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Gallery of Evil: the Spider Grundo


by costa_rican_girl

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Whoosh!

     The silver doors of the enormous spaceship swished to a close, and the Grundos felt themselves being lifted off the ground.

     "Shix?" Arly called quietly into the darkness. "Are you here?"

     "Yeah, I'm here," came a voice from a startlingly close location off to Arly's right.

     Arly reached out to try and find her friend, but it was just too dark...

     "Stay put, okay, Arly?"

     Arly froze.

     "Arly?"

     "Yeah, okay. I'll do my best."

     The ship sped up, causing many of the captive Grundos to fall painfully into each other.

     Arly recalled the horrifying event that had taken place just moments ago. They had been on a school trip to a historic crater on Kreludor, and they were camping in tents for the night. Arly had been almost asleep in her tent when they came: Dr. Sloth's terrible mutant Grundos.

     They were green and they were huge... And so nasty, too! Arly remembered when they had shoved a first grade girl down for no apparent reason. Arly was sure they shoved hard, too. The girl was still crying at this very moment.

     Then the monsters had herded them like Babaas into their ship and took off, which brought Arly back to the present.

     "Shix? You still there?"

     "Yeah, don't worry. I'll never leave."

     Arly smiled to herself. Ever since second grade she and Shix, a small green Grundo, had been best friends. Arly had been a new student at Kreludor Elementary, and Shix had been friendly to her right off the bat, even when no one else had been. He had been an outsider as well - all the other Grundos were the traditional Kreludan orange, but Shix was born on Neopia, and he was green. Arly was white, and so the two outsiders had always stuck together. Even now, in the most dire of situations, they were with each other.

     "Shix?"

     "Yeah?"

     "What's going to happen to us?"

     "Well, we'll probably become Dr. Sloth's slaves, like all those other Grundos we hear about."

     "Are we ever gonna come home?"

     "I dunno. I hope so. I've heard rumors that the Space Faerie is working on defeating Dr. Sloth, so hopefully we'll be set free before long."

     "Good."

     There was a moment's pause before Arly opened her mouth once again.

     "Shix?"

     "Hm?"

     "Let's try to stay together, okay?"

     "Don't worry, Arly," Shix replied patiently. "I'll never leave your side."

     ~~~

     Hours later the ship arrived at Dr. Sloth's space station. The Grundos were brought into an enormous warehouse-type of room. The ceilings were several stories high, and there were no windows. It was dimly lit by huge, dusty lamps hanging from the ceiling.

     The mutated Grundos surrounded the young schoolchildren, their muscular arms crossed over their gigantic green chests. They all wore furious expressions, not twitching a brow even once.

     A dark blue, equally muscular Blumaroo entered the warehouse. He wore brown, sleek armor on his chest with a gold belt and sash. It was the dreaded Commander Garoo.

     "Hello, hello," he began, his voice surprisingly deep. "Welcome to our humble home." He leaned back to let loose a harsh, booming laugh. When he was finished, he continued his speech. "You have been brought here to work for Dr. Sloth in his big plans for dominating Neopia.

     "You will do everything he, I, or my men say. You will ask no questions. You will do as we tell you, even if it includes betraying your best friend."

     Arly avoided turning to look at Shix and he did the same. They would never betray each other.

     "You will be assigned a number and given a name tag, which is to be worn at all times. No exceptions. Any failure to follow orders will be dealt with harshly and mercilessly.

     "Now, make a line and you will receive your identification."

     The young Grundos began forming a line as quickly as possible so as not to anger these villains. Shix and Arly were careful to stand next to each other in the line.

     An enormous mutant stepped through the line, handing out dog tags with numbers as he went. Shix received the number 7767, and Arly received the number 7768.

     When everyone had received their identification, Commander Garoo pulled and a sheet of paper and began to read.

     "Citizens seven-six-zero-zero through seven-six-two-five will report to Officer Twelve. Citizens seven-six-two-six through seven-six-five-zero will report to Officer One Fifty-Six. Citizens seven-six-five-one through seven-six-seven-five will report to Officer Ninety-Nine, and citizens seven-six-seven-six and up will report to me."

     The Grundos bustled about, trying to reach their assigned officers. Some Grundos began to panic, overwhelmed with fear and homesickness. Shix and Arly held hands as they headed toward Officer 99, who appeared to them to be like all the other mutants: big, green, and angry.

     When all twenty-five of their group was huddled in front of the mutated Grundo he began to speak in his booming voice.

     "You are group C-5," he began tonelessly. "You will be divided into different projects according to your age and ability level. Testing begins tomorrow. Now follow me." He turned and opened the steel door that had been directly behind him. He then began walking briskly down the dark tunnel, his gigantic arms swinging at his sides.

     They reached the end of the corridor where there was an identical steel door. Officer 99 opened it with a blue keycard, sliding it through a slot to the left of the silver door handle. The door opened with a hiss and the children were ushered inside.

     Officer 99 flipped a switch on the wall and several ceiling lights flickered on, causing the young Grundos to blink in the sudden brightness.

     They were in a small room that barely fit all twenty-six of them, and directly across from the strange door was a tiny, barred window as well as an iron door that had another barred window on it. Officer 99 pulled out a ring of numerous rusty keys. When he found the one he wanted - a gigantic charcoal-colored one covered in reddish spots of rust - he stuffed it into the rusty padlock on the iron door and twisted, creating a harsh squeaking noise.

     The officer pulled the gigantic padlock off from the latch and yanked the door open. It creaked as if it hadn't been used in years. He shoved the tiny Grundos in and slammed the door shut. Arly heard him replace the lock and leave the room.

     Arly and Shix looked around. There were bunks all around them: four beds on each bunk. Each bed had a moldy blanket and a lumpy pillow, and upon further inspection one could see that they also housed a flat, musty mattress.

     The only light that entered the cell was from the windows; there were two more on different walls that Arly had not noticed previously.

     All the Grundos in group C-5 seemed to be younger than Shix and Arly. They were already claiming bunks and starting arguments.

     "Well," Shix said, sighing. "I guess we should grab spots to sleep."

     Arly nodded wearily. "I bet all the good bunks are already taken," she replied, peering around.

     "Yes, but we have seniority." Shix grinned at Arly and stared down at a puny boy who peered back at him nervously. "Is this bed taken?" Shix asked, intentionally intimidating the child.

     "N-no," the boy stuttered. He leaped off the bunk and ran to the other side of the room.

     Shix immediately sat down, pleased with himself. Arly chuckled, shaking her head. She claimed the bunk directly under him for herself.

     An hour later the entire cell was silent, and Arly found herself drifting off to sleep...

     ~~~

     The next few weeks were tiring and monotonous. Shix and Arly were assigned to work at the assembly line where they were forced to piece weapon after weapon together. They worked sixteen hours a day, but there was a tiny break for lunch in the middle.

     After the third week Arly found herself not even thinking about what she was doing. Day after day her only thoughts were wondering what would be served for lunch that afternoon, and whether or not she would be able to sleep that night. The only adventures she experienced were when a new kind of weapon was to be made, as she would get to do something different for the next week or so. Then one day there was finally a change, although not for the better.

     It was a "new weapon week". They were all assigned new work posts. This new weapon was bigger than ever, so many of the workers had to lug heavy parts from one place to another all day long, every single day. Shix was one of those workers.

     He was carrying an enormous funnel-shaped object when it happened.

     "Seven-seven-six-seven!" barked Officer 99. "Get a move on!"

     Shix turned his head wearily and just nodded. He had been lugging around these stupid cones for the past nine hours, and he was exhausted. He began to turn back when his foot tripped on a wire spread across the floor. He came crashing down and landed directly on the huge metal funnel he had been carrying. He rolled off and continued to fall until he landed over his arm on the cold, hard floor. He didn't move.

     "Shix!" Arly cried, dropping her screwdriver. She sprinted over to the green Grundo and turned him back around. He flopped over, groaning.

     "My arm," he moaned. "I fell on my arm."

     Arly glanced at his right arm, which was already beginning to turn purple and swell up at the wrist.

     Officer 99 yanked Arly away and inspected the injury.

     "Great, now you're useless!" he spat at Shix, who flinched. The officer turned toward another mutant. "Get him out of here," he said. "Bring him to the commander."

     The other mutant walked over to Shix and pulled him to his feet.

     "C'mon," he growled, shoving him along.

     "Shix!" Arly screamed as she began to follow him. Suddenly she was being swept off her feet and was plopped back down at her place in the assembly line.

     "Get back to work," Officer 99 commanded, glaring at the tearful girl.

     That night Arly was sitting on her bed, unable to sleep. Suddenly she heard two officers out in the tunnel, chatting.

     "So what happened to that klutz who broke his arm?" one of them asked.

     "He was taken to Dr. Sloth's testing quarters," the other one replied. He chuckled. "He'll never be seen again!"

     "You got that right!" exclaimed the first officer. Both mutants' voices drifted away as they seemed to turn a corner, laughing heartily.

     Oh, no! Arly thought. She stood up and nudged awake Isil, a girl one year younger than she who worked as a cleaner in the space station.

     "Isil!" Arly hissed. "Wake up!"

     Isil blinked awake and frowned.

     "Arly?" she asked, confused.

     "Yes," Arly replied hurriedly. "Listen, did you ever clean in a place called the testing quarters?"

     "Oh yeah," Isil said, sitting up. "Messy place."

     "Can you tell me how to get there?"

     When Arly had received the directions she needed she began to glance around the cell. She found the vent that connected to the corridor - it was through this that she had heard the officers' conversation. She reached up and yanked the grate, trying to free it from the wall. It didn't budge; it was tightly screwed in by four large, sturdy screws in each corner. If only Arly had her screwdriver now!

     Arly yanked the grate again and it creaked a little, but still didn't move. It was useless. She glanced back at Shix's empty bunk and imagined him being tortured with Dr. Sloth's malicious instruments. She imagined his screams piercing through the air.

     Arly turned back to the grate and pulled with all her might. She pulled so hard that the skin on her fingers began to peel, but she hardly felt it.

     "Augh!" she cried, waking up some of the sleeping Grundos.

     Finally she felt the grate give way, and with one final tug it went clattering to the floor. The suddenness of it caused Arly to fall directly on her back on the dirty floor. She blinked away the burning tears and stood up. She hoisted herself into the air duct.

     Victory is mine, she thought.

     Arly reached the grate that connected to the tunnel and kicked it off with ease. She dropped into the silent corridor and began her way down in, careful to stay in the shadows.

     After several more doors were opened and halls were traversed Arly made it. She was in the testing quarters. It was a cage similar to her sleeping place, but much dirtier. Locks didn't seem to be needed as there were several sleeping Grundos chained to the walls.

     The heavy door creaked open when Arly pulled, and she peered into the musty cell warily.

     "Shix?" she called. "Are you there?" Not even a stir. She stepped into the room and continued to walk. "Shix! Where are you?"

     FOOM.

     Arly suddenly found herself caught in an invisible, sticky wall. It reminded her of a Spyder web, but as far as she knew Spyders could not make webs this huge!

     Arly struggled to break free of the thick fibers, but the more she squirmed the more stick she seemed to become. Finally she just stopped moving and gave up.

     "Shix!" she screamed. "Shix, help me!"

     But it was too late. Arly felt herself being twisted around at lightning speed, and the sticky rope was soon binding her limbs in place. She then felt her neck become bound, tightening her throat so it was hard to breathe.

     Now Arly was dizzy and terrified, and soon her nose and mouth were tightly covered. She could no longer breathe at all. She tried to scream but could not, for she had no breath left. Her lungs were on fire as she glanced wide-eyed around her. There! She had found her captor. It was an enormous, acid-green Spyder - wait, no! It was a Grundo! The monster had the normal limbs a Grundo had, but also had three extra, spiky legs on each side. Arly was no longer afraid; she was too groggy from lack of oxygen to care anymore. The last thing she saw before blacking out was a dog tag dangling from the monster's neck - a dog tag with the number "7767" on it.

     Shix...

The End

 
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