Thanks, squeak_dishes, for letting me use Senya_Tallee and Spitsy the Spyder for the story!
The bright floodlights bathed the Tyrannian Concert Hall with light as the crowd cheered on the famed band that performed on the renowned stone stage. Stars twinkled overhead, and music and the screams of fans floated over the colossal building. The mass of onlookers in the bleachers bounced up and down, making themselves appear to be the waves of the sea tossed back and forth by the wind.
Backstage, tucked away in a small dressing room, a Green Ruki sat at her vanity table putting on the last of her required makeup. Senya Tallee was dressed in an airy black jumpsuit that had light blue sequins studded up and down the arms and legs. Her bright blue eyes darted back and forth between the clock and the mirror. Senya was the intermission show. For about five minutes, she would occupy the stage and entertain the crowd while the real show took a short break from their performance. Senya didn’t sing or dance, though. She actually didn’t think that she could carry a tune even if she tried. No, Senya was an escape artist, preferring to perform stunts and tricks to awe her onlookers.
A fuzzy Spyder lowered itself on a satiny strand of webbing and landed on the Ruki’s shoulder. It squeaked happily.
“Hi, Spitsy!” Senya giggled, giving her petpet a fond pat.
Spitsy the Spyder cooed with delight and squirmed. The little petpet had gotten its name on account of how much he drooled. The constant leakage made him very high maintenance, but Senya couldn’t bear to give him up just because of how messy he was. A tiny stream of saliva dribbled onto his owner’s shoulder as the little petpet squealed and wriggled.
“Ewww, Spitsy...” Senya murmured, reaching for a tissue that sat on her vanity. She always kept a good-sized stack of them prepared. She wiped off the sleeve of her jumpsuit and tossed the used tissue into the trashbin next to the dressing-table she sat in front of. “You all ready?” she asked, pushing her chair back and standing up.
Spitsy squeaked again in affirmation. The two were a team. Spitsy was unbeatably fast when it came to tying knots, locking locks, and winding ropes, making him the perfect partner for his escape artist mistress.
“Great,” Senya replied with a broad grin. The Spyder hopped off her shoulder, onto the floor and spun in a circle to show just how ready he was. Senya chuckled at her eager assistant and began her warm-ups.
A soft knock sounded on the door.
“Come on in!” Senya called. The Green Ruki pulled her leg behind her head almost effortlessly.
A white Kyrii opened the door with hardly so much as a squeak and cautiously poked his head inside the dressing room. He had just been hired a week ago and was still a little shy around the performers. “Miss Tallee? Five minutes,” he said quietly.
“Thank you, Taq,” Senya replied, lowering her leg back into its normal position.
The Kyrii stage-hand nodded gingerly and closed the door.
“Ya’ hear that, Spitsy?” she called. The Ruki turned to look down to her petpet. “We’ve got five min-” She paused at a sight that surprised her. Spitsy wasn’t on the floor.
“Spitsy?” Senya called, looking under a cushion on a small armchair in the corner that Spitsy liked to hide under. She checked inside the wardrobe; nothing but her clothing and extra jumpsuits.
“Where are you, Spitsy?” Senya murmured. She scanned the floor. Her bright blue eyes caught sight of a trail of slime that the Spyder had left behind. It led straight out the door. “Aw, great...” she muttered, striding to the door to follow the trail.
* * * * *
Senya walked alongside the gooey trail through the backstage area, being careful not to step in her petpet’s mess. The Green Ruki tracked her petpet through the winding stone hallways behind the stage. She did her best to keep an eye on the trail and not run into any of the stagehands that ran around with their various tasks. The messy trail led through the masses of working Neopets, swerving occasionally from side to side. Where on Neopia could Spitsy have gotten himself to? Senya thought to herself with a groan, working her way through the crowd.
“Hey, Miss Tallee!” a voice called out to her from behind. Senya peeked over her shoulder to see a small striped Kiko by the name of Daffden who worked with the lighting department. She loved chatting with him before she went on. Ever since he spilled his coffee on her foot on her first day at the concert hall, they had been buds. He was a very talkative fellow, and would be content to just sit and talk your ears/antennas/other listening-appendages off if you would let him.
“Whatcha doing?” Daffden queried, looking up to her with big happy eyes. “You should be getting ready to head on stage. You’ve only got two or three minutes!”
“I know,” Senya began in reply, turning to face him and then glancing nervously back behind her. She really needed to keep moving, but she didn’t want to be rude to her friend.
“Well, then get over there!” Daffden laughed, giving her a friendly push towards the door leading to the stage.
“I can’t!” Senya blurted. She looked a little embarrassed after which, her antennas drooping slightly.
Daffden gave the escape-artist a puzzled glance. “Why not?”
“Well, Spitsy’s wandered off,” Senya explained. She told Daffden about how he had run off when Taq had stopped by to give her the five-minute warning.
“He must have gotten out when Taq opened the door,” she finished explaining with a small sigh.
“Well, then let’s get going!” the Kiko chirped, grabbing Senya by the claw and pulling her along. The two followed the trail, calling for Spitsy and dodging passersby.
“Oh no...” Senya groaned when she noticed something ahead.
“What?” Daffden asked, looking up to her.
“Look...” she murmured, pointing ahead. Down the crowded hall, one of the many janitors working at the concert hall had already attacked the drooly trail with a mop.
“Aw, confounded...” Daffden muttered, snapping his fingers irritably.
Senya suddenly strode forward towards the janitor, a kindly looking Grarrl, and Daffden followed right at her heels. “ ’Scuse me, sir!” she called, raising her claw to attract his attention. “How far have you been mopping that puddle?”
The Grarrl thoughtfully tapped his chin with the mop handle, humming as he pondered. “Oh, I’d say about as far as the lighting booth,” he replied in a deep, rolling voice.
“Could you show us?” Senya asked, giving him a hopeful look.
“I don’t see why not,” the janitor answered, beginning to shuffle in the direction of the lighting control area. The Grarrl led them to a metallic ladder that ran up to a walkway over the stage backdrop. Spotlights of all kinds dotted the long narrow platform. Some were on and shining; some were off.
Something wet and slimy dropped off of the overhanging path and splashed onto Senya’s head.
“Go after him, Senya!” Daffden squeaked, tugging her claw towards the ladder.
The escape artist dashed for the ladder and began climbing upwards, calling her thanks to the Grarrl and Kiko on her way up. Her green claws and four sturdy feet clapped against the cold rungs as she pulled herself closer to the platform. Senya clambered onto the top and lay on her stomach for a moment. She looked down over the edge at the dizzying distance to the solid ground and quickly turned her gaze away. She looked back at the walkway and started. There he was!
The little Spyder cooed and waggled one of his fuzzy black legs in a waving manner, and then proceeded to jump into a coil of rope that was sitting precariously on the edge of the narrow catwalk.
Senya grasped the railing and pulled herself to her feet. The dangling platform swung back and forth with her momentum, and the Ruki nervously grasped the rails.
* * * * *
The Twisted Roses band scampered off the stage to take their intermission break amid thunderous applause. The curtain closed and the instruments were whisked away. The stagehands looked at each other anxiously. Where was the intermission show? She should be onstage now. But she wasn’t, and none of them thought to look over their heads.
* * * * *
“Spitsy!” Senya whispered. “Get over here!” She stifled a gasp when the lights turned off and new blue-colored ones flashed on. Those were her cue!
Spitsy gurgled and buried himself deeper into the coils of rope.
Senya lunged towards the pile, reached in to grab her assistant, overbalanced, and toppled over into the rope. The tangled Ruki struggled to free herself quickly from her bonds, only succeeding to make it worse and make the walkway sway. Spitsy crawled carefully away to avoid being squished while the curtains opened right on time to reveal the empty stage. Senya’s eyes grew wide as the swinging platform dumped her off, sending her falling towards the stage floor.
Spitsy the Spyder grabbed hold of the other end of the rope as it began to roll off the cold steel catwalk and tied it quickly around the bar that supported the railing in one of his ever tight knots that made him the perfect partner for his mistress.
Senya squeezed her eyes shut and waited to hit the floor. She gagged as the rope wrapped around her went taut and held fast. The escape artist opened her eyes to see that she was dangling upside-down by the rope about five feet over the stage. The audience clapped quietly, surprised by the sudden entrance, and the blue spot-light was turned on her.
Senya pulled her wits together and began to untie herself as if it was all part of the act. After a few seconds worth of prying and untangling, the rope gave way and Senya came loose. She twisted with trained ease and landed in a crouch with her feet steady on the stage. She straightened herself, while the prop for what was supposed to be her first trick was wheeled on the stage behind her. Spitsy clambered swiftly down the rope and hopped onto her shoulder. Senya smiled – her partner was back.
“On with the show...” she whispered.