I Blame the Dutch (mpoetess) wrote in spankdeer,
I Blame the Dutch
mpoetess
spankdeer

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Little Crooked House II


It wasn't the vampire's post I-told-you-so annoucement that they were "Up somebody-or-other's crick without a paddle in sight" that made him want to bean Spike over the head with the nearest blunt object (which happened to be the flashlight in Xander's left hand). It wasn't even that Spike was, in fact, right.

It was that he was so damned smug about it. Instead of helping Xander search the hallway into which they had stepped, for a floorplan, or a door marked "Get Your Ancient and Illegal Book of Spells Here," or a suspiciously grinning Rod Serling, he was just leaning against the wall. Nodding wisely, as Xander peered into the distance, and tried unsuccessfully to ignore him.

The little alcove that had held the vanished elevator was lit well enough, with a faint bluish glow from a round light in the ceiling. A corridor ran past it to the left and right, but each direction ended in absolute darkness, with no sign of even the low security lighting of the main level. Xander wasn't particularly keen on exploring by himself, especially when the dead guy was making with the gloom and doom proclamations, though he realized most of it was just an attempt to make him nervous. It was working, was the thing. And Spike could tell, and was snickering at him.

Screw that. Xander walked towards the nearest unmarked door, of the four he could see, then looked back at Spike. "You planning on tagging along?"

"Thought I'd let you have the first go, and when you don't come back out, then I'll know it wasn't the right one."

Xander gritted his teeth. He was *not* going to ask Spike politely to come with him because it was creepy. He wasn't. Instead, he steeled himself and, without looking back at Spike, turned the knob. The door swung inwards, revealing...a gaping hole of darkness. Great.

The faint light from the hall barely illuminated the doorway. Xander thought about switching on his flashlight, but... In a building where the elevators disappeared, what might might be around to come running, if he sent up the Bat-Signal? Instead, he moved slowly forward, hands out, sweeping like a blind man's cane -- hoping that what he came into contact with was either a conveniently-placed book with a map of how to find the stairs tucked into it, or -- and this was a longshot -- his pillow, because this was all a bad dream brought on by eating one too many peanut-butter-and-jellybean sandwiches at two in the morning.

His brief scream of surprise when his fingers brushed something warm to the touch, was, he hoped, more manly-sounding to vampire ears than to his own. Somethings, actually. Spindly and long, they felt like human fingers, reaching out in greeting. As he withdrew his hand, he brushed against more of them -- and was pricked by little rough spines that didn't belong on any human *he* wanted to shake hands with. They weren't fingers -- they were tentacles. Xander scurried backwards, out of the room and into the hallway, then turned to see a knowing smirk plastered across Spike's face.

He breathed deeply, then growled, "You know, if somebody with superhuman hearing and sight wanted to move his superhuman ass away from the wall and help out here, we might be able to find this thing and get gone a little faster."

"If somebody with an electric torch in his hand had the brains to turn it on, he wouldn't need my superhuman ass, would he?" Spike retorted.

Xander looked down at his flashlight, and once again considered how effective a bludgeon it would make. "I was trying not to draw attention to us, in case there's somebody here. Or, in this case, some *thing*."

"Congratulations on the subtle sneaking technique, then, imitating the mating call of the terrified Girl Scout, to throw them off the trail."

"Well, you'd freak too, if you'd touched what I touched." Xander wiped his hand roughly on his pants leg, though there didn't seem to be anything ooky remaining on it. "There's some kind of spider-squid-demon thingy in there."

Spike snorted, then pushed himself away from the wall and stalked into the room, leaving Xander to stare after him for a moment, before reluctantly switching on his mag-lite and following.

He'd just swept the beam across the tail end of Spike's leather jacket, when he caught sight of one of those spiny tentacles, and found himself making a quieter version of the Girl Scout call. Then suddenly, there was light.

Spike stood against the far wall, maybe twenty feet away from him, next to a panel of lightswitches, and another door. Smirking, still. Or again. He pointed mockingly to the many-tentacled thing.

"Yeah, I gibber and quake at the thought of throwing down with the man-eating aloe vera plant."

It was sitting on the corner of a desk, in what appeared to be a very large, neatly arranged...office.

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