When the family walked through the portal, they instantly fell asleep. And the next day, they woke up in another world. When they looked around, it was as if someone had colored this world with a giant orange crayon. This world was a huge grove of orange trees.
“Is everyone alright?” the father asked as everyone got up.
“Good,” everyone said.
Everyone except Lilly. Lilly had already gone off to the nearest orange tree. Because, it turns out, Lilly’s favorite fruit was an orange. So she made it to the tree, reached out, and pulled an orange from the branch. And when she did, a long, black leg reached out for her. She jumped back in surprise and when she looked more closely, what she saw made her drop the orange to the ground. Hanging upside-down in the orange tree was a giant, black spider. It twisted right-side up, blinked its eight orange eyes at Lilly, then lunged for her.
Lilly shrieked and ran as fast as her little legs could carry her back to her family.
“SPIDER!!!” she screeched.
The family turned around just in time to see the spider crawling towards them. It was bigger than a school bus and raced across the ground just as fast.
“Run!!!” the father cried.
The family ran in the other direction, but Max and Mike hurled their ninja stars at the spider instead. Of course, they didn’t listen and instead of running, they kept fighting the spider.
“Don’t worry, Lilly!” Mike yelled. “I’ll beat this sucker in no time! I’m the MVP!”
But no matter how many ninja stars he and his brother threw at the spider, it kept coming.
“Max and Mike, get over here!” the father said.
But the spider was too fast. By the time the sentence was out of the father’s mouth, the spider had pinned the twins to the ground and it started spinning a web around them. And before the rest of the family knew it, it was circling them and spinning a giant white web around them as well. In a matter of seconds, they were all trapped in a web, hanging several feet in the air between the orange trees.
The spider climbed onto the web and stared at the family with its blinking orange eyes.
“Why is this happening?” Lilly whimpered.
“This is your world, Lilly,” Serena said.
“Exactly,” said Max. “So this is your fault. This is why no one loves you.”
“Max!” the father scolded. “Now’s not the time for your stupid lies!”
“No,” Serena said. “I meant Lilly needs to kill the spider.”
The spider crawled closer.
“No!!!” Lilly shrieked, shaking in the web. “I’m scared!”
“Screw this,” the father said. He swung his sword at the webs around him and chopped them away. Then he worked at the webs around the rest of the family and cut them free. They ran through the grove with the spider racing behind them and made it to a lake at the edge of the grove. There was a tiny island in the center of the lake and the family dove in and swam to the island. They thought they’d be safe because, of course, spiders can’t swim.
Sure enough, when they looked back, the spider was standing there on the shore, waiting for them with its blinking orange eyes.
“That was close,” said Max. “What do we do now?”
“Let’s wait it out,” the father suggested. “It’ll go away eventually.”
So the family waited on the island with the Sun high above them. They waited and waited until eventually they drifted off to sleep. They slept for hours and when they woke up, they expected it to be night time and for the spider to be gone. But when they looked, not only was the spider still waiting, but the Sun hadn’t moved.
“What in the world?” asked Max. “Did time stop or something?”
The father looked at the spider. “I don’t think day will move until Lilly kills the spider.”
“No!!!” Lilly cried. “I don’t want to!”
“But you have to, sweetie,” the father said.
“But I’m scared.”
“What do we always say?” the father asked. “No matter how bad it is…”
“Or how bad it gets,” Lilly replied.
“We’re gonna make it.”
Lilly nodded slowly.
“I’ll go with you,” the father said. “Everyone else stay here.” Then he put Lilly on his back and swam across the lake.
Lilly felt much more confident on her father’s back as they swam. And for a moment, she stopped worrying about the spider and decided now was the time to ask her father a question she’d been worried about.
“Is it true what Max said?” she asked. “That no one loves me?”
“Of course not,” her father said. “He’s just teasing you.”
They made it to the shore and the spider blinked its orange eyes at them.
“I’ll distract him, Lilly,” the father said. “You can do this.” He dove at the spider and slashed away, but the spider fought back with its legs, clashing against the blade like iron against iron. Then, as they dueled, Lilly gathered enough courage to run behind the spider, lift her dagger, and stab it into the spider’s back. The spider screeched, turned over, and curled into a ball of legs.
“Good job, Lilly,” the father said, scooping her up into his arms. “I told you you could do it.”
“I did it because you were with me, Daddy,” she said. “I knew you’d never leave me.”
He nodded and said, “No, Lilly. I’ll never leave you.”
“Dad, the portals open!” Serena shouted from the island.
The father took Lilly and swam back then the family ran into the portal with the father stepping in last. But just before he stepped through, he looked back at the shore and saw a shadowy figure staring back at him. It pointed one finger at him before the portal closed and everything went black.