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Run, Juliet!

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ANDREW: I trained flying demon monkeys to attack the school play. School play, dude!
WARREN: (grinning) That was cool. That was kinda cool.
JONATHAN: (laughs) Remember, everyone was like, "Run, Juliet!"

- Flooded

* * * * *

"Please step back. Stay away from the lockers. This is police business."

They're searching lockers! Looking for occult stuff! I go through a mental list of potential contraband in my locker. Magic cards! My white, green and blue deck! I spent the whole summer searching for a Circle of Protection: Artifact, and the cops could confiscate it! I dig through my locker, searching for the box.

"Andrew"

I jump. Tucker? He usually pretends I don't exist. Great. He wants something.

"What?" I ask warily.

"Hide these" He shoves a couple of old books into my hands. *Demons and Elementals of the N'Thoran Plane* is the title of the top one. He *always* does this. Whenever he's about to get in trouble, he finds a way to shift the blame to me.

"Why should I?"

"'Cause if you don't, I'll tell your geek friends that the real reason you like Mallrats is 'cause you think Silent Bob is hot." He grins and walks away, leaving me with the books.

"I do not!" I yell after him. I made *one* comment about Silent Bob two years ago, and Tucker won't let me live it down.

"Hey! Get your grubby custodial hands off that."

"Miss, you have to stay back. Miss, stay back."

Shit. The cops are coming closer, and now I have Magic cards *and* occult books to worry about. I find the box of cards under my math book and shove it into my backpack along with Tucker's books. I slam my locker shut and back away as the crowd comes around the corner.

* * * * *

"That bitch!"

Nobody in the science club meeting seems particularly bothered by the cops rummaging through lockers outside. Warren, the president of the club, is ranting about some girl he tried to ask out. He's always doing that. Asking girls out, getting rejected, and then telling everyone that she's such a bitch, he wouldn't really want to go out with her anyway.

I'd go out with him. I mean, you know. If I were a girl. He seems pretty attractive to me. I mean, I don't think the girls are rejecting him 'cause of looks. He seems to drive girls away with his attitude or something. All the girls left the science club this year, since he became president. Even Willow Rosenberg, who used to be this super-science chick, but I think she's into other stuff this year.

"She thinks she's so hot, just 'cause she's co-homecoming queen, and Juliet. Well, she's never going to find herself a good boyfriend with an attitude like that."

Ah. Michelle Blake. So that's his latest obsession. Personally, I don't see what's so great about her, but all the other guys are into her. There's always a crowd in the theater during rehearsals. I go sometimes, too. I tell people that it's 'cause I want to watch Michelle, but actually I like to watch Peter Taylor, who's playing Mercutio. He's a really good actor.

* * * * *

After the meeting, the halls are pretty clear. Looks like the cops have finished going through the lockers. I consider just throwing out Tucker's books, but he'd kick my ass, and plus, I'm pretty sure they came from Dad's collection.

I wish I could stand up to Tucker, just once. I wish I had superpowers. Like Colossus in the Uncanny X-Men. Yeah, that'd be cool. Tucker'd have me in a headlock, and then I'd *change* and be all solid steel and muscles, and I'd pull out of the headlock and hit him, and BAM! He'd go flying across the room-

BAM! I'm so busy thinking that I walk straight into someone.

"Hey! Watch where you're going, you little freak!" Damn. It's Peter Taylor. He's with another guy, the guy who plays Romeo.

"I'm sorry," I say. First time he's noticed me, and it has to be like this. Damn. Damn. Damn.

"You should be, geek." says Romeo. He yanks on my backpack and it tears open. Everything falls out. My box of Magic cards breaks open, and the cards go everywhere.

"Hey!" If I were Colossus, he'd be in orbit right now.

"Oops. 'Sorry!'" Romeo and Peter laugh, and step on as many Magic cards as they can as they walk away. I want to run after them, do *something* - but what can *I* do? Pick up my stuff and go home, that's all.

The cards are all dirty and bent now, and my COP: Artifact is bent in half. I pick up the cards and the rest of my stuff. Peter seemed so *cool* when I was watching him, but it turns out he's just another asshole. One of these days I'll show them. Peter and Tucker and every other asshole who thinks it's fun to pick on geeky Andrew. One of Tucker's books landed open face down. I turn it over, thinking, One of these days I'll-

*Demon Summoning For Power and Revenge* reads the title of the chapter.

Hmm. Maybe I should make a few photocopies before I give Tucker his books back.

* * * * *

A week later...

I'm backstage on Romeo and Juliet. I volunteered to help out, moving sets and stuff. That's just my cover story though. I'm really here because I'm going to summon flying demon monkeys to attack the play. I've got all the spell components in a bag in my pocket. The flower of a monkey plant, a few drops of my blood, some herbs and a talisman I stole from Tucker - I mixed them all last night and now I've just got to sprinkle them at the summoning point and say the incantation.

Half the science club and all of the Sunnydale Klingon Society are in the audience tonight. Our English teachers are impressed by everyone's new-found interest in Shakespeare, but really they're all here to see Michelle Blake in her low-cut Elizabethan gown. Even Warren, who swears Michelle's really a lesbian.

I use my secret identity as a stage hand to stay busy while I wait for my chance. Finally, it's the party scene, where Romeo and Juliet first meet. I decided to summon the monkeys during this scene because it's the time the most people are on stage.

I slip behind the sets so I'm standing in the center of the stage, but in the back where no one can see me. I pull out the bag with the spell components and empty it onto the floor. The talisman clanks loudly when it hits the floor, and I look up quickly to see if anyone noticed. But this is a pretty noisy scene, so I'm okay.

All that's left is to say the incantation. I memorized it last night so I wouldn't have to read it off the page, but for a moment my mind is blank. I start to panic. How long do I have to say the incantation? How long before someone comes back and catches me here? Finally, it comes back to me.

"Eu chamo-o, voando macacos do demon. Vem dar-me a vingança em meus inimigos." I say. I think it's Spanish or something. There was a phonetic pronunciation in the book, so hopefully I don't have to understand it to do the spell.

That's it. That's the spell, I think. Nothing's happening. I realize I've been holding my breath, and I let it out. It's kind of a relief, really. I mean, I know this is Sunnydale and weird shit happens all the time, but someone like me actually summoning demons? It's like-

There's a WHOMP of displaced air, and there's a flying demon monkey hovering above me. Its eyes are glowing orange, and it's got very long, very sharp claws. And it's staring at me. There's another WHOMP, then another, and another, until there's seven of the creatures, all staring at me, all hovering, all waiting.

Holy shit. I don't know how to talk to them! Do they understand English? Mental note: learn demon languages *before* summoning them. I learned the whole Klingon dictionary in two and a half weeks, how tough can a demon language be? Now what do I do?!

"Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!" says Romeo from the stage. For the lack of a better idea, I gesture in his direction. The first monkey nods - it NODS at me! - and they fly off.

Screams are coming from the stage now, and laughter from the audience. Part of me wants to stay back here and hide, but the other part of me wants to see what's happening. The second part wins, and I head towards the front of the stage so I can see.

Michelle is running around in circles, trying to wave off the monkey chasing her, to the delight of the audience. Her costume isn't built for running, and it looks like she's about to spill out over the top of it.

"Run, Juliet, run!" yell the guys in the audience.

Romeo (what was his real name? Roy?) is collapsed on the ground near her, clutching his stomach with bloody hands. Peter has drawn his prop sword and is attempting to fight off the monkey attacking him. Most of the other people are running away or cowering in fear. Several of them are already injured. The monkey chasing Michelle looks up at me and grins, showing horrible pointy teeth.

Now what? I'd pictured everyone running in fear plenty of times, but I'd never thought past that. Usually when something weird happens at Sunnydale High, Buffy Summers and her friends show up to take care of things, but now they were nowhere in sight.

Peter jabs his monkey in the arm, and the monkey grabs the sword and snaps it in half. Then it reaches out with its clawed paw and casually slashes him across the face.

"Stop!" I yell. The monkeys stop what they're doing and fly towards me. Everyone else stops, too, and stares at me.

The monkeys hover around me again, waiting for my next command. Oh, God. Half of them have claws that are dripping with blood. If I can't control them...

"I command you to leave! Now!" Oh please let this work! They're starting to look pissed.

"Go! Make it so!" Reluctantly, they disappear, one by one, with a POP sound. When the last one is gone, I notice that everyone on stage is watching me, and looking pretty pissed themselves. I decide it's a good time to leave. The crew and half the cast is between me and the backstage exit, so I hop off the front of the stage and run up the aisle to leave.

Once I'm outside the theater, I stop and lean against the wall to catch my breath. That was way too close! I am never doing *anything* like that again. They could have killed someone. They could have killed me!

"Hey, are you the one that summoned those monkeys?" Someone comes up next to me.

"Yeah. I ... um, I'm sorry about that." I say.

"Don't be, dude" I look over at the speaker and it's Warren. "That was *awesome*. You're in the science club, aren't you?"

"Yeah." I stand up. "I'm Andrew."

"I'm Warren." He offers his hand. I shake it.

"I know," I say.

* * * * *