Cliffhangers, Part 4
A suspension of Cliffhanger Week
Previously on Cliffhangers....
IJD: Vampire? Huh. I thought he was just pale because we keep scaring the crap out of him.
Kira: Hey, C.S. Lewis? Pot. Kettle. Black.
IJD: I'm done.
Kira: Hey, that's my flashlight! And I was having fun with it.
IJD: That sound. It was almost like a booby trap being spr--
Derek: Yep, we're screwed.
Marc and Kira: Uh huh.
Derek: Unless what?
IJD: I was just making conversation.
Kira: Then... we're dead.
Zeke: (perking up) I've been dead before. And on that note... BANZAI!
(Zeke makes a shoulder-charge at one of the walls -- and somehow smashes through it. He dusts himself off and gestures to the others.)
Zeke: Come on through! It'll collapse any minute.
IJD: The wall, or your shoulder?
(They follow him, Derek making the requisite last-minute roll. As soon as they're through, the walls crunch together.)
Kira: So where are we now?
(Everyone looks around. The group seems to have emerged in a dark alley. At the other end of the alley, a hulking, monstrous figure looms.)
Derek: He seems none too pleasant.
Marc: Indeed. That's a Row'Had demon, known for its fits of violent rage. Wait, how do I know that?
Zeke: (pulling a large sword out of his jacket) Brutal combat first, talk later. Check your coats.
(They do. IJD finds a small axe in his; Marc has a pair of handguns.)
IJD and Marc: Ooo.
Kira: Oh, how nicely stereotypical. All I have is Mace.
Derek: (hefting a mace) Me too. Though I think this may technically be a morningstar.
Zeke: Everybody ready? We go on three. One... two... three!
(The five staffers charge forward. Zeke engages the Row'Had demon; the other four run right past them and out of the alley.)
IJD: (a few blocks later) Where's Zeke?
Marc: Do you think he might have meant something different by "go"?
Derek: Hmm. That's embarrassing. Let's go see if he got killed.
(They do. Returning to the alley, they find Zeke leaning over the impaled demon's corpse, gasping for breath.)
Zeke: Hey, thanks, guys.
Kira: Uh, Zeke... is that a sucking chest wound?
Zeke: Geez! It's not enough to tell me I suck anymore, huh? Even my wounds have to suck now!
IJD: I don't think that's what she meant. With a wound that severe, shouldn't you, you know, sit down or die or something?
Zeke: Nah, I'm fine. Gimme ten minutes and some blood and I'll be good as new.
Derek: Waaaaaait a minute. The wall, the weapons, the wound... you realize that the vampire thing in my fantasy was just a joke, right?
Zeke: Not anymore! We're in mine now. And I'm not just a vampire here, I'm a vampire with a solo.
(Zeke pulls out his clarinet and starts playing. A few moments later, realizing the joke and his notes have fallen flat, he puts it away.)
Kira: I guess that makes me Cordelia. I can live with that.
Zeke: I assumed so from all that hair-care stuff in Voyagers. Marc, you're --
Kira: Principal Synder?
(Marc flicks his arm, causing a collapsible sword to fold out. He whacks Kira on the head with it.)
Kira: It was worth it.
Zeke: Don't worry, you're not him. You're Wesley.
Marc: Oh no! NO!
Zeke: Not your usual Wesley. This one used to be sort of similar, but then he was gradually betrayed by everyone and everything he cared about, leaving him a borderline psychotic.
Marc: Ah. Good.
Derek: (Uh oh. Wait a minute....)
Zeke: IJD, you're Gunn, the young, street-smart fighter with a vigilante past.
IJD: If I understand this show correctly, I have a vigilante present too.
Zeke: It's not the same. You used to be a troll; now you're more like a slightly corrupt admin. And Derek....
Derek: No! No way! I'm not being Fred!
Zeke: Fred? I was going to say Spike.
Zeke: But come to think of it....
Derek: Uh oh.
Zeke: I mean, you've got the whole southern-state thing... and you have a male-sounding name... and you are from another dimension....
Derek: I can't believe this.
Zeke: ....Yes, I think I'll take your advice, Derek. You can be Fred.
Derek: Kill me now.
IJD: Okay, but not on purpose.
Marc: So fine, we're the Angel cast. Now what?
IJD: Doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
Kira: Yeah, so far the concept doesn't really -- (suddenly clutches her head in pain) -- grab me!
Zeke: No need to be so emphatic.
(Kira collapses to the ground, whereupon the others notice her.)
Zeke: Ahhhh, of course. It was one of those oh-so-clever vision gags. Now I know we're on the right show.
Marc: What did you see? Does someone need help?
Kira: A woman's been kidnapped. They're keeping her across town in the old abandoned warehouse.
IJD: Aren't we in L.A.? There must be hundreds of them. How will we ever find the right one?
Derek: Or get across town in time, for that matter?
Zeke: No problem. We'll take a blipvert.
(Blipvert. The five staffers are now standing in front of the warehouse in question.)
Marc: That was convenient.
Zeke: A little too convenient, if you ask me. Weapons ready, people. This could be a trap.
Marc: But... but the blipvert was your --
Kira: (He just likes to sound dramatic.)
Marc: (I know, but usually he at least makes sense about it.)
(The team cautiously enter the warehouse. Inside, they see the woman in question tied to a chair.)
Derek: Hey, isn't that...?
Zeke: Yep. My friend Kate from the police force.
Derek: But why does she look like Fuyu Ginga?
Zeke: I'm trying to be evenhanded with cameos. Besides, Ginga's always going on about how much she likes Kate.
Derek: I don't think she means --
(Suddenly, five vampires leap out from the shadows.)
Kira: Oh no! Vampires!
(Ten seconds later, all the vampires are dead.)
Kira: Heh heh. Vampires.
IJD: Is there anything easier to kill?
Zeke: I liked that part where you dove to the floor firing your guns, Marc.
Marc: Which time?
(Derek starts to untie Ginga, but as soon as her gag is off, she shouts --)
Ginga: Get out! Quick! It's a trap!
Zeke: If you mean the vampires, we kicked their ashes.
Ginga: Not the vampires! It's --
(Suddenly the lights of the warehouse come on. When their vision adjusts, the staff see what looks like a team of lawyers, along with a weird robed creature.)
Zeke: Wolfram and Hart! So you were behind this!
Lawyer: Duh. We're behind everything that's ever happened to you, from the destruction of your bachelor pad to the return of that Newfie vampire who sired you. Remember how your Brita water was empty this morning?
Lawyer: We were behind that.
Lawyer: Yes, we're behind those too. For example, here's one we just hired. (gestures to the weird robed creature) He's a soul reaver. If you don't mind, he's going to reave your soul now.
Zeke: Ha! You'll never get at my soul! It's protected by multiple layers of angst and resentment!
Lawyer: If anyone can do it, this guy can. Reaver, I leave it to you.
(The soul reaver pulls down his mask. Zeke is caught in the grip of some sort of huge magic spell.)
Kira: I think this might be a good time to switch to someone else's fantasy. We don't need another Zuke on our hands.
Derek: You and I have already done ours. That leaves Marc and IJD.
Kira: But which one will it be? WHICH ONE?
Derek: Pause for suspense.
Kira: You're not supposed to actually say that.
TO BE CONTINUED....
Next time on Cliffhangers...
Derek makes a shocking announcement.
And everybody dies!
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All material © 2005, Colin Hayman.