SOMETHING WICKED EVIL THIS WAY COMES.
There's something troubling about Professor Caligari's Traveling Carnival. Perhaps it's that no one can recall the arrival of its hard-to-miss caravan of old-style wagons, countless performers, and horse-drawn carts. Maybe it's the creepy calliope music that tirelessly beckons visitors. Let's face it, an enigma that chooses Sunnydale nearly guarantees it's up to more than wholesome family entertainment.
After a visit to the carnival's Hall of Mirrors, a once-shy pair of homely sophomore twins parades the halls of Sunnydale High like diva supermodels on a runway. Intuiting the twins' abrupt personality change as more than a self-confidence boost, Buffy -- joined by Angel, Giles, and the rest of the Scoobies -- decides to investigate the suspicious carnival firsthand. But soon it's apparent that the price of admission is higher than she imagined. Those who enter the carnival's attractions exit...changed. Each of the gang soon shows extreme displays of vice. Willow is wracked with envy. Cordelia's greed consumes her. Xander unleashes his gluttony. Angel reveals a lusty new persona. And a dark anger rises in Giles. But it's Buffy's now-blinding pride that threatens to overpower her, and in the process destroy those she loves....
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March 31, 2006
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Excerpt from Carnival of Souls by Nancy Holder
What the heck is that? Buffy wondered as she stepped from beneath the shelter of a tomb in Shady Rest, cemetery number eight on her hit parade of twelve. The repeated hollow sounds, which maybe were musical notes, had coincided with the stopping of the rain. They were even stranger than the Hindi songfest she had watched with Willow and Xander, the one about the podiatrist and the water buffalo.
She listened hard. Was it a distant boom box? Did it have anything please to do with the Rising? It would be so nice if something actually happened before she packed it in, aside from ripping her black leather pants on the chain-link fence she'd hopped to get in there. Plus dropping her big black flashlight, which now no longer worked.
There it was again, kind of a sinister tootling or something. She was already trying to figure out how to describe it to Giles. It was nothing she had ever heard before.
A terrified shriek pierced the darkness.
Ah! But that was!
The Slayer brightened. No, no, not brightened because that would be wrong so much as erupted into action, racing toward the plea for help. She put on the turbo as the shriek was joined by a cry, this one lower in pitch. A guy and a girl, then.
Without her flashlight, Buffy scrutinized the passing shadows: grave, grave, crypt, tree draped with moss, grave, stone vase of dead flowers, darkness. Naturally whatever was going down, would go down in darkness. It was the way of evil.
From the sleeve of Angel's leather jacket, she pulled out a stake. Well-whittled death, that was the way of the Slayer.
She ran into the black gloom, her gorgeous and, unfortunately, suede boots crunching wet leaves and twigs, and a plastic drink cup wishing now for Angel's help, because he could see in the dark and then she stepped on, or rather in, something slippery and gross okay, maybe it was okay that he wasn't here to witness that.
"Oh my God! Help!" screamed a girl. She was maybe twenty yards to Buffy's left and she was being pursued by something big make that a lot of something bigs, judging by the rhythmic thudding of many footfalls.