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Part 15

“Take her aboard the ship!” Professor Irons shouted to his men. Jessica struggled and fought but the two guards were too strong, too big for her to escape from.

“Careful! I want her to look her best!” Irons ordered as they walked past. The Red Spider stood nearby, surrounded by four armed guards, his face as emotionless as stone.

“Look her best for what, Irons? What exactly do you think you are doing here?” The Spider hissed.

“This is the Wabet. Do you like it?” Irons said. His mechanical voice echoed through the hanger, making him sound even less human than he normally did. “A wabet is a place where mummification occurs.”

“I know what the word means, Irons. What I asked you was what are your intentions? You kidnapped an innocent woman, killed her father and for what? To ride in an elaborate Egyptian style air ship?”

The Professor lashed angrily, faster than the Spider was expecting, his steel fist wrapping around the Spider’s neck.

“I already told you, this is more than an airship! The balloon is to give us altitude, once we’re above the cloud, the Wabet will take us to the next life!”

Professor Irons released the Spider but before the hero could recover one of the guards smashed him across the back of the legs with a wooden baton. The Spider dropped hard to the ground, his knees buckling. Instead of anger, the Spider only smiled. Jessica Kinkaid screamed as they took her below the deck of the strange, sealed rocket ship.

“It’s never going to work, Professor. No one has ever managed to leave the planet, not even with a rocket. I doubt a crazy old man who’s barely human anymore is going to somehow manage to become the first man in space. With a balloon.”

The Professor strode toward the Spider again, raising his metal fist, but the motors in his steel exoskeleton began to groan and hiss. An attendant suddenly appeared to assist the old man, a doctor of some kind who directed the Professor toward the ship.

“Bring this loud-mouth aboard as well. We’ll dispose of him when we reach the upper atmosphere.”

The two guards took Jessica to a large cabin inside the ship and locked her inside. She banged on the door as hard as she could, kicking and screaming until she almost tore the dress they’d put her in. Exhausted, she collapsed into a black leather chair and began to weep. It had been a strange week for her and she regretted ever meeting Jeremy Irons. She’d only dated him to annoy her father and it had worked. The old man was barely mobile on his own and his hands had been replaced with metal prosthetics, so it wasn’t as if he could demand or even perform the kind of functions most men would expect from her. All she’d ever done was accompany him to parties and events. When they were alone she’d serve him drinks and fetch cigars. Sure, there was sexuality between them; Jessica had stripped and teased him on a few occasions, she’d even played around with other girls for his amusement. Nothing worse than anything she’d done as a young girl, learning the power of her own sexuality. There was no way she could ever have predicted the type of insanity she was now caught up in.

Drying her eyes she looked around the room, taking in for the first time how lavish and expensive it truly was. The wood was all handcrafted oak, streamlined to be part of the ship. There were no windows but there were expensive paintings of different places around the world, places that seemed simple, peaceful and quaint. There was a large bed with pillows and blankets of soft brown that looked comfortable and inviting. A small desk in the corner with a massive mirror had been set up and there was an array of the latest make-up and beautician supplies. The room was lit with decorate candles inside glass bubbles that seemed to float about the room. It amazed her that a man with such a cold, cruel, heart could have such a flair for design. There were chests against the right hand wall, and a large closet on the left. Jessica walked over to the chests and opened the first one. Inside were stacks of money, all brand new and carefully wrapped in bundles of a hundred thousand. It was more money than she had ever seen in one place in her entire life and her father had been incredibly wealthy. The second chest contained an array of jewels from all over the world; finely crafted gold with the large sparkling diamonds, enough treasure to bribe a king. Jessica covered her mouth in awe as she dug through the stones with her other hand. She realized that wherever Irons was planning on taking her, they were never supposed to return. Nobody travelled with that kind of wealth unless the trip was one way. She began to sob when she suddenly heard a noise from the closet. Wiping her face she walked slowly toward the sound. Her heels were uncomfortable to walk in and she took them off, tossing them aside. Slowly she reached out and took the handle with her manicured hand. She swept her hair back out of her hair and yanked the door open. Dan Chase tumbled out onto the floor, looking much worse than the last time she’d seen him. The shiner he gotten was a large swollen black circle around his eye.

“Dan??” Jessica gasped.

“Hello again, Ms. Kinkaid. This has turned out to be quite the box social, hasn’t it?” Dan said, grinning foolishly.

“How did you get in here?”

“Why? Aren’t you glad to see me?” Dan asked.

“Yes, of course, but how did you get aboard?”

“Well,” Dan said, dusting himself off and getting to his feet. “I found a store room full of scary ancient Egyptian stuff and I followed a couple workers from there to here. I figured it was the safest way to escape, just wait for the ship to leave the facility and then. . . “

“And then jump out of a balloon high above the sky?” Jessica said, raising one eyebrow.

“Hadn’t gotten that far in the plan, doll. But yeah, that was it. Where’s the Spider?”

“Out there.”

“So he didn’t escape either.” Dan said solemnly.

“He turned himself over to Irons. Just sort of marched out of the shadows.”

“He did?” Dan asked. “Interesting.”


“It means the Spider’s built a web.”