Author: Dark Star
Summary: What lies underneath?
She smiled as she listened
to the little dog rushing up and down the hallway below, and Sharon's grip
tightened on the handrail. Carefully she picked her way up the wooden stairs,
cautious on the worn carpet until her feet met solid ground.
As she walked down the
shabby passage, she could hear noises through the open doorway. The mugs
chinked together in her hand, and she picked her way across the abandoned rolls
of paper lying on the floor.
going?" she asked.
Andy, her husband of seven
years, turned from his task of wallpaper stripping, and grinned at her.
"Just fine, babe." He stepped forward to take one of the mugs from
her. "And you've already brought refreshments. Thanks."
Sharon put her mug down on
the paint-splattered stepladder, and glanced over her husband's working area.
"What's that?" she asked, pointing to some lines that had appeared
from under the receding wallpaper.
"Just some kids
drawing on the walls, that's all. Didn't you ever do that?"
"With my parents? You
must be joking!" Sharon picked up the second scraper and started on the
opposite wall. The light was starting to fade and she wanted to help him get
the stripping done before it got dark. The electrics up here weren't up to
much. "They weren't as laid back as yours."
Andy laughed, making her
stomach do a little flip. "Yeah. I can't see 'em letting you loose with
For a moment, Sharon
watched him peel back a whole strip of paper, revealing more of the lines
underneath. "What did you draw?"
confided in her.
Andy looked a little
sheepish. "I like fish, okay? Used to go fishing with my dad. Used to
dream about the darn things..."
Sharon laughed, returning
her attention the rather sticky wallpaper. What had they used to stick
this stuff up with?
The late afternoon passed
in light-hearted banter, the room slowly losing the faded red wallpaper. Sharon spent the time planning what
furnishings to buy when they had finished decorating, and where everything
would eventually go.
It was now getting too
dark to see properly, so she crossed over to the soon-to-be replaced light
switch and gingerly turned it on.
"There! Now we can..."
Blinking against the glare
of the uncovered bulb in the centre of the room, Andy noticed that Sharon's
eyes were wide. What was she looking at? He glanced round the room, the light
bulb illuminating what the fading daylight had hidden.
"What kind of
children did we say lived here?" he said quietly.
All around them, covering
every wall, were the lines that they had been uncovering all afternoon. But
there were so many of them, and what they had taken for childish scrawl, turned
out to an eerie pattern created out of old symbols and pentagrams.
"Thank you very much,
Buffy." Fred Grainger eyed the rooms of his small cottage appreciatively.
No green ichor seeping from under the floorboards. Whatever it was the young
woman had done, had certainly hit the spot. "Um..." he said awkwardly.
"Do I pay now, or...?"
"Giles will bill
you," she said helpfully. "He handles the money part. Me? I'm just
the get-it-over-with girl."
Fred's eyebrows rose. She
really was a very strange girl. "Right. Then... um... would you like a cup of
Buffy grinned and went to where her jacket hung behind the door. It was bad
enough to get green muck all over her jeans - she had no idea if it would even
wash out - she hadn't wanted her jacket to suffer the same fate. "If you
get any more ickiness, Mr Grainger, just give us a call. But I doubt that you
"I will," he
responded, a little too enthusiastically. "And those... odd sounds? Will
"All taken care
of," she assured him. She hadn't, of course, told him that the strange
slithery noises coming from under the floor had been coming from a nest of Skhirh,
even if she had been able to pronounce it properly. Or that said Skhirh had
likely been mating to cause such... peculiar sounds.
Fred watched her from the
doorway as she got into her Mini, belted up, and pulled away. He hadn't really
heard some very peculiar sounds when the girl had pulled up his floorboards,
had he? And what was that green stuff all down the front of her clothes?
Mould? That was it. Rats and mould...
Buffy turned on the
heating in the car as soon as she pulled away. England was great, pretty and
green and everything, but it could be damned cold. It was at times like
this that she missed the sunshine of home; it had been wet and windy all day,
and the thunderstorm that opened overhead, bouncing torrential rain off of the
roof of the car wasn't helping any. She hated driving in a thunderstorm; it was
the sitting inside a metal box while electricity raged all around that did it.
The drive down from
Gloucester was not a pleasant experience. The gunge had soaked through her
jeans, and the fabric was sticking to her legs. The rain pounding on the roof
of the car was unrelenting and only stopped when she passed into Wiltshire. The
roads were still wet but at least the thunder had moved off elsewhere. By the
time she pulled into the driveway of Summerdown House she was cold and
disgruntled. She parked the car in the garage, and sat for a minute. Normally,
because Angel would often be sleeping at this time, she would go over to the
house and beg something hot from Martha. But today, she needed some clean
clothes, and that meant going to the flat and risk disturbing Angel. He hadn't
been sleeping too well since the business with the voodoo spell, and she wanted
him to get whatever rest he could. Getting out of the car, and closing the door
quickly, she sprinted for the covered walkway and she hurried up, trying to get
her circulation going after sitting wet in the car for so long.
She let herself quietly
into the flat, and found the room still in darkness; she didn't want to wake
Angel, but she only had to take a few steps - the bathroom door was just on the
right. She'd taken two steps when he said, "Everything all right?"
Damn. "Great. Go back
to sleep, Angel."
The sheets on the sofa bed
rustled, and Buffy tried not to imagine him getting out from under the duvet
and standing next to the bed. "You
smell weird," he said. "What happened?"
she replied, a little more forceful than she had meant to. Weird? Angel drew back the curtains; the flat
hardly ever got direct sunlight, and certainly never when the weather was as
dark outside as today.
Buffy forgot her forlorn
state when she saw just-from-bed-rumpled Angel, standing in the light from the
window; his expression one of concern for her well-being.
"I'd drop your
clothes in the kitchen, if I were you," he advised. "The fewer steps
you take, the less likely to drop green... whatever-it-is all over the
Buffy looked down at the
puddle collecting at her feet, and realised the sense in his suggestion. Angel
went past her into the bathroom. "I'll run the bath for you."
Peeling off her clothes
and dropping them in a messy pile on the wooden kitchen floor - she suspected
that Angel would have gathered them up before she'd finished bathing - she went
into the bathroom.
The room smelt lovely, the
water looked warm, bubbly, and inviting, and she wanted nothing more than to
immerse herself in the bubbles and get clean again. Almost nothing.
around?" She grinned wickedly at
him. "I want somebody to scrub my back!"
"Thought you'd never
ask," he replied playfully, closing the bathroom quietly behind him.
Balancing the new light
fittings and plug sockets in one hand, and his toolbox in the other, Andy ambled
down the corridor leading to the room they were renovating. It was still very
early, but he wanted to get on with the decorating; it wasn't that long until
Easter and he really wanted to have this room all done by then. There were
still plenty of rooms to do, but he wanted to take his wife to Paris for the
Easter break - it would be good for them to get away from dust and paint fumes
for a bit. The unexpected discovery of
the pentagrams on the wall had thrown them; Shaz had been so freaked by the sight
of them that they had stayed up late last night to slap some white paint over
the walls to cover them up again.
This part of the house
never seemed to get much natural light, and this time of year the daylight was
in short supply, which is why they had wanted to have some decent electricals
put in. Unfortunately, they needed to have good light to do it, which
meant waiting until later on. Still, there was plenty that he could be getting
on with while he waited. He flipped on the light.
The symbols and
pentagrams, so painstakingly covered up the previous evening, had reappeared on
the walls overnight.
There was something
special about having the first cup of tea of the day. Giles cradled his mug,
carrying it over to the kitchen table. The postman had already called this
morning, and he sorted through the mail, searching for something that didn't
look like a bill. Ah. One that bore the stamp of Wessex University
caught his eye, and he slit the top open and pulled out the contents. Attached
to the letter was his cheque, payment for his lectures on Central Selva's
conservation programme to protect its native plant and animal species.
His gaze wandered over to
the flat over the garage. The lights were off, and the room stood in darkness,
though he doubted that they were both in there. His stomach rumbled and he was
reminded of how hungry he was this morning; Scrambled egg sounded like a good
idea, and he went to the fridge to help himself to some eggs. Martha had bought
bacon! He hadn't had bacon for breakfast in... ages. Bacon, eggs, bread....
All were carried over to the kitchen counters. This was going to be fun!
Giles was just finishing
loading the dishwasher when the phone rang. He picked up the receiver.
"W...would that be the
Paranormal office?" a man's voice said.
yes. Rupert Giles speaking. Do you have a problem?"
"Yeah, you could say
that. I'm Andy Morris, and... I'm not sure we have a paranormal problem,
but Shaz thinks we've got a poltergeist."
When Buffy went over to
the main house, she found the kitchen deserted. Bother, she had
forgotten that Martha had a day off today. She had hoped to get the older
woman's help in de-gunging her jeans. Martha had become surprisingly resourceful
when finding unorthodox methods of stain removal, and often, only the worse
cases had to be thrown away. Well, hopefully if the jeans stayed in soak
another day it wouldn't be too detrimental to them. Standard washing had done
no good at all.
She wandered over to the
pantry, looked inside and grinned. She pulled out a tin decorated with red
roses and pulled off the lid. Martha had made a lovely batch of fruit scones,
and there were still four left. Actually, she was fairly certain that she
had eaten most of them. She left two in the tin, and put the lid back on. Just
as she lifted the tin to put it back in the pantry, she saw a piece of paper on
the table. She must have put the tin on top of it without seeing it.
She picked it up, and
recognised the writing immediately.
Called out to a case
early this morning, suspected poltergeist activity. Details are on my desk if
you need them. Be back as soon as I can.
P.S. Feel free to
finish off the last of the scones.
Giles pulled up outside
the address on his notepad. The cottage
looked very old, circa 17th century, and although parts of it
were looking dejected, it was obvious that it was in the process of being
renovated. The roof was new, but done to be sympathetic to the rest of the
house. There was no front garden. The net curtain twitched as he got out of the
car, and made his way to the front door. The woodwork was faded and peeling,
and before he could put his finger on the doorbell, the door opened.
"That is correct.
The woman nodded, smiling
nervously. "Thank you for coming. Won't you come in?"
She opened the door wider
and allowed him into the hall. "Did you have a pleasant journey?"
"Very congenial, Mrs
Morris, thank you."
"Well," she said
briskly, "You probably want to see the phenomenon." She turned and
started up the stairs, obviously expecting him to follow. Giles walked behind
her, his observant nature taking in as many details as possible en route. She led
him down the hall, and sounds were coming from the room at the end.
"We're trying to get
this room done for Easter," Sharon Morris was saying. "We've done all
of the downstairs rooms and are having somebody coming in soon to replace the
bathroom suite. Our main job now is to modernise the rest of these bedrooms,
but we hit an odd problem."
When they reached the
bottom of the steps, a fair-haired man came through to meet them. He held out
his hand. "Andy," he said.
replied, shaking the offered hand. Beside
them, Andy's wife squirmed restlessly, and Giles realised that what he had
taken for shyness, was in fact something else. The room made her nervous.
The room in question had
been painted white, and recently, because the smell of fresh paint permeated
the confined space. But what interested Giles were the pentacles and symbols on
the walls. They were everywhere, on every wall. He pulled his digital camera
out of his pocket. "Do you mind?"
meticulously, he photographed every wall, taking special care to make sure he
had everything. While he worked, he encouraged the couple to tell the story of
how they had uncovered the design, painted over it, only to have it reappear
the following day.
all," Andy said. "Touch it."
Tentatively, Giles touched
a digit to the design. The paint was still wet on the symbols.
"I know what you're
thinking," Sharon said. "That we did it ourselves. But just look at
how complex the design is. It would have taken us hours."
agreed thoughtfully. "It would." That had been his first thought when
seeing the room, but why would they have gone to all that trouble and then
called him in while it was still wet? That would have been a dead giveaway that
it was a hoax. "How long have you lived here?"
Andy replied. "The house was in a heck of a state, but going very cheap
because of it. So we bought it as an
ongoing project and try to do it up as, and when, we can afford it."
"Have you ever
noticed anything odd about this room?"
Andy shrugged. "Like
what? It's just a room. But in truth, we haven't been up here very much so it's
hard to say."
"Sherry doesn't like
it," Sharon said quietly.
"Our dog," Andy
explained. "She's a Jack Russell - highly strung little thing. She won't
come in here."
"Is she like that
with the other rooms?" Giles asked.
"Sherry is a funny
dog," Andy explained. "One minute she's fine, a minute later she is
hiding from you - no apparent reason. She was like that before we came here, so
it isn't the house. She has spells when she won't go in certain rooms, but
she's never been in here, as far as I know."
While they had been
talking, Giles was surveying the room and making notes in his book. He looked
up. "What was on the walls before you started decorating? I take it that
the symbols weren't visible then?"
wallpaper," Andy said, as Sharon went into the hallway to pick up a black
bag filled with wallpaper off-cuts. She brought them back in for Giles to see,
and he picked up one of the faded red pieces to get a better look. The paper
looked very old; he was sure he had seen similar designs in some historical
journals. He turned the paper over, and the backs were sticky to the touch. He
doubted that traces of the paste they used would still be tangible, but maybe
it would give him a clue. He pulled a plastic specimen bag out of his case, and
carefully labelled it before popping the piece of wallpaper inside. He would
send the paper to his friend at Bath University for analysis. That done, he
turned his attention back to the young couple.
"Tell me what you
know about the house."
Buffy was just putting the
empty tin on the drainer when the telephone rang.
"Uh, hi. I'm Greg
Milton, and I own Undercover."
supplies - tents and so forth. We do a great selection of sleeping bags
"Thanks, but we don't do much field work, so we don't need any tents.
Giles has all that stuff, anyway." She spoke quickly, trying to get rid of
the salesman, and was just about to hang up, when he spoke again.
me! I'm not trying to sell you anything. I want your help."
"Our help?" she
repeated, curious. "What's your problem?"
"We have a large
supply of tents," he said again. "Really nice ones. Um... there's something
living in them."
Undercover was nearly
empty when Buffy went inside. A girl stood behind the counter inside the door,
sticking special offer labels on to rucksacks, and a young lad was opening a
cardboard box full of white footballs, and set about restocking the empty
shelf. The only customer in the store was browsing through ladies ski suits
situated beside the cashier. Buffy supposed that it was the wrong time of year
to buy your camping requirements. An area to one side had been roped off and
had boxes piled in front of it. She went behind the boxes to find out what was
concealed by the ropes, and saw that they were around some display tents. Her
hand had just touched the rope, in readiness to dive underneath, when a man
appeared next to her.
"I'm sorry - those
tents aren't for sale today. Manufacturing problem."
Buffy turned to face him.
Actually, she had to look up to see his face - a big guy. "Really?"
she replied. "And would this be the problem that you called us
Realisation dawned, and
the man - she assumed it to be Greg Milton - looked apologetic. "I'm so
sorry," he mumbled awkwardly. "I expected somebody... older."
"So what have you
found?" Buffy asked hurriedly, before he got onto the part where she was
just a girl.
"When I got in this
morning, I found rubbish and orange peel all over the floor. It wasn't there
when I went home, and I assumed we'd had a break in. But there was no sign of a
forced entry, and when I started to look I heard... noises from inside the tents.
I went to investigate, thinking it would be kids, or maybe a homeless person.
"You found something
else." Buffy finished. "Is that why you didn't call the police?"
"They wouldn't have
believed me," he said wryly.
Buffy ducked under the
ropes but before she could move toward the tents, Greg caught her arm.
"Could you wait, just a minute, please?"
Buffy frowned, not
understanding, and he nodded to where the customer was paying for her purchase
and preparing to leave the shop. When she had gone, Greg spoke to the cashier
and waited while the girl locked the door. At Buffy's questioning look, he
explained, "Bad for business."
Buffy's attention turned back
to the tents. Greg had said on the phone that something was in there, and she
wondered what it was she would be dealing with. Demon? Vampire, perhaps? She
approached the tents cautiously, wishing she had brought a weapon with her.
Carefully, she pulled the
tent flap to one side, and something darted out, dived between her legs and
disappeared behind her. The cashier shrieked, and Greg was shouting,
"There!" But Buffy was already whirling round, just in time to see a
tail disappear between a chink in the boxes.
"Don't let it get
out!" Buffy shouted, and the lad whacked his hand against the box, making
the little creature dive out again, chirping like a cricket. It huddled against
the box, watching her.
Buffy stayed absolutely
still. The creature was only about six inches high; it stood up on its hind
legs and had tiny hands and a wispy tail. It chirped at her. She knew it was
astonishingly fast, but then, so was she. She waited her moment, and then dived
forward without any warning, taking the creature by surprise and grabbing it by
the scruff of its neck so that it dangled from her fingers.
"I don't suppose I
could have something to put it in?" she asked her audience, and Greg went
to fetch one of the rucksacks that the cashier had labelled earlier. He held it
open while Buffy slipped the little creature inside. It was chirping furiously...
and from inside the tent a chorus of chirping responded to him. Buffy's heart
sank. Great. More of them.
"Could you move the
boxes closer so that they can't get out?" she asked, and the others pushed
the boxes closer together, adding more to provide a better barrier. Just before
the last one went into place, Greg and the boy slipped through. The girl
fetched more bags for the creatures, and was told to wait outside and watch for
any that made it outside.
Buffy took a deep breath
and pulled the tent flap back. She tried to grab the creature as it rushed out,
but missed - largely because dozens squeezed out at the same time, and
the confined space inside the boxed off area was filled with commotion. Tiny
creatures darted about, reminding her of a nest of mice with a cat in the
vicinity, except for the excited chittering that they were making.
Buffy and her two helpers
dashed about, grabbing at, and mostly missing, the creatures. From outside the
boxes, the girl shouted instructions and the whole thing was getting more like
a farce every minute.
"There! Behind you!
Buffy was filling her
second holdall, while Greg had still to catch one. The lad was fast, and had
managed three - except one had escaped when he tried to put another in the bag
and he only had two left.
By the time every last one
had been rounded up, they were all hot and tired. Greg was leaning against the
boxes gasping, and Buffy, fearing she might have to call the medics out, said
worriedly, "Are you okay?"
complained, holding his side. "I'm too old for this lark."
"Perhaps you should
sit down," she suggested, concerned by his red face and fast breath, and
began shifting the boxes so that he could get out. The girl fetched a chair and
some water, and when things had calmed down, Greg nodded to the bags.
"What are you going to do with them?"
said, thinking fast because she had absolutely no idea, "we have a plan
for occasions like this."
The youngsters helped to
carry the four bags out to her car. The bags were moving about alarmingly, but
were thankfully quiet now. She had left the tiniest of holes in the zip and hoped
it would be enough to allow them to breathe, and after Greg had come out to
thank her for her help and they had all gone back into the shop, she turned her
attention to the bags. What was she supposed to do with them?
She pulled her phone out
of her pocket. Time to ask Giles...
Angel heard the Discovery
pull into the yard, and heard Giles get out of the car, cross the gravel and
enter the main building. He let him settle in a bit and then made his way over
to the house. He found Giles in the study, two mugs of tea standing on the
desk. One had milk, the other was black.
"You were expecting
me?" he asked, a small smile on his lips.
"This time of day
you'd probably be awake but not able to leave the flat. And with Buffy's car
not in the garage I'd say she isn't here. You're likely to be bored, so yes - I
was expecting you."
Angel pulled up one of the clients' chairs and sat down next to the desk. Giles
was plugging his camera into the computer and preparing to download the images.
While it was doing that, he opened his bag and pulled out his notebook.
case," Giles was saying. "Couple found a lot of pentacles and other
symbols on the walls which reappear after painting - which implies this is
something mystical rather than some kind of deception." He clicked on the
keys to access the files. "The family dog refuses to..." He leant in
closer to the screen. "Oh, my."
Angel got up and went to
stand next to Giles. The screen showed a room covered in white painted walls. There
were no images on them. "That's the room?" he asked.
"Yes. The images were
everywhere." Pictures of the room passed by as Giles checked them all,
only to find that none of them showed anything untoward. Frowning, he opened
his notebook, looking for the pages where he had sketched some of the images in
detail. He found what he wanted, and passed the book over to Angel. "They
looked like that."
Angel looked at the
drawings, and something... some vague memory stirred. He looked up to find Giles
staring at him. "What is it?" Giles asked.
"I'm not sure. I've
seen something like this before, but I can't remember where."
Before Giles could answer,
the phone rang. He picked up the receiver.
"Hello.... Buffy? Is
Angel tensed at the mention
of trouble, but Giles held up his hand placatingly, and he relaxed again and
listened to the one-sided conversation.
"Like crickets, you
say? A lot of them? Well, tell me - was there any fruit debris? Skins, pips,
that kind of thing?" he smiled at the reply. "Then you've nothing to
worry about, and no slaying need be involved. They're Peterkin, and quite
harmless; they live exclusively on fruit. Just round them up and release them
back into the countryside, somewhere close to a colony."
Angel had gone back to his
chair to drink his tea at the mention of Peterkin. He'd seen a group of them
once. The chirruping was a bit annoying, but they hadn't been dangerous.
"Not the country
around Westbury," Giles was saying. "I know there is a colony just
outside of Sherborne. "I don't know of another one close by, but I could
research... all right then. I'll see you later."
When Giles put the phone
down, he said, "Buffy will be a while. By the time she sends them home, it
will be quite late."
"How did the Peterkin
get down here, if they come from Sherborne?"
"There might be a
closer colony, of course." Giles allowed. "But sometimes they stow
away on lorries, while looking for a dark place to hide, and end up somewhere
else. That's how they got here in the first place. They are from Spain
originally, but managed to spread right through Europe to end up here."
"If we introduce them
to the wrong colony, will there be trouble?"
"Oh, no. Peterkin
aren't territorial. The more the merrier as far as they are concerned."
The habits of Peterkin
taken care of, Angel returned his attention to the drawing in Giles' book.
"Would it be possible to have a look at the house?"
Giles reached for the phone again. "I'll see if I can make an appointment
for sometime after dark."
Angel stood next to Giles
in the room, looking around; Andy Morris was with them, but his wife had gone
out for the evening. A small Jack Russell terrier sat out in the hallway next
to the door to the bedroom, refusing to be lured in.
"I've seen this - or
something like this - before." Angel said.
"What do you think it
is?" Giles asked.
"It's a spell to
conceal something," he replied, his mind's eye bringing up memories of Lindsey,
covered in symbols very much like these, in his attempt to hide from Wolfram
"You think there is
something here to conceal?" Giles asked.
"Yes, I do."
"Surely... " Andy
offered, "Whatever it was concealing would have been removed by now,
necessarily," Giles said. "The house has been empty for large chunks
of its history. This is the first time this room has been redecorated, so it's
likely that whatever was here is still here. Do you mind if we
have the floorboards up and find out?"
"I guess not,"
Andy replied apprehensively. "I called you in. We might as well find out
what it's all about."
Taking care to measure the
exact location of the room's central point, Giles made a mark on the wooden
floor with chalk. "I believe this would be the spot," Giles said.
Angel dropped down on one
knee, took the proffered screwdriver from Andy and began levering up the
floorboard. Underneath the board, he found a parcel wrapped in linen. He pulled
it out of the hole, brushed off the dust and cobwebs and handed it to Giles.
Carefully unwrapping the
linen, Giles found an oblong wooden box nestling inside the fabric. It was
about the size of a shoebox, and was covered all over with the same symbols
covering the walls.
Andy had moved closer to
the box to see what had been uncovered. "What is it?"
"I've no idea,"
Giles replied honestly. "I'm not sure what it is, but somebody went to a
lot of trouble to conceal this, and I have to wonder why."
"May I?" Andy
asked, and Giles gave him the box to hold; Andy was surprised at how heavy the
box was. He moved under the light to see the design better.
is," Giles was saying to Angel, "do we open the box?"
"I have a bad feeling
about this," Angel said.
"Yes. I would have to
agree with that," Giles agreed. "I want to research this further, and
Angel's vampire hearing
had heard the soft click on the box as Andy flicked the catch open. He had only
had the box open for a fraction of a second before Angel slammed it shut and
slid that catch back on, all in one fluid movement.
"Have you any idea
how dangerous that was?" he barked, making the boy jump. If he hadn't seen
Angel move that fast, he wouldn't have believed it. What was he dealing with,
here? Was there any danger?
"Have you got some
paper?" Angel said unexpectedly. Giles pulled out his sketchbook and a
pencil and handed it over without a word. Angel took the paper out into the
hall and sat down on the bottom step, furrowed his brow in thought, and began to
doing?" Andy asked.
"I think he got a
glimpse of what was in the box," Giles said gently. "I believe he is
trying to reproduce what he saw."
"But... it happened too
fast!" Andy protested. "He can't have seen enough to
After a few moments, Angel
stopped drawing. Frowned, sketching something else in, stopped, added some
shading. Then he stood up and brought the finished product over to Giles.
"Ever seen anything
Giles took the sketch and
studied it. Eventually, he shook his head. "No. It looks like nothing I
know of - I'll need to do some research on this."
He handed the drawing over
to Andy who had been peering over his shoulder. The image was... kind of creepy,
though he wasn't going to be the first to say it. "What happens now?"
"We need to find out
precisely what it is." Giles replied. "If you want me to take it into
care for you, I'll be happy to do so. If it stays here, it will probably be
best to keep it in this room, exactly where it has been stored for years. And I
will ask you - please do not open the box until we know what it
Andy looked slightly
uncomfortable. The box was his property, hidden in his house, and he really
didn't want these strangers to take it away. After all, it might be valuable.
Yet, he was uncomfortable about having something that could be dangerous left
in his home.
"We hide it," he
agreed reluctantly. "Can I have a copy of the drawing to show Shaz?"
Buffy dropped the
rucksacks on the floor by Giles' desk.
"You had no trouble
re-homing the Peterkin, then?" he asked her, moving his books away from
her coffee mug that had also appeared on his desk.
"Nope. I just opened
the bags and they scampered off." She smiled at the memory. "Kind of
cute, really. Shame everything I have to deal with isn't so easy."
bored," he told her.
right." She flopped into his leather chair.
"Are you going to
return the rucksacks to the shop tomorrow?" Giles asked, indicating the
ungainly sprawl across his carpet.
"Mr Milton said I
could keep them," she grinned at him.
Giles raised an eyebrow.
"And why would that be?"
laughed. "I rang him up and asked him if he wanted them back. I reminded
him that there had been dozens of little animals cooped up in them and they had
been eating quite a bit..."
Giles gazed at her
reproachfully. "The digestion system of Peterkin is extremely slow. I
doubt there were more than a couple of... end products... in evidence."
"None at all,
actually." She chuckled, bending forward to pick the bags up off of the
floor. "You want one, Giles? They're really nice."
The reproachful look was
replaced by a gleeful smile. "Really? Can I have the one with..."