These Ol’ Bones
when you think you’ve seen it all… Buffy and Giles head off to
Lincolnshire to investigate some
interesting bones. What about Angel you
ask? He stayed behind. He has problems of his own. You see there’s this box…
These Ol' Bones
“What exactly are you doing? You’ve been sitting there for hours,” Giles said, surprised to find
that Buffy’s eyes were still steadfastly glued to the screen in front of her.
“Ghost cam,” she said, distractedly. Her gaze never wavered from the flickering
No sooner had she spoken when a loud shriek emitted
from the speakers, making Giles jump.
“What in heaven’s name?”
“I was done anyway. Eye strain.” She started laughing, and with a few quick
clicks of the mouse, she shut down the computer. “Pretty neat, huh?” she said as she stood up, smoothing her
short-sleeved shirt as she did so.
Her lightly sun-bronzed skin contrasted nicely against
the white blouse she wore, but she never seemed to be as tan as she had been
while living in California. Why tanned
skin equated to beauty and health remained a mystery to Giles since the sun’s
rays were anything but kind to a person, but still one couldn’t argue with how
alive it could make one look. The
London winter was not and never would be one of Buffy’s favorite times and
thankfully that was well behind them.
The current weather in Westbury was so warm and sunny that the previous
month had been referred to as Flaming
June. July was turning out to be
even hotter. Sometimes Giles regretted
never returning to the California weather and sunshine that she was used to and
he supposed those days of going to the beach with her friends were long
gone. He wasn’t really a beach person
per se and Angel never would be.
“It said ‘Watch and you just might see a ghost. Listen and you just might hear one,’” she
He hadn’t realized she was still talking and he was silently admonishing
himself for going off on such a mental tangent.
Seeing ‘em. Hearing ‘em?”
“You don’t get enough of that in real life that you
need to find it on the computer?”
“I was bored. Angel’s
sleeping.” Tipping her head toward the
computer she added, “And I think it’s fake.
Since when do ghosts show up just because you want them to?”
“Not often,” he said, fostering a smile. “Well, then, it’s a good thing you’re not
going to be bored much longer.”
“I’m not going to be bored?” she asked, shaking her
head from side to side slowly as though she were trying to figure out what he
was going to say it before he actually said it.
“How does a trip to Dogdyke sound to you?”
“Lincolnshire, actually. Apparently something odd has come up and is wreaking some havoc.”
“What kind of odd?”
“The furry kind.”
“Angel? Do you
have a moment?”
Buffy had gone to bed quite a bit earlier, and Giles
was grateful to find the vampire still up and about.
Angel asked, shifting his gaze toward the former watcher. He had been looking out the kitchen window,
sipping from a cup when Giles came into the room.
“There’s a favor I need to ask of you.”
“Okay…” His brow arched in question.
“Buffy and I will be heading out for Lincolnshire
tomorrow morning, early. I was
wondering if you would mind staying behind.”
“Why would I do that?” he asked as he rinsed out his
cup and placed it gently in the sink.
Giles knew that was all that would need to be said.
“Still haven’t found a buyer?”
Giles shook his head and leaned on the counter next to
Angel. “Not one. And I’m afraid I’ve exhausted all of my
sources. Might you be able to help with
“I can try,” Angel said. “There are a few places that come to mind.”
Giles heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank you.
I don’t want to lose track of the artifact until I know what it is and
what exactly it does, if anything. At
least this way we won’t.”
“I haven’t found anyone yet,” Angel reminded him.
“I have the utmost faith in you.”
“Maybe you could’ve found a buyer here,” Buffy
suggested, still not happy that Angel had stayed behind. “It could happen.”
“Highly unlikely,” Giles said. “But perhaps we’ll quickly find our furry
friend in Dogdyke and then be on our way back in no time.”
She rolled her eyes.
There was a joke in there someplace: Dogdyke and furry, but after
spending several mind-numbing hours in the SUV, it wasn’t coming to her anytime
soon. And since she and Giles weren’t
going to meet Goofy or Pluto, Cujo
maybe, didn’t help.
“Okay, so what makes this wolf different from the
others?” she asked.
“Well, you know that a werewolf is a person who
changes into a wolf-like creature when the moon is full.”
A mental picture of Oz quickly led to Veruca, and then
a teary-eyed Willow. Memories like
these would jump into her brain once in a while with no warning and she hated
it when that happened. So she did what
she usually did. She pushed them away
and focused on something else. This
time it was what Giles was saying.
“It has been thought, but not proven, that another
type of wolf exists. A wolf which is
said to be a large, unidentified species, having no tail and whose body is
usually quite long - often more than seven feet in length - and the animal
carries out most of its hunting at night when the moon is full.”
“It doesn’t sound that much different,” she
agreed. “Aside from being taller. And tailless.”
“I’m afraid from witness accounts that this wolf-like
creature has been spotted on nights that the moon wasn’t full, so that makes
whatever it is remarkably different.”
“What not a
surprise.” She cracked the car window,
letting some fresh air inside the stuffy vehicle. It didn’t help much since the air outside was even stuffier. She rolled the window back up. “So you’re telling me that most likely we
have a werewolf that really isn’t a werewolf.
We have something that doesn’t need the full moon to go all fur-faced?”
Angel slammed the phone down in its cradle,
disgusted. He couldn’t find anyone
interested in their find. The fact
that it sounded familiar to no one didn’t help. And to make matters worse, Andy Morris had left numerous
telephone messages for Giles and no one had returned his calls yet.
The phone hadn’t been in its cradle more than a moment
when it rang again. Where was Harmony
when you needed her?
After the third ring, he answered it. “Project Paranormal… Yes, Mr. Morris… He’s out of town… Is there
something I can…? Odd? What do you mean by odd…? Can you speak up…?
I’m having a hard time hearing you over the dog… Hello? Hello?”
The line went dead.
He glanced out the window, the sun still high in the sky. He cursed his vampirism not for the first
time, and definitely not for the last.
What bothered him the most? It wasn’t just the dog he had heard.
The story is
one of transformation and it was told by a young man who lived in Langrick Fen,
not far from Dogdyke. He was an ardent archaeologist and one day while digging
in the peat, discovered some ancient remains. Among them was what looked like a
human skeleton with a wolf's head. Carrying the object into his cottage, he
placed it on a table and examined it carefully. But he could make nothing of it
and concluded that it must have been some monstrosity, such as showmen bring
out at fairs to excite the interest of the crowd.
however, he found himself unable to sleep, and fancying he heard a noise in the
back premises, got up to investigate. Suddenly he heard a sharp rat-tat on the
window pane and looking round perceived a dark shape looking at him. This speedily
resolved itself into the form of a human being with a wolf's head. Every
feature was distinctly marked and there was no possibility of reflection, since
no light was visible anywhere.
As the young
man stood transfixed with horror, the creature gave a snarl of savage
exultation and raised its arm to dash in the glass, whereupon the young man
recovered the power of movement and fled into the kitchen. A crash sounded
behind him and he wasted no time in locking and barring the door, and erecting
a barricade of furniture against it. There he waited all night in a cold sweat,
while the stealthy pad-pad of feet sounded without. At last the first streaks
of dawn told him that his long vigil was over, and as the light grew stronger
he ventured to unbar and open the door.
visible of the ghostly visitor, but the table, whereon he had placed the
skeleton, was overturned and the window of the room was shivered into
fragments. Hastily collecting the remains of the uncanny being, which lay
scattered all over the floor, he buried them again in the same place where he
had found them, and covered them over with several layers of peat. Nor was he
again disturbed, though for many years afterwards he would describe with vivid
gesture his peculiar adventure with the supernatural.
After rereading the summary she had printed off the
Internet Buffy studied the shack in front of her. It wasn’t anything to write home about, and if she didn’t know
better she would’ve thought it had long been abandoned.
“Doesn’t look like much, does it?” Giles asked,
shielding the sun from his eyes with his hand.
Someone had forgotten their sunglasses, and it hadn’t been her. “I’ve been told it’s quite nice on the
“If what you said is true…”
“That it’s quite nice on the inside?” he asked.
She waved the paper she had been reading in front of
his face and then shoved it into the front pocket of her shorts. “No.”
He cleared his throat. “Oh, sorry. I was just
recounting what I was told and how the legend reads,” he said.
“The exact same thing didn’t happen here, though,” she
said, glancing at him out of the corner of her eye. He had told her she wouldn’t be bored, and so far she wasn’t, but
she was getting as close as a slayer could.
“Not exactly,” he said, lowering his hand and looking
at her. “They deny digging up any
bones. They insisted that the bones
were left for them by unknown individuals and they still have some of them.”
After he nodded, she continued, “I’m confused. Are we here to investigate a legend or to find whoever’s messing
with our client?”
“A little bit of both.”
“So what do we do first?”
He produced a map and handed it to her. “Supposedly this is where the bones were
She nodded her head, understanding what their first
step would be. “We need to see if
they’re still there.”
Waiting for sunset was not an option. Morris had sounded more than a little crazed,
as Buffy would’ve said, and if anything happened while Angel waited, he would
There wasn’t much good to say about Wolfram and Hart,
but he could use some of that necrotempered glass about now.
Donning a hooded sweatshirt, long jacket, gloves, and
sunglasses, he rushed out of the main house and into the garage. He might not need the ensemble now, but
there was no telling what could happen when he was out on the road. A flat tire in the sunshine could be the
death of him.
And if he played his cards right, there would be
“Allow me,” Giles said, reaching for the shovel. Buffy had been adamant about digging the
hole herself, something about pent-up something or another, but enough was
enough. She was getting annoyed and her
snappy comebacks were beginning to include a lot more profanity than they had
previously. “Buffy please.” Besides, he was tired of standing around
doing nothing but perspire.
She relented, heaving a hefty sigh first. “Fine.
They had only brought one shovel with them. It had been an oversight and not in any way
intentional, but now only one of them could dig at any given time and now was
“I didn’t think the bones were supposed to be buried
so far down,” she said.
He stopped digging, rubbed the sweat from his brow for
the umpteenth time, and then studied the hole.
He hadn’t expected the ground to be so hard and the constant digging and
breaking of the compacted soil was taking its toll. They were at least six feet deep and they hadn’t found
anything. “The heat could account for
the dryness of the soil, but not this deep.
Maybe they were buried further down this time, or perhaps we’ve misread
the map, or they’ve already been retrieved.”
He began digging again, not ready to admit that his arms were starting
to feel like overcooked linguini.
“Or maybe they don’t exist.” She extended her hand to him.
“Come on out.” He didn’t need to
consider that twice. Once he accepted
her outstretched hand, she pulled him up and out of the hole with one tug. “Well, if you think about it, the dirt was
packed pretty hard. It didn’t look like anything had been dug up in a long
time, if ever.”
“The thought had crossed my mind,” he said, wiping the
moisture that had accumulated on his brow off once again. He was sporting trousers and a short sleeved
shirt, but the heat was still making him perspire more than he cared to. “What does this tell us?”
She shrugged her shoulders and pushed the sunglasses
off her nose and up onto her head. The
motion resulted in her blonde hair being swept away from her face, showcasing
the sweat that glistened on her cheeks and a little smudge of dirt that was on
the tip of her nose. “When are we
supposed to meet with this guy?” she asked.
“Um,” he began, almost wiping the dirt off her face
himself, but he held back at the last moment, the gesture feeling out of
place. Pointing instead, he continued,
“You have dirt on your nose.”
She rolled her eyes, and then wiped it off. “Thanks.”
He then consulted his watch. “Not until later this evening.”
“I guess that’s good.
It’ll give us time to figure out what the hell is going on.”
“Where to then?” he asked.
“Back to the love shack.”
Angel called and left a message for Giles. It was good to be moving, but he needed to
pace his arrival to the Morris’s. Too
early and there would be too much explaining to do about the way he was dressed
in the record heat. Thankfully, he
hadn’t needed to make any stops and the wardrobe he had chosen had been for
He pulled onto their street just as the sun was
setting. He took off his additional
layers of clothing before getting out of the car. He hadn’t even made it halfway up the walk when his ears were
assaulted by a high-pitched screeching sound and the sound of the Morris’s dog
howling. It was what he had heard on
the telephone, but now it was up close and personal.
There was no doubt about it. With his vampire hearing he wouldn’t last two minutes in that
house without his eardrums bursting.
Maybe she was having an attitude due to the
circumstances of the current case.
Point one: their client was
cheating on his wife. Point two: he
brought his mistress to an old shack to fool around so they wouldn’t get caught
by said wife or anyone they knew. He
even made his lover drive herself to their rendezvous. Point three… Okay, there really wasn’t a point
three, but it would’ve sounded way more convincing if there had been.
Well, at least the girlfriend wouldn’t be coming back
anytime soon. One look at the An American Werewolf in London castoff
had sent her packing for good. Let’s
just hope she kept on running from the loser - the cheating husband - not the
In the end, Giles had met with their client, Mr.
Huntington, in the cabin himself and Buffy had made herself scarce, looking for
clues in the surrounding area. She
didn’t find anything remotely clue-y, not that she was really looking. It was just an excuse to be anywhere besides
where they were. She had timed it
pretty well, though, she came up the drive at the same moment that Mr.
Huntington was driving down it. She
ignored the gleam in his dark eyes and the way his eyes roamed over her
body. It kind of gave her the
wiggins. He was a cheater. He was old.
And he was married!
She could admit she was in a mood. Maybe she was PMSing or something. Or maybe she was missing Angel. Maybe she was sick of being hot. Or maybe she needed a true vacation. There were just too many maybes in the
From the outside, plain had described the cabin
perfectly, but once she had walked in, the description didn’t seem to hold much
water. Hold much water? What did that even mean?
She was really ticked to see that it was actually
quite cozy on the inside. Where was
Angel when she needed him? She wondered
if Giles had been as surprised when he had seen it for the first time. Giles, who at the moment was outside looking
around on his own. The reasoning of the
night and day difference between the outside and the inside was pretty obvious:
the owner spent way more time on the inside than he did on the outside. Pig.
She hated to admit it, but the cabin held a lot of
charm. The combination living room and
dining room shared a stone fireplace. There was one bedroom that contained a
huge bed with a white down comforter, which would be absolute torture this time
of year, a bathroom with a tub and shower combination, and a fully equipped
kitchen. There were also gas lights, a
woodstove for heating, and a gas stove for cooking – so Giles had informed her
when she had yelled to him out the window.
Too bad there wasn’t any air conditioning. She was very warm, even in her light green shorts, white halter
top, and sandals, and the cabin was extremely stuffy. If she was going to stay inside for much longer, she was going to
open a window or stick her head in the freezer.
She wandered out the back door and tumbled out onto a
porch, which she hadn’t noticed when they had looked at it for the first
time. It sported a wooden swing and two
wooden rocking chairs. The cottage
itself was located on a small knoll overlooking a stream. She willed a breeze and when none came, she
sighed and went back inside.
Her overall opinion?
Nothing was broken and from what she could tell, nothing was out of
place. The clincher? Her slayer sense wasn’t exactly screaming
‘supernatural activities abound’.
There’s not much outside,” Giles said, walking through the front
door. “I didn’t even find any
tracks.” He knocked the mud off his
boots before venturing any further inside.
“The ground is relatively hard here as well. The only place we might have found any tracks would’ve been near
“There weren’t any there?”
“It appears that it’s a favored watering hole for
every wild creature in the vicinity. I
wasn’t able to tell one set of tracks from another I’m afraid.” He stood at her side, looking around. “Thankfully, this is quite a bit nicer than
I first suspected.”
She turned her head and stared at him. He was avoiding her gaze, and his jaw was
twitching. There was something that he
wasn’t telling her. She was looking
forward to getting out of there, going to the nearest inn, soaking in a cool
tub and calling Angel. In that order.
“What?” she asked.
“Were you perhaps wondering why we hadn’t found a
place to stay prior to coming back out here?” he asked, still not making eye
contact – which was probably a good thing because she suspected she was now
“What?” she repeated.
“The couch is a hideaway. It pulls out into a nice full-sized bed, so I’m told. The bedroom is sporting a nice king-sized
bed that should be quite comfortable.”
He looked at her and smiled. “It
made the most sense to stay here. I
know how you feel about Mr. Huntington and therefore this place, but I think it
would be in our best interest. We’ll be
here if something happens this evening.”
How could she argue with him? It did make perfect sense. There was no denying logic. Stupid logic. “I’ll get our bags.”
Angel knocked on the Morris’s door.
Andy Morris opened it looking more than a little
rattled. “You’re here. Thank God.
Come in. Come in.”
“Can you come out for a minute?” Angel was met with
resistance, so he added, “You could use the break.”
“But my wife?”
“It’ll only take a minute.”
Once Andy had joined him on the sidewalk, Angel asked,
“What’s going on? Exactly.”
“I was hoping you could tell me.”
The refrigerator was well-stocked and Buffy and Giles
had made a pretty decent supper for themselves. Giles had even busied himself with doing the dishes.
“Buffy, why is your head in the freezer?”
She jumped back guiltily. “No! What? Huh?”
She had planned on looking for some ice cream or something, but the cold
air had been far too appealing.
“I thought it was your solution for the lack of air
Sometimes it sucked when people knew you so well.
“It’s not too bad in here now,” she said. The sun had set a little before they had
finished eating and he had found some oscillating fans in one of the closets,
and with the front and rear windows open there was a steady breeze that cooled
them off nicely.
“Have you called Angel?” he asked.
She suspected that was yet another reason why she was
cranky-slayer-girl. She hadn’t been
able to get a signal on her cell phone since they had gotten to the cabin. “No.”
“I tried and didn’t have much luck myself. The signal came and went, but didn’t stay
long enough. I do have a message from
him indicating that he would like me to call, but I haven’t been able to reach
him as of yet.”
“I have absolutely no idea.”
They hadn’t really discussed the case since the drive
in. Their time had been divided between
the place where the majority of the bones were supposed to be – and weren’t –
and making the cabin acceptable to sleep in.
Buffy had insisted on changing the sheets on the bed she was supposed to
sleep in, and it had taken her and Giles almost a half an hour to find clean
“We haven’t found any additional bones besides the
three that were left here for us,”
Giles said as he helped himself to some tea.
She couldn’t help it. Whenever he said ‘bones’, she’d
think of the TV show with the same name.
She wasn’t sure what drew her to it, but she never missed an
episode. Too bad it was on hiatus for
Giles continued, “And with no tracks to, well, um,
They had nothing.
Buffy had drifted to sleep reading an old magazine she
had found, but something had awoken her.
As she sat up in bed, it rolled off her stomach and onto the floor. It had been some fishing magazine. No wonder she had fallen asleep.
She had decided to leave the window cracked. There was no screen, but it was either
unwanted guests of the buggy variety or no fresh air. She didn’t want to use a fan.
The wheezing and rattling of the old thing would’ve drowned out any
sounds in the night and she wasn’t willing to take that chance.
Her slayer sense tingled and then she stilled her
breathing and listened. There it was
again. There was no mistaking the low
She pulled the sheet off and jumped from the bed. Pushing aside the curtain, she was greeted
with her own reflection. The lamp was
still on, thanks to her foray into the Top
Ten Ways to Catch the Big One.
“Damn it.” She
turned off the lamp and then rushed back to the window again, but she still
couldn’t see anything in the darkness. The growl came again, louder and more
menacing this time.
“Where’s a full moon when you need one?” she grumbled,
the irony not lost on her.
She wasn’t exactly dressed for going out in the middle
of the night, but she had no choice. She
put on the sandals that she had worn earlier, and threw a sweater on over her
tank top and a pair of Angel’s boxer shorts that she had snagged for the
Once she reached the end of the hallway, she could
hear Giles snoring softly on the couch. She stood still, mentally debating on whether or not she should
wake him. Knowing it would be quicker
if she went alone, she passed through the living room and into the kitchen,
grabbing her weapons bag on the way.
The three bones they had in their possession caught
her attention, so she grabbed them too.
She couldn’t tell a femur from a tubula from a funny bone, but maybe
they’d come in handy. If she couldn’t
find the creature, maybe the creature would find her.
She tossed them into her bag and then zipped the gray
duffel shut. After a quick glance
around, she crept out the back door, closing it softly behind her, and was
greeted by the cave-like darkness of the night.
Where in the hell was Giles? Angel had left more messages than he could count on Giles’s cell
phone and then he had even tried Buffy’s.
Neither one was answering. And
he needed help.
And now that he was sitting in his Porsche with a
growling dog in the passenger seat wasn’t helping matters either.
She hadn’t gotten far from the cabin when all had gone
The stillness was freaking Buffy out more than
anything else. There were no insect
sounds. No wind. Nothing.
Her surroundings were beginning to remind her of a really bad horror
movie - where the blonde girl is running in fear for her life, and then trips
over an invisible twig, where she falls and can’t get back up, so she can then
conveniently get eviscerated for her effort from an unstoppable big bad wearing
a mask or a really ugly sweater – didn’t help. .
The growling had grown more distant and before fading
all together. When the moon finally made an appearance, not quite full, she
found it was bright enough that she didn’t need her flashlight anymore.
“Here doggy, doggy,” she whispered. “Want a Buffy flavored Milk Bone?”
She squinted but didn’t see anything except flat land
and some trees that lay before her, and then something moved just out of her
line of sight.
A dark shape rushed at her from the confines of one of
the few trees and she was pushed back with such force that the air was knocked
from her lungs. Her backward momentum
was stopped when she hit the ground.
One minute she was airborne, and the next she was on her butt, and her
back hurt like a son of a bitch..
“Ow!” she said, struggling to her feet.
Giles’s description had been dead on. Standing before her was a carpet of an
animal. Its pelt black in the darkness,
its eyes glowing red, and she wasn’t sure about the tail or lack thereof,
because the beastie was headed in her direction yet again. It was moving a little more purposefully
this time. With her luck it was
probably sizing her up, not wanting to fail in its second attack of her.
“This was such a good idea.” There was nothing like fighting the unknown alone at night
wearing your boyfriend’s boxer shorts.
She groped for the stake she'd stashed in her
waistband, but came up empty. She must have dropped it during her flying
routine, and in the way her bag was now hanging around her neck, there was no
quick way into it. She couldn’t reach
the zipper. Nothing like a little
hand-to-hand to make your night.
“Come on, you walking carpet,” she said, moving into
the battle stance that was second nature to her now. And then for some reason she didn’t want to think about, Andrew’s
voice entered her thoughts.
referencing Chewbacca as a walking carpet was classic, Xander… Well, yeah, carpets don’t actually walk,
unless you’re Chewbacca and you’re in Princess Leia’s way… That only goes to show just how much the
original trilogy was so much better than that the later trilogy, which were
actually the prequels to the originals.
It sounds very confusing, but it makes perfect sense.
She had spent way too much time listening to him and
Xander argue about Star Wars and her
unwanted thoughts further proved her point.
The carpet growled, and all thoughts of Andrew and
Xander’s debate quickly dissolved.
The shrilling phone woke him. Stumbling across the living room Giles
grabbed his cell off the table where he had left it.
“Hello?” he said, and then lowered his voice. He didn’t want to take the chance of waking
Buffy. “Angel? I can barely… What? Good lord… I don’t… Are you sure? Very well.”
He needed to think fast. “Go back
to the house. In my study there’s a
lead box on the floor near the bookcase…
Exactly. Put it in there. You’re taking the dog with you…? I can’t…
The connection was lost.
Giles tried calling him back to no avail. There was no signal to be found. And not for the first time, he wished he
could be in two places at once.
Buffy wasn’t sure what the beast was going to rip off
first: her bag or her head. It kept
yanking on the bag which in turn put pressure on her neck. There was no doubt that she’d be bruised in
the morning, but in order to be bruised she’d need to be of the breathing
variety. She bent her knees and with
one big heave, gripped the furry forearms even tighter, which in turn loosened
the pressure around her neck briefly, and then she tried to throw the animal
over her shoulder.
Regardless of her strength, the height difference
proved to be too much, and the petite slayer’s plan failed miserably. And now she was being dragged backwards by
the strap of her bag that was wrapped even tighter around her neck. If she could’ve loosened the stupid thing
permanently, she would’ve, but she couldn’t, and she knew she didn’t have much
more time. Stars of the non-nighttime
variety flashed in her mind and then panic seized her; a small thread that
started in the pit of her stomach, and traveled outward to every corner of her
body in record speed. If she passed
out, she was dead.
She didn’t know what to do and inwardly blamed the
lack of oxygen. Yeah, Buffy - go out
alone. Great plan. It ranked up there right alongside all the
other dumb plans she’d had in her tenure as slayer. Okay, it might not rank up there with The Master, Willow going
all veiny on her ass, or roaming around Sunnydale invisible and enjoying it,
but it was close.
If she could just get free from one of its arms with
her head still intact, she might have a fighting chance. Literally.
She tried to duck and squirm her way loose, to no avail. It only seemed to anger the beast more. Her attacker emitted a deep chest growl that
was louder than anything she ever heard this close.
Her scream died in her air-deprived throat when the
beast latched itself onto her shoulder and sunk its teeth into her as far as
Pushing the pain away, she took a deep breath and
lowered her head, chomping down on one of the arms still holding her. It was probably the worst tasting thing she
had ever had in her mouth, Dracula’s blood notwithstanding.
With a guttural howl, the beast let her go, shoving her
away. Buffy tripped and landed on her
stomach. Hard. Once again, her breath was forced from her
Well, if it wanted to play dirty, she could play along
with that. She jumped to her feet and
spun around in a circle, looking for it.
She was alone.
She dumped the bag on the ground and touched her neck
tenderly. Definitely no doubt about it,
she was going to be bruised badly in the morning. Moving her hand down, she grazed the shoulder where she had been
bitten. She let out a long sigh.
Doing a quick recon of the area, she didn’t find any
evidence that the animal was still there.
It had disappeared almost as quickly as it had appeared, but it had left
were quite a few of them scattered about the path. She edged closer, poked at them with her foot, and then she
quickly added them to her bag.
Giles was so not going to be happy with her.
“It’s a tibia,” Giles said, taking the bone that she
was holding. “Not a tubula.”
“Po-tay-to, po-tat-to,” Buffy said.
When she had gotten back to the cabin, he had still
been asleep, so she had gone back to her room and had cleaned and bandaged her
wound as best as she could. She had put
on a clean sweatshirt, hidden the bloodied one at the bottom of her suitcase,
and then zipped her new sweatshirt all the way up to her chin. If he saw her neck, he’d want to look at it
to make sure she was okay. If he saw
that, he would see the bandage that was protruding out from under her tank top.
If he’d noticed her change in outerwear, he didn’t
mention it. The main problem was that
she didn’t know how to tell him, so she didn’t. If she woke up needing a hefty shave at the next full moon, he’d
figure it out on his own. Where was a
good set of enchanted manacles when you needed them?
“There is a mixture of bones here.” He was in the process of assembling them the
best he could. “The head is a definite
animal, most likely canis lupus--”
“Wolf. But I
can’t be sure about the rest,” he said, pushing his glasses up his nose and
leaning even closer to the tibia. She
smiled. At least she knew what it was
called now. “If it is part man, there
are a few bones missing.” He looked up
at her. “This is not a complete
“What parts are we missing?”
He began to move the bones into a more discernable pattern. “The other tibia, a femur, and one phalange
“Okay, so we’re not on a wild goose chase,” she
said. “Or a wild wolf chase for that
matter.” He eyed her over the rim of
his glasses. “Fine.” She heaved a sigh and sat down on the
kitchen chair. “So, it’s kind of a
werewolf, unlike anything I’ve seen.”
“Who wants these bones.”
“Whose bones are they? We think they’re his bones… or her bones. Its bones.
But if it gets them back and reburies them, it goes poof into the night
for good - or until someone digs it up again - if it finds the ones that are
missing. Why does it want to do that?”
she asked. “And we’re assuming that
these are its bones. Maybe they’re
somebody else’s and it just wants them for some reason.” The bite on her shoulder was starting to
itch due to her slayer healing kicking in, but she refused to scratch it. It still hurt down to the bone and she
doubted she’d be able to keep the pain from her face. “Too bad I don’t speak growl.”
She yawned, deep and long.
He glanced at the clock that hung on the kitchen
wall. “It’s a few hours before
dawn. Why don’t you get some rest and
then we can talk about this later with clearer heads.” He smiled.
“Perhaps I’ll even prepare breakfast for us both. The kitchen is amazingly well stocked.”
Sounded good to her.
“Sounds good to me,” she said, standing. “I’m going to try Angel.
He should still be awake being a night owl and all.” Giles had finally
talked to Angel and now it was her turn to try.
He patted her shoulder and she flinched. “What is it? What happened?” he asked.
“Just a scrape.”
“Kind of happens when you get tossed around like a rag
The concern in his eyes added to her guilt about
keeping the truth from him, but the truth would make him, and thus her, feel a
“It’s already healing,” she said, as she turned and
walked out of the kitchen. “I’m sure by
the time I wake up it’ll be as good as new.”
Buffy tossed and turned, not doing anything that
resembled sleeping, but then again she must’ve slept somewhat because she kept
having dreams of the wolf variety: howling, running through the woods, stalking
prey, mating. Everything was very
predatory and violent in nature. It was
probably the closest she’d ever be to knowing what it felt like to be a vampire
on the hunt.
This was so not good, she thought as she woke up and
winced when she rolled over onto her hurt shoulder. Slayer healing or not, it still hurt and in the heat of the day
there was no way to keep the bandage from Giles.
Heaving a sigh, she pushed back the sheet for the
second time in less than four hours, grabbed a clean set of clothes and headed
for the shower.
The shower setting she opted for was cooler than
normal. The heat was already becoming
oppressive in the relatively airtight and windowless room. She made sure to keep her injury out of the
water as best she could, and she had some success, but the gauze was still damp
when she had finished, so she’d need to redress the wound.
Wiping the condensation from the mirror, she turned
and studied her back and shoulder. The
bite was a lot longer than she originally had thought it was. The jagged marks of the incisors were
inflamed and ran down her collar bone.
She could follow the line of teeth all the way over her shoulder and
down to her shoulder blade. There was
no way she could tend to the wound on her own.
She could barely reach all of it the first time.
And now she could honestly say that a werewolf bite
hurt way more than a vampire’s. What
she’d do with the knowledge? She had no
She had to tell Giles what had happened. She just wished she could’ve gotten a hold
of Angel before she had fallen into her troubled sleep. It would’ve been nice to hear his
voice. He had a way of settling her,
and right now she needed major settling.
But if she had reached him, she’d need to tell him why she required
settling. And telling Angel over the
phone would’ve been way worse than telling Giles in person.
Sometimes life just sucked.
Having only packed halter tops, tanks tops, and shorts
due to the heat, she didn’t have a lot of clothes to pick from, so it didn’t take
her long to get dressed. She knocked
the debris off her sandals and slipped them onto her feet. After she was dressed, she grabbed the first
aid bag and headed to the kitchen. She
was halfway down the hallway when she smelled coffee. Giles had made her coffee.
Tea was good, but sometimes coffee was way better.
“Hey,” she said, stepping into the room.
“Good morning, Buffy.” He was busily buttering toast, and hadn’t turned toward her
yet. “I heard you in the shower and
thought it would be the perfect time to start breakfast.” The kitchen door stood wide open, as well as
the windows, and he had two fans going.
All in all, the room was pretty cool.
With his back toward her, she’d a momentary reprieve,
but that was all it was. Momentary.
“I hope you’re hungry,” he continued as he turned
around. She watched as the look of pure
contentment left his face and worry took over.
His eyes were riveted to the bag she held in her hand. “I knew…” He sighed deeply. “What happened?”
She handed the bag to him and then turned around. “I kinda got bit.”
“Good lord,” he said, taking the bag. “Come over here and sit down.” He turned a kitchen chair around and she
straddled it. “Move your hair to the
side so I can get a better look.”
She complied and winced when she felt him tenderly
touch the area around the bite, moving the spaghetti strap of her tank to the
side to get a better look.
“It appears to be healing. Is it still tender?” he asked and she nodded. He began to gingerly apply ointment. “It looks like it went through to the
bone.” She nodded again. “Maybe it’d be best if we postponed this
case and I took you to hospital. We
need to ensure that there’s nothing broken and that there’s no infection
festering below the surface.” He applied
a new bandage gently.
She pulled her strap back up and turned around to face
him. “It’ll be fine. Physically anyway.”
By the look on his face, he knew what she was
insinuating. He ran his palm up and
over his head. “We’ll need to find this
thing and determine if it is indeed a werewolf or a variation thereof. If it’s another animal that resembles a
“Then you don’t need to worry about documenting the
world’s first werewolf slaying werewolf slayer.”
“So where do we find it?”
Giles nodded in the direction of the bones that he had
pushed to the side of the table. “I’m
pretty sure it’ll find us.”
“Giles, if it’s a werewolf and I have to kill it…”
“There’s no proof that killing it would break the
“Not what I meant.”
“There’s a person under the outerwear.”
She had never killed a human being before and she
wasn’t about to start now. That’s when
memories of Faith came-a-calling.
“Here doggy, doggy.”
Angel was trying to coax the canine out of his car to
no avail. When the keening of the
animal had lessoned once outside, Andy and Sharon had visibly relaxed. They didn’t realize how lucky they were that
they couldn’t hear the noise that was putting Angel and Sherry, the Jack
Russell terrier, over the edge. But
once he had promised to do some research and come back the next night with
their beloved dog in tow, they agreed.
Angel knew they’d never admit their relief at the dog’s departure.
“Oh, dog.” He
made a kissing sound. “Come here,
GRRRRR,” was her response.
He didn’t have time for this. There were things he needed to do. Not having any choice, he grabbed the dog,
who yelped, and then Angel ran them both into the house.
“What on earth?” Martha said, coming down the
hall. “I thought I heard - Is that a
Angel smiled weakly.
“Got any kibble?”
The plan itself wasn’t anything fancy: right place,
right time, right weapons. They waited until
just before dark and then Buffy and Giles headed back out to where Buffy had
found Cousin It and the incomplete skeleton.
“It came from there,” she whispered as she pointed to
a cluster of trees. “But that doesn’t
mean much.” She looked up at the
sky. The last of the sun’s rays just
peeked over the horizon and when it was gone the majority of the day’s heat
would go with it. For that she was
“Let’s set this up quickly then,” Giles said,
following her gaze. “There isn’t much time.”
Once he had scattered the bones, Buffy handed him the
tranquilizer gun she had been holding.
“The scattering is a good idea,” she confessed. With the bones not in one location it would
take the beastie boy more time to gather them all, thus giving her and Giles an
opportunity to send it to slumberville, and then they could figure out what the
hell it was.
Once Giles gave his okay, they headed a little farther
down away from the bones, in the direction of the cabin. It was a guess which way the confrontation
would come, but since Buffy hadn’t felt as though she had been followed the
previous night, they were going with the assumption that the wolf-like creature
had come from somewhere ahead of them.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered once they had positioned
themselves. “I shouldn’t have gone out
alone. If you'd been with me…”
She caught the traces of a smile on his lips. “Old habits and all,” he finally said. “Buffy, you are The Slayer and typically
that would be enough. You would be
enough, but occasionally…”
Yeah, it had been the occasionally that had snuck up
and bit her on the ass, in a matter of speaking, only higher.
“The whole team thing,” she said. “I get it and I guess I ignored it. I really didn’t think it’d be that big of a
deal. It was one stupid werewolf.”
“I try not to question you, Buffy. You are the oldest living slayer ever
recorded. You have seen and done more
than any before you.”
“Not like there’ll be any after me.” It was out of her mouth before she could
stop it, and by the look on Giles’s face she wished she had never said it. “We probably should stop talking now. Don’t want to scare it off.”
He simply nodded and said nothing.
She wasn’t sure how long they waited. It couldn’t have been too long since she
could still feel her butt cheeks, and she hadn’t shifted once. A shuffling noise came from somewhere in
front of them. Hunkered down on its
haunches, the wolf sniffed the air and then ambled toward them. It paused where each bone was located, and
after what Buffy could only figure was a reaffirming sniff, it picked them
up. It continued these movements until
it had reached the last bone.
Buffy didn’t need to instruct Giles. She watched as he slowly and quietly lifted
the gun and pulled the trigger. The
dart whizzed through the air and landed in the wolf’s neck. Talk about karma. When it started howling, Giles reared back and then sent another
dart flying. It took four of them
before the creature lay motionless.
She wouldn’t have been surprised if it had been
“Remarkable,” Giles said, nudging the animal with his
boot. “And there is no tail.” She had noticed that little detail this
time. That led to hope that it might
not truly be a traditional werewolf.
And it not being a traditional werewolf would help with more situations
than one. “You have the rope?”
She handed him the extra heavy duty version they had
brought for just such an occasion.
There was only one way to determine if this were a werewolf. They needed to keep the creature bound until
morning and see what came up.
“We’ll know soon enough, Buffy,” Giles said. “Why don’t you sit down?” She had been pacing for most of the night,
not that he could blame her, but now it was starting to exhaust him. “We have at least another fifteen minutes
before dawn. You should really conserve
your strength.” His earlier suggestion
of her going to her room and resting had been met with a firm resolve and a
slayer glare that would’ve pretty much frozen anyone in their tracks, so he had
decided not to push the matter.
she was now referring to the creature, was bound, from head-to-toe, to one of
the porch’s columns. It hadn’t moved
since being tranquilized a couple more times after its initial capture for safe
He tried to keep his thoughts focused. If he dwelled too long on the ramifications
that Buffy could transform into a werewolf he’d get a splitting headache. They’d work around it. Of course they would. Angel would know of something strong enough
to keep her restrained during the werewolf cycle. And it definitely wouldn’t make Angel love her any less. They had dealt with a lot as a team, and
they would deal with this if they had to as well.
Sunrise was just over the horizon. Although the trees behind the cabin blocked
most of the rays there was no doubt. Giles released a breath he didn’t even
realize he had been holding. It was no
longer night and there was still a creature tied to the porch. Not a man after all, but a beast.
“Thank God,” Buffy said as she stopped pacing and
moved closer to their guest. “I can
kill it now, right?”
“Typically my reply would be an emphatic ‘yes’.
“There’s a big but on the end of that isn’t there?”
she asked as she continued to study the creature.
“It has been summoned. We have a good idea on how to dispatch with the thing, but what
good will that do if the person that called upon it hasn’t been
identified? And we don’t know where the
second burial site is--”
A plan immediately formed in her mind. “Giles, you are just so smart sometimes.”
They were taking a chance, but it was the only thing
left to do. Giles had finally gotten a
signal on his cell and had called Mr. Huntington, who hadn’t been able to
supply Giles any additional information in the brief conversation.
“All of them?” Buffy asked as she took the bones out
of her duffel bag and laid them at the still-unconscious Cujo’s feet. Giles nodded
his agreement. The three Huntington had
found were added to the ones the creature had dropped.
“This is truly a brilliant idea, Buffy,” Giles
said. “If the legend is true, and
please let it be true, it should retrieve the bones and take them back to where
they were originally buried. Then it
can be at rest once more.”
“Maybe it already has the others,” she said.
The fact that the creature had attacked her wasn’t
lost on either her or Giles, but she did have the bones in her bag at the time,
and it wasn’t like she was handing them over.
She finished dumping the last of the bones to the
They had kept the animal tranquilized most of the day,
but sunset was fast approaching and it was now or never time.
“I’ll keep the gun at the ready,” Giles said, taking a
step back so she could untie the ropes.
She glanced at him. “You know
you won’t be able to keep up.”
“I know, but do be careful.”
“At least I’m not wearing underwear this time.” And at his confused expression she stepped
back and smiled. “I’ll try not to get
bit again,” she said, waiting for Cujo
to show her the way.
With glazed-over eyes, the animal glared at her and
then Giles. It didn’t appear to know
that it was free from its bindings.
Buffy held the tranquilizer gun at the ready, and then tilted her head
toward the pile of bones at its feet.
It followed her gaze, and then looked at her. She couldn’t be sure, but there appeared to be a look of
understanding there. She jutted her
head in the direction of the bones again.
Cujo squatted down and picked
up every last one of them and once they were secured in its arms, took off
“I’ll be back,” she said, as she ran after it.
“Do be careful,” Giles shouted out.
She kept pace as best she could. The creature was moving so quickly its fur fluttered
in the self-created breeze it created.
The only things she had brought to protect her were the tranquilizer gun
and the rope. Now that the creature had
what it wanted, its entire demeanor was different. She suspected it knew she was following it, the buzzing of her
cell phone indicating she had a message contributing to that fact, but it
didn’t care. It kept on running - and
of all the places to finally get a cell phone signal.
She wasn’t sure how many miles they had gone when they
arrived in a clearing. She hovered just
outside the edge of it, still hidden in the shadows of a few trees. The creature stopped. It walked to the approximate center of the
clearing, dropped the bones, fell to its knees, and began to dig. Now it truly looked like a dog. The front paws were moving so fast, Buffy
could barely see them. And dirt was
flying out in every direction.
Once it had placed the bones it had into the hole, it
got up and moved further away. She was
just about to follow when it stopped and began digging again. It didn’t take long before it held more
bones in its hands.
It walked back to its original hole, dropped them in,
and then it stopped and looked over its shoulder. She didn’t know how she knew, but it was looking right at
her. She stepped from the safety of her
cover and with one final look the animal pushed the rest of the bones into the
hole and then covered them with dirt.
With a final howl, it disappeared into the night.
Angel didn’t have a hard time finding the lead
box. It was exactly where Giles had
said it would be. Why Giles had it in
the first place, Angel wasn’t so sure he wanted to know.
The day had dragged on unbelievably long as he waited
for his chance to leave again. Sherry
had never totally relaxed and the dog’s constant whimpering hadn’t helped his
mood. The only time the dog seemed to
be content was when Martha fed it scraps in the kitchen. Scrap time was over.
After putting the lead box in the car, he had pulled
the car around to the front door to make it easier for the dog to get into it,
but she still wouldn’t budge. He
wouldn’t let himself think too long or too hard on the fact that he was trying
to make life easier for a dog.
“Come on, Sherry,” he said. “Time to go home.” The
dog just sat at the foot of the stairs looking at him.
Angel didn’t have time for doggy shenanigans and his
inner demon was screaming loudly.
Instead of helping the dog into the car, the demon in Angel wanted to
grab it and snap its neck.
The dog whimpered as though sensing his thoughts.
“Come on, dog,” he said in a controlled whisper.
The dog whimpered again.
He moved to pick her up and she started growling.
His demon won and Angel felt his face shifting into
his demon visage. Some habits were hard
to break, and then the demon bellowed, “Get in the car!”
Sherry turned around and high-tailed it up the stairs,
taking two at a time, her claws ticking on the hard floor all the way up to the
top and then down the hall.
He could run
an evil law firm, spend years in hell, and make demons scream out in terror,
but he couldn’t get a damned dog into a car.
He trailed her and after searching for almost a half
an hour, he gave up. He could hear her,
but whenever he got close she’d scamper away.
He didn’t question that he could catch her, he just didn’t want to take
the chance on hurting her in the process.
Who knew when his demon would show again uninvited?
Taking the cell from his pocket, he dialed a familiar
number. “Could you come over here for a
minute?” And then he sat at the top of the stairs and waited.
The dog was whimpering from one of the upstairs rooms
and Angel tried not to feel guilty.
He’d never been a big fan of domesticated pets, but since Sherry
belonged to a client and he had promised to return her to them safe and sound,
his only option was bringing the dog back to them safe and sound.
He wasn’t sure how long he waited when he heard
Martha’s voice call out from the kitchen.
“Finally,” he muttered as he ran down the stairs and
met her in the kitchen.
“Where is she?” Martha asked.
I’ll be in my car.”
“We’ll be right there.”
As he tapped his fingers against the hard,
leather-covered surface he wondered what was taking them so long. And then there was Martha. She had the little dog clutched in her arms.
“Only took a little strawberry scone,” Martha said,
placing Sherry through the window and on the seat. “I don’t know why she’s so skittish. She was fine earlier in the day.”
Angel shrugged his shoulders. It’s not like he was going to tell her. “Thank you.”
“You’re most welcome.
May I go home now?” she asked, eying the dog suspiciously as it started
to whine again.
With a definite nod of his head, he sped off, not giving
her any time to question the dog’s demeanor further.
He made it to the Morris’s flat in record time.
Sherry’s keening grew louder when the house came into
view. He grabbed the lead box and left
her in the car. As long as the artifact
was in the house, the dog would be even more uptight and he didn’t need that on
top of everything else right now.
His only current wish was for lead plugs for his ears
as well. He wasn’t sure how long he’d
cope before the noise made him insane.
The quicker he got into the house and boxed the thing up, the better.
Andy opened the door before Angel even had the chance
to ring the bell. It was hard
understanding what he said with the high-pitched squealing still coming from up
the stairs. It sounded even louder this
said, as he dragged Angel inside.
“Sherry’s in my--” Angel began.
“I don’t care about the dog. Upstairs! Hurry!” he
Angel followed him up the stairs. “Where’s Sharon?” he asked.
Staying with friends,” he said hurriedly, walking quickly down the
hall. He pointed to the closed door at
the end. “She couldn’t take it
Angel was confused.
He knew they couldn’t hear the noise coming from the box, and the dog
had been with him so it wasn’t her insistent whining that had contributed to
Sharon’s sudden departure.
“Did something happen?” Angel asked.
“It started to glow and it’s shaking like mad,” Andy
said. “We were afraid it was going to
blow up and take us with it. Just get
the thing out of our house.”
Angel nodded and then opened the door. The exposed artifact only intensified the
He gritted his teeth as the sound became beyond
unbearable. He flipped the lead box’s lid
open and sat it on an adjacent floorboard.
Picking up the mystical box from its place in the floor, he noticed how
warm it felt and that it started trembling even more when he had lifted it up
into his hands. Something didn’t feel
right, but then something did.
Shaking the weird sensations off, he placed the
artifact into the leaden box and snapped the lid shut. The humming was still there, but it was
quieter and his eardrums no longer felt like they were going to explode. The odd sensation he had when he had picked
up the artifact had quickly faded when he was no longer in possession of the
Andy sighed heavily behind him. “Thank you.
Now, if you’d be so kind to take that out of here once and for all. And by the way, keep it. We don’t care. We don’t need the money anyway.”
“Are you sure?” Angel asked as he stood up, lead box
Andy eyed the box. “Isn’t that
“I thought it would’ve been a lot heavier than that.”
“It sounds as though the creature hid the bones that
weren’t taken,” Giles said he loaded their bags into the SUV. “It appears that he was trying to keep them
safe while it gathered the others. It’s
quite possible that we may never know for sure who summoned it, although we may
suspect we know. Can you live with
“It didn’t hurt anyone besides me, and we kind of know
why it did that,” Buffy said, shrugging.
“It just wanted to rest.” And
how could she blame anything for wanting that?
“What did Mr. Huntington say when you finally got a hold of him?”
Giles had gone into town earlier in the day when he
couldn’t get a signal on his cell again.
“He indicated that his wife knew about the affair, and when he admitted
his wrong doing and promised to never do it again she agreed to let him stay.”
“That was easy.
Did she say anything else?”
“Apparently she told him if she caught him being unfaithful again, she
might need to check into getting a pet for company; a tall, tailless one that
“She so did it.”
Definition of werewolves taken from:
Giles explanation on the difference in werewolves
taken from here
Buffy’s history of the Werewolf of Dogdyke taken from:
Wolf reference site:
Bones in the human body obtained from: