Mirror Shards: Miami
Author: Maven Alysse
Spoilers: None – this is an extended scene from my original story Mirror Shards.
Rating: FR13 for some violence and creepiness.
Disclaimer: Not mine, though wouldn't that be cool? B:tVS belongs to Whedon. The others belong to Anthony E. Zuiker.
Summary: For those who wanted to know – how – Xander managed to get escape from von Patton. Enjoy.
* * Is for when Xander is communicating inwards to his posse.
(* *) Is for when they communicate back out to him.
* * *
Mirror Shards: Miami = moments after the door has been locked.
Xander listened to the footsteps head down the hallway. Examining the door, he found it was one of those ultra-reinforced ones with a special overlap over the lip of the frame to ensure no one could pick the lock. Except, instead of it being on the outside, this one had been installed on the inside. The door swung inward, but it had hidden hinges. There would be no kicking this door down any time soon. Leaning his back to the door, he studied the room. He whistled silently, he could easily fit the entire first floor of Giles' apartment into this room. To his right was a small kitchenette with a sink, a built in refrigerator and a few cupboards. A low breakfast bar partially separated the area from the rest of the bedroom. To his left, a large Queen-sized bed, draped in scarlet bedsheets and a black comforter, was centered against the wall. He could see rings built into the four posts, probably to allow Mrs. Von Patton to tie down her 'toy'. He shuddered, his eyes scanning the rest of the room. Six full length mirrors were affixed to the left hand wall, with a small door near the corner of the room. The wall opposite of his position was also lined with six full length mirrors. Another door, closer to the kitchenette, stood open and he could make out what looked like a bathroom of some sort.
Not particularly wanting to, but seeing no choice in the matter, he searched the room, trying to ignore the cloying scent of sex, fear, and death that hung in the air. It was difficult, a keener sense of smell had been just one of the improvements received from both Kingugwa and Cheshire Cat. He could sense at least a dozen bodies within the walls of the room. One behind each full length mirror. Eyes nearly black with emotion, he turned his attention to the room.
There was nothing of use in the refrigerator. The cupboards were empty. The door in the corner, however, was a closet that held a variety of “toys.” Restraints, a few whips, a ball-gag, and other items were lined neatly upon the shelves. Some were still caked in blood. He shuddered in revulsion and growing hatred for the 'thing' that called herself a human being. A safe with a combination lock was built into the wall. He had a feeling there might be weapons in there, but even if he could access them, he wasn't too sure he could use them without freaking out. The bathroom had a large bath-tub with a shower attachment. Grinning to himself, he screwed off the shower head. The metal was a comfortable weight in his hand. He tucked it into his back pocket. There was another closet within that held several different outfits. Apparently, von Patton liked her victims to play dress up for her. There was nothing under the bed.
* Okay. So, we need a way out. And we definitely need to keep the gruesome twosome from bothering us. Any ideas? *
(* Do a bit of mirror travel? *) Cheshire Cat's rumbled suggestion had him examining the mirrors in more detail. They were gaudy things that he'd expect to see in some cheap tawdry brothel. None of the frames matched; four of them had the cutesy, curlicue edging you'd see in a girl's room and done in various pinks and golds. The others were a bit more masculine, browns, blacks, some silver, but still overly ornate. Nothing he would have even considered buying for himself, or even one of his girls.
Standing in front of the least hideous – a silver frame with beveled edges and inscriptions of love inked along the edges - Xander stared deeply into the mirror’s reflection. The scent of decay clogged his nose and tried to force its way down his throat. He swallowed harshly, focusing on his task. On Halloween, after the spell had broken, Xander had managed to send Jabberwock’s hand and blood back through the mirror. He remembered how mirror-walking felt that night, but wasn’t quite sure the pathways were still open. ‘Only one way to find out.’
Hands pressed against silvered glass, he closed his eyes, listening to both Cheshire Cat’s and the Jabberwock’s rumbled instructions. He ~pushed~ and within a heartbeat found himself on the mirror pathway. The ground beneath him felt squishy and was shrouded by fog, several windows hung in the air mostly in parallel lines, though a few others seemed scattered about. Glancing behind him, he jumped, startled to see himself: eyes closed, hands pressed against the window – which he now recognized as the mirror he'd been using - brow furrowed in concentration. “Um, what just happened?”
“It appears only your mind can travel at this point. Not too surprising since this is your first time.” Cheshire cat rubbed up against his leg. “Perhaps with practice we can do more.”
Kingugwa strode forward, “New hunting ground?” A wide-eyed Alex clung to her back.
“For now. Stay close. There’s no telling what will happen here.”
A snarl had them all whirling. Jabberwocky stalked down the path toward them, stopping in front of Xander before bowing slightly, demonstrating consolidarity. Xander bowed in return, glad the Jabberwock was fully on their side. He turned to look down the pathway. “Are those windows other mirrors?”
Cheshire Cat nodded, “We should be able to see that which occurs on the other side.”
After a moment’s thought Xander asked, “Can they see us?”
“If we wish,” was the catty grin.
A feral grin twitched Xander’s lips. “Then here’s what I want you guys to do.”
* * *
Time behind the mirror being fluid, only moments had passed in the ‘real world.’
Kingugwa and Cheshire cat passed down the hall in tangent. “Mousy one not make good prey. No challenge.”
Cheshire Cat agreed, “Too timid by far to allow one so shallow to control him. Let’s see how far we can push. Shall we?”
They dashed for the hallway mirrors, leaping toward the glass, snarling, causing the shadows to twist and writhe. The mousy man, Wegner, jumped and startled as he made his way down the hall. Nervous, he was nearly at a dead run by the time he reached his door. Cheshire Cat and Kingugwa detoured to the next mirror, a large stand-alone, and watched the man nervously fret as he prepared for bed. They growled and hissed, Kingugwa’s barking laughter causing even Cheshire Cat’s hair to stand on end.
The man, in a fright, tossed a blanket over the mirror and Cheshire Cat couldn’t help the chuckle that escaped at the man’s face. He, at least, would not be stirring from his room anytime tonight.
* * *
Jabberwocky made its way to the resting chamber of the insane one. It studied the woman – this Laura von Patton – as she sat before a mirror removing paint from her face, dimming her previous beauty. She stared at herself so seriously, so critically. Slate blue eyes sparked with a child’s malice. The Jabberwock stared as well, recognizing the predilections stamped upon her soul. Before Halloween, it might have tried to draw her to itself. Make her one of its minions. Reveled in the destruction the woman caused. Now, she was merely an obstacle to freedom for it and ... its family. For they were family, bound until death. The others depended on it, leaned upon its strength. Allowed it to, in turn, lean on them. And it felt connected in ways it never had before. No. It knew that its fate, its journey, would forever be with the others and for the first time, it reveled in the sensation.
Growling at the idea that this woman would try to hurt its family, the Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, manifested itself within the glass, pouring out all its hate and animosity for the woman for a split-second.
Her face paled and it could practically hear the shriek that she stifled. With careful, precise movements, she put the brush down and eased herself away from the vanity, never taking her eyes from the mirror. “Sleep. That's what I need. Too much excitement, that's all.” A strained, high pitched laugh escaped her as she quickly dressed for bed and retired for the evening.
Snarling it's frustration, it slammed the mirror with a clawed hand, the Jabbewock turned from the glass, no longer interested in the woman.
* * *
Alex rode piggy-backed, peering through some of the mirrors. “There’s a phone.”
Xander paused, gazing out the mirror. “Humn. We’ll have to really the check the room when we get back. Gotta be a way to send a signal somehow. Scare tactics will only stall for so long and I think we all want to be out of here long before they regather their courage.”
The boy shuddered, “Maybe we can crawl through the air ducts like in ‘Mission Impossible’!”
“If they’re big enough. That’s a good plan.” The boy beamed at the praise.
The two scouted out the rest of the house. Their cell was on the third floor, and it appeared that only their two captors were in residence. They found a couple of routes they could possibly take to escape the house if they could get out of the room they were locked in. Returning to “their” mirror, Xander frowned at several hazy spots that hung in front each of the mirrors of the “wedding suite.” “What the…?”
Alex’s eyes were wide, “I didn’t notice those before. Did you?”
Xander shook his head, “Nope.” The air surrounding the spots was colder. Both could feel goose-bumps raise along their arms as they approached. Fascinated, Xander could see his body react to the chill as well. ‘Something to keep in mind’
“What are they?” the younger boy whispered, suddenly feeling watched.
Xander grimly replied, “Ghosts. Well, partial ghosts. Giles says that if a person died a violent death and isn’t given a decent burial, then part of their soul remains to watch over the body in hopes someone will put them to rest.”
“Watcher-man right,” Kingugwa sidled up beside them. “Young ones not happy.”
Xander nodded, “Let’s see if escape is possible without having to resort to facing the psycho-bitch. Then we’ll make sure they’re all taken care of.”
The others agreed and the chill receded some.
* * *
Xander blinked, bringing his reflection into focus. Brown eyes stared solemnly from the glass and he nodded decisively. “Let’s do this.” Gazing upward, he examined the ceiling, paying particular attention to the air vents. His shoulders were too broad for him to fit, “Crap.” The small kitchenette, though, had ceiling tiles. He climbed up on the counter and pushed one of the tiles out of the way. Seeing electrical wires, he grinned. He pulled off his belt and used the buckle to peel back the insulation on one of the wires. Careful not to touch either the metal or the exposed wire, Xander braced himself and gave the wire a tap with the metal end. The lights flickered. Holding his breath he tapped it twice more. The lights flashed twice.
* What do you guys think? Did it affect the whole house or just this room? *
(* This entire floor. And, it appears, part of the grounds. *)
* Must be on the same circuit breaker. Good. Then this just might have a chance at working. Otherwise, we'll have to go to Plan B. *
(* And what's Plan B? *)
* I don't know. So this had better work. *
Grinning ferally, he hopped down from the counter and began removing the mirrors from the walls, putting them neatly upon the bed.
(* Now what are you doing? *)
* Gotta establish an alibi, don’t I? Walls sound hollow to you? * he tapped directly over one of the hidden bodies he could smell.
(* Yes. *)
(* Good. I’ll make a few holes – tell anyone who asks that I thought I could kick my way out, then send the signal via electronic Morse code. *)
* And the lost become found. The evil ones become wrapped in their own web. *
(* Exactly. *)
* * *
It had been hard work. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. Xander was ready to collapse in tears by the time he’d managed to reveal only half of those trapped within the walls. At one point, as a break from the smell and the sheer horror of bones and mummified flesh, he’d replaced one of the mirrors upon the walls and traveled to the mirror pathways.
Alex couldn’t stop sobbing. All those people. Some of them kids not much older than himself. Kingugwa licked his face, trying to stem the tears. “Do not be sad. They not hurt anymore. Bad peoples soon face their punishments.”
“Once we get out of here, they’ll go to jail for a very long time.” Cheshire Cat soothed.
“And if they show up to ‘deal’ with us before help does?” the tears were subsiding.
“Killssss…” Jabberwocky hissed menacingly.
“If it comes to us or them,” Xander concurred. “Us.”
The boy nodded, face stiffening in resolve. “Can we scare them more? Keep them from even thinking of leaving their rooms to bother us?”
The Jabberwock showed its teeth in a feral grin.
* * *
Laura von Patton cautiously peeked her head out from beneath the bedclothes. Staring about the room, her gaze at first subconsciously skipping over the vanity mirror, she chuckled to herself. All that anticipation and excitement had her seeing things. She relaxed against her pillows, her mind going back to her new acquisition. He would be a lot of fun and hopefully would last longer than some of the others had. She was intrigued by some of the scars she’d glimpsed, not sure what could have caused them gave her interesting ideas on how to replicate them. Imagining the boy bloody, writhing beneath her sent shivers of delight through her body. If not for the promise she had seen and heard in his eyes and voice of the pleasures she’d receive if she let him rest tonight, she’d be up the stairs in an instant.
The low rumble was felt in her bones first – a sub-audible threat that broke her out in a cold sweat. Blinking out of her reverie, she glanced around the room, eyes narrowed. The noise increased in volume. Slate blue eyes widened slowly as they were drawn to the vanity mirror. Blood drained from her face, leaving her as pale as her sheets, as something pressed its face against the mirror’s glass – staring at her in hatred and hunger. A burbled snarl sent her shrieking, flailing out of bed, away from the beast. Tangled in the sheets, she collapsed to the floor, narrowly missing the corner of the bedside table. Unable to stand, she crab-walked to the closet and flung herself inside, barricading the door with whatever she could get her hands on. Hiding behind the racks of expensive silk dresses and furs, a stiletto shoe in hand, her gaze locked on the closet door.
* * *
Wegner was almost a disappointment. At the first hint of menace emanating from the covered mirror, Wegner made an odd squeaky noise in the back of his throat and passed out cold.
‘Wuss’ was the general consensus.
* * *
Nearly two hours later Xander exposed the last body, glad the insane woman hadn’t put any in the floorboards as well.
(* Now can we signal for help? *) Alex’s voice was plaintive.
* Yes. *
Using his belt buckle, he tapped out S.O.S. on the exposed wire – over and over again – till his arms grew tired, the muscles burning from having them over his head so long, and his perch became shaky from exhaustion. (* I’m gonna be pissed if this doesn’t work. *)
(* Will work. Good plan. *) Kingugwa rumbled.
* * *
Gordon Archibald drove down the street, glad for the lack of traffic. It was nearing dawn and he was on his way home from a particularly good party.
Flashing light on his left caught his attention. Uncertain, and a bit curious, he pulled over. There. The house on the hill. All the lights on the grounds, and the third floor, were flickering on and off.
Gordon snickered. “Bad electrical job.” Putting the car in gear, he paused. Something about the lights niggled at the back of his mind. He stared at the house, his alcohol-addled mind (I only had three!) finally recognizing the pattern. S.O.S.
‘Should I get involved? It’s probably some dumb prank,’ but his fingers were already dialing 911.
“Hello? Yes. Look. I’m out on Oak Stands Road and one of the houses? Number 403? Their lights are flashing an S.O.S. Yeah. No, all the lights. Well, the ones on the third floor and all the ones along the sidewalk and porch. Um… I’ve been here about five minutes and it hasn’t stopped.” He watched the house. “No, it’s too irregular to be mechanical. I think someone’s in real trouble. Yeah. 403 Oak Stands Road . Right. Yeah, I’ll stay put. Archibald. Gordon Archibald. Thanks.” He continued watching the house noting the pauses between were lengthening. When they stopped, Gordon felt his heart in his throat, imagining all sorts of scenarios, until they started up again a few minutes later.
A black and white pulled around the corner and he flashed his lights to alert them of his presence. Pointing at the house, Gordon rolled his window down as an officer approached. “See? It’s been doing that for at least fifteen minutes – no telling how long it’s been going on .”
“Did you notice anything else, sir?”
“Nobody’s come out this way. The S.O.S. stopped for a few minutes – whoever’s doing it might be tired or injured. Beyond that…” he trailed off.
“Alright. Give me your address and phone number in case we need more information later, then head home. We'll take it from here.”
* * *
The house sprawled across several acres. Officer Benjamin Fogg called for backup while his partner cautiously approached the house, peering into windows.
Pranks would never last this long – it was becoming more obvious to the officers that there was real cause for concern. An ambulance was called to wait on stand-by.
Officer James Peters shook his head, indicating no discernible movement. Fogg joined him at the door, weapon ready. Two other squad cars pulled up. He motioned them to go around the back and waited a moment for the other officers to get into position. Banging on the door he shouted, “This is the Miami-Dade Police. Open up!” When there was no response, the door was kicked in. The rooms, their furnishings cold and sterile, appeared even more disturbing beneath the continuously flickering lights pouring in through the windows.
* * *
Moving swiftly, officers cleared the rooms as they leapfrogged further into the house. Paramedics were called as a man found in one of the bedrooms on the second floor went into cardiac arrest when the police burst into the room.
Two officers were needed to restrain a woman who careened out of a closet, wielding a four-inch stiletto shoe. A third officer had to be treated for injures when she caught him in the face – tearing his left cheek open. Her struggles actually increased once she was aware they were the police and she was taken out in handcuffs.
Down a hallway on the third floor, Fogg and Peters came upon a reinforced door with a heavy bolt that locked from the outside. Counting silently to three, Fogg turned the lock and opened the door while Peters scanned the room, in a crouched position, weapon out.
The lights instantly ceased flickering and both heard a thud coming from the right hand side of the room. “Miami-Dade Police! Come out with your hands up.”
“Don’t shoot! I didn’t go to all this trouble just to get shot again.” The youthful voice was a bit of a surprise, so was the comment. A teen cautiously rose from behind the counter separating the small kitchenette from the rest of the bedroom, hands away from his side, a black leather belt wrapped around one hand as a makeshift weapon.
Peters motioned for the young man to come around the counter. “I’m Officer James Peters. Are you alright, son? Need any medical attention?”
The teen did so, slowly unwrapping the belt and leaving it on the counter, “Could use some Tylenol.”
While Peters focused on the kid, Fogg checked the rest of the room and now urgently spoke to someone on his radio. Peters escorted the teen out of the room, just now noticing the mirrors on the bed and the holes in the walls exposing – something. “What’s your name? We got called because of an S.O.S. How’d you get here?”
“Xander Harris. Glad someone noticed. My arms were getting tired. Mrs. Von Patton and her goon snagged me from Las Vegas . She wanted to ‘play’,” he shuddered.
He guided Xander out of the house – hoping to calm some of the jumpy wariness he could feel in the kid. “Let’s get you checked by the paramedics – just as a precaution. Is there anyone we should call?”
“Detective Jim Brass of the LVPD. He’s been helping me out this past month.”
The paramedics didn’t like that Xander had been through a traumatic event so soon after being severely injured. He was still healing from the gunshot wound to his shoulder and the temple graze induced concussion. Despite the teen’s protests, they decided to admit him for observation. “I’ll call Detective Brass and let you now what’s going on.”
Xander nodded in appreciation. He watched, a cold grin upon her lips, as von Patton was manhandled into a black and white, all the while shrieking about red-eyed monsters appearing in mirrors. The police car drove off. One of the paramedics shook his head. “We'll be taking you to Sacred Heart Hospital. Normally, we'd head for Baptist since it's closer, but Officer Peters thought it would be better if you weren't at the same hospital as one of your kidnappers.”
“He had a coronary when the police showed up. Guess he was high-strung,” Peters admitted.
Xander just grinned.