Tomorrow We Die

[An excerpt from Dalton's journal]


November 20, 1997

Tonight I feel old.

Each night for one hundred and seventy years I have woken with a start, eyes wide open, eternally thirty-four years old and dead for the first time. But not this night, no. I almost closed my eyes again and refused to rise, for it seemed that the weight of every hour, every minute since I was turned was pressing down around me, suffocating me, dragging me closer to the depths.

As I woke I could hear screams coming from the next room. For a moment it seemed to me that these were the voices of the damned. But it is only Spike killing the young ones. He does this each time, blames each failed attempt to kill the Slayer on his hapless henchmen rather than the fallacies of his own plans, the imperfection of his vision.

He takes out his anger slowly, mouth curved half in a smile, half in a sneer. A jag of metal in one hand, something dripping and bloody in the other. From past experience I know that the screams will go on through the night till the next morning's dawn, until enough are dead and the rest terrified into obeisance.

Same old pattern. Master and minions. A snake biting its own tail.

We carry the seeds of our own destruction within us.

* * *

They come to you in the night and promise immortality. Just one bite, just one drink, and eternal life will be yours. Even I, a Watcher born and bred, was tempted... I refused, but he turned me anyway. Perhaps I was grateful for that, in my heart of hearts.

But he is gone now, my immortal sire. As is his sire before him, and her sire before that. Even my blood brothers and sisters have long since crumbled into dust. I, who was the weakest, am now the last of that brood, though I sense my end is near.

Spike and the madwoman by his side, too, are doomed. They are like me, frozen in the past while time marches ever on. The decades will roll over us like the tide and pull us back into the ocean. No matter that our bodies are eternal - for we were human once, and something mortal resides in us still.

Vampires rarely last for long. It is in our nature to die.

* * *

I pity Spike as much as I fear him, I pity the way he rages uselessly against the ravages of time. He plans this war with cruel precision, not knowing that these are but futile gestures to delay an inevitable fate. He is no longer of this world, this time. Spike may last longer than Drusilla, now little more than a beautiful wraith crooning ragged lullabies into his ear, but he is damned nonetheless.

Spike will not kill this Slayer. She is seventeen years old, native to the new world and the new age, and she wipes out the tracks of history with the confidence of youth. Medieval spells and olde worlde demons do not frighten her. Rather, it is we who skitter away, startled by the bright lights. Human invention and ingenuity wins out over aged wisdom each time. Much as we struggle to keep pace with the cascade of the years, the world has changed beyond the means of our comprehension.

The Slayer is always mortal. Her death is inevitable and her lifespan briefer than even ordinary humans. She will be gone before she has time to grow old, before the rhythms can change once again and leave her floundering behind. She is always young.

That is why she will always win.

* * *

We stand now on the cusp of the third millenium. Warrior, prophet, and scholar, born of the age of empires and industry, lingering on in the slow dawn of a glittering new era. Already our feudal sires have perished with the dark ages - the Master is gone, Luke and Darla are gone, and Angel is worse than dead. We will surely be next.

I am filled with despair, and the screams in the next room seem a fitting complement to the darkness that weighs down my spirit. For Spike is killing the young ones, and our hope of salvation dies with them.

The candle gutters and dies. I write in the dark.


June 2001

[Rowan's Fanfiction]