other’s webbing. It continued:

“I promised you greatness and all I asked in return was that you accept your true nature. That you embrace the Spider you truly are, and reject the Man you so pitifully attempt to be.”

“I wasn’t going to let you kill her!”

“Because I saw the truth. She makes you weak. They all do…” for the first time, the Other appeared to notice that they weren’t alone. It stared directly at Kaine’s unwitting passengers. “…even these new humans who think themselves spiders you’ve found.”

Aracely was crying harder now. “Kaine! Do something! You always know what to do!

Kaine was trying. He struggled. He tried to cut the webbing that trapped him with his stingers. Nothing he did brought him any closer to freeing himself from his monster’s web. The Other climbed its web and wrapped its hand around Aracely’s throat. Her eyes glowed blue as she tried to talk her way out of it, to use her fear powers to repel the creature. It was as futile as it had been the first time around.

Kaine! You’re supposed to be my champ—

Aracely never finished her sentence, as the Other’s stinger pierced her throat. Kaine screamed, the sound only stopping to give way to choked sobs.

He had failed her. Aracely was dead.