By Dave Turner.
A ‘Tails from the Slaughtered Lamb’ story.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Buffyverse or anything else; I write these stories for fun not profit.
Crossover: Inspired by an episode of ‘Blackadder’ and the BBC TV series ‘Strange’ but not really a crossover for either.
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar; Written in glorious English-English, English idioms are used throughout this fic.
Timeline: Occurs after the events depicted in ‘The Dark Huntsman of Widecombe’.
Warnings: Some violence, mentions child prostitution.
Summary: Re-working of an older fic. Sequel to ‘The Dark Huntsman…’Slayers Tina and Alice and the baby eating Bishop of Bath and Wells.
It was a dark and stormy night and the Bishop of Bath and Wells looked out of his dinning room window. Thunder and lightening played over the rooftops of the city and the rain poured down in torrents. He heard the door open behind him and he turned to see his curate, Horace, enter the room.
“Tell cook that the roast was particularly good tonight,” the Bishop turned back to look out of the window again.
“Um…er…Yes Your Grace,” Horace spoke haltingly.
“And the mother?” The Bishop studied his reflection in the window.
“Um…In the cellar as usual Your Grace,” fear and shame competed for dominance in Horace’s mind.
“Good, good,” mused the Bishop, “there’ll be nothing else tonight Horace…you may go to bed now. Leave the dinner things until tomorrow.”
“Thank-you Your Grace,” hurriedly Horace turned and left the room.
As he walked around the Bishopric checking the doors and windows he heard the Bishop make his way down to the cellar were the baby’s young mother was chained to the wall. Later as he climbed the stairs to his room he tried to block out the sound of the woman’s screams as he silently prayed, ‘Oh God when will the slayers arrive?’
Tina looked up from the road atlas she was reading and said, “Left.”
“Left?” Alice was in the driver’s seat as she drove the bright red Mini Cooper along the A367 towards Bath.
“In this country we drive on the left,” explained Tina, for the umpteenth time, she calmly watched Alice dodge around another truck as it thundered towards them flashing its lights and blowing its horn.
Early on Monday morning, after recovering from the hangovers caused by too much local ale, the young women had driven out of Widecombe and picked up the main road heading north east. They by-passed Exeter and Taunton and then came off the motorway and took the more scenic route over the Mendip Hills as they headed towards the ancient city of Bath in the county of Avon. First founded by the Romans nearly two thousand years ago, Bath nestled in a curve formed by the River Avon. The city itself held many architectural wonders from Roman bathhouses to Georgian terraces. However the slayers were not there to sightsee.
They had received an urgent message from Mrs Fitzsimons, General Secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Slayers and Guardians, who seemed to think that being democratically elected gave her carte blanche to mess with peoples lives. ‘Oh-well’ thought Tina it gave her a few more days alone with Alice before they had to go back to London and the Slaughtered Lamb. In the mean time they had to meet some contact of the senior slayer’s at nine o’clock that night in a pub called the ‘Aged Sheepdog’.
After arriving in Bath and finding themselves a pleasant little bed and breakfast for the night, the slayers made their way to the ‘Aged Sheepdog’ pub, and arrived there a little before half past eight. Buying themselves each a pint of rather substandard beer they sat down in a secluded corner and watched the pub and its denizens, while playing ‘footsie’ under the table.
The ‘Aged Sheepdog’ was a fairly typical town pub. It was long and thin with a high ceiling. Like the Slaughtered Lamb the bar was to one side of the public bar area and the customers sat at tables around the unoccupied walls. Unlike the Slaughtered Lamb both girls thought that there were far too few mirrors on the walls; a vampire could walk in here and easily not be noticed.
Dead on the stroke of nine o’clock their contact arrived.
“Guess what’s just walked in.” Tina brushed her long curly blonde hair from her face, and surreptitiously pointed across the room at the man who had just walked into the bar.
Alice turned casually around in her seat to glance over at the door. She saw a man in his late twenties, he was about five foot eight or so, thin…bony even. He also carried a large neon lit sign that said ‘I’m doing something I really shouldn’t’, or so it seemed to the girls. He looked very out of place as he stood in the doorway and looked nervously around the pub.
Slowly the man walked into the main part of the pub, he appeared to expect someone or something to leap out and attack him. Any loud noise seemed to push him to the edge of panic and precipitous flight, Tina waved to the man.
“COOO-EEEE!” She called waving her arms about, “Over here dearie!”
The man looked as if he was about to have a heart attack as he stumbled across the floor towards the slayers.
“Tina,” grinned Alice., “You’re an evil woman, y’know that?”
“Yeah,” agreed Tina with a wicked smile, “and don’t you just love it?”
Eventually the man made it to their table and sat down in a spare chair, he removed his hat to reveal a prematurely balding head; his eye’s darted from one girl to the other.
“I-I’m Horace Smith,” he stammered, “M-Mrs Fitzsimons said she would…”
“Yeah we’re the slayers,” announced Tina before Smith could finish what he was saying, “and you need a drink!”
“No I can tell,” Tina stood up and walked to the bar; moments later she returned with a large whisky and placed it in front of Smith, “Drink that,” she ordered.
Reluctantly Smith picked up the glass before knocking the drink back in one, Tina looked at Alice in surprise.
“Why don’t you tell us what’s going on?” Asked Alice encouragingly.
Horace Smith had been employed as the Bishop of Bath and Wells’ Curate for just over three years. For the first two or three months Horace had been happy in his work, it was an honour and a privilege to get such a ‘plum’ job particularly for one so young. Then he had discovered the Bishop’s little secret, and Horace’s life had started to collapse around him.
The Bishop was much involved in ‘Social’ causes and had been very concerned about the fate of un-married mothers in his diocese. As a result he had set up several hostels for such unfortunate young women in both Bath and Bristol. At first Horace had noticed nothing strange or underhand in any of this work. Then, one day, when he was checking the accounts for one of the hostels, he noticed something odd. On or about the time of the new moon each month one young woman and her child would go missing.
Horace checked back into the records of all the hostels, there being three, he found that for as long as the hostels had been in existence, every new moon one woman and child would just vanish. He asked the staff at the hostels what could account for such regular disappearances. He was told that many of these women and girls simply left or went home to their families, and that it was nothing to worry about. It was only when he found the Bishop’s cook roasting a baby for the Bishop’s dinner that Horace realised the whole terrible truth.
“So,” announced Alice, “we’ll need to kill the Bishop and the cook?”
“Um, well, I…” stammered Horace, “d-do you t-think that’s really…”
“What do you suggest Horace?” Alice wanted to know, “Maybe we should talk sharply to him? Then maybe he’ll stop!”
“Well no I just…you know…but kill?” Horace mumbled.
“Sounds a lot to me like he’s some sort of demon,” Tina spoke up at this point, “I mean, new moon sacrifices, sounds like one of those things a demon would have to do to stay looking human.”
“You think?” Wondered Horace, both girls nodded their heads knowingly. “Oh dear,” sighed the Curate, “when will you…you know…um…the Bishop.”
“When will we ‘off’ him you mean?” Alice asked maliciously.
“No time like the present,” pointed out Tina cheerfully, “we could do him tonight, we’ve nothing else planned.”
“So soon!” Exclaimed Horace, “I thought maybe you could wait…”
“Sorry,” explained Tina shortly, “we’re busy slayers; we’ve got a child eating demon up in Leicestershire to deal with before it chomps its way through the local school population, and who knows what Mrs F will want us to do after that?”
“Oh I see.”
“So,” Alice started to stand up, “if we meet you outside the Bishop’s house-place,” she looked at her watch, “in about an hour? We’ll hack the hell-spawn into tiny pieces, do for the cook, and then we’ll be on our way!”
With a smile and a wave both girls headed for the door leaving Horace wondering what he’d got himself into.
An hour later the girls stood outside the gates of the Bishop’s palace waiting for Horace to appear. Tina swung the weapons bag back and forth while Alice looked impatiently at her watch.
“You think he’s whimped out?” Tina asked looking up and down the street.
“Yeah,” muttered Alice darkly, “what do you expect from a guy who dresses up inna frock an’ talks to invisible people? We could always climb the gate,” she suggested.
Just then the two Slayers heard someone walking quickly down the driveway towards the gate.
“Here he is,” announced Tina with a heart felt sigh.
Horace walked up to the gate and fumbled with a large bunch of keys.
“Hurry up!” Exclaimed Tina angrily, “Do you want to get caught?”
Eventually Horace got the gate open and ushered the girls into the grounds and led them towards the palace itself.
“We must hurry,” explained Horace breathlessly as he led them towards the house.
“Why, what’s wrong?” Alice looked around expecting trouble.
“It’s my own fault,” wailed Horace, “I forgot all about it…the date!”
“What?” Tina demanded sharply.
“You didn’t see?” Horace looked terrified.
They were at the back door to the palace by now and he was fumbling with the keys again.
“See what?” Alice reached into the bag and pulled out a sword.
“It’s a new moon,” moaned Horace miserably, “I noticed the cook had the oven on when I came out to unlock the gates.”
Tina and Alice stared at each other with a look of shock and despair on their faces.
“You stay here,” ordered Tina poking Horace in the chest with her finger, “Alice you want to deal with the Bishop? I can do the cook.”
Alice nodded her head eagerly she had ‘issues’ with the clergy, when she’d been a child prostitute some of her more unpleasant ‘Johns’ had been churchmen. The slayers burst into the palace brandishing their weapons. Alice moved quickly towards the front of the house kicking open doors as she went, while Tina went in search of the kitchen. After kicking open half a dozen doors Alice found herself in the Bishop’s dinning room.
The electric light was switched off, but enough light came in through the open curtains and from the guttering candles on the table for her to see clearly enough. The big dinning table, that occupied the centre of the room, was set for one. The candle light gleamed off the silverware and glasses, of the Bishop there was no sign.
Moving away from the door Alice listened carefully; she could hear screams and the crashing of breaking crockery as Tina chased the cook around the kitchen. Listening harder Alice picked up the sound of someone breathing from the corner of the room where the shadows were deepest. She turned to face the sound and brought up her sword ready to trust it into whoever was hiding there.
A man stepped out of the shadows, even in the poor light Alice could see he was a tall robust looking fellow in his late forties.
“Looks like you’ve caught me slayer,” he said and stepped nonchalantly out of the shadow his upper class voice steady with no trace of fear.
“How did you know…?”
“Any normal person would have looked around the room,” replied the Bishop stepping closer to Alice, “and left. You listened and heard me breathing. Only a Slayer could do something like that…and I’ve been expecting you.” As he finished his sentence the Bishop flourished his own sword.
“Goin’ to make a fight of it then, Bish?” Alice smiled before coming ‘en garde’, “before I kill you, tell me what you are.”
“Me?” Asked the Bishop as he circled Alice, “I’m just a man.”
“A man?” Alice lunged at the Bishop feeling out his defences, “so what sort of spell requires you to eat babies?”
The Bishop parried Alice’s lunge and launched an attack of his own only to have her beat it easily to one side.
“No spells my child.” reassured the Bishop as he launched a flurry of attacks which Alice carelessly parried one after the other. “I just like the taste!”
“YOU WHAT!?!?” Demanded Alice coming to a sudden halt, “That’s just disgusting.”
The Bishop shrugged resignedly. Alice launched into a vicious series of attacks forcing the Bishop back into the corner of the room. He tried to counter attack but the young slayer beat his blade down and knocked it out of his hand.
“I hate your kind,” Alice pricked the Bishop’s throat with her blade, “whining on about goodness and forgiveness and how god loves me while they were sticking their filthy dicks into me…y’all just scum!”
Alice trust with her sword, its point passing easily through the Bishop’s throat. The churchman made a strange gargling noise as his fingers grasped weakly at her blade. Alice pulled her sword from the man’s throat and trust again and again into his body until he lay still and silent on the floor in an ever expanding pool of his own blood.
The slayers met up at the back of the house. Alice wiped the blood from her sword as she turned to greet her girlfriend.
“All done?” She asked cheerfully.
“Yep,” replied Tina, “she won’t be cooking anymore babies.”
“An’ he won’t be torturing any more moms either,” Alice explained, “I found the last one in the cellar and let her go.”
“What was he then?” Tina put her arm around her girlfriend’s waist as they walked slowly towards the gate.
“The Bishop guy,” Tina wanted to know, “what sort of demon was he?”
“He wasn’t,” sighed Alice unhappily, “he was just a man.”
The phone in Inspector Mansfield’s office rang: he looked at the offending instrument that seemed designed to prevent him from doing any actual work. He picked up the receiver.
“Um is that Inspector Mansfield?” Asked a male voice from the other end of the line.
Why did people never listen? Mansfield wondered, “Yes,” replied the Inspector shortly.
“Oh good,” said the voice; maybe one day it would get to the point. “This is Detective Sergeant Browne, Avon Police here. I’m part of the team investigating the murder of the Bishop of Bath and Wells and his cook.” Mansfield wondered what that had to do with him. “I was reading an intelligence report about a murder in your area and noticed some similarities between the cases.”
Mansfield sat up and paid attention to what the DS was saying.
“And that would be…” Mansfield left the question hanging.
“Murder weapons, method, ferocity of the attack,” replied the Avon policeman.
“Umm Browne,” began Mansfield, “could you send me everything you can. Then if its relevant I can ask to come up to your area and maybe I can help you with your case.”
“I was hoping you’d say that,” answered Browne, “I’ll e-mail the information to you straight away. We also have a description of at least one of the attackers”
“That’s great news, thank-you Sergeant I’ll look forward to reading your report.” Mansfield replaced the receiver.
THE END FOR NOW.