Nina's Cabo Adventure

Nina didn't ask for her life to change. But it did. Twice.

The first time she had been jogging through the park at night when she was attacked by a werewolf and saved by a vampire.

The second time she was lying on a beach in Cabo enjoying the cool night breeze coming in off the ocean. Her sister Jill had already gone up their hotel room to put her daughter Amanda to sleep, and Nina was enjoying a little bit of solitude before she headed back herself. Earlier that evening the three of them had watched the sunset together and Nina was just at that moment hoping that she could remember the vibrancy of the colours well enough to paint it when she got home, when she was suddenly hit with colours even more vibrant. Colours so vibrant that they would have hurt her eyes just to look at them if not for the fact that she wasn't seeing them with her eyes. They appeared straight inside her head and hit her like a ton of bricks. Then, before she even knew what had happened, the images were gone and she found herself gasping in the sand, having rolled off of her beach chair.

As she got her breath back she had time to realize what she had seen: a woman in an alley somewhere being attacked by a vampire. She knew it was a vampire because she recognized its face. Angel had shown it to her one time so that, he said, she would know to run away if she ever saw it on someone else.

"I must be losing my mind" she thought. It had been a weird week, her boyfriend showing up outside her school with three tickets to Mexico and telling her to get her family out of LA. "Ex-boyfriend now" she mentally corrected herself, since she had pretty much broken up with him. She still wished this vacation had been her and Angel instead of her, Jill and Amanda. She loved her family, but she kind of suspected that Lover's Beach wasn't really meant to be enjoyed with one's sister and niece. Not that she loved Angel or anything, but you didn't have to be in love with someone to miss them.

"You're avoiding the issue" she scolded herself. "What was it that you just saw?" She mentally went through the possibilities: dream, delusion, or maybe a werewolf thing? She didn't recall anyone ever saying anything about lycanthropy involving any kind of brain splitting pictures of monsters killing people. It was probably some kind of dream she decided, she was tired after all. Having firmly decided on this logical explanation, Nina began her walk back to the hotel and bed.

When she got up the next morning, the bright sunlight pouring in through the window made it even easier for Nina to dismiss the incident of the night before. The three of them planned to spend the day of exploring the town and souvenir shopping. Amanda was practically bouncing off the walls. It remained sunny the whole day. Nina found it almost impossible to imagine a monster could ever stroll down these streets. Any other monsters, she amended, thinking of herself. She laughed at the mental image of Angel walking about in a leather coat, that even at night, was far too heavy for the Mexican climate. No, this was not a town for vampires.

That evening as she was sprawled on the bed of her private suite, flipping through channels, Nina stopped on the local news. Staring at her from the corner of the screen was the face of the woman she had seen in her vision the night before. Nina's Spanish wasn't very good, but it was enough to read the line across the screen: tourist found dead. She gaped at the face: red hair, probably early twenties, and definitely the girl she had seen being attacked by a vampire. She wished she knew what the news caster was saying, but his speech was too fast for Nina to follow. Slowly, trying to stay calm, she reached for the phone on the nightstand and dialed Angel's number. No answer. One by one she tried all the numbers of everyone she had met at Wolfram and Hart, but all the numbers seemed to have been disconnected. Not knowing what to do, Nina reviewed the facts.

1. I saw some kind of vision of a woman being attacked by a vampire

2. That same girl turned up dead the next day

So, if that vision had been true somehow, that meant that she might be the only one who knew how that poor girl had died. She had seen the murderer, a Mexican woman with long curly hair and fangs. Would she be able to recognize her again with her human face? It didn't matter, even if she could find her, Nina wasn't particularly keen on fighting a vampire. So was she just supposed to let it go? Remembering the girls face staring back at her from the television, Nina didn't think she could do that.

An hour later Nina was walking alongside the ocean, still trying to decide what to do. As she watched other tourists out enjoying the evening, a ghost of a plan began to form in her mind. If this vampire was targeting tourists, maybe if she spent enough time wandering around at night she could act as bait and it would find her. Okay, that was pretty flimsy. Even if she stayed out all night every night the odds of running into a particular vampire seemed slim. Maybe she could smell the vampire or something? Enhanced senses were the one wolf-like ability she retained outside of her transformations, no claws or super strength or anything that would help her in a fight, but her sense of smell was particularly good. She thought about what Angel smelled like, and the other vampire, Spike, whom she had met briefly one month. They did have something in common, a kind of subtle tangy smell that stood out from their own particular scents. Nina thought that she would be able to recognize it again. She didn't have any experience tracking, but if staying out all night smelling things was the only thing she could do to make sure no one else wound up dead, than that was what she would do. Nina didn't head back to her hotel until the sun started to come up the next morning.

Four days later Nina is sitting in her hotel room trying to stakes out of some random sticks and pieces of wood she had gathered outside with a cheap pocket knife bought at a small shop that sold cigarette lighters and toothbrushes to tourists. Jill and Amanda were out somewhere. Jill and Nina had argued that morning, when Jill had demanded to know why Nina looked so exhausted all the time and was spending most of her days in Cabo in her hotel room. Jill thought she was sick and was trying to get her to go to a doctor; Nina was trying to get rid of Jill and Amanda so she could spend more time plotting to kill vampires. What had her life become?

She had been out for three nights now and still no sign of the vampire. Maybe she was crazy after all? After several days with no sleep she was certainly starting to feel insane. Before she could consider this seriously, it happened again: the images. She saw in her head a crowd of people pouring along a tourist street, enjoying the Cabo party atmosphere, but she can sense something dangerous is present. The female vampire that she has been hunting for is weaving her way through the crowd, probably looking for her next victim. She looks human this time, but she still looks enough the same for Nina to recognize her as the same person.

Then she's back, and she has to decide what to do next. She recognized the street. She could go there now or she could ignore it. Considering her complete lack of vampire killing experience, that would probably be the smarter thing for her to do, but she remembers what it's like to be the victim. She's been the girl getting attacked by a monster in the night, and someone saved her. This time she won't be the victim, this time it's her turn.

Nina was breathless by the time she had sprinted from the hotel to the street she had seen in her vision. In her bag were a couple of makeshift stakes, and a bottle of holy water that Angel had given her "just in case." In front of her is a huge crowd of people and no sign of the woman she's looking for. Can she pick out a scent with this many people around? May as well try. Nina closed her eyes to concentrate, at first everything was just a confusing jumble of sweat and alcohol, but then, all of a sudden, there it was, the tang.

Excited, she pushed her way the throng and is just in time to see her target pull a tipsy looking man down a side street. She runs after them, and is treated to an up-close demonstration of a drunken make out session between the vampire and her victim. Now that the moment had come, Nina acted on instinct. She threw the bottle of holy water as hard as she could and the pair broke apart, the woman screaming, her face that of the vampire. The man staggered back in fear and surprise. Now Nina froze not sure what to do next and only now realizing how unprepared she was for what she was facing. Angel had explained to her all about vampires and other monsters she might encounter, but it was one thing to be told about a monster and another thing to be facing down an angry one in a dark alley. Most of her was terrified, but a small part of her, the part belonging to the wolf, was excited. It was enough to get her to move. She dove to the side just in time as the vampire lunged at her fangs first. Hardly knowing what she was doing, Nina threw herself at the vampire's back as she flew past. Then they were both on the ground with Nina straddling the vampire's back. Nina raised a stake in her fist slammed it down into the part of the back where she thought the heart was. A spurt of blood hit her face and the vampire's scream was like nothing she had ever heard before. She had missed. Still pinning the monster down, she jerked the stake out and tried again. There was an explosion of dust and Nina collapsed onto the pavement her heart racing. The man she had saved was already gone.

Two days later, Nina was sitting beside Jill in a first class seat on a plane back to LA. She couldn't stop thinking about that night. She had raced back to the hotel high on adrenaline and desperately tried to scrub the blood and dust off her hands before anyone saw her. As she looked at her face in the mirror, she had thought that maybe her being a monster wasn't limited to three nights a week.

Since then, she had finished off her vacation with her sister and niece more or less normally. They had gone to the beach, swam in the ocean, and strolled through the sunshine. There had been no more images invading her brain, maybe those were over for good. In any case, it was time to go home. Whatever awaited her next, be it art school, demon slaying, or both, it was California, not Cabo, she would find it.