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Part 4

The two machine men stepped out the door, looking as if they’d just stepped out of a museum gallery. They turned their helmeted head from side to side, as if waiting for further instructions. Jessica was thrown over the shoulder of the second mechanical knight and she was not moving. Dan rolled up his sleeve, determined to rescue her but the Red Spider had appeared beside him and he froze.

“We’re not going to get anywhere with our hands,” said the Spider in his gravelly voice, “we’re going to need something bigger.”

Dan followed the Red Spider to the trunk of the cab, keeping his eye on the machines. They seemed to have determined their course, as they both turned in unison and headed back in the direction they’d come. The Spider opened the trunk and handed Dan a sledgehammer. It was a massive tool, an old railroad spike driving hammer. The Spider wielded his like it weighed nothing, holding it over his head as he charged at the two mechanical kidnappers.

“Get the girl!” the Spider shouted, pointing to Jessica. Setting the hammer down, Dan pulled Jessica off the robot’s back. It turned slowly toward him, its metal hands reaching out to reclaim her. Before it could reach them, there was a massive crash as the Red Spider smacked it across its head. When it turned toward him its visor was dented and one small red light inside its head had broken. The first metal knight raised its hand and its fingertips suddenly burst into flame. The smell of gasoline was strong and the Red Spider had no choice but to duck back as the machine began to wave its five tiny propane torches at him. Dan saw the second robot heading for him and he placed Jessica gently on the ground and hefted the heavy hammer. The first blow came down hard on the robot’s outstretched hand. The gauntlet of its hand bent and twisted under the blow but Dan was not strong enough to lift the hammer a second time. The other cold steel hand of the metal knight gripped his throat, choking off his air supply. Blood began to rush into his face and he could feel himself blacking out. The sounds of the Red Spider pounding his opponent seemed to fade farther and farther away. Then suddenly the air came rushing back and Dan collapsed. The robot’s arm lay on the ground next to him as he coughed and the air was full of thick black smoke. The Red Spider stood over the smashed body of the first robot, a pool of flaming gasoline leaking out of it. The second robot knight was gone, having left broken arm behind it had fled into the night. Dan could hear the Red Spider panting as he walked toward him. The Spider dropped the sledgehammer and removed his metallic tool, the Spider’s Bite, from his pocket. Dan stood up, holding his throat, trying to catch his breath as well. He realized the Spider was not coming to his aid a second before it was too late. The Red Spider pressed the Bite against his neck. Dan stumbled back, a look of betrayal crossing his face but he could not read the Spider’s intent, not with the mask covering the vigilante’s eyes. The world began to blur and shake as Dan watched the Spider pick Jessica Kinkaid off the sidewalk.  Then everything went black and Dan too, was picked up and carried away by the Red Spider.

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