IF ITS TUESDAY IT MUST BE ECUADOR.
By Dave Turner.
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Genesis’ ‘A Trick of the Tail’. I write these stories for fun not profit.
Crossover: Non-song Song Fic; ‘A Trick of the Tail’ by Genesis.
Spelling and Grammar; Written in glorious English-English. American idioms are used wherever possible throughout this fic.
Timeline: Summer 2003, post ‘Chosen’.
Words: Three chapters of 3000+ words.
Summary: While on their journey around South America Willow and Kennedy take a trip into the Ecuadorian jungle to find a ‘City of Gold’. Re-edited 16/11/08.
IF IT’S TUESDAY IT MUST BE ECUADOR.
By Dave Turner.
Thephec gazed from the balcony of his apartment in The City of Gold and looked out over the rooftops. He sighed sadly; nothing seemed to be as it was, while strangely, staying exactly the same. Feelings of discontent and dissatisfaction had plagued him for some years; it was like some kind of disease that prevented him from settling to any task before he became disenchanted with it. He sighed again and turned away from the city and walked back into his living quarters.
It had all appeared so simple when he was a child and he had skipped along the road between the great towers of the city as he made his way to and from school. His life was planned out and laid before him like a map. All he had to do was follow it, and he did, for nearly a hundred years. Then one day, as he went to his work in the city’s main library, he asked himself the question that had, and would, shape his life from there on in. ‘What was the point?’
All he did all day was shuffle books and documents from one set of shelves to another, or dig out some musty old parchment for some student to copy parrot fashion into his thesis. None of it made any sense to him; no one had added anything new to the library in hundreds of years. His people had stopped going out into the world many years before believing they had discovered everything that was worth discovering. They had retreated into their city leaving the outside world to the human tribes that spread through the mountains and jungles, but who never discovered Thephec’s city due to the clever spells his people had used to hide it.
Then one day the idea had come to him; he would go out into the world, like his people had done in times past. He would discover new things and bring back new stories that would spur his people on to take up the work they had thought finished all those years ago. After all, he reasoned, things must have changed in the world of the humans, even if they stayed exactly the same in the City of Gold. The books all described the humans as busy and industrious, always on the move and trying to change things to suit themselves. Thephec suspected this was why his people had retreated in upon themselves; they didn’t as a general rule like change, and from his readings he got the impression that his ancestors were actually frightened of the humans.
He laughed at the idea, his people frightened of such puny primitive creatures? No, he could not believe it. Over a period of months Thephec read everything he could find on the humans and their culture claiming he was writing a new thesis that would re-examine the differences between his own people and the humans. His superiors smiled and nodded their heads and left him to his work as he rifled through the same musty old documents that had given him these feelings of discontent in the first place.
Today was the day; he looked around his living quarters and walked over to the closet where he had hidden his carefully collected and horded equipment. He wasn’t too worried that anyone would try to physically stop him; it was just that he somehow knew that people would make a fuss if they knew what he was about to do and try to talk him out of it. So, he had decided to tell no one and not even leave a note to explain his absence
He had food for several days, a blanket for the cold nights, a stout walking stick that could double as a club. In a leather sheath he had a large knife for cutting his way through the jungle and several detailed maps and a compass so he could find his way. Checking everything once more he placed it all in a large bag that rested on his hip with the strap across his shoulder. Thephec looked around his living quarters once more, and then, swallowing the big lump that had somehow formed in his throat. He opened the door and walked out into the corridor of the tower where he lived. Shutting the door behind him he squared his shoulders and marched off towards the stairs that led to the street and eventually to the wide open road and adventure!
Thephec spent several days hacking his way through the jungle that clogged the valleys between the mountains. After leaving his home he had quickly left the area covered by the spell that hid the city from prying eyes. To his amazement Thephec found the thing that troubled him most was that he had no one to talk to. He had always been a bit of a loner, as his people considered these things. Although he lived alone there had always been people at work to talk to or in the communal dinning rooms, now he had no one but himself. The nights were the worst. At night the jungle came alive with strange hoots and whistles that frightened him up into the trees on the first night, only for him to scurry to safety on the ground when he saw two red eyes coming towards him through the darkness.
Thephec hoped that once he had found some human habitation that he might be able to persuade one of the locals to be his guide and he would once more have someone to talk to. He walked down slope until he found a small river which he in turn followed as it meandered through the jungle until it led him to a small human settlement. The village was nestled in the fold of a valley; it had small square houses with reddish roofs and dusty streets nothing like his own City of Gold. Chickens scratched out a living in the lanes between the houses and goats and Llama’s wandered where they pleased. To Thephec it looked as if the humans were as stuck in the past as his own people.
It was only when he caught his first glimpse of the villagers that Thephec started to notice the differences between what he had read and what he now saw. Instead of the simple clothes made from plant and animal fibres that he’d seen in the illustrations of the books in the library, the villagers wore colourful clothes made from materials that Thephec did not recognise. Maybe it would become clearer when he got closer. The younger humans appeared to wear more colourful clothes than their elders. It was a group of the colourfully clad young humans that Thephec decided to approach as evening started to fall. He didn’t want to spend another night in the jungle alone, and surely the humans would be interested to meet him.
Alberto Basualdo sat at a table outside the one bar in the little town of Pinguili, with his girlfriend Marita Ayerza her brother Rimas and his girlfriend Aina Lozada. He listened with half an ear as Rimas argued with his sister and Aina about who was going to win what match in the present soccer competition. Alberto didn’t care for football; he smiled to himself thinking that he must be the only man on the entire continent that didn’t care who beat whom at kicking a ball around a field; and judging by the way the two girls were arguing with Rimas that probably included all the women too.
Taking a swig from his bottle of beer Alberto looked off into the ill lit streets, in one way he was looking forward to going back to university in the capital Quito; with its modern buildings and facilities. In another he rather missed the simplicity of small town life. He sighed and smiled at himself. Would he go through life missing his home town when he was in the city; and the city when he was home? Who knows?
Something moving in the shadows caught his eye, Alberto looked closer. There was something lurking in the shadows just across the street from the bar.
“Hey Rimas!” Alberto pointed into the dark, “Do you see anything out there?”
Rimas broke off his argument (which he had been losing anyway) and stared off into the night. He was just about to say no when something stepped out of the shadows into the light cast by the bar’s lights.
“Holy Mother of God!” He gasped standing up in surprise and knocking over his chair.
“What the…” The rest of Alberto’s words were drowned out as the girls both started to scream.
Collecting his thoughts and trying to blank out the noise of the girls screaming and praying to the Holy Virgin. Alberto tried to identify the apparition that made its way towards him, seemingly oblivious to the panic it was causing.
The creature was a little shorter than himself, making it maybe 1.70 meters tall, its legs were covered in either fur or furry trousers and terminated in what looked like cloven hooves. The upper half of the beast looked fairly human except for the two little horns that grew from its forehead and its pointed ears. It was only later that he noticed the tail.
While Alberto had been studying the monster other people had also seen it and started to yell and run in blind panic.
“THE DEVIL! THE DEVIL!” They shouted as they ran off in all directions.
Suddenly Alberto found himself alone. His friends having run off into the night and the other customers having locked themselves inside the bar. The creature stopped and looked at him and spoke.
“I…I don’t un-under-sta-stand,” stammered Alberto in shock.
Just then two of Penguili’s finest roared up in their beat up old police car, they jumped from the car and levelled pistols at the beast.
“NO!” cried Alberto running towards the police officers waving his arms, “No don’t shoot!”
The police officers turned to look at Alberto unsure what to do; this was something out of their area of expertise. But, Alberto Basualdo was well known in the town for being a student at the big university in the capital; surely he’d know what to do. Alberto didn’t disappoint them.
“Don’t shoot it!” he cried as his mind raced as to the best course of action, an idea came to mind almost immediately. “Find nets,” Alberto studied the puzzled looks on the police officers faces, “we must capture it and get it to the university…this is very important, we will all be famous.”
The two police officers liked the sound of that; ‘the men who captured the devil!’ This would mean promotion. Now that they had firm orders on what to do they sprang into action and in no time at all the beast had been captured and led away to jail.
Kennedy watched Willow over the top of her sunglasses as they sat on the grass under the eucalyptus trees in the Parque Metropolitano. They had been in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, for about four days now and their work here was almost done.
After Sunnydale had disappeared into the ground, Buffy had sent Willow and Kennedy on a round trip of South America to contact any surviving watchers and find the newly called slayers. What Buffy hadn’t told them was how they were supposed to pay for everything. The last either of the women had heard Giles was still struggling to get control of the old council’s finances; and it was beginning to become apparent that the council was nowhere near as rich as everyone had assumed (the hyper-inflation of the early 70’s had hit the council particularly hard). Willow had a trust fund that was supposed to ease her way through University, this bought in about enough money to feed and clothe her, if she was careful.
This left Kennedy to pay for everything…well actually Kennedy’s Father; he paid all her credit card bills. Kennedy had used her credit cards to tide the whole group over directly after Sunnydale, which had cost more than she’d expected. Now she was on a jaunt around South America with her new girlfriend and her father’s accountants were starting to ask questions.
There was something else Buffy hadn’t taken into account when she had blithely sent them off to Latin America; Willow couldn’t speak Spanish, it made Kennedy smile; how could someone who had lived all of her life in California not speak at least a little Spanish? Kennedy spoke Spanish like a native; a Mexican native true, but she got by. She’d had a Mexican maid when she was a girl. Maria had been friend and confident to the lonely little girl who’s father was too busy to spend much time with her, and whose step-mother couldn’t be bothered with her.
Unhappy kids often wished that their ‘real’ parents would come for them and take them away from the unhappy home life that circumstances had thrust them into. Their proper parents would be kind and loving and rich. Little Kennedy had wished she was the daughter of her Mexican maid who lived with her husband in a small apartment somewhere in Boston. Kennedy had long ago promised herself that one day she would make her step-mother pay for ‘letting Maria go’ after Kennedy had been sent to boarding school in England.
Kennedy jumped as orange juice splashed over her hand and plastic ‘glass’ dug into her palm, Willow glanced up from the newspaper she’d been trying to read, a look of concern on her face. She watched as Kennedy started to pick the pieces of the plastic glass from her hand and off the grass where they sat.
“You alright honey?” Willow asked sympathetically.
Picking up a serviette she crawled over to sit next to Kennedy and wipe juice from her hand.
“Thinking about your step-mom?” Willow examined her girlfriend’s hand for cuts, she found none, “There, all better now,” she kissed Kennedy lightly on he cheek.
“Yeah I’m fine.” Kennedy smiled and tried to change the subject, she felt uncomfortable when Willow started to play the big sister, Kennedy felt uncomfortable when anyone showed concern for her, “What you reading?”
“Ah!” Willow scrambled across their picnic site and retrieved the newspaper she had been reading, “Might be something interesting…if I got it right.”
“Here let me see,” Kennedy held out her hand and took the paper from Willow who pointed out a story at the bottom of an inside page.
Reading the story through twice in the same time it had taken Willow to puzzle out the first paragraph, Kennedy smiled. She had nearly laughed out loud as she’d watched Willow’s lips moving as she ‘sounded out’ the words while she read the piece.
“I wish you’d let me teach you to read and speak Spanish,” Kennedy muttered as she studied the small picture that accompanied the story, ‘The Beast that can Talk!’ Read the headline.
Apparently some locals in a small town somewhere in the jungle had captured a strange humanoid creature, the likes of which no one had ever seen before. It was being studied at the University of Quito’s Zoology department. The picture showed the beast standing forlornly in a large iron cage.
“It looks a bit like the devil,” Kennedy gave Willow a puzzled frown; “you see anything like it before?”
“Pan,” Willow replied, then seeing the puzzled look on Kennedy’s face she explained, “Pan was a minor Roman god or something, he was fairly harmless, used to play the pipes a lot, see? And the early Christian’s turned him into the devil.” Willow pouted at the idea of this harmless little ‘godlet’ ruling over hell.
“Damn those early Christians,” Kennedy tried to keep the sarcasm out of her voice; in the last few months Kennedy had found that Willow tended to ‘care’ too much about stuff that she couldn’t change, “Do you think we should look into it?”
Taking the paper back Willow nodded her head emphatically.
“It might me nothing,” she said in that sort of breathless way she had, “but it could be some new sort of demon…or-or maybe its an old demon that has been like sleeping for centuries and has woken up to take over the world!”
“From an iron cage?” Kennedy pointed out trying to add a little logic into the conversation.
“Huh? Oh yeah,” sighing Willow looked crest fallen.
“It’ll have to wait for tomorrow,” Kennedy looked at her watch then up at the sky, “by the time we get back to the hotel it’ll be time for me to go on patrol.”
Willow glanced at the sky and nodded her agreement before starting to help Kennedy load things into their picnic basket.
Sundown came at precisely six o’clock and sunrise at exactly six the following morning; Quito being only fifteen miles south of the equator meant that you could set your watch by sunset and sunrise. In their time searching out slayers they had discovered that if Kennedy found them when they were out hunting and helped out; things went a lot better than if they were approached by the red-haired gringo woman muttering in broken Spanish about demons and vampires.
While Kennedy dealt with the new slayers, Willow dealt with the remnant of council watchers. It seemed that the Bringers had been a worldwide phenomenon, but had not been equally distributed across the globe. Here in South America there were still a lot of watchers left and they had started to collect the new Slayers together once they had realised that something had changed. Some had been pathetically grateful when Willow and Kennedy had arrived on the scene; other’s looked on the two American women as interlopers intent on spreading some kind of neo-colonial American influence across Latin America.
Kennedy didn’t know much about ‘neo-colonial’ influence. What she did know was that slayers were no longer to be treated in the same way as the old council had. The way she’d been treated by her Watcher; and he’d been considered ‘soft’ by some in the Council. Kennedy always made sure that the more conservative watchers understood that slayers were to be respected and cared for and not used as just another weapon in the fight against evil. They were girls who happened to be slayers. Not slayers who happened to be girls. Of course if anyone had a different point of view Kennedy was always willing to discuss it late at night usually in a dark alley somewhere.
The two women chatted as they walked back to their hotel which over looked the park. They had not found any surviving slayers or watchers in Quito; they must have all been wiped out by the First’s agents. They had noticed this before; every watcher and potential would be wiped out in one town, while a few miles away in another city not one had fallen victim to the Bringers, there seemed to be no sense to it. They’d been going to move on to Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second city and try their luck there before they’d seen the story in the newspaper.
They decided that the story warranted at least a couple of day’s investigation before they moved on. Anyway it was probably all just a hoax or a misidentification of an already known creature. Willow, while she thought it was interesting, didn’t think it was anything too important, her fears of demonic world conquest seemingly forgotten. Kennedy was willing to go along with whatever Willow wanted to do as the prospect of yet another long train or airplane journey did not appeal.
“So,” Kennedy agreed, “to the University!”
“Tomorrow,” amended Willow.
“Right!” agreed Kennedy, “But what shall we do in the mean time?”
“After patrolling you mean?” Willow linked her arm through Kennedy’s and turned to grin at her, “I’m sure we’ll think of something.”