P R E V I O U S L Y I N
S P I D E R F I N G E R S
How Foley had got to living in such squalor was a total mystery to him and the burgeoning embarrassment of his foulness never once transmuted into a cleaning day. He considered his job of mimicry, how it had become his life; the T-shirt and red jacket, the jeans and yellow belt that kept the intense January winter cold out well, that Technicolor garb was no longer uniform, it had long since graduated to Foley’s every day wear. The ceiling-bound man-size poster of himself may as well have been a mirror hovering over him.
And there, something smoky and wispy, a liquid of darkest purple funnelled through the glittering water. Helpless was she in her resistance, the substance snatching around, strong as a wrestlers arm, yanking her torso into the glowing folds of the starry sea she had been swimming atop and only moments before. Down she dived, dragged down and under...deeper…and…further…and…then...The window. The opening to her below-surface house was wide open and Steph could barely comprehend the reality of the snaking purple liquid shooting out of it, muscling her inside, betraying her to the wooden floor of its front room. No, the room didn’t flood because this is Steph’s adventure - logic will not impinge upon its nature...
She picked herself up, but the achievement took herculean effort, her arms and legs exhausted from her swimming. She staggered through an exit to a front corridor, a passageway scattered with Dilf bodies. The macabre sight didn’t surprise her.
Speed was all that mattered now.
'Damn right I will,' said Steph, 'I mean, this place is in my head, but I've never been here before. Spiderfingers did this to me - I know it.'
'Operation Genie Bottle.'
Steph backed into a wall slumping with worry, 'Huh?'
'You're a way to save the world,' Alice said approaching her, 'Spider always knew that he was eventually going to get killed one day, so he and a few others infiltrated the lives of artists, writers, directors, anyone with the ability to render his story into the market place. The gods wouldn't know where to send their minions. They wouldn't even be a target to kill. How do you kill a product?'
'So, what...he wanted me to steal - er - to use Hero worship?'
Alice nodded, 'Writing about Spiderfingers was only part of the alchemy. He's left an effigy in your house somewhere. Anything in your room that you care about? Something with fire for hair?'
'Danger-Man', Gideon's Play-Doh man on the side of my bed, thought Steph, the man with the red hat. It wasn't a red hat, it was hair, red flaming hair...
'What does the effigy do?'
'With a Grapple worm inside it functions as a transmitter.'
'How is that even possible.'
'The world has rules that lay beyond what you used to consider...possible,' continued Alice, 'Spiderfingers is not at all as powerful as he'd like his enemies to know. Their fear of him comes down to the stories he's had his worshipers believe. Unfortunately, what we did to pass his consciousness onto you is not an exact science. You absorbed enough to protect yourself, because now the gods can see you.'
'I know. Someone in my head told me. A man with blue skin. To convert me was pretty easy, right? All you guys had to do was approach me during writer's block with some bullshit about Babushka stories.'
Alice's brow furrowed, and then it eased as though emotion was something she dared not explore, 'They took a long time for us to get right.'
Alice nodded, 'Bradley the Boy Wonder is a perfect allegory for the masturbatory nature of gods, although, it's the construct of the tales that we used to reel you in.'
'Red Herrings. Stories as bait. There was no main theme.'
'What is it?' asked Steph.
'Easy. What do gods want? What is it that they care about the most? The answer is sur - '
A loud crash of wood and glass blasted from downstairs.