Originally broadcasted 12/11/07
Manchester, England – Dusk
Four young women walked along the street.
“Myra,” one of them was saying, “you should try and get out for a change. There’s more to life than working at Millward’s.”
“Don’t feel like it,” was Myra’s reply.
“Well, you better start feeling like it,” muttered a third woman. “Not getting any younger, is ye?”
“Hush,” said the fourth.
“It’s true! Look, she’s the one who tossed Ronnie over. She didn’t have to.”
“We wouldn’t’ve been happy together,” said Myra.
The fourth woman rolled her eyes. But the first one just nodded. “Whatever you say, Myra. You’re the one that’d have to live with him.”
“And what’s wrong with Ronnie, when you come to think of it?” said the fourth.
“See you later,” said Myra suddenly. “My bus is this way.” She turned a corner, gave a little wave and vanished down an alley. The alley itself was cluttered with garbage cans and boxes. Shadows filled the narrow space. Even the meager light of the setting sun hardly reached here.
Barely twenty feet into the alley, a hand reached from the shadows behind Myra and grabbed her.
Cellar – Later
Myra’s eyes flickered open. She looked around. A few candles glowed from random spots in the room. A box here. A pair of crates there. The result was several pockets of light amid general gloom. Squinting, she tried to make out if she was alone.
“Hello?” There was no answer. She stood up. “Hello? Anyone here?” She took a step forward, then almost tripped. Looking at her feet, she gasped. It looked like a body.
“Your predecessor,” hissed a voice in the darkness. Myra, eyes huge, stepped back and looked at the dark niche from where the voice seemed to come. Moments passed. A scraping sound came from the same place. There was movement. A human-shaped figure began to emerge. But as it entered the light, it looked less and less human. Bald, with large and misshapen ears, its hands were held in front, almost like a priest or a praying mantis. The fingers were much too long. Worse, they ended in claws.
“I know your name,” said the figure, its voice guttural. It gestured to the corpse on the floor. “So did that. Your priest. You confessed so very many things to him.”
Myra’s mouth dropped. “Confession is a sacrament.”
The figure almost snorted. “In order to live, he would have told me…anything. But there was no need.” It shrugged, a weird gesture, as if its skeleton was not normal somehow. “All that he knew was in the blood. What he knew, I know.” The expression on his face might have been a smile. “I know you, Myra Hindley. More, I understand what I know.”
In the silence that followed, Myra did not dare move. She looked down at the corpse at her feet, saw the gaping wounds on the throat, noticed the total lack of blood. “Are you a vampire? Like Count Dracula?”
With another almost-smile, the strange figure shook its head. “Not like Count Dracula. He is a shadow, a mirror of the truth, reflected from a novelist’s imagination. Turned into a pretty light show by actors with make-up.” Its fingers twitched together, with a scraping sound. “You,” it said, “you tell each other fairy stories about angels that sinned. As if darkness was nothing but an absence of the light. Listen to me, Myra Hindley – there is that in this world to make your strongest saints soil themselves with fear.” The figure approached her. “I was old,” it almost whispered, “when this city was nothing but a half dozen farms hugging a Roman fort. My kind grow in power with age. Yet there is that which looks upon my strength, my ancient wisdom, and sees a kitten to be tortured. My power makes me valuable.” By now the figure was disturbingly close to Myra, who stared at the thing’s face. The skin was worse than pale. It looked as dead as that of the corpse.
“Are you going to kill me? Or make me like you?”
It shook its head. “You are going to kill me,” she heard the whisper. “Because That-Which-Even-I-Fear approaches. I have tortured my victims, made them beg for death. Yet the most horrible cruelties I might spend a century designing are nothing to what the Loathestone will do on a whim. Not merely to myself, but to you. Without me, you are not even worthy of notice. Without me…”. It stopped and looked around furtively, resembling a cornered rat.
“We have little time,” it said. Now its eyes almost burned into Myra’s. “Close. So very close! Behold!” It pointed to the top of a box. A large bottle of water lay there. “Take it.” Myra didn’t move. “Take it!” The figure snarled, grabbing the bottle and holding it out to Myra. She took it in shaking hands.
The sound of blows on wood echoed from somewhere above. The figure visibly twitched.
“What is this?” asked Myra, looking at the bottle.
“Holy water,” hissed the figure. “He made it.” This accompanied a kick aimed at the corpse. “But he lacked the will to use it. You, Myra Hindley, you have the will. I know it.” Above, it seemed as if wood was giving way.
The figure bared fangs. “Kill me with that water. Or I will kill you. Or That-Which-I-Fear will do worse. Do it. Now! Now!”
As the sound of wood cracking filled the cellar, Myra splashed the water from the bottle in her hands forward. It hit the figure, and when it did, it screamed. Where the water struck, third degree burns appeared. Smoke rose, and the smell of burning flesh was in the air. Myra kept moving, splashing the water more wildly, then more precisely. The figure, now writhing in agony, collapsed onto the floor. She poured the water over it, deliberately letting it hit as much of the torso as possible. Hesitating for a moment, she then splashed some across its eyes, watched them dissolve as their owner howled. She poured the rest of it down its throat, drowning the screams with the sizzling sound of burning tissue.
She watched the body dissolve. Bones were soon the only things left. Then the bones began to break apart. They began to bubble, then crack. Kneeling, she watched in fascination as the skull, with its prominent, non-human fangs, also broke apart. It was as if the bones were becoming fossils in mere moments.
Myra continued kneeling and watching. It wasn’t until several minutes had passed before she looked up and saw that, once again, she was not alone.
Nothing more than a shape this time. Not close enough to make out any details, although the ears looked pointed. Whoever the newcomer might be, he said nothing. Then, a hand rose from his side.
In the candlelight, the item in his hand became visible – a black crystal on a chain that looked like darkness itself given a solid shape.
Myra couldn’t take her eyes off of it. When the newcomer turned and left, she stayed where she was, barely blinking. Eventually, she examined the corpse of the priest, tracing his features with her fingertips. She gazed longingly at the ragged wounds on his throat and ran her hands along his lifeless body.
Not until her stomach began to growl in hunger did she leave the cellar to return home.
Watchers Council – Slayer Gym – Day
Two slayers rained kicks and blows on each other. It was the taller of the two, however, who had the advantage when it came to kicking. She picked up speed, practically spinning as she aimed one blow after another at her opponent.
Lorinda hit the ground in a controlled fall, barely avoiding Siobhan’s swung leg. She then swept her own legs in a scissor kick to the older slayer’s ankles.
But although Siobhan fell, she too did it with control. A deliberate turn brought Siobhan to the mat on her back, but she had to spin away almost at once to avoid a blow coming from the now-standing Lorinda.
Siobhan stopped after precisely one spin. She shifted the momentum into her arm and swung it back in a karate chop.
Lorinda hit the ground with a thud and a gasp. She didn’t get up.
“Whoa,” muttered Lori from her seat. Dawn, Shannon and Skye, on one side of her, all had their eyebrows up. Jeff and Hope, seated on the other side of her, blinked. “That’s gotta hurt,” said Hope.
“At least some,” agreed Jeff.
By now Siobhan was getting up to a standing position. “Well, she doesn’t half give a fight.”
Lorinda remained on the floor. Shannon suddenly stood. “Lorinda?” When the girl still did not move, Shannon ran over to her. Siobhan was already kneeling and examining her.
“Strong pulse,” said Siobhan. “No bruising.” By now people had begun to cluster around both of them. “Regular breathing.” She looked up. Jeff had already knelt beside her, Hope behind him, watching. Shannon joined Dawn and Skye, along with Grace and Hadley, as part of the circle surrounding Lorinda. Lori, approaching, met Siobhan’s eyes. “Has this happened before? Anyone know? Anyone?”
“No,” said Jeff. “It hasn’t. Maybe you just hit her a little hard.”
“Just the usual.” Siobhan looked between Lorinda and Jeff. “Honestly. Nothing more than the usual!”
On the floor, Lorinda groaned something. Jeff brought his head closer, listening. Then, Lorinda stirred. She slowly turned herself over with a grunt. Her eyes flew open. After a moment, she breathed a word. “Hair.” Then, she blinked, once and then twice. She saw the half-dozen or so faces hovering above hers. “Okaaaaay. What happened? And why are you blaming me?”
“No one’s blaming you,” said Jeff. Next to him, Siobhan raised an eyebrow. “But you were knocked out.”
“Actually, yeah, you were.”
She took this in, a small frown turning into a scowl. “She did not knock me out.”
“Oh yeah?” grumbled Siobhan.
Jeff nodded. “If she didn’t, then something’s wrong.”
“We’re gonna make sure.” Jeff looked at Hope. “Call Dr. Miller. Get somebody down here. I don’t want to move Lorinda until she’s checked out.”
“Hey…” began Lorinda.
“Right,” said Hope, heading to the exit.
“…I am just fine…” Lorinda’s attempt to sit up was stopped by Jeff’s hand on her shoulder.
She stared at him. “I’m stronger than you.”
“You’re not stronger than me,” said Shannon. “Lie down and wait.”
“I am not some kind –”
“Lie down!” Shannon yelled. Everyone stared at her.
“What she said,” added Jeff.
End of Teaser