Disclaimer: This is a fan-fiction written by me about a very popular character from Marvel Comics. I do not own any rights to this character or its fictional world. I am simply borrowing him for sometime, since I like creating stories. It is also my first time writing such a story, bear that in mind.
by Kunal Nayak
The wind was harsh. A chilly air swept his hair as it always did in the city of New York. Peter couldn’t help but feel sad. It was the same thing, over and over again. He always sat here, feeling helpless. He always waited in the dark for some change. This particular location, the top of the Daily Bugle headquarters, was his favourite place. It was a high tower, with a huge neon DAILY BUGLE sign on top of it. His personal favourite had always been the letter B in the sign.
So that is where he was perched upon when he was sitting cross-legged that night. It had been a long night. Events had transpired and he had chased down the bad guys like he always had. After a short victory and some cheers from the citizens, he had swung high from one building to another and finally come to rest on this building. It gave him comfort and some time to think.
Recently, though, he had started to realize that the help he was giving to these people, the good he was trying to do, had been for nothing. He thought back to the times he had saved innocent civilians from mean thugs or robbers. Back in the day, things had been simpler. All he had to do was shoot a web, take the guy down with his agility and that would be it. The NYPD would appear in no time after an “anonymous tip” and capture the guy.
Then, the crazies came out. One by one, they appeared. First, it was the Chameleon. A guy who could hide his disappearance very well. One of a kind, Peter had taken days to find out what was going on. You should understand his side too, though. He thought that his little biology mishap had made him one of a kind too. Instead, these months later after the mishap, he had encountered the man who could change forms.
It didn’t stop there, though. Chameleon was gone, after a fortnight of fighting and using shrewd observation skills on Peter’s part. It worked, in the end. But for the good? Because not a week later, another Crazy had fashioned himself from the cloth of New York. He called himself the Vulture. A mad inventor who had created ingenious mechanical wings and used his superhuman strength to wreak havoc. It had taken Peter a lot of thinking and strategy to take down a man who could fly and potentially squash him to a pulp. Peter had saved innocent lives at that time, saving the people from the Vulture’s wrath. But had it actually changed anything?
Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Lizard, Electro and many more came after the Vulture. It seemed that over time, the instability of mental health and extent of crime curved upwards. The bad guys continued to come one after another. They kept doing bad things. Peter felt helpless sometimes, and right now, he was feeling the same.
His thoughts took a swift turn towards his amateur days. They had called him “The Masked Vigilante” back then. A simple diving suit of blue and red, with a shabby spider insignia, had been his “costume”. The Commissioner had chased him for quite a while, trying think of ways to catch him. But Peter had always slipped away quietly.
A chuckle escaped his lips but as quick as it had come, it went away. The smile disappeared as a small thought grew like a sapling in his mind- why he had decided to wear the red and the blue in the first place.
It had been a while since he had thought of his deceased uncle. It seemed like an eternity now. All those days of angst, all his anger at his uncle for being dead, it almost seemed laughable now. He remember that particular day, the day the Masked Vigilante had died and Spider-man had been born. His thoughts went back all the way to the fight with the bully in High School, the Angsty Teenager talk his uncle had given him, his ignorance at his uncle’s words and then the shooting. If only he had listened to Uncle Ben.
But that is what his mind always jumped to. If only he had been a good nephew, Uncle Ben would be alive. But over time, he had learned to forgive himself. That did not mean, however, that it didn’t sting.
He had come a long way, truly.
But had it made a difference?
Every day, people got hurt. Every day, a new threat exposed itself to the city. Every day, crime would show its ugly face. So how had he helped? He shook his head, the cold from the night not affecting him. The B under him flickered. He closed his eyes, trying to immunize himself from the nausea that the flickering the sign was causing. He did not want to move however. This was the only place he could be.
He did not like his apartment. The small, messy place was less than welcoming. And certainly not peaceful. He did not want to disturb Aunt May at this hour of the night, and besides, what would he tell her? That him being Spider-man had helped no one. He did not want to give the old lady a heart attack! But then again, would she? She was a strong lady. He thought of the time she had hit Doctor Octopus over the head with a stick. Repeatedly. And the six-armed monster had not been able to do anything.
Another chuckle. And again, it vanished in thin air the moment it had come on his lips.
Technical jargon escaped the Police Radio but by now, he had learnt what it meant. He quickly leapt down the B sign and swung high. One after the other, he dangled away from the blocks, trying to find the robbery in progress. His inner dilemma was tearing him apart. But he did not let that affect his job. No, not the one as a photographer in Daily Bugle. His real job.
He searched the alleyway the police had stated in the radio. He could not find anyone there. His experience as a long-time crime fighter made him realize that perhaps the person had fled. Right now, some thug was chasing down the victim down the alleyways in the city.
He swung back up, arching his back. The spider-senses weren’t tingling. They were strictly on hibernation. But then so was his morale. His mind kept pulling him away from the thug that he was chasing, back to his dilemma.
He finally found them. The thug had cornered the victim, a balding man with his wife and child. They were neatly dressed but were looking thoroughly scared. The child, a nine year old boy, was shaking. He was hiding behind his mother.
“Give me everything you’ve got!” the thug was yelling threateningly. “Or else…”
The threat lingered in the air, hanging like a low-lying branch. But the man, although scared, was not deterred.
Bravely, he pushed his wife and son behind him and said firmly, “NO!”
The thug waved his gun, brandishing it aggressively. Peter was ready to jump any time now. The man kept denying the thug, the thug kept threatening the innocent family.
Once again, the same story. Had anything changed? Crime was still prevalent in the city, after all his hard work.
“Look, Spider-man!” said the wife, pointing upwards. Peter, who had been looking away, whipped his head back to the crime-in-progress.
As Peter recoiled in place, ready to spring, he watched something strange. Something beautiful.
The man was fleeing. The thug with the gun, scared at the notion of Spider-man apparently, had thrown his gun aside and fled, without taking a second look upwards. Another pang of surprise as Peter realized that the woman was not pointing at Peter. She was pointing in the wrong direction.
So the woman had been lying. And the notion of Spider-man had led the thug to stop his crime. The boy smiled to his mother, crying. But he could sense the happiness in the tears. His eyes darted upwards, perhaps trying to locate the cause of a peculiar shadow at the place on the opposite building. They met with the real Spider-man.
But Peter had swung away, before the rest of the little family had looked too. He smiled to himself, knowing it had made a difference. Knowing, it was definitely worth it.
Although the crime in the city was very much still in existence and the people were still being taken advantage of, one thing was different. He had given them hope. He had given them something to use to fight against darkness. He had given them light.
As he swept away from the late-night bustling city, ready to collapse on his bed in exhaustion from both his jobs, a thought came across his mind. This time it was a good one.
Had it changed anything?
He could hear his Uncle Ben’s voice saying a resounding “Yes!”
A few blocks away, the B in the Daily Bugle’s neon sign shone brightly, no longer flickering.
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