Part One: Dammit, I knew I should have aired that spare tire up!
Note: If a story about the Slayers, set to tune of Rocky Horror Picture Show just sounds like an excuse to write trashy pulp nonsense then… well. You're most probably right. On another note, you don't really have to know anything about RHPS to read this, but I would suggest looking it up. Fantastic movie. Even better go to a midnight showing if you've never seen it before. And bring a tube of red lipstick.
You might need it.
Copyright: All Slayers characters owned by Hajime Kanzaka and Rui Araizumi.
All song lyrics and blatantly, er, borrowed plot points of RHPS copyright of Richard O'Brien.
Narrator: A woman in shadow takes a slender volume down from the shelf in a massive library. Her golden hair ripples, changing wind patterns eons away.
I would like, if I may, to take you on a
We never see her face, but you catch the glimmer of a smile as she flips the tome open.
It seemed a fairly ordinary night when
Lina Inverse and her friends left the
comforts of their inn to pursue the
rumors of a wicked count and his hoard
of ill-gotten gain one late autumn eve.
It's true there were dark storm clouds,
heavy, black and pendulous, toward which
they were hiking. It's true, also, that they
were running low on supplies. But they, being
normal kids, and on a night out, well,
they were not going to let a storm
spoil the events of their evening.
On a night out.
She closes the book marking the place.
It was a night out they were going to
remember for a very long time.
I was soaked to the bone. I don't think I could get any wetter if I threw myself in a lake. I held my cloak over my head in a vain attempt to keep the rain out of my eyes and screamed again.
"Gourry! Amelia! Gourry!" Zelgadis echoed my call a little while later. I could hardly see him, even with his lighting spell bobbing above him.
I had only turned my back a second, and they had vanished. It was a bright sunny day, I had a good lead on some serious bandit treasure, we were, oh, a half-hour hike into the forest and they disappeared. Okay, maybe it was a joke, or they saw some cute baby animal. Both having the attention span of a caffeinated five year old, they could have just simply wandered off. But neither Zel nor I had heard a thing, or found any foot prints, or a bloody knife, a candy wrapper. No clue… nada. After then it started to sprinkle, I thought maybe they'd come back. Hours later I was tromping through a monsoon screaming after that jellyfish and Amelia. I shivered. With fall setting in it was getting so cold at night. Where could they have gone? Why would they have gone? Who would –could- have taken them?
Lightning flashed and the roar of thunder made me yank the cloak over my ears. This was stupid. All of it. The rain, and the idiots who got lost, and this trip, and the rain.
"Did you hear something?" Zel grabbed me from behind, scaring me out of my brooding. I scowled.
"Who can hear anything over this-" I fumed, but then, suddenly, I did. It was a faint at first; a low rumble. I couldn't place what direction it was coming from. Zel apparently could and dashed off, leaving me to fumble after him. My boots were sinking deep into the soggy ground and I was losing pace. "Hey! Wait!" But he was gone into the darkness, the bob of his lighting spell with him. I trudged on, fuming, conjuring my own light to guide me. This was stupid! Did they all just intend to abandon me in the middle of a forest like this? Me, Lina Inverse? To hell with them!
But, a faint voice echoed, do you really think that they would leave you all alone like this? I snorted and paced on. Like I knew what they would do. Or where they were. Not that I was worried or anything. They were big kids, they could handle themselves. More lightning cracked overhead, toasting a tree in the distance. So long tree number eight. I think.
"Lina-" Breathed a husky voice in my ear.
I screamed. It was a high-pitched, girly scream. I immediately hated myself for it. I turned to find a rain-soaked chimera smirking in the artificial light.
"There's light up ahead. I think it's coming from a tower or large building."
I stopped chanting my Damu Brass in surprise. "About damn time!" That light just saved your bacon, buddy.
We made a beeline for the light Zelgadis spotted and eventually discovered a road. Well. We'll just call it a road. It had strange deep ruts that were already being washed away. If possible, it was raining even harder, and the lightning was crackling viciously. My legs ached from trying to run in what amounted to little more than thick soup. I could use Raywing…
Or I could not become a lightning rod this evening.
I finally spotted a tower during one particularly violent fit of lightening. Twisted and rising to the heavens, it screamed 'overdramatic evil overlord' and might just be the place we had originally been looking for before this whole mess started.
We reached the wrought iron fence surrounding its perimeter sooner than I expected. The castle was a gothic disaster of ornately carved stonework and sharp metal. In a strange touch, a planetarium sat atop the highest spire. I could forgive the üaber bad-guy taste because several cheerful, inviting, and, above all, warm lights burned through the unshuttered windows. I could hear music drifting from the castle and I wouldn't even admit to myself how desperately I wanted inside and how badly I wanted to leave, all at once.
"What do you want to bet that Gourry and Amelia are already there?" I yelled over the hammering. "Gourry's got sharp eyes. He'd have spotted this a mile before we did."
"I really don't know about this place." Zel called back. "And what makes you so sure that they would have come here?"
"Women's intuition?" I rolled my eyes. "Well, we can at least check! If they're not here, we'll regroup and got back out and look for them!" As unpleasant as the idea sounded. "Or, since getting lost is their fault in the first place, we can just wait here, where it's warm and dry, for them to find us." Even better.
"It's not like Amelia to just wander off." I think he ignored the rather disbelieving look I gave him. "Something is fishy about this." Always the Debbie Downer.
"Looks, let's just check it out! What's the worst that could happen?" I yelled, immediately regretting the words. I paused, but no ominous thunderclap rolled over us. Whoo! Safe.
Zel gave me what I interpreted as a withering look in the dark and we pressed through the front gate. It creaked on ancient, rusted hinges as Zel heaved against it.
As soon as I slipped through the paranoid feelings I'd been fighting off all afternoon slapped me in the face. Zel gritted his teeth at my side. Lightening flashed and I read the sign on the gate- Enter at your Own Risk. Eye roll. Got it. I laughed. "Well, isn't this d-dramatic?" Dammit, was my voice shaking?
Zel wasn't amused. "Lina, I think we should wait the storm out somewhere else. Something about this just doesn't feel right." Whoa, it's not like Zel to get hung up just because it's a little creepy.
I stomped my foot in the mush. "Somewhere else? Somewhere else where, exactly? Have you seen a cave, or even a decent sized rock? Or would you rather get fried under a tree!" As if to make my point, lightening flashed close by, downing an example. (Number nine!) The wind gusted up, blinding me and literally drowning out my next words. It ripped the gate out of Zel's hands slamming it shut behind us. It was not a good sound. Like a prison gate, or the door to a dark, lonely cell. Then I heard the ominous thunder clap.
I certainly didn't want to take this moment to mention to Zel that I'd had a terrible feeling about this trip ever since we had started into the forest. Again, call it women's intuition. Or that this feeling had intensified significantly in the last few minutes. Besides, with such a creepy local and atmosphere there was sure to be some awesome treasure inside the castle.
What? My logic is flawless.
He hauled on the gate, but it wouldn't budge. He was chanting an attack spell when another blast of wind carried a voice with it. No… it wasn't. Amelia?
"Zel, is that?" He slapped a hand over my mouth! The nerve! I almost bit him. But… No. I like my teeth. Eh heh…
"The darkness must go down the river of nights dreaming. Flow morphia slow, let the sun and light come streaming into my liiiiife. Into my liiiiiiiife."
It was definitely Amelia's voice. She was singing. Singing about… "The light…" I arched a delicate eyebrow. "Over at the Frankenstein place?" I imagined I could make out the words. She sounded forlorn and the effect of her voice over the rain was giving me chills. There had to be some vital clue I was missing.
"Burning in the fireplace." Zel confirmed. "There's a light-"
"A light. In the darkness of everybody's life." I slapped a hand over my mouth. I hadn't meant to say that- certainly not in tune. I wanted to ask what the hell was going on. It only made me feel a little bit better that Zel looked as confused as I felt. His eyes narrowed.
"We need to get inside."
My thoughts exactly.
I nodded, wondering if I trusted myself to speak. Okay, weird factor just increased by a lot, but now I'm more determined to figure out just what the muddy, er, bloody hell is going on!
The porch was deep and dark. A large, ornately carved door was the only entrance. All the windows on the bottom floor had been boarded up. I balled up my hair and rang it out, adding to the small, muddy pond that was forming beneath me. "Ugh! Remind me, Zel. Did we swim here? I'll never be dry again…" Lightning flashed.
"Look, Lina." Zel pointed to a row of strange contraptions as they were lit up by the electrical display. I added my own bobbing light to the mix.
"What the hell are those?" They had two wheels, covered in metal and caked with mud.
"That's a combustion motor…" Zel shook his head. I wanted to ask what a combustion motor was, but…
"Weird." I muttered. All of this is weird. "And what's with the music? Somebody must be having a party."
"How should be get in?" Zel was examining a boarded up window, drawing his sword to pry off one of the loose boards. Well. I guess we could do it like that, but…
I pulled the bell cord. My ears were still ringing from the volleys of thunder but the gonging was earth-shattering, followed by a piercing scream. I literally jumped into the air. Holy crap, had this place got to me that badly?
"Are you crazy?"
I winked at Zel in what I thought was a saucy way. "Oh come-on, party-pooper. They're not about to leave two starving travelers stranded out in the rain." He looked murderous. I would not be cowed.
The locks on the door clicked and everything seemed much quieter. I put my hands on my hips and tilted my head into the light. Best to make a good first impression.
The door sloooowly creaked open and a sleepy eyed beauty in bizarre garb, we'll call it 'sexy butler', sagged against the door frame.
My jaw dropped.