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The Wolves At Our Backs

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This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

It happened fast.

Your mailbox is full. Please delete new or stored messages.

New voice message:
"Buffy, it’s Dawn. Look, I know you're off grid right now, but if you happen to get a signal please call me. There's been a lot of freaky ass stuff on the news and I'm really scared."

New voice message: "Yo B, its Faith. I know you’re still in the Everglades with Oz, but well, there's no easy way to say this. We got an Apocalypse on our hands, and it's looking to be manmade. Don't worry, I got it covered on this end for now, just get your ass back to Cleveland as soon as possible, okay?"

New voice message: "Buffy its Giles. I'm not sure if you are aware of what's going on, but when you get this, call me. Rome is too dangerous for Dawn at the moment, so Kennedy is flying out to extract her. I thought you would like to know she's safe. I also still can't get ahold of Willow. We need her. We need you. Please call me."

New voice message: "Buffy, it's Xander. What the hell is going on? I just got to Comodoro and it looks like the whole fucking world has lost its mind! There are zombies everywhere! Call me!"

New voice message: "Buffy, its Dawn. I…I-its Kennedy. S-she's dead. S-she got bit by one of t-those things. I-I had to Buffy. S-s-she got sick, a-and then s-s-she died, but s-s-she didn't stay t-t-that way. She a-attached Giles, and now he's s-sick too. I don't know what to do and we still can't get ahold of Willow. Please call me."

New voice message: "Buffy, it's Spike. Look, I know you're off helpin' Angel's dog girl and her pack, but we really need Willow right now. The whole worlds going straight to hell, and she's the only one we know with enough mojo to stop it. Please Buffy, when you get this give me or Angel a call. Wes is real sick. I've never felt someone with such a high fever."

New voice message: "Buffy, it's Willow. I-I just got to Scotland. Giles…H-he's dead. I-I couldn't stop it. This thing w-whatever it is. It's not mystical in origin. This isn't some demon trying to end the world. It was created by one of two things, us or Mother Nature. I-I'm not capable of stopping it. Look, I'm teleporting the girls out of here. It's not safe anymore. I'm heading to Cleveland Headquarters. I'll have Faith call you to tell you we're safe when we get there. If you still have a signal by the time you get this please call me. Dawn, she's not good Buffy. S-s-she had to kill Kennedy. We really need you."

New voice message: "B, its Faith. Willow wanted me to call and tell you they made it to Cleveland okay. It's getting bad. I don't know how much longer we can hold out. Xander just called me from L.A. He went to Wolfram and Hart hoping to find Spike and Angel, but the place was locked up tighter than Fort Knox. He's heading to the Hyperion next, hoping Team Dead set up shop there. If it's anything like Cleveland though, I don't know how long they will be able to hold out. I've lost six girls B. I-I can't do this alone. Please call me."

New voice message: "Buffy, it's Xander. Look,I just made it to the Hyperion. Team Dead is alive and well except for Wesley. They lost him to the fever. There's something you should know. Most of the demons are hopping dimensions. I guess with this illness or whatever the hell it is, it's got most of them real spooked, can't really blame them either, especially with their food supply being contaminated. Anyway when you get back on grid give me a call. We're all starting to worry."

New voice message: "Buffy, its Dawn. I really need you. Please call."

New voice message: "Buffy, its Xander again. Faith just called. Apparently they've just had an incident that could possibly help us in all this. Oz's friend Micah showed up. You know the one with the same furry little problem as Oz. Coincidentally enough; werewolves seem to repel these things. We aren't sure what we're gonna do about that revelation just yet, but it's good to know you're in a place where you are safe right now. Willow thinks it might have to do with scent and how their blood smells. Micah was shot by some men trying to rob him. He turned of course. By the time he was done with them a few of the dead had come out of the woodwork to feed. He attacked them too. They died a few minutes after he bit them. Micah said he was sick as a dog for two days. He thought he would become one of them. He said he almost shot a silver bullet through his heart to be sure."

New voice message: "Sorry voicemail cut out. Anyway he couldn't do it. He couldn't kill himself, and instead of turning into one of the deadheads like he thought he would, he got better. If he's by himself he said he can walk right through them without incident. If he's with a human his sent distracts the…Ugh! They aren't Zombies. If you haven't noticed I'm trying not to call them that anymore. We've seen Zombies, these aren't them. I don't know what these are other than Walking Dead. Maybe we should call them Walkers. Hey, that's kinda catchy! Anyway, I've noticed the same thing about the Walkers with Angel and Spike. We don't get attacked when we walk between them. I bet they are just as immune as werewolves are. It would make sense considering they’re dead already, and I'm positive they don't smell human to many animals. Gotta go, Buff, hope you receive this. We are worried about cell towers and power at the moment. Not sure how long it will last."

New voice message: "Hey B, its Faith. I lost Iris today. I don't know how it happened. One minute we were fighting Walkers off a group of civilians, the next a group of men in masks started shooting at us, screaming about the end of days. I killed someone tonight Buffy. It's not the first time I've had to in the past week, but it was always me making the tough call of either leaving people to die and saving us, or…or leaving someone infected behind because I had too. I saved people, but the losses are too high. This is getting out of control. I don't want to be this person again. Please, god please. I can't do this without you. Ugh! You know I suck at this feelings shit!"

New voice message: "Hey Buffy, its Angel. I'm sorry I haven't called sooner. Loosing Wes… that was…That was just as bad as loosing Cordy. Connor's here now, living the life I tried to save him from. Everything I went through to protect him and he's right back where he started. Sometimes I blame myself for all this. Maybe if I hadn't asked you to help teach Nina's pack control, you would have been there when this all started. Faiths not well Buffy, and I don't know how much longer it will be before her control slips completely. We need you, hope you get this soon before there's no power left at all."

New voice message: "Hello Buffy, its Spike. Hey love, don't listen to that bloody wanker! I overheard that ponce’s voice message, and I know you enough to know if you aren't already blaming yourself, then his words just put you there. He's an arrogant git, who has absolutely no idea what the hell he's talking about. Right now, with what we're finding out about the werewolves the more of them that can control themselves the better. Doing what you're doing right now is what we need for the survival of humanity… That's right, you heard me Peaches! Well maybe if you thought things through before sayin' them! Oh that's bloody rich coming from you…"

New voice message: "Hey Buffy, Its Xander. Look, I don't know what Angel said, but none of this is your fault. Don't you dare, blame yourself. You've only been gone two weeks. I know you'll get these. I know you're probably getting ready to leave within the next few days. I know you'll make it in time to hear these. You always do. I have faith in that."

New voice message: "Buffy, it's Willow. We can't stay in Cleveland any longer. I don't know what's worse right now, the people or the dead. Me and Faith are scavenging for as many supplies as we can before we leave. We're heading south towards Micah's pack. You remember where it is right, Talladega National Forest in Alabama. We thought of coming to you, but that's a long way with a lot of mouths to feed, its better if we meet you half way. It's getting really scary out there and with so much of a military presence around here we're starting to get paranoid. Try to avoid the city's okay. Take care of yourself Buffy. I hope to see you soon."

New voice message: "Buffy, Its Angel again. I'm sorry about what I said before. If I made you feel guilty, I wasn't trying to, and as much as I hate admitting it, Spike was right. I should have worded what I said better. Truth is I've missed talking to you and Nina. I lost Wes and I can't even talk to either my closest friend or my girlfriend. I'm terrified Buffy! All of this, it's just happening so fast."

New voice message: "'Lo Buffy, We are leaving the city today. We're heading to Nevada. You know the pack Nina used to run with… We are turning off cell phones to conserve the power. I'll call you when we get there, if we still can."

New voice message: "Hey Buff, Xander here. There is some very important information I just realized no one has bothered to tell you, how to kill the Walkers. They only die from brain trauma. We don't know the why yet. Anyway, good luck. I hope to see you again. If all goes well with us in Nevada maybe we'll see each other soon."

Missed text messages: 531

Buffy and Oz stared at her cell phone in disbelief. Tears were in both their eyes. This couldn't be real. This couldn't be happening. This had to be some kind of cruel joke.

It was then they heard it. Both of them looked up and saw a group of military helicopters flying in formation towards their destination. Miami. Buffy looked at Oz, face pale and stricken, before she hopped out of the van and vaulted onto the roof. Oz was quick to follow. They stood next to each other watching in horror as the light show in the distance played out in front of them.

"Are we dreaming?" Buffy asked voice clogged with emotion.

"If we are," Oz whispered. "I would really like to wake up."

Oz's face suddenly wrinkled in disgust. "Do you smell that?"

She squinted into the dark distance, smelling the foul odder of death. She froze, her eyes widening at seeing the amount of hobbling figures headed towards them.

"Oz, I think we're gonna need our weapons." Her eyes widened even further at the feeling of darkness that began to consume her. It was so different than any other demon she had faced before. It was emptiness, a void of unfathomable darkness that sent an icy shiver up her spine. "Like, now!"