Word count: 510
Prompt: The Masque of the Red Death
Setting: Shortly after Checkpoint.
Summary: Spike stumbles upon his worst nightmare. Then it gets worse.
Spike ambled up to the Summers' house and let himself in through the back door.
"Slayer! Got news!" he called.
There was nothing in the brightly lit kitchen but the scents of popcorn and cocoa. He moved toward the sounds coming from the living room, a sort of tinny sobbing noise. He peered into the room and felt his stomach drop to somewhere around his knees.
There sat what was left of the three women dearest to him, unmoving. Their faces were the color of Georgia clay, covered in tiny cracks, sunken eyes staring and blank, mouths agape. The eerie blue light of the television played over the horrible scene. He sagged against the doorframe.
"I'm too late," he whispered.
The head on the Dawn-shaped corpse slowly rotated toward him and then the whole body shuddered.
"Eeeeee," it shrieked, leaping from the couch. "OhmiGHODdontlookatme!" it wailed from behind the hands it held before it's face as it streaked past Spike and up the stairs.
His head swiveled to follow her progress before snapping back to the living room. The creature that used to be — or possibly still was — Joyce, crossed her legs and covered her mouth in a pose that suggested, well, suppressed mirth more than anything. The Slayer now stood with her fists on her hips, one bare foot tapping impatiently. Spike noticed there was a bright pink something-or-other holding her toes apart.
“Um...” he started.
“What are you doing here, Spike?” demanded Buffy. “It’s Girls’ Night!”
“I, uh...sorry?” He cast about for something less terrifying to look at than his lady love. His eyes landed on the TV, but he found no quarter there. “Is that Steel Magnolias?”
“Yup,” answered Buffy with a voice that suggested long hours of expert gum-snapping. He glanced back at her. Her smile was familiar to him, even with the red gunk obscuring her features. It was the one she wore when she’d found new prey.
“Good flick,” said Spike uncertainly.
“Why don’t you join us?” asked Joyce, her smile matching her daughter’s.
“Yeah, Spike,” said Dawn from behind him. He jumped as she walked past him back into the living room. Her face was freshly scrubbed and shining. She picked up a jar from the coffee table and brandished it at him. “We could give you a facial!”
“It’s firming,” added Buffy with a challenging gaze.
Oh, yes, he remembered taunting her about possible sagging issues not long ago. Idiot.
“Didn’t mean to intrude,” he said. Buffy snorted. “Just had a bit of intel on some new nasty, but it’ll wait.”
He backed into the foyer reaching behind him for the front door knob as the sisters advanced. They flanked him before he found it, and each grabbed an elbow and escorted him to the couch.
“It’ll be fun,” they said in unison as they pushed him into the cushions.
“I’ll make more cocoa,” said Joyce, heading for the kitchen.
Spike suspected that the new evil was already at work. What other possible explanation could there be?