1964-09-20 - Madame Web
Summary: While attending a fashion show, Gwen Stacy meets the cryptic and mysterious Madame Web.
Related: None
Theme Song: None

Gwen felt ill-at-ease.

She wasn’t sure why she felt this way. The dress was getting plenty of attention…and she was getting some attention as well, let us not gild the lily. This dress certainly made her look…fashionable.

Wow, there was a concept.

However, she felt nervous. It was only a little tickle at first, a general feeling that something was slightly off-kilter, like in that book she read a few years ago—right, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE. The part about how the angles were just a little bit…off. That something didn’t add up in the world around her.

She told herself to relax, everything will be okay. But it wasn’t. If anything, it just kept getting worse. She wondered if there was something in the air, but no one else seemed to be experiencing the same unease she was.

Finally, she couldn’t take it anymore. She made her way over to the door marked RESTROOM, pushing the door open and almost falling forward into it.

Only when she looked it, she was not in a bathroom.

She wasn’t even sure she was in New York.

The area was dark and cavernous, and she couldn’t see anything. It seemed to stretch for miles. For the first few moments, she couldn’t see anything. Then she saw something at her feet—a thin line of spidersilk, seeming embedded in the ground and stretching forward into the darkness.

This was BEYOND strange. However, when she looked behind her, the doorway she had stumbled into was gone.

When in doubt, move forward.

She began to follow the line, forging ahead…basically because there was nowhere else to go.

As she progressed, a green light, no larger than a dot, blinked on in front of her, far off in the distance. She seemed to be heading towards it. Time seemed to stretch and shift and warp. She did not know how much time had passed before she could see the figure.

It was a woman, an elderly one, but with fairly good bone structure. She reminded her of Aunt May, a little. She was wearing a gleaming red dress with long sleeves, leaving only her hands and head exposed. The dress had a large white spider dominating the front of the dress, legs reaching out to the sides and shoulders of her body. She wore a red blindfold, and Gwen was reminded of a statue of a blind Grecian sibyl, or of the statue of justice she had seen many times at the courthouse.

And she was looking…so to speak…directly at Gwen.

“Well…it’s about time you got here, Gwendolyne Stacy.”

Gwen stared at her. “I’m having a nervous breakdown. Something in the food. The collar is inhibiting blood to my…”

“When you stop mentally flailing around and accept that this is real, we can talk.”

Gwen blinked. “Then you must be real, because I’ve never been sassed by a hallucination.”

The old woman smiled wryly. “You are different than the others, Gwendolyne.”

“If you knew anything about me, you would know that I HATE being called Gwendolyne. My father called me that ONLY when I was in trouble.”

“You ARE in trouble, White Widow.”

That stopped her. “How do you know that?” she blurted out.

“I sit at the center of the web that connects all worlds, Gwen. You may think you see all the connections, but you cannot see what I see.”

The light came up, and Gwen could see the strand she was on had led to an intricate web, with strands that led outward in hundreds…thousands…maybe MILLIONS of directions. “What are you talking about, other worlds?”

“It is as the boy said to Roland of Gilead. ‘There are other worlds than these.’ Oh, don’t look so perplexed. You will read those words when you are much older. There are many Earths, Gwen Stacy. Many universes, each a little bit different from the rest. You are dead in many of them, for one reason or another. But not in this Earth, in the Year of Our Lord 1964.”

Gwen stared at her. She had read about other worlds in various fantasy novels, but they were really different. “You…said I was in trouble. Do you mean Ray?”

“That is the name he calls himself now. He has called himself many names, Gwendolyne. He is an agent of Chaos. He is only one man, but single men have been capable of monstrous things in the past, and he will continue to do such things until he is stopped. And you will have to stop him. If you do not, you will not live to see the future he will bring about.”

Gwen stared at the woman, then asked, “Who ARE you?”

“I am Madame Web. I am a seer, a mystic, a prophetess. From the Center of the Web, I can see things you can scarcely imagine. But I am also here to help you. You are one of many Spider-Avatars, Gwen. You have met two already from your world…and a third will come. She will be your responsibility, Gwen. You are to guide her in all things.”

Gwen took a deep breath, then said, “Who is this person I’m supposed to mentor?”

“She is The Bride, Gwen. She is destined for great things, as you are. But she will only come into her power if you are willing to teach her what she must do.”

“This is a very heavy number you are puttin’ on me, Maddy Web.”

Web’s mouth curled into a smile. “You will return soon. You will know the Spider-Bride when you see her. We will talk again, Gwen.”

“Oh? Are you in the Yellow Pages?”

Web chuckled, and then a sudden wave of disorientation surrounded her, then flowed through her.

She opened her eyes and saw two very important things.

One, she was in one of the back rooms of the boutique. Not the bathroom.

And second…

She thought about it later and realized that the disorientation must have triggered some sort of automatic response, and she had fired webbing to try and anchor herself to something.

The entire back room was covered in webbing.

Gwen groaned and began to work, pulling down the webbing and stuffing it in a plastic garbage bag. She’d have to try and throw it out later.

Other worlds. Spider-Avatars. A Spider-Bride. It was all coming together to give her a massive headache.

At least she didn’t ruin the dress…

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