Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or worlds used in this story, including (but not limited to) Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dora the Explorer, Go Diego Go, Harry Potter, and Plants vs Zombies (look carefully). No harm is intended toward any of the copyright owners. This story is intended for entertainment purposes only.+++++PREVIOUSLY: Dora and her roommate worked together to complete a challenging mission and won dinner with Giles.+++++FIVE: FOXES
"We're always on the side of the animal that's being chased. We always seem to be on the side of the rabbit or the fox, and not on the side of the hounds." -Norman Jewison
For their first patrol, Dora and Casey were joined by a girl named Chandra who was a couple of years older than them. Their teacher for the night was Miss Rona, a dark-skinned woman with a couple dozen long dreadlocks hanging around her shoulders. She'd driven the car that brought the girls to the cemetery, and she'd handed out the weapons: each trainee got two stakes, a short-sword that hung on a belt around her waist, and a squirt-gun filled with holy water.
Somehow Dora wasn't sure that a squirt-gun was the right weapon to carry when facing a creature of the night, but she wasn't one to second-guess a teacher.
And now they were creeping through the cemetery. Well, more precisely, Dora and Casey were creeping, seeing as much as they could; Miss Rona was behind the three students, a watchful eye on them all; and Chandra was surreptitiously texting someone, her phone making quiet little buzzing sounds each time she got a message.
At least it was quiet out here, and in the dark, away from the rest of the school, Dora could start figuring out what Miss Philippa had told her class was the "slayer flavor" -- the unique identity each slayer had that the others could, for lack of a better word, "taste". Miss Philippa had told Dora that her flavor was more like a musical fanfare, a vibration she could feel on her tongue.
Walking close to Casey, Dora had the sensation of fresh-grown corn, the sweetness of it making her mouth wet and her stomach ache with phantom hunger. When Dora stopped concentrating, the hunger dissipated, which was good because she was pretty sure Miss Rona would frown on being asked if there were snacks. Dora sighed and gave Casey a quick smile, then took a couple of steps closer to Chandra. Being a little older, maybe Chandra was blocking or shielding or something, but all Dora got from her was the faintest sensation of silk on her skin.
From Miss Rona? Nothing at all.That's strange.
Miss Rona suddenly stopped walking. "You feel that?" she said, her voice low.
"Feel what?" Casey asked.
Dora didn't feel it either, but Chandra apparently did. She looked as if she wanted to sniff the air, and then she pointed eastward. "Two of them. That way. And something else, too."
Miss Rona nodded. "Good job." She inclined her head to the east. "Diamond formation. Chandra, you take point; I'll be in the rear. Dora, Casey, either side."
"Yes, ma'am," Dora said, which earned her a confused look from Miss Rona. It seemed as though most of the slayers didn't like being addressed as Miss -- except for Miss Philippa, who, as a mom, probably appreciated it. Dora shrugged and took her position, and the four slayers made for the source of the evil that Chandra had sensed.
Soon, even Dora could feel it. Her mouth went dry; she took out one of her stakes and held it as Miss Sonya had instructed, although she couldn't imagine using it on anything. And if vampires really looked as human-like as Miss Sonya had said, how could she possibly stab one of them in the heart with it?
Chandra shouted and went flying past Dora and Casey; Dora had only a moment to see what had thrown her, and then the vampire was on her, too. Dora grunted and let the vampire push her over, and just as Miss Sonya and Miss Dawn had taught her, kicked upward as she fell, sending the vampire over her head to land in a heap. In a flash, by reflex alone, Dora was on her feet, brandishing the stake, but the vampire had already moved on, heading for Miss Rona. Casey had the second and was trading blows with it.Wait,
Dora thought. Chandra said there were three--
Something yanked her stake out of her hand. She let out a surprised yelp and then reached for the second stake, but it was gone too.
So was her sword.Oh, no.
Dora blinked a couple of times, thankful that she'd convinced her parents to let her get contact lenses to correct her nearsightedness before she'd come to Cleveland, and scanned the area around her.
A flash of purple crossed her vision, heading for Chandra's prone body -- it looked like the third trainee had hit her head on a gravestone.
"Swiper!" she shouted. "No swiping!"
The fox-demon with the purple mask stopped in his tracks and stared at Dora.
"Swiper," she said again, holding up one hand, palm out, "no swiping!"
Now he hung his head.
"Swiper, no swiping."
Dora heard a whooshing noise, and then Miss Rona was no longer fighting her vampire. Casey's tumbled across the ground to land in front of Dora; Casey tossed her a stake and, without thinking, Dora dropped to one knee and jammed the pointed wood into the vampire's chest. It turned to dust before her eyes and she reflexively held her breath, as Miss Sonya had instructed.
Miss Rona dusted her hands off and stared at the fox-demon. "What the hell is that thing?" she asked.
"That's Swiper the Fox," Dora said. "I think he's some kind of demon, but he never actually hurts anyone. He just steals things."
"Yeah, well, he stole your stakes, and you coulda died if you hadn't tossed that vamp my way. Good job, by the way," Miss Rona added.
Dora ducked her head. "Thanks." She noticed Swiper standing there, looking dejected. "Why did you follow me here?"
Swiper stuck his paws into some sort of pocket-things on his fur. "Things aren't the same without you there," he said, his voice dull and quiet. "We all miss you, Dora."
"I miss everyone too," she said, walking over to Swiper. She put a hand on his shoulder. "Even you." That made him give her just a hint of his foxy smile. "But I'm different now," she said. "I've changed. I'm a slayer, Swiper, and that means I have to fight guys like you." Dora saw Casey helping Chandra to her feet while Miss Rona looked on, a hint of approval in her eyes. "I think you should go home, Swiper. It's safe there."
Swiper stared at Dora for a long moment, then nodded. "I'll miss you," he said.
"I'll miss you too." Then she grinned. "But don't think I'm letting you hug me. I don't want you swiping any more of my stuff!"
Swiper smiled back and dashed off toward the cemetery gates.
"Hey, Swiper!" Dora called.
"Yeah?" he yelled back.
"No swiping on the way home!"
Dora could've sworn she saw Swiper smiling even wider as he waved.
Then he was gone.
Miss Rona put her arm around Dora's shoulders. "Good job, kid," she said.
"Thanks, Miss Rona."
"Hey, you did the hard work; you dealt with the demon and
you staked a vamp." She nudged Dora with her hip. "Might just make a slayer outta you yet."+++++Author's Note:
This story is over for now. I may come back to it if I get inspired again. I hope you've enjoyed this alternative look at Dora the Explorer.
This story was sort of inspired by Lucinda's Counts of Blood
, which tries to reconcile the fantasy world of the Muppets with the "real" world of BtVS. If you haven't read Counts of Blood, do so; it's great.
Next week: another five days of story, this time focusing on Faith and setting up where she'll be going next -- and also dealing with some issues readers brought up in previous stories.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for reviewing.Listener
Marietta, GA, USA
November 9, 2012