Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or worlds used in this story, including (but not limited to) Beverly Cleary's novels and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. No harm is intended toward any of the copyright owners. This story is intended for entertainment purposes only.+++++ON THE VAMPIRE SLAYER OF KLICKITAT STREET
by Listener+++++Continuity notes: The following story takes place in July 2010. Although I'm using characters from the books, I'm using the timeline and location (Portland, Oregon) from the movie. They never say exactly how old Beezus is, just that she's in high school; in the books, Beezus is five years older than Ramona, which would make her a freshman (fourteen/fifteen). Plus, Ramona said about the cat "he was a Quimby before we were", and he was sixteen when he died, so I'm going with fifteen. The film was released in 2010, and due to the weather and the fact that the Quimbys were planting flowers for their open house, I'll say it was early Spring. Also, I'm definitely using Sandra Oh's portrayal of Mrs. Meacham (Ramona's teacher).
This story has not been beta'd. Any mistakes are mine and mine alone. It is complete, and is approximately 4000 words.+++++
"Did you have any trouble getting out?"
Beatrice shook her head. "It was fine. They'll never suspect."
"What about your sister?"
"I told you I didn't have any trouble."
Mrs. Meacham folded her arms. "Look, I know that sister of yours. The last thing you need is her on your case."
"She didn't catch me! Can we just get this over with?"
The woman -- the watcher -- shook her head and inclined her head in the direction of the town's only cemetery. Though they lived in Portland proper, the denizens of Klickitat Street and its environs were rather proud to call their town Glenwood in spite of it having been incorporated only a couple of years ago. Beatrice followed Mrs. Meacham, trying not to curl her hands into fists. And to think I actually liked her when I was Ramona's age!
"You have your equipment?" Mrs. Meacham asked without turning around. She didn't have to; Beatrice's slayer hearing easily picked up the words.
"One stake, wooden. One bottle of holy water, plastic. One pair of shoes, comfortable. One hooded sweatshirt, hood up, despite the fact that it's, like, almost eighty degrees out here." Beatrice shoved her hands into the pockets of the hoodie so she wouldn't be tempted to strangle Mrs. Meacham.
Not that she'd try that again; despite her superior strength and speed, Mrs. Meacham had easily put her on her butt the first and only time Beatrice had lost her temper. Isn't it, like, a stereotype for an Asian woman to be good at karate?
Mrs. Meacham nodded, not deigning to notice Beatrice's mood. "Good. And what's rule number one?"
"Don't die. That's right." They came to a corner where the streetlight was out and Mrs. Meacham turned to face Beatrice. "Are you sure you're ready? If you don't think you are, we can wait, do more training--"
"I'm ready," Beatrice said quickly -- too quickly, she realized after she spoke, because now Mrs. Meacham was giving her That Look: the disapproving, hard-mouthed expression of distaste that Beatrice imagined she'd so carefully cultivated through her teaching career. "Sorry," she said, "but I just can't train anymore. No offense -- I'm learning a lot -- but I have to know if I can do it."
"There's no shame in taking longer to train," Mrs. Meacham said. She made That Look go away and rested a hand on Beatrice's arm. Her voice went soft -- well, softer, given that they were trying not to attract attention. "If you want to go to Cleveland for your training, they'd be glad to have you, and you'd learn from the best."
Beatrice shook her head. The visit from Miss Carver, the head of the Seattle branch of the ICW, had been quite enough to make her not want to be around hundreds of super-powered girls. She'd brought Mr. Shane with her, but once her parents were out of the room he'd shown that he could do magic. Like, real
magic. If the powers weren't bad enough, the magic scared the crap out of her.
To her credit, Miss Carver had seen how shaken Beatrice was by all of this and put her in touch with Ramona's third-grade teacher, Mrs. Meacham. It turned out that Mrs. Meacham's father had been part of the original ICW, and although she'd gone into teaching, she'd done her high school and college years in England, learning with them. "Julia knows her stuff," Miss Carver had said. "You can train here, with her. We'd prefer you went to the school in Cleveland, of course, but we won't force you. We just want you to be safe, and to live."
That night, after dinner, Beatrice had joined Mrs. Meacham, Miss Carver, and Mr. Shane, and she'd watched, horrified, as Miss Carver had fought and staked a vampire.
And now it was Beatrice's turn.
"I'm ready," she said, her voice as firm as she could make it.
Mrs. Meacham looked her up and down, then nodded once. "All right. Let's do it."
Mrs. Meacham's training had been the most difficult, most physically-demanding thing Beatrice had ever experienced. On top of keeping her grades up and watching her sisters after school and trying to make a go of being Henry Huggins's girlfriend, she found herself in the basement of Mrs. Meacham's house -- there was no Mr. Meacham, although the one time Beatrice had asked why, Mrs. Meacham hadn't even acknowledged the question -- learning martial arts, vampire-slaying techniques, living with her slayer powers, and the history of what she was and why.If only I knew why I got picked
, Beatrice thought, I could maybe go back to them and tell them "no thanks". I never even dreamed of this! Ramona...
Beatrice smiled. Ramona would love to be a vampire slayer, to fight the supernatural, to be stronger and faster than everyone else. For the past two months, Beatrice had been feeling guilty -- and preemptively bad -- about the day when Ramona would eventually figure out that, in addition to being smart and pretty and grown-up, her big sister had superpowers.
Mrs. Meacham helped her deal with that, too. And so did a long phone call from Buffy Summers, who Mrs. Meacham referred to as 'Slayer Prime'. Apparently Buffy had hidden her slaying from her sister until she'd gotten to college. Beatrice planned to get out of Oregon when she was eighteen -- she had her eye on Princeton; she wanted to be a doctor -- and if that left Glenwood without a vampire slayer, well... so be it.
Beatrice's watcher held up a hand as they came to the gate of the cemetery, but Beatrice didn't need to be told that something was up. According to Mrs. Meacham, every slayer had different powers on top of their strength, speed, healing, and agility, and Beatrice had gotten saddled with a very strong sense of the demonic. She'd already learned that Scooter McCarthy's father was only three-quarters human; Mr. McCarthy wasn't evil or anything, but it was still uncomfortable to walk past the house and feel that pull in her lower stomach, like a hook digging into her skin and tugging her in Mr. McCarthy's general direction.
Now the hook was pulling her toward the cemetery.
Beatrice pulled out her stake and started walking, but Mrs. Meacham put her hand on her shoulder. "What?"
"You can do it," she said. "I have faith in you."
"Thanks," Beatrice said. "I appreciate that."
And then Beatrice was in the cemetery, moving with purpose in the direction of where the vampire was about to rise. She didn't run, or even jog -- Mrs. Meacham always told her to marshal her strength and use her supernatural abilities as a last resort. It made sense, too, and it had helped her learn enough control to not knock her parents through a wall every time they accidentally bumped into each other in the kitchen or hallway.
Beatrice got there in time -- she'd known she would -- and watched the vampire's hands push up out of the fresh dirt in front of the temporary grave marker of one Richard Del Rey, age thirty-two.Oh, God, he looks really human.
She watched Del Rey push himself up out of his grave. He was tall, with dark hair and eyes, and was wearing a very nice dark suit to match. He dusted himself off and smiled at Beatrice. "Hi there."
"Um..." She swallowed hard. "Hi. I'm Beatrice."
"Beatrice, huh?" His smile widened. "I'm Richard."
"I know." She held her stake in her sweatshirt pocket.
"What are you doing here, Beatrice?"
Another swallow. She steeled herself. "I'm a vampire slayer. I came to see you."
"Oh, but Beatrice, I didn't do anything to you; why do you want to slay me?"
"Wait..." she said, a little confused. "You know what I am?"
"Kind of comes with the territory. Racial memory, you might call it. Collective unconscious."
"It is. And you know what else I get?"
Del Rey's face morphed, becoming fully animalistic. His fangs were very, very sharp. "This."
Then he was coming for her.
But Beatrice realized that, for all of the vampire's suave behavior, he wasn't much of a fighter. That in itself was kind of strange; hadn't Mrs. Meacham said that all vampires came out of the grave knowing some sort of fighting style?
Well, whatever. Beatrice set her feet and, as soon as Del Rey was close enough, grabbed his arm and pivoted, throwing him over her hip, visualizing driving him a foot into the ground instead of just onto it -- it was a lesson Mrs. Meacham had drilled into her head every time she had a move turned by her watcher and found herself on her back.
Just one problem, though: the vampire seemed to be expecting the move and, instead of landing on his back, rolled through the throw and bolted from the cemetery.
Beatrice said a word that would've scandalized Ramona and took off after the vampire.
Beatrice's horror mounted when she realized the vampire was heading for her street. Must be following my scent
, she thought, grinding her teeth as she ran. At this point, she didn't care where Mrs. Meacham was; she only cared about catching the vampire and putting an end to him.
This was so not going the way she'd planned.
Out of nowhere, Beatrice heard a sharp, harsh barking. From this direction, they'd be passing Henry's house, and that meant Ribsy. Ribsy, Henry's dog, was getting older now, his muzzle a little gray, his movements a little slower than they'd been, but he could still be counted on for a game of fetch on pretty much any afternoon.
Now the dog was standing in the middle of the sidewalk, growling at the vampire.
And the vampire wasn't stopping.
Acid rose in Beatrice's throat as she realized the vampire was going to go right through Ribsy, would probably kill him.No. I won't let that happen.
Beatrice pulled out her stake and put on an extra burst of speed. She got close enough to the vampire to lunge at him, the stake driving into his back, Beatrice hoping against hope that she'd managed to hit his heart.
The vampire stumbled and fell. Not in the heart, then.
Ribsy was beside him in a second, teeth bared, hindquarters raised, ready to attack.
Beatrice skidded to a stop and put her hand on Ribsy's collar. She felt the heat coming off the dog's skin and gently tugged, trying to get him to back off. He just growled again -- not at her, not really, but as if to say "no way am I backing off, girl!"Fine with me.
Without a spare stake, Beatrice only had her bottle of holy water. She pulled off the top and held it over the vampire's face.
"Do it," he said, his whisper sharp, pain in his voice. "You broke my damn spine; might as well take me out the rest of the way."His... back? I broke his back? How did I even do that?
The clinical part of her mind said that the stake must have severed the vampire's spinal cord, and...Oh, no...
Beatrice tried not to be affected by the wave of nausea that swept through her; she was supposed to stake vampires and turn them to dust, not torture them. "I'm sorry," she said.
He was still in his game face; he snarled at her, and Ribsy snapped his teeth at him. "If you're going to kill me, you'd better do it soon; we heal just as fast as you do."
"I..." Beatrice stepped back, behind Ribsy. "I can't..." Her vision blurred -- am I crying? Am I crying over a monster who would have probably killed me and my family and my boyfriend's dog?
Mrs. Meacham's soft-soled shoes made very little noise as she jogged in their direction. From somewhere on her person she'd pulled a long knife -- a machete, Beatrice guessed, but she wasn't sure even though she'd wiped her eyes. She caught Beatrice's eyes, and Beatrice shook her head.
It was enough. Mrs. Meacham went to one knee and drove the blade downward, directly into the vampire's heart. She twisted and, with a hushed roar, Richard Del Rey became nothing but dust.
Ribsy was licking her hand. Beatrice ran her hand over the dog's head, scratching behind his ears. "Good boy," she said, her voice wooden and dull.
Mrs. Meacham put her arm around Beatrice's shoulders. "It's okay," she said. "You're not the first slayer who couldn't go through with it."
"It's not that," Beatrice said. They began walking down Klickitat Street, in the direction of the Quimby house. "I was ready to do it, but he surprised me, and then he was going to kill Ribsy, and--"
"And you did what you had to do," Mrs. Meacham said. Her voice was gentle, but still just as no-nonsense as usual. "Vampires are demons using the bodies of people who've been killed. They're subject to the flaws of those bodies, just like you and me."
"I broke his back," she said. "How could I do that to someone?"
Mrs. Meacham turned Beatrice to face her and put her hands on Beatrice's upper arms. "You did what you had to do," she repeated. "That's what all vampire slayers do."
"Yeah, well, I don't want to be one." Beatrice felt tears in her eyes again, and she blinked them away as best she could. "I just want to be normal!"
"I'm sorry," Mrs. Meacham said, and she actually sounded like it. "That's just not going to happen."
Beatrice turned, pulling out of Mrs. Meacham's grip and stalked off toward her house. Ribsy let out a doggy sigh and padded off down the street, back toward his house -- Beatrice didn't see it, but she could hear where he was and it wasn't hard to figure out what was on his mind.
Mrs. Meacham, however, didn't walk away until Beatrice had vaulted to a sturdy branch about even with her window and climbed into her room.
The only slayer power that Beatrice really liked was the ability to survive on much less sleep than ever before. She changed out of her slaying clothes and into a pair of comfortable cotton pajamas before sitting down at her desk to finish her homework.
That was where Ramona found her. "Beezus?"
"Come in," she said without turning around. "What's up?"
"Couldn't sleep," Ramona said, sitting on Beatrice's bed. "You?"
"Same." She sighed and turned to face her sister. Ramona had an odd look on her face. "What?"
"Are you sure you're okay? Your face..."
Beatrice shook her head. "It's nothing." But she knew she could never hide when she'd been crying. "Just stress."
Ramona nodded somberly; with their dad losing his job earlier in the year, they both knew all about stress. "Can I help?"
"No, but thank you." Beatrice smiled at her younger sister. "I just need to go to bed, to get some sleep."
"Want me to read to you? Sometimes it helps when mom and dad read to me."
"I'll be okay." Beatrice switched off her desk lamp and went over to her bed, sitting beside Ramona. She put her arm around her sister. "Y'know, kid, you're all right."
"You too, Beezus."
Beatrice smiled and kissed the top of Ramona's head, something always guaranteed to make Ramona squirm away. It worked perfectly; Ramona jumped up and went to the door. But she gave Beatrice a grin. "'Night, Beezus."
Once her sister was out of the room, Beatrice folded the duvet and set it on her desk chair, and then slipped under the top sheet of her bed -- it was too warm, even at night, to think about a heavy blanket. Still, though, she couldn't get to sleep; she couldn't stop thinking about things -- her desire to be normal, Mrs. Meacham's tone of voice when she'd told Beatrice that it wasn't a possibility, and, as the long seconds turned into longer minutes, the only possible solution to her problem.
Beatrice's summer job was at the elementary school, answering phones and transferring student records from one computer system to the other. It gave her an excuse to see Mrs. Meacham, who was teaching summer school that year. Beatrice carried her lunch out to the playground, where Mrs. Meacham had a picnic table all to herself. She opened her bag and took out her sandwich -- turkey with lettuce and tomato -- and set it on the brown paper.
"I'm really sorry about last night," Beatrice said. "That shouldn't have happened."
"It's not your fault." Mrs. Meacham had some sort of spread and a little sleeve of crackers, and she was using a plastic knife to apply one to the other. "You're still new at this, and you've only been training for two months. Some of the girls in Cleveland, and at the other schools, train for years."
"I know." Beatrice picked a little bit of crust off her bread and nibbled at it. She'd felt sick about this conversation all morning -- not because of Mrs. Meacham, but because she knew that the watcher had been right all along and Beatrice should've just accepted it. "I think..."
Mrs. Meacham watched Beatrice struggle with her words, a mild expression on her face.
"I think I need to take you up on that offer."
"All right," Mrs. Meacham said after a short pause. Then, a little more strongly: "all right. Meet me after school, and we'll get on the phone with them." To Beatrice's surprise, Mrs. Meacham reached across the table and laid her hand over Beatrice's. "I know you don't want to leave your family, but I think you're making the right decision. And if anyone says anything to the contrary, you can send them to talk to me."
Though her throat was tight and her eyes prickled with tears, Beatrice smiled. "Thanks."
Miss Carver -- Monica; she said to call her Monica
-- was sitting in the Quimbys' living room when Beatrice brought down her suitcase and backpack. "You ready?"
"Ready as I'm going to be." Beatrice put down her things and moved to the couch, sitting beside the other slayer. "Are you sure it's okay that you're coming with me?"
"It's fine," she said. "Normally they'd send someone to escort you, but I have business in Cleveland anyway -- and somehow I don't think Andrew or Faith would quite know what to do with you."
"What do you mean?"
"You'll find out when you get there." Beatrice felt her face go a little pale; Monica smiled at her. "It's nothing bad. Just, Andrew's a little nutty sometimes, and Faith is... well, she's Faith. They're both good people, but they're not..."
"As good a word as any." Monica turned a little toward Beatrice and put her hand on the younger slayer's knee. "Now, don't worry so much about being apart from everyone," Monica said. "It's not a prison; you can always come home for visits if your schoolwork is up to date, and every month families are invited to the campus."
"So Mr. Giles said." He'd also made sure Mrs. Meacham gave Beatrice the cover story: a school for gifted young men and women, a full scholarship, placement assistance with any college the student wished to attend, and, if they desired, a fast-track to a career with the ICW. Beatrice's parents had been suitably impressed, and if Ramona had pouted a little, the gift Beatrice had given her had mollified her just as suitably. "So this is really going to happen, huh?"
"Yup." Monica patted Beatrice's knee and then got up from the couch. "I hear your parents outside. We should probably act surprised."
"Yeah, we should." Better that they didn't know both slayers had heard the impromptu goodbye party gathering in front of Mrs. Kemp's house. At least Henry wasn't there -- Beatrice had said her farewells to him in private, and given Ribsy an extra hug for good measure. Henry, Mrs. Meacham had said, could visit her at the school on the last Saturday of every month, and Beatrice was fairly certain he'd find a way to be in Cleveland before the end of the year, even if it was only for a weekend.
Beatrice stood and picked up her backpack; Monica carried her suitcase, and even managed to look like it was heavy. Well, it is kind of heavy, but we're vampire slayers.
They stood at the closed front door. Monica smiled at Beatrice. "Nervous?"
"A little." More than a little, but Beatrice wasn't going to admit that.
"I know the feeling. Just do what I do."
"What do you do?"
"In my head, over and over, I just say, 'I'm Monica the Vampire Slayer'."
Beatrice quirked an eyebrow. "Does that help?"
Beatrice shrugged. I'm Beatrice Quimby, the Vampire Slayer.
She opened the door and let her eyes snap wide open as Mr. and Mrs. McCarthy held up a huge banner that read, "GOOD LUCK, BEEZUS!"
"Beezus?" Monica mouthed.
Beatrice shook her head slightly and came down the stairs. Ramona was the first to hug her, jumping up into her arms. "I'm gonna miss you, Beezus."
"I'll miss you too, pest." She hugged her sister back, trying not to look at everyone who was standing there waiting to say goodbye.I can do this. I'm Beatrice the Vampire Slayer.
No. That wasn't right.I'm Beezus. Beezus the Vampire Slayer.
And I'm going to learn how to save the world.+++++
I wrote this on July 4 and 5. My daughter was watching Ramona and Beezus
for the second time. As a kid, I read all the books, and now she's reading them as well. I couldn't find any Beverly Cleary crossovers on the site, but I know that a lot of us probably read these books as kids (especially writers who are in their 30s and older, as I am) and we can therefore probably relate pretty well.
Monica Carver and Evan Shane are characters from "On Allison/Sarah"
, the second novel-length "On" story. Monica is the head of the slayer house in Seattle, which is geographically the closest one to Klickitat Street (look up the street on a map; it's a real place), and Evan is the head witch for the region. I figure there's probably a slayer living in Portland, but I didn't want to invent yet another
character, so I just used what I already had.
When I started writing this, I wanted Beezus to defeat the vampire and be strong, and I wanted Ribsy to be in the story. Then I wanted Ramona to discover the vampire/slayer connection. But as the story developed, I decided instead to make Beezus a little more flawed: despite being smart and pretty, as Ramona says she is, she still is full of insecurities, and at heart she's a really nice person. It's hard for a nice person to come to terms with doing the kind of violence Beezus will have to do as a slayer, and if I ever return to her as a main character, that's going to be a big issue. In fact, I kind of think I want her to have a few one-on-one scenes with Faith on that very topic.
Anyway, when Beezus broke the vampire's spine with her stake, she did what anyone who just severely injured another person might do: she panicked and let her fears take over. Fortunately, it was really easy to imagine Sandra Oh slaying the vampire for her.
I hope you enjoyed the story. Please do let me know what you thought. And yes, I'm laying the groundwork for another novel-length "On" story at some point; I just don't know when I'm going to start planning it out. But Beatrice will probably be in it, even if she's only a minor character.
Thanks for reading.
PS: The next story comes on 11/5, and it'll be a five-short-chapters fic set before
the original "On" story.Listener
Marietta, GA, USA