Story by CN Winters and The Watchers Staff
Written and Directed by CN Winters
Produced by CN Winters and Susan Carr
Editing by DragonWriter17
Sounds by CN Winters
Art Direction by Robert Kidman and CN Winters
Artists – Robert Kidman, Zahir al Daoud, Isis, Mattxxx and CN Winters
Cover Art by CN Winters
Council Vehicle – Morning
Nikki Wood was looking at a device she held in her hand as she sat in the passenger side of a moving vehicle. In the driver's seat was Liz Giles, looking at the scenery of the Cleveland streets. Her hands were not touching the steering wheel.
"ETA to Council?" Nikki asked nervously.
A computerized voice answered, "15 minutes and 13 seconds."
"Relax," Liz told her. "You'll make it. The meeting doesn't start for at least a half hour."
"Yes, but we have to clear security. Then get the files in order. Then make sure –"
"God, you're anal. Just relax," Liz told her again. She did a double take out the window and grabbed the steering wheel. "Manual control," Liz said as she turned down a street.
Nikki looked up from her handheld to see what was happening.
"Where are you going?" she asked impatiently. Liz didn't answer. "Where are you going?" Nikki repeated. "The Council is that way." She pointed.
"I see a Council van over there. I want to check it out."
Nikki sighed in frustration. "Whatever it is, people are already on the scene. We don't – correction – I don't have time for this. If I'm late, Jen is gonna have my head on a platter. And really, I don't want the head of the Slayer division gunning for me."
"I'll write you an excuse," Liz told her as she grinned.
"Damn it, Liz." Nikki tossed the device to floor of the vehicle in frustration. "I'm not car-pooling with you anymore, that's it."
House – Moments Later
Liz and Nikki both emerged from the vehicle. The house was surrounded by Council vans and Police SWAT units. Liz approached a woman who appeared to be a police commander.
"What do you have here?" Liz asked.
The woman looked Liz up and down. "And who the hell are you?"
Liz opened her Council identification. "Liz Giles, Head of the Watchers Council. And you are…?"
"I'm sorry," the woman began apologetically.
"Hello Sorry," Liz teased. "Seriously, what do we have here?"
The commander grinned nervously. "I-I didn't think you'd get here that quick."
"Excuse me?" Liz asked, confused.
"There's a creature inside claiming to be an Usler Demon. He's got three hostages and says he'll only come out if he can talk to Liz Giles. Didn't you get the message?"
"No," Liz muttered as she looked to the house, squinting her eyes. The commander handed Liz a file and she began to look it over while Nikki asked, "Has he made any other demands?"
"Not at this time," she answered. "We were looking over that information about Usler Demons," she added as she nodded to the file Liz held.
Liz handed the file to Nikki and her sight returned to the house. She watched a figure moving inside for a few moments and then began to grin.
"May I?" she asked as she took the bullhorn from the officer, not waiting for an answer. "This is Liz Giles," she announced. "I'll make a deal – all your hostages for one Head of the Council. What do you say?"
Nikki and the officer both tried to take the bullhorn from her.
"Are you nuts?" Nikki asked.
Liz smiled and handed her the bullhorn.
"No," was all she said at first. She then motioned toward the car. "Take the vehicle and go to the Council. I'll be there shortly."
"Liz –" Nikki tried to protest, obviously concerned for her safety.
"Just go," Liz snorted. "I got this."
The watcher then walked around from the safety of the van and headed toward the sidewalk leading to the porch of the home. Along the way she picked some flowers off a small lilac tree and gave them a sniff. As she continued forward, she began to whistle the chorus from, 'What a Day For A Daydream.'
Once at the front door she gave it three knocks and a timid looking woman opened the door.
"Bad day?" Liz asked with a grin. The scared woman didn't seem to know what to say. "Look, is it just the three of you here?" she asked, turning serious. The woman nodded. "Go on," Liz told her and stepped out of the way, allowing the three people to hastily exit.
House Perimeter – Same Time
A sniper lined up the demon inside his crosshairs, but before he could get off a shot, Liz's body blocked his view as she stepped inside the house.
"What the hell is she doing?" the sniper asked. "I would've had the shot," he added as the front door closed behind her.
House – Continuous
Liz looked at the blue demon that was pacing back and forth. What appeared to have once been horns on his head were cut off, looking like nubs. The first words out of Liz's mouth were, "What the hell, Belizet?" spoken in a highly annoyed tone. "You told them you were a Usler Demon? Are you insane? That's as far from a Brell demon as you can get. You're lucky you're not dead!"
"I had to talk to you," he said nervously.
"I have an office! This isn't the way!" He didn't say anything else, and she walked over to the large window and closed the blind down more, providing them cover. She then turned to face him. "Now where was I?…Oh, yeah…what the hell?!"
"Everything's different. Everything's changed."
"No kidding. This is certainly a far cry from the barbeques in our parents' backyards. Now you're kidnapping people? If your father was still alive…"
"Don't bring my father into this," he said. "He's lucky he's dead to avoid what's coming…what will be."
Sensing his ever-growing anxiety, Liz took a different approach. Her features softened, and her voice lowered.
"Look Belizet, I loved Brell. He was one of my favorite uncles and the best demon I ever knew. You were lucky to have him as a father. But you have to tell me, what happened that turned his kid into a felon? You got my attention, okay? What's going on?"
"Nothing is real. Nothing is really real except…suffering," he muttered as he began to rock back and forth.
Liz's brow scrunched. "What did you just say?" she asked as if carefully considering his words.
"Nothing in this world is real except suffering," he told her. "It's this," he said, holding up a necklace he was wearing. "I haven't been able to reach you, and I didn't want to bring it to the Council."
Liz took a step closer, and he dropped it, moving away from her. "No, you can't touch it. Don't come near it. I made the mistake of touching the stone. Don't let it touch you – not now, not ever."
"Okay," Liz said, holding her hands up as she approached closer.
"I mean it," he told her.
"Okay," Liz repeated. She stood about three feet away from him. "I swear I'll help you, Belizet," she said. "Even if you might not believe it, all right?"
Belizet began to grin, and then he nodded.
Liz smiled too. Then she swung with all of her might, connecting with his jaw. As Belizet fell to the floor in a lump, Liz instantly grabbed her sore hand.
"Bloody hell," she swore as she rubbed her knuckles.
She leaned over and grabbed the long chain attached to the stone. She gave it a solid snap and held it up by its chain, examining it for a moment, but as if taking Belizet's advice, she didn't touch it.
House Porch – Moments Later
Liz emerged with her hands in the air – one hand holding the chain with the stone.
"It's all clear," she shouted. As the teams moved forward, Liz stopped one of the troops. "He's unconscious, but have him taken to a Council cell. He's a personal friend of mine, but I need to interrogate him further." The Council solider nodded and made his way inside.
Council Van – Moments Later
Liz walked back over to the van to see Nikki still there.
"I thought I told you that you could go?"
"I couldn't leave with you in there," Nikki replied. She then motioned to the stone attached to the chain. "That's one ugly necklace."
Liz turned to one of the Council slayers. "Can you get me a magic containment box?"
"Certainly," the woman said, going to the back of a van.
"Nothing is really real except suffering," Liz told Nikki as she examined the stone by the chain.
Nikki blinked. "If you say so."
"Have you heard that before?" Liz asked.
Nikki shrugged. "Can't say I have," she replied.
"Well, I can," Liz said.
"Hell, if I know," Liz replied.
"Here you go," the slayer said, holding out a box.
Liz let the stone drop inside, and the chain followed. She then closed the lid, sealing it shut.
"Thanks," she replied to the slayer. Then she motioned for Nikki to follow her back to the vehicle. Liz tried to open the door, but it wouldn't budge.
An automated voice said, "Fingerprint not identified. Access denied."
Liz sighed in frustration, and Nikki opened the door for her with ease as the voice said, "Welcome, Ms. Wood."
"That's the third time. I'm convinced this car hates me," Liz replied as she climbed inside with the magic box in her hands.
Nikki just smiled as she walked around to get in the other side.
End of Teaser
To Act One