Week 3 - The Monster Part II

Jack found Samantha and Rainbow together. More precisely, Jack found Samantha about to eat Rainbow.

He knew the specific corner of the home where Samantha liked to spend her days, and he wasn’t disappointed when he arrived to the sound of Rainbow’s desperate wails and pleas for absolution.

In between a chair leg and the corner of the wall, Jack could see Rainbow was helplessly stuck in the middle of one of Samantha’s perfectly spun webs. She was doomed - Jack had never seen anything escape from one of Samantha’s inextricable traps.

Samantha was strolling up the side of the chair leg now, heading casually but steadily towards Rainbow and her cries for help.

“Sam, Rainbow! What a pleasant coincidence to find you both here.” Jack called.

Rainbow stopped her wailing abruptly and Sam turned around and tilted her head towards Jack curiously, but said nothing.

Jack cleared his throat nervously and started again.

“So I’ve been looking forward to having a conversation with both of you and ah, Sam, I think you might want to hold off from doing whatever it is you had in mind with Rainbow for a moment if you don’t mind. Hear me out?” Jack asked.

Rainbow buzzed affirmatively and nodded her head vigorously in agreement. Jack thought with a small twinge of guilt that maybe it was a little bit of a good thing that Rainbow was where she was right now. It would be easy to get her on board with whatever proposition he came up with, given that her other alternative was being slowly eaten alive by a spider.

Sam, on the other hand, twitched slightly with annoyance.

“You know that I hate being interrupted before meals, Jack. But knowing that you know that, I am curious what you have to say. I’m assuming it must be important.” she said, with the slightest insinuation that it had /better/ be important.

“Of course, Sam. You know I wouldn’t dream of bothering you if it wasn’t important.” Jack replied. He breathed a sigh of relief. She was open to talking. Now, he just had to convince her.

“So let me get to the point. I know life hasn’t been easy for you lately with the monster terrorizing and driving out the resident population of your favorite snacks. Hell, Rainbow’s the first meal I’ve seen you catch in days, so I know I’m asking a lot when I’m suggesting maybe you let her go. But I promise you, it’ll be worth it. If you eat Rainbow now, you’ll be good to go for a few more days. But then what? It’s back to the same slim pickings it was before she showed up. Instead, let’s work together and solve the real problem once and for all.” Jack explained.

Sam tilted her head even further.

“The real problem? And what is that, exactly?” she asked.

“The monster. If we get rid of the monster, all of our problems are solved. You get to have food to eat all the time again, and my family and I get to live in peace. And together, we can make it happen.” Jack replied.

Sam thought for a moment before replying.

“Okay, I assume I know where you’re going with this. You think I can kill the monster with my poison. I might actually be able to, even. I’m not sure. But where do you all fall into this, and what exactly is going to stop the monster from killing me as soon as I bite him?” Sam mused.

Jack knew this was his chance, and he wasn’t going to lose it. He’d always been quick on his feet, and he decided to piece it together as he went.

“You’ve always been a smart one, Sam. You got it. You’re our best hope at actually taking down the monster, but you’re not able to do it alone. But together, we can make it happen. The two of us make a perfect team. I can get you in, you can bite him, and then I can make sure you get away safely.

“I’m assuming Rainbow is on board with this too, and I’ve already signed up Charles, so they can provide additional distraction to make sure you get away safely. As soon as this happens, everything goes back to normal for you. Unlimited food just like the good days.” Jack replied.

“That…almost seems half possible, despite being blindingly straightforward. I’m surprised we haven’t tried this earlier, come to think of it. But here’s the ultimate question: What happens if my poison doesn’t end up killing the monster?” Sam asked.

“Then we get Rainbow to call for outside help on standby. I’ve already sorted it out. There’s a snake nearby I’ve made contact with that’s certain he can finish the job, but his cost is a little steep, so I’d prefer to avoid using him unless absolutely necessary.” Jack admitted.

“Interesting. And what is his cost, exactly?” Sam pressed.

Jack sighed. “Just to eat me and two of my children.” he admitted.

Sam laughed. “Well, I can certainly appreciate that. Everyone needs to eat. But I can also appreciate your preferring not to have to resort to that. But now let me ask…what’s stopping me from just refusing to help and waiting for let the snake take care of things?”

Jack groaned inside. Sam was too smart. He’d have to be uncompromising on this one.

“If you’re not going to help, then I’m just going to have to wait until you either change your mind, or die of starvation first. You’re right. If you don’t help, I’m going to have to eventually go to the snake anyway. But you know I can wait this out longer than you can, and you’ll be long dead before I have to resort to that.” Jack said firmly.

Sam considered for a moment, swaying her head gently side to side. Finally, she nodded.

“Makes sense. Hope you don’t take it personally, I just had to ask. Okay, you can count me in. And I’ll let Rainbow free for now too. But just to be clear to both of you - all bets are off after we do this. If this fails, I’m free to catch Rainbow again. Everyone has to live around here.”

Jack looked at Rainbow. Rainbow nodded. “That sounds fine and fair to me. Thank you, Sam. Your help means everything. I’m going to sort out final logistics now, and I’ll be in touch very shortly. I’ll plan on seeing you here again later tonight, if that works.” Jack replied.

Sam nodded in assent, and then resumed climbing towards Rainbow, who had remained helplessly stuck in place during the entire exchange. Not that Jack didn’t trust Sam, but he decided to hang around long enough to see Sam actually release Rainbow, just in case.

When she finally did, he breathed a sigh of relief. Now, Sam was committed. She probably wouldn’t last long enough to find another meal if they couldn’t take care of the monster now. He turned and trotted away towards his second to last destination.


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