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Africander story: Lonely on the Mountain Part 1 - Words in the Heroes' Tongue
I have a variable-sword. I urge calm.
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speakr2customrs
Africander story: Lonely on the Mountain Part 1
I’m in need of some relief after the stress of the plagiarism affair and so I’m going to post the first half of the story that I'm doing for ludditerobot’s Scatterlings and Orphanages “Africander” ficathon now rather than later. The due date is the nineteenth, but I’m working then and “early posting is encouraged”. The second half should have been finished tonight but the ramifications of the plagiarism have cost me three damn hours of writing time and I’m not going to make it. It may have to wait until my next 5 nights off work, around the 22nd.

The ficathon is for post-NFA Xander-in-Africa stories, covering every single one of Africa’s 55 countries. My country is Malawi, where I lived for six years, and I’ve stood on every inch of ground that Xander stands on in the story. This part is 3,250 words, rating PG or so, although that might change in part two. Don’t expect my usual overt humour, by the way. This isn’t a comedy.

Summary; The time is now, January 2006, and Xander is staying at a camp site on Zomba Plateau in Malawi and taking in the view. There’s a little more to his trip than rest and recreation, however …


Lonely on the Mountain


Part One


“No shop?” I could feel my eyebrows shooting up. “You’re kidding, right? A self-catering camp with no shop?”

The proprietor nodded. “There is no shop.”

“O-kay,” I said, “but there is a spoon?”

“We have cutlery, yah, and plates, hey,” he said. Not even a hint of a smile. I guess he wasn’t into The Matrix. “We cook the food for you, Mister Harris, and we provide the cooking oil and salt and that sort of thing, but not the food, hey. If you haven’t brought any then you’ll have to go down into Zomba town. Sorry, hey.”

I shook my head. “It’s okay, I have food. It was just, like, what if I’d forgotten something, you know? Going down that road again, really not my idea of a fun little trip.” I looked around, sizing the place up. There was a guy sitting reading a newspaper over on the other side of the room. A tall white guy, tanned, and lean, and kinda rangy. Might be a guest, might be one of the camp staff, I had no way of telling as yet. Not much else of interest. “So, I guess I hand over my stuff for your cook, right? Any particular time?”

“That depends when you want to eat, hey,” the manager guy told me. He had one of those real clipped White South African or Zimbabwean accents, the sort where they hardly seem to move their mouths when they speak, and it came out pretty much as ‘thit dipinds win yuh wint tuh eat’. “And on what you’ve got, man. If it’s a tin of soup then ten minutes will do. If you want a roast buffalo you’d better hand it over now for tomorrow, hey.”

I laughed a little. “The tin of soup’s more my style. I guess I’ll get myself unpacked and settled in, ‘kay? Then I’ll take a look round. The view is really something.”

“That’s right, man. Just one thing, hey? Don’t go wandering around outside the camp at night. Malawi’s usually pretty safe, man, especially Zomba, but not right now, hey. There are leopard up here and one of them killed a girl not long back.”

“It wasn’t a leopard,” the other man spoke up. He folded up his newspaper and climbed to his feet. He was wearing a short-sleeved khaki shirt and drill slacks, and he had one of those weather-beaten tans that you get from working outdoors the whole time. So deep that it almost looked like he’d stained his skin with walnut juice. Definitely a white guy, though, and he had that same kind of Zimbabwe or South Africa accent. All he needed was a bush hat with a leopard-skin hatband and he’d have been the stereotypical Great White Hunter out of one of those old movies. Probably plotting to bump off Tarzan so that he could go poach ivory or something. “I’ve never seen a leopard kill without using its claws, hey. Could be it was a baboon.”

“Maybe. Or a hyena, hey?” The manager turned back to me and gestured towards the other guy. “Anyway, if you want to see the plateau by night you go with Rod here. He’s the guide for our night-time walks. You’ll be safe with him, hey. Felix Mtwali runs the daytime trips. I’ll introduce you tomorrow.”

“Uh, yeah.” I thought that I’d better sound a bit nervous at this point. “Hey, they didn’t say anything about dangerous animals in the brochure. It is safe, right?”

The guide made a noise halfway between a cough and a laugh. “This is Africa, man. There are always dangerous animals. If you wanted to be safe you should have stayed in America.”

“I guess,” I said. I gave him a twitchy little smile. “I’ll get settled in, like I said. Yeah.”

He gave me the room key and I headed off to the little round chalet that was to be my home for the next few nights. It was basic, but clean, and it looked like it would be comfortable enough. I’d stayed in plenty worse places. And hey, if I’d wanted luxury I’d have gone to the Le Méridien Ku Chawe hotel instead of coming to this budget camp. Thing is, luxury wasn’t part of my itinerary and, despite what I’d said to the manager and the guide, neither was sightseeing.

I unpacked my clothes and stashed them away, and I sorted out some of the food for my evening meal and put the rest into cupboards, and then I locked up my suitcase again. There were a couple of things in it that I didn’t want any nosy cleaners looking at too closely. I sat down in a chair and thought for a while.

I played back in my mind that conversation about the animal that had killed the girl. One of the guys had suggested that it had been a leopard. Nope. The other guy, Rod the guide, had said that he’d never seen a leopard kill without using its claws, and that fitted in with everything that I’d heard since I’d come to Africa. His own suggestion had been a baboon. Well, yeah, they were dangerous animals. I’d seen the fangs on a mandrill in West Africa and hey, I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be bitten by one. The baboons round here weren’t as big as mandrills but they still weren’t anything to be taken lightly, ‘specially if there was a troop of them, and maybe they could kill a girl rather than just mauling her.

Only, not when that girl had been a Slayer.

- - - - -


“Wow,” I said. I breathed in slowly and tilted my hat back away from my face. “That sure is some view.”
“Back in Colonial times they used to say it was the best view in the British Empire,” Felix Mtwali said. He was speaking loudly, making sure that all of us in the little party of hikers could hear, and I guessed that the comment was part of the spiel that he went through every time he took a group out on the walk. “It is very spectacular, is it not? Mulanje over there is nearly fifty miles away.”

Spectacular wasn’t a big enough word. Awesome, maybe. From where we were at Queen’s View the face of Zomba Plateau fell away nearly sheer for more than two thousand five hundred feet to Zomba town way down below us. Beyond that the ground sloped down to the plain that stretched away for miles and miles to where the great brooding bulk of Mount Mulanje towered in the far distance. A few small clouds drifted over the plain; some of them below us, some of them higher up so that we could see their shadows marching across the land.

“I wouldn’t have believed that you could see so far,” a girl remarked. She was an American, a good-looking girl who looked to be in her early twenties, and she was with a guy of around the same age. Most of the talking as we’d hiked across the plateau had been about the things we saw, there hadn’t been much in the way of social chat, and I hadn’t heard what they were doing in Malawi. I’d caught that her name was Meryl and that the guy was Dave, but that was about all. “Hey, Mulanje’s even higher than this place, right? So how come the view is better from here than there?” She was speaking to Felix, but she gave me a look and a little smile as she asked the question.

Felix chucked and pointed at the distant mountain. “You see that white streak across Mulanje, chiphadzuwa?”

“Uh, yeah. Is it snow?”

“There is sometimes frost in Mulanje in the cold season, June or July, but never during the rains,” he told her. “I have heard of snow falling there then too, but I have never seen it. No, it is mist. There is often mist lying over Mulanje and you can see little. Also, chiphadzuwa, Zomba Plateau is not so big, and from there it is not as impressive as Mulanje is from here. This is where the view is the best. Except for Emperor’s View, perhaps. Tomorrow’s walk will be there and you can compare it. Today we will go on to Chingwe’s Hole and there we will have lunch.”

We stayed maybe half an hour at Queen’s View. There were five of us, plus Felix, in the group; me, the two other Americans, and a married couple who could have been in their thirties or maybe forties, from England. We got talking among ourselves as we looked out over the plain.

“You don’t look like a tourist,” Meryl said to me. “Are you with one of the NGOs?”

“You could say that,” I said. The Watchers’ Council was non-governmental and it was definitely an organization. “I’m a researcher. I look into the allocation of resources.” True but meaningless. “How about you?” I asked the question without thinking, and then regretted it. I had a feeling that she might be interested in me as a guy, which was not of the good seeing as how she was with another guy, and I should have just kept my mouth shut.

“Just tourists. We had a small inheritance, and I wanted to get away from the States for a while, and I’ve always wanted to see Africa. Dave, not so much, but he’s coming along to make sure I stay safe. He’s my brother,” she informed me, putting just enough stress on that information to give me a hint that I was right about her being interested in me.

She was a very pretty girl. Kinda slim, long legs, and a nice smile. It had been quite a while since I’d had any female company of the relationship kind – trainee Slayers don’t count – and I couldn’t help being tempted to respond. Only, girls who are interested in me usually turn out to be demons, and anyway I had a job to do. “Well, I hope Africa lives up to your expectations,” I said, and moved off to look out over the plain in another direction.

I could see what must have been Blantyre and Limbe off in the distance. A big urban sprawl, or at least what passed for a big urban sprawl out here, with a combined population of maybe half a million. There was a big hill near Blantyre, a huge lump of granite, and I’d passed by it on my way into the country and been pretty impressed.

From here it looked like a pimple.

- - - - -


Chingwe’s Hole just depressed me. Nobody knows how deep it is, or so Felix said, and the locals used to use it for burials. A dark deep hole with dead bodies at the bottom. Yeah, right, where have I heard that one before?

The others ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ as they listened to Felix’s spiel. I stood it for a minute and then I walked away and stood by myself.

“Are you okay?” Meryl had followed me.

She talked the same way as everyone that I’d grown up with, more or less, and I had an idea that it might mean that she was a California girl. Somewhere West Coast, anyway. “I’m from Sunnydale,” I said.

“Oh.” Her eyes went big and round. “I – I’m sorry. Did you lose anyone in the, uh, disaster?”

“A few friends,” I said, maybe stretching a point. I’d hardly known most of the Potential Slayers who died, apart maybe from Amanda, and I wouldn’t really have called her a friend. I wouldn’t have called Spike a friend either. Not then, anyway. It wasn’t until afterwards that I’d realized that I missed him. We’d hated each other a lot of the time, sure, but there had been moments when we’d gotten on okay. Snarking with each other had been kind of fun sometimes. And hey, if it hadn’t been for Spike I’d have two glass eyes rather than one. Anya, well, friend wasn’t the right word. “And the girl I was engaged to,” I added. Not that we were actually engaged there at the end, and I had no idea if we’d ever have gotten back together for good; but I’d wanted to try, and I missed Anya the way that I missed my left eye.

“Oh,” Meryl said again. “I’m sorry.” I didn’t respond, and she waited for a moment and then wandered back off to the Hole. Her eyes were still big and sad. I’d made two people depressed instead of one. Way to go, Xander.

- - - - -


Lunch was sandwiches, made up by the camp cook out of whatever ingredients we’d given him, and whatever drinks we’d brought along, which was Coke for me. There were wooden picnic tables and seats but they were pretty fragile on account of being riddled with holes. They looked like they’d been through the mother of all firefights. I was pretty darn careful when I sat down.

“Uh, Felix, what made all the holes in the tables?” Meryl asked. “Was it termites?”

Felix stopped smiling, pretty much for the first time since we’d gathered at the camp to go on the walk. “They are drilled with holes so that the local people do not steal them, chiphadzuwa,” he explained.

“I thought nobody lived up on the Plateau?”

“The people walk up the track from the town,” he explained. “It takes perhaps two and a half, three hours, but they come to sell things to the tourists, and sometimes to steal. These tables would fall to pieces as they were carried down the mountain track, and so they are safe.” Felix pointed back the way we had come and we looked that way. Three young boys, probably something like ten years old, were approaching. “See, chiphadzuwa, here are some of the local people now.”

I wondered what ‘chiphadzuwa’ meant. He addressed all the men as ‘bambo’, which means ‘mister’, and when he spoke to the English woman he called her ‘mai’. I made a mental note to look it up in a phrasebook later. I’d probably find that it meant ‘demon who is going to sacrifice Xander to the hyena spirits’, or something.

- - - - -


Sure enough, the kids wanted to sell us things. Mainly polished stones. Semi-precious, you could call them, tourmaline maybe. Not my thing. If I was going to wear a piece of stone on a thong around my neck I’d go for turquoise. Meryl bought a couple, probably because she felt sorry for the kids.

One of the kids was pushing along a sort of toy car made out of stiff wire, with a working steering wheel on a long stick, and he was using it as a kinda cart to transport the things that they were selling, which I guess was easier than lugging it up the steep track in their hands. What they had, apart from the stones, were local wood-carvings. Not much of a selection, but there was one piece that interested me. A scaled-down copy of a Zulu spear, the kind that everybody calls an assegai but that the Zulu call an iklwa, carved out of a really hard wood and then stained jet black with shoe polish. It had a fair edge to it, probably so that it could be used as a paper knife, and a decent point, and I had an idea that it might come in useful.

I paid them more than they asked and they gave me great big smiles and a chorus of ‘zikomo kwabiri, bambo, zicomo!’ ‘Zicomo’ was the first word of Chichewa that I’d learned and it means ‘thank you’.

Felix frowned at me. I guess he didn’t want the kids to get too much encouragement, ‘cause if too many started coming and got too pushy with the selling it’d kinda put off the tourists. Well, yeah, I’d been in places where they were all over you like flies, but I couldn’t see me having that much effect on this place. They’d walked up two and a half thousand feet of mountain to sell me the stuff. They deserved to get a halfway decent profit on the deal. That’s what I think, anyway.

Or maybe he thought that I was a dumb American with lots of money and no clue about what the local stuff was worth. Well, duh. I know that a Kwacha is just a little less than a single American cent, and it’s divided into a hundred tambala, and prices are so low in Malawi that you can actually buy some things with a couple of tambala. Local things, anyway. I’ve been around a while, I know how things work in Africa. Or don’t work, that is, ‘cause, hey, the whole continent is kinda fucked. And don’t ask me how to fix it.

I guess Meryl took it as a sign of me being a nice guy. When we moved on she started walking alongside me instead of with her brother. She talked to me about the butterflies, and the birds, and the trees, and I couldn’t help starting to smile and to talk back. The black mood that I’d fallen into at Chingwe’s Hole lifted and I started to feel pretty good for a change. Of course, I knew it wouldn’t last.

I looked up ‘chiphadzuwa’ when we arrived back at the camp. ‘Beautiful young woman’. I wouldn’t argue with that.

- - - - -


I’d picked up a couple of newspapers on my way into Malawi. I found some more in one of the public rooms at the camp, a week or two old, and I did a bit of reading before the evening meal. There were sections in English and in Chichewa. It looked as if they didn’t cover the same things, and I thought I might miss out on what I wanted, but it turned out that it was in the English parts anyway.

‘Wild dog kills boy.’ ‘Lions attack five in Nkhata Bay’. ‘Mystery animal kills young woman on Zomba Plateau’. ‘Widow found dead with neck wounds’.

The lions turned out to be real lions. The victims had been mauled but were alive and they knew lions when they saw them. And when the lions bit them on the ass, which is what they’d done. Not funny really, ‘cause the people were pretty badly hurt, but hey, better the ass than the throat. Anyway, I could leave the lions to Wildlife Officer Alex Chunga and his men, who were tracking them through the bush.

The other cases were more in my line. No witnesses. The ‘wild dog’ was just a guess. It had happened after dark, the wounds were in the throat, and the place was only five miles from Zomba. The dead widow, who was thought to be a suicide, had been in Zomba Town. The young woman – well, that was Grace Chirwa. One of my Slayers.

It might have been useful to go through the newspaper archives, and to be able to read the Chichewa pages, but I didn’t really need to do that. Grace would have put the pieces together, and followed the trail, and it had led her here. To her death.

There was something on Zomba Mountain that was descending to the plains, killing, and returning to its lair. It wasn’t any leopard, or baboon, or lion. It was cunning, nocturnal, highly mobile, and killed with bites to the neck; and I could put a name to it.

Vampire.


Continued in PART TWO


The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (c) 2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.

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51 comments or speak 2 me
Comments
evilawyer From: evilawyer Date: January 16th, 2006 04:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Off to a very promising start. I look forward to the rest.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 16th, 2006 11:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! The rest should have been appearing today, but with all the time that I lost over the plagiarism thing it won't be until next weekend now.
nandibble From: nandibble Date: January 16th, 2006 04:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Builds nicely, and your command of accurate detail is a definite strength to this tale. So Xander's going after a vamp single-handed, is he? That should be interesting! I look forward to the next installment.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 16th, 2006 11:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! The conclusion should appear next weekend, as all hope of it being ready today has vanished due to all the time that I lost over the plagiarism affair, and I go back to work tonight.
liz_marcs From: liz_marcs Date: January 16th, 2006 04:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent beginning! I especially loved the nice local touches you put in there (you did mention that you lived in the area for awhile)? Excellent use of voice to get across the accent and patois of the region (wish mine were even a quarter as good).

Lovely local color under the guise of the tour, which I'm sure will come in handy when Xander starts hunting.

I have my serious suspicions about Rod, for some reason. He strikes me as a bit on the shady side. Not a vampire, but definitely not what he seems.

As for the cute American...raise your hands if you think Xander's about to be called a freak. Again.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 16th, 2006 11:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! Having lived in Malawi for 6 years is a definite advantage, and even though it was a long time ago I've still got contacts there and I'm assured that it hasn't changed much. Former President Banda stole so much from the country that its development came to a grinding halt and it hasn't picked up all that much since he was deposed and then died, because there was so little capital for investment.

We have customers in Malawi, many of them South Africans or white Zimbabweans who have moved to Malawi, and I speak to them quite often as the 2-hour time difference and the early rising habits of people in Central Africa mean that they often phone before 6 am UK time.

I got talking to one such customer recently and I discovered that he'd married a girl who was briefly my girlfriend when I lived there. I didn't mention that to him, though!

Lovely local color under the guise of the tour, which I'm sure will come in handy when Xander starts hunting.

That particular camp actually closed a few years back, but I'm taking it that it stayed open in the Buffyverse as I've stayed there myself and I haven't stayed at the Forest Lodge camp that probably squeezed it out of the market in the real world.
debxena From: debxena Date: January 16th, 2006 04:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Very interesting to read - I'm not at all used to reading fanfic in the first person style, but you did it well with Willow (AotM), and you do it well with Xander here.

I'm very much looking forward to seeing where this goes.

(And I'm really sorry to hear/read about the plagiarising incident. Not good at all.)
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 16th, 2006 11:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I started off writing it in the third person but it just didn't gel and in a week I'd only written 650 words. I swapped to first person and it clicked; I did 2,700 words in one night as soon as I swapped.
rahirah From: rahirah Date: January 16th, 2006 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Very nifty! Though I have the feeling this may not be your common or garden vampire...
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 16th, 2006 11:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

Though I have the feeling this may not be your common or garden vampire...

No comment.
kallysten From: kallysten Date: January 16th, 2006 05:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Enjoying very much so far. I don't read a lot of Xander pieces but i like the way you write his voice.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 16th, 2006 11:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you very much.
makd From: makd Date: January 16th, 2006 06:39 am (UTC) (Link)
printed it out to read tomorrow a.m.

looks good!
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 16th, 2006 11:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
zanthinegirl From: zanthinegirl Date: January 16th, 2006 06:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Very interesting! This story really sucked me in. Your Xander's voice seems very on key to me; and I can totally buy the canon Xander growing up into this guy. I particularly liked his bleakness on seeing Chingwe’s Hole, as he thought about Anya and Spike.

I'm a little suspicious of Rob, and a lot suspicious of Meryl. Looking forward to the next chapter!

speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 16th, 2006 11:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I'm glad that you think that I've got Xander right.
ffutures From: ffutures Date: January 16th, 2006 07:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Plagiarising incident? Have I missed something?

Nice start - I suspect that this is going to turn out to be more than just a vampire, since it's killed a slayer so easily, and I'm greatly looking forward to seeing where you go with this.
ffutures From: ffutures Date: January 16th, 2006 07:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, sorry, just saw the entry. What a moron! And what an apalling site, how the hell do you find things there?
From: hezzabeth Date: January 16th, 2006 11:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, can I just say how much I love your Xander voice? so completely and utterly honest and yet still with his sense of humour and compassion.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 16th, 2006 11:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you very much! That's exactly the effect that I was going for, I'm glad that you think that I've got it right.
frimfram From: frimfram Date: January 16th, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Very spectacular!

Absolutely superb. I can't wait for the next. Lovely wearier-and-wiser Xander voice, I'm intrigued by Meryl, and this is a hell of a hook.

Chingwe’s Hole just depressed me. Nobody knows how deep it is, or so Felix said, and the locals used to use it for burials. A dark deep hole with dead bodies at the bottom. Yeah, right, where have I heard that one before?

Shiversome.

Eagerly awaiting the next instalment.

I love it when you write about lions!
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 17th, 2006 10:23 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Very spectacular!

Thank you!

The lions are real - I took that headline from last week's edition of 'Malawi Nation Online' - and they won't be making any direct appearances in this story, although if Wildlife Officer Alex Chunga catches up with them Xander may well see updates to the story in the local papers.
hpchick From: hpchick Date: January 17th, 2006 05:54 am (UTC) (Link)
This is great so far and I look forward to reading the rest.

Sorry to hear about the plagiarism situation. I hope it all works out ok.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 17th, 2006 10:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I'm glad you like it.
From: averageshmoe Date: January 18th, 2006 03:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Great start to the story and a wise decision to go to the first person, you do have Xander's voice down. But it's a more confident, sadder voice than he had been permitted during BTVS. It's something I can believe in, the possibility of personal growth.

The fact that he acknowledged, to himself at least, that he missed Spike is an indication that he has gained a sense of perspective even if he has lost dept perception.

Have you ever considered doing a short story set in the sixth season with this Xander? Nick B. has admitted in an interview that Whedon had no idea what to do with his character after the conclusion of season five. I would have found a Xander building an adult life while trying to be a friend, confidant, and fellow warrior a fascinating storyline.

If you ever get a chance think about it.

pgavigan
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 18th, 2006 10:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Glad you liked it.

a wise decision to go to the first person,

I was writing it in third person and it just wasn't working. In a week I'd only done 650 words. Then I decided to try first person and it clicked straight away - I got 2,700 words done in one night.

Have you ever considered doing a short story set in the sixth season with this Xander?

Not as such. I don't think I could get Xander into quite the same place without having him pass through all the shit of S6 and S7 and then spend lots of time alone driving a 4WD through Miles and Miles of Bloody Africa. But the Xander in the sequel to "The Lonely Goatherd" will resemble this Xander - I was close to writing this in the Goatherd-verse but then decided to keep Spike dead in this instead - and as "Pandora's Boxer" progresses Xander will develop some of the same strengths.

By the way, have you been informed about the plagiarism of your ficlet "Change of Pace" amongst those stolen by Spike Fics/SpikesBaby/Spikes Obsession (see my previous post or stop_plagiarism for further details)?
calove From: calove Date: January 18th, 2006 09:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful detail and interesting OCs. Looking forward to seeing where trhis goes.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 18th, 2006 10:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Glad you like it; it will continue once my five nights at work finish.
ludditerobot From: ludditerobot Date: January 19th, 2006 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Listed. Haven't read it yet. Will comment when I have read it. Thanks for helping make my ficathon a success.
ludditerobot From: ludditerobot Date: January 19th, 2006 07:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Now I've read it, and I want more.
bellatemple From: bellatemple Date: January 19th, 2006 03:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Really enjoying this so far, especially the detail you've included. It's really easy to skim over details of a setting when writing; it's clear that these are places you know well.

I get the feeling that deep hole is going to be coming back. . . .
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 20th, 2006 12:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I'm glad you're enjoying it.

I get the feeling that deep hole is going to be coming back. . . .

No comment.
iyalode From: iyalode Date: January 20th, 2006 11:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Your local knowledge shines through. Wonderfully descriptive and I really felt for Xander at Chingwe’s Hole. There's a more mature side to him here that's just lovely.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 20th, 2006 02:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I seem to have achieved exactly what I was aiming for so far; I hope that I can keep it up.
cbtreks From: cbtreks Date: January 20th, 2006 11:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
You make a very vivid picture. I'm looking forward to reading more of this. (And I'm so glad you write stories where Xander's likeable. He was fairly unlikeable in much of the end of Buffy, which was always disappointing. I want to like Xander.)
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 22nd, 2006 11:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! Glad you like it.

I think that Xander was unlikeable in the later parts of Buffy because the writers had lost interest in him and shrank his role to make way for Andrew.

Part 2 is up now.
4thdixiechick From: 4thdixiechick Date: January 21st, 2006 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Here via ludditerobot's link.

You set us up for action & travelogue, then you drop this in:

A dark deep hole with dead bodies at the bottom. Yeah, right, where have I heard that one before?

Go ahead, get serious on us.

I already love this story; can't wait for the next part!
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 22nd, 2006 11:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! Glad you liked it. Part 2 is up now. I'm afraid that there is a fairly high Travelogue element to it - I hope not too much! - but the 3rd and final part will have more serious elements.
tsavoritegarnet From: tsavoritegarnet Date: January 21st, 2006 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Lonely On The Mountain 1

your icon got me. I was entrigued by it, and decided to track down the story. Now I'm looking forward to reading more of it, when you get there. :-)
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 22nd, 2006 11:12 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Lonely On The Mountain 1

Thank you; glad you liked it. Part 2 is up now.

Have you read any of the other stories in the ficathon?
jgracio From: jgracio Date: January 22nd, 2006 08:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I loved this. The fact that you've actually lived there color the entire thing, in a very positive way. Gotta go read the next part.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: January 23rd, 2006 02:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Glad you liked it.
shadowscast From: shadowscast Date: March 12th, 2006 06:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey, I'm finally here!

The Watchers’ Council was non-governmental and it was definitely an organization.

Hee. That is is. Yes indeed.

A dark deep hole with dead bodies at the bottom. Yeah, right, where have I heard that one before?

Ouch.

I like Meryl. I'm sure she won't turn out to be evil!

I'm sure we'll be seeing that letter-opener again, oh yeah. Stylin'.

The setting is wonderful; your RL familiarity with it is put to very good use here.

One teensy quibble (since we're honest with each other this way!): She talked the same way as everyone that I’d grown up with, more or less, and that meant she was a California girl. “I’m from Sunnydale,” I said.

California doesn't really have a distinctive enough regional accent for Californians to recognise each other that way. (Maybe a linguist could manage it, I dunno.) At most he'd know she was American (or maybe Canadian). But I imagine Sunnydale's "disaster" would have been national news, so she'd recognise the name in any case.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: March 15th, 2006 07:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

I wasn't so much thinking of a California accent so much as the choice of words - which will be much more distinctive in the Buffyverse as the BtVS TV show will not have spread those speech patterns across the world the way it did in this reality.

There is something of a California accent anyway; I can spot it when I speak to customers, getting it right about half the time, and Sarah Michelle Gellar's nasal New York accent always stuck out like a sore thumb on BtVS (until Dawn turned up and Michelle Trachtenberg's less marked version of the same accent formed a bridge between Buffy and the rest of the cast). I know several of the others weren't real Californians either, but they did a better job of blending in.

I've revised the wording slightly now anyway.
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