My Search To Find The Spider Who Spun The Dark Web by Darius Weber
The dark web. We've all heard about it and we are all scared of it, but what do we really about know it? It is a web and it is dark and not much more than that. It must also be really big for so many to talk about it.
I decided that more information was needed on the topic. If anyone or anything knew more about dark web, it would have to be a spider. The problem was I didn't know any spiders.
I had heard of a teenager in New York who had recently started photographing a superhero who took on spider-like abilities. Perhaps this kid could shed some light on the subject. I knew his aunt's sister's ex-boyfriend's former roommate from college. After explaining that, Peter Parker, though somewhat reserved, and I began talking.
"I'm interested in what this spider guy knows about the dark web."
"Spiderman isn't affiliated with the dark web. From what I have seen, his webs are lighter."
"Do you think anyone he fights might be linked to it?"
"No, not that I am aware of. If you really want more on this dark web thing, an actual spider is who you would want to talk to."
"Any recommendations?" I asked.
"I know of an older spider. He is fairly large and lives near a magical school. This guy's got some serious fangs."
"Sounds like he might have some venom."
"VENOM?! What does VENOM have to do with it? Oh...the spider. Sure." Parker relayed the specifics over the phone and we said our goodbyes. It was now time to head to the magical school for an in person visit with an arachnid named Aragog.
I found my way to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry a few days later. The game keeper handed me a lantern and pointed me towards the lair of the spider.
"Wouldn't 'urt a fly," he said. I didn't know whether to believe him or not, but I hadn't come this far to back down. I had to figure out the dark web. What did it catch?
I continued on a trail into a forest, supposedly forbidden. Lantern held up high, my path led into what appeared to be a hole.
"Hagrid, is that you?" a creepy voice asked. I fought off panic when the giant spider came into the light.
"No sir, I'm a friend of Peter Parker," I exclaimed. "He said that you might know something about the dark web."
"Ahh...did he now? There is talk amongst us spiders about the dark web. As you can see, my webs are translucent. All the better to catch unsuspecting animals to eat." His pincers appeared to be watering at this. "My cousin Queen Gohma mentioned this web of the dark to me one time. She lives in a faraway land called Hyrule, not that it matters to you now."
"Well, thanks," I said. "I think that is all I need then. I'll just be on my way." I started to turn but noticed smaller spiders starting to congregate around Aragog and me. They seemed hungry.
"I think not," said the great spider. "My children do not harm Peter Parker because he is part spider. But I cannot deny them food that comes in...so willingly."
At that moment I felt that all was lost. I would never discover who spun the dark web or what it was. I would never eat another piece of banana bread again. I began to make my peace as the spiders started to come for me when I heard a loud noise. A blaring 'honk' and lights startled the hungry spider babies. It wasn't a feral Ford Anglia. It was a bewitched Austin Healy 3000, flying towards us with a smiling face in British Racing Green. This was all so irregular, but I wasn't going to complain about being saved by a car.
The little sports car touched down and took out around 15 baby spiders before skidding next to me and stopping momentarily to open the door, allowing me to jump in. Aragog appeared angry about this and started to creep out further from his lair, but the Austin Healy seemed to know exactly what to do, at first driving me away before the magic really kicked in and we were soaring above the clouds.
"That was close," I said not knowing if the 3000 could hear me. "Thank you."
The car gave a beep which I took to mean 'you are welcome.' As I got acclimated to the ride, I thought about my next step. Aragog had mentioned a place called Hyrule. I asked the car if it knew the way to Hyrule and received a series of optimistic beeps. So, I settled back in my seat and let the small British car do its thing.
I woke up sometime later as the car landed on the ground. I appeared to be in a forest, with a large tree looking down at me as if it had a face. The car honked again and sped away; I waved to it. Then, to my surprise, the tree spoke.
"Darius...Welcome..." it said. "Listen carefully to what I, the Deku Tree, am about to tell thee. Thy slumber these past moons must have been restless, and full of nightmares. As the servants of evil gain strength, a vile climate pervades the land, and causes nightmares to those sensitive to it. Verily, thou hast felt it...fraud and the dark web!"
Any tree that can use the word 'verily' is worth of respect in my book. I sat down and listened to the wise old plant's talk. It turned out that the tree was under a curse that only I could break. He opened his mouth and ushered me inside to face the evil.
The inside of the tree was cavernous to say the least. I noticed a spider web that blocked access to the bottom of a pit. I figured I could break through if I jumped from a high place. All the while I was climbing I was fighting off evil beasts.
The high jump did the trick and the spider web underneath me gave way. I fell deep into a dungeon. Next, I had a series of challenges that led me to a large room. A door slammed behind me. Some ominous music played in the background, which I found a little strange. I looked up.
Romping around on the ceiling was a massive spider, even bigger than Aragog. This had to be Queen Gohma. Now, I have a strong stomach and I like to think of myself as braver than most men. But the sight of this monstrosity nearly made me lose my lunch and run scared. The spider had a DIVISION SIGN for an eye! It was sick. I thought of division and how much I loathed it in school. I fought the nausea and found courage...I just couldn't look at that eye.
Needless to say I completely defeated the beast. As she lay dead at my feet I wondered to myself if I had destroyed the spider responsible for spinning the dark web. That would make sense, I thought. A light came from the ground that I knew I needed to enter, and I was transported back to the Deku Tree.
"Well done Darius...Thou hast verily demonstrated thy courage. I knew that thou wouldst be able to carry out my wishes..." The Great Deku Tree went on to explain in great detail the evils that led to the large spider being inside of him. Unfortunately, he didn't know any more than I knew about the dark web. But he gave me another lead.
"Verily, on a farm in the country lives a pig and a spider who are friends. Find Charlotte and ask her about the dark web. She is a wise creature and isn't rotten like the spider I swallowed. Alas, the damage done to me is terminal...I wish thy well on thine quest to answer questions of the dark web. Goodbye Darius." And with those last words the Great Deku Tree dramatically turned gray and died, leaving me alone next to it with a fairy I had befriended. It was time to leave Hyrule.
The country dirt road that led to the farm was far less magical than Hogwarts or Hyrule. And we weren't talking about superheroes; just a plain old spider. I introduced myself to the farmer and his family, and they took me to a barn where a plump pig was eating his slop. I stared at this pig, Wilbur was his name, and he stared at me. Then, he pointed up with his snout. I saw the most beautiful web. The web said, "Some Pig". The pig seemed proud of this.
"Excuse me Mr. Pig," I said humbly. "Is there a spider named Charlotte somewhere around?" The pig oinked and looked up again. I followed his eyes and saw a gentle looking spider working on another web. I asked if she was Charlotte.
"I am. Nice to meet you." We introduced ourselves and I got to the point. Charlotte listened to my story and where I had come from.
"Queen Gohma was my math teacher," she said. "I can't say I am mad at you for slaying her; she was obsessed with division all the time. It made me sick."
"And that eye?" I questioned, making us both laugh.
"Eww, it was terrible. It sounds like you have traveled a long way to get here. I'm sorry to say that I do not know much about the dark web. I've heard that criminals use it. The only experience I personally have with crime is helping my poor friend Wilbur out of a Pig Butchering Scam...but that is beside the point." At this Wilbur looked up and snorted.
"What will I do now?"
"I don't have the answer to the dark web but I know who does. One of my sons is still small, but he is a cybersecurity professional. Your journey is nearing a close." She gave me an address. I thanked the spider and threw an apple to the pig, wishing them both well and telling neither of them that my last meal was a BLT sandwich.
I had trouble finding Charlotte's son at first. He was so small. But eventually I found The Itsy Bitsy Spider sunning himself.
"Hi," I greeted. "My name is Darius Weber and I want to know about the dark web. Your mother Charlotte told me that you might be an expert that can explain it. I want to know which spider spun it."
The little spider just sat there, sunning himself. Then he spoke in a small voice.
"The dark web is just part of the internet. It was created with privacy and security in mind. While there are baddies out there who leverage it, many people engage it without engaging in illegal activities."
"You seem to know a lot about it."
"I like to keep things private. A while back rumors were going around about me falling down a water spout. People would even sing about it...it was awful; a complete disrespect for my privacy. So I went into cybersecurity and even I use the dark web from time to time."
"So I don't have to be scared out of my wits about the dark web? And it isn't actually a web?"
"No need to worry, especially when spiders like me are out monitoring it. And it is a web in a way, just not one that a spider has spun."
I thanked The Itsy Bitsy Spider for his time. My quest was at an end. It was now time for me to go home and find something else on the internet to be scared to death of.