Buffy bit her lower lip, looking up at leaning and warped beams of age-darkened wood, lit brightly by bare bulbs that, far from introducing the cheeriness of a carnival, made freaky sharp shadows everywhere. "I don't even get on the tilt-a-whirl if I can help it."
"Oi. Says right there - this ride conforms to all Pennsylvania State safety regulations." Spike slapped the plywood sign and turned to grin at Buffy. "Can't say that about Dawn's last attempt at cooking dinner."
"They didn't say we'd have to ride the thing to defeat this whatever it is." Buffy's words fell on deaf ears as Spike was already running up the wooden ramp to the loading platform. Buffy looked around the sad, dilapidated remains of Conneaut Lake Park and wondered if some creepy thing killing people on the roller coaster was really such a big deal. It didn't look like lots of people were there, even on a Saturday night in the middle of summer.
A lanky teen in a wife-beater leaned against a wooden lever, watching them with the laconic weariness only a teen earning minimum wage can truly summon. Spike was already ensconced in the first car of the blue and silver train, patting the black tape-covered seat. "Look at this thing, would you look at it? That's original hardware, I bet. You know, Dru and I loved roller coasters in the 20s."
"Did you ride this one?" Buffy grimaced at the tattered state of the car.
"Don't be jealous," Spike purred and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. That, at least, was comforting.
Buffy let out a squeal as the car immediately dropped five feet into a dark tunnel. "If we die before we slay this monster, I'm going to stake you." Water dripped from overhead and the tunnel smelled like basement. The car juddered around curves. If it wasn't a haunted house ride, it could have been. At last, there was light ahead, and they jerked forward sharply to the familiar clank-clank of a lift chain.
"Oh god!" Buffy clung tighter to Spike's side. Halfway up the hill, a support strut was missing and the rails sagged alarmingly to the left.
"Relax. I've ridden worse. Back in the depression..."
"My only solace is that this entire thing is going to collapse into a million million Spike-killing stakes."
Buffy spoke mostly into leather coat, and Spike looked down at the crown of her blonde head, so tight against him. He grinned. Thrills, danger, his love in his arms and a possible fight ahead? He was going to bloody kiss this monster.
They hit the dip in the tracks and there was a worrying creak and Buffy fell more fully against him. The hill crested just ahead and Spike saw a mist building over the rails where no mist had a right to be.
"Hang on tight," he said, though Buffy's slayer-strong arms could not possibly be holding him any tighter. They passed through a cold mist and an evil cackle broke through the night.
Buffy let go and sat back in her own seat. "Oh thank god, there really is a ghost."
And then they went over the top.