Disney World – Splash Mountain – Resume
“If we die, I’m telling the Powers That Be that it was your fault!” Janet yelled.
She and Mira were back-to-back, swords at the ready, teetering on an animatronic statue of Brer Bear from Song of the South. The pair was surrounded by about twenty of the small, spiky-tailed baby dinosaur demons.
“How is this my fault?” Mira asked, desperation in her voice.
“I don’t know,” Janet shouted back, “but I sure as heck ain’t telling them it was mine.”
“What if we told them neither of us was at fault?” Mira slashed at one of the demons that tried to take a bite of her leg.
“What if they question us separately?” Janet tossed over her shoulder. “How can I be sure you’ll stick to the – ”
At that moment, both slayers were blown off the bear by a nearby explosion. Several of the demons were blown to pieces as well. The rest immediately bolted, scattering into the underbrush. Mira fell face-first in the dirt.
“Okay, I thought I told you to give me the grenades!” Livia’s voice chastised.
“I’m sorry,” Jenn said, “I musta forgot. Hey, it worked though! They’re all running away.” She held the belt, one grenade remaining, out for Livia to grab. Her superior snatched it away, hitching it around her own waist.
“Yeah,” Livia agreed, “for now. They’ll be back.”
“Livia?” Janet asked, getting to her feet.
“And Jenn!” the younger slayer chirped.
“You didn’t think we weren’t gonna come when you called for backup, didya?” Livia asked.
“Based on past experience?” Mira cricked her neck as she stood up. “I refuse to answer the question.”
“At least that’s…” Janet began before a loud thump cut her off. The ground shook with the sound. Frustrated, Janet stomped on the ground. “Oh, come on! Are you serious?”
“What’s that?” Jenn wanted to know, her eyes and posture suddenly on full alert. There was another loud thump, then another.
“That sounds like Mommy,” Mira said, brandishing her sword. Another thump.
“Mommy?” Livia did not sound happy.
“How many grenades you guys got left?” Janet asked edgily.
“Just the one,” Jenn replied.
“Better make it count,” Mira said.
Just then a giant lizard somewhat resembling a Tyrannosaurus Rex crashed through some nearby trees into the clearing by the log-flume stream. A long, spiked tail balanced out a torso larger than that of an elephant. Small, relatively useless arms were made up for by a huge mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth, each as long as a slayer’s forearm.
“Katie, are you out there?” Livia asked into her comm link. “Some backup would be really nice right about now.” There wasn’t any immediate answer. “Crap! They must be tied up with their own crisis.”
Mira turned to Jenn. “I’ll take right-side, you take left.”
“No!” Livia interjected. “You hit the wings and keep trying the comm link,” she told Mira. “I’ll take right.”
Mira looked very unhappy and started to object, but Livia turned and pointed to Janet. “And you…distract Momma.”
“What?” Janet asked, but by the time she looked around, all three girls were some distance away. Stunned, the lone slayer looked up at the advancing creature. “Oh sh – ”
Mommy let out a deafening roar.
Janet took a deep breath. “Hey ugly!” she yelled, waving her arms. “You wanna eat me? I’m yummy! Low on fat and cholesterol, with a high number of anti-oxidants! They lower your risk of cancer!”
The huge demon took off towards the slayer, its high speed belying its large size.
Janet’s eyes widened for only a second. Then she ran as fast as she could in the opposite direction, occasionally jumping over shrubs or fake rocks that were in her way. Still, Mommy continued to gain on her. “Okay, we’ve got the distraction covered,” she muttered under her breath. “Now if we could only get some cover for the distraction…”
Jenn popped out from behind some artificial red rocks and threw her sword at the beast. It was a good throw, directly into the side of the dino-demon. However, the sword merely glanced off the creature’s thick hide. With a look similar to what a human might get when buzzed by a mosquito, Mommy turned in Jenn’s direction.
“Sweet sassy molassy!” the young slayer exclaimed, a frightened look flitting across her features. Then she ran as well. “Positive energy, Jenn,” she told herself. “Positive energy. You’re not gonna die if you just keep up the positive energy…”
Janet grabbed onto one of the spikes of Mommy’s tail, hacking ineffectively with her sword. She let out an incoherent yell, the slayer’s blonde hair flying around her face before she was tossed off into the dirt. She rolled some distance to soften the blow.
The long legs of the dino-demon propelled the creature forward at amazing speed in pursuit of Jenn. When it looked like it might be about to catch the girl, a small rock hit the demon in the nose. Livia sprinted across Mommy’s path, and the creature immediately changed directions to follow her.
“Katie! Katie, where the frick are you?” Behind a statue of Brer Rabbit that had once bounced up and down, Mira was yelling into her link. She glanced over her shoulder, between the statue’s ears, and saw Livia running for her life. Mira’s jaw set. “Screw this.” She ran out from her hiding spot.
As Mira pulled her sword from its scabbard, Jenn pulled up alongside her. Both girls were in a full sprint. “We can’t get through its skin,” the younger girl panted. “It’s like my grandmother’s carrots.” Mira looked confused. “The sword,” Jenn explained. “It’s useless.” Mira seemed to consider this, then returned her sword to its place without breaking stride.
“Some day, huh?” Jenn continued. “My first run with the world-saving unit, and we’re all gonna die.”
“We’re not gonna die,” Mira said shortly, her eyes fixed on the creature’s pursuit of Livia.
“You’re right, you’re right,” Jenn agreed. “Livia’ll think of something. I mean, she got out of the Anomalous Zone. This is nothing compared to that, right?” Mira didn’t say anything. Jenn figured out that the pair were going directly toward Mommy and slowed down. “Right?” she called after the other girl.
“Hey!” Mira yelled at the dino-demon. “Over here, you big hunk of beef jerky!”
The creature noticed her but continued to follow Livia. Mommy was about to catch her prey, but Livia didn’t start to look concerned until she saw Mira running towards her.
“Mira!” she called. “No! Get outta here!”
The other girl ignored her. Mira even put on a burst of speed, hitting her stride like a cheetah. She let out a long, wordless yell, cutting between Livia and Mommy. The creature changed direction yet again, this time following Mira.
Livia came up short. “No,” she nearly whispered. “Nonononono. MIRA!”
Mira ran straight towards the side of the old, slow-flowing log flume, Mommy in hot pursuit. When she reached the bank, she veered left to run along it. The slayer glanced over her shoulder. “C’mon, c’mon…”
Straight ahead, the ground seemed to end. The stream flowed directly over a cliff. Once, there had been a ramp down which visitors had ridden. It had since been dismantled, and all that was left was a sheer drop. Mira ran straight towards the edge, and Mommy continued to follow.
Livia tried to catch up to the pair, but was starting to breathe heavily. “Mira, what are you doing?”
Just before the edge of the cliff, Mira skidded to a stop. Mommy tried to do the same, but her great weight did not stop so easily, and the dino-demon tumbled over the cliff.
Mira teetered on the edge, flailing her arms in a desperate attempt to regain her balance. Just as she seemed about to fall, Livia caught her friend’s arm and pulled her back onto solid ground.
“Thanks,” Mira said.
“No problem. You need to stop getting yourself almost killed,” Livia admonished.
“I had everything under control,” Mira defended. Both girls quickly turned their heads at the sound of Janet and Jenn screaming, then took off towards the source of the sound.
The two girls stopped short when they found their colleagues. They were surrounded by the remaining snapping baby versions of the dino-demons. Janet was trying to keep them back with her sword, while a babbling Jenn was empty-handed and resorting to kicking at the creatures.
“This is almost as bad as this time I was fighting these Granoth beasts in the sewers back in Cleveland,” Jenn said mid-fight. “They just kept trying to…” Janet’s brow furrowed in annoyance.
“What do we do?” Mira asked.
“I have no clue,” Livia replied.
A whistle cut off the small growls of the baby demons, as all involved tried to figure out what had made the sound. Finola stepped out from behind a bush, holding a red, dripping hunk of meat about as big as her head. “‘ere, lovelies,” she called, holding the meat at arm’s length as she took two long steps backwards. The Irish slayer then tossed the meat over her shoulder and stepped out of the way as the baby demons ran past her.
Mira and Livia walked up to Janet and Jenn from one direction while Katherine, Brianna, and Finola walked up from the other. “Where were you guys?” Mira asked.
“Sorry,” Brianna said. “We kinda had our hands full getting here.”
“That won’t keep them for long,” Livia observed, looking directly at Finola. The red-haired girl only smiled as she glanced over at the mini-dinos fighting each other over the meat.
“Wait for it,” Finola told them. “Three, two, one…” With a great noise the meat exploded, the resulting fire-ball destroying the remaining demons. Finola was the only one of the group not to flinch.
“What the hell was that?!” Livia asked angrily.
“Grenade,” Finola said. “Found it on the ground.”
“That was the last one!” Livia shouted.
“Excuse me for saving your arses!” Finola replied, taking a threatening step forward.
“And what took you so long, Finola?” Livia asked, taking a step forward herself.
Mira laid a hand on her friend’s arm. “Whoa, Livia, calm down. What’s up with you?” She turned to look at Finola. “Good job.”
“Thanks,” Finola replied, without breaking her stare-down with Livia.
“Good job?” Livia exclaimed. “Maybe in Dublin they have endless grenades, but here in the States we call that screwing up royally.”
Finola looked like she was about to slug Livia in response, but at that point Katherine and Brianna stepped in, dragging the Irish slayer away bodily.
“It’s okay, she’s a bitch to everybody,” Katherine explained to Finola.
“I heard that!” Livia fumed.
“God, what is wrong with you today?” Mira asked her. “What’s your problem with Finola? And me?”
“Finola and you?” Livia asked. The corner of her mouth twitched. Someone who wasn’t Livia might have read it as anger. “You know what? I’m the one in charge here, and I don’t have to explain myself to anybody.”
“I’m speaking as your friend, Livia,” Mira said, “not as a slayer.”
“Well, too bad, because right now you still have to be a slayer,” Livia replied. “Janet, you and Mira keep patrolling. The rest of us are heading back to the castle to check in.”
“Yay!” Jenn chirped, oblivious to the tension in the air. “I’m hungry.”
Disney World – Frontierland – About An Hour Later
With a growl, Mira threw a horned demon with blue fur through the front window of what had once been a gift shop. She let out a long, incoherent bellow as she leaped through the shattered remains of the window into the shop, her sword in hand. The wet sound of something slicing through flesh could be heard clearly and repeatedly.
Janet slowly walked up to the window, looking into the shop. She winced with every new slicing noise. After an extended period of this, Mira climbed out through the window, her face, arms, and clothes covered in green blood.
“Are you okay?” Janet asked.
“Fine,” Mira said testily, ineffectually trying to clean her blade off on her sleeve.
“You seem a little…crazed.”
“Yeah, well, it’s going around,” Mira replied. Stone-faced, she walked away, leaving Janet standing outside the gift shop looking concerned.
Disney World – Lance’s Interview Tent – Same Time
“So, you’re not from the Cleveland area?” Lance asked her next interviewee.
“Um, that’s right,” Katherine said nervously. She shifted in her chair and tried to look around the camera that was facing her.
Lance, who sat to the right of the camera, gave the blonde slayer an encouraging nod to continue. Outside the tent, directly behind Lance and her cameraman but several hundred feet away, Brianna and Finola and Livia were engaging a small gang of demons.
“I, um, I moved to Cleveland a couple of years ago,” Katherine said while stealing a peek at the action in the distance. “After my watcher died.”
Lance immediately perked up. “You lost a watcher? How did he die?”
Katherine stopped looking outside the tent. She met Lance’s eyes briefly, then dropped her gaze to her hands. “She was killed…by a vampire.”
“Were you with her when it – ?” Lance asked.
“No,” Katherine replied quickly. “But I should have been.” Katherine’s attention was once again drawn to Livia and the others fighting the demons. “Excuse me,” Katherine said, jumping from her chair to go aid the others.
Lance raised her hand to object to Katherine’s abrupt departure, but she was too late to stop the slayer. When the reporter turned around to see what Katherine was running toward, she saw the skirmish still ongoing. She gave her cameraman a smack on the shoulder.
“Get your portable,” Lance demanded.
When she and the cameraman turned back around, they found Jenn right in front of them, grinning widely.
“Are you ready for more now?” Jenn asked enthusiastically.
Lance and her cameraman groaned.
Disney World – Lance’s Interview Tent – Moments Later
Lance sat with her chin resting in her hand. She blinked slowly a few times, then sighed heavily. In the chair before her, Jenn was going strong.
“And so then I told her, like, ‘No way does Chad like you better than me,’ and she was like, ‘Oh yes he does,” and I was, ‘Shut up, you lying bitch,” and she was like, ‘Make me, you freak,’ and then…”
While Jenn rambled on, Lance leaned over to her cameraman, Frank. “Shoot me now,” she whispered. “Please.”
Just then, Lance saw Finola, Katherine, and Livia returning from dealing with the demons. Lance seized the opportunity.
“Thank you, Ms. Bailey,” Lance said, cutting off Jenn once again. “I think it’s time to share the spotlight a bit, don’t you think?” Lance leaped up to snag Finola for her interview.
Jenn put on a big pout. “But I didn’t finish telling my story,” she whined.
Disney World – Lance’s Interview Tent – Moments Later
Finola plopped into the interviewee chair, breathing a little hard. She pulled out a cloth and started wiping down her sword.
“I’m a bit knackered after that,” the redhead said with a smile. “You ready for a chinwag then, eh?”
“Um, yes,” Lance replied.
Just then, Finola’s stomach gave a loud growl. “Ack, I’ve a mouth on me. I could eat a farmer’s arse through a blackthorn bush!”
“Right,” Lance said, a confused look on her face. “I understand that you’re new to the States?”
“Yeah, just got ‘ere as a matter o’ fact,” Finola said. ” ‘Cross-branch training,’ they said, so I said, ‘Sign me up!’ ”
“So how do you like things so far?”
“It’s feckin’ brilliant! I love it!” Finola answered excitedly. “O’ course, some folks here didn’t exactly roll out the welcome wagon, you know what I mean?”
The redhead cut her eyes over to Livia, who was standing to the side, watching the interview. Livia just crossed her arms and glared.
Cleveland Suburb – Dark Basement – Same Time
In a dark basement a young woman struggled vainly to break free from the bonds that keep her chained in a large cage – one of many that lined the far wall. A thin strip of light illuminated the stairway and the concrete at the foot of the stairs. She immediately stopped moving and let her arms go limp.
She looked across the room where a disorderly lab of sorts was set up. She started to shiver when she heard footsteps. “Please,” she begged her captor, and not for the first time. “Please, let me go. I swear, I swear I won’t tell anyone.” She started to struggle again, tears falling down her face. “Please let me go.”
Her kidnapper did not respond, instead dumping an unconscious girl on the floor of the cage next to hers and slamming the door shut. As she looked at the woman in the cage next to hers, she began to sob harder.
Watchers Council – Giles’s Conference Room – Later
Giles looked gravely at his command staff. John, Lex, and Travers sat across from Veronica and Velika at the conference table, and their mood seemed to match that of Giles.
“The police have shared with us all of the information that they have been able to gather,” Giles reported. “It seems that the first four victims were all part of the pre-Council program for newly-called slayers and were nowhere near ready to be placed into active duty. This newest girl however…” Giles looked to Velika to continue.
“Amy Soon,” she confirmed. “Amy was the sister of one of our active slayers, Lian. But there’s no evidence that she herself was a slayer. She’s not even marked as a potential.”
Giles opened his mouth to speak, but visibly hesitated. When all eyes were on him, he let out a low sigh and said, “That isn’t altogether true.”
End of Act Three