Disclaimer: I own nothing. To avoid spoilers, a further disclaimer is at the end of this story.
*Another night, another murder,* Spike cheerfully thought to himself while he riffled through the dollar bills taken from the wallet previously owned by the dead man lying at his feet. Regarding with genuine satisfaction the thick wad of cash he’d lifted from his latest kill, the vampire went on to muse, *Must be payday, eh?*
Tossing the wallet now empty of its contents (except for a few family photographs he’d contemptuously skimmed through a moment earlier) onto the face-down corpse in the deserted alley behind a row of seedy bars, pawnshops, and other cheap businesses, Spike stuffed the money into his pants pocket and he sauntered away down the narrow back street. His most recent robbery/homicide had just turned out far better than Spike had expected, given the squalid Long Beach neighborhood he was passing through tonight.
Shrugging, Spike idly thought that only those who couldn’t afford anywhere better would want to live and work here at their worthless homes and shops in this really ugly part of town, right next to a massive oil refinery. That factory for processing petroleum into gasoline and other fuels seemed to be working around the clock, given the harsh odors drifting the vampire’s way in the night-time breeze. Sending one last casual glance at the row of enormous steel spheres a mere few hundred yards away used to store the refinery’s products, with these tanks looming ominously over everything else in the vicinity, Spike kept walking along the alley. A few more blocks on and he’d cut out into the main avenue and flag down a taxi to somewhere else a lot nicer. Maybe up south to Malibu; he’d quite enjoy dropping in on one of the beautiful movie actresses living there--
In a drumroll of violence, numerous gunshots rang out, with every bit of that racket coming from deeper inside the oil refinery.
Stopping dead in his tracks, Spike gaped in the direction from where this unexpected din had originated. Not that he could actually see anything, what with both the immense gas tanks and also the much closer shop buildings making up the rear alley back wall blocking Spike’s view. When even more firearms went off, the undead demon next heard surprised shouts coming from the next street over from both the pedestrians and bar occupants there who’d come out to find out just what was going on.
Spike damned well wanted to know too, seeing how any second now, someone might come out in the alley back there and literally trip over his latest kill. Sending a truly nasty glare at those unknown sods over there who’d messed up a nice, quiet homicide, the irritated vampire decided it was well past time for him to beat a prudent retreat as far away as possible. Beginning to edge further down the narrow lane, Spike abruptly halted in this while he again watched in absolute astonishment something even more bizarre happening now.
On top of one of the gas tanks, a man had just climbed up there using the attached spiral steel stairway. He was standing with his back turned to an unliving Englishman about a half-mile away. Only a vampire’s exceptional vision could’ve seen more than a flicker of motion through the darkness, but Spike had no trouble watching everything which came next.
A rifle barked, and the man atop the tank staggered at being struck by that weapon’s deadly round. Recovering an instant later, this injured bloke held out the handgun he was gripping in his right hand. Showing no hesitation at all, the wounded man fired several bullets directly downwards into the metal skin of a storage container holding vast quantities of volatile gasoline. A split second after this, flames erupted from around the man still in his upright posture and about to burn to death in moments. This doomed fellow nevertheless showed off all the while an air of actual gleeful triumph easily discernible even by Spike so far away.
It was at that point when Spike started running. Unfortunately, he only managed to cover a few dozen yards before night turned into full day, and his sprinting body was picked up and hurled ahead by a searing blast wave. Feeling the back of his clothes start to catch on fire, Spike was still unable to do anything but lie on his stomach in the alley, hands protectively clapped over his skull, while the rest of the gas tanks exploded.
Finally, it was over. Tottering onto his feet, a scorched-black demon limped off among the ruins of a destroyed neighborhood. Ignoring the screams and moans of others caught in the devastation around him, Spike wonderingly muttered out loud, “What the hell was all that
It really was a pity that Spike never got a chance to see Cody Jarrett’s face in that other man’s final seconds of life when he’d yelled out his victory taunt. Of course, even if the vampire had managed to do this, Spike simply didn’t have the lip-reading skills to make out a psychopath’s last exultant “Top of the world, Ma!”
Further disclaimer: All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters and White Heat characters are the property of their original owners.