"Okay," Jessie started again, obviously tired of this subject. "I am going to have a life, and that's that."
Her Watcher, a middle-aged British man named Robert Trenton, looked up at her. "You are the Slayer, Jessie, the Chosen One. How could you shirk your responsibilities?"
"But she's been going on patrol, coming early, and doing stuff that normal teenage girls doesn't normally do for almost every day already!" Alexis protested on her behalf. "How about letting her have a break for once?"
"Yeah," Thomas jumped to her defense, his blue eyes twinkling. "Let her have the night off, it's only one night, Trent."
"One night can mean many things, Thomas," Trenton told him seriously. "It can mean the total annihilation of the world. "
Jessie winced. "Ouch."
"Where's Kale?" Alexis asked, her green eyes a little worried as she looked at the clock. "She's taking a very long time."
"Where'd she go?" Jessie asked.
Thomas shrugged, obviously looking for her, too. "She went out to get us some snacks since we'll be pulling off an all-nighter." He looked pointedly at Trenton, who paid no attention.
"She's taking a long time, and she was out, like, three hours ago." Alexis finished.
Now Jessie began to get very worried. Without thinking, she took up her duffel bag filled with weapons for use. "Where'd she go?"
"The Pizza House," Thomas told her, rising to his feet. "I'll come with," he announced.
Jessie waved him back. "I'll go, Thomas. Not you."
As he started to protest, she was gone.
Riding down on her sleek black bike down Gotham's deserted streets, Jessie kept her eyes peeled for any sign of Kaledra, worried for her.
"Where're you, girl?" she muttered under her breath, desperate, wondering if she was too late. Stepping her foot down on the accelerator, she sped off into the night.
Meanwhile, Trent and the Slayerettes minus one were fretting. Ryan was pacing the ground, looking out at the window occasionally to see whether Kaledra had came back.
Alexis was wigging out big time. "What if Kaledra was kidnapped or something?" she paused, her eyes going wide in fear. "Or worse, what if she dead?"
Ryan went over to her and comforted her, patting her back gently. "Don't worry, Alex," he said soothingly. "Kaledra would be all right. Don't forget, Jessie is the Slayer, after all."
At the same time, Jessie found herself surrounded by seventeen white faced guys with a bad taste in fashion. Their faces were painted like clowns, and Jessie was disgusted.
"Man, do you guys have any dorkier outfits?" she wrinkled her nose in disgust, sure that they were humans. Not vampires or any bloodsucking denizens of the world.
"Dorky?" the leader rasped, a horrible smile on his face as he came nearer. "We're the Jokerz, little girl! And if you know better, get out of our way!"
If Jessie hadn't been the Slayer, she would have run away in fear, but she was the Chosen One, so she stubbornly stood her ground. "Who're you calling little?" she asked defiantly.
"Let me think," she said, cocking her head to one side, as if deep in thought. Then, she looked back at them, a smug smile on her face. "No."
Without waiting for him to react, Jessie kickboxed him and sent the Joker, or whatever his name was barreling into his teammates, down for the count.
Jessie was all serious now, staring at them, challenge flashing in her eyes. "Who's next?" she asked.
Then, two of them attacked, throwing a garbage can at her. Jessie was fast. She jumped over the can, and flipped over, throwing one to the ground, and making sure he stayed there. Then, the tables turned as gunshots rang out, one grazing her right ankle. Jessie winced as the burning pain arced through her, and she was trying to dodge the oncoming bullets, sure she was dead meat, as they came, hard and fast. Kicking off one Joker's gun, she decked him, and cried out as another bullet grazed her arm. Flipping to avoid the bullets, she took down one more, but it was not fast enough. The others were shooting at her, and she needed and escape, fast.
Her break came when the guns suddenly stopped firing at her as a person in black dove down and downed three of them. Jessie was suitably impressed, and seeing her chance, she got up and took down three more of them. Together, she and the stranger were fighting together, their coordination moves in tune to each other's andrenaline race. Working together, they took down the last of them.
The battle finished, the guy turned to her, and Jessie immediately recognized who it was. The Dark Knight of Gotham. The Batman.
Unfazed, she turned to him. "Hi," she paused, feeling stupid. "I'm Jessie."
The guy didn't answer, just looked down at her injuries. "You're hurt."
Jessie forced a smile and shrugged. "Happens. No big."
Trying to walk, a sharp pain pierced through her, and she let out an involuntary yelp of pain.
Then, Batman asked. "I'm thinking along the lines of you needing a bandage."
Jessie looked at him, and smiled wanly. "It'll heal soon."
Looking down at the wounds that had stopped bleeding and had already closed up, leaving flawless skin behind, she looked at him. "See?"
He was impressed. "Cool."
Suddenly realizing something, she gasped. "Oh no, gotta go! I've kinda have to look for a friend."
"Where?" he asked.
She looked worried all over again. "I'm looking for her."
Without saying anything more, she hopped onto a bike and started to move, but a familiar scream stopped her dead in her tracks.
She didn't hesitate as she vaulted easily over the twelve-foot wall, apparently worried. Batman followed after, and he barely reached the speed she was running at.
Jessie didn't register anything as she ran swiftly towards the scream, her stake at the ready. The scream was Kaledra, this much she was sure, and as tears stung at her eyes, she came to a clearing, and saw a figure hunched over her.
Jessie let fly with her stake, and it flew, straight and true, through the vampire's heart. The creature screamed and turned to dust. The stake clattered to the floor as she went over and bent over Kaledra's still breathing but intensely pale body. She was still alive, but the twin wounds at her neck were bleeding profusely.
Batman, now, was very impressed. And shocked at what had just happened. He got over to her side, and asked, "Is she all right?"
"She's okay," Jessie replied. "She's lost a lot of blood."
"We'll need to get her to the hospital." Batman told her urgently. This time, she didn't refuse.
Jessie was silent in the Batmobile as Batman looked over at her. "She'll be all right," he told her, secretly admiring her strength and her accuracy. He figured that she had special powers or something, to be able to run like that. But he didn't say anything.
Looking over at the girl in Jessie's arms, he sped up, flooring the accelerator.
Jessie was worried, and overcome with guilt that she had wanted to go chill out with her friends, while Kaledra was overcome with guilt.
The car stopped, and Jessie came out, holding Kaledra, and running to the emergency room. The nurses put Kaledra on stretchers, as they rushed her into the hi-tech ER.
Jessie sat outside, fretting, as she waited. Batman looked over at her, glad that the waiting room was empty. In the pale light, Jessie looked withdrawn, and sad. But nevertheless, she looked like an angel under those lights. A beautiful angel.
He shook himself out of his thoughts and he said, "Jessie."
She turned to him. "Yeah?"
"What were you staking just now?" he asked, knowing the answer very well.
There was a silence, then she replied briefly and casually. "Vampires."
"That thing that had been feeding on her was vampires?" he asked.
She nodded, a faraway look in her eyes. "Yeah."
"Then, your powers...what makes you?"
Her voice carried heavy responsibility as she said, almost sadly. "A vampire Slayer."
Batman couldn't help the intake of breath. When he was young, his mom told him all about vampire slayers and vampires, as a fairy tale, and now, as he reminisced, he said, "One girl, in all the world, to fight the forces of evil. The Chosen One."
Jessie turned towards him, shocked. "What? How did you know?"
He shrugged. "I know."
Just then, Wayne came over on the comlink. "Come over on Street 16 now. Robbery."
Glancing at Jessie, he asked. "I've kinda gotta go. You okay alone?"
"Yeah." she told him. "I'm mostly alone, anyway."
With a backward glance, he leaped out of the window. Jessie stared after him, mixed feelings running through her. But she pushed it all away as she flipped open her cell phone and started to speed-dial their Slayer HQ.
Meanwhile, at the headquarters, they all jumped when the phone rang.
"Man," Ryan complained. "Phones do scare the crap out of people."
Trenton picked up the phone. "Oh, hello Jessie, any news on Kaledra?"
The color of his face turned ashen as he said into the phone. "Yes, yes, I'll be there straight away."
As soon as he put down the phone, the three students pounced on him.
"What did she say?" Alexis demanded, eyes widened.
"What happened?" Ryan asked.
"Is it Kaledra?" Thomas asked, frantic.
He nodded. "She's in the hospital. But she'll be okay."
"Then what are we waiting for?" Thomas demanded, already rushing out of the door, with Alexis and Ryan hot on his heels.
Jessie was pacing up and down the floor, almost making a path in it, worried, and glancing at the red sign on the heavy doors, silently praying that she would be okay, and nothing would happen to her.
"Come on, girl," she pleaded softly. "Come on."
It seemed like an eternity before Trenton and the others came. Trenton went to her, and took off his thin wire-rimmed glasses.
"Where did you find Kaledra, Jessie?" he asked, concerned.
"She was being chowed on by a vamp," she replied, worry tingeing her face. "In the park or something."
"Are you hurt?" Trenton asked his Slayer.
"No," she answered. "I straight out decked fifteen Jokerz, or whatever they're named. Jeez, their outfit is so 1990." she wrinkled her nose and smiled a little goofily, or, as some might say, dreamily. "Got nearly fried by the guns, but Batman saved me."
Alexis gasped. "Ooh, the Batman? Was he cute?"
They shared a little girl-to-girl mode glance, and suddenly realizing, Alexis breathed in wonder, "Wow."
"Yeah," she agreed. "Wow. And he helped me bring Kaledra here." she turned to Trenton. "He knows I'm the Slayer."
Trenton instantly grew worried. "Is this some kind of stunt you pull when you want to try to attract guys, Jessie? Especially the defender of Gotham?"
"He knew." she huffed indignantly. It wasn't a total lie, anyway. Maybe she just wanted to impress him or something, but that question had seemed so harmless, she had told him anyway, and she wasn't about to tell Trenton about it in the near future. He would probably blow a fuse or something.
Ryan looked at the screen on the ER, as it flashed off. All six of them tensed, nervous for the results.
The surgeon finally emerged, looking a little pleased with himself. "She's okay, people. She just needs some rest."
A great burden lifted off her shoulders, Jessie hugged Alexis, cheering. The guys were whooping with joy. Minus Trenton, of course. But he smiled, keeping totally calm.
Kaledra woke up in a red haze, and the base of her neck was throbbing painfully. As if she'd just pierced it or something. Then, the horrible memories flooded back to her. The attack, and the vampire's hideous face as it went in for the kill. Kaledra shuddered, shaken and afraid, feeling very alone as she stared at the four walls of the hospital room.
The room burst open as Jessie and the rest flooded in.
"Hi, Kale," Alexis said gently, touching her hand. "You feeling better?"
"Yeah," she said, a little weakly. "Much better."
"You freaked me out just now girl," Jessie told her, pleased that nothing had happened to her.
"Yeah," Thomas said, kissing her on the forehead. "You scared me real bad just now."
Kaledra grinned at them, "Thanks for saving me Jessie."
Jessie grinned at her. "No prob, Kale."
Trenton sighed. "I'm glad you're all right."
Ryan patted her in a friendly way on the hand. "Get well soon, okay?"
Kaledra nodded and grinned up at him. "Sure thing, Ryan, we might even get to race on our hoverboards soon."
Looking at his watch, Trenton said, "I think we'd better leave her now, it's late and she needs to get some rest."
Casting a glance at Kaledra, they all filed out of the room, waving and smiling.
"Get well soon, Kale!" they all said. "We'll come by soon."
The next morning, Jessie was up early, and as her mother, Pastor Darwin Chase, took out a dish of frozen pizza out of the big refrigerator, she asked, "Honey, what time did you return home yesterday?"
"Around twelve, mom," Jessie admitted. "Kaledra got injured and we had to send her to the hospital.
Pastor Darwin nodded thoughtfully. "Is she okay?"
Jessie nodded, smiling. "Yeah."
"This is your second month in school, Jessie," Mrs. Chase told her daughter seriously, getting back to the topic at hand. "And I've already been getting calls from your principal."
Jessie looked down at her plate, not saying anything, knowing very well that she can't possibly be spilling out to her everything. Her Slaying career, and everything.
Her mother sighed. "You don't tell me anything anymore, Jessie. You shut me out of your life like a door." she looked at her daughter wistfully in a soft voice. "I don't want to live like this anymore, Jessie You're my only girl, and I love you."
Jessie felt like crying, but she said nothing.
"Tonight I'm going to attend a function for Gotham's richest citizens," she continued. "And if you have to come," she said a little sadly, and hopefully. "And I'll be there."
Sensing the unspoken question, Jessie said, "I'll be there, mom."
At Hamilton High, Jessie walked into the school, feeling down and very wet. She had run in the rain, and luckily she was in a short skirt, but even then, she was almost soaked, her hair wet, and her motorbike doing nothing to shield her from the rain.
"What a rotten morning." she cursed under her breath, bummed out. She wasn't in the spirit of things, and as soon as she reached the lockers, she entered the library, where the Slayer Headquarters were.
Four pairs of eyes looked up at her as she entered. "Hi," she said, without much enthusiasm.
"Man, where have you been, Jess? You look like a drenched rat." Thomas said.
"I have just been coming to school with my motorbike," she snapped at him. The rain seemed to make everyone dumb today, she thought, irritation seeping into her.
"Whoa, whoa," Ryan said, holding out his hands as if in surrender. "Someone sure is snappy today."
Jessie was about to make a snippy remark when Trenton said from behind the stacks of books. "You're late, Jessie."
"My mom kept me up on my habits," Jessie explained, pressured. Why can't they all just give her a break or something? She was working on overload here. "Besides, it's all calm and peaceful."
"Just because things are more normal of late, doesn't mean you slack off," he said, poking his head out, irritation in his voice. "You skipped training session the whole week last week, and I say it's time for you to buck up. You're the Slayer. You can't afford to be lazy."
"But I don't want to be one," she shot back, annoyed. "And I'm not lazy. Geez, gimme a break, could ya?"
"You're the Chosen One," he said simply, wishing very much to shake this young Slayer and making her see sense. "How many young girls would say anything to that?"
"Let's talk about none, Trenton," she snapped dangerously.
Trenton ignored her tone as he continued. "You will come straight here after school. And go patrolling at night." he said coldly.
Jessie started to protest, but he silenced her with one hand. "I'm in charge here, Jessie."
Jessie felt her anger boiling. "Fine then, Mr. Watcher. Do whatever you like, because, I QUIT!!! Get a new Slayer or something, I don't care!"
She stomped angrily out of the room, leaving the four speechless students in her wake. Trenton was at a loss for words. Alexis was staring after her, worried and shocked, but she understood what she'd been going through.
"What's happening to her?" Trenton asked, now annoyed.
"Shut up, Trenton," Alexis said evenly. "She needs time."
Trenton didn't seem to listen to her, instead, he burst out, "She's the Slayer, goddammit! How can she quit whenever she wants to? She'll die!"
"Just give her a break, Trent," Ryan told the Watcher calmly, although he, too, was worried for Jessie.
Thomas stared after her. "She's gonna need a very long break," he muttered under his breath. Alexis shot him a withering look, and he shut up.
"What's the matter with her?" Trenton raged on, pissed off.
"As they said," Alexis told him philosophically. "Teenagers are from Mars, adults are from Venus."
For the first time, the British Watcher had nothing to say to that.
**************** The next part is in Part Two of this series!