Holy

Holy

Author's Notes

She was wearing plain sackcloth, her breasts bound tightly to her chest. Her hair was held back by a barbette, a piece of white linen pinned to her hair on either side of her head and draped around her chin. Crude wooden beads were looped around the belt which was tied at her waist. She was sexless, shapeless and filled with such longing for the man standing in front of her, she thought she’d split apart from the feeling.

I shall wait for you, by the oak, but I beg you not to be late or I shall lose my nerve.

I swear to God.

No, not to God, she said, her eyes filling with tears. We have forsaken him.

He took her face in his hands and said, We have not, my love, we have only chosen each other.

***

Buffy woke in the dark. The house was silent around her and she lay for a few moments trying to get her bearings, to calm the thunder of her heart. She reached out for the alarm clock beside her bed and twisted it towards her: 3:17 a.m.

She needn’t have looked. For the past few weeks she’d been waking up at the same time every couple of nights. Her waking was precipitated by an image she couldn’t quite recall once she was certain she was no longer a sleep. The feeling of being in the dream was lost as soon as she was awake, but there was always the residual anxiety: a feeling she didn’t know how to shake.

As on other nights, Buffy decided to go down to the kitchen and make herself a cup of tea. She would never have imagined how comforting the hot beverage could be before moving to Westbury, but now the thought of holding a hot mug in her hands was the only thing keeping her from freaking out.

Each night the sense of dread which woke her had become stronger and stronger and each night upon waking it became more difficult to calm herself down.

Buffy reached for her sweater, a long shaggy thing which hung mid thigh, its cuffs frayed and almost reaching the tips of her fingers. As the nights grew colder, she’d taken up the habit of wearing socks to bed, so she didn’t bother sliding into her slippers.

Buffy left the room she considered a sanctuary and headed down the hall to the stairs. With so many Slayers bunking out at Giles’s place, it was a miracle that she’d landed a room to herself, but the thought of having to share space with any of the other Slayers made her skin prickle. It wasn’t that she didn’t like them; after all, she had a lot in common with them. Sometimes she just felt exasperated by them. She guessed probably that would change after they had a few apocalypses under their belts.

A pale sliver of light leaked out from under the kitchen door and Buffy hesitated. She didn’t want to enter into a middle-of-the-night conversation with Sarah or Rona or try to make heads or tails of what Elaine was saying. (What had possessed Buffy to ever think that everyone in England sounded like the Queen?)

She pushed the door open and peered inside. Across the room Angel stood, pouring boiling water into a tea pot.

Buffy stepped into the room.

“Couldn’t sleep?” she asked.

Angel turned and smiled.

“I was making this for you actually.”

“How did you know I’d be up?”

“Pretty much like clock work the past week or so,” Angel said, bringing the pot to the table where he’d set two mugs and a small pitcher of milk. “I see you from my window.”

“Oh,” Buffy said, slipping into the chair and drawing her knees up to her chin.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“There’s nothing to tell,” Buffy said, smiling as Angel poured milk into the cups and then added the tea. “Why do you add the milk first?”

“Old custom, something to do with the milk cooling the tea so that it doesn’t crack the cup. I guess that would have mattered more two hundred years ago, when you only had a couple cups, huh?”

Buffy took a grateful sip. “I’ve been having these dreams. No, that’s not right; they’re not even dreams. I feel as though I’m there, part of whatever is happening but then when I wake up I can’t remember anything, not an image, not a fragment, nothing. I just wake up sweating and my heart is pounding and I’m all disoriented.”

“It’s not unusual for you to have very vivid dreams,” Angel said.

“No, but usually I can recall them in technicolor. It’s really creepy to know that you’re having this dream, that something terrible is happening, but you can’t hold on to any part of it.”

Angel nodded. “Can I help?”

“You are,” Buffy said softly.

***

Buffy found Giles in his study early the next morning.

A watery shaft of winter light slanted in through the window, illuminating the ex-Watcher at his desk where he was peering at a piece of correspondence.

“Whatcha doin’?” Buffy asked, flopping into one of the chairs positioned across from Giles’s desk.

“For the love of God, doesn’t anyone announce their arrival with a knock anymore?” Giles said without looking up.

“Door was open,” Buffy said.

Giles peered at Buffy over the top of his glasses.

“I have to go to Essex,” Giles said.

“Essex...Wessex...not really all that original with the names in this country, are you?”

Giles sighed. “Did you want to come?”

“Is it work?” Buffy asked hopefully. Perhaps a new case would take her mind off her lack of sleep and general uneasiness.

“It’s work-related, but we haven’t been hired by anyone.”

“Can Angel come, too?”

“No.”

Buffy leaned back in the chair and crossed her arms, her mouth twisting into a wry smile. “When are you going to forgive him, Giles?”

“This isn’t about forgiveness, Buffy,” Gilkes replied peevishly. “Essex is a good four hour drive. Would you suggest Angel hunker down in the back seat with a blanket over his head for the entire trip?”

There was a moment of silence and then Buffy said: “I’ll just get my coat.”

***

“So, what’s in Essex?” Buffy asked, sipping coffee from the thermos Giles had brought.

“Borley Rectory.”

“Spooky.”

Giles shot Buffy a sideways glance.

“Actually, it’s known as the most haunted place in Britain.”

“Seems to me that just about every other spot on this island is the most haunted place in Britain.

“Well, Borley has a right to its reputation if the legend is to be believed.”

Buffy turned her head and watched the patchwork landscape of the countryside roll by. Before they actually got on the main highway, the road wasn’t much more than a narrow lane, but Giles drove the Land Rover as though he had no fear of encountering any other vehicle.

When Buffy had first arrived in England she had stood in the middle of the road that ran beside Gile’s house, stretching her arms out to see if she could actually touch the hedgerows on either side. She couldn’t of course, but she could never get over the feeling that two cars couldn’t possible pass each other on the narrow lane.

“So, what’s the deal on this place?” she asked.

“There’s some pictures in my satchel in the back seat,” Giles said. “Have a look.”

Buffy twisted and reached for Giles’s battered brown leather bag. Unlatching the buckle, she reached inside and pulled out a cream-coloured manilla envelope. Careful not to spill the last of her coffee, Buffy fished out the contents of the envelope.

The first was a picture of a house, two imposing peaked roofs at its front. Buffy traced the front of the picture; the gloomy facade was strangely familiar.

“Is this where we’re going?”

“Well, the house is no longer standing, actually,” Giles said, merging onto the M 3 towards London.

“It burned down round about 1939, but it left quite a legacy.”

Buffy put the picture of the house on her lap and found herself staring into the face of a very somber looking man.

“Who’s this?” She tipped the picture towards Giles.

“That’s Captain Gregson, I believe,” Giles said. “He was the last occupant to live in the house before an oil lamp mysteriously toppled over and set the fire which burned the dwelling to the ground.”

Buffy added the picture of Captain Gregson to her lap and peered at another picture of the house, this time from a different angle.

“The house doesn’t look scary,” she said.

“Well I suppose not, not in the Hollywood sense of the word,” Giles said agreeably.

***

Angel was uneasy about Buffy’s nocturnal awakenings. The vague dreams which were plaguing her concerned him more than any of the vivid dreams she’d had related to him over the years that they had known each other ever had. He’d always been able to figure out what those portents of doom had meant; had, in some small way, managed to scratch at their sharp edges, make them seem less ominous. But he couldn’t fight what he couldn’t see.

Every other night or so, as he’d sat in his loft over the garage keeping watch over the house where she slept, he could sense something reaching out to her, some presence. His skin would tingle, a strange enough sensation for a vampire, but certainly one he was used to: if nothing else, Buffy always made his skin vibrate with life.

On several occasions, Buffy would appear in the kitchen and Angel would watch her fill the kettle and settle at the table to wait while it boiled., grabbing for it just before it began its shrill whistle. She’d make a pot of tea and then sit, facing the window, her eyes hollowed out, her shoulders hunched.

The first time he almost headed out across the short stretch of ground that separated them, but he had talked himself out of it in the end. It wouldn’t do either of them any good to be alone together in the middle of the night.

But then last night he was certain that a shroud of malevolence hung in the air and before he could censor himself, he slipped out of his apartment and in through the back door, using the key Giles kept under the flower pot.

The tea was already made by the time Buffy had made her bleary-eyed appearance.

She didn’t know anything or she wasn’t telling him anything, but he was sure he’d seen relief in her eyes when she sat across from him at the table. It was enough to make him feel hopeful: Buffy still needed him.

Sometimes he didn’t recognize this woman who was sharing space with him here at Giles’s place. She was tougher than he’d remembered her being, although he certainly couldn’t say it was a surprise. She’d endured so much: lost so much.

And then, it wasn’t like being in England removed her from any of life’s dangers. It seemed like there was evil everywhere, even without a Hellmouth to contend with.

To see her as she’d been last night: exhausted, vulnerable, fragile: it was almost more than he could bear, but he had no choice. And he’d had years of practice, hanging in the shadows, watching and hoping he was close by when she needed him.

He just wondered when that wouldn’t be enough.

***

Giles pulled into the parking lot of the Duck’s Feather and parked.

“Again with the names,” Buffy laughed, shaking her head. “So, what are we going to this place for?” She asked as she climbed out of the Land Rover.

“A couple of days ago I got a call from someone near Borley saying that he had something that might be of interest to the Watcher’s Council,” Giles said. “I thought we could have lunch before we meet with him. Mr. Winston, that is.”

“Sure,” Buffy said. “I could eat.”

It was just after lunch and the Duck’s Feather, a dark-timbered, lop-sided pub with a welcoming fireplace and a red-faced inn keeper was almost empty.

“What’ll you have, then?” The barkeep said, arriving with a wet cloth in hand to wipe away some imaginary crumbs from their table near the fireplace.

“I’ll have half a bitter,” Giles said, reaching over to the table beside theirs where someone had left a menu. “Buffy?”

“Just a coke, thanks.”

The bartender nodded and went to pour the drinks.

“So, Mr Winston, who’s he?”

“I don’t know him. He called the Council and said something about having found an item with close ties to the Rectory, something he thought the Council should have for safekeeping. He’ll meet us at the grounds at 2 p.m.”

“Okay, not that it makes any difference at this point, but why would you drive all this way to pick up some mysterious item?” Buffy asked. “It hardly makes sense from a time management point of view.”

“No, I suppose it doesn’t,” Giles said. “The thing is, Buffy, I volunteered to make the journey and I invited you along because I thought, perhaps, you needed a breather.”

“You can say that again. Those girls are driving me...”

“Not from the Slayers,” Giles interrupted.

Buffy felt her cheeks heat up. She paused before launching into a reiteration of the facts surrounding Borley Rectory.

“So, the Rectory is built on the grounds where a monastery once stood,” Buffy said. “The Rectory’s builder, Reverend Bull and his wife and children lived there for quite a long time.”

“Yes,” Giles said, allowing Buffy this diversion. “The house was built in 1863 and the good Reverend died in 1892 in what was known as the Blue Room. His son died in the same room in 1927.”

“Coincidence?” Buffy said, taking a sip of the coke the bartender had delivered to the table. He stood there expectantly, waiting for their lunch orders.

“I’ll have the steak and kidney pie,” Giles said.

“Fish and chips.”

“The son’s death in the same room could, of course, be a coincidence, but this Blue Room was certainly the site of several strange occurrences.

“So after the Bull’s left the house stood empty, right?” Buffy said.

“Yes, empty until Reverend Smith moved in about a year later,” Giles confirmed.

“And that’s when Harry Smith did his investigation,” Buffy said.

“That’s right. He saw a small story in the local newspaper about the apparition of a nun seen at the Rectory and he decided to investigate,” Giles said. “By this time, of course, all manner of strange phenomena had been reported at the house and on the grounds.”

“The usual haunted house stuff?” Buffy asked.

“Yes, typical stuff mostly: strange lights and phantom footsteps, whispering, apparitions of past residents including Mr. Bull and a nun, who is often seen gliding, not walking, through the garden, her head bent in sorrow.”

“A nun?”

“Legend has it that the house was built on a site previously host to a monastery built by Benedictine Monks in 1362. The story goes that one of the monks from that monastery eloped with a novice nun from the Bures nunnery located about seven miles away,” Giles paused and looked carefully at Buffy. “The legend says that they used the secret tunnels that were built between the monastery and the nunnery to meet and then make their escape in a carriage driven by a couple of local men. Sadly, they were caught. The monk was hanged and the two carriage drivers beheaded.”

“What happened to the nun?”

Giles sipped his drink and took a breath before answering. “It is said the nun was bricked alive in the nunnery walls to repent and die.”

Buffy shivered. “That’s kinda gruesome.”

“Indeed.”

The bartender arrived with lunch and neither Buffy nor Giles spoke for several moments as they tucked into their food.

Giles lifted a gravy-laden mouthful of steak to his mouth.

Buffy sprinkled some more vinegar onto her chips and waited.

Giles swallowed and cleared his throat.

“Angel mentioned that you’ve been waking up at night and having vague, disturbing dreams.”

“Can’t vampires keep anything to themselves?” Buffy grumbled around a mouthful of fish.

“He was worried.”

“And he came to you?”

Giles set his mouth in a straight, narrow line. “Well, we do have at least one thing in common: your well-being.”

Buffy set her fork down and wiped her mouth carefully.

“I’m a big girl, Giles. Look,” she said, lifting her hands and wiggling her fingers. “No hands.”

“I’m not sure I understand...”

“I don’t need training wheels on my bike, someone to tie my laces or anyone looking out for me.”

“I’m sure that’s not what Angel intended,” Giles said. “He...”

“Worries, I know,” Buffy said. “Do you have any idea how hard that is?”

“I’m sure I don’t,” Giles said.

“Look, I’m not going to discuss this with you. It’s pointless.” Buffy speared another piece of crispy haddock and shoved it into her mouth, but the once delicious fish was now tasteless. She couldn’t discuss Angel with Giles and she couldn’t discuss Giles with Angel and sometimes that was so annoying it made her want to scream.

“You said there was more,” she said finally.

“It’s the time you’re waking up at night that piqued my interest,” Giles said. “During the course of my research about Borley Rectory in anticipation of meeting Mr. Winston I came upon an interesting bit of information. It turns out that the nun and her monk were caught on the road to Cambridge at precisely 3:17 a.m. Surely that’s not a coincidence.”

***

Mr. Winston was a small man with a high smooth forehead and a thin, pointed nose. He stood beside his car, nervously shifting his weight from one foot to the other, at the end of the lane which lead up to what little remained of the Rectory.

The day was clear and cool, nearing the end of November. The sky was pale blue, long wispy clouds trailing overhead like deflated balloons.

“Mr Winston?” Giles said, approaching the man with an extended hand.

“Mr. Giles?”

“Yes. And this is my colleague, Buffy Summers.”

Mr. Winston smiled knowingly. Colleague, indeed, his expression seemed to say.

“Hi,” Buffy said.

“American?” Mr. Winston said. “Are you from California?”

“All Americans are,” Buffy said, with a smile.

“She’s joking of course,” Giles said.

“Of course,” Mr. Winston said.

“Do you mind if I go up to the house?” Buffy asked. “Unless you need me for this.”

“No, go on. Be careful though.”

Giles watched Buffy head through the gate and up the lane before he said to Mr. Winston: “So, what have you got that you think the Council might want?”

***

There wasn’t really much left of Borley Rectory upon close inspection, but the grounds were quite beautiful and after being cooped up in the car for the last several hours, Buffy was quite happy to walk under the canopy of trees.

She could see the outline of the house’s foundation. She walked along its edge and tried to imagine the house as it had appeared in the pictures Giles had shown her: tall, forbidding. Certainly not a cheery place for Reverend Bull to raise his fourteen children.

Still, it seemed sad that there had been a house here at one time; a house full of secrets and, apparently, specters and now all that remained were a few bricks and some well-trodden land.

Buffy settled on a patch of grass, tipped her face up to the pale sun and closed her eyes.

***

“I have in my possession the Locked Book,” Mr. Winston said rather smugly.

“Surely not,” Giles said, reaching into his pocket for his handkerchief and taking off his glasses. “That book has been missing for half a century.”

“Yes, sold to an American in 1953, I believe.” Mr. Winston said ‘American’ as if the word were sour.

Giles polished his lenses thoughtfully and said: “How have you come by it?”

Mr. Winston leaned forward conspiratorially. “You’re not going to believe it, but some yob sold it on E-Bay.”

Giles couldn’t prevent the bark of laughter which escaped from his compressed lips.

“Surely you’re not serious?”

Mr. Winston nodded. “Too right. Of course, the poor sod didn’t know what he had and I hardly paid a thing for it except for the blasted shipping.”

“If you know how valuable it is, why are you offering to us?”

“Thing is, Mr. Giles, ever since I’ve had the book strange things have been happening to me. I hear voices and see things. Once I was tossed from my own bed. I’ve lived in these parts my whole life; I know the story of the Rectory and the people who lived here. I believe in the spirits and their malevolence and I don’t want any part of it.”

“May I see the book?” Giles asked.

Mr. Winston shrugged and opened the back door of his car, where what was obviously a book lay wrapped in brown kraft paper.

“There you go,” he said, pointing.

“Surely you’re not that superstitious?”

“If I were you, I’d take that book to Council Headquarters and lock it up proper,” said Mr. Winston.

***

She had no worldly possessions; she’d given everything up when she’d entered the convent at 15. So, she was coming to him with nothing but herself. He said that was enough.

The tunnel from the nunnery to this place was black, the floor slick with sludge and slime, the walls covered with mold and moss but she would have traveled through the gates of hell to meet him here.

She stood by the oak, fingering the cross her parents had given to her when they had chosen this life for her, a life they felt was better than the one they could offer despite their relative wealth.

For two years she had been pious and obedient and then, one day while she had wandered away from her Sisters while in the woods picking mushrooms, she had seen him.

And he had seen her.

She wouldn’t have known what to call the feeling only to say that it was stronger than the feeling she had when she went to vespers; stronger than the feeling of devotion she felt towards the convent and her Sisters. This feeling shot straight up her spine.

For a long moment they watched each other across the cool forest. She was too frightened to move when he came towards her and knelt at her feet. He shouldn’t be kneeling; she wasn’t worthy.

“Your mushrooms,” he said, his voice a prayer. “You’ve dropped them.”

She watched his long, strong fingers pluck the mushrooms off the forest floor, brushing away the dirt that clung to them and placing them gently back into the basket. For a moment she forgot to breathe; he looked like an angel.

“Are you...”

“A monk, yes, from...” he lifted his arm and pointed through the woods.

“The Benedictines,” she said, careful not to meet his eyes.

“Yes,” he said. “A man of God who feels quite Godless at this moment.”

It was a scandalous thing to say and she felt the hot flush of colour she’d felt under his scrutiny drain from her cheeks.

“I must find my way back,” she said, reaching out for the basket he held in his hand.

His thumb scraped against her knuckle and at her throat, her cross burned.

Now, she was waiting at the spot where they had first met for him to come so they could give up their devout lives and begin new lives which they would devote to each other.

Her hair was carefully braided; her shrift plain and clean, her cross (which she hoped to be able to sell for a good price in Cambridge) was clenched tightly in her hot hand.

It was well past midnight and the world was silent, peaceful.

She felt him before she saw him, his pale face and dark eyes, his typical robe abandoned for crude pants and a rough linen shirt.

At first he didn’t say anything and then he whispered: “Anne.”

And she sighed his: “Liam.”

It was the first time they had ever spoken each other’s names.

***

Giles was sitting in the Land Rover when Buffy came down the path from the Rectory.

The afternoon had cooled down and Buffy shivered in her coat.

“Ah, there you are,” Giles said.

“I fell asleep,” Buffy admitted, reaching up to remove a crumpled leaf from her hair.

“Really? How extraordinary.”

“Not getting much sleep at night, remember?” Buffy climbed into the seat beside Giles. “Is that what we came for?”

“This is The Locked Book.”

“Doesn’t look locked to me,” Buffy said, running her finger along the book’s edge.

Giles smiled. “When Harry Price came to do his paranormal research at Borley Rectory he put an advertisement in the local paper asking for volunteers to come out and record data. One of the first people to sign up, for what many considered a foolhardy mission given the house’s unusual past, was Sidney Glanville. He spent about a year at the Rectory collecting information, recording events, making drawings and tracings and taking it all very seriously. At the end of the year, he presented Mr. Price with everything he’s accumulated in a book he’d entitled ‘The Haunting of Borley Rectory- A Private and Confidential Report.” Price had the book bound and fitted with a lock and he used Mr. Glanville’s observations along with his own to write his first book about Borley Rectory, ‘The Most Haunted House in England’.

“What happened to the book?”

“I believe it stayed in Mr. Price’s personal library for many years until his death, when the book was bequeathed to the University of London. Round about 1948, Mr. Glanville turned up and asked if he might borrow the book to re-examine his notes. Apparently, he never returned the book to the University, but instead gave the book to Trevor Hall who, in turn, sold it too someone in America. If you can believe this, Mr. Winston said he purchased the book on E-Bay.”

Buffy laughed. “You’re kidding.”

“I wish I were.”

“Did Mr. Winston know what the book was? I mean did he know it was important?”

“I believe he did, but he also indicated that while the book was in his possession he experienced several unusual occurrences and decided that the book would be better off in safer hands.”

“Do you believe Borley Rectory was haunted, Giles?” Buffy asked. “I know, stupid question. It just seems, you know, we’ve spent all this time fighting things that go bump in the night, a straight-up haunted house just seems kinda...tame.”

Giles smiled.

“It wouldn’t have seemed tame to Mr. Price and his supernatural detectives,” he said. “Listen to this: ‘At this time manifestations were heard in the living rooms over the stables which were entirely separate from the house. The groom-gardener and his wife were disturbed night after night by knocks, thuds and sounds of breaking crockery, although nothing was ever found to have been broken or even moved. They put up with these conditions for three years and then left. There is a hard core of evidence given by reliable and intelligent persons as a result of their own experience and observation which cannot be shaken by examination and questioning. For instance, Lady Whitehouse, who had known the Rectory and its successive residents for many years, assured me that on one occasion when she was helping to nurse Mrs. Foyster she saw a medicine bottle leave the mantel-piece and float through the air, coming to rest on the floor beside the bed. She not only assured me of the complete truth of this incident and many others but voluntarily offered to swear an affidavit confirming them if I wished her to.”

“What about the nun and her monk?” Buffy asked.

“It’s all here, in the book,” Giles said.

“Nice light reading,” Buffy said, smiling.

“Quite.”

***

They stopped in London on the way back to Westbury. Giles took The Locked Book into Council Headquarters while Buffy waited in the car. The Council still made her uneasy, even though she liked the organization’s new head, Benny D’Gioia just fine.

“Benny says hello,” Giles said as he slipped back into the Land Rover. “She invited us for dinner but I said you wanted to get back. You do, don’t you?”

“I do. Thanks.”

Giles maneuvered through the busy London traffic. Once they were back on the M25, Buffy turned slightly in her seat and said: “I dreamt about her.”

“Who?”

“The nun. I didn’t know it was about her until I saw the pictures, until I heard the story and saw the place, but then, while you were talking to Winston, I felt her, saw her.”

“You didn’t say,” Giles said, turning to look at her, his glasses reflecting the head lights of passing cars.

“Before I heard the story it didn’t mean anything and anyway, all the images were gone as soon as I woke up. But back at the Rectory I had a waking dream and I saw this fast-forward replay of how they met and I saw them just before the coach came to collect them.”

Buffy closed her eyes for a moment and tried to recall what she had seen that afternoon while sitting near the foundation of the Rectory.

“The thing is, Giles, in the dream it was me. Me and Angel.”

Giles made a clucking sound with his tongue.

Buffy sighed. “You can’t keep doing that, Giles.”

“Doing what?”

“Dismissing him. Dismissing us.”

“I do no such thing.”

“You do. You don’t...”

“If you say I don’t understand I shall pull this car over immediately and...”

“And what?”

“Well, I don’t know,” Giles said. “I do know that I can’t abide...”

“Him. That’s the truth of the matter, isn’t it?”

Giles was silent. Up ahead was the neon sign of a motor way station and he put on his signal light and crossed two lanes of traffic to pull in. He rolled into a parking spot and turned the ignition off.

“I don’t know why I was dreaming about the nun, Giles, but I don’t dream stuff for nothing. And I don’t know why Angel came back or why I survived when so many others didn’t. I’m trying to work through it all, just like you are. Just like he is.”

“Buffy,” Giles said.

“No, wait until I’m finished. In the dream I was that nun and Angel was that monk and I was able to feel all these things I’ve pretended I don’t feel and it was horrible. She gave up everything to have her chance and I stood there and felt the way he looked at her and I know that feeling. I know it. I can’t pretend I don’t.”

“I’m not asking that you pretend,” Giles said quietly. “I know none of this is easy.”

“And you’re not making it any easier.”

“I will admit that Angel isn’t exactly on the top of my Christmas card list.”

“Understatement much?” Buffy said.

“We have a complicated relationship,” Giles said, smiling.

Buffy rolled her eyes. “That’s a joke, right?”

“Perhaps,” Giles said, indicating just how small a joke with his thumb and finger. “I’ll try.”

“Thank you.”

It was late when Giles pulled into the drive way at Westbury.

Buffy got out of the Land Rover and arched her back, stretching out the kinks from sitting too long.

Up over the garage, a small light burned in Angel’s apartment.

Giles followed Buffy’s gaze and shook his head. There was no way on earth he’d keep those two apart. For Angel, Buffy was a benediction. In this life, in the next: in all the lives to come, there was something holy between them.

“Go on then,” he said.

The End.

Thoughts
Story Index

Authors Notes: The story of Borley rectory is true. There are wonderful sites with information on the web, all of which tell the fascinating of the Rectory complete with the tale of the novice nun and her monk. I have imagined their relationship as there are no details. The work of paranormal investigator Harry Price can be found at http://www.harryprice.co.uk/index.html

Other interesting sites can be found at: http://www.prairieghosts.com/brectory.html and http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/hauntings/borley.html