Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Goosebumps
The day was one of those wonder days when everything seems perfect. The sun was out, the birds were singing, there was no school, and the vampires seemed to have disappeared for the time being. Buffy had just reached the door when her Mom called out.
“No leaving Buffy! Its spring and that means spring cleaning!”
“But Mom. I was going to go to Willow’s. I needed to talk to her.” ‘Especially after what happened with the beazor.’
“No buts. We do this every year.”
“Bu-” Buffy started to whine.
“You have to stay here. You finish cleaning out the basement and your grounding will be over.”
“Alright” was Buffy’s defeated response. She slowly dragged herself away from the door and started towards the basement.
After an hour of beating back the dust bunnies and spider webs Buffy finally managed to reach the corner of the box filled basement. Swatting aside another dust bunny towards the pile she had made, she reached down to grab the dustpan and as she did her fingers brushed the pile of dust. Suddenly a sound reached her ears ‘Whoa-ahhh, whoa-ahhh.’
Standing up and glancing around the still dim basement she shrugged it off as mis-hearing and reached for the dustpan again. ‘Whoa-ahhh, who-ahhh.’ Hearing the noise she looks around when the noise sounds a third time. ‘Whoa-ahhh, who-ahhh.’ Glancing suspiciously at the dust pile she pokes at it with the broom. The dust piled quivered and the sound was once again heard in the basement. Brushing aside the dust with the broom she looked at what remained, an old sponge. Laughing she went to pick it up and tripped over the broom, barely managing to catch herself with her Slayer reflexes. Balancing on one hand and a leg she went to push herself up and as she did the sponge seemed to shudder, ‘Whoa-ahhh, whoa-ahhh.’ Glaring at the now pulsating sponge she pushed herself up-right then bent down and grabbed the sponge. Looking at the sponge it almost seemed to be breathing as it sat in her hand. Poking it with a finger she pushes back one of the wrinkles covering it, exposing two beady black eyes that glisten wetly in the dim light. She drops it with a shriek and jumps backwards, falling over a box and sprawling into another pile of boxes, knocking them all down. Struggling out of the mess and back to her feet she looks back at the sponge sitting back on the ground, now pulsating faster, ‘Ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom.’ Looking almost like a heart it just sits on the dusty floor and even as she watches the pulsing slows back down to a gentle beat, Whoa-ahhh, whoa-ahhh.’ Seeing no other action from the sponge she shrugs then picks it up, putting it in her pocket to ask Giles about later.
Walking out of the now mostly clean basement she tromps up the stairs. “Mom, I cleaned the basement, I’m off to Willow’s.” Grabbing the door she swings it open, managing to hit her Mom’s foot.
“Ow! My foot!”
“Sorry sorry sorry!”
“Its ok Buffy, I shouldn’t have stood so close to the door. Now let me check the basement and then you can go.” Walking over to the basement door Joyce opens it, only to trip and start to fall down the stairs.
“Mom!” Rushing forward Buffy grabs her mother before she can fall all the way down. Falling backwards they land on the floor just outside the stairwell. They sit there stunned at the close call and as they do Buffy feels a steady beat in her pocket.
“You ok Mom?”
Yeah, that was close though, gave me a scare. I’m going to go rest. I’ll trust that you cleaned up down there, but if you didn’t your children will be born before your grounding runs out.”
“Ok Mom, I’m off to Willows.” With that statement Buffy runs out the door.
A knocking at the door manages to pry Willow from her computer. Walking towards the pounding she opens the door only to be hit in the face by Buffy’s fist.
“OW! My nose!” Willow cries, stumbling backwards clutching her nose.
“Oh my god! Sorry Willow!”
“My nose is not a demon! No slaying my nose!”
“So why were you pounding on my door? I thought your Mom had grounded you till collage? Lets’ head to my room, we can talk there.” Walking up the stairs Willow trips halfway, careening into Buffy and sending them both falling back down the stairs. Groaning and untangling themselves the girls start heading back.
“That’s like the fifth time that’s happened today.”
“Yeah, Mom almost fell down the basement stairs, thank god for Slayer reflexes.”
“Is she alright?”
“Yeah, just a little shook up.”
“Who wouldn’t be? So why are you here?”
“A clean basement was more important then my grounding to Mom. First I wanted to talk about that beazor thing that happened-”
“Ick, icky, nasty. I’m trying to repress that.”
“Well, that was my first reason, to work through some of that ickiness, but then I had to clean the basement.”
“So you cleaned the basement to cancel out your grounding and came here to talk about the ickiness that we just decided never happened?”
“So now that the discussion about the ickiness that never happened is done what now?”
“Well, when I was cleaning the basement found a sponge.”
“You want to talk about a sponge?”
“Yeah. But it has eyes and it’s breathing.”
“Sponges live in the ocean though, so I don’t think they breathe, or have eyes.”
“A demon sponge maybe?”
“So did you slay it?”
“No I have it in my pocket.” With that statement Buffy reaches into her pocket and pulls out the strange creature.
“Buffy you do know that’s just an old sponge? No breathing or eyes.”
“What?!” Glancing down Buffy sees that where once there was a vibrating creature there is now nothing but an old dusty sponge.
“Yup, sorry Buffy, no demon sponge.”
“But, but I saw it earlier!”
“Are you sure? Maybe it was just spiders or something?”
“Evil creepy things, I mean, what actually needs that many legs?”
“No I don’t think it was spiders. I’ll check with Giles tomorrow.”
“Ok. Was that all?”
“Yeah since we’re repressing the ick.”
Stuffing the dusty sponge back into her pocket Buffy heads back downstairs and out the door.
The next day in the library during lunch…
“I’m telling you it breathes and has eyes! Definite un-sponge-like behavior!”
“Yes, but still. A sponge?” is Giles skeptical reply.
“Yeah, I mean we’ve had mind controlling eggs, switching Halloweens, possessing hyenas, animated puppets, and killer mummy girls, but a demon sponge? Come on Buffy, that’s hard to believe. It just sits there, dusty like.”
“Look, I've had the worst weekend of my life. Except the end of the forever grounding. I know what I saw. Maybe it’s like that life-sucking demon thing? You remember the old looking one in the hospital?”
“You mean it can only be seen by certain people?” is Willow’s question.
“But why can’t we hear it?” Giles asks.
“Yeah, I heard that life sucking demon when you were fighting it,” Xander contributes.
“A disguise maybe?”
“You mean a demon sponge that can disguise itself?” With that statement Xander straightens up and puts on his best fake British accent, “The names Sponge, Demon Sponge.”
“XANDER! I’m being serious. Why am I the only one that see’s it breathe? I mean I’m getting a serious WB frog case of the willies from it.”
“If it makes you feel any better Buffy I promise to start researching…. demon sponges.”
Suddenly the late bell rings. “Oh my god, we’re late for class!” Willow yells. As the friends rush out of the library and Giles retreats to his office Snyder suddenly appears, assigning them all a detention. Meanwhile the sponge sits happily on a table and starts to pulse.
Later that evening while on patrol…
A fist swings at Buffy’s head and she ducks under it, twisting around to deliver a devastating kick to the vampire’s chest. Stumbling backward he swings again and Buffy blocks it, sending the vampire off balance. Pressing her advantage she thrusts her stake towards his heart, only to trip and go sprawling over a tombstone. Pulling herself upright she takes a fist to her head sending her sprawling again. As the vampire grabs her head and pulls it back to expose to her she sends her elbow backwards to meet the monsters balls. Twisting around she grabs his arm and flips him over her back. Stunned, the vampire lays there. Searching frantically for her stake Buffy sees it lying over by another tomb. Rushing over she grabs it just in time to spin around and throw it at the stunned vampire. Instead of piercing his heart it hits dull end first, merely making him take a step back and laugh. Using his momentary distraction she leaps forward, kicking him in the chest and sending him flying backwards to crash into a mausoleum. Bending down she grabs her stake then jumps forward to stake him in his heart, dusting him. Turning around she sees another vampire appear on the other side of the graveyard. As he walks toward her she looks frantically around for a weapon. Suddenly a cracking sound fills the air and a branch falls down, spearing the vampire’s heart and dusting him.
The next day before classes the Scoobies gather in the library around the table with the sponge on it.
“So found anything out about the demon sponge?”
“No I haven’t. How was your patrol?”
“Expect the branch falling on that one vampire and dusting him it was the worst ever. I messed up a stake throw and tripped a couple of times.”
“A tree branch fell on a vampire and staked him?” is Xander’s question. “Man that guy had the worst luck ever.”
The young Scoobies suddenly turn at Giles shout. “The worst luck ever! That’s it!” They watch as he dashes off into the stacks, mumbling about ‘not-proven’ and ‘ridiculous theories.’ Re-emerging from the stacks Giles drops a thin, colorful book on the table.
“Encyclopedia of the Weird?” asks Xander.
“Interesting color scheme,” is Willows remark.
“Sounds like a tabloid,” says Buffy.
“Well it is. Kind of. It’s the Watcher’s version of a tabloid. It’s filled with unproven creatures and other things. Printed once a year.”
“And you read it?” remarks Buffy. “Giles I’m surprised at you.”
“Yes, well…” Giles dies off into a mumble.
“Well what Giles?” pries Willow.
“It has interesting stories.”
“Giles loves gossip,” states Xander.
“I do not. I just though we should be prepared. It is the Hellmouth after all.”
“Admit it Giles, you just like the gossip.”
“I bloody well do not! Besides that’s not the point. I think our creature is in here.” Flipping through the pages Giles stops and shows the others. On the page sits a picture of the sponge, but with beady black eyes.
Willow begins reading to the others:
“This is a Grool.”
“Grool? Who names these things?” Xander interrupts.
“Quite,” shushes Buffy.
Willow continues, “The Grool is an ancient and mythical creature. The Grool does not eat food or drink water. Instead, it gets its strength from luck. Bad luck. The Grool has always been known as a bad-luck charm. It feeds on the bad luck of other people. The Grool becomes stronger each time something bad happens around it.”
With that statement everyone turns and looks at the now named Grool. Instead of the old dried out sponge they see a wet looking, wrinkly, and pulsing mass, rhythmically changing from ash-white to brown with each pulse.
“Well, that explains my bad luck. It ends now.” With that comment Buffy grabs a nearby book and slams it down over and over again on the Grool, only stopping once its nothing but white and brown shreds.
“Well that’s that,” Buffy says as she turns back to the others. They only stare wide-eyed at something behind her. “What?” Turning around Buffy sees the white and brown shards gathering together. In moments the complete Grool sits in front of them. With a cry of rage Buffy turns back around and throws the textbook, but instead of smacking against a wall or bookcase it hits Xander in the forehead.
“Ow! Buffy what was that for?!”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to hit you.”
Suddenly they all turn around as the Grool lets out what sounds like a wet gurgle.
“It’s laughing at us!” Buffy realizes. “I’ve had it with this thing! Let’s give it to Spike or something. See how he likes the bad luck.”
“That’s a pretty good idea. Maybe he’ll stake Drusilla or something.”
“Buffy I think you should hear this.” At Willows comment the others turn back towards her as she starts reading again. “Bad luck for the Grool's owner never ends. The Grool cannot be killed – by force or by any violent means. And it can not – ever- be given away or tossed aside. A Grool is only passed on to a new owner when an owner dies. Anyone who gives the Grool away will die within one day.”
“That is so not fair! Why can’t the vampires get the bad luck sponge?”
“Well it says tossed aside or given away. Why don’t we bury it?” Everyone turns to stare at Xander at that comment.
“Perfect! I can out it in the grave that vampire left last night.”
“I really don’t think-”
“Come on Giles, it’s a great idea. I’ll pick it up after school and bury it during patrol tonight.”
With that statement the Buffy leaves the library with Xander and Willow, a wet, evil laugh following there backs.
After school Buffy storms into the library covered in red paint. “Worst day ever! I think that thing’s getting stronger. I had a pop quiz in every class, even had two in one of them. Then an art student spilled paint all over me! I don’t even take art! I can’t wait be to be rid of this thing.” Grabbing the Grool she storms out again before Giles can say a word.
Stopping by the graveyard later that night she drops the Grool in the vampire’s old grave and shoves some dirt over it. “There that’s the last I’ll ever see of you!” She walks away, happily humming a tune.
The next night, about an hour before the time she had dropped the Grool off the night before, while on patrol she hops the fence into the same graveyard, only to freeze in shock. All the grass and trees inside the fence had turned brown and died. Standing there she barely keeps her feet as the ground starts to shake. Suddenly hands punch through the ground and bodies begin pulling themselves out. She stares in shock as a zombie pulls itself out of the ground in front of her. Kicking it back she rushes through the graveyard, stomping on the heads breeching the ground and punching the standing ones down. Reaching the Grool’s grave she digs frantically through the soil, finally pulling out the dirt covered Grool. Turning around she’s met with a dead, decaying body stumbling toward her. Holding tightly to the Grool she punches the zombie in the face, breaking its neck and sending it to the ground. More shuffle towards her and she fights her way through the decaying hands grabbing at her. Working her way through the graveyard, taking down zombies as she goes, she reaches the gate and hops over it. Landing on the other side she starts running toward the library and Giles.
Bursting through the library doors she starts yelling for Giles. As he comes out of his office she runs over to him. “Giles it didn’t work. The Grool killed all the plants in the graveyard and brought back all the dead as zombies.”
“Yeah, I took the zombies down but we have to do something about it. I’ll call the other’s, you start looking for ways to kill it.”
Soon Xander, Willow, and Cordelia arrive all asking about what happened. “Long story short burying the Grool didn’t work. We need to find some way to kill it.”
Hours later after numerous paper cuts, ripped pages, and a small fire Willow lets out a cry, “Ooooh! Ohhhh! I’ve got it! I’ve got it!”
“You’ve found a way it kill it?” is Giles question.
“We can finally get rid of the demon sponge?” asks Buffy.
“Well it can’t be killed by force or violence right?”
“Yeah, we figured that out when Buffy turned it into something resembling chopped liver,” is Xander’s response.
“Well I have a plan.” Walking over Willow picks up the throbbing Grool and starts to sing. “Lullaby and good night, little Grool, I love you. Please sleep tight, little Grool, la la la, la la la.”
“What are you doing? Did all those years of computer classes finally fry your brain?” Everyone except Willow, who is still singing, looks at Cordelia with that remark. “What? I’m just saying!”
They all turn back to Willow as she starts hugging the slimy thing and cuddling it like a puppy. “Little Grool, cute Grool, you are so nice, so sweet, so wonderful. I love you, Grool.”
“Come on Willow, please stop,” Xander pleads. “You’re scaring me.”
“How can you hold that thing? The stains will probably never come out!”
Willow ignores them all and continues to cuddle the disgusting thing. “Sweet Grool, so sweet.” Soon she starts petting it. Suddenly Giles blinks in surprise.
“Good Lord! It’s working! Willow you’re a genius.” The others turn to Giles who starts to explain. “Look at it, its getting smaller and its stopped flashing colors.” As the other watch Willow continues her cooing and soon the Grool’s breathing stops. As they stare in astonishment Willow suddenly kisses the Grool. Before any sounds of revulsion pass their lips the Grool shudders then disintegrates. Then Willow starts to freak out.
“Gross gross gross slimy gross icky gross slimy frog-like ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Mouthwash must have mouth wash!”
The others laugh as Willow rushes around looking frantically for mouthwash. Finally Xander tosses her his coke and she immediately runs to the bathroom. A few minutes later she comes back looking more composed.
Immediately the questions start. “How’d you figure it out?” “What gave you the idea?” “How did you know it would work?” “How could you do something that gross?!”
“Well I re-read that article in the encyclopedia, the one that says it can’t be killed by force or violence. So I started thinking about the opposite of force and violence. And don’t remind me what I did. That goes right up there with frogs in the ick factor.”
The others laugh then set off for a little sleep before the next day’s adventure.