Sunny days were long away from this particular street. Ghouls and monsters ran unchecked and unafraid, mingling with children and adults alike. Buffy didn’t necessarily have a problem with such a practice. Heaven knew her romantic and personal life was checkered with such colorful characters. Not one, but two vampire ex-boyfriends, a saggy skinned demon for a poker buddy, a witch for a best friend, a sentient inter-dimensional key for a little sister. Buffy had absolutely no room to dole out judgement about which bedfellows these people chose. Buffy wasn’t even walking these streets in her Slayer capacity. The fiends and goblins on these streets taught children how to read and write, to do math and how to share. Meanwhile, everywhere else in the world they would be eviscerating the innocent and plotting to bring about the end of days. There was something about this place that turned horrible things into things benign and almost adorable. She could use something like that. It would mean a permanent end to demons looking for strange, new ways to wipe everyone else out. It would mean the end of fighting for her and her Slayer ilk. It was worth investigating at least.
The streets had been lonely and lonely streets put Buffy on edge. She kept her stake at the ready while she moved down the sidewalk. Her heels echoed off into the shadows and the shadows answered back. A trashcan rattled and shook around in a pile of loose pallets and garbage bags and beneath its rust speckled lid, a nasally groan sounded.
“What’s all that noise?” Buffy nearly staked a green furry thing with tangled, bushy brown eyebrows. His disproportionately large eyes lowered down to the position of the gnarled wooden stake, realized how close he came to having said stake puncture his insides and then shivered like a paint mixer and not metaphorically. His entire body shook violently and she thought he was having a seizure for a moment. He dropped back into his trashcan, slamming the lid shut behind him.
“Sorry!” Buffy cried, trying to reopen the lid. The thing inside had a good grip on the top and wasn’t about to let it go. She could have overcome him with her slayer strength, but that didn’t seem appropriate. She was hoping to gain secrets and she figured that terrorizing the locals didn’t seem a great way to do it.
“Can we talk? Just for a second?” Buffy asked. The lid shot up along with the green creature.
“No!” He cried before descending back into the trashcan.
“Please.” She said with a weaker tone. She was shocked that he would come from his hiding place just to refuse her.
The creature shot up again, cried ‘No’ and then shot back down.
Nice one, Buffy. She thought to herself. You find the one place in the world where demons and human live peacefully and you nearly kill the person you find. She decided to leave the furry, green creature to his can and then wondered if ‘Person’ was the proper term for a demon. People were people where ever you went. Even if they weren’t people. It felt dehumanizing to call something with a name and a mind and friends ‘a thing.’ If she called the thing in the trashcan a thing, it would almost be the same as calling her sister a thing. True, she looked more like a person than what lived in the can, but so didn’t Angel and so didn’t Spike. For that matter, so didn’t Glory, The Mayor and the First Evil… although that one was incorporeal and probably asexual.
“Oscar? Oscar? Why such a commotion at this hour? I heard one…two …two loud bangs in the night. Ah. Ah. Ah..” Buffy spotted a purple faced vampire at the end of the street. He was remarkably short and was dressed in a cape with an upturned collar. He had a monocle in one eye and tiny fangs in his mouth. Buffy reminded herself that she wasn’t here to slay.
“Hello.” She said, hurrying to the diminutive vampire. “ I’m Buffy Summers from Sunnydale. Can we talk for a moment.”
“Of course. Of Course.” The purple vampire said, sweeping his hands through the air in an unnecessary grandiose gesture that involved nearly his entire body.
“Thank you. I’ve come a long way and… wait!” Buffy said as the vampire began to walk away.
“ I was talking to you.”
“Yes. You asked to speak with me for one…one moment. Ah. Ah. Ah..”
“Okay. You’re being intentionally ridiculous. Can I speak with someone in charge here?”
“I don’t know. Can you?” The green monster shouted from behind her. She turned and he slammed down the lid, disappearing into the can. Buffy rubbed her forehead and took a moment to lower her temper.
“May I speak with someone in charge? Someone who might know how the demons and humans coexist so peacefully here.” The purple vampire stroked his frizzy black beard, pondering the question.
“Possibly Big Bird. Ah. Ah.. Of all of us, he seems the most like an adult. Ah. Ah. Ah.”
“Okay. Can you bring me to him?”
“And then, there are the actual adults. They may know as well. Ah. Ah. Ah.”
“Okay. Can you bring me to them?”
“Then there’s Elmo. Not an adult at all, but everything seems to revolve around him nowadays. Ah. Ah. Ah.”
“Okay. How about this. Can you…Might you take me to someone, anyone who can answer my questions? Or that can answer any direct question?”
“Of course, of course. Ah. Ah. Ah. Well, I suppose I could answer that question. Ah. Ah. Ah..” Buffy felt a sting of anger, but she bit it back and offered the vampire a strained, toothy smile.
“Can you? So, how do the humans and the demons here maintain peace?”
“Powerful Sedatives. Ah. Ah. Ah.”
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