Disclaimer: I own nothing. All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters and Mister Ed characters are the property of their original owners.
Rubbing his chin thoughtfully while standing in the summer night outside a pleasant semi-rural house with its nearby barn, it took a while for the dead man there to search through his memories. Spike soon came to the nonplussed conclusion that among the mountain of corpses the vampire had left behind in his wake over the last couple of decades, this was the first time ever he’d set out with malice aforethought to scrag an architect.
Mind you, more than a few badly-designed structures an unliving Englishman had come across in his wanderings since being turned made him decide nothing less than death and dismemberment were deserved for the designers of those hideous buildings. The odd part was, that this time when he’d actually gone hunting tonight for one of those inept pillocks, it wasn’t because of any specific offense to Spike’s artistic sensibilities.
No, it all had to do with the very wrathful demon clan named the Vrells which had earlier arranged for a meeting with their chieftain and Spike, who’d then been told the entire tedious story. It seemed the Vrells had been living at their usual hidden dwellings out of sight from humans, feasting on whatever people they could discreetly catch. When the proper biological urges had overtaken the entire tribe after several years since the last time for this, they’d ventured to a distant, cherished marsh normally used solely for their breeding purposes. However, in the meantime a local shopping chain had drained this bog and then built a department store right where the clan’s former spawning beds had been located. For their own incomprehensible reasons, the froggies (as Spike promptly dubbed them) soon decided the particular individual who had to pay for this ultimate insult was that retail structure’s designer.
Swiftly growing fed up with the whole idiotic narration, Spike had interrupted the croaking rant by the clan’s leader with an impatient, “Yes, yes, very terrible for you and all the other little hoptoads. Can we please get down to business here, mate? I take it you don’t want me to find this naughty bloke and just give him a severe scolding for bulldozing your nursery? If all you had in mind was a thorough tongue-lashing for him, well, each and every one of you lot already have a first-rate example of this, so go and spit in his face--”
“MUST DIE! Croak!
YOU CHOSEN! Croak! Croak!
Spike allowed a quite satisfied smirk to cross his lips at such a fitting acknowledgment of his reputation as the most dangerous vampire around. He leaned back in the booth at the rear of the demonic bar where Spike and a six-foot-tall web-footed, green-skinned creature were having their discussion, sipped at his glass of virgin’s blood, and drawled, “Fine, then. What’s in it for me?”
Thanks of clan-- URK!
With blinding speed, Spike had just reached over the small table set between the pair in the booth, shoved his right hand into the frog’s mouth, and yanked out that amphibian’s supremely elastic tongue. Holding this stretched-to-its-absolute-limits body part at his full arm’s length, the vampire calmly stated, “That better
have been just the start of a friendly joke between us there, mate. Because if you don’t instantly come up with something of a more monetary nature, I’m going to be dining on frog’s legs two minutes from now! Got that?”
Its bulbous eyes bulging more than usual in a flattened and extra-wide head now kept absolutely still in terror, the clan leader frantically groped inside a pouch attached to a chest strap wrapped around the front of its body. Without looking, this frog creature quickly pulled out and displayed to Spike a flawless black pearl, easily the size of a golf ball.
Brightening up at seeing what was now offered to him, Spike also unthinkingly let go of the frog-being’s tongue.THWACK!
Handily snatching from the air the pearl which had just been sent flying, Spike studied this gorgeous jewel for a moment, before nodding in his casual acceptance of this fee for a contracted murder. Just as unconcerned was the vampire’s indifferent, “Sorry about that, old chap, but at least you can console yourself with the fact you’ve just hired the best.”
Taking another opportunity to admire something Dru was going to really enjoy, Spike ignored the anguished whimpers drifting across the booth, which were coming from behind a pair of webbed hands clapped over an aching mouth.
The next night, Spike was in the charming hamlet of Mount Kisco, New York, where there’d been no trouble finding the exact site where his target was residing. After some more idle moments of contemplating the odd fact he was about to kill an architect for the first time ever, Spike next carefully listened for any sound of his prey moving about inside the house. Unfortunately, everything was quiet in there, indicating the man living on his own at this place was probably away right now.
Giving a nonchalant shrug over what couldn’t possibly be helped, Spike stepped forward from his position on the sidewalk. He headed straight up the path to the house’s front door. The vampire wasn’t expecting any real problems. All he had to do was to get inside, wait there for as long as necessary while guzzling any decent booze around, and then ambush what’s-his-name whenever this bloke came home. Next, Spike would contact Chief Froggy and tell it their vengeance was accomplished, jolly good show and all that rot.
This vampire’s optimism lasted up to the middle of the pathway, when Spike walked face-first directly into an invisible barrier. Staggering backwards while hastily clutching at a now-throbbing nose, Spike squinted in astonished disbelief at the quiet house which still showed no signs of what was mystically defending this residence.
He muttered suspiciously to nobody in particular, “Damn it to hell, protective wards? Are there any more surprises waiting for me around here, which greenface didn’t bother to mention?”
Sidling up towards the proper spot, Spike warily extended a fingertip until it ran into the same magical barricade. A quick stab of searing pain rushing along his hand, followed with a nasty sizzle!
had him abruptly yanking this scorched fingertip back with a pained yelp. Now really annoyed, Spike reluctantly did it again several more times while making a complete circuit of the house. It was all to no avail; the home was truly safeguarded against such malign characters as Spike and other creatures of the night.
Pausing as a sudden though struck him, Spike turned his head to study with growing interest the barn close at hand. Giving a quick sniff, the vampire nodded in satisfaction at smelling at least one horse presently stabled in that building used for livestock. Spike mused out loud again, “I should be able to get in there, no problem. Wards are for homes only; they aren’t put on barns and suchlike. The bloke I’m here for, he’ll surely check on his horse before retiring for the night, so that’s where I’ll butcher him.”
Still, even when he started approaching the barn, Spike kept his hand held out before him, just in case. Only when the vampire made it completely unaffected past the entire dirt yard to then stand in front of the double doors for the framed building did he relax. Spike next reached for the far right handle of that section of the sliding door.
Inside the barn, equine nostrils flared, and a long head with a white blaze running down the muzzle turned to unblinkingly regard the opening door. Spike didn’t notice any of this, since after entering the barn, he’d turned to close the sliding panel while giving one last glance outside for any possible eyewitnesses. Confident he’d slipped inside without being noticed, Spike let go of the inner door handle, and he turned again to face the building interior.
At that exact moment, two rear hooves held together and moving with incredible force smashed against Spike’s chest before he had the slightest chance to react in time to this.CRASH!
Spike’s hurtling body, lifted completely off the ground and tossed backwards, had just flown through the barn door in an eruption of shattered planks and wood splinters. Landing onto his back, the dazed vampire slid a few feet further on the dirt floor, wheezing in genuine agony at what seemed like every rib in his torso having just been reduced into bone toothpicks. Painfully lifting his head to peer down the front of his body, Spike gaped at the two horseshoe prints newly stamped upon his shirt. Both of these marks were brightly glowing with a golden color.
Right after this, something
charged from out of the barn, widening further the hole where a destroyed door had been. Sending even more pieces of debris sailing through the air, it headed directly at Spike with every bit of speed all four legs could take it, all while blazing in luminous glory as vivid as the very sun.
As for himself, Spike had immediately thrown an arm over his face lest his eyes actually melt at the onrushing wave of searing supernatural heat which was also causing every bit of his exposed flesh to start smoking. Frenziedly rolling over, Spike scrambled onto his feet, which only led to the back of his head and neck beginning to char in equal measure. He then ran like hell away from the barn and whatever was chasing him. For only a few steps, though, more’s the pity. That’s when he collided full-tilt into another protective ward which had materialized there just a second ago.
Rebounding in reverse a good yard or so, Spike was about to dazedly collapse onto the ground. He didn’t make it, not with the vicious front hoof kick to his back which sent Spike slamming ahead into the ward once more. This time, nothing interrupted his boneless crumple, save for the continuous roar of rage stabbing into the barely conscious vampire’s ears.
“YOU DARE, LEECH? IN MY
HOME, AGAINST MY
MASTER? THERE’LL BE NOTHING LEFT BUT ASHES WHEN I’M DONE WITH YOU, JUST LIKE THOSE OTHER TWO KILLERS SENT BY THE VRELLS!”
Spike remained curled up on the dirt in absolute misery, both arms futilely wrapped around his head for their useless protection. He then blindly howled upwards without any hesitation at all, “Let me go, and I’ll wipe them out, down to the very last frog!”
At that, there was a definite change in the maddened atmosphere. Spike didn’t care, since this demon presently felt as if he was about to wholly combust any second now. Except…the heat searing him abruptly switched off. Moaning with real gratitude, Spike spent the next few moments huddling there on the ground while his body healed itself.
This was eventually interrupted by the deep voice above him contemptuously saying, “Look at me, vampire, now!
There was nothing he wanted to do less, but an undead Englishman reluctantly pulled apart his arms and glanced up. His jaw promptly dropped at what Spike was now observing at a much too close distance. It appeared to be a completely ordinary horse, albeit one with a rare golden palomino coat aside from the vertical white blaze on its upper muzzle. All the same, when Spike’s gaze met the horse’s own eyes, the blood-drinking monster cringed at perceiving the equine’s orbs as being a pair of radiant yellow spheres of pure, churning energy.
Tossing his mane, the horse sneered out loud, “So, to save your precious skin, you’ll swear to exterminate those foul things? Why should I believe you, little vrykolakas?”
Always ready to blow his own horn even in times of utter peril like now, the vampire indignantly declared, “Listen, I’m William the Bloody! And--”
Abruptly stopping at the sudden realization of what was before him, Spike at length said weakly, “And you’re a talking horse...”
A most impatient snort came from this same equine, “How’d you ever guess? Now, you
listen, scum. Nothing could prevent me from destroying you for once and all in a mere instant, if I want. Do you understand that?”
Spike vigorously nodded several times in total surrender. Giving the defeated monster on the ground a supremely disdainful glance down his long nose, the horse continued, “But the truth is, those vile creatures who hired you won’t stop just because you don’t come back to them. They’ll send as many more of your kind as they can afford or even other demons to murder my master, and I will not tolerate that.
With those last implacable words, the horse’s luminous eyes flared into a golden conflagration which further kindled itself by the entire form of this animal also blazing bright. Spike shrieked in his resumed burning, until the overwhelming light borne by the horse dimmed again to its previous level. This was accompanied by a merciless voice ordering, “I can smell on you the payment my enemies provided, leech. Bring it out, and put this down on the ground!”
Rapidly searching through his clothing, Spike soon produced the immensely valuable black pearl he was still carrying from last night when that damn Chief Froggy had deviously lured the vampire into one of the worst ever decisions of his unlife. Fumbling with this round object, Spike reached out to leave it there on the barnyard, and he started pulling back his hand.
This was interrupted by the horse additionally commanding, “No, keep your hand there, right above the pearl.”
Too cowed to disobey, Spike did exactly as he was told. He still automatically asked, “What for--? AAAHHHH!!!!
That scream of utter agony was due to the horse violently stomping one hoof right onto Spike’s outstretched hand. This blow was so powerful that it not only broke every single bone in there, but the wrecked hand was then smashed down hard enough to wholly crush the pearl below into useless fragments. Still wailing at the unexpected torment, Spike snatched back his hand, to then snivel unbelievingly at the golden horseshoe imprint now covering most of the top of that tortured flesh.
Cradling his near-destroyed hand while it began to heal much more slowly than usual, Spike then heard the horse proclaim, “You’ve been marked by me, demon. For the next three trips of my first master’s chariot across the heavens, you’ll bear the suffering I’ve inflicted upon you, as an incentive to track down and destroy every single one of the Vrells, wherever they may be. If you don’t
succeed in this, at precisely sunrise on the fourth day from tomorrow, you’ll burn, leech! No possible magic you might seek will prevent this, and the deepest, darkest plague pit you find to cower in won’t stop it from happening, either! Nor may you feed on humans during everything, except for the Vrells you slaughter. Now, GO!
Run, and never come back, lest I think you’re after Wilbur again! Because if you do, all of Tartarus will tremble at your punishment!”
Spike immediately leapt to his feet and fled in a heedless hurry from the barnyard. He never even noticed passing without harm the point where the protective wards vanished to permit his exit, and then returned to their formidable guarding strength. The vampire disappeared into the darkness surrounding Mount Kisco, with a horse continuing to watch and listen with this animal’s otherworldly senses until the beast was assured Spike was fully gone. Giving a scornful swish of his tail, the golden equine trotted back into the barn through the massive entry hole there and he returned to his stall.
Glancing over his shoulder, Mister Ed mentally commanded the door to repair itself. In an abrupt flash of white light, this panel was again in perfect order, down to the very last splinter. After all, it wouldn’t do for Wilbur Post to ever wonder just how much more unusual his animal companion actually was than a mere talking horse.
Chuckling quietly to himself, he who had once been Eos, one of the four immortal horses drawing the fiery chariot of the Greek sun-god Helios, now dipped his head downwards into the feed trough to grab and munch on a very appreciated mouthful of fresh, sweet hay.
Author’s Note: Check out the following below.