Chapter Forty Nine
Disclaimer. Okay. You know the drill. All characters, etc, belong to their respective…yadda…yadda…yadda.
A/N. This is the second part of the big chapter I split. R&R. (Please.)
I just read my emails. Thank you for nominating me in no less than three categories in the Crossing Over Awards. I am humbled by your appreiation.
Chapter Forty Nine.
Klaus Hecht replaced the phone in its cradle. The report he’d just received from his wife had disturbed him somewhat. She had told him of the Shadow’s no-show at the rendezvous, and he now had no way of tracking the demon.
Was it that his bluff hadn’t paid off, or was it that the demon had been captured, or even killed by the slayer or the witch. Either way he had nothing to go on, for the moment at least.
He stood up from the desk and went into the conference room where the rest of the members of his trusted circle were seated.
“Problem, Klaus?” Said Maguire, seeing the look on his face.
“Possibly.” He related the conversation he’d just had, and the reason for his concerned look.
“Bloody Slayer. She’s becoming a damn nuisance. She‘s going to catch on to our scheme if we‘re not careful.”
“Then we need to create a distraction.” Said Hecht.
“How , sir?” Asked one of those present.
“Vampires. We need to flood the UK with them. Not just in London, but all over. We need an army of them to create a diversion, whilst the operation picks up pace.” He answered.
“They’ll want a concession, sir. They already know that we’re doing something to hide the demons from the Slayers. They just don’t know what.” Said one of the others.
“I know.” Hecht thought for a moment. “Offer them the essence transfer, after the job is complete, naturally.” He added.
Heads nodded around the table and Hecht adjourned the meeting. As the door closed behind the others, Maguire looked at him and smirked.
“Good thinking. You’ve not mentioned that the process doesn’t work on vampires, have you?” He said.
“Really. I didn’t know.” Hecht’s voice sounded surprised, but his face said otherwise.
“They’ll still combust in sunlight.” Said Maguire.
“Have you booked your flight home?” Asked Hecht, changing the subject.
“You don’t care, do you?” Said Maguire.
“Not really. Can’t be trusted, vampires. All they do is take, take, take. Have you told the press yet?”
“No. Not yet. I thought I’d leave it until the CPS announced their no action declaration.”
“That’s probably wise under the circumstances. They’re announcing it on Monday. So I’d leave it until the end of next week.”
Area 51. Nevada Desert.
The transport plane touched down, taxied to a halt outside a hanger and two passengers alighted. Due to delays at the European end of their flights, and then a mix up in the baggage at JFK, it had taken them nearly fifteen hours to return to Nevada. The Finns were met at the bottom of the ramp by a Hummer and taken into the facility.
Their journey to the lower levels took several minutes, neither of the possessed humans giving any indication that anything was wrong. The male was totally at ease, and convinced that his mate had finally overpowered the human within.
They had to pass the cells area on their way to the communications room. Graham Miller met them along the corridor and gave them his commiserations that their mission had been a bust.
As they passed the line of vacant cells, Sam dropped back a couple of paces, under the pretext of re-tying her bootlace. Neither of the two men took much notice as they chatted about who was where, and what the baseball league had been doing.
As she caught up she unhooked a fire extinguisher from the wall, came up behind Riley, and whacked him over the head with it, then shoved him into the nearest cell, closing the self locking door with a loud clang.
Graham rounded on her. “What the hell! Sam! What are you…!?”
She dashed past him into the adjoining cell and pulled the door closed behind her, the deadlock preventing it from being opened without the appropriate code..
Riley lay on the floor of the cell for a moment, stunned by the blow. Graham was aghast. He was about to go to the cage to release and care for his friend when Sam yelled out.
“Leave him! Graham! Change the codes! We’ve been compromised!”
“What!?” The horrified puzzlement on his face was testament to his confusion.
“Sua Sponte!” She yelled at him.
“What!!” He repeated. “What’s the Rangers motto got to do with…Oh, crap…” He trailed off as Riley raised himself from the floor, the demon within asserting itself and causing his eyes to glow red.
“….Jeez. How?” He continued, spotting the display. Turning, he hit a panic button on the wall, klaxons sounded, and red warning lights flashed up in the ceiling of the corridors.
Graham turned back to Sam who had moved to the centre of the cell to keep away from any attack that might come from her possessed husband. He was about to ask her the to divulge the details of her statement when she began to shiver and shake, and she too succumbed to the demon within fighting back for control.
Several armed soldiers came running up the corridor and halted smartly, looking to him for instructions. Then they saw their two senior officers contained in the cells and the same confused looks crossed their own features.
Graham punched an intercom button next to the alarm.
“This is Captain Miller. Code Red! Intruder alert! Perimeter compromised! Change all access codes! Remain on full base alert until further notice! This is not a drill! Repeat! This is not a drill!”
Graham issued several orders to the men who had arrived and a guard was detailed to watch their officers in the cells.
He indicated to the sergeant that the klaxons should be turned off. The man spoke briefly into his radio and the sound ceased.
Before he left them to contact the WSC, he gave one final order,
“Under no circumstances…And I mean, no circumstances, are they to be released. Understood!”
“Sir. Yes sir.” The men replied in unison.
All of the Oxford team were at the house, except for Katrina. She was still at the college talking with Betty, trying to figure out who had access to the records and the office.
Diane’s phone buzzed.
She picked up and spoke to Katrina for a few moments, then addressed the others.
“She’s on he way back. Betty says that there are only three other people who have access to the files and the computer besides herself.”
“That narrows it down a bit then.” Said Sarah.
“Who. Did she say?” Asked Justin.
“Dean Simons. The Bursar, and Caroline Emmet, the Bursary secretary.”
“My money’s on Dean Simons.” Said Michelle, without hesitation.
“Because Dawn had to put a little spell on him a few weeks ago. He was asking too many questions, and threatening to kick you all out.”
Sarah gave her a puzzled look. “It’s a bit of an elaborate plot. How’s that got anything to do with Hayley and Richard? There’s no connection.” She asked.
“Don’t know. But I’ll bet money on it.” Replied the younger slayer.
Stefan, who was still hacking his way through Leeds Local government computer system, looked up.
“I don’t see the connection either. But Dawn always said that we should trust a slayer’s instincts, however obscure. What do you think, Di.”
Diane nodded, thoughtfully. “Yeah. I think she might be right.”
They checked information, working almost in silence for the next twenty minutes or so, then the sound of the front door banging shut made them all look round. Katrina stood in the doorway, out of breath, and brandishing a video tape.
“We need something to play this on.” She gasped, handing it to Mohinder and disappearing into the kitchen.
“How quaint. I haven’t used one of those in a few years.” He remarked.
”We need a video player then. Damn technology.” Said Diane.
“I know where there is one, but….” Said Justin.
“Second hand shop down the road. I saw it in the window the other day.”
“Let’s go and get it then.” Said Diane, reaching for her bag.
“Remember, we need it to work.” Called out Michelle as the pair dashed out of the room.
The remaining group started to set out a plan of action. Katrina recovered from her dash up to the house, reappeared from the kitchen holding a glass of water. She flopped down in an armchair and sipped at the water.
“Betty says she thinks it might have been Dean Simons who took the information out.” She said.
“Michelle thinks that too.” Said Sarah.
“Are Hayley’s details still there?”
“Yes. We checked.” Said Katrina.
“So if it was a reprisal, why leave Hayley’s?” Asked Sarah.
“Because Hayley’s are tagged. As are yours, mine, and everyone else’s here. Willow Rosenberg would be alerted if anyone interfered with them.” Replied Mohinder.
“So, it’s probably someone who knows about the methods we use. Do you think we should call Dawn?” Sarah said, looking for support from anyone else.
There were heads shaking around the room
“No. Not yet, anyway. If it came to it that they really did run away together, and Richard had pulled the files, we’d look a bit silly, wouldn’t we?” Said Michelle.
Stefan exclaimed a loud ‘Yes’ from the far end of the table. They all looked at him.
“I’m in. Just give me a minute.” His finger flew over the keys and several windows popped up
“I’ve found the registrars section., and there’s a birth registration for Richard. Born. October 7th 1984. Father, Timothy, mother Maureen.”
He clicked around on the names and related links came into view.
“Hello, there are death certificates here for the parents. Both killed in…Uh-oh…London, 2003.…” He trailed off and looked up at the others.
Sarah was the first to comment. “Let me guess. Gas explosion in The Strand.”
Stefan nodded. He looked back at the screen. “There’s more here, hang on I’ll…” Again he stopped as he clicked on another link.
“Oh, shit.” He said.
“What?” Said the others in unison.
“There’s a baptism certificate here from the local parish church.”
“And?” They chorused, impatiently.
“Horace Bateman is his godfather!”
The door opened as the room silenced at Stefan’s statement, and a bewildered Diane stood there holding the video player.
“Something I said?” She asked. “Or are you talking about us behind our backs?”
“Stephan explained what he’d found out whilst Mohinder and Justin connected the video player to the television and put in the tape.
There was a time display at the bottom of the screen, Justin speeded the playback up until people were zipping up and down the corridor like they were jet propelled.
They saw Hayley arrive, knock on the door, Richard exit with his bag, and the pair zip off down the hallway. Justin rewound, slowed the tape to normal speed and they watched the scene again.
“That bag’s too small to empty the room to the degree it was emptied.” Said Di.
“Perhaps he got rid of it all before Hayley arrived.” Suggested Mohinder.
Di shrugged “Possibly. Speed it up again please Justin.” She requested.
They got to the part where all the students were leaving to attend the fire drill. Suddenly the tape jumped, and the next thing they saw was themselves and Betty at the door and Di breaking the lock.
Justin paused the tape and rewound slightly. Looking at the timer he did a quick mental calculation.
“There’s ten minutes missing. Someone stopped the tape…”
As the Jaguar pulled up to the front of the large house, the door opened to reveal a slightly nervous looking Edward Clewley. Buffy and Dan alighted from the rear and Alan Tasker gave them a wave as he drove away, Wimbledon bound. As they entered the lounge, Alison came out of the kitchen to see who had arrived.
“Oh. Buffy, Daniel. I wasn’t aware that you were coming over. Did you forget to tell me dear?” She said to her husband, slightly miffed at the thought that he’d not given her any indication that the pair were coming.
“Actually, no. I didn’t forget to tell you. It was deliberate.” he replied, casually.
“Really.” There was a tone I her voice that said, ‘now I’m annoyed‘.
“Don’t blame Ed. I suggested it.” Cut in Buffy. The last thing she needed was a domestic on her hands.
Alison deflated slightly. “Oh. Why? Is there something wrong? Are Rupert and Olivia alright? Is it Natalie?. There hasn‘t been a crash, or something has there?” The questions were fired so quickly that Buffy wondered if Alison might be out to give Willow competition in a babble fest.
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Alison. Sit!” She commanded, pointing at the armchair. Alison sat obediently, her eyes wide at the prospect of being ordered to do something by the diminutive blonde in her own house. Dan stifled a smirk behind his hand, whilst Ed looked decidedly gleeful at his wife’s posture.
“Nothing’s wrong, exactly.” He said, turning to the table and picking up a file, which he offered to his wife. “Before we go any further, I need you to sign this.”
“Official Secrets Act?” She said, looking at the title. “Why do I need to sign this?” She looked at Dan, as though he should be the one to answer.
“Because you’ve been asking too many questions, and we don’t need just anyone knowing about who we are, or what we do.” Said Dan.
“That, and the fact you’ve come closer than you think, to finding out about us.” Added Buffy.
“I knew there was something.” She said. She looked up at her husband. “There wasn’t an appointment this morning was there? Something happened. Was it terrorists?”
“Allie. Just sign the form.” Ed said.
She opened the file and scan read the sheet on the top. Then she took the offered pen and signed and dated at the bottom.
“Right, now that’s out of the way. Allie, you realise that if you tell anyone anything of what you’re about to hear, I’ll have no say in what happens to you.” Said her husband.
She nodded, and looked eagerly at Buffy and Dan, like an excited child who was just about to find out what secrets lay inside a mysterious gift wrapped box.
“Alison. You like monster movies, don’t you.” Queried Buffy.
“Horror films, yes. I like the suspense. The chill.” She answered.
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Then you’re gonna love my life….”
“Giles! You’re supposed to be on your honeymoon.” Dawn paused. “You are, aren’t you? Everything‘s okay there?”
“Yes, fine. I, I just wanted to make sure that everything was alright at the school.”
His tone was hushed, as though he didn’t want anyone to hear him.
“Why are you….Ah, I got it. Olivia doesn’t know you’re calling, right. I’m right aren’t I?”
“Yes, well. How are things there.?”
“Giles, you’ve been away for one day!“ She paused. “Things are great. No problems. I’ve got the watchers having hair braiding lessons at the moment.”
“Kidding, Giles. Actually, they’re all out on a teddy bears picnic.” She quipped.
“Very droll. Where’s Buffy?”
“Gone slaying. Demon in London.”
“I see. And Xander?”
“Running the Gatorade drinking competition, with Josh.”
“She left you in charge, didn’t she.”
“Giles. Don’t pinch the bridge of your nose like that, you’ll get a zit. And don’t worry. I’m not ten anymore.”
“Dawn, you were never ten.”
“Oh, yeah, I forget.” She grinned. “Giles, don’t worry. I can handle everything here. Trust me.”
“Very well. I’ll see you on Sunday then.”
“Say hi to Olivia for me.”
“I will. Bye.”
Nevada. Area 51.
Area 51 covers a vast part of the desert in Nevada. Several government projects operate out of there and it’s sister site, Area 52. Some are different branches of the same department at some levels, and the others, well the others might happily and easily co-exist never knowing about each other. Unless by some chance encounter…..
Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter straightened her dress uniform, slung her laptop bag over her shoulder and stepped off the transport plane, returning the salute of the guard at the foot of the steps. She watched as the rear of the deck was being lowered. Some of her equipment was being sent to the base for fitting into the Prometheus, and as the foremost expert on the project, she had come to oversee it‘s installation.
Some ten minutes later the loaded trucks were on their way to the hanger and their journey downwards to the bay where the Prometheus was docked.
As they approached, the klaxons sounded and everyone jumped to their stations, soldiers running to and fro grabbing weapons from racks, officers shouting orders, people running for designated shelters.
Carter was guided by her escort to a bunker made of sandbags inside the hanger.
“What’s going on?” She asked.
A sergeant was on the field telephone, he paused just long enough to give her an answer.
“Intruder alert’s been sounded in the lower levels. Ma’am. They‘ve gone into a lockdown situation.”
“Lower levels! There’s another project working down there?”
“Yes ma’am.” He replied. Then he was back on the phone again.
Sam was puzzled. Something else down there, right underneath their noses, and she didn’t know anything about it. Time for more questions.
“What sort of project?”
“We don’t know, ma’am. We don’t have that information.” He replied quickly.
Sam couldn’t believe that another, unrelated project had been placed so close. If it jeopardised the Prometheus it could be devastating for the world, or even the galaxy.
She turned to an Army Major who’d just entered the bunker.
“Lieutenant Colonel Carter. United States Air Force. Major…” She paused just long enough to read his name badge. ”…Hoyle. What’s going on down there. And does it affect the Air Force project?” She asked.
He saluted her. “Ma’am. I’m aware of your project. If you’ll allow me to get up to speed, I’ll try and answer your questions.”
She stood to one side and let the man do his job. A few minutes later the klaxons ceased their incessant blaring and the silence itself was almost as deafening.
Major Hoyle came over to her.
“They’re still on lockdown ma’am. That means that we can’t get into your project either. The system was designed to prevent access being gained from another area.
“I see.. Any ideas what‘s happened, or how long it‘s likely to last?”
None ma’am. Apparently they’re waiting on an expert to come in from Rio.”
“Rio!?” that could take days. I need to be back at Cheyenne Mountain tomorrow. What do they do down there?”
“Sorry ma’am. I don’t know. All they ever say is that it‘s classified.”
“I take it they don’t know about our project then?”
“No ma’am they don’t.”
“Is there anything we can do from up here? Can I help?” Sam was thinking it might be a technical problem.
“No ma’am. The spooky guys like to keep things in house, as they call it.”
“Spooky guys!?” She questioned.
“It’s what we call ‘em, ma‘am. They’re a weird lot. All the officers call each other by their first names, there are some civilians that come an’ go; an’ I heard that a couple of the officers are married to each other.”
Sam’s eyes widened at that, but she was intrigued by Hoyle’s description
“Major. You know how sensitive the project I’m working on is, yes?”
“Good. Then get me a way in. These people may be rogue NID. I’ll need to assure my superiors that our project is secure. And I can only do that if I get my information first hand. Understood.”
“Yes ma’am. I‘ll try and get you into your area.”
Fifteen minutes later Sam had found her kit bag, changed into her BDU’s, and now she and three SF’s were belaying into the Prometheus’s bay through a ventilation shaft. As they hit the floor they all took up defensive positions as the second wave followed them down. All the technicians that had been in the bay at the time of the alarm had followed procedure and evacuated, so if they found anyone there it was most likely they were up to no good.
Hand directives from Sam gave the teams their orders and they spread out silently, checking rooms and workspaces for any sign of unauthorised activity.
There was no-one there, and after the sweep had drawn a blank Sam called Hoyle to confirm.
“All secure down here. Any news on the other place yet?”
“No ma’am. They’re still on lockdown.”
“Okay. If the situation changes let me know immediately. Carter out.”
“Affirmative. Hoyle out.”
Sam had made her way to the bridge of the starship and was busy activating systems as she spoke to Hoyle. The console gave her the status report on the various parts of the ship and she smiled as she noted that the Asgard beaming technology was in working order.
She pulled up the original schematics for the facility and found where the two connecting tunnels had been sealed. A note on the system told her that it had originally been one huge underground base and the reason that the smaller part had been sealed off was because of an unstable fault line that had disturbed the connecting tunnels, threatening safety, so the smaller part of the original had been discarded.
“So that’s why I didn’t know about it.” She muttered.
Next she pulled up the ships sensors and scanned the area. They told her several things. In the immediate area there were the teams that had accessed the bay with her, and further away in the other section, there were up to thirty life signs grouped in two areas. Checking for radiation and toxicity levels, she found that they were within normal parameters, so there was no contamination. She overlaid the schematic and found there were several rooms that were empty of personnel that they could beam into undetected. She called in the team she’d entered with.
“Sergeant. We need to get inside that area and find out what’s going on. It might take days for their people to get here from Rio. We‘ll leave a security team in here and the rest of us will beam into their facility here.” She said, indicating to a room in the middle of the base. “Get ready. We go in five.”
Graham Miller had made two phone calls. The first had been to Buffy. He’d caught her in the middle of an explanation of her slaying activities to someone in London. At her request he’d called Willow, to appraise her of the situation and ask that she collect Dan and herself en route, as she would be the fastest method of reaching the facility.
Whilst she was waiting for the witch to arrive, Buffy continued her explanation….
Alison recapped what she‘d just been told. “So, if I understand you correctly. Willow is about to arrive, in my lounge, all the way from Rio, to collect you and Daniel; to take you to Nevada. Yes?”
Before Buffy could answer Alison’s summing up statement, there was a slight breeze in the room, the telltale signature of the redhead’s imminent arrival. A second later Willow stood in their midst. She was facing Alison’s surprised face and gave her a small wave along with a coy grin as the elder woman sat down with a bump.
“Alison! Edward! Oops. Did I boo boo?” She questioned. She turned at the sound of Buffy’s voice behind her.
“Nope. I was just explaining about what we do, and it kinda seemed like the best way of proving my point.” Replied Buffy.
“Oh, good. Coz, I’d got nothin’.” Said Willow, relieved.
“Would anyone like some tea?” Said Alison, recovering slightly.
“Sorry. We’d love to stay, but we have to go and find out what’s happened.” Replied Dan,
“We’ll see you later then, perhaps. Daniel, will you let me know if you’re not going to be in the station tomorrow.” Said Edward.
“Yes sir.“ He replied.
They each took one of Willow’s hands. There was the usual waft of air, the flash; and they were gone.
Alison stood up. “Amazing.” Absolutely amazing. Cup of tea darling?” She said vacantly, as she wandered into the kitchen.
Area 51. Nevada.
On the Bridge of the Prometheus, Sam’s team prepared to beam in. They readied their Zat’s and Sam gave a nod. The beam pulsed, and they were gone.
The storage room was deserted. They took up defensive positions and checked the room. Confident that they’d made it in undetected they moved out, ready to take out or stun any opposition to their presence.
As they moved down the corridor, the thought crossed Sam’s mind that all the grey painted walls, and doors all looked remarkably familiar.
As they approached a corner, Sam’s fist went up to signal a halt to their progress. She pulled out an extendable mirror and poked the object around the corner of the open door so that she could see into the area. Her thoughts turned to an astounded gasp when she saw what was around the corner.
“Holy Hannah!” She said.
She was expecting to see a communications room with people in, instead the were looking upon….Prometheus…
In the communications room several of the Initiative operatives were on standby, waiting for the WSC contingent to arrive. Graham was watching the viewer, keeping an eye on the cells area where he could see Riley and Sam angrily pacing back and forth like caged animals.
A waft of air graced the room, announcing the trio’s arrival.
…“Incoming“… Called one of the team,
everyone looked up. The brief flash of light diminished and Willow, Buffy and Dan stood in their midst.
In the Prometheus’s hanger, Sam was annoyed and puzzled.
“What the hell happened?”
She got blank looks from her team, and more puzzled looks from the others who had arrived to see who had entered the docking bay.
“Co-ordinates?” Someone suggested.
“Sam wasn’t annoyed with the comment, it showed someone other than her was able to think around a problem.
“I don’t think so, I set them myself.” She replied.
They moved at double time back to the bridge where they got more puzzled looks.
Sam set the co-ordinates again, double checking them against the schematic and the life signs scans.
“We’ll try again.” She said, setting the controls.
The beam operated and transported them out…..
Two minutes later they found themselves back on the bridge. The radio crackled, and Hoyle’s voice sounded.
“Everything alright down there Colonel?”
Sam took up the call.
“Fine, except for a slight glitch with the transport. I’ll have to run a diagnostic. How’s the situation over there?”
“Well ma’am. I’ve just been informed that their ‘experts’ have arrived and that it shouldn’t be too long before they stand down. Although I’m not quite sure how they got in there. They certainly didn’t come past us.”
“Oh. Alright. Keep me posted.” Said Sam. The failure of the beaming technology was uppermost in her mind, but she was also puzzled as to how someone else could have gotten in there. Especially at short notice. Especially from Rio…..
She dashed over to the scanners. Re-setting the controls she scanned the other area again. She was checking for other residual readings. Energy readings. Readings that might signify the use of ring transport, or beaming technology. She got nothing. Sam slumped, at not having found what she expected to find and reset the controls for humanoid life signs. There were more now, than before. Three more, to be exact.
The positions of some of the life signs had changed. Several were now moving towards the others at the far end of the facility, whether to engage or assist, she couldn’t tell.
As she watched she tapped out several commands on the keyboard and the transporter started to run the diagnostic tests.
The blobs were closing in on the other area and soon they were all so close together it was hard to tell what was going on, although it appeared that they were all on the same side, because the life signs remained at a constant.
The system didn’t take long to run it’s test. The result. ‘No faults found’….
She transported a screwdriver that a technician had left behind. The object appeared exactly where she’d set the controls for. One of the SF’s was her next test. He looked as though he was about to protest at being used as a guinea pig, but thought better of it.
He re-appeared outside, in the bay, just where he was supposed to. Sam frowned and called Hoyle.
“Major, I want you to collect the technicians together for me. I’m going to beam them back in here.”
“Okay Colonel. Is it all clear down there?”
Yeah, it’s clear. But I still don’t know why we couldn’t beam into their facility.”
“Yes ma’am. They’re ready when you are.”
Hayley didn’t know what time it was. Heck she didn’t even know day it was for certain. She guessed that it might be Saturday, seeing as how they’d vacated the place so quickly.
“Probably scared Willow or someone will see through all these protection sigils.” She thought.
There were other thoughts she was having as well. Like how to get out of there, how to get back to Oxford. And how to avoid the police. She was hungry, that didn’t mean anything in itself, since she’d become a slayer her appetite had increased proportionately with her strength, or so it had seemed.
She also needed to pee. That was when an idea hit her. Bateman’s words came back to her.
“Can’t have her wiping the sigils off the walls, can we….”
She looked around at what had been left. The portable toilet…the bowl…bottled water…Loo roll..
Chains clanked as she stood up, and she pulled the toilet over to her. Lifting the lid she sniffed briefly at the contents. Chemical sanitizer and deodoriser had been added to the base unit. She added her own fluids to it and pumped the flush plunger. Then she detached the top tank and opened the seal on the base tank, took some toilet paper, and soaked it in the fluids inside.
She wrinkled her nose up as she squeezed the excess fluid from the paper. Taking careful aim, she threw it at the sigils at the hinge side of the door. Her thinking was that if Bateman came back, he wouldn’t necessarily notice the loo paper stuck to the wall behind the open door, and if it dissolved everything else, it might just dissolve the painted on sigils.
It took several wads of soaked paper before she’d managed to cover two of the sigils, she was now running low on loo paper and looked around for something else to use. There was nothing. She needed a rethink.
Richard and Levi reached the house in record time considering the traffic they’d encountered, and wasted no time in entering via the rear communal driveway. It was evening now, and most people were still on their way home from work, or shopping at supermarkets, either way they were too wrapped up in their own lives to notice the two men enter a house that had been shut up for some weeks.
It wasn’t until they got inside that Richard felt uncomfortable with the situation. Levi followed him upstairs to the bedroom and as Richard opened the door he saw the two empty cases on the floor and the clothes scattered about the room, some half in, half out of the open drawers.
“What’s going on?” He asked.
As he did so he turned back towards Levi, and the dagger that was plunging straight for his heart…
Richard staggered backwards into the room, shock taking over, his eyes wide with fear, he gasped for breath; coughed and blood bubbled up into his mouth from his lung. Levi calmly took something from his pocket and threw it at the sagging body ahead of him. As Richard collapsed on the floor he clutched at the dagger, trying vainly to pull it out, the pair of Hayley’s panties thrown by Levi landed underneath his body.
In a few moments Richard stopped moving, Levi grinned, quickly let himself out of the rear of the house, and drove away in the car.
Back inside the bedroom Richard stirred, summoning up the last of his strength. A bloodied hand daubed at the wardrobe door, and weakly began scribing a word… B… Then the strength faded and the hand went limp, never to move again…
The pair of homeless teens had been watching the empty house on and off for some days, as a possible place to squat. They’d been and tried the doors before now, finding them locked, therefore unable to access and claim their right to the house. It was dusk now, and they made their way around the back to make another check. If there was still no-one there they were going to break in. it was obvious that nobody was living there.
They found the door locked. A swift kick broke the lock and they entered, thinking their luck was in. checking room by room it didn’t take them long to get upstairs.
Finding Richard’s body hadn’t been on their agenda. They almost fell over themselves as they raced back down through the house trying to escape. Panicking they flung open the front door and ran off up the street, several cars and passers by, stopping to wonder what the hell was going on.
A policeman parked in a car at the end of the street saw the pair run and went to investigate; called in what he found; and within ten minutes a cordon was thrown around the street with detectives and forensics moving in and out of the house.
That was when three of the Oxford team arrived on the scene. After their long drive, being unable to get near the street was frustrating. Justin stayed with the car, Katrina and Michelle went to investigate, getting the story of what had been found from the local residents. Sometime later, they returned to the car.
“One body, male. Stabbed in the chest with a dagger. From the description the locals have given, it’s Richard.” They reported.
“What! Do they think Hayley did it?” Asked Justin.
“Don’t know. But there’s a rumour going around that they’ve found a woman’s underwear in the room with the body, someone apparently saw it carried out in a bag by one of the policemen.” Said Katrina.
“And there was some writing on the wardrobe by the dead man.” Added Michelle.
“Uh, oh.” Said Justin. “Does anyone else think that Bateman killed his godson and is trying to pin it on Hayley?”
“Wouldn’t put it past him. We’d better call Di.”
Hayley rummaged through the boxes looking for anything that might be of use in an escape. Nothing. It was all either plastic, or paper or a packet. There was only the box which it had all been carried in that had any kind of strength.
That might be it. The box wasn’t a conventional cheap cardboard box, it was a bespoke item that had originally housed the portable toilet. She examined it more carefully and discovered four large staples securing the bottom of the box.
“Yes!” She shouted, pleased at her discovery. Then quietened in case anyone was still there. She set to work unfastening the staples from the box and straightening them. She sat on the floor next to the padlock that held the chain to the ring and poked two of the staples inside. Finding the tumblers inside and aligning them was hard enough when you had a solid door in front of you, keeping a padlock still between your feet whilst you twiddle around, is nigh on impossible.
Consequently it took her a while to achieve the end result and she gave another whoop of pleasure as the lock sprang open. She was still manacled at the hands and feet, but she could move around. That left only the door to contend with.
Cautiously she turned the knob and felt the mechanism pull the catch back into the mortise. She tugged gently at the door primarily to see if how much movement there was in the casing.
She also wanted to keep the noise down just in case there was still someone left guarding her.
Surprisingly, the door came inwards as she tugged at it. Opening it fully she realised what had happened, although the key had turned, the lock hadn’t caught into the plate fully. She was free.
She stopped and thought for a moment. She could move better and more quietly if the manacles were not there restricting her movement. Listening out for any sign of anyone else in the house she quietly set about picking the lock on her ankle bracelets first. Her hopes were higher than ever and the time it took to unfasten them seemed shorter than it had been for the initial padlock.
Then came the difficult one. The wrists. Only being able to use one hand made this harder. It took longer but she managed to free one hand, and she left the other alone, wrapping the chain around her hand. If nothing else it would serve as a weapon.
As she crept up the stairs she listened again for any sign of life. There was another door at the top of the steps
Cautiously she opened it and peered into the hallway. She listened for sounds of anyone there. None.
Feeling more confident she walked quietly about the house checking from room to room; noting that it was getting towards late evening although she still didn’t know what time, or day it was . It soon became apparent that she was alone and she began to rummage through drawers and cupboards for money, a phone, or anything that might help her.
Her initial assessment that the house was neglected and unloved had been a good one. There wasn’t much in the place other than the essentials. She found a screwdriver in one of the drawers, an idea came to her, and she took it back down to the cellar.
She set to, wiping some of the sigils off the walls behind the door as she’d originally intended. Then she dismantled the lock, setting the innards so that once it shut again it could only be opened from the outside, unless you had tools.
Then she added a self closer, a spring loaded arm that she took from the yard door, so that the door would close as soon as it was let go of.
It was crude, but if it trapped someone, or delayed anyone getting out of there to come after her, it would help, and she was up for some payback.
Back in the hall she checked herself in the mirror. There was the large bruise on her face, a tell tale sign that she’d been hit hard, if she needed a reason to gain help, she had it right there. Bateman had been right about one thing though. She couldn’t go to the police.
Then she left the house, into the gathering gloom. She breathed in deeply. Freedom, it smelled good. She skirted the driveway, coming out in the lane a few hundred yards away. She could hear traffic in the distance, lots of traffic. She headed towards it. Maybe she could get a lift somewhere, or borrow a mobile phone to call Di.
Willow had a puzzled look on her face.
“Hey Will why the frown?” Asked Buffy, sensing the redhead’s discomfort.
“I think someone’s tryin’ to get past the wards.” She said.
“Should we be preparing to repel all boarders?” Queried Dan.
Willow shook her head. “No, they’re holding. It’s just…Whoever it is, isn’t using the magicks to do it. It’s some sort of…energy.”
Buffy grabbed Graham’s attention.
“Is there anyone else in this area, besides us. Maybe using nukes?” She asked.
“We see occasional comings and goings. Nothing like that though. At least, I don’t think so.” he replied.
They reached the cells area and came face to face with Riley and Sam.
“Hey guy’s. What’s the what?” Queried Buffy.
Dan felt the shiver of cold run down his spine. The same chill that he’d felt when he’d found the body in Chinatown, and when he’d come up against Gorman’s demonic side.
“They’re demons.” He said. “Either that, or they’re possessed, or shape shifters?”
Graham explained what had happened when the two had arrived back. Willow gave her assessment.
“Then I guess we’re looking at possession, coz any other demon wouldn’t give themselves away like that. Yep, definitely possession.” She deliberated.
“So how do we un-possess them, then. Asked Graham. “I don’t see a priest anywhere.” He added.
“We’re telling you nothing, Slayer!” Growled Riley.
“Good , coz what you know, doesn’t fit with my plans. I want you out of my friends bodies.” Retorted Buffy.
“Want me to give it a go?” Queried Dan.
“Be my guest.” Said Willow.
“Go to work honey.” Said Buffy. She gave him a kiss on the cheek. Graham indicated to the two guards to open Sam’s cell, and restrain her. As they did they all saw Sam shiver and shake slightly. She staggered and put a hand on the bars for support.
“No.” She gasped. “Ry’ first. Please.”
Then she lapsed back and the demon came to the fore. The eyes glowed.
“Bastards! Don’t you touch him!” She yelled.
Dan stepped back and shut the door again. He looked at Buffy. She nodded and the guards opened Riley’s cell. He leapt at the two men as they entered almost knocking them over. But these were two trained and burly marines. They grabbed him and with Dan’s help they pinned him down. Dan took a breath and placed his hand over Riley’s chest, felt the darkness envelope him and he fell into the depths.
Willow and Buffy watched with interest as Dan performed his own special magic.
Willow’s attention was pulled by something else as she watched the process, she kept glancing over her shoulder at the far wall, then shrugging it off and returning to the scene in front of her.
The two marines pinning Riley down glanced at Graham looking for instructions, but Graham was as awestruck as they were.
Suddenly, Riley convulsed, his mouth opened and a dark cloud spurted out, wailing mournfully, the golden light following, shooting out of there and his eyes, chasing it away. The cloud hovered for a moment before dissipating. Riley slumped, unconscious, Dan opened his eyes and sat back, blinking.
“Phwoar! Did someone open a sewer.” He said wrinkling his nose.
In the next cell Sam wailed and shook the bars angrily.
“Murderer! You killed my mate. I’m going to tear you apart for that!” She threatened.
Dan looked at her through the bars. For what it’s worth, I felt that he did love you, but you can’t have these bodies. They’re not yours. And if you have any sort of compassion anywhere inside you, you’ll let Sam come back to the one she loves.
A worried look crossed her face and she stood back against the far wall. Dan stood and exited Riley’s cell with the two marines. Graham ordered someone to call a medic for Riley, and Dan prepared himself for his next ordeal.
As the guard opened the cell Sam leapt forward, lunging at Dan. They both fell to the ground, her hands wrapped around his neck trying to strangle him. His personal shield stopped her even getting close to achieving this, and as Buffy pulled her off from behind, Dan peeled her thumbs back, and prised her hands off his neck.
“Try that again, and there’s going to be an accidental slaying.” Said Buffy.
The demon grinned at her. “You wouldn’t kill the host…” The grin disappeared at the glint in Buffy’s eye. “…Would you?” She gulped.
“Uh oh.” Muttered Willow. “Buffy, no. You can’t. Sam’s in there.” Then her attention was back on the wall behind her again.
Dan got up and took up position in the cell whilst Buffy held Sam down. Again he concentrated, his hands glowed and the performance repeated itself. It appeared to take a little longer this time though, both Buffy and Willow exchanged looks of concern. After the finale, Dan sat back again, weakened after the ordeal, and Sam slumped into unconsciousness. The now prepared medics put her onto a stretcher and began to carry her out. Dan recovered slightly and called after them.
“Take good care of her. She’s pregnant.” He said. Then he collapsed.
End of Chapter Forty Nine