In the Beginning - Part 2
They took away her stuffed pig.
Mom packed it in her suitcase, but they took it away. Something about Mr. Gordo having a long, twisty tail. You can't have anything like that here. Not even shoes with laces. Her sneakers sit in the corner, gaping open like hungry mouths. In the shadows, they're almost scary.
Not as scary as…
No. She can't think about that. All her imagination, right? And she's here to get better. To forget those crazy nightmares.
Alone in her room in the psychiatric hospital, in the dark, Buffy shivers, wrapping her arms around herself.
Sleep is a friend that's turned its back. Buffy tosses on her plastic mattress and pillow. Nothing that can be tied into a noose, even if there were anything to hang one from, so they sleep without luxuries.
Mom was mad, when she found that out. "Buffy may be troubled," she'd said, "but she's not suicidal."
The doctors all made clucking noises, writing things on their notepads.
She's been stripped. Searched. Probed. Fingered. It feels like she's been violated.
She wants to cry, but the tears won't come. Dry and tight, she stares into the darkness and prays for oblivion.
She does have a window. It's thick glass, woven with wire so she can't break through it, but it's a window. Wonder what she did to rate that luxury? Wonder if the people who are really crazy get windows, or if they just have blank walls?
Slipping out of bed, Buffy pads barefooted over to the glass. She puts one hand on it, staring out into the night. She used to think it was safe. Then she thought it was full of monsters.
Now she doesn't know what to think.
Was it real? Do vampires exist? Monsters? Demons? Or is she really crazy?
How can she be crazy? She saw it with her own eyes… or did she?
She wishes she had some kind of proof. Something to let her know if she's right and they're wrong, or the other way around.
But when did wishing ever do any good?
They're going to send her for shock treatments tomorrow. Just the thought has her shaking, trembling leaf-like as she stands cold and alone. Mom can't be there. Dad, either. A nurse explained it all to her. Really dry and technical. She knows what'll happen. But it all boils down to zap, doesn't it?
And after that, she's supposed to be better. Or at least getting better. She won't see the things that go bump in the night anymore.
Buffy's not sure. How can you close your eyes to the truth, if it is truth? Can she fool herself into thinking things aren't the way they are, or is this going to be the band-aid she needs to patch herself up?
God! Proof, she needs proof. She pounds the glass softly, not wanting to alert any nurses, but frustrated as hell all the same. If only there were something….
Sometimes, wishes are answered.
Sometimes, dreams come true. Even the crazy ones.
Sometimes, the things that stalk and hunt you know when to pounce, but sometimes they know when to play, too.
As Buffy stands at her window, a pale blonde shadow behind the glass, there are things out in the night that know where she is, and why. Things that can see beyond here and now and things with a wicked sense of humor.
Things that want to play with her.
Things that are coming ever closer, slipping up on little cat feet, ready to put on a show….
There's a smoker's patio just below. No one's out there. It's late. Besides, the patients can't go smoke, and all the nurses are skinny, health-conscious types. It looks like a lonely, forgotten place. Alone and empty.
Empty, that is, until she dances out onto the patterned bricks, her footfall light and airy as a butterfly. Red and black lace and velvet swirl around her. Black curls tumble down her cheeks. Her arms are snow-pale, bare to the shoulders. White, white they flash in the night as she moves and twists in a graceful dance.
Every nerve in Buffy's body goes on alert. Vampire. This is a vampire. She knows.
And yet… somehow familiar? She frowns. Scrubs at the glass, trying for a better look.
The woman looks up at her with wild, unfettered glee in her eyes, smiling a sharp white smile that promises all the thrill of the night.
Caught, unable to look away, Buffy stares as the vampire dances her arabesques and patterns. She never misses a step, swaying to some music no one can hear. Dainty as a fairy, graceful as a swan, deadly as a white tiger.
She's beautiful. And evil. Gorgeous evil.
Buffy's lips part slightly. Why's this vampire here? Is she taunting her, the Slayer-Behind-Glass?
Maybe she has something else in mind.
Maybe she'll call one of the nurses out, and drink her down. Buffy's heart hammers in panic, but there's nothing she can do. Nothing at all.
So she stares. Stares. Watches. Waits.
And then, there's more. A man steps out of the shadows. Lean and sinewy, a human/panther wrapped in a long black leather coat, he catches the woman vampire's arms as she flings them up. Traces his fingers down her arm, down to her breast, and her side, and her waist. Laughing gleefully, a sound Buffy can't hear, but sees, the woman turns to her new partner and whirls him into the dance. He's light as a feather, guiding her through the patterns of a new rhythm. It's different. Darker. Primal.
He glances up at her window. Taunting her. Laughing at the mess she's in. Trapped, while he runs and dances free.
Her Slayer senses throb with the need to break the glass. Break the wood frame. Find a long, sharp shard. Plunge it deep. Kill.
But she can't stop watching them, either. They're evil.
So beautiful, though. Oh, so beautiful…
They kiss, the man and the woman. Pausing in their dance, arms wrapped around each other as if they're drowning, their mouths meet with a hunger like nothing Buffy's ever seen. She feels herself throb down low at their passion -- then stiffens as she sees runnels of blood trailing from their mouths. Their sharp teeth are nipping at one another's lips.
Blood. Blood. It's all wrong.
But it's still beautiful.
This is wrong. Buffy shakes her head, backing away. She can't do this. Can't see this. Can't be this. She puts her hands over her ears and collapses to the floor, rocking back and forth.
There are nurses, then, but she hardly notices. She can feel the man and woman leaving. Knows they're going out to hunt. To kill.
She can hear the mocking echoes of their laughter, drifting away.
And she cries. Cries, as if her heart is breaking.
The morning comes, and with it two big men helping Buffy onto a gurney. They pull her to a room where there's things to tie her wrists and ankles down. It's full of machines and things that go beep.
Monsters live in the daylight, too.
But Buffy's a big girl. She doesn't fight when they tape the electrodes on. Doesn't make a sound when a shot sends her to sleep.
Doesn't feel the jolts of electricity racing through her body.
Doesn't remember, afterwards, everything that she's forgotten. The man, the woman, their dance and their kiss.
Doesn't remember a thing…