1. Red eyes
1. Red eyesDisclaimer: None of the characters are mine.
For the second week now the coyotes were on her trail, and they were growing bolder. Looking behind her shoulder, Faith could see them approaching: scraggly, indistinct grey shadows, hiding in the gloom of Nevada’s desert dunes, with eyes burning bright in the darkness of the night all around her. This time, however, Faith was sure that she would be able to defeat them as easily as before.
Faith couldn’t see too far – her night vision, a Vampire Slayer or not, wasn’t all that different from an average human, and human civilization in Nevada wasn’t all that different from what it was before: a scattering of cities and towns and smaller settlements at certain select points, and the sea of dunes everywhere else, save for the crisscrossing roads and highways. These roads and highways were currently quite a fair distance away – Kakistos and his minions were travelling by road, and Faith had preferred to risk wilderness and wild animals over Kakistos and his undead savagery.
For two days already, Faith’s Vampire Slayer senses have been tingling. She didn’t know if the Watcher of the older Vampire Slayer, Buffy (and what kind of a name is that, anyways?) had her read and practice the handbook – life on a Hellmouth was different even for a Vampire Slayer, but she has. Faith had read the book, done the exercises, and had expanded her knowledge and senses. And those expanded senses and knowledge of hers was telling her that Kakistos had resorted to divinatory magic once more to seek her – her only hope was to stick to terrain that would slow Kakistos and his minions down somewhat.
...When Faith had broken free from Kakistos’ lair, she could only flee – but the whole world (or at least the whole of US and possibly the rest of North America) was hers for the fleeing. Obstinate and stubborn that she was (her late Watcher swore sometimes that Faith had the soul of a hevacore, a massive demon that ate people by dozens), Faith had decided to flee to the west, where another Vampire Slayer was living – a potential ally in dealing with Kakistos. But once Kakistos was dealt with...
From her first conscious days, from the time that Faith realized that her mother was a lazy drunken whore, the fires of ambitions kindled in her heart – the potential Vampire Slayer (who didn’t know yet that she was a potential Vampire Slayer, let alone one who’ll become activated) swore that she would become her mother, that she will rise in the world and perhaps even rule a part of it, no matter what – but even if she won’t, she will not become her mother.
That was then, and then Kakistos arose, his ego already damaged from his run-ins with a previous Vampire Slayer, Kendra, who had died in the American state to which Faith was currently fleeing, and threatened to unmake all of Faith’s hopes and dreams. He already killed her Watcher, her legal guardian, and Faith, Faith-
The young Vampire Slayer shook her head and pulled it firmly back into the now. In the now, a pack of either feral dogs or coyotes were on her trail, and they were not backing down. Down here, in the south-west America, it was currently the dry time of the year, prey, whether wild, feral or domestic was scarce, and these coyotes were apparently numerous and desperate enough to take on, perhaps successfully, even a lonely human.
When the first time this pack had confronted the Vampire Slayer, the latter was so full of fires of rage and despair in her belly, that with her bare hands she broke the back of one animal, and shattered the skull of the other. That was all that it took back then: the rest of the pack fled, leaving the strange, dangerous prey to her own devices – but then they came back.
They came back at sunset, when Faith was crossing the railroad. One of them, a particularly nasty and mangy beast, had rushed her then, body slamming her onto the railroad tracks. Vampire Slayer strength being what it was, Faith had flung the attacker quite some distance away – but the coyote had landed onto its feet, and the rest of the pack grew bolder by the semi-successful attack... and only a leap, fuelled by Slayer-strength and a fortunate appearance of a late train helped Faith get away. How many of the coyotes managed to get off the railroad, and how many remained there, crushed by the train’s wheels, Faith didn’t know.
Instead, herself barely escaping the rushing locomotive, and hearing the coyotes yap on the other side of the moving machine, Faith fled. She fled once more, even though she was getting tired of fleeing, and had moved for the next twenty-four hours straight.
At night, a desert is almost as cold as it is hot during the day. Faith’s feet, a Slayer’s endurance or not, where calling out for a rest. There were at least a dozen coyotes behind her, yapping and yipping excitedly in the shadows behind her, and Faith’s was positive that a wooden stake was not the right weapon to deal with that threat.
As she took another step, she suddenly noticed the landscape changing around her. Instead of a sandy desert, an even more desolate, rocky one was lying around her. An especially massive cliff rose before her like a castle’s wall, and there a gap of an entrance into a cavern was evident.
Faith smiled grimly through lips that were chapped by sand. For all she knew, a wild bear or a mountain lion was living in that place, but right now, between a potential new threat and the coyotes, she preferred that threat. In the darkness of the cave, where floor was also probably covered with rocks, she also had a better chance of fighting off the pack as opposed to an open area. And so-
And so, making this decision, Faith made an abrupt leap. This jump caused a nasty twinge in her thighs, implying that a good rest was in order, but she made it. She made it, and she jumped, and she left the coyotes behind her once more – but now the animal pack made a howl and charged after her, a dozen of greyish demonic shadows from Hell. Cursing grimly to herself, Faith made another breath, and fled into the depths of the cavern. To be continued