Los Angeles, Monday, August 12, 1996, 10 AM
Borgese, Mancini and their men had come back to Pelican Bay the day before at 6 PM to take custody of their unfortunate prisoner for the last part of her trip. This time their instructions they had been given were very different from before. No physical violence and no sleep suppression were to be imposed on her. She was to be brought in a quasi-civilized manner, although no food or water would be provided of course, and she would even be allowed to sleep – if she could. That did not stop Borgese and Mancini from punching her many times in the pubes and the abdomen just for fun, but besides those fits of rage, the trip was mostly painless.
They arrived a little past 9 AM in an underground garage. When the door opened, several police officers took delivery of the topless and barefoot chained girl. There were some gasps when they saw how thin, no, skin-and-bones she looked, how sunken her eyes looked, with deep bags under them, definitely walking “funny” in a non-funny way and stumbling every few steps. Then they noticed some bruises, not that many, mind you, but that kind of violence during transfer could only mean that the prisoner had tried to escape, and how could that sickly-looking little girl have tried to do that?
And then there was the fact that she was indeed a little girl. They had been told she was young, but she looked like a child, a malnourished, abused child in chains, hungry, thirsty and exhausted.
Some of the cops were thinking child abuse when DA Adam Sorrento came to meet the prisoner.
“Has no one clothed her yet? We can’t bring her to court like that, the press won’t like it.”
“We would have to uncuff her, sir.”
“So? There are about fifteen of you guys here, and I don’t see a baseball bat in her hands! Will I have to show you how to handle a single prisoner, still shackled at the ankles?”
So they did. While one of the male officers was twisting her right arm, another one, a female, helped her put her left arm through a black t-shirt sleeve brought for her by Sorrento’s assistant. Then the male officer twisted her left arm, and the female officer helped her put her right arm through the other sleeve. She was cuffed in the back again, and the female officer adjusted the t-shirt on her torso.
“There you are, sweetie”, she said softly.
The girl nodded then was once again pushed forward. It went on until they arrived to big wooden doors. They pushed her in and she found herself in a small law court, almost empty, except for a number of armed guards and a few people who looked like reporters. They kept pushing her forward until they sat her to a table where a fat sweaty guy, dressed in clothes obviously too small for him, whom she was meeting for the very first time, was already sitting. He had blonde hair and a crew cut, and he was breathing heavily. He did not even look at her.
“All rise. The Los Angeles Superior Court Number Nine is now in session. The Honorable Judge Philip Anthony Esposito presiding!” a bailiff shouted.
They all stood up. The prisoner was made to stand up because she was almost asleep already.
“Sit down, everyone”, the judge said. “So what do we have here?” he added, as if he didn’t know already. But he also knew his job, and he knew he had to give a show for the press, even if the papers would publish only what they would be authorized to publish, and the TV news would show only what they would be authorized to show. It had all been arranged between him and Sorrento: the girl was guilty, the sentence was already decided. If she made any trouble, the trial would continue in absentia
and would be over today. That was why the trial was held behind mostly closed doors and in front of a judge only. The convict – err, the accused – had already consented to all that, as several documents signed by the same hand who had signed her first confession, after several lengthy consultations with her brilliant defense lawyer, Mister Rodney Ford, would attest.
“The State of California vs. Buffy Anne Summers, accused of one count of parricide, one count of torture, five counts of first degree murder and seventy-one counts of assault and battery with intent to kill.”
“How does the accused plead?” Esposito asked.
Ford, the fat sweaty guy, stood up and answered: “My client pleads guilty on all charges, your honor.”
They looked at the prisoner, who looked at the fat guy, then at the judge, and did not make another move. The judge seemed surprised.
“Hmm. Very well. Mister Sorrento, present the prosecution’s case.”
===Los Angeles, August 12, 1996
Wolfram & Hart's Los Angeles Branch Headquarters
“The trial has started, my boy.”
“I know, Darla”, Angelus answered. “All thanks to our little Gino.”
Darla nodded, “You don’t believe him, do you?”
“Do I look that stupid? All he’s thinking about is his revenge, the honor of his family. That idiot reminds me of the Kalderash and their stupid honor! But I guess you showed them!”
“I was not going to let my child bear that horrible stink on him!”
“He he! Say it, you prefer me this way. By the way, Darla, you never told me how you convinced the old goat.”
“Team work, my love, team work! While Spike and Drusilla were busy killing the adults – and, oh the pieces of art those two created that night! – I was busy corralling the children. I knew dear old Magda would never break the spell under any kind of torture applied to her, but I was sure she wouldn’t be able to let the children being tortured under her eyes. She yielded as I was getting ready to feed on a ten year old girl who happened to be her favorite great granddaughter. It took her two minutes to recite the counter spell and lock the soul in the orb. After that, Drusilla destroyed the orb, and your soul with it.”
“That day at least she proved useful. And I was back to my happy self! Ah! What happened after that?”
“I killed the old bat and we had fun torturing the children of course!”
“Of course. You deserved to have some fun. We need to tell that story to my boy Gino when we teach him the true meaning of team work.”
“Yes indeed, my boy. I doubt the Senior Partners would have been much interested in you had you still been playing the repentant little wuss you had become.”
Angelus roared. He did not like to be reminded of those few hours of weakness.
“Temper, my boy. We won’t tell that part to the human. We’ll simply say that you were... confused by the spell. He does not need any details. What he needs to know is that our team work, in that occasion and a few more, was noticed by the Senior Partners, who offered you the leadership of this branch of Wolfram and Hart in 1991, and that is why he should be crawling at your feet instead of taking initiatives without asking your permission first and putting his family’s honor above his obedience to ours.”
Angelus chuckled in a frightening way. “Maybe I should let you explain that to him while I cut his daughters’ fingers one by one, forcing them and him to watch while I sauté
them in butter with a touch of fresh lime and black pepper.”
Darla smiled. Her boy was in a good mood now. He seemed to have forgotten the trial. That was so not his plan. He had always wanted to keep the slayer under lock and key. Oh yes, those “supermax” prisons could do it just as well, and since Silva had or could get people in every one of them, the girl would suffer. But it was not the same as holding her in one of his underground cells and torture her himself, or watch her or Drusilla torture the girl. Not William though. Angelus did not like the way he used spikes. Especially on a young girl, it lacked finesse
. She and Darla knew how to make a young girl scream at the top of her lungs while leaving her flesh totally unblemished, but Spike had to make burns and holes. It was so unproductive. After a few days, the girl had to be thrown away. But Darla and Drusilla knew how to keep their toys in perfect shape for weeks, months... years.
“Too bad I can’t give him his lesson now.”
Aaargh. It was over already. Angelus was back to his moody thoughts. “But you are giving him a lesson, aren’t you, my boy?”
“With Sorrento? Yes, in a way. But that only costs him money, not blood. Of course he’ll have to pay his minions more to keep them. He’ll also have to replace Sorrento. But it’s only money. I want to hurt him personally, not his empire. Torturing his daughters would be nice before I let them feed on him, but I can’t do that until we get control of his organization. And for now I need him.”
“But you could make Sorrento an example of what happens to anyone daring to defy you, my boy. Something really horrible, something that would strike Gino and his minions’ imagination and make them see their doom in every corner during the day, in every shadow at night...”
Angelus laughed. “Sometimes I wonder what I would do without you, Darla!”
“You would wander in the sewers with your soul, my boy. Who knows, maybe you would be madly in love with the slayer...”
Angelus roared again. That
was not funny!
===Los Angeles, August 12, 1996, 12 PM
The judge had been very surprised that the accused had not protested when her public defender, that no-good fatso Ford, had pleaded guilty on all charges in her name. He was ready to reject any protest she would make, telling her in no uncertain terms that as a minor, her only right in the Superior Court was to let the adults talk, not exactly in those words of course. But she had remained silent.
Since the show had to go on, Sorrento had started holding forth about the ingratitude of a monster torturing and killing her dear own father who had taken such a tender loving care of her during all those years, working hard to give her a good life, all alone and despaired after the tragic death of his beloved wife. He had continued by relating in detail the vicious massacre of those fourteen poor innocent lambs, lured to the slaughterhouse by the Jezebel who had then used a blunt object, a baseball bat of all things, perfect symbol of a nonviolent sport that was supposed to inspire fraternity and sportsmanship to young Americans of all ages. He read testimonies from the parents of the little angels about the perfect purity and morality of all the poor young victims of the crazed killer they had to take away from society today! He also alluded to the accused’s vigilante activities in Chicago, where she had attacked dozens of citizens, although they were “innocent until proven guilty”, and her multiple forgeries. Fatso Ford did not even wake up to object to his using charges that had been left out of the trial, and essentially dropped once and for all. But he had to fill time until the break, scheduled for noon, and supposed to last two hours.
Eventually the judge ordered a pause for lunch. Borgese and Mancini decided they wanted to spend more time with the little slut. After all, it was their last chance to torment her. So once they had brutally brought her back to her cage, they returned to the cell where she was locked up, alone, pretending to bring her a big lunch. Actually they ate it right in front of her, then went inside the cell and beat the crap out of her, taking advantage of the fact that she was once again gagged, cuffed in the back and with her bare feet shackled together. They hit her only at the torso, since her face and arms had to appear unblemished and she had to be able to walk. Once she was wincing and writhing in pain on the floor, they both kicked her in the abdomen one last time and left.
When the guards came to get the prisoner, they found her standing up and ready to go, a tense expression on her face. She followed them docilely back to the courtroom.
Sorrento and Esposito had spent that time eating and making a long conference call with Gino Silva. They had talked about what had happened until then, and decided how to end all of it quickly – meaning today – and realistically. The show had to bring the reporters some stuff to tell after all. Ford had been told what to say, which really didn’t require a cheat sheet even for that boiled noodle brain, and they were ready to start again.
“All rise. The Los Angeles Superior Court Number Nine is now in session. The Honorable Judge Philip Anthony Esposito presiding!” the same bailiff shouted.
“Sit down”, Esposito replied. “Mister Ford, your turn.”
The crew cut blonde fatso did not even stand up. “The defense rests, your honor.”
Again Esposito looked at the accused. Again she looked at the fatso then at him, and did not say a word or move.
“Very well. The Court accepts your guilty plea for one count of parricide, one count of torture, five counts of first degree murder and seventy-one counts of assault and battery with intent to kill. Miss Summers, the only thing between you and the gas chamber is your young age. I know this is an adult court and I signed the order to trial and sentence you as an adult due to the vicious nature of your crimes, but my conscience prevents me from imposing the death penalty. Consequently, in punishment for your crimes, I sentence you to six consecutive terms of life without the possibility of parole for the first degree murders, plus sentences totalling thirty years, without parole, for the nine aggravated assaults and batteries and sixty-two other simple assaults and batteries. Your sentence will be served at the institution that has been deemed the best equipped to deal with a case such as you. You will be taken there forthwith, under the recommendations set by this court for the safety of the staff and inmates around you and to make sure that any discipline will be promptly and rigorously applied to you. This court is dismissed.”
Everyone stood up and looked at the convict. She showed no emotion whatsoever. The guards took her away immediately. It was 3:47 PM.
At 4:03 PM, the convict was delivered to a team of four men in uniform, looking like security guards but without any kind of identification, who were going to transport her in the back of a claustrophobic trailer, just big enough for one person, pulled by a minivan. Right before the transfer occurred though, one of the guards who had brought her took a pair of garden scissors and cut the t-shirt off of her torso.
“Judge’s instructions”, the guard said.
The security guards saw the bruises on her breasts and abdomen, chuckled and proceeded to pull her inside the back of the van and tie her wrists, one at a time, at the top of each side of the van. Then they chained her feet to a single ring on the floor.
“Warden’s instructions”, one of them said. “According to your record, you are a very bad disciplinary case.” He then took in his hands an additional heavy ring of metal linked to a heavy chain coming from the top of the ceiling and closed it around her neck. Then he took his own pair of giant garden scissors and proceeded to cut off her pants and panties. Once she was completely naked he explained: “The warden wants you to be transported naked. They will have a new uniform for you once you get there.”
With her arms in a V and her neck and feet solidly chained, they locked the doors in front of her. Then they got in the minivan. They turned a monitor on and checked that their prisoner was in place. The minivan then left for the prison that would be her new home, a two-day trip.
===London, August 13, 1996, 12:25 AM
Quentin Travers had been awakened by the phone and had learned the news he needed to decide on his next step. So Bunny Somers was lost to the cause. No problem. He knew exactly what he had to do. First, call that wench Gwendolyn Post and recall her to London for a new affectation, maybe the South Pole or, what she would hate even more, an archivist job. There were enough artifacts in the Council’s warehouses to keep a disgraced watcher bored for centuries.
Second, call Collins. He would have to find a way to kill the rogue slayer, so a new one could be called, a new one he would find and control personally. It was about time he got a decent slayer.
===Los Angeles, August 12, 1996, 4:25 PM
At the same moment, on the long road from Los Angeles to her new place of torture, locked in the trailer, Buffy Summers raised her head, as her beaten, battered and so tired face slowly displayed the most satisfied smile...