Are You Busy Tonight
by Wendy

Sweat soaked, coat wrapped around my pyjamas and hastily thrown on shoes, sockless, I wander the streets. A motorbike starting in an alleyway startles me beyond belief.

The nine headed hydra roars and its many eyes blink red at me. One head reaches for my outstretched hand.

"Are you all right?" Concerned young woman helps me to my feet. And I stumble on. I fell out of bed at four this morning. Everything in the house reminded me of what the past was, and I just had to walk. One foot in front of the other. Best foot forward.

It was night. I forgot how pitch black this street can be at night. I stop and stutter at the sudden appearance of men in the street.

"Get away., go away." I wave my cross at them.

"Are you all right, padre? Partaking a bit much of the communion wine?" They laugh and watch, and I watch their footsteps out of the corner of my eye. It's dark and I don't know why the streets are so busy tonight.

I remember Sunnydale, and when the streets were busy at night for all the wrong reasons. I hacked and slashed and ran through graveyards with the best of them. The best.

But what happens when the magic is gone.

I felt it when Willow ripped all the power out of the world. All the potential of the Slayers was gone, as were all the vampires, the demons and any magic. She'd pulled it deep from my body, mouthing words I couldn't hear as Buffy fought that near unbeatable monster. Light and stars and a long darkness.


"Guess I'm just a normal girl again, Giles." Buffy lying dying in hospital, her body breaking bones and opening cuts that she thought she'd healed in seven long years. All the magic, all the power... it was gone. "Last of the slayers. Dawn?"

Tears in my eyes, I can shake my head and no more. Someone as supernatural as she. "I would have thought her memory would be erased."

"I remember her from when I knew her. Not before any more. Angel? Spike?" I leave the room as the litany of names spills from her throat. It stops before I reach the end of the hallway, as a dozen nurses respond to a long dull tone.

Half the books are empty now, and I just read fiction. And more fiction. And I'm starting to laugh at myself for remembering that I thought it was real. That these creatures now resting firmly in the memories of a few demented teenagers, do not exist. And that I am mad.

There is no one now to tell me of the truth in my dreams. I guess that is why I'm home in this street at four in the morning.


It is a book signing a year later. Top ten best-seller, American top ten. I've outsold Stephen King with this blend of mystery and conspiracy and horror. The queue stretches almost all along Tottenham Court Road and I sign and smile. How do I spell that? I like your tattoo. Thank you very much, you're too kind. Murmur platitude and sign and smile. My publicist goes to talk to the TV cameraman and the photographer from a Major British Science Fiction Magazine. They want to put you on a cover with that girl from Scooby Doo. They never put authors on the cover.

"Who'd you like it signed to?" An old man places an open copy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer before me.

"Ethan, please." He stares through me intently.

"I knew a guy called Ethan once. I was going to put him the sequel." Always talk about the sequel. Build the buzz. There's only three more weeks till launch and it's going to be bigger than Harry fucking Potter.

"I'd make for interesting reading, Ripper." It can't be. Ethan Rayne is a year younger than me. He must get the fear from my look. "I guess that all that abuse takes some toll on us all, old man."

"But you remember." No one else does. The memory seems to be more and more the product of my newly written world. And I'm happy that way.

He glares at me, and asks, "Why? Don't you?" My publicist comes over to hurry him along. I write him off as another nutjob. Next person please.

"Who'd you like it signed to?" I like your tattoo. And sign and sign and sign the rest of my life away.


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