Genre: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sapphire and Steel
Word count: 1617
Prompt: Spike, Lead, a flight of stairs
thespian15, I hope you enjoy your little tale and my thanks to sparky955, as always.
Lead is played by Val Pringle and was Steel's other partner, his protective coating, as it were. Lead also delighted in Sapphire's cooking and seemed more a jovial, friendly giant than a dangerous member of the Sapphire & Steel team.
He was feeling puckish and Spike didn’t like it at all. There was a gnawing feeling in his stomach that told him it had been far too long since he’d eaten something… someone… he smirked at the thought.
It was easy to blend in with the punk scene in London. People didn’t even give his appearance a second glance and it was as if people just offered themselves up as willing victims. Indeed, these days, it was harder to pick his prey than to find someone. He could remember that back in his time, it was harder to approach people without them getting all nervous, especially women and they always had an escort.
A large shape crossed his line of vision and Spike paused. It was a large target, so much better than the waif-like women he’d seen earlier in the evening. Great fun to terrorize, but there wasn’t much meat on their bones. That meant not as much blood. The last thing he needed now was an anemic milkshake.
He walked quietly behind his target, watching him as he paused before a rusted metal gate and then pushed his way in. The iron protested, but it was drowned out by nearby traffic.
Wherever Spike looked, there were ‘no trespassing’ and ‘building condemned’ signs. Either the man didn’t care or couldn’t read because he brushed past them and climbed resolutely up a flight of stairs. Even though they were stone, they still looked as if they couldn’t bear his weight. He wasn’t fat, but he was apparently solid. Spike’s mouth began to drool with anticipation as he followed closely behind. It was going to be a good meal.
He pulled a board off the barricaded front door and tossed it aside, nearly hitting Spike in the process. He caught himself just as he was about to let fly a string of curses at him. Apparently, he was still invisible to his prey.
Spike watched the man wrestle open the door, although it was a losing battle on the part of the door and decided that he needed to use the element of surprise to his advantage. While his vampire strength gave him an edge, this guy was bigger than he was.
He counted mentally to a hundred, then followed the man into the abandoned building. He paused at the door to see if anyone paid them any attention, but everyone seemed too busy with their own business to bother with them.
“Excellent,” Spike muttered and put his game face in place. He paused and sniffed the air for the man’s scent. It was… odd, different than any person he’d smelled before. However, it only intrigued him more. There was also an odd vibe coming off this place as if one of his own was here. Turning his vampire senses up to full, he reached out, but it was seemingly gone before it was even there. Something was hiding in the dark, something clever. However, the dark wasn’t a problem. Vampires had better-than-average night vision, as did most night hunting creatures.
He paused, trying to decide on his path when he heard floorboards creak overhead. He smiled as his prey betrayed his hiding place. “There you are.”
It was apparently that this had once been a lovely home, but now it stood broken and deserted. It looked as if even the squatters left it alone. A plump rat scurried by, paying him no mind, and Spike watched him navigate the debris.
His stomach gurgled, reminding him that his last meal had been a couple of days ago and sent him back to his task at hand.
He stayed close to the bannister, not that it looked all that sturdy, but it would give him something to cling to if the wood beneath his feet gave out. Then he nearly laughed. If it had supported his victim, it would bloody well bear his weight. Still he hurried up the stairs, alert to the sound of cracking wood underfoot.
The first floor was in about the shape as the ground floor was. The hallway was still lined with portraits of forgotten notables and dusty mildewed curtains hung limp in the windows. Oddly enough, only one pane was broken. That was strange considering little boys’ propensity for stone throwing.
Then Spike realized it was the same downstairs, not a single window was broken. He was starting to like this more and more.
“Where are you? You know the rules.”
Spike froze in place, turning only his head, but the speaker, his Happy Meal on legs, was standing in front of an open door, staring into the dark.
Excellent, Spike thought and swooped in for kill while his victim was distracted. He sunk his teeth into the cool flesh of the man’s neck and began to drink. Then his eyes widened and he choked.
He pulled away and abruptly found himself flung aside as if he was a piece of tissue. He coughed and gagged, vomiting up what little blood he had managed to drink.
“Got more than you bargained for, didn’t you, little one?” The man started to laugh, even as he wiped at his neck with a handkerchief. He looked at it, then tucked it into a coat pocket.
For the first time, Spike really looked at the man and he seemed as dangerous as a field mouse. He had a large smile on his face and his eyes twinkled, Spike would have sworn they twinkled, with delight.
“Vampire, you were the last thing I was expecting to run into tonight. Wait until I tell Steel.”
“Spike, my name is Spike.” He got to his feet and wiped off his mouth with the back of his hand. “What the hell are you?”
“Lead, at your service.” He bowed and then glanced back at the room. “I’m waiting.”
“What kinda name is Lead?” Spike forced him to redirect his attention back to him.
“What kind of name is Spike?” Lead laughed again and walked over to him. Spike took a step back and that sent Lead into another round of laughter. “I like you, Vampire. I’m sorry. Spike.”
“You ain’t human.”
“No, not even close.”
“So what are you?”
“Told you, lead.”
“You’re lead?” That would certainly explain the taste in his mouth. It was as if he’d been sucking on old nails.
“I am. “You see, Time--”
“Don’t bother.” Spike tapped his chest. “Vampire. I know what I tasted. Why are you here? Come to suck all the bits and bobs out of the place?”
“Not exactly. I was simply checking on something.” Lead smiled again.
“Yeah, like what?”
Lead nodded. “Like that.”
Spike followed his gaze and dropped back a step away from the open door. Whatever it was that filled the doorway was like nothing he’d seen before. It was almost Cthulhu in appearance.
“Before you ask, yes, he is. Humans like to refer to this as a cephalopod, but we know different, don’t we, old son.”
“What is it?”
“He’s the Guardian of the Corridor here.”
“What corridor?” Spike relaxed slightly as the creature neither approached or retreated.
“That’s what I was trying to tell you before. Imagine Time as a long corridor with doors on either side. Some doors are more important that they not be disturbed than others. Humans are, by nature, too curious for their own good. They want to look, they want to know. He’s here to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
“We’re in the middle of London.”
“He has been here since man first appeared. He will be here long after.” The creature made a gurgle, almost like a protest and Spike winced as the stench of rotting flesh enveloped him. “And he’s not very happy about having visitors he can’t eat. You know he’ll make you sick”
Another protesting gurgle erupted from the creature.
Spike waved his hand in front of his face. “I can tell.”
“Happily, the rumors of this place being haunted has well served it, but every once in a while, we like to check, just to make sure all is well.” To the creature, he bowed. “I’m sorry to have disturbed you. Please excuse me.”
The creature disappeared back into the shadows. “How long is he stuck here?”
“How long are you here?”
“Until the next Slayer stakes me,” Spike said. He didn’t sound very concerned. He’d already killed two, it wasn’t likely the new one would be much of a worry to him.
“She won’t, but you will find a different path with her, a path to redemption.” Lead’s voice sounded odd.
Spike snorted and dug into his duster’s pocket for a cigarette. “Not bloody likely,” he said, turning back to the man, but there was no one there. “What the hell…?”
He heard a rustling and a low growl from within the room and knew he’d been given a warning shot across the bow. “Yeah, I hear you. I’m going.”
Spike went back down the stairs, not bothering to look over his shoulder. Maybe it was time to blow this place and check out the new Slayer. He’d heard tell that Angel had taken up with her and it was more than time to settle that particular score.
He walked out the front door and glanced back at the rusted plaque that bore, 50 Berkeley Square.
“Well, you’re a bust and this place is a drag. I wonder what California will be like this time of the year.”
50 Berkeley Square is a real place and has been rumored to be haunted by some sort of creature since the 17th century. You can find out more by Googling – the Nameless Horror of 50 Berkeley Square.