The Chosen - S8 Logo

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Buffy stepped through the grounds of one of Trillium's cemeteries, stake at the ready and eagle eyes alert, although given the darkness of night, owl eyes might have been more appropriate. She was keeping a careful lookout on the area for the usual signs of possible trouble: disturbed plots, freshly laid grass, or, more commonly, rampaging vampires or demons.

There wasn't much to see. Everything was nice and neat, all was quiet, and the not-quite-full moon darting between clouds all but assured that even a surprise werewolf attack was out of the question.

"I've seen more exciting wee-morning infomercials than this," she mused, her tone nearly that of complaint.

As she continued to move through the cemetery, each stride became a little more tense, the anticipation of an attacked increasing. Still, nothing appeared willing to oblige her expectations.

"It's probably a bit optimistic to think the world's run out of evil, right?"

Buffy continued on further, and as if to answer the rhetorical question, there came a noise. Not the hiss of a vampire or roar of a demon, nor admittedly even the growl of a werewolf, but instead a feeble, pitiful moaning sound. A surprised expression crossed her face, but only for a moment as she quickly moved to the source of the sound, coming from behind a particularly large headstone.

It was a human, most likely a boy considering the pitch. In the shadows, Buffy could make out that he was dressed in some sort of formalwear. He was lying prone on his stomach in suffering.

She set down the stake and reached over to him. "Hang in there, I'll—"

One of his hands thrust out and latched onto her wrist in a powerful grip, making her jump just a little, while the other arm started to extend toward her. The moon had emerged from behind the clouds again and, in the increased light, she could see that although the shape and clothes were human, this was no boy. Her disgust at the sickly, grayish flesh was second only to the foul rotting stench that invaded her nostrils.

She managed to jerk her hand away, but only after several tries. Getting back to her feet, Buffy tried to rub the offensive residue off her wrist with her other hand, but only succeeded in getting that hand contaminated as well.

"Eugh," she observed. "You know, when my stomach gets queasy, you've spent too much time in funkytown."

The corpse shambled along the ground toward her, mostly using one arm and semi-mobile legs to move. The motions, along with a viewing which was definitely more extensive than recommended, convinced the Slayer that it was without a doubt a formerly living human, wearing a dress shirt and pants. Though decomposition had obviously set in, the body still had some semblance of eyes in its sockets that managed somehow to remain fixed on her as it advanced.

Buffy's casual backing away from the thing was interrupted by another, even softer moan from behind. A second corpse ambling from the opposite direction blocked her retreat. Its movements were virtually identical to first, complete with outstretched arm and slow-crawling action, but this one appeared to be female, larger and older than the boy, and wearing a deep blue dress.

"I'd love to stay for the picnic, guys, but I forgot my body of rotting flesh, so—"

She turned to run, but tripped unexpectedly, stumbling to the ground. Looking down at her ankle, Buffy could see an undead hand grasping her leg. She tried to shake it off, but things apparently were not going to be that easy. Rearing back her other foot and depositing a swift kick on the hand only made it twitch; the grip remained surprisingly firm.

The other two cadavers were steadily drawing nearer, the closest outstretched arm mere inches away. Again, Buffy tried to pull herself free of the hand, but she simply didn't have enough strength or leverage on the soft ground. Looking from one approaching arm to the other, she realized that there was no escape. One putrid hand seized her left arm—

Buffy snapped awake in her bed, breathing a heartfelt sigh of relief as she realized she was no longer in danger of becoming a three-way wishbone in the hands of zombies. She rubbed at her wrist distastefully as though it were still coated with goo.

"The ability to shower after a dream like this?" she muttered to herself. "Priceless."

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