Freaktown.By Dave Turner.
I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or ‘Boomtown’ I write these stories for fun not profit.Crossover:
The TV show ‘Boomtown’.Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar:
Written in glorious English-English which is different to American-English.Timeline:
Part of the FITA series set in April 2000.Words:
Three Chapters of 3500+ words.Warnings:
A Faith in the Army prequel: After waking from her coma Faith leaves Sunnydale and finds herself adrift in LA with no past and no future.0=0=0=0 I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
*: ‘I Can See Clearly Now’, by Johnny Nash.0=0=0=0Los Angeles, April 2000.
Walking out onto the bridge, Faith ignored the early morning traffic. Leaning her elbows on the balustrade, she sipped her first coffee of the day and stared down at the river below.
“Another freaking, sunny, LA day,” she told herself quietly.
Sensing someone walk up and stand next to her, she glanced up and nodded a greeting to the old, black guy who was leaning against the concrete beside her.
“Hi Pop,” Faith took another slow sip of her coffee before going back to her contemplation of the river below.
“Not quite the Ganges is it?” Pop asked, “Not really a river anymore.”
Faith shrugged but otherwise kept her own counsel.
“Used to flood like a son-of-a-bitch back when I was a boy,” Pop looked down at the water that covered about half of the concrete river bed below them, he sighed sadly as he remembered his youth, “They paved it all over back in the fifties.”
Looking at the sorry excuse for a river below her, Faith wondered where Pop was going with this; Pop was one of her few friends in LA and she wasn’t about to alienate him by snapping at him to get to the point. Maybe, she shrugged once more, maybe he didn’t have a point; perhaps he was just making conversation because he knew they both needed the company.
“London’s got the Thames,” Pop continued, “Paris has got the Seine, Vienna’s got the Blue Danube,” he gave a quiet chuckle, “LA’s got a concrete drainage ditch…it’s all we got, it’ll have to do.”
“Yeah,” Faith agreed quietly, “that’s my life,” Faith sipped her coffee and smiled ruefully, “full o’ crap an’ goin’ nowhere.”
“What’re you talkin’ about girl?” Pop turned to look at Faith over the tops of his glasses.
“Don’t know Pop,” Faith drained her coffee cup before dropping it over the side of the bridge to watch it drift lazily towards the water; she saw it bob in the water as it was carried away by the current, it was a little like her really, lost in the current.
“You’re too good for this place, Faith,” Pop went back to watching the river, “LA’s no place for a pretty girl like you.”
Pop was right of course, as each day had passed, Faith had grown to dislike LA just a little bit more. There was something about the city that made her brain itch and then there were the people, if she died right that minute only about three people in the entire world would notice; Pop, the clerk at the motel who took her weekly rent and maybe Fearless.
“Hey,” Faith forced a smile and looked at the old man, “goin’ for a job today.”
“Waitressing?” Pop asked.
“Yeah,” Faith admitted with a shrug and a resigned look.
With no work history, in fact no history at all before about three months ago, the best Faith could hope for was a waitressing job and she needed a job, soon. The money the two detectives had given her in Sunnydale was running low, if she was careful she could make it last another two, maybe three weeks and then? Well then her options would have narrowed to turning tricks or robbing people, neither career choice appealed, but what else could she do?
That was the whole point really, what could she do? The truth was she had no idea. Three months ago she’d woken up lying in a bed in a basement room at Sunnydale General Hospital; she’d no idea who she was, apart from her name, and no idea of how and why she’d come to be in a coma for the last eight months. Of course when she woke up all the doctors at the hospital had been amazed, so amazed, in fact, they’d called all their doctor friends to come and see the freak who’d woken up from the dead. They’d come on over in their droves to poke and prod her as they tried to work out why she’d woken up and why she was in such good physical condition after basically lying on her back for eight months.
From listening to all the medical jargon going on around and over her head, Faith had worked out why the doctors were so surprised at her recovery. It was because the longer you stayed in a coma the less likely you were to wake up. Plus there’d been the thing about her being able to walk almost from the moment she’d woken up. That’s how the hospital had discovered she’d woken up, a janitor had found her wandering the corridors of the basement dressed only in a hospital gown and with tubes and wires still hanging from her body.
From what she’d later found out, she’d been brought into hospital after receiving a serious knife wound to her abdomen, she’d also suffered a pretty major fall just after being stabbed. As soon as she’d been taken to hospital it was discovered she worked for the Mayor of Sunnydale although in what capacity Faith didn’t know. From some of the looks a few of the nurses gave her, they thought she’d worked in a ‘flat on her back with her legs wide open’ capacity.
But being the Mayor’s squeeze (if that was what she’d really been) had its benefits. It appeared the Mayor really did like her and she received the best of care…until the Mayor died in a gas explosion while he was giving a speech at the local High School graduation, and the medical insurance ran out. Then it was down into the basement and basic care, Faith suspected she was supposed to have quietly died down there, but she’d stubbornly clung to life and even got better. Now she was standing on a bridge with cars whizzing by behind her, a stinking drainage ditch flowing under her and trying to get excited about a waitress job.
“You look out for y’self, Faith,” Pop pushed himself away from the balustrade, “like I say you’re a pretty girl and there’s some guys out there who might try and take advantage of that fact.”
“There are?” Faith replied with wide-eyed innocence, she grinned and placed her hand on Pop’s arm reassuringly, “Don’t worry Pop I’m a big girl, I can look after myself.”
“It’s bein’ a ‘big girl’ that makes me worry about you,” Pop explained before shaking his head in sorrow, “If only I was thirty years younger,” Pop laughed, “Hell! If only I was ten years younger I’d look out for you.”
“Hey,” Faith smiled, “I keep tellin’ ya I don’t need anyone to look out for me…”
“I know, I know,” Pop nodded his head and grinned, “but, it’d be fun trying!”
“Yeah,” Faith wondered what it would be like to have someone to look out for her; although she couldn’t be sure, she had a feeling she’d always looked out for herself. But maybe one day, “Look, Pop, I’ve gotta go…don’t wanna be late for my job interview.”
“Good luck, Faith,” Pop called as he watched Faith walk away, “mind you come back and tell me how it went.”
“Will do,” Faith called as she waved over her shoulder and walked off leaving Pop standing alone on the bridge.
“Damn fine piece of ass,” Pop muttered to himself as he watched Faith’s rear getting further and further out of reach, “The hell with being ten years younger,” he laughed, “five would do!” Smiling to himself, Pop shook his head, whatever his fantasies about Faith she was out of reach both literally and figuratively, he sighed sadly, “Luck Faith.”0=0=0=0
So, Faith asked herself as she walked the streets of this rundown part of LA, if she hated it here, why had she come here and why was she still here? The second question was easy, she didn’t know where else to go. She’d been told she had a Boston accent, but like everything else, she had no memory of ever living in Boston. So, the chances were if she went there she’d be no better off than she was now only the weather wouldn’t be as good. Something told her that being poor wasn’t as bad in a warm place than it was in a cold place.
Why had she come here? That was easy too; because the two cops who’d turned up in her hospital room had bought her a bus ticket to LA when they’d told her to leave Sunnydale. Although neither of the cops had said anything and she of course had no memory of ever meeting them, Faith was pretty sure they’d worked for the mayor and were carrying out some instructions he’d left behind concerning her. They’d given her about five thousand dollars, all in small bills. An envelope with all her personal documentation in and a small backpack containing a couple of changes of clothes. They’d sneaked her out of the hospital and driven her down to the bus station. Here one of the cops had bought her a ticket and they’d both been there to make sure she got on the bus and stayed on it until it was on its way. As she’d stepped on the bus she remembered one of the cops wishing her good luck. The other had warned her, in a nice but firm way, never to come back to Sunnydale; it was dangerous here for her although he never explained why.
Sitting in her seat, Faith had given the two cops a hesitant wave as the bus pulled out, the one who’d wished her luck had waved back. That small gesture often made her wonder what it was like to have someone care about her. Again, although she had no real evidence to support her feelings, she thought that the mayor had cared about her, more than if she’d just been his ‘mistress’. When she thought about him it was more like he was her father, or at least what she thought a father would be like if she could remember ever having one.0=0=0=0
Looking up at the front of the club, Faith read the neon signs, switched off and pathetic looking in the bright but hazy, LA sunshine. *GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS!* the big one read, *None Stop Pole Dancing!* read another. Another, almost as big as the first, simply read, *STRIPPERS!*.
“Oh crap,” Faith sighed; it looked like this wasn’t a normal waitressing job.
Not knowing why she felt so disappointed, Faith had seen any number of joints like this before, she’d even tried to get jobs in a few of them. But, they’d always wanted her to do stuff that she’d not felt comfortable with.
“Whatever,” Faith shrugged and marched on in through the open door. As soon as she got in off the street the light level dropped dramatically, although this didn’t bother her too much.
Her eyesight was one of the things she’d noticed that was different about her from other people. Unlike most people she could see pretty well in the dark; okay the colours were all washed out and some of the definition wasn’t up to daylight standards (it was a little like looking at a photo that was slightly out of focus). But, it did mean that if she needed to get up and pee in the middle of the night she didn’t have to switch on the lights.
Walking further into the club, Faith could smell the stale sweat, tobacco, alcohol and despair. Even at this early hour of the morning the joint was open. An unenthusiastic stripper danced on a stage illuminated by a red spotlight, while a couple of topless waitresses walked slowly between the tables taking drinks to the half dozen guys in the audience.
“What the…” Faith stared after one of the waitresses; not only was she topless but she also appeared to be wearing some kind of monster make up.
Okay, Faith told herself, topless waitressing, she could do; if there was nothing else. After all she had nothing to be ashamed of, she had a rack a lot of women would kill for and she wasn’t shy about showing it off. But dressing up as some sort of monster or demon-woman, well that went just a little too weird for her. Thinking she’d made a big mistake coming to the club, she turned and started to retrace her steps towards the door.
“Hey honey,” a male voice called from behind her, “can I help you?”
“Nah,” Faith turned and found herself facing a tall, well dressed Italian looking guy in his mid-thirties, “I was looking for a job but then…” Faith gestured to the waitresses, “…then I saw ya had to dress up and…”
“Oh!” the tall guy laughed pleasantly, “Not all our waitresses ‘dress-up’ as you call it. I’m Nick, by the way, I own this joint, you say you’re looking for a job?” Faith nodded, “Come and have a drink and we’ll see what I can offer you.”
“Okay,” Faith moved towards a table and sat down; sure ‘Nick’ was checking her out, she’d grown to expect that, men (and a few women) were always telling her she was pretty or ‘hot’.
“So you want a job waitressing?” Nick asked as he signalled to the barkeep to bring them some drinks.
“Yeah,” Faith shrugged non-committaly, “but…” she didn’t know how to say it without upsetting the guy, after all he’d been pleasant enough to her and he didn’t look too sleazy, “…but look, I don’t mind the topless thing but…” she gestured to the girl with the tail and little horns who’d brought the drinks over, “…the other stuff is y’know too weird for me.”
As the waitress placed Faith’s drink in front of her, she smiled exposing sharp white teeth that looked just a little too long to be real and for a moment Faith could have sworn that the girl’s eyes had glowed red.
“Like I said,” Nick sipped his drink as he looked at Faith intently, “not all our girls ‘dress up’.”
For a second Faith wondered why Nick kept sounding like he was putting inverted comas around ‘dress up’.
“Yeah I get that now,” Faith drank from her glass; the liquid it contained was cool, tasted of fruit and as far as she could tell didn’t contain any alcohol.
“The Hellfire Club,” Nick explained, “is a kinda themed place…”
“Themed?” Faith queried, yeah she supposed it was if your idea of a theme was hell, it was just about then that she noticed most of everything in the place was red of one shade or another.
“Yeah,” Nick smiled exposing white, perfect looking teeth, “we get a lot of customers from TV and movie studios, y’know the guys who do the special effects on monster shows?”
“Oh yeah,” Faith nodded her head, put like that it didn’t sound so weird, “I get it.”
“Can you dance?” Nick asked out of the blue.
“Dance?” Faith frowned for a second, “Yeah sure I can dance.”
Again this was something that came naturally to her, she always got an audience if she went out on the dance floor at a club.
“Well,” Nick smiled disarmingly, “I was thinking you’d be wasted as a waitress…how’d you like to work as one of our dancers? I’m always on the look out for new talent.”
“Hey, look man,” Faith almost got up and walked out there and then, but the memory of her stash of money getting smaller and smaller held her in place, “I don’t know…”
“Sure, look,” Nick looked at her sympathetically, “I know what you’re thinking and I don’t blame you. If I were you I wouldn’t just take my clothes off for any guy who offered me a job as a stripper,” Nick sipped his drink and sat back in his chair, “Don’t decide now, talk to some of the girls if you like, they’ll tell you I’m on the up and up.”
“I don’t think…” Faith so wanted to get up and walk out but the thought of being penniless held her in place once more.
“We pay well,” Nick pointed out enticingly, “and you don’t have to share your tips with anyone, you could easily earn $1500 to $2000 a week.”
Two thousand dollars a week did sound tempting and Faith had to stop herself from saying yes there and then.
“Look, man,” with a great effort of will Faith stood up, “I gotta go, I’ll think about it an call ya, okay?”
Forcing herself to turn and put one foot in front of the other, Faith made a bee-line for the door and the smoggy, LA sunshine.0=0=0=0Outside The Hellfire Club.
Standing on the sidewalk outside the strip club in the warm LA sunshine, Faith wondered what she was going to do for the rest of the day. Turning to her right she started to walk, glancing at her watch she saw that it was just after eleven. This was one of her problems, how to fill her day, she could stay in bed all day but that wasn’t really her. She’d tried staying in bed all day once or twice but she just got restless and soon found herself walking the streets again.
Letting her feet take her where they would, Faith found herself at the local mall. Standing at the entrance she wondered why she was here. It wasn’t like she had any money to buy stuff and she didn’t appear to enjoy window shopping. With a sigh she headed towards the food court, perhaps Pop would be there, at least then she’d have someone to talk to.0=0=0=0
It was now late evening and Faith was just thinking about going for a beer after seeing a movie. There was a multiplex in the mall so she’d not even had to leave the building. The movie had been some low budget monster flick that had been unintentionally funny rather than scary. Walking out of the mall back onto the street, Faith smiled as she remembered the movie, she seemed to like that type of show. It was one of the odd things about her memory loss, while she could remember films she’d seen and songs she liked, but she still couldn’t remember her Mom and Dad, assuming she’d had any parents.
Looking up from these rather dark thoughts, Faith found herself in a dimly lit alley. How the hell had she wandered down here? Stopping she turned to look around and tried to regain her bearings. Instead of seeing the lights of a main road, she saw nothing but the back of an old warehouse.
“What the fuck?” Faith asked; she recognised nothing.
Although the alley was ill-lit this didn’t bother her so much because she could see perfectly well in the dark. She could also smell and hear perfectly well too, which just at the moment she wasn’t too sure whether that was a good thing or not. Like all alleys everywhere this one stank of urine, there was also the sound of small skittering feet that she hoped were rats.
“Damn-it-all,” Faith muttered as she considered whether to try and retrace her steps or keep going.
Quickly realising that one way was as good as another, Faith walked on hoping to find an exit and a main road, while telling herself that she really needed to look where she was going in future. Not having walked more than a few yards, she heard a footstep behind her. Stopping suddenly, she turned to confront whoever was behind her, she didn’t appreciate being followed down dark, stinking alleys in the middle of the night. Bringing her fists up ready to defend herself against any rapist or pervert who got their jollies from scaring the crap out of girls in dark alleys, Faith found herself looking at nothing. No rapist or monster stood behind her caught in the act of sneaking up on her, for a moment she wondered why she’d thought ‘monster’? Monsters didn’t exist, other than human monsters who were just freaks and perverts. Relaxing a little and telling herself that the sound she’d heard was probably a stray dog of something, she turned back the way she’d been heading and screamed.
There only inches from her face stood a guy wearing a fright mask. What was it with people around here? Her heart quickly stopped trying to climb out of her mouth as her breathing settled down into a more natural rhythm. For a moment she took in the fright mask with its lumpy forehead, pale skin and long sharp looking teeth, Faith had to admit it was a pretty effective mask or maybe it was theatrical make-up.
“Hey!” Faith demanded, “What is it with people ‘round here?” Faith took a step away from the freak, only to have him take a step to close the distance between them. “Like scaring girls’ coz you’ve only got a little dick or something, is that how ya get ya kicks?”
“Run,” ordered the guy in the monster make up.0=0=0=0