Things Which go Bump in the Night
Giles slept deeply into the night. Silvery moonlight came through his window and cast shadows and patterns on his bed and on the floor, strange and eerie. Through the crack under the door, yellow light shone through from the study light Giles had left on. His face was calm and peaceful in his bed. He did not hear a faint squishing sound coming from the foyer... or the slight thump of something hitting the floor... or the light scuttling sound approaching his room... not even the sound of his door opening as someone came into his home.
Suddenly, the light under the door was blocked in several places, casting spidery shadows over the floor, insinuating themselves amongst the ones cast by the moonlight. Slowly, the shadows lengthened towards Giles as the caster of the shadows inched one thin yellow leg under the crack... then another... and another... and yet another, creeping beneath the door. The shadows now resembled a black, skeletal hand, reaching out for Giles. Now the legs extended under the door flattened out, as their owner began to squeeze its small, foul body through. Still Giles slept on.
The legs twitched, then stilled, their owner caught halfway through the door. Frozen, not moving at all, it waited.
Footsteps, cautiously approaching the door. The creature knew it was spotted and bolted under the crack, its powerful legs propelling it across the floor and up the bed, straight towards its target. The door shook and there was a barrage of curses as someone made a flying tackle for the thing and missed. Giles awoke with a start just in time to glimpse a yellow, scorpionesque horror flying at his face. He gasped and dove under the covers, causing the creature to miss its mark and slam into the wall. The rudely awakened ex-librarian rolled out of bed as the door burst open and Spike tumbled in.
"Spike! What the hell is going -" Giles was cut short as the thing leaped onto him from behind and scurried over his head onto his face. In an instant, the legs had seized his head and neck in a viciously strong grip, a tail coiled around his neck, choking him, the thing’s moist and throbbing body was plastered on his face, and it was sticking itself into his mouth
, a tube of some kind sliding over his tongue, being shoved down his throat. Gagging, choking, beginning to panic, he scrabbled at the creature uselessly, unable to get a firm grip on its slimy shell. Panic tore at his mind, he couldn't breathe, couldn't get the thing off, couldn't close his mouth, dear God he felt something starting to come through the tube...
There was a moment of sharp, tearing pain in his face and suddenly the creature was gone, he could breathe again, he could see again, and the first thing Giles did was vomit all over his carpet, purging the taste of that foul tube.
"Well, that's one hell of a thank you." Spike said as he inspected his shoes, which had been splattered by Giles' stomach contents. Spike was feeling a tad nauseous himself, saving the Watcher. It would’ve been fun to watch him die, not to mention that it would have absolutely destroyed the Slayer emotionally. But if she’d found out, she would have destroyed him fairly quickly...
Giles looked around cautiously. "Don't worry, the bugger's gone," said the vampire. "Scurried away after I tore it offa you." Spike spoke offhandedly, as though invading Giles' home and saving him from monsters was how he spent every night. Giles took a deep breath, getting control of himself- I'll be tasting that tube with my morning tea, I'm sure,
he thought sourly- then got control of the situation. He put on his glasses, grabbed his housecoat, then reached under his pillow and retrieved a small weapon- an axe with a sharpened end and a crosspiece, allowing it to serve as axe, stake, and crucifix simultaneously.
"All the windows are closed, and I don't think it will be able to squeeze under the outside doors. It must still be in the house."
"Goody goody, gonna have ourselves a little hunt then, are we?"
Giles looked at the vampire. "Spike, don't think I'm not grateful- although experiencing that emotion in relation to you is more than mildly disturbing- but what exactly are you doing in my house?"
Spike sighed. "I threw a party with some friends at the crypt, and we ran out of the drinkables. Thought I'd 'borrow' some of the fine wine you keep around here and restock my blood supplies at the same time. Your door was unlocked again, by the way. Don't know how you've managed to survive in this town so long... I was helping myself to the fridge when I noticed your big-ass book pile. I started checking out a page that I think had one of my pals in it and then I saw whatever-the-hell-that-was wiggling into your room."Wondrous,
Giles thought. I owe my life to a drunken vampire.
Aloud he said "I suppose I must thank you Spike. Now let's do something about the creature running around my house, shall we?"
The living room was still in the same state of literary disarray Giles had left it in. "By the way," Spike said, "what's with the weird vase-can-thing?" He pointed at the floor.
Giles frowned. "Vase?" Then he saw what Spike was pointing at. The garbage can had fallen over, spilling out its unearthly contents, and the ‘meteor’ had changed. Its top had split open into four flaps, like the petals of a demented flower, revealing a pale, hollow interior coated in slime. "Dear Lord," he said, “It’s an egg!” He automatically took off his glasses to clean them, remembered that he didn't have his handkerchief, and reluctantly put them back on his face.
"Really? Hell, that explains a lot then. And here I was thinking your taste in artwork had just gone straight down the gutter."
Giles didn’t listen, but talked to himself rapidly. "Buffy found it in the graveyard… Wanted me and Willow to study it. I should have gotten the full story, found out why she thought it was a meteor. Why’d it hatch now? I've never seen or heard of any egg of any creature like-" Suddenly they heard a sizzling sound coming from the dining room.
There were wisps of gas, and a faint smell of acid, when they entered the room. Giles noticed that his fridge was open and minus a bottle of wine, and that there was a hole in his window. Spike ran to the window, poked his head out, and groaned. "Bollocks," he said, "bugger's gettin' away."
Giles got there in time to get his first good look at the thing that had attacked him, scurrying along the street. It was truly bizarre. His initial impression had been of a scorpionesque creature, but the creature more resembled the shape of a skeleton hand, albeit one a foot long and with a flickering multitude of fingers used for legs. A short tube, the one that had been forced down Giles' throat, protruded from the "palm", and a muscular tail trailed behind the creature's body.
A truck approached, and as Giles and Spike watched, the thing leaped by coiling the tail under itself, then straightening it against the ground. It landed on the rear of truck, and disappeared into the night. As the truck receded, the creature turned and looked at them with a single eye on its back. Giles felt a chill as the eye focused first on him, then Spike before being carried out of their sight.
"Well, that's something new for me," Spike admitted. "Two'll get you one that truck driver's gonna have some unexpected company in a sec."
"You're right," Giles said. "I want you to follow it and help if you can." Spike opened his mouth, no doubt to remind Giles that he didn't take orders from anyone, let alone bloody retired Watchers, then shut it. He wanted another look at whatever that critter was. Giles kept talking. "I'm going to call the others and get them over here. We need to find out what's happening here. Now."