Author's Note: This and the following are my chapters from 'No One Here Gets Out Alive' a story created by Phouka on the site Twisting the Hellmouth, where she invited others to join in on the topic of crossovers between Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters and Death from the Sandman graphic novels.
The instant the fledgling vampire burst through the surface of the ground covering his grave, the young woman standing next to the eruption of dirt casually leaned down and rammed a wooden stake through the chest of the newly-created monster, which produced an immediate dust cloud that intermixed with the last pattering dirt clods that had been flung upwards by the vampire's extremely short return to the world.
Straightening up, Buffy turned to where Xander and Willow were perching on their own individual tombstones, having nonchalantly watched her every action, all while passing a paper bag among themselves. Sniffing the air, the Slayer hopefully asked, "Any more popcorn, guys?"
"Saved you some, Buffster," cheerfully answered Xander as he handed his high-school friend the paper bag. As Buffy eagerly dug into the sack, the young man glanced over to where Willow was opening up her three-ring binder and checking a newspaper article tucked into that notebook. "So, Wils, where do we go next?"
The redheaded girl squinted in the moonlight, as she read the daily obituary section from the Sunnydale Times. Looking up, Willow declared, "We'll need to check out Shady Rest Cemetery at Section 3-B. Another barbecue fork incident."
Through her mouthful of popcorn, Buffy mumbled, "Geez, can't anybody ever come up with something more imaginative? Like, I don't know, an explosion in a chopstick factory?"
"We don't have one of those factories here in Sunnydale, Buffy," replied Willow in a serious tone.
Rolling her eyes, Buffy Summers snarked, "I was being sarcastic, guys!"
While standing next to the Slayer, Xander impertinently patted the superhuman girl on the top of her head, declaring, "And you've made tremendous progress in learning how to mock people! We're all so proud of our little Buffy!"
The addressed female stuck out her tongue at the teenage male snickering to himself. As the trio now headed off away from the disturbed grave past the other resting places of one of the town's twelve cemeteries, they started idly debating among themselves on whether the new principal of Sunnydale High could best be described as a troll or an ogre, with Xander being the swing vote, and as the departing teenagers' voices began trailing off in the distance, the boy was now gleefully suggesting that he could be bribed with the last of the popcorn to change his vote.
The bewildered man in his best suit standing by the grave stared after Buffy, Xander, and Willow as they faded into the darkness, until the man in his early thirties now tried to follow after the young people. However, his legs failed to obey his commands, with his feet remaining firmly in place by the grave. Looking down in increasing terror at his insubstantial form, the man began to remember the last moments of his former existence in the living world. Occupied in this, he paid no attention to the odd sound of the flapping of gigantic wings. Only when he heard someone else's thoughtful voice was the man's attention brought abruptly back to his surroundings.
"You know, I haven't visited this place all that much. Most people don't actually die in graveyards, so this location is kind of new to me, which is nice."
The man stared at the tombstone where Xander had been sitting a few minutes ago, which was once again occupied, only this time by a pale young woman dressed in a Goth-style black outfit now seated on the grave marker and carelessly swinging her left leg as she nodded to the gaping man. The ghost's mouth suddenly snapped shut, as he closed his eyes, to force out from between his tight lips, "I'm…dead."
"Right, and can we get to the next stage soon? Sorry about it, but I'm on a pretty tight schedule," sympathetically said the woman.
"And…you're Death, who's in a hurry and can't be bothered about me except to show up and collect me, which is the absolute stinking cherry on the top of my whole boring life and now my just as boring death!" finished the man in a rising voice that ended with him shouting angrily into the air at the top of his ghostly lungs.
An eyebrow as black as a raven's wing now arched in a somewhat bemused expression, as Death inquired, "Could you be a little more specific? What exactly are you so mad about?"
Still seized by his fit of anger that made him ignore who he was glaring at, the man now snarled, "Have you ever heard of Albert Camus?"
Slightly puzzled, Death politely answered, "Sure, he was a French novelist, dramatist, and philosopher. I collected him in, let me see…1960 or so."
The man nodded in agreement, adding, "Yes, of course, you'd know… Well, that writer once said: 'One sentence will suffice to describe modern man: he fornicated and he read newspapers.' That pretty well describes my whole totally dull, monotonous, ordinary life of ever-lasting tedium right up to the instant I got murdered by a vampire!"
Death actually blinked at that, as she reminded the man, "Hey, the last thing was pretty unique-"
"Good point," admitted the second eldest of the Endless.
Beginning to come down from his fit of temper, the deceased man dolefully said, "It seems like the whole purpose of my entire existence was just to become an anonymous victim in this town and then just another anonymous vampire dusted by the Slayer." The man now cast Death an appealing glance, clearly asking for something to give him the slightest crumb of hope that his whole life hadn't indeed been leading up to exactly those trivial reasons.
Death just looked uncomfortable.
Seeing that, the man abruptly sat down by his grave, and he started to cry.
Without seeming to physically pass through the space separating them, Death was kneeling down by the weeping man, and she urgently said to his lowered head, "Now, listen to me! Who and what you were is now all in the past, and I'm here to take you to a new future. Most people think of me as the end, but what I truly am is a beginning, a commencement of the new and wonderful. An Englishman once wrote about me without knowing it, in his words of 'a sea-change, into something rich and strange.'
Hearing that, the man looked up, ghostly tear-tracks on his cheeks that were disallowed by his suddenly yearning expression. He husked, "I…really liked Ariel's song ever since I saw the play as a kid. That doesn't seem so bad."
By him, Death gently smiled, and she held out her hand.
As the man took the clasp of the kindest of the Endless, he hopefully asked, "Uh, could I, maybe, be the hero in a story? Like I've always wanted to?"
The young woman chuckled, and as the pair vanished from the graveyard, she merrily assured the man, "It's possible."
Author's Note: Phouka contacted me to ask if I wanted to join in on this story. After reading her and phoukabro's chapters, I decided not to write about the meeting of Death and a major BtVS character, but to instead write about one of the no-name characters who momentarily appeared on the show. That is, someone whose sole basis for their introduction was to promptly get killed off. I have a great deal of sympathy for these people, as evidently does Terry Pratchett, who wrote in the dedication of his novel 'Guards! Guards!' about those uncredited extras who only exist to get slaughtered, saying, "No one ever asks them if they wanted to."
Rest in peace, beloved ones.