Willow walked down the dark main street of Sunnydale, clutching her bag of spell supplies protectively to her chest. Despite the warm night, the hair on the back of her neck prickled, causing her breathing to escalate.
The red-haired witch took deep breaths, trying to calm her heartbeat. It wasn't that bad out here... in the dark... with possible vampires and demons on the prowl... Luckily it was only four blocks from her house to the Wiccan apothecary.
Her friend Emmaline, also a practicing Witch, had called her about an hour ago. Emmaline had sounded terrified over the phone, and insisted that they meet in the morning. Willow had agreed, then raced to the apothecary for protection spell supplies.
As she walked, Willow reviewed the facts about her friend, trying to think of something that didn't add up.
She had met Emmaline Hardwood online a few months ago, during one of their Sunnydale Circle cyber castings. They had started chatting about the uses of Anise in healing spells, and soon found out they they lived nearby one another.
They met for coffee once a week, then went to the Wiccan Apothecary to gossip with the owner about the latest spells and such. Willow often looked forwards to their meetings.
A few weeks ago, though, Emmaline had cancelled their weekly meeting. Willow tried to call her to see what was up, but it seemed like the witch had just disappeared... Now she called, sounding as if she was in terrible danger. Something was terribly wrong.
At first, the streets of Sunnydale hadn't seemed all that frightening, but now that she wasn't bound and determined to get to the Apothecary, horrible thoughts clouded her mind. What if a vampire got her? What would she do? What would Buffy do if she turned into a creature of the night?
A loud scream ripped through the night, scaring Willow out of her wits. The bag of protection supplies clattered to the ground. The scream had come from somewhere close by, what if she was next?
Willow fumbled in the pockets of her jacket, looking for a weapon. She found a small vial of holy water, a silver cross, and a stake. Good thing she had deep pockets.
Another scream sounded, even closer this time. Willow took a deep breath and fought panic. She had to help, no matter what.
Advancing forwards with the stake raised over her head, Willow crept forwards. A terrible snarling sound erupted from an alleyway up ahead, causing her stomach to jump in her throat.
Between the snarls, a mushy mauling sound could be heard, followed by some rather human moaning. Willow grimaced, then rab forwards, raising the stake and the vial of holy water.
What she saw made the vial and the stake fall to the ground.
"Oh... oh... oh no" Willow mumbled, tears already beginning to fall as her knees buckled. She scrambled backwards until she hit the brick wall of the alleyway, a cold numbness beginning to spread over her body.
There in the alleyway was the body of Emmaline Hardwood.
Oz parked his van across the street from the crime scene and jumped out, running over to where the police were setting up barriers to keep passerby out. Even at three in the morning, Sunnydale residents crept out to have a peek at the newest tragedy.
"I'm Daniel Osbourne, here for Willow Rosenburg?" He said to the office who stopped him, trying not to lose his cool. The officer pointed him to the ambulance parked a few feet away.
Oz's breath caught as he saw a stretcher being loaded into the back. He tried to step forwards, but the officer grabbed his shoulder as the Ambulance turned its lights and siren on.
"Hold on a moment, son" Oz took a deep breath, resisting the urge to hit the policeman. His girlfriend had been loaded into an ambulance... possibly dead! How in hell could he just sit here?
The ambulance pulled away, revealing Willow sitting alone on a barricade. Oz rushed forwards, all senses on worried mode.
"Will? Willow, are you okay?" He asked gently, accepting a blanket from an EMT and wrapping it tenderly around his girlfriend's shoulders. Willow didn't reply, just kept staring blankly ahead.
"She's had quite a shock. We think she knew the victim somehow, but she hasn't said a word since we arrived except to identify herself" The EMT said.
"A young woman was ripped apart and left in the alleyway. Miss Rosenburg happened across the remains" This sentence seemed to awaken Willow.
"Oz?" She whispered, still not looking at him.
"I'm here" Oz replied, nodding to the EMT and kneeling down to hold Willow's limp hands.
"She died, Oz..." Willow murmured brokenly, a single tear running down her pale cheek. Oz, feeling helpless, dropped one of Willow's cold hands to wipe her equally cold cheek tenderly.
"It wasn't your fault, Will. There was nothing you could have done" Oz said.
Willow's head snapped up, looking at her boyfriend with a new clarity.
"Yes there was, Oz... I heard her scream! If-if-if I had moved faster, I could have staked whatever did this, but I was too scared!"
Oz was about to reply, but was interrupted by a police officer.
"Sir, if you could take Miss Rosenburg home now, we're cleaning up the scene"
Sighing, Oz picked Willow up bridal style, his heart aching as he watched her slip back into catatonic mode.
Once Willow was secured in the passenger side of his van, Oz pulled out his cell phone to call Buffy.
"Buffy. Oz. I got Willow, she's not doing good"
"Oz! Is she hurt?"
"No, she knew the girl who got killed..."
"Oh man, poor Willow... You should stay with her tonight"
"Yeah, if she'll let me, I will"
"We'll look into the murder, see if there's anything we can do. Call me if anything happens, okay?"
Oz hung up the phone, feeling a dead weight settle in his stomach. All his werewolf senses were tingling... There was something weird going on.
But, he had to hold it together for Willow's sake. Seeing her in catatonic mode scared him.
Oz slid into the driver's seat, looking over at his girlfriend. She sat staring straight ahead, barely breathing or blinking. Oz leaned over and gently kissed her temple, trying not to feel hurt when she flinched away.
"Buffy, look at this..." Xander said from the computer. Buffy rubbed her tired eyes and shuffled over to where Xander was sitting. He had an obituary page pulled up.
"It says here that in the past few weeks, several women were mauled to death by some sort of animal..." Xander continued. He scrolled down, letting Buffy look at the list of names.
"I've heard those names before... They're-"
"All witches" Xander finished. Buffy took a step back, rubbing her temples.
"Have you found something, Xander?" Giles asked, coming to look.
"I looked at the list of members of that Sunnydale Wiccan circle Willow joined last month" Xander said. "All these women that were killed..."
"Dear god... Something's killing the Sunnydale circle" Giles said. "Which means..."
"Willow's on the hit list" Buffy finished, feeling like ice water had been poured down her back.