Disclaimer: BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and its characters are the creations of Mutant Enemy Productions and the property of Fox Television. I just borrow them now and then when no one's looking.
This story was written for the Buffy and Angel Lyric Wheel and was inspired by the song "It's Not You" by the Cure (lyrics are reprinted below). Big thanks to DarkChilde for the lyrics.
This story is rated R for graphic violence.
Her weary, bloodshot eyes swiveled towards the window. It was quite dark outside. Surely no one in the house would be making noise at this hour.
But she did hear something. It was barely audible, a sort of low, unsteady whine. It didn't sound like a noise a person would make. The dogs? she thought. They sometimes whimpered in their sleep; she didn't know why. She didn't like animals very much, but her brother, Winston, was an avid hunter and so attached to his pair of pointers that he insisted on keeping them with him in London in the off season instead of leaving them at the country house where they belonged.
She heard it again, a bit louder now. It didn't sound like the dogs.
Then came another scream. A man's scream. She got out of bed and went to her door.
"Winston?" she called out. "Is that you? Are you all right?" Through the crack in the door, she could see that there was light downstairs.
"Cecily?" a voice called. It wasn't Winston. It was...William?
"Cecily?" the voice repeated. "Come down. Your brother's had an accident."
Stunned, Cecily hurried down the stairs in her nightgown. William was waiting for her in the front hall.
"Where is he?" Cecily cried, fearing the worst.
"Over there," William said calmly. He pointed towards the dining room, where Winston was standing against the far wall. Cecily took a few steps forward and squinted -- she had always been a bit nearsighted, though she would never consider wearing spectacles -- as she tried to make him out in the dim light. That was when she realized that Winston wasn't standing.
He was hanging.
Metal spikes of some kind had been driven through his shoulders and wrists, pinning him to the wall. Blood ran down over the wallpaper in thick, black, shiny trails.
"W-what..." Cecily choked.
"What happened to him?" William finished for her. "Oh, yes, the accident." He chuckled almost sheepishly. "Well.accident is a bit of an exaggeration. Though it was certainly his carelessness that led him to his present condition." He smiled at Cecily. "The things he said about my poetry last evening were ever so rude."
Numbly, Cecily moved slowly forward, closer to her brother's bleeding body. As she drew near, she saw the slightest movement of his head. He was still alive.
"Winston?" she whispered, her vocal cords tight.
He lifted his head just enough to see her and began making the incoherent whimpering sound Cecily had heard from her bed.
"You'll have to forgive me," William said, coming up behind Cecily. "He's lost rather a lot of blood. Had I thought about it, I would have crucified him upside down so he would remain conscious longer, but I'm new at this. Something to remember for next time, I suppose. Now, if you'll excuse me-"
He brushed her aside with one arm, as easily as if she were made of papier-mache. With the other arm, he pulled a railroad spike from his jacket pocket and drove it straight through Winston's forehead. Cecily screamed while the blood thinly spattered her face.
"Now, now," William said, turning to her and shouting over her screams, "no point in that. There's no one left to hear you." He smiled again.
"F-father," Cecily said desperately. "He has a, a gun, he-"
"-invited me in when I told him I had a sprained ankle and needed help getting home. Kind fellow, really; I suppose that sort of thing does not always run in families. In any case, he is in the kitchen with your mother, the maid, and a pair of dogs," William finished. "Though I wouldn't go in there just now. There's rather a mess, and you haven't any shoes."
He paused, letting his words sink in. He was quite gratified when, after a moment, Cecily put her hands over her mouth and stifled another scream.
"Now then," William said, grabbing Cecily by the shoulder and yanking her around to face him, "let us get back to the subject of careless words. You spoke a few yourself last night, as I recall."
"William," she said, struggling weakly in the man's grip, "Please...what's happened to you? Why are you-"
"What has happened to me, Cecily, is a fascinating and profound thing," William interrupted, "that you would be utterly at a loss to understand. Which reminds me." He held her firmly in place with one hand and pulled a scrap of paper from the pocket of his trousers with the other. "I've written you another poem. Would you like to hear it?"
"William, please." Cecily squeaked.
"Oh, no need to worry, this one is far better than the others. Listen."
You are the moon to me.
Long have I pined, gazing upward, admiring
your gentle radiance,
distant and miraculous.
But learned men say
the moon is naught but rock,
cold, hard, pock-marked,
bare mountains and dry valleys.
A primitive, bent in your worship,
I am suddenly given new eyes.
My telescope reveals you
in merciless detail.
Like the moon, your glory
is but reflection.
You cast no warmth, harbor no life.
What I am in body, you are in spirit.
William looked down at Cecily. "Well? What do you think?"
"It...it's..." she stammered.
"You know, I had really hoped that being in fear for your life might bring out your hidden depths, show me a bit of your inner self," William said with irritation, "but instead it has made you utterly tedious. Which may, of course, amount to the same thing."
"Bastard," she murmured.
William's eyebrows rose. "I beg your pardon?"
She lifted up her face and, for the first time that night, she looked William in the face. "You deranged, murdering bastard." Her eyes burned with hate. "You go mad, slaughter my family, and for what? To read me more of your horrid poetry? They will hang you for this, you pathetic freak!"
"Well, then, just to be fair-" he grabbed the back of Cecily's nightgown and yanked her up off her feet "-why don't we hang you first?"
William dragged Cecily into the front hallway and slammed her body against the wall. He took out another spike and pulled his arm back, holding the sharp object like a dagger.
"NOOOOOOOO!" Cecily screamed, shutting her eyes tightly.
A slamming sound exploded from the wall behind Cecily's head. William let go of her then, but her feet did not touch the ground. She felt the dull, cold butt of the spike against the back of her head; the fabric of her nightgown dug into the skin under her arms. He had hung her up.
"Fear not, Cecily," William said as the young woman squirmed against the wall. "I've no will to murder you. Let me tell you what I shall do instead: I will leave this house, meet the enchanting woman who awaits me outside, go and see Mother, and then I am going to see the world. I will travel every inch of it, and I will make it my playground, my brothel, and my abattoir. Most importantly, I will pursue love, because I know that I am worthy of it, and that it is waiting for me. There is someone out there for me, Cecily, and at last, I know that it's not you.
"I will leave you now, the sole occupant of this beautiful, barren house. I'd like to think that you will use this time to reflect and learn, but frankly, I have little hope that you are capable of introspection. I imagine you will kick and writhe like a trapped animal until you free yourself, only to realize that, while you may inherit this house and all your family's wealth, you have no one left who cares for you, and you never will again."
William walked towards the front door.
"I'm done chasing the moon, Cecily. The great, black sky that surrounds it is far larger, and so much more alive."
She heard the click of the latch as William closed the door behind him. And then there was only silence.
It's Not You
by The Cure
You wear your smile
Like it was going out of fashion
Dress to inflame
But douse any ideas of passion
You carry your love in a trinket
Hanging round your throat
But I must not take off my coat
Well I'm tired of hanging around
I want someone new
I'm not sure who I've got in mind
But I know
It's not you
You ask me questions
That I never wanted to hear
I am the only one
Just until you finish this year
I would murder you
If I had an alibi
Here in my hand
But you just laugh
Because you don't understand
That I'm tired of hanging around
I want somebody new
I'm not sure
Who I've got in mind
But I know that it's not you
It's not you
It's not you
It's not you