He started to prefer the dark; small, almost cramped places with no light and no ventilation. By the third week of his discovery of Symbiote, Peter started to sleep under his bed.
The carpet was dusty and rough against his skin as he curled up on the floor, completely naked. Symbiote, like a black lacy organic veil, covered his body and kept him safely tucked during his sleep. One of the tendrils was wrapped around his throat, almost lovingly, and was a constant soft pressure against his pulse point.
‘You are safe in The Nest, spider’ it seemed to say with its touch ‘Protected for eternity.’
His sleep was dreamless and incredibly deep, comatose even. Sometimes he would wake up in different places in the house; clinging to the ceiling of the bathroom in the middle of the day, crouching in the cramped space of a wardrobe with his clothes thrown out. Aunt May was still in the hospital and he was grateful for the privacy, the luxury of an empty house.
He didn’t clean at all and the dishes were dirty, food rotting in the fridge. He hardly ever ate in the house, hardly ate at all. There was something wrong with his stomach and he kept throwing up strange coloured food that he didn’t remember eating; bits and pieces of rubbery white substance that looked pale and sick as it dissolved in the toilet water. It was completely odourless and Peter didn’t know what to make of it.
Should he go to a doctor? But what if they discovered Symbiote along with the sickness
what if Symbiote was the sickness?
No he couldn’t risk that. He needed the suit. Needed the power.
Without it he would be completely and utterly alone.
‘We are one’
Gradually he visited his aunt less and less. Eventually he stopped going altogether. School became a routine that he grew to despise and he started to avoid his friends like a plaque; preferring instead to sit on his own at the back of the class, lost in thoughts. He would often nap during lunch in the empty chemistry lab, safe in the knowledge that Symbiote would wake him immediately if somebody entered the room. Sometimes he could go through an entire day at school without remembering anything and his body seemingly moved on its own as he went from class to class to class, all suddenly meaningless and utterly painful to sit through.
Teachers started to ask him if he was alright. The school psychologist brought him to her office and started to inquire about his personal life, asking about drug use. He told her about his aunt’s recovery from heart attack and she seemed satisfied to have found her answer. Peter was given a three days break to take care of his family matters.
He never returned.
The school called the house but there was no answer. Mary Jane was sent over, then his class teacher and eventually the police. Peter was nowhere to be found and the house was a dirty mess of clothes, rotten food, broken TV and strangely arranged furniture. Most of the clothes were concentrated in the upstairs bedroom around the bed like some sort of a childish fort made out of ripped, black fabrics.
There was blood in the upstairs bathroom that was later identified belonging to May Reilly Parker. There was no sign of her body anywhere.
Peter Parker was declared missing.