RATING: Adult for language and content
DISCLAIMER: The Bee has no rights or claim on any
of the characters or products named in this story and makes
no profit from them.
SUMMARY: This is the third story in the Rosebud/verse.
Tara has been abducted and the police rush to find her.
The other members of the Circle decide that they can do
a better job and begin their own investigation.
Who will find her first and will it be in time?
Praise and thanks to the wonderful Petxnd for the amazing banner
He had jumped up and out of the safety of his hiding place before
he realized what he was doing.
He had actually intended to shout her name. Something in the back
of his mind concocted the idea that if he got her attention, they could
run, escape together.
But, when he opened his mouth, something very different came out.
It was that word. That damn stupid word that had set up camp in his
brain and refused to leave.
But that was all right too. That was their code word. Maybe if he
shouted it loud enough the others upstairs would hear.
A bolt of silence shot through the room as every head turned in his
direction. Andrew closed his mouth. He stared into the dark, cement
block room. The flames of the candles flickering on the walls, combined
with the people in robes looked like pictures he had seen of the Spanish
'Thank God it isn't that.' He thought. 'Those were really evil people.
Every face had turned. The chanting had stopped and, although
he still couldn't see their faces, he knew they were staring at him.
Andrew would have liked to think that raw courage was
what kept him from rushing from the room, but he knew the truth.
Sheer, blinding terror had nailed his feet to the floor and locked his
muscles into an unyielding rigor mortis.
He didn't need to be a psychic to know he had made a big mistake.
The first person to speak was a small, female voice that came
out of the far left corner.
"That's it. Oh my God! That's the word."
Andrew's eyes darted wildly around as the two robed men closest
to him rushed him, grabbing his arms and dragging him in toward
the center, the pit of negativity.
"Let me go! Get off me!"
Firmly holding him as he tried to wriggle free, he could now see Tara,
clearly lost in the throes of a trance, the sleeves of her white robe were
bloody and she was holding the head of a dead, rotting corpse.
He knew she was totally absent from her body, unaware of what
was happening around her.
Her eyes had rolled back in her head and she moaned in empathy for
the misery of the lost soul.
The excitement in the cave had reached a fevered pitch with the hooded
figures now stomping their feet and shouting at the young man who
had obviously been sent to them by Satan himself.
"Name the priest. Name the priest. Name the priest."
Andrew jerked violently against the man on his right, causing his hood
to tumble, pooling into fabric folds around his shoulders.
In the flickering candle light, Andrew's eyes got big as he stared into
the face scowling above him.
He knew this man! He had seen him often when he and Xander had
gone to the station house to see Spike. Andrew was shocked, but
he was sure it was him.
He couldn't have known the importance of his words.
"It's you! It's you! You're...."
Immediately the priest took the opportunity to both shut the brat up and
claim his rightful place as Satan's emissary on earth.
He threw his hand, still holding the bloody knife, high over his head.
"I HAVE BEEN NAMED! I AM THE ONE TO ASCEND THE THRONE!
The seer knew the code word and he has spoken for our lost leader.
PRAISE TO SATAN! PRAISE TO SATAN!"
The rest of the room picked up and repeated the chant, ignoring
When he felt his position as head of the church of The Vision had been
accepted and cemented, he again waved his knife.
Andrew stopped struggling and waited to see what would happen next.
The other priests fell silent, their heads dropped and their hands
tucked submissively into the arms of their robes.
The leader then turned and pointed the knife in Rita's direction.
"You brought us another false prophet. The woman was not the one.
Remove her diseased, corrupt hands from the sacred head of our
Terrified of what her punishment would be, Rita rushed to where Tara
still stood. She grabbed the back of the white flowing robe and she
jerked. As soon as contact was broken, Tara's trance ended and
she collapsed to the floor in a heap, unconscious.
With his feet again scrambling for traction, Andrew tried frantically
to get away, to reach Tara, but he was held tight. With the newly
crowned prince of the Vision on one side and Rita's brother on the
other, Andrew was forcefully dragged to the center of the pentagram.
When he got a clear and close up look at the rotting corpse sitting in
the chair, Andrew screamed and clawed at the arms that held him.
The eye sockets were empty as the eyeballs had long since shrank and
fallen out. With the muscles gone to hold it closed, the mouth now
hung open as if shouting for mercy.
Patches of dry, crusty skin and hair were stuck and peeling on his body.
"Let me go! Let me go! You just wait till Spike get's here. You
hurt me and Spike will kick your ass!"
The words cut through the priest like a sword.
Immediately he grabbed a fistful of Andrew's hair and snapped his
head back, forcing him to face the man he now realized he shouldn't
"Your Spike is nothing but a fag and a bitch. I remember you and
Satan has done me a great service by sending you here. You are
his gift to me. Your blood soaking the hem of my robe will be the
perfect proof that I am the chosen one. No man on earth can harm
me while I have the protection of the Lord of Hell."
Andrew's heart pounded loudly in his chest. He was going to die.
He never imagined his end would be like this. There was so much
he would miss. 'Oh God' He thought. 'I'm going to die an anal virgin.'
He briefly wondered if the others were safe and he worried about
what would happen to Tara after.
Andrew stopped fighting. He stood, surrounded by a group of crazies
who worshipped the devil and he was about to be their fatted calf.
Or in his case, maybe a skinny calf.
The new leader now positioned himself in the middle of the pentagram
the boy firmly in his grip, his head back and his neck exposed.
The bloody knife was just inches from Andrew's white, clean neck.
"I am the Vision! Jim Jones is no more and I am the way the word and
the path to the darkness! I am the Master. All will obey me."
The other priests murmured their allegiance.
"This boy is the messenger. This boy is the gift sent to us from the devil
himself. He is the deliverer of the news and he is the sacrificial lamb.
With his blood, my seat at Satan's right hand will be sealed."
Andrew closed his eyes and whimpered.
The knife came up and, flickering in the candlelight, swung down.
At the last second before blade touched flesh, the crack of a gun
Andrew's eyes automatically flinched, preventing the splash of blood
from blinding him as it coated his face. Instantly, he opened them
just in time to see the face, now sporting a strange black/red hole
in the center of his forehead, crumble to the ground.