After Willow had contacted the Slayer’s allies in the town of Our Lady Queen of Angels of Small Tracts of Land, who is of course the Queen of Heaven and which, as Xander explained, is also called Los Angeles, Xander and Anya led us to their vehicle.
Xander pointed to a metal box and said, “Oh, wait. You’ve never seen one of these. This is called a car. Car.” He said the last word very slowly, as one speaks to an idiot. “We don’t use horses like they do where you live.” He held up a key, “This is a key. A car key. When we get in the car, I’ll use this to make the car go.”
“By what method is this car propelled?” I said, “Is it some form of magic?”
“No,” said Xander. “Science.” He stabbed at the air with his forefinger much in the manner of a great orator(40), him mouth full of rocks, making a point of stunning complexity.
“It is propelled by an internal combustion engine, which uses the controlled expansion of gases released by refined Greek Fire(41) to bring gears into motion, much as the wind sets gears within a windmill moving. The gears in turn are connected to the wheels of the car, which is also called an automobile,” said my Teacher.
“Uh, yeah, what he said.” said Xander. “Wait a minute. I thought you were from the dark ages or something. How do you know all that?”
“Days within Limbo pass slowly. Sadly, even with a 1000 options, there is little upon the box for idiots that is worth watching,” said my Master. “Although, those nights of the week which are dedicated to the red planet and the moon(42) can be quite entertaining . Trading Spaces is also quite enjoyable.”
While my Teacher and Anya discussed wall hangings and how to paint designs with sponges, we entered the car. Xander placed the key into the car to open it into motion and in response the car sang about how life under the sea was better(43).
As the stars raced across the night, Xander raced across the town in his car with the swift wings and plumage of great desire to take his leave of us at the bus station.
After many directions to my Guide and much advice, we embraced like friends and they left. As we sat waiting on the bench, we heard a voice emit from a bush of no smooth boughs and no green leaves, but of dusky hue, “Are they gone?”
“ Are you one of the damned?(44)” I said, confused to be so addressed by a plant, “Did you cruelly cut short the life given to you by the Primal Love that made the universe, condemning yourself to eternity as a shrub?”
“Hey!” said the plant. “No.” The head of a young woman of tender years appeared. “I’m hiding. Are they gone?”
“Yes.” I said, “Why are you hiding?”
The young woman climbed out of the shrub, “I didn’t want to talk them. I just like to sit here watching the buses. Because I could be running away from home. Which I’m not. But I could be. Like anyone would notice.” The young woman tossed her long brown hair, glossy as Beucephalus’ tail, over one shoulder and sat down on the bench. She made me think of she of tender years who is most closely related to me(45), who I had not seen in it what seemed like an age and a half. “So, Buffy’s sending you away to see Angel huh? I don’t even know you and you’re leaving.”
I glanced at the street and like a blazing star shoots across the heavens in all its glory, a leaf blew across the black top. “You should go home. It’s not safe out here,” I said, feeling it a father’s duty to say something.
“Like it’s any of your business,” she sniffed with an air of long and great suffering. She pulled out a book and wrote, “My Life sucks!!!” over and over again on a clean white page.
“You would not want to be carried off against your will as like a Sabine bride(46).” I said in a tone both reasonable and firm.
“Doesn’t matter. That kind of stuff happens when I’m sitting around my house. Although, okay, points for obscure references,” she said, fidgeting her feet on the pavement.
My Teacher and I glanced at each other. “Obscure?”
“Anyway, it’s Tuesday and I have like a moral imperative to get in trouble. It’s the only way Buffy would notice me. It’s like she doesn’t even know that I’m alive. Sometimes life sucks beyond the telling of it.”
My Teacher was avoiding eye contact with the young woman, which reminded me that although he knew all that could be asked for knowledge, he had never had children. My heart felt heavy as I longed for my family and home.
“Yes. It does,” I said. “The way is weary and sometimes the waters cover your head and then just as you break free to breathe again the sweet air once more, you see that the shore is far distant and your arms grow heavy.”
“Yeah, sometimes I feel like I’m drowning and no one notices. It’s Buffy. Buffy. Buffy. Willow. Willow. Willow. And no ever notices me except when I’m in trouble and then it’s like just for a minute. And then it’s like, all, oh, go home already. And then I feel terrible for being so ungrateful, because I know Buffy’s trying, but I just want her to see me.”
“Have you told…your sisters this?” I said, guessing that she was Willow and Buffy’s little sister. A tear came to my eye to think that both her parents must be dead, leaving her to the care of two young women, not yet ready for such a responsibility.
“No. Yeah. Sort of. And it’s just sister, just one. Not even really my sister.” The young woman turned to me. “She died for me you know. Like really. She died. And she went to heaven and we buried her and now she’s back and she doesn’t want to be here with me.”
“Dying can be difficult,” said my Master. “I myself was quite different before I died.”
“I feel like no one ever hears or see me. It’s like I’m not even there,” said the girl.
According to the time device on the wall, it was almost 11:09, time for our coach. “Perhaps,” I paused thinking of heaven and the sights and sounds, “the light in heaven was so bright and warm and filled with color, that it is taking your sister a little while to learn to see here again. However, if you aren’t home, how will you know when her eyes adjust?”
Suddenly, the young woman smiled at me, like the sky over Mount Aurora(47) after a summer storm, “Well, it is Tuesday.” She jumped up from the bench and ran down the street.
“Young people today are not as they were in my youth.” said my Master.
“They never were,” I said as a strange metal vehicle pulled up, belching smoke. People disgorged from its side like prisoners freed into the light. It bore the number which Xander had told us to watch for, 333.
My Teacher climbed into the black mouth of the beast, however, I was afraid of the darkness and cried out, “Oh, sweet father, turn and see how I am left alone unless you stay.” And like a father, clasping his child’s hand lest that child wander into the crowd, my Guide took my hand and led me forward. As my eyes, grew accustomed to the gloom, I saw a large gruff woman, wearing a deep blue uniform, at the front of the beast. “Tickets,” she said.
“Where will and power are one, this journey has been ordained by the Emperor of all things,” said my Guide.
“I don’t care if this journey is ordained by God sitting on his porcelain throne, give me your ticket or get off my bus.”
My Guide sighed, leaned forward and spoke to her in a low voice. More green leaves were exchanged. My Guide led me to a soft padded seat at the back of the bus. The bus moved forward. I felt ill with the motion. That song which is of the second song of the Unforgiven(48) sang loud and crashingly from the front of the beast. However, soon, leaning against my Master’s shoulder, I fell asleep.