Where is the Blood

Chapter One


Spike woke, coming slowly back to reality. But the nightmare didn't leave him. They never did. Those memories wouldn't let him go. They held him tightly still, haunting his dreams every night. There was no escape. He could still hear his lover's final cries as he drove a railroad spike through her head. He could hear her as she took her last breath and begged him not to kill her. Everyone else as well, all of those kids he'd killed in that sadistic 'game'. The youngest had been a twelve-year-old girl. What kind of monster would murder a twelve year old girl? Every time he thought of them the remorse flooded through him, so potent it made him wish he hadn't won. If he'd just let himself lose, he could have saved so many people...

But it was a waste thinking like that. He was here now, he was alive and he was a killer. All he could do was accept that fact. Moping wouldn't bring anyone back. And as bad as it was, having to live with what he'd done, he was petrified of the alternative. He'd thought about offing himself before, but could never go through with it. Because that was just it, wasn't it? The reason he'd won in the first place. Because, when it came to it, his will to live overpowered all else. Because he was willing to do awful things if it meant surviving.

He pushed himself to a sitting position, head swimming, stomach churning with nausea. He reached for the bottle of clear liquid on his bedside table and gulped it down. It burned his throat, but it helped with the guilt. For a while, at least. Not much.

...

Buffy Summers woke reluctantly from a deep sleep. A sound nearby had disturbed her. She burrowed into the scratchy blanket, trying to go back to sleep. The sound came again. At first, her mind still sleepy, she could not place it, but a few minutes later, she recognised it for what it was. Knocking.

"Come in," she groaned. She blinked the sleep out of her eyes.

Her mother, Joyce, opened the door and walked in. "Buffy, honey, you have to get up," she said.

"Why?" Buffy asked. She slid out of bed —well, she stumbled, actually—and walked slowly over to her mother. "It's early and I'm tired."

"Buffy… It's the day of the Reaping. You have to be there," Joyce said.

The expression on Buffy's face went from sleepy and confused to wide awake and frightened. She hated the Reaping. There was always that ever-growing fear that her name would get picked. The first time she had gone, four years ago, she had been inconsolable and had cried and cried the whole time. She'd got better about hiding her fear, recently. But that didn't mean it had lessened. In fact, every time she went, she was increasingly overwhelmed with emotions. It didn't help that she had to take tesserae to feed herself and her mother. It only increased the chances that her name would come out.

Buffy bit her lip. "Okay, mom. I'll get ready. You go make breakfast."

Her mother left and Buffy headed over to the pile of clothes at the corner of the room. They used to have a wardrobe, but once it broke they had been unable to afford a new one. If it was a choice between food and a wardrobe, Buffy would pick food every time. Her clothes were old and poorly fitting, but still, they were clothes. They were lucky enough to be alive, so Buffy wasn't going to start complaining about ugly clothes.

Once she was fully dressed, she walked out of her bedroom which led directly to the main room. Four doors led off it: Buffy's room, Joyce's room, the bathroom and the door that lead outside. This house was the best they could get—they were lucky to be able to have their own room each. She sat down to her meagre breakfast with Joyce. Few words were exchanged; this was too much of a tense time for them to be extremely talkative.

Buffy didn't feel like eating much at all. She felt sick. What if her name was chosen? She didn't want to be a tribute. She knew that if she was, she would never survive.

...

Liam sat on the steps outside his house, staring up at the sunny sky. He didn't care if it blinded him; he knew he wouldn't have a chance in hell if his name was picked. He'd done a few jobs where he could after his father had died in the mines, trying to support his family. It'd had worked a little. None of them were dead. But they were all so skinny… He knew he could only put death for them off for so long before it took them into its arms and that would be soon, he knew it. He'd been taking tesserae out since his twelfth birthday, which seemed millennia ago. He knew he'd be picked this time. And without him, his family would all die within months. He couldn't bare the stress.

He looked down at the piece of paper in his hands. It was a drawing of his family, done by his own hand. They couldn't have pictures taken—cameras were solely a luxury for the Capitol—but Liam was a pretty decent artist. He could draw well enough at least to capture what he couldn't express in words. The drawing was the last one of their family together—since Liam had drawn it, his father had died in a mine explosion, and his brother had died too. Thing was, no one knew where his brother had gone. He'd disappeared. Kathy liked to think he'd been able to run away, but Liam doubted it. He let her believe it, though. She didn't need to know how unlikely the chance of escaping really was.


Author Note: Just decided to continue with this story, and am currently editing it. Because really, the early chapters aren't perfect at all, and they're just too short. Hopefully my edits will improve it. I've been struggling a bit with the characterization of Liam and Buffy—they're not the characters I usually write. But I hope it's not too bad. Oh, and the title came from a Delain song. Check it out, it's a cool song. It doesn't make much sense, but whatever, I'm terrible at titles. Please tell me what you think.