|Faith the Vampire Slayer: Slayer, Slew, Slain III
Author: Niels van Eekelen PM
Faith autobiographizes. Find out what makes the 'rogue slayer' tick. Third book of a trilogy.Rated: Fiction M - English - Drama/Angst - Faith L. - Chapters: 3 - Words: 6,794 - Reviews: 3 - Follows: 1 - Published: 01-04-04 - id: 1672366
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
By Niels van Eekelen
After New Orleans, I started running into Kakistos's minions everywhere. Soon they were following my trail in larger groups than I could handle. My blood still boiled every time I encountered them, but a few beatings and narrow escapes taught me that blind fury wasn't enough to win me every fight.
After hitch-hiking to stay mere hours ahead of my pursuit for a few days, I eventually got stuck in Baton Rouge. There had been a heatwave on most of the summer, but the temperatures in Boston and most of the other places I'd visited were nothing compared to Louisiana. It's not the head, it's the humidity that'll kill you; very true words. In Baton Rouge, even the trains were feeling it. They weren't moving. From the bits and pieces of conversation I managed to overhear, people weren't expecting the trains to get going again for the rest of the day.
It was around noon, then. That morning, the first rays of sunlight been all that had saved me from half a dozen of Kakistos's minions. I had no doubt that they were still on my trail now, and would come after me as soon as the sun set. It couldn't afford to wait around for them. Figuring that it might throw them off if I did something unexpected, I decided to move out on foot. If I set a good pace westward, and kept going all through the night, I should be able to find the New Orleans-Houston railroad sometime the next day. From Houston, I could go anywhere.
It was harder going than I'd thought. Where the map said there were roads, there were only unpaved trails in reality. It was nearing sunset, and I hadn't seen any traffic at all since a few miles out from Baton Rouge. The map said that there was a small place called Batiste up ahead. At least so I thought, I had to have come that far at least. I considered finding some shelter for the night once I got there, but rejected the idea. If I wasn't going to get to the railroad before I had to get some sleep, I'd at least get as far as possible, and sleep when the sun was up.
Half an hour later, after dark, I finally passed through Batiste. It was really such a hamlet that it was a miracle that it was an any map at all, couldn't have had more than a couple hundred inhabitants. That being said, I was surprised to see how many people were still out on the street after sunset when I walked down the main street--the only street, really. The men and women eyed me suspiciously, but I figured that was only because these people weren't used to seeing strangers around there. Hell, I certainly wouldn't have come there if I'd had a choice.
I could have hit myself when I suddenly sensed that these weren't people at all.
It was already too late.
The vampires must have known from the way I started looking at them that I had realised what they were, because one by one, they began to put on their game faces. There were almost two dozen of them. I pulled out a stake, but made no move to attack. No one spoke a word. Silently, the vampires formed a line, then a half-circle. When they came slowly forward together, I stepped back. They were herding me somewhere, and I knew it, but there was nothing I could do. With a sudden icy certainty, I knew the vamps were driving me to where Kakistos himself was waiting for me. I despised myself for the chills that ran down my spine despite the heat.
They led me out out the village, into the trees. We stepped out of the moonlight into the shadows of the trees, and while my eyes were adjusting to the darkness, one of the vamps stormed at me. Quickly, I jammed my stake into his throat and then swung an elbow into the gut of the one coming up behind me. Both of the vampires went down, but I couldn't afford the time to finish them off. The rest of the vampires were still holding the line, coming ever forward. I kicked one of my attackers in the head, but then I had to move away. The two vanished out of sight behind the others.
A minute later, we reached a clearing in the woods. I was walking backwards to keep my eyes on the vampires, so the first I noticed of the clearing was when I stepped out of the shadows into the flickering torchlight. I swung around, expecting an attack. What I found was so much worse.
The clearing was maybe sixty feet across. Almost all of the space was taken by a miniature version of the Roman Colosseum. A twenty-five feet pit was surrounded by rows of benches, enough to offer seat to all of the vampires and more. An additional dozen vampires were already seated, and they turned to watch me approach. It was like a baseball stadium from Hell. No, wait, I like my earlier analogy better. I definitively felt that I was about to be thrown to the lions.
At the opposite end of the arena, a VIP box slash throne made out of stone loomed over the rest of the seats. Trick was standing at its right hand. Kakistos was sitting on the throne. The mark I had given him still formed an angry red scar marring the right side of his face. At the sight of the monster, my blood ran cold. I hesitated.
"Welcome, Slayer," Kakistos spoke. He even sounded like a king in his throne, very confident, very certain of the home advantage. "I promised you your death. No more games. Just me getting my hands on you and your death." He smiled, showing off his fangs. "And then, Slayer, you come and visit me in my little dominion. Ah, the possibilities..." He held out a fist, and slowly turned it so that the outstretched thumb pointed down. "Let the games begin."
Hooting excitedly, the half-circle of vampires suddenly surged forward. For a moment, I was sure they were going to kill me, over whelming me by sheer numbers. But they only pushed me forward to the edge of the arena pit. I struck everywhere, as fast as my arms would swing, but where I knocked one of Kakistos's minions aside, two others were eager to take his place. I tottered on the edge of the pit, losing my balance, and grabbed hold of an undead woman in front of me. I pulled her with me as I fell into the depths of hell.
The vampire's waist-long red hair fluttered around us like snakes as I twisted us around to put her underneath me. She looked as if her face must be quite beautiful behind the vampiric disfigurement that snarled at me. Upon impact with the ground, my stake penetrated her her, and she exploded in a familiar and somehow comforting cloud of dust.
Then when I hit the ground myself, the blunt end of my stake jammed painfully into my own chest. I hardly noticed, though. I was too busy coughing out the mouthful of brown-greenish water that I'd swallowed. When I looked around, I discovered that I was in the middle of a knee-deep swamp--a bit of true Louisiana bayou. The walls of the pit were smooth, and they were too tall to reach the top if I jumped. I spotted a ladder halfway across the pit, but its top was guarded by not only a cadre of vampires, but by complete battlements. No getting out there. Above, Kakistos's extended family was gathered around, cheering like I was the superbowl. Obviously, they knew that there was something down here that was about to make my life very miserable. I expected anything from a fire elemental to the troll Greymung.
"Oh, you've got to be kidding me." I'd thought it was just a log floating in the muddy water at first--but then it opened its eyes. Of all things, it was an alligator. I felt almost insulted. I mean, I fight the worst that demon dimensions have to throw at me and survive, and they think an alligator is going to eat me? Some advice: never underestimate the horrors our very own world has to offer. I'm a shining example of those myself.
"Kakistos!" I shook my fist in the air, taunting the monster. "What's the matter, you one-eyed twerp? You afraid to come down here yourself?"
Kakistos's eye flared with an animal rage at the reference to his lost eyeball, but with the help of a restraining arm Trick put on his arm, he calmed himself. "Did the Roman emperors participate in the games they provided for their people? I am far older and far more powerful than them." A bit of a cop-out, if you ask me, but I couldn't blame the bastard for not being stupid.
Suddenly, with astonishing speed, the alligator shot through the water, right at me. Moving on pure reflex, I dodged to the side, barely avoiding the creature's gaping mouth, that could have swallowed me whole. The alligator hadn't expected to miss me and it was rather sluggish in turning around, giving me a moment to gather my wits.
When it came at me again, I landed a double-fisted blow on the thing's nose. The alligator's jaws snapped shut loudly, shattering more than one tooth. Quickly, I reached down to hold the alligator's mouth shut. Unfortunately, I once again underestimated the alligator's strength, and soon I found myself rolling through the mud, holding on with all my strength to keep those massive jaws shut.
I shouted a few choice swearwords, but that was really all I could manage. Oddly enough, we had never covered a situation quite like this during my training. The alligator and IU rolled around for a couple of minutes, neither of us able to make a decisive move. From what I caught of the shouting, the vampire audience was starting to get bored. Heh. Most of the living males I know would have paid to watch me roll around in the mud. Some people are just never happy.
After a little while, my right arm began to go numb. It hadn't been all that long since I'd broken the cast and left it in a dumpster, and the arm was still sore a lot. And suddenly my grip on the animal's scaly hide slipped.
Quickly, I pushed myself away from it. I didn't try to get away--that would have been foolish; there was nowhere to go. I did gain enough time to get to my feet this time, and when the alligator came at me again I got a better grip on it than before. I held the animal to me with my left arm swung around its middle. With my right forearm, I put pressure on its chin, twisting its head as far away from me as I could. The alligator clawed at me with its grubby little paws, but I was so slippery with mud that he couldn't get a good purchase on me. The alligator's tail was more trouble. It swung its tail around pretty much blindly, but it wasn't long before the tail got in a solid blow to my legs, upending the both of us.
With a grunt, I landed on top of the 'gator. My left arm hurt where it was caught between the animal and an underwater root, but I was beyond caring. I heard an animal howl, and when I realised it was my own voice, I howled louder. I pushed down harder on the alligator's throat, putting the entire weight of my body behind it. Finally, the neck snapped, and the thing stopped wriggling. There was a sudden, deafening silence from the stands.
I staggered to my feet. This was the first chance I'd got to take a good look at the alligator; first it had been half hidden in the muddy water and then it had been right on top of me, and I'd had other things on my mind than to take a good look at it. I gave a whistle, impressed. The animal was as long as I was tall, and that was not counting its tail. It felt pretty good to know that I'd been able to take it out with my bare hands.
Looking up at the crowd of vamps all sitting there watching me, I grinned. There was still more than enough adrenaline in my blood that my fear was burried in the back of my mind. Kakistos almost tore of the arms of his chair despite the fact that they were solid stone. He was fuming. "Bring it on!" I shouted.
I really should learn to keep my mouth shut.
Kakistos stood and pointed at me. His single eye was burning with rage. "Get her!" he commanded. And all three dozen vampires leapt down to do just that.
Miracle of miracles, I kept my mind about me. I dropped to my knees and waved my hands through the water. My stake was long gone, dropped in the mud; I didn't expect to find it. But I'd almost tripped often enough to realise that things were growing down there, things sturdy enough to qualify as wood. Within seconds, I hit paydirt with both hands. Springing back to my feet, I tore loose two makeshift stakes and immediatley jammed them into the chests of the two nearest vampires. As stakes go, these were damn poor examples, all soft and fragile, but hell, they got the job done.
All around me, the vamps closed in. They were slowly cutting of my manouverability, crowding in as they were, but the same was true for them. A third dusted. A fourth. A fifth. I was still not really afraid--I was too busy to feel it--but I knew that I was going to die, and as long as I got to take a good many of these vampires along with me, I figured it wouldn't matter so much. It would even be a relief. Finally, there'd be no more running.
Unexpectedly, through the dustcloud of vamp number six, I saw an opportunity. Except for Kakistos himself and probably Mr Trick, all of the vampires had jumped down into the pit at the überbastard's command. Leaving the ladder undefended. Now all there was between me and my escape route were a dozen vamps in a blood rage. But they were minions. They were bound to be incredibly stupid.
Screaming a wordless battlecry, I leaned forward and stormed into the vampires like I was the freaking Juggernaut. I let my stakes fall--they wouldn't be any use now. I crashed into the first vampire's chest with my full wait behind my ramming shoulder, and we both fell to the ground. The vampire behind the first was right in our path as we fell. He tried to step out of the way, but the slippery underground tripped him up. Others beyond that one were faced with the same dilemma--fall by impact, or by slippage. A moment later, the domino effect had cleared my path all the way to the ladder.
I was the only one who'd been prepared, and consequently, the first one back to my feet. Stepping on as many faces as possible, I ran across the vampires. The vamps that were still on their feet, who had been approaching me from other sides, raced after me. Unfortunately for them, they got entangled in their brothers and sisters as they tried to get back to their feet. By the time I reached the ladder, I had a pretty solid lead. One good leap, and I caught a rung halfway to the top. I'd nearly reached the edge before I even got my feet firmly under me.
Topside, I immediately scanned the area for Kakistos, but I didn't see anyone.Next, I pulled the ladder out of the pit. It took all my Slayer-strength to tear the thing loose from the wall, and it didn't get any lighter when two of the vamps grabbed hold of it. I pulled in the ladder a few more inches, but that was as high as I could get it. One of the two vampires hanging from the ladder, a woman, looked up at me, smiling evilly. She moved her hand a rung closer to me. Her other hand followed.
With a desperate scream, I ran. I ran along the edge of the arena, dragging the ladder along behind me. The ladder bounced across the uneven edge like a frog in heat, sending painful shocks into my hands. At least I had a firm grip on the ladder. The same could not be said for the vampires. I didn't see them fall--all I knew was that one moment a weight was threatening to drag the ladder back into the pit, and the next it wasn't. Using my momentum, I swung the ladder up, landing it safely on top of the edge, out of reach of all those now trapped below. I stepped back to the edge.
"Take that, you sick fucks!" I shouted down, grinning. "See how you like the 'gator!"
If the vampires cooperated and stood on each others' shoulders, they'd be out and on top of me in no time. Luckily for me, the fight had put them in such a blood frenzy that it would take them until they'd calmed down before they figured that out.
It took a few moments before I calmed down myself, too, and suddenly remembered that Kakistos was still around somewhere. He was still nowhere in sight, not in the ring of light provided by the torches surrounding the stadium.
Keeping a steady watch on my surroundings, I took one of the torches out of its holder, to use to find my way, and, if it became necessary, as a weapon. I frowned at the strange feel of the thing. Taking a closer look, I realised that the torch wasn't made out of real wood, but some kind of plastic. No way to use the thing as a stake, then. I sniffed. It was burning oil. Trick's twentieth-century mind at work? If there had been electricity out here in the middle of nowhere, I'm sure the guy would have installed glowbulbs.
I couldn't resist sniffing around, hoping for a lucky break. Amazingly, I got one. A jerrycan still almost full of the oil was standing behind a tree, half-hidden from sight. I smiled. I'd planned simply to run for my life--as had become my habit--but this was too great an opportunity to pass up. I ran back to the pit and unscrewed the jerrycan's cap, careful to keep the firy end of the torch I was carrying safely to the side, so that the whole thing didn't explode in my face.
Calling out the worst profanities I could come up with in a hurry, I began pouring the oil onto the assembled vampires beneath me. I was answered only by animal growls--in their blind desire for a taste of my warm blood, the vampires actually crowded closely together, increasing the number of them that got covered in oil. When the jerrycan was empty, I hurled it at them. The vamps snarled at me, baring their teeth. I snarled back, just as feral in my rising bloodlust as they were. The torch went in.
It was an inferno.
I whooped with joy, but I could barely hear myself over the screams of the burning vampires. In their agony, the vampires that had caught on fire thrashed around wildly, spreading the flames to even more of their fellows. The heat that rose out of the arena was palpable, and I leaned away from it.
It probably saved my life. Leaning back, I noticed movement from the corner of my eye. I didn't see more than a flash, but that was enough to set my spider-sense buzzing like an attack by the complete Sinister Six. I pivotted around.
Out of the darkness came flying Kakistos. Once again the monster was in an animal state that was blood-curdling to behold. He howled maniacally, and the sound of that howl alone was enough to send my mind off to a dark little corner of my head and hide.
Fortunately, my mind had taken a back seat the moment my instincts rang the alarm, and my reflexes were as pure Slayer as ever. Kakistos was diving towards me cloven-hooved. I caught a hoof in each hand, and when Kakistos's momentum and sheer strength knocked me on my back, I rolled with it, pulled up my knees to my chest and kicked Kakistos over my head...
... And into the pit of hell that I'd lit.
Seems almost too easy, doesn't it? Sure felt that way to me, and I kept having that feeling until the next time Kakistos found me.
As I lay there on my back, I could barely comprehend what had just happened. I heard Kakistos's howl again, but this time it was different, it was only one voice in the crowd of burning vampires.
I should, of course, have looked down in the arena, watch the son of a bitch burn. I didn't. Brief as the encounter with Kakistos in the end had been, it had still unnerved me--heck, admit it, scared me shitless. I listened to the screams for a minute, until I suddenly couldn't stand it no more. To my surprise, I found that my legs were working, so I got them under me and started running straight away from Kakistos's little pit of doom. It turned out to be in the general direction in which I had been walking when I first found Batiste, but far enough off track that it took me two more days without a bite to eat before I found the New Orleans-Houston railroad. I don't have to tell you what torture that was for me.
Even then, I never really believed that Kakistos had bitten the dust. Oh, I thought the words; that fucker is dead, Maria, I've avenged you. But I guess that in my mind, Kakistos had just become too powerful, too invincible for me to believe in it. I thought that he was dead, but I never felt it. First piece of evidence: I ran from Batiste even though I was convinced I could have stayed and sniffed up the dust that had been Kakistos like cheap crack. Second piece of evidence: I kept running without even looking over my shoulder. Never really stopped, I think, not even in Sunnydale.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Um, I promise I'll come back to this story and finish it sometime. Honestly. Someday. Only four chapters to go.
Story written by Niels van Eekelen. © Copyright 2004 Telltale Productions.
In a perfect world, I would own the series 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Angel'. Alas, it is not, and I bow my head to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Ah, well. It's probably for the best, me not having a contract to put the show on the air and all.
A special thanks to Paul Leone and Teresa Owens, from whose story 'The Deliverer' I nicked the name of Faith's Watcher, though not the character.