Withdrawal

Teaser

Story by Dan Joslyn
Written by Dan Joslyn (additional writing by Faith730)
Produced and Directed by CN Winters and Susan Carr
Edited by DragonWriter17
Sounds by CSR
Art Direction by Robert Kidman
Artists – Robert Kidman, CN Winters, Zahir al Daoud, Isis, Mattxxx, and Humaira

Fade In:
Ext.
Cleveland – Downtown Alley – Night

Dawn and Shannon walked side-by-side down a narrow alley, their figures silhouetted against bright store-fronts at the far end.

"Are you sure we can't go home yet?" Shannon asked. "My feet are killing me."

"Some slayer you are," Dawn snorted. Shannon made a face. "The vamps like to hang out in this neighborhood after the basketball games, pick off the stragglers," Dawn explained.

"But the game isn't over yet," Shannon pointed out.

"It's always good to beat the rush," said a gruff voice behind the two young women.

Shannon turned just in time to get punched in the face. She flew back into the side of the alley, hitting her head awkwardly against an exposed pipe. The unconscious slayer dropped to the ground face down.

A large, meaty hand gripped Dawn by the throat. She looked up at the angry yellow eyes of a huge, bald vampire and gasped for air.

"You're one of those Council types, right?" the vampire asked. "This may not come as a big surprise, but I'm not real fond of what you guys do there."

Dawn's hand fumbled around the back of her belt, searching for the stake she had tucked there.

"Now, don't try to change my mind," he continued. "I'm not much for debate. But I do like to try new things. For example, all the guys talk about slayer blood. But what does watcher taste like?"

Dawn's stake slipped from her belt and clattered to the ground. Dawn's eyes widened, and her mouth moved silently, trying to form words that died for lack of air.

"Don't know, huh?" the vampire said. "Guess I'll just have to find out." He sank his teeth into Dawn's neck, and she opened her mouth in a silent scream.

The sucking noise of the blood being drawn from Dawn's veins filled the air for several seconds. At first her face showed terror and pain, but after a few moments, that passed, and a few moments after that, a strange smile drifted across her face before her eyes closed.

The vampire didn't end his feast until he abruptly turned to dust. Shannon removed a stake from what had been the vampire's back as Dawn crumpled to the pavement.

"Dawn?" Shannon asked, her voice filled with concern. The side of Dawn's neck was covered in blood, and she wasn't breathing.

Cut To:
Int.
Skye's Dorm Room – Same Time

"I brought you something," Rowena said, and Skye looked up from her Vampire Week magazine to see the watcher standing in the doorway to her tiny dorm room. In her hand Rowena held a pot containing a single white flower.

"What," Skye said skeptically, "is that?"

"It's jasmine," Rowena told her. "It blooms at night, so you can see it. I wanted to thank you for helping out with my research, and I thought the place could use some sprucing up."

"There's only so much sprucing one can do," Skye noted dryly. "This place is even smaller than my old cell." Rowena walked into the room and put the flower on the small nightstand, the only flat surface she could find.

"So, how are you feeling?" the watcher asked. "No side effects from…blood loss?"

"Nope, I'm good," Skye said. "Never been better." She held up the magazine. "101 Different Ways to Serve Otter Blood," read one of the headlines on the cover. "This may in fact be the worst magazine I've ever read," she announced. "Maybe I need to sire some good writers."

Rowena's eyes drifted back to the nightstand. "It's nice, isn't it?" she asked.

"The flower?" Skye replied. "It's a little small…I take it you were too cheap to spring for a bouquet."

"Flowers have no idea that they're alive," Rowena said. "They give all this beauty to the world, and they don't even know they're doing it."

"Um…okay." Skye looked confused.

"When flowers die, it's like they never existed," Rowena continued. "They don't have a consciousness, a soul. What's left of a flower to go to heaven? Nothing, a void. You're like a flower, Skye. A flower that thinks."

Cut To:
Int.
Golden Corridor – Same Time

Dawn was floating down a corridor. At least, she was moving somehow, and she wasn't walking. Her hair was black and shining behind her, and the walls were made of golden light. She drifted to a near-stop in front of a traditional wooden door with a polished brass knob.

Cut To:
Int.
Skye's Dorm Room – Same Time

"Is this your way of coming on to me?" Skye asked. "Because that would be really pathetic…and kinda weird."

"The difference between you and the flower is that you are aware of the impending void," Rowena said. Her voice had a far-off quality to it, as if she wasn't really aware of what she was saying. "When you're dust, Skye, there won't be anything left of you. How do you stand it?"

"Well, there's Dawn," Skye said. "The way we feel about each other…that makes this whole thing worth it."

Cut To:
Int.
Golden Corridor – Same Time

Dawn tried the doorknob, but it wouldn't turn. The door was locked.

Cut To:
Int.
Skye's Dorm Room – Same Time

Rowena laughed, in an uncharacteristically carefree giggle. "Skye, love isn't a feeling. It's an action."

Skye shook her head and plopped down on her bed. "Why are we talking about this again?"

Rowena shrugged. "I dunno. Man, I am really thirsty."

"You and me both, sister."

"Do you mind if I…?" Rowena was holding up a plain red thermos in her right hand.

Cut To:
Int.
Golden Corridor – Same Time

Dawn threw her weight against the door, but it wouldn't budge.

Then her mother was standing next to her. "Might as well give up, sweetie."

"Mom?" Dawn pleaded.

Joyce put her hands on her hips. "Don't look at me like that, young lady. I wasn't the one who lost the key."

Cut To:
Int.
Skye's Dorm Room – Same Time

"Yeah, sure, whatever," Skye said.

"Thanks," Rowena replied and unscrewed the top of the thermos.

Skye watched out of the corner of her eye as Rowena gulped down her drink. Her eyes widened when she saw a trickle of red fall from the corner of the watcher's mouth.

"Mmm," Rowena purred, finally pulling the thermos away from lips. Thick red liquid had smeared all around her mouth.

"Is that –?" Skye asked tentatively.

"I don't know why you don't like this stuff," Rowena said. "It's like chocolate syrup. Only more refreshing, y'know?"

"Are you crazy?!" Skye leapt up from her bed.

When she tried to grab the thermos from Rowena, all her hands met was air. Sweating, Skye looked around her room, finding herself alone. The flower and its pot had vanished from the nightstand. After several seconds she walked back towards her bed, reaching for her magazine.

But there was no magazine. Skye ripped the covers off her bed, throwing them to the ground…but she found nothing.

Cut To:
Ext.
Cleveland – Downtown Alley – Same Time

With a gasp, Dawn opened her eyes on the floor of the alley. She furtively took in her surroundings. Shannon knelt beside her on the gray pavement, her wooden stake still in her right hand.

"Are you okay?" Shannon asked.

"I think I died," Dawn said after a moment. "I think I died again." She looked at her slayer. "But I'm all right now."

A look of great disappointment appeared on Shannon's face. "That's okay," she said. "Better luck next time."

"What?" Dawn asked.

"You never know which one'll take." Without warning, Shannon thrust the stake into Dawn's heart.

Dawn's eyes opened again. She was on the floor of the alley, with Shannon kneeling beside her. The fang wounds on her neck had healed, though she was still covered in her own blood.

"Dawn!" Shannon cried worriedly. "Are you okay?"

Dawn sat up, a strange look in her eyes. "I…don't know."

Fade Out

End of Teaser
To Act One