Sunnydale General Hospital
There was this hideously strong searchlight trying to light me up. I tried running from it but kept tracking me until it finally hit me square in the face. The pain in my eyes caused me to try to close them but something forced them open. I was going to try knocking it away with my arm when I heard a voice speaking above me.
“The patient’s pupils are equal and reactive. I think it’s safe to say that he doesn’t have a major concussion but we’re going to give him a CAT scan once the tech comes in and keep him for the night for observation. He should be regaining consciousness at anytime now, Detective.”
CAT scan. Concussion. I must be in the hospital. The last thing I remember was that someone had grabbed me and knocked me headfirst into the parking lot while Buffy was looking around for vampires. The voices above continued to talk.
“We need to talk to this kid to know what happened. The only things we know is that this kid was found knocked out next to a couple of spilled store bags of clothes and his name wasn’t on the receipts. It’s possible that the girl whose handbag we also found there had been kidnapped. This kid is lucky that the mall security truck found him or he might have bled to death from his head injury.“
“You’re right about the bleeding. We had to give him three units of blood before he stabilized. The X-rays show no skull fractures, so he’ll recover with nothing more serious than a major headache and some disorientation. His parents were notified, I assume?”
From the way the two voices were talking, I figured that it was a doctor and a police detective that were talking above me. I was keeping my eyes shut to see it they would keep talking - I knew the detective probably would not tell me much more I’ve already heard.
“This kid’s parents are on their way in. The problem is that no one can contact the girl’s mother. The uniforms that went to her house said the neighbors told them that the mother was out of town.”
No kidding, dummy. Buffy’s mom was on an art-buying trip. My head was starting to pound like the bass drum in the high school marching band. I heard the two start to walk away while still talking.
“Here’s my card, doctor. Could you contact us when he wakes up so that he can talk to him? Unless we get more info this case is going to go down as one of the weird ones. I mean, we found another blood sample at the crime scene and three dust piles around this kid’s car. What the hell does that mean?”
Dust piles. Blood. Buffy must have staked at least three vamps before she got hurt - the second blood sample was certainly hers. That meant that the vamps had taken Buffy alive - if they had killed her, they wouldn’t have dragged her off. They probably got scared off by the mall security truck and taken her with them.
My head had started to hurt once I woke up, and all this thinking was not helping. But all a sudden the little voice in my head started to talk to me, and it was not like before.
I know what you’re thinking. And you’re right. Little voices in Xander’s head are not a good sign - especially after a head injury. But everyone had their little voice in their head - we covered this in the psychology section of health sciences. According to one theory, (and this is really watered down), everyone has their good side and their bad side and the part of your mind that makes decisions is a referee of the two. So when you are debating in your mind to do something or not, it’s really the two sides trying to convince your mind to do something.
More times than not, it was my good side talking to me, trying to convince me not to do something dumb or dangerous. But in this case, it was my dark side that was doing the talking. The last time Dark Xander (as I called that little voice) was in control was when the hyena had posessed me. But this time Dark Xander was not urging me to harm people - he was starting to make sense.
‘You know that the police aren’t going to be able to do anything - like they ever do. The vamps have Buffy and she’ll be dead before the cops get it together,’ Dark Xander whispered in my mind. ‘We have to do something about this.’
‘What do you mean we? Everyone is out of town for the weekend. We can’t just go charging in by ourselves to save Buffy. For all we know, Angelus has her,’ I replied in my mind.
‘You’ve stood up to Angelus before, you know. In this hospital, as a matter of fact. But it doesn’t matter. If we wait until everyone gets back before we do something, the only thing we’ll be able to do for Buffy is bury her…if she’s lucky.’ Dark Xander was not pulling any punches.
‘OK then. But we’re still here in the hospital. I don’t think that I’m in the shape for this,’ I thought to myself. ‘It doesn’t matter. We have to go. Now look around and see what's in this room that would be useful, ‘Dark Xander ordered me.
I sat up and winced from the pain in my head. I was in a curtained-off area that was pretty quiet - that meant I had some privacy. I saw a plastic bag hanging off the foot of the hospital bed. I reached over and grabbed it. Luckily, it contained my clothes. I pulled them out and saw that the shirt was blood-soaked. No good. I didn’t want to call attention to myself. The jacket was dark, so that didn’t show much blood and the jeans were OK. I saw that I was hooked up to an IV line and a vital signs monitor. Carefully I turned off the monitor off, and when no one came running, I knew that no alarms had gone off. I unhooked myself from the IV and the monitor and got dressed. I left the hospital gown on and tucked in as a shirt - it would pass until I got better clothes. I pulled on my shoes and slowly stood up. My head was still pounding but I was functional. Peering through the curtain, I saw that there was no one in the room. I walked through the curtain and into the restroom - I had see what had happened to me. Turning on the light, I squinted for a second until my eyes had gotten used to the brightness. I saw the reflection in the mirror and almost didn’t recognize myself.
I had a bandage wrapped around a pad on my forehead. Peeking under the pad, I saw stitches. Luckily, they were by my hairline so if there was a scar, it wouldn’t show. I also had what looked like the beginning of a black eye on the right side of my face. I knew that a cold pack would keep it from getting too bad. No vampire teeth marks on my neck - always a good sign. Other than that, I didn’t look too bad.
As a matter of fact, my eyes had gone deeper in their sockets, giving them a cold look. I walked out of the restroom and looked out the room door. I could see that it was kind of busy out in the hospital hallway - Friday night in Sunnydale was like that. So I just walked out the door into the hall and no one looked at me twice. I got to the end of the hall and ducked through a door and… presto... I was outside.
Just as I was turning the corner, I saw my parents pull up in their car and walk up to the emergency room door. I wanted to let them know I was OK, but I had places to go and people to see.‘OK, we’re out of the hospital. What next?’ I whispered to myself. ‘We need to know what happened to Buffy, but the priority is to get your gear together. That and a new shirt.’ Dark Xander replied in my head. ‘What gear?’ I thought to myself.
‘Unless you want to take the vamps on with your bare hands, you need gear. And I think you know where I’m talking about,’ Dark Xander said.
‘Oh, yeah. It’s time to visit Uncle Tim’s house.’ I thought to myself, cracking my knuckles.
Timothy Harris’ House
Friday, 11:30 PM
My Uncle Tim was a fun guy who fit in with the people of Sunnydale. In other words, he was a bit of an oddball. Uncle Tim owned a local hardware store and made a good living for himself. It was his hobbies that made him a bit odd.
Uncle Tim had served in the U.S. Army as a Ranger master sergeant and had been in the Persian Gulf as a infantryman. After getting out of the regular Army, he became a reservist and still went on deployments outside the country. Besides that, Uncle Tim was a gun collector, and that would prove useful tonight.
I knew that Uncle Tim had gone on one of his deployments and would not be home for another week. And I also knew the security codes that would let me enter his house and open his safe. The house codes I knew because my family would come over to check his house while he was away. The codes to the safe I had found by accident one day while I was going through some of Uncle Tim’s books on his bookcase.
The house was not that far from Sunnydale General Hospital, so I jogged from there to the house in about ten minutes. I went around the back of the house and accessed the alarm system. A few keystrokes later I was in.
First of all I went to the refrigerator and grabbed a couple of Cokes. I slammed them down fast - I was parched. I guess the blood l lost earlier was to blame. I made up an icepack and put it against my face. Next stop was the bathroom. There I took off my clothes and washed up. I did not want to go hunting with blood on me - the vampires would smell it. I went into my uncle’s closet and borrowed some clothes. Lucky for me, my uncle and I were roughly the same sizes and everything worked out.In honor of the occasion, I was wearing all dark clothes. The long-sleeve dark blue shirt and the black jeans would help me move unseen in the dark, and the combat boots added a nice touch. But it was time to do what I came here for.
I walked into the spare bedroom and went up to what looked like a regular door. I had retrieved the code card from the bookshelf earlier and when I swung the door open, the full-length safe door was visible behind it. I punched in the proper codes and the armslocker opened. Uncle Tim had received his firearms training in the service, and his collection was a reflection of it.
Most of his collection was items that he had used in the Army. That meant that all my Halloweenmemories/experience would be useful. I had decided to come to Uncle Tim’s house instead of the military base because the increased security at the base. For some reason, the Army gets upset when kids break into the armory, steal a rocket launcher, and use it to blow up an ancient demon in the middle of a crowded shopping mall.
I selected a couple of Beretta 9mm pistols and five extra magazines with ammo for each and put them in a duffel bag that my uncle had been kind enough to leave in his arms locker. Gunbelts, holsters and ammo pouches also went into the bag. After further reflection, I grabbed a Kevlar vest and some other goodies and put those in a second bag. Last of all, I pulled out a Mossberg riot shotgun and shells and put them in the second bag. I placed the bags on the bedroom floor and closed the arms locker. I carried the two bags down to the garage and put them in the trunk of Uncle Tim’s dark blue Chevy Caprice, the keys to which I had snagged from the pegboard in the kitchen. Before I closed the trunk, I pulled a Beretta pistol and magazine from the bag. After loading the pistol and chambering the first round, I applied the safety and shoved the pistol into my waistband.
I went into the house to see if anything was amiss before I left and saw a long black duster coat hanging from a hook by the front door. It looked like it would be useful, so I put it on. Moving back toward the garage I caught a glance of myself in the mirror in the hallway and did a double take.
The figure in the mirror had a bandage on his head, a pistol in his waistband and a cold look on his face. With my hair rumpled and the dark clothes and long black coat, I looked just like I did when when the hyena had possessed me. I smiled at the reflection in the mirror.
‘You think that you can do it now,’ Dark Xander whispered in my mind. ‘You think you can take the vamps on?’
‘Yeah. I know I can,’ I whispered to myself.
After I drove the car out of the garage, I closed everything up and armed the alarm. I was going to make a quick trip to Buffy’s place for some vampire hunter supplies. After that, I was going to have a “talk” with some vampires.
I was rethinking my plan. The idea to cruise the park and the Bronze for a friendly “talk” with a vampire turned out to be a bust. God knows I ran across enough couples making out at both places to make a vampire drool in anticipation, but no luck. This was starting to give me a bad feeling. Anytime a vampire stayed in on a night like this meant that there was something big was going on.
I sat in Uncle Tim’s car at the edge of the park, thinking hard. The headache from the earlier festivities had settled to a dull throb, but it wasn’t helping my thoughts any. I finally started talking to myself, trying to jumpstart my thinking.
‘The vamps aren’t in their old hideout…Buffy had checked that out a few times after they tried to bring back the Master and it stayed empty. That means they found a new place…right?' I wondered to myself.
‘Brilliant thinking, Sherlock. It only took you a whole minute to figure that out.’ Dark Xander was being his usual sarcastic self.
‘I knew that from the beginning,’ I thought defensively. ‘That’s why I was looking for a vamp to “talk” to…to find out where the new hideout is.’
‘Yeah, but as usual, the vamps aren’t cooperating. And the time to talk to a vamp is running out,’ DarkXander reminded me. I sat there for a minute, trying to think of where the vampires might be hiding. But Sunnydale, while not a big city, had more that it’s share of abandoned buildings, and I didn’t have time to search all of them. For a second, my mind slipped out of gear and that’s when the realization hit me.
‘I don’t have to talk to the vamps to find out what’s going on. I just have to talk to someone who deals with them,’ I whispered to myself.
‘Very good, grasshopper. Continue this line of thought.’ Dark Xander replied, mimicking the master’s voice from the old ‘Kung Fu’ show.
‘I assumed that we’re the only ones dealing with vampires in Sunnydale because we’re the ones that are fighting them all the time. But there’s other people besides Buffy and the Slayerettes that do business with vampires all the time.’ My idea was starting to crystallize.
‘Go on, keep it coming,’ Dark Xander whispered in my mind.
‘Back when the Order of Taraka was after Buffy, both Angel and Buffy went to…that’s it!’ I thought in surprise. ‘Willow had said that Buffy had gone to a sleazy bar owner who knew about vampires to get information from him after Angel had gone bad. Now what was this guy’s name…’ I frowned in concentration.
‘Don’t screw up, kid. You almost got it.’ Dark Xander sounded excited.
‘Willy! Willy the snitch! And I know what bar he owns!’ I turned on the car and dropped it into gear.
‘And what, pray tell, are you going say when you walk into that bar? I don’t think this guy will want to talk to some kid off the street,’ Dark Xander asked as I pulled away from the curb.
‘I’ll just tell him I’m a friend of Buffy’s,’ I replied as I drove down the street. ‘I'm sure he’ll be happy to talk to me then.’