Nellie the Demon.By Dave Turner.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Buffyverse, Call of Cthulhu or Nellie the Elephant. I write these stories for fun not profit.
Crossover: Call of Cthulhu and the song ‘Nellie the Elephant’.
Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation; Written in glorious English-English. English and American idioms are used throughout this fic.
Timeline: Post BtVS Season 7, no comics.
Summary: Clowns? A homicidal elephant demon? A trip to the circus can really only end one way when it’s grim up north. Xover with ‘Call of Cthulhu’ and the song ‘Nellie the Elephant’. 0=0=0=0Redcar, Cleveland, England, Winter, 2003.
It was a bitterly cold December evening in Redcar, Cleveland. A freezing mist rolled in off the North Sea as a fog horn sounded mournfully in the distance. On what passed for dry land, in this part of the world, a crowd of people waited to be allowed into the relative shelter of a big tent set up in the middle of Redcar Racecourse. They’d all sampled the delights of the funfair and were now waiting to be let into the Big Top to see ‘Zargos’ Wonderful World of Circus’!
“Great!” Kennedy clapped her woollen mittened hands together in joy, “The Circus!”
The dark haired slayer received a multitude of frowns and black looks from her companions without turning a hair. When Buffy had given the group of fifteen to sixteen year old trainee slayers the choice between a late night shopping trip to the Cleveland Shopping Centre in Middlesbrough, or going to the circus for a group outing; much to her surprise they’d chosen the circus.
This had made her very suspicious; if her parents had tried to take her to the circus at that age she’d have moaned and sulked and generally been a pain in the butt. But these girls seemed to be actually looking forward to the outing. This was even after they’d been told that there’d be clowns. For a moment or two after this revelation there’d been some hesitation, but after an hour or so the girls had returned and reaffirmed their enthusiasm for the circus trip.
In fact the only person to show any real eagerness from the get go had been Kennedy; now Buffy thought about it, hadn’t it been Kennedy’s idea in the first place? Buffy was beginning to have the strongest of feeling that there might have been some bribery going on behind the scenes. Although, exactly why Kennedy would want to put everybody through the living hell that was the circus instead of going by herself she couldn’t work out; at least not just yet.
“Sweetie,” Willow’s breath clouded in the freezing air as she spoke, “I’m not sure we should be supporting the circus…you know all those poor animals forced to do un-natural stuff.”
“It’s okay, honey,” Kennedy smiled from between layers of brightly coloured woollen scarves and hats, “I checked. They only have animal acts using traditionally domesticated animals, and they’ve been checked out by the RSPCA.”
“Domesticated animals?” queried Buffy as she tried to get candy floss out of one of the younger slayer’s hair, “What, like, cows and sheep right?”
“No,” replied Kennedy wearily, “come on you know what I mean; horses, dogs,” Kennedy paused before adding quietly, “elephants.”
“Oh that’s alright then,” Willow breathed a sigh of relief, “if it’s only domesticated ani…elephants?”
Willow turned an annoyed glare on her girlfriend.
“Hey!” Kennedy began defensively, “In some countries elephants are domesticated animals…”
“Yeah, like for knocking down trees and stuff in Thailand or somewhere,” Willow was getting quite cross now; Buffy had the feeling Kennedy would be sleeping on the couch tonight. “Bet they make poor jumbo’s jump through hoops and stuff.”
“Elephants can’t jump,” Kennedy pointed out hands on hips, “that’s why they’re so afraid of mice.”
Buffy and Willow looked at Kennedy in confusion, “Huh?” they chorused.
“Yeah,” Kennedy regained a little of her usual unbounded confidence, “if they could jump they’d be able to get up on a stool or something whenever they see a mouse.”
“That’s so not the point,” rejoined Willow shaking her head as if to rid it of pictures of frightened elephants trembling on top of stools, “you tricked us and now we have to sit through clowns and stuff as well as torturing poor defenceless animals…”
“Elephants aren’t defenceless…” Kennedy would have said more but just at that moment someone opened the flap to the tent and people started to file into the Big Top.0=0=0=0
To be honest, when Buffy thought of fun things to do, sitting on hard wooden seats in a freezing, drafty tent just didn’t feature. She hugged herself tightly trying to conserve any warmth her body still had before it was leeched away by some Arctic demon that so obviously inhabited the tent. Where was Giles while she was suffering like this? He should be here to share her pain, not attending some fancy dinner at a no doubt posh, and more importantly, warm hotel.
Never mind Giles, where were Faith and Xander? That business about the Treacle Monster in Bradford had blown up suspiciously quickly after the trip to the circus had been announced. Buffy frowned and sank further into the layers of clothes she was wearing (these days even in the summer she never ventured out at night without at least a vest on under her tank top). She knew just where Xander and Faith would be; they’d be in the bar of some nice country hotel somewhere sharing a drink or something…gods how she wished she was with them.
Just then Buffy was jolted out of her dark mood by the ring mistress walking into the centre of the ring. God, thought Buffy, she must be cold. The woman was wearing a red dinner jacket and white waistcoat, what looked like black waist high knickers, black tights and high heels all set off with a tall top hat. Using a microphone that hung down from the darkness above she announced the first act in what sounded like an East European accent.0=0=0=0
Chaugnar Faugn raged at the injustice of the universe, the Elder Gods had trapped him inside this parody of his true form for the past hundred years. He was forced to dance and do tricks for the puny humans that should rightfully be sacrificed to him in his mountain lair. But tonight the stars and the planets were in the correct alignment; he had succeeded in influencing one of the weaker willed humans into conducting the ceremonies that would free him from his prison. Tonight he would escape his confinement, tonight he would be free. Tonight the blood of the humans would flow like a river as he took his revenge. However, in the meantime he had a show to put on; he waited for the ring mistress to call him to the Big Top.0=0=0=0
The first few acts passed in the same way as death inexorably follows torture, only without any of the fun bits. In between acts the clowns came out to ‘entertain’ the audience. Sad men in big trousers and oversized boots fell about the ring as their car inevitably blew up and the small children in the audience cried and clung to their parents in fear. Buffy wondered what would happen if she leapt into the ring and slayed the lot of them. Surely no judge or jury would convict, surely they’d see she’d been doing a public service?
Eventually the clowns left the ring to the sound of desultory applause from the relieved audience. At last the final act made its way into the ring in the form of a tired looking female Indian Elephant. The elephant received louder and more enthusiastic applause than the clowns had. Maybe it was knowledge that after this act everyone could go home and have their frostbitten fingers and toes treated, maybe it was just relief that the clowns had finally gone.
Glancing down the line of bored looking younger slayers Buffy caught sight of Willow…the best word for the look on her face would be ‘fuming’. Yes ‘fuming’, that would be the best description of what was going on there. Willow sat with her arms crossed tightly over her chest and a frown on her face that drew both her eyebrows together to make them look like one long eyebrow. Kennedy was in big trouble.
The thought made Buffy frown herself. Kennedy must have known Willow would have this reaction, whatever else she might be, Kennedy wasn’t stupid. So, she must have a reason to risk her relationship with Willow. Buffy gasped as the truth hit home; Kennedy had obviously turned to the ‘Dark Side’ and was about to sacrifice them all to some clownish hellgod!
Buffy's thoughts of death and betrayal were interrupted by a scream from the audience. Looking back towards the ring, she wondered what had happened now; surely the clowns hadn’t come back on. Her eyes fell on the elephant. There was something odd happening, her slayer senses were flashing her danger signals that indicated there was a greater threat to life and sanity than just a few clowns.
The elephant was sitting back on its haunches in a sort of begging dog type pose; the creature was slowly changing shape. Its tusks were growing longer and the ends appeared to be getting sharper. Its fore feet were slowly changing shape into arms and hands with wickedly sharp looking talons at the ends of its fingers. Its ears became webbed looking and the creature’s eyes took on a malevolent cast and the entire creature grew in size until it was nearly twice the size as it had been.
There was, not unexpectedly, a great deal of screaming and rushing for the exits as the audience realised something bad was happening…worse than clowns that is. The monster stomped across the ring neatly crushing the elephant trainer under one giant foot. The creature snatched up a member of the audience in its trunk and smartly popped the struggling victim into its mouth. There was a sickening crunch as the monster bit down on its crunchy snack.
Just as she was about to start shouting orders, Buffy looked along the line of slayers to see them pull knives, hatchets and stakes and chains with spiky bits on the end, from under their clothes. There at the end of the row she could see Kennedy putting together a sort of spear thing made from lengths of pipe.
“You knew this would happen!” cried Buffy as she pushed panicking people out of her way. “How? Why?” That wasn’t important now she thought, “I’ll deal with you later…lets get these people outta here!”0=0=0=0
Trumpeting with the joy of being free once more, Chaugnar Faugn snatched up another struggling human and crushed the life out of it before putting the limp body into his mouth. He gloried in the taste of blood and flesh as it slipped down his throat to warm his soulless body. Soon he would have to break out of the flimsy structure that surrounded him, his prey were rapidly making their escape and he was still hungry.0=0=0=0
The young slayers had succeeded in getting most of the audience out of the big top without too many casualties. The circus staff and performers appeared to have run off leaving only the squashed remains of the elephant trainer behind; poetic justice thought Buffy uncharitably. As she stood at bay in the path of the monster elephant, she felt someone press something into her hand; looking down she saw someone had given her a long, sharp knife.
A moment later she found Willow standing beside her.
“Will, I hope you can do something?” Buffy asked hopefully.
“Let’s see how it likes magical fire,” Willow raised her arms as she muttered the spell under her breath.
“NO!” screamed Kennedy as she leaped at Willow and caught hold of her arms, “Chaugnar Faugn is immune to magical attack. We need to weaken it first.”
“Like, how?” Buffy demanded, “And how do you know?”
“A good education,” replied Kennedy shortly, “we’re going to have to stick sharp things into it first.”0=0=0=0
Roaring loudly, Chaugnar Faugn swatted at the annoying humans that danced all around him. They attacked him with pitifully small weapons that had no chance of seriously damaging him. But they were so small and agile that he couldn’t hit them with his talon tipped hands or even his trunk. What was even more annoying was that all the other, more easily caught humans had run off. Didn’t they realise he needed to feed? They should be grateful that he had chosen them to die for his glory.
He roared in pain as one of the disgustingly insignificant humans stuck its weapon into a particularly tender spot. It was time for him to leave; now which way was Hindustan?0=0=0=0
Dancing away from the clumsy swipe of a clawed hand, Buffy stood back to take a breather. Kennedy had shouted to her about Chaugnar Faugn having ‘ninety hit points’ or something. If she understood correctly that meant that if each attack inflicted one ‘hit point’ then they needed to hit it ninety times. Buffy promised herself that she was going to have a serious talk with Kennedy when all this was over.
Dodging under the creature’s swinging trunk, Buffy buried her knife in the monster’s side. Blood squirted and the creature howled in pain, Buffy smiled, that was a good hit, she must have stabbed something vital. Ducking away from the creature, she noted the amount of wounds and blood that covered the monster’s hide, if they kept this up the hideous thing would soon be dead.
Unfortunately the foul fiend from hell had also worked out that the battle wasn’t exactly going its way. It started to move towards the exit of the tent.
“STOP IT!” cried Buffy desperately hanging on to the creature’s tail as it pulled her across the ring; her heels leaving twin furrows in the sand and co-incidentally ruining a perfectly good pair of boots.
Seeing the situation, Willow, tried to workout what she could do to help. So far, as magical attack was useless or so Kennedy had claimed, she’d been reduced to sitting on the sidelines acting as cheerleader for team slayer. This was an unfamiliar position for a proactive witch such as herself. If direct attack on the creature was impossible, maybe an indirect approach might be efficacious.
Slowly, Willow drew her spells around her, muttering arcane words of power under her breath she prepared to conjure up creatures so vile and foul that not even this monstrosity could hope to stand against them. By now there were several slayers hanging on to Buffy who was in turn hanging on to the beast’s tail as she tried to impede the monster’s progress out into the wide world.
With a flourish and a great cry of, “SO MOTE IT BE!” Willow came to the end of her incantation.
At first nothing happened and Willow was just beginning to think that she had failed when… First there was a single *POP!* then another followed rapidly by a third, a fourth a fifth. Finally the ‘pops’ came in rapid succession too fast to count. Moments later the first slayer screamed and jumped up onto a chair.
“Oh, darn!” wailed Willow woefully; once again in her eagerness to help out she’d forgotten about the possible side effects.
A veritable plague of mice ran about the circus ring as slayers screamed in panic and jumped up on chairs and boxes.
“Oh come on guys!” cried Willow, “They’re only little mices!”
Whatever the reaction of the slayers the effect on the monster seemed to be magnified. It let out a high pitched scream and tried to jump up on a big box to escape the squeaking horde that ran around its feet. The monster failed; Kennedy had been right, not only couldn’t elephants (or in this case vaguely elephant shaped monsters) jump; but they were also terrified of mice!
Luckily not all slayers were frightened of mice or were made of sterner stuff and could hide their fear. Buffy and Kennedy closed in on the repugnant brute as it rolled on the ground flailing at the multitude of malicious Mickey Mouses. The two slayers dodged the fiends frantic fumbling to plunge their weapons repeatedly into its body.
Blood flowed like a river as the brutes bestial bellows got weaker and its attempts at defending itself finally failed; eventually it lay still in a pool of its own putrid juices. Panting Buffy and Kennedy leaned against their weapons and grinned at each other. The mice, frightened by all the screaming slayers, skedaddled out under the edge of the tent to infest the surrounding houses.0=0=0=0
Some day’s later Willow and Buffy were walking down a corridor at Slayer Central near Saltburn-by-the-Sea.
“Come on,” pleaded Willow, “you’ve forgiven people for worse…you forgave me and I tried to destroy the world!”
“Yeah I know,” admitted Buffy, “but…”
“Look Kennedy didn’t tell you coz she thought you wouldn’t believe her,” explained Willow reasonably, “she didn’t tell anyone but the girls…okay so she bribed them to say they wanted to go to the circus but they’d have gone even without the bribe…no one got hurt. Well,” Willow paused and corrected herself, “not many people got hurt.”
“Have you seen the newspapers?” Buffy frowned at her friend, “Elephant runs amok, it says plus there’s the little thing about the plague of mice in Redcar and…”
And, so Buffy went on and on, Willow eventually zoned out and just nodded her head at appropriate times. Buffy would come ‘round eventually and all would be forgiven, but only after she’d got everything off her chest. Wistfully, Willow wondered what had happened to everyone internalising their feelings…oh for the good old days of angst and self recrimination, she sighed.
Walking along next to Buffy, Willow came up behind two trainees, one of them had been at the circus fight, she seemed to be telling her friend a joke and had just got to the punchline, Willow listened in, anything was way better than listening to Buffy moan on.
“…so you see,” confided the girl to her friend, “Nellie, the debutante, packed her trunk and said goodbye to the crocus!”
The girls laughed, Willow frowned and scratched her head and Buffy kept on complaining about Kennedy.The End.0=0=0=0
You may like to copy and paste the following link to your favourite search engine and hear Mandy Miller sing, ‘Nellie the Elephant’.
Information on Chaugnar Faugn was taken from Chaosium Inc’s Call of Cthulhu rule book for the RPG of the same name (5th Edition).
Call of Cthulhu is of course based on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft.