A Spider in a Web: Left Hanging
Carol knelt down, in the road, checking the scorched rubber marks of the truck tires.
“Ma'am, we're going to...oh.” The police officer trailed off, seemingly registering properly who she was. “Ms...er...Captain...” He stammered, fiddling with his hat, awkwardly.
“Danvers will do, officer.” Carol stood up, glancing past him.
More officers were investigating the lab, the damage inside. Carol had seen it, it looked like Jess had been in a hell of a fight.
“So, they took her. My friend.” She said, thinking it over herself, turning her attention back to the cop. “Was anything else stolen?”
“Spider-Woman?” The cop started, awkwardly.
Carol knew full well Jessica had a less amiable relationship with the city authorities. Plenty of reasons for that, on both sides, but she had a hard time fighting down the spike of anger at the lack of concern she'd seen so far.
“Yes, my...friend.” She repeated, insistently, holding the man's gaze, unblinking. “Now, was anything else stolen?”
“No...ma'am.” The officer shook his head, and had the decency to look a touch shamefaced. “I'm...sorry?” He managed a shrug, and went back to the others, cordoning off the scene.
Carol shook her head, her eyes following the tracks in the road.
Something felt off. What she'd heard about the Grimms, from Jess, even both together she could normally have taken easily. They'd...what...staged a fake robbery? Just to lure her in? Both of them suddenly back together? To kidnap her? Why? What for? It didn't fit their usual pattern, it didn't make sense. Criminals were creatures of habit.
“Hold on, Jess.” Carol rolled her shoulders, stretched her neck, took a run up down the road and launched herself skyward.
The irregular flickering, and loud, clicking and humming of the light overhead finally cut through the dense, sleepy fog, swamping her brain.
Jessica cracked one eye open, warily, then the other. The dull headache she had spiked, as her eyes adjusted to the inconsistent, irritating flickering.
“Nnrrrmmppph...” She groaned, her head lolled back, first to one side, then the other.
She was in a badly lit, cramped room. Bare walls, ceiling, floor. Bare but for...her, and the chair she was taped into.
The Brothers Grimm had really done a number on her, when they'd snatched her and stashed her here...wherever here was.
Her hands were pulled behind the chair, wrists pinned horizontally together, tape wrapped around them, and her entire hands, covering them. More tape was wound around her upper arms, above and below her chest, tying her stiffly to the back of the chair. Loops of it were wrapped around her stomach, and the back, and her thighs and the seat. Her knees and ankles were bound too, with the thick, grey tape, and folded back under the seat, taped to the strut beneath.
“Mmwwnnphh.” Jessica mumbled, shaking her head, trying to fight through the lingering drowsiness, numbness, inflicted by the sonic weapon Grimm had rendered her so helpless with. “Rrnnmmphgh.” She grunted, under her gag.
Her lips were still tightly sealed under multiple thick, wide strips of tape, plastered across the lower half of her face, clinging to her skin.
“Mmrrmmph.” Jessica tried to wriggle, slightly, under all the tape, crackling at the motion.
She could...move. She could feel her body again, her senses were returning, slowly. And her strength too, but that was much slower in coming, still.
It was something, though.
“Rmph.” Jessica growled, determinedly.
She had to get out of here. It was about time she got to work on that. She didn't know where the Brothers Grimm were, or what they wanted with her, why they'd taken her...but those were questions better handled when she was free, and doing the asking.
“Hhrrmpph.” She grunted, testing the tape practically smothering her hands, securing her wrists together.
Jessica could struggle free, eventually. Enough time, and effort, and she could simply wear through the adhesiveness of the tape, binding her body. Work free that way. But that would take time, and energy. Time, she didn't know she had. And energy, she couldn't be sure she could afford to spare.
Even if she did eventually work herself free, with enough time, she'd be exhausted, and what then? She still had the Brothers Grimm to contend with. Simple enough on a good day, but in her current shape...she didn't fancy her chances against both of them. Jessica didn't know where she was, so she couldn't bank on simply escaping.
“Hmmpph.” Jessica huffed, irritably, under the tape gagging her, shaking her head, sourly.
As reluctant as she was to admit it, they'd probably just capture her again.
No, Jessica needed time. Time to...her venom blasts. That might do it.
They weren't technically 'toxic', despite what she'd taken to calling the unusual power, 'gifted' by her mutation. The attacks targeted and neutralised nerve activity, rendering an opponent disoriented, weakened, unconscious or...worse, depending on the intensity she used.
But they were chemically based. Perhaps...perhaps if she could summon up enough energy for a powerful enough blast, with her hands wrapped in the tape, it would be enough to weaken its hold. And leave her enough strength to contend with her kidnappers.
She just needed...time...what...
She heard a door slam beyond the door to her tiny prison. Jessica's eyes went to it, sharply, and she listened. Boots, thudding, fast, her way. Two sets of feet.
They were coming for her.
She'd have to make time, then.
Jessica's eyes fell on the handle of the door. She glanced down at herself, all taped up, securely, to her chair.
She had one chance. But she had just enough energy, she thought. Just enough to make it.
“Hmmrrpph...” She growled, under the tape, squaring her shoulders as best as she was able, and took a deep breath. “HRRMPH!” She grunted, using all her might to shuffle, scrape her chair in the direction of the door.
Again, and again, one hope, scrape, shuffle, heave at a time. Fighting the tape, the weight of the chair, her inability to move, her weariness.
“HHMPPH! MMRRPPGH! HHGGNMPH!” Straining, hauling against the tape, dragging the chair jolting and scraping across the small room, she edged her way closer, closer...
The Grimms were getting closer, faster.
“MMRPHHGH! HHMMPH! RRMMPPHHFH!” Jessica puffed, and panted, breathing heavily, going slack in the tape clinging to her. “Rmmpppph.” She exhaled, through her nose, fighting to catch her breath, control her breathing.
She was at the door, had her back to it. Now...now...
Footsteps in the hall, beyond, close now.
She had to block the door. And all she had to hand...was the chair she was tied to.
“Mmrrpphhmmph!” Jessica stretched, strained out, with her toes, trying to get them on the floor. “Hmmrrrpphh!” She strained, against the crackling tape, securing her ankles to the strut under the chair.
If she could just...get her toes down, tip the chair back...
The handle rattled, behind her, as one of the Grimms tried it.
“HHRRMPPH!” And with one last heave, hauled herself, forward, and backward.
The momentum carried the chair rocking onto its back legs. She tottered, off balance for a moment, then the chair finally fell back. Her head bashed painfully into the door, momentarily stunning her, but she managed to get the back of the chair lodged under the handle.
“Spider-Woman!” One of the Grimms snarled from behind the door.
“Ummpphh ymypphh!” Jessica grunted back.
She leaned all her weight back into the chair, against the door. It rattled, shook, as the Grimms started trying to ram it open.
Jessica closed her eyes, took a deep breath, through her nose. Tried to flex her fingers, clench her fists, smothered under all the tape. Drawing on her slowly charging reserves of energy, she focused. Focused.
“Spider-Woman!” The Grimms yelled, banging on the door, forcefully.
“Hhmmpphh!” Jessica snarled, opening her eyes.
The energy built, built...released! A sizzling flash, the smell of burning plastic, scorched wood.
“Wrrmph.” She mumbled, under the tape, peering back over her shoulder.
Tatters of tape fell away from her hands, where she'd burned a hole through the mass of it swaddling them. She'd blackened a patch of wood from the door too.
“Spider-Woman!” The other Grimm roared.
There was something wrong with those boneheads. More than usual.
“Mmph.” Rolling her eyes, she got to work. Twisting, tugging, pulling at her wrists. Dry, burnt tape frayed and flaked away under the strain of her efforts. “Bbrrmpphh rrhhmmph.” She grunted, finally able to yank her wrists apart, shaking fragments of tape off.
Quickly, she brought her arms round, outward, as much as she could. Rolling her shoulders, wriggling her arms up and down, anything to loosen the tape still wound tightly around them, and her upper body, strapping her to the back of the chair.
“Spider-Woman!” The Brothers growled, and the door shook, harder, as they rammed it together.
“Crrmmnnpphh...” Jessica groaned, writhing under all the tape, heaving against it. “Crrmmph...uumppph!” She tried lifting her arms, rolling the tape up, off and over her shoulders.
It was coming loose, slipping, clinging less and less the more she pulled.
Finally, it gave! She pulled the sticky remnants, still in tangled loops, over her head, off her arms. Still putting her weight to the door, she began tugging the tape from her thighs, and knees, straining down to reach the last of it around her ankles, taped to the support under the chair.
“Spider-Woman!” Both hollered, beating, charging into the door.
Jessica had the last of it off her legs at last. The last push had taken more out of her than she'd liked. She'd have to be fast, and clever, if she wanted to handle the Brothers Grimm, and escape. The next few minutes had to go right.
She pushed her arms against the door, still leaning into the chair. She waited for her kidnappers to ram the door again, then threw herself forward, tucking into a roll, and turning to face the door in a crouch.
The Brothers Grimm charged the door again, and it crashed open. The chair was knocked away, across the floor toward her. Jessica caught it, as it skidded to a stop before her. She heaved it up, swung it around in an arc, and threw it at both men, caught off-balance, for the moment.
It connected with the one in front, sent him staggering back. The other Grimm shoved him aside, carelessly, in his rush to get to her. Jessica pounced, launching herself at him, in the moment just before he could settle, to face her. She crashed into him, bearing him backward, down to the floor. One hand pinning his shoulder down, her legs straddling him. Her other gloved hand planted square on his mask.
“Lmmph ummph, Brrmpph!” She snarled, under all the tape, only then remembering she was still gagged.
She fired off a low-intensity venom blast, point blank.
“Aaaaauunnghh!” Grimm rasped, flailing his arms at her, for a moment, before they fell limp, to the floor.
“Spider-Woman!” The other roared, from behind her.
But she'd felt him get up, seen the shadow fall across the floor, before he could move. Jessica threw herself to the floor, on her back, beside the unconscious one. Grimm came at her, chair raised, yelling. Tucking up her legs, to her chest, she kicked out with both, catching him in the gut and sending him flying over her head.
There was a pained grunt, a rough-sounding thud, and then the sound of a body crumpling to the floor in the hall beyond.
And then all was quiet.
Reaching, fumbling out for the frame of the doorway, she used it to pull herself to her feet, for support.
Damn, she needed a lie down.
“Mmmpph.” Jessica mumbled, tensing as she reached for the strips of tape, smeared across her mouth, and peeling them free one at a time, sorely.
Tape was no fun.
“Carol...won't believe...a word of this...” She murmured, catching her breath, meandering her way down the corridor beyond where the Brothers Grimm had kept her.
She just had to work out where she was. Call the cops. The Grimms weren't going anywhere for a while, at least.
Reaching the end of the hall, she came out into what looked like a car workshop, or what'd once been one. Empty shells of old car chassis and mechanical equipment were scattered around. Heavy struts criss-crossed the corrugated iron, hollow ceiling above.
It seemed long since out of use, Jessica mused, making her way through the dust-covered remnants. Was this the best the Brothers Grimm could do these days? What kind of base was this? Why kidnap her and bring her here?
“Jokers.” The heroine shook her head, unimpressed.
A double set of garage doors were open, leading outside. The orange glow of the afternoon sun lit up the lot beyond. A wire fence. She made her way to one of the open doors.
“Pawns, maybe.” A steady, deep voice came out of the dark overhead.
Senses still dulled by weariness, and strain, came alive. She tensed, froze, alert, and realised too late-
The noose slipped down, silently, neatly, over her head. Immediately, on instinct, she raised one hand, slipping it under the rope, to pull it away from her throat. At the same time, the noose tightened, suddenly, cinching painfully around her neck, and hand. She gripped it, pulling as hard as she could against it, moving her other hand toward it.
Another lasso flew down, snapping taut around her arms, pinning them folded upward, against her, helpless. She tried to squirm one free, but more rope followed the lasso. It looped down, in coils, circling her, around her, up and down her body, untidily. Her arms, chest, legs, wrapped in it.
A great black blur dropped out of the rafters overhead, and before she could react, she found herself hauled bodily upward, off the ground, her feet kicking, jerking, off the ground. The ropes around her body, throat, bit painfully into her, pinching skin, through her costume, as she was suspended, off the floor.
“Hhrrk-...rrgghh!” Jessica managed to grind out, teeth clenched. “Yrrhghk...you.” She gasped.
The noose made it hard to breathe, but she could manage, just. It took most of her strength to keep her hand, pinned under it, blocking the hard cord from closing fully. But really, the rest of the rope she was tied with was what was keeping her alive, alleviating the pressure of her bodily weight, on the noose.
Before her, she recognised the brawny, black-clad, hooded form of the Hangman. Calmly, easily bearing her weight, clenching the ends of both ropes restraining her, in his meaty hands.
It'd been a while since they'd last crossed paths. She couldn't say she was glad to see him again. Especially since he'd gotten the drop on her again.
“You beat the pawns.” The Hangman's brutish jaw shifted, into a thin smile. “But you should have known better than to think you could face the knight, and win.” His dour gloating got under her skin, she didn't mind admitting.
“Nnggghhh...” Jessica tentatively struggled against the rope, around her, cutting hard into her skin. “Fffggh-...rrkk...yyygghhoou.” She snarled, glaring at him.
Knight? Him? A murdering psychopath? Lunatic, outdated, chauvinistic, kidnapping son of a-
The Hangman started coiling the ends of the rope, in his hands, and came closer. Waiting, watching, patiently.
Jessica realised that was all he had to do. The Hangman had set his trap and she'd walked right into it. It was only a matter of time before she was too weak, too exhausted to fight back. She was using all her strength just to stay awake, keep breathing.
It was getting hard to focus. The rope was cutting the circulation of blood, around her body, making her numb all over. And her breathing was already halting, shallow, she was getting lightheaded, as she took quicker, shorter breaths, trying to control her airflow around the noose.
“Wgghhhk-...wwhhrrt d-drrrn yyggh whhhnt?” She demanded, slowly, still squirming, writhing, suspended in the ropes.
He wasn't like the Brothers Grimm. Something had been...wrong with them. They'd been like...robots, driven by something...'other', something else. But the Hangman was here because he wanted to be. Revenge? Evening the score? Because she'd escaped his psycho clutches before? But why? Why now?
Jessica tried to think, tried...to think. Getting harder. First the Grimms, now Hangman. Someone was coming at her, coming...after her. Who?
“You begin to see it.” Hangman intoned, dispassionately, nodding his big hooded head, slowly. “But you'll have time enough to dwell on that, as my prisoner.” He drew a chunky-looking knife, from his belt.
“Nnnrrgh-nnrrggh!” Jessica grunted, tensing, as he sliced out with it, just over her head, and she found herself falling. “Hhrrooumphh...uuunnnhhh...” She gasped, groaning, winded, as she flopped down, onto her back, still wound up in the biting, unyielding ropes.
They'd cut cleanly, and she saw the Hangman gathering the dangling ends back to him, looping them into coils, as he came to loom over her.
She was still too light-headed, disoriented, to put up a fight. She wrestled, slightly, with the ropes around her body, but found no give in them. It was strange, she wasn't tied all that efficiently, but...it was like there was something wrong with them. They wouldn't budge an inch!
“Let...me go!” She demanded, still winded, struggling to catch her breath.
“Time we were underway.” Hangman sneered, reaching down with one massive hand and snatching both her ankles in it, dragging her under him. “But first...” He stooped into a crouch, straddling her, flipping her limply over onto her stomach.
“This time...going to...kick...your...ass.” Jessica snarled, around gritted teeth. “Bet...on...immmnnrrpphh?!” She blurted, garbled as a thick, wide, white cloth was yanked tightly between her teeth, her lips, and knotted securely under her hair, cleave-gagging her.
“Your input is not required, woman.” Hangman intoned, as dour as ever, giving the knot on her gag one last, hard tug, to tighten it.
“Nnrrgghh!” Grunting, around it, trying to shake her head, she tried to dislodge the gag somehow. “Ggrrgghh...rrgghhh! Mmnnggh-HHRRPGH!” She gasped, breathlessly, as Hangman snatched up the end of the rope connected to the noose still around her neck, and pulled, wrenching her head back, upward.
“Quiet.” He leaned forward, closer behind her.
“Nnggh...rrggghhnngg...” Jessica muttered, barely able to breathe, glaring defiantly at him out of the corner of her eyes, even as she felt her strength failing, her body weakening, the need to pass out, overwhelming her, starved of air.
She couldn't fight this. She couldn't fight him, not in this state. Survival came first. Even if that meant letting this play out, letting this freak kidnap her again.
She needed answers. She needed to know where she was being taken, and why. Who was behind this, who was coming for her.
Jessica swallowed, as much as she was able, biting down on the thick, dry rag between her lips, holding Hangman's dead stare.
“...llmmggh...mmggh...ggh-...gghhnngh...” She mumbled, reluctantly.
He let go of the rope, suddenly, and her head dropped forward, knocking hard on the floor, making her headache worse.
“Hhhggnnngh...” She exhaled, in relief, groaning around her gag, letting her head lie sideways on the floor.
She watched her captor, out of one eye, busy untying, and retying her bonds. With deft, expert hands, he sliced ropes from around her arms, and yanked her hands back behind her, pinning her wrists horizontally and tying them together there. He went on, cutting, removing bonds, replacing them, threading ropes around her upper arms and chest, under her, around her thighs, knees, ankles, all the way down, knotting it all tightly in place, behind her.
“Mmrrnnggh...” Jessica mumbled, laying still, peering back as far as she could.
Unsatisfied, apparently, the Hangman grabbed her ankles and folded her legs up, bent tightly double behind her, and tied a shorter rope from them, to her wrists, hog-tying her. The added strain on her body, her weary muscles, was immediate, as he finished securing the last rope between them.
“Better.” The Hangman's brutish features, barely visible under the hood curled into a smile.
He was trying to humiliate her. Well, let him try. Jessica had seen off worse than this lunatic.
“...rrnnggh...nnggh...” She murmured, giving a few barest tugs on her bonds, testing their limits.
She could break ropes. She knew that. Bide her time, recover some of her strength, energy, and she could break ropes easy enough.
“Fnnggh...” She frowned in concentration, twisting her wrists, slightly, trying to create some give, some slack, in the bonds around her wrists.
These ropes felt...strong, though. Different. They weren't...behaving like rope should. Like normal. It was the same for the rest, those around her ankles, and her arms. No amount of movement, squirming, writhing under them seem to find any give, any loosening in the knots. What...
“Hm.” Hangman snorted, behind her, standing up and coiling the unused rope, into a bundle. “You will not be breaking free this time, woman. I've borrowed this from an...acquaintance, who shares my title. It has, shall we say, properties. As much as I need, when I need. Unbreakable, unless I required. Cut cleanly, it behaves the same.” He bragged, standing to her side, dangling the rope before her.
“Rnngghh!” Jessica strained against the ropes, in earnest, biting down on her gag, only able to scowl at him from the floor.
They'd see about that. The right moment, that was all she needed. Then, she'd have the advantage, and she'd kick the living hell out of this g-
“Do not, woman.” Hangman growled in warning, pulling sharply on the noose around her neck, again, breath catching in her throat.
“HHRRNNGGH.” She coughed out, wheezing, as the Hangman dragged her across the floor, by the noose, toward him.
Unnecessary. Trying to...break her will. Jessica focused her all on maintaining her breathing.
“There is no escape. Not for you.” The Hangman started striding back, out the garage doors, into the diminishing evening sun. “Not this time.” He sneered, dragging her along, after.
“Mmrrgghhh!” She grunted, around her gag, struggling under bonds.
They were on...the edge of the city. She caught a glimpse of sparse, as he tugged her along the tarmac. Suburbs, on the fringe of a deserted line of old lots, like this one, giving way to large, older homes, in hills beyond the city.
Where the hell was he taking her?
Hangman drew in the rope, until she was at his feet, barely able to wriggle, under the ropes, gasping for breath, around the dry, thick gag between her lips.
The hooded brawler knelt down, beside her, curled up on her side, fighting to catch her breath again. He reached out, pinched her face tightly between his hard, fingers and thumb, forcing her to look up at him.
“Rgghhnnggh...” Jessica snarled, around the rag.
“Someone wants to see you.” The Hangman said, simply, then threw her head back down, to the ground, hard.
“Hhhgg-MMRRGHH!” She grunted, in surprise, dazed, as her captor stooped to grab her hips, and then hoist her, bodily, up and over his shoulder. “Mmmrrghhh!” Jessica writhed, as he gripped his arm tightly around her waist, and stood.
“Be still.” He ordered, calmly.
Jessica couldn't see much of anything, hung limp halfway down his back. And the limited blood flowing around her body, numb under the biting, unnatural rope, was rushing to her head.
“Nnngghhh...” She moaned, around her gag, trying to kick her legs, still folded tight in the hog-tie. “Hhhggnn...”
Shaking her head, trying to stay alert, fighting against the combination of exhaustion, lack of oxygen, numbness, brought on by her bonds, all threatening to overwhelm her, make her lose consciousness.
“...gghhnnggh...” She groaned, weakly, eyes growing heavy, her senses dulled more and more by the rhythmic, regular trudging of her kidnapper's boots first on road, then pavement, then grass, and dirt, as he carried her off, she knew not where.
Jessica blinked her heavy eyes, chewing her gag, any physical activity she was capable of, tied as tightly as she was now. Anything to...stay...awake...but she was so tired. So...tired...
She was in...trouble, this time. She didn't...didn't know why. Couldn't...think...anymore. Couldn't...work out...
A stray...thought, of Carol, burst in her...foggy, disoriented skull. She...latched onto it.
“...Crrgghh...Crrrgghlll...” She sighed out, her eyes falling shut and her body falling completely slack, over her captor's shoulder, as she felt the fight go out of her, and the welcoming folds of sleep take her.
I wish there was a better way to point people toward things, or organise galleries, in DA, but it's just a total shit pit XD I've written loads, but often I've written like several stories with characters, or different genres, or OC series and stuff, and it's near impossible to just kinda...help people find stuff any better
I've got a couple more Black Canary/Zatanna stories buried in there somewhere looool
You'd be surprised maybe how often I hear people say that XD I guess I've never really pushed/self-advertised myself so much, always just been happy plodding along, writing, getting a bit of art done to go with a story now and then. And if I've accumulated some watchers over time...happy accident?
I did try to rejig it a bit, lately, to make it a 'little' less overwhelming? Now you've got a fanfic folder, with stuff divided in it, an OC folder with stuff divided in it, a folder of stuff I've written for others, an art folder, and one folder for like my biggy OC pet project ^^ Best of luck! XD
At least I read it 3 days shy of the year and a half mark *cough* Sorry! But it was definitely, er, worth the wait. I've recently taken a big liking to Spider-Woman in bondage peril and you definitely delivered on that here. I loved the opening where the Grimms had her so tightly secured and gagged. Very clever how she used the chair and venom blasts to effect her brief escape. But that effort made her subsequent encounter with the Hangman that much sweeter. His bondage was also right on the money and you will always win me over with a good capture that involves "on screen" gagging! Now onto part 3 (in hopefully less time than it took me to read part 2)!
And I find parts of the story that don't include DiD just as entertaining. The action/fighting scenes are very well-written!
Didn't get the title of the story until the end. A villain with magic ropes...yes please!