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Beloved – Interlude 4-5 - Death Comes A' Calling
Drusilla stared intently into the dull gray bowl, studying the placid surface of the liquid it held. “What do I spy with my little eye?” she intoned in a sing-song manner. Glancing up at the large black raven walking back and forth on its perch, she sighed. “Nothing shines for me, my pet. Perhaps I should send you out to search amongst the pixies?”
It flapped its wings twice, showing off its full wingspan. Caw! Caw caw! it seemed to answer her, cocking its head to one side.
“Perhaps not, then,” she murmured, staring once more into the murky surface. “One of our chicks has left the nest with a lie on her lips.” Drusilla clapped her hands with delight. “I think it’s time for an outing, Mr. Peepers. You be a good birdy whilst Mummy is doing her chores and maybe I’ll bring you back a tasty treat.”
The Los Angeles sewer system made daylight jaunts almost as easy for Drusilla as Sunnydale’s network had. Not to mention the convenience of snagging a bite to eat in one of the overcrowded indoor malls. Thousands of men, women and children all shoved together like little appetizers just waiting for her to take her pick. Only, she wasn’t out to hunt today… not for food, at least. She was going to be a mummy. Today her prey were pretty outfits and white shoes, diapers and talcum and lots of those itty bitty pins with which to stick the baby with. Sailor suits and hats with pretty feathers in them. A child of hers would be dressed decently; the prettiest boy of the lot.
She’d spoil her baby, and they’d dance once again as they used to in the old days. Just ‘cause Daddy had him now didn’t mean he’d stay there forever. Her sweet William was coming back home, and they’d have the best of times.
Oh, yes! Drusilla clapped her hands in anticipation. It will be so much fun taking the boy right out from under Daddy’s nose. She knew just how to do it. The little puppy with the crooked tongue would provide her way into the fortress. After that, her fair knight was home free.
Bad Daddy. Always ruining things. Trying to keep what’s hers by blood for himself. Little Willy was hers. She’d chosen him, herself – to be her brave knight; her effulgent pet. Nobody had written of Princess’ beauty or charms since he’d been gone.
The display at The Children’s Place was awash with summer colors. Just perfect for what she had in mind. No more dark, dark, dark for her boy, although the bloody reds were all right. Greens, and blues and lots of white. And no annoying sunshine to mess everything up.
No, her darling David had taken care of that. More exquisite than Michelangelo’s greatest work of art, for he had managed to entrap the sun.
See how she likes having her dolly taken from her.
Drusilla wove through the store’s displays, picking out shirts and pants the little glass lights didn’t shine upon. She made sure not to step into the shadows, for they didn’t appreciate that kind of disrespect.
She came across a little girl, waltzing around a column like a giant Maypole. Dru’s eyes lit up, entranced by the child. “Mmmm, like cherry syrup you are, my sweet. Come with me and we will make such delightful messes.”
The little girl refused to play, saying all kinds of mean things. “My mommy told me not to go with strangers,” she insisted, making enough of a racket to bring her mother around.
There were other children around, but Dru wanted her sweet cherry. She pulled the mother around, pointing her fingers at the woman’s angry eyes. “Be… in my eyes. Be… in me.” Immediately the woman calmed, and handed the little treat over, as nice as you please.
Gathering all her pretty prezzies, Drusilla merrily twirled her way out of the store, un-accosted, leaving behind a disoriented staff in her wake, and a young mother looking for her child.
The little dolly cried when Dru took a taste. Just a small one – nothing more. She knew now wasn’t the proper time to fill her belly. Instead, she caressed the sweetling’s face, took her hand and led her to the next store. Her boy would need lots of toys for when he was good, and canes for when he was bad. A good mummy was always prepared.
“Messy girl,” Dru pouted, pulling on the child’s dress, pointing out splotches of blood around the collar. “You’ve gone and soiled your frock! Shouldn’t get you a sweet, but Mummy’s feeling kindly.” She carried the girl into an old-fashioned candystore, packed wall-to-wall with an amazing variety of goodies. It reminded her of a Parisienne sweet shop she’d once been to, and she chose two large lollies from a display case. A pink one to keep her little cherry girl full to the top, and a blue one for her little sailor boy. A quick wriggle of her fingers, and the salesmen waved them out.
“What’s your name, dumpling?” Dru asked, raising the little girl’s face to meet her own.
With great effort, she managed to squeak out: “Sherice.”
“Just what I thought, my little cherry. Now, now, dolly, it isn’t time for your nap quite yet,” she admonished when Sherice began to sway on her feet. “Soon you can sleep as much as you want, but not quite yet.” She tapped the youngster on her nose. “Got you, poppet. All your little pieces, mine for the taking.”
Sherice stood shakily, unable to move, unable to scream out for rescue.
“You’re such a cute little girl. Maybe my sweet Willy would like to have a sister. How would you like Princess to be your mummy, too?”
Spying a queue of shopping carts, Drusilla snagged one. She dumped the clothing in the back portion, using them as a cushion for Sherice. “Now, isn’t that better? Today beggars shall ride, poppet, and I’ll push you in your pram like a good mum.”
Dru sang quietly as she pushed the shopping cart from store to store. To the average mallrat, she was just one more mother, albeit in a fairly old-fashioned outfit, pushing her child along on a sunny afternoon. One of the shopkeepers threw a sour glance her way when Dru dared to touch the pretty necklaces on display without permission. Her expression puckered even further when Drusilla’s nails slashed through the woman’s throat, spraying blood all over the floor, as she collapsed to the ground; blood too filthy to drink.
“Oooh, look at all the pretty frillies!” The Bridal Shoppe was the next stop on their mall crawl. “And look at the wonderful surprise inside! Hush, little cherry… our lying wolfy is inside, and our party begins.”
She so loved the pretty dresses with all their frippery; delicate laces that spoke of pixies and secret messages in-between the designs. What they signified. To be a bride to a beloved master… but her Daddy was long gone, and all her dreams of frills and lace were dust.
Dru’s eyes widened as they came to rest on an additional treat. Her wolf was accompanied by flower girl; the one her Spike had partaken of back on the mouth of Hell. Nestled inside was her own little treasure – a black jewel swimming and growing ripe. She waited for the blooming flower to take her leave before she approached her original goal, glancing first at her pram to ensure the security of her little girl, groggily nodding off.
Hiding the cart in-between rows of billowy silks and taffetas, Dru crept up behind Nina and tapped her on the shoulder – vanishing when she turned around – only to do it again and again, watching the woman grow frustrated and dizzy. She finally showed herself, swaying back and forth in front of the harried woman.
“Hello, my little wolf. Want to play run and catch? See who can protect the little lambs from the real Big Bad?”
Nina stood, seemingly weighing what to say or do.
“Be… in me,” Dru murmured, and the little wolfling was all hers; would let her in whenever Drusilla asked her to. She patted her pet’s head and turned around, taking her pram with her. It was time to go home. Her tummy was growling, and she remembered she’d promised her black feathered friend a treat since he’d been such a good fellow.
“Nina, are you okay? You look greener about the gills than I do most mornings.”
Flower girl’s voice was easily heard above the throng outside the store, and Dru waited… perhaps she’d need to partake of dinner a might early after all.
“Did you see her? Some fruitcake in a long dress played a demented game of peek-a-boo with me, and then vanished.”
“No, I just…”
Flower girl looked towards the door, seemingly straight at Dru. She could feel it as contact was made, the naughty blossom; little present her Spike had begun to open in that tin box all those years ago.
“Look, why don’t we just go back to my place? We’ve still got a lot to do if we want to prepare for the wedding.”
Dru had heard enough, and turned from the store in disgust. The wolf would marry the hunter? Never! Poor daddy, to have fallen so.
Night had fallen, and Angel was chomping at the bit to get out of the Hyperion. Best of all, he had his son at his side – the perfect stress reliever – a patrol with Connor. “Time to go kill something, son,” he said, unable to contain his patented brooding façade. “You ready?”
Connor gave his little brother a last hug for the night. “Here ya go, Charlotte. You take good care of this little guy. He and I have lots of years ahead of us for making old Dad’s life a living hell. Will needs his sleep.” With a grin, he turned and strode out the door with Angel.
Charlotte turned to Hugh once they were alone. “Heard you had rather an interesting time of things with the Boss this morning.” She smiled, feeling rather sorry for the poor shlub at the moment. “Something about Will and his daddy’s database?”
“Oh, you should have seem the man, Miss Wint…”
“Hugh, we’ve been working together for the past two weeks. Don’t you think you can drop the formality, please? Call me Charlotte.” With Will in her arms, she walked over to the garden door. “I think I’m gonna catch a bit of fresh air before putting this little sweetie to bed. You wanna go see your statue friend, hon?” she cooed.
Will clapped his hands excitedly. “Out! Go out, Lotte.”
“Hey,” Hugh exclaimed. “How come he’s allowed to call you that?”
She laughed. It was nice to see the more human side of the man. “If you were this cute, I’d let you call me anything you’d like, too.” She opened the door to let William play in the garden, watching him promptly sit in front of the well-lit statue.
“Are you sure the boy will be alright? Out in the garden by himself?” The Watcher’s brows knit in concern. “After all, that’s where he was attacked by that…”
Charlotte turned around at the sudden silence, concerned at the cause. “Hugh?”
“Oh dear Lord,” he whispered. “Drusilla!” The name held such fear tinged with not a little awe, that Charlotte spun around to check on the boy.
Time stopped as a vampiress appeared framed at the garden door in full gameface, holding William in her arms, her painted nails trailing along his delicate neck. She watched the panicked expressions on the hotel’s occupants with delight.
“No need to fear, poppets. William is safe now. Mummy is here.”