the corridors of Wolfram and Hart. At least I don’t have to worry about disappearing any more, he thought.
He passed by identical offices without any sort of signage, trying to remember where exactly he had spied that little treasure.
When he had been non-corporeal,
he had the run of the building and had explored every section, but now that he couldn’t pass through the walls, he could
no longer make heads or tails of it. He was becoming more and more irritated, cursing the demons who must have spawned
this labyrinthine monstrosity Angel now ran.
I’ll give myself one
more hour and if I don’t find the sodding thing I’ll give up, he thought. It wasn’t as if Spike had
many pastimes when the sun was out, besides sleeping and the occasional shag, so this quest of his was at the very least giving
him some inkling of a purpose. He eventually came across an elevator and realized that he was on the wrong floor.
Spike entered the elevator,
cursing himself for not being more observant. He could have sworn he had gotten off on the seventh floor. Ah,
well, everything was sixes and sevens now, anyway. He pushed seven, yes definitely seven this time, and drummed his fingers
impatiently against the wall as the doors slid closed.
He exited the car and strolled
down the corridor until he came to an office with a glass door. He found that a little strange, considering the majority
of the doors were made of heavy wood, probably so others could not hear the sinister goings on no doubt occurring behind them.
He read the black letters stenciled on the glass. “Wolfram and Hart Literary Division.”
What can I help you with today?” the receptionist asked. She seemed standard issue legal affair, all tight hair
and supercilious smile, which certainly didn’t seem what passed for the ‘normal’ W&H employee.
“I’m looking for
a manuscript that I believe was sent here.” He gave her the title he had read on the cover sheet. With an
arched brow and an impatient tightening of her lips, she got up and went into a back office. A few minutes later she
found returned holding the treasure.
“I found it. We
haven’t had a chance to catalogue it properly. Because of the huge increase in demon biography fans, we’re
just a little backed up right now. May I ask why you need it?”
Spike thought for a minute.
“It’s for, uh, Angel,” he lied. “He’s friends with the author.”
At the sound of the big boss’s
name, the receptionist quickly handed it over to Spike. “Well, in that case, I’ll give it over to your care,
but I do ask that it be returned after Angel has had a chance to read it.”
Spike tipped her wink and started
to toss in a sexy smirk, but it was completely wasted as she blandly turned back to her computer screen.
I’ll be sure you get it back soon.” He left the office
and went back to the lift.
Sitting behind the desk in
Wesley’s office, Spike stared at the cover page. He noted the stamp reflecting the date the manuscript had been
received by Wolfram and Hart and a feeling of sadness came over him. May 15, 2003. Had she somehow known?
Or was she just a pessimist? Definitely the latter.
He put his fingers over the
letters of the title as he read out loud, “Anya’s Story, by Anya Christina Emmanuella Jenkins.” Angel
had filled Spike in with what he knew about the end of Sunnydale and Andrew had eagerly provided the rest. Spike took
a moment to reflect before he opened to page one…
Beginning / The End
My name is Anya Christina Emmanuella
Jenkins. And this is the story of my life. Not my whole life, because that would be longer than my old
friend Leo’s novel. This story begins toward the end of the year 1998, when my new life began, or more appropriately,
when my old life ended. I had spent 1100 years living the life of a vengeance demon when I got my newest assignment:
Sunnydale, California. Cordelia Chase. When I was first on the case, I just thought she was just some anonymous
girl who had just been jilted by her boyfriend.
I began this assignment by
learning about Cordelia. D’Hoffryn always said to do your homework to have full effect. So, I took time
to observe Cordelia to determine what character I would need to play. It didn’t take long to discover that it
was one of my least favorite personas, that of a teenager. Teenagers can be so annoying, whining about acne or an upcoming
math test, and not taking the time to capitalize on their grossly limited years of maximum attractiveness and flexibility.
Many times over the centuries
I had assumed variations of this guise. This “Anya.” I would be the new transfer student at the school.
Sometimes I would be the bad girl who had been emancipated from her abusive drunken parents. Other times I would be
the bookworm who spent all of her time in the library.
This time, in order to get
close to Cordelia, I decided I would be a socialite with absentee parents. I had to make sure I knew my cover story
in case questions were asked. Normally it wasn’t necessary, because I would swoop in, perform the vengeance and
watch the fireworks. Had I known then what would happen, I might have gotten even more creative with my character.
So I set up my persona, complete
with a luxury apartment (and a trust fund from my “parents,” an uncaring father and a jaded mother, who were cruising
the Caribbean). I transferred to the school and it was easy to cross paths with Cordelia. At that point in time,
she really didn’t have many friends, thanks in no small part to her relationship with Alexander Harris, instigator and
future recipient of Project Vengeance: Sunnydale. She asked me a few questions to determine my coolness, made
sure my clothing had the proper labels, and accepted me. I followed Cordelia through the day, always agreeing with her
on whatever banal topic she brought up. Occasionally, I would subtly lead the conversation to her big breakup.
After hours of listening, Cordelia finally made her wish to her new best friend.
The instant the wish was rendered,
I thought it would have interesting, though not earth-shattering, consequences. I wasn’t quite prepared for all
the ramifications of this seemingly innocent wish. She wished for a girl named Buffy to never come to town. Although
this deviated from my usual smiting of the male, the result was too delicious to be believed: an alternate reality!
I couldn’t believe the luck.
Alternate realities were always
interesting, because you never knew what would happen. I immediately granted the wish. The results were wonderful.
They filled me with the joy that I now associate with ready cash. I basked in the evil that was running amuck throughout
the town of Sunnydale. Apparently, this Buffy was the vampire slayer. Her absence from Sunnydale caused an insurgence
of vampires, led by one of the old ones, The Master.
Chaos and misery descended
on this Valley of the Sun. Cordelia was the only one who knew that it was different, and she was killed within hours.
As any vengeance demon will tell you, whenever the vengeance backfires on the one who makes the wish, that is the
sweetest gift of all. Everything was going perfectly. I watched the entire show from above, basking in my results.
But before I could take it all in, I was abruptly summoned.
Had I known at the time that
this Buffy was the Slayer, I might have gotten rid of her Watcher, as well. I would have left him in England, eating
his crumpets, because ultimately he would be my undoing. This Rupert Giles had the gall to summon the great Anyanka.
I was a vengeance demon of betrayed women. No man had ever summoned me. The audacity, I thought.
He had no right! I fought this mortal, and was on the verge of turning him into a two-headed, slime expelling toad,
when he grabbed my amulet, my power source, and destroyed it – abruptly changing reality back to its original state.
Because he took my power, I was now stuck in this persona. No longer a vengeance demon, I was now a common mortal.
It was the end of a life that I never thought would end.
Reality shifted back to the
moment of the wish. No matter how many different wishes Cordelia made, or how many times I tried to grant those wishes,
I found myself powerless. I wandered the halls, unable to hear the wishes of others, no longer feeling the suffering of the
women around me. After the monotonous school day ended, I began walking – and after centuries of effortless teleportation
– that event in itself was humbling.
I found myself, anonymous and
ordinary, on the streets of Sunnydale, trying to make sense of things. I decided I would go to D’Hoffryn and plead
with him to make me what I once was. On the way to the cemetery to perform the incantation that would take me to him,
I realized that he might decide I needed to be humiliated. I discovered that I couldn’t face that possibility
– I had fallen so far already – and turned back.
Eventually I made my way to
the apartment I had, thankfully, set up. I sat on the couch and just thought about how alone I was. Normally at
the end of a successful wish granting, the other vengeance demons and I would return to Ahashmaharr, the place where demons
are spawned, get together and swap stories. D’Hoffryn would always host a gathering and would regale others with
my great deeds. I was the ultimate vengeance demon and the favorite of D’Hoffryn. What would it be
like now? The others would no doubt be talking about how the great Anyanka had been turned mortal. It would serve
as a cautionary lesson to the others about the dangers of not knowing the ins and outs of every situation. Halfrek,
who specialized in avenging abused children, would be laughing at me. Of course, I would do the same were I in her shoes.
The idea of one of us being bested by a mortal was just too funny not to laugh.
I wondered about my future.
Would D’Hoffryn some day take me back and make me what I once was? Or would I be condemned to live out this new and
vastly shorter life? Fatigue washed over me as I cried for the first time in a millennium.
When I awoke the next morning,
I was still sitting on the couch in the living area of my new apartment. The sensations of being human again began filling
me as soon as I woke up and would continue for the next few days. Hunger, pain, sorrow, regret. I wasn’t prepared
for it. I hadn’t experienced human emotions in 1100 years. I had no idea what I was going to do now.
What was my purpose in life? I never had much in common with the human race in the first place. The villagers
of Sjornjost, even that fat troll Olaf, had never use for me.
As I sat in that apartment
for hours, contemplating my future, the pain in my stomach became more and more intense and I realized that I had to eat something.
As I tried to remember the last time I had been hungry (a millennium ago), I got my first craving and realized what I wanted.
I got up from the couch and started searching the apartment. Where the hell were the rabbits? There really
was nothing better than a nice rabbit and leek stew to cure the mortal blues. I searched the nearly empty larder, and
finally had to settle for some cereal with a rabbit on the box.
While eating my cereal, which
had no rabbit taste whatsoever, I heard a banging on the door. I got up to open it and found a short, bald man with an officious
air about him.
“What mortal man dares
disturb the chambers of Anyanka?” I asked. He stared back at me and I searched my memory for a more contemporary, and
possibly less suspicious, response. “Who the hell are you?”
And you are Anya Jenkins?”
“Well, Miss Jenkins,”
he continued, “are you aware that today is a school day?”
I stared blankly at him and
he went on.
“And as it is a school
day, you are expected to be in school. I don’t know what kind of huggy-kissy school you transferred from, but
here at Sunnydale High we request your attendance daily.”
Not fully understanding what
he was going on about I said, “Your appearance here is unwelcome and unnecessary. Who are you to request anything of
“I am fulfilling my duties
as a productive member of society, earning a living, paying taxes. Something, I would dare say, most teenagers would
not have the first clue about, what with their parents giving them anything their heart’s desire.” He sniffed
contemptuously at the carefully chosen possessions that stocked my domicile and went on to explain that the school board expected
a full accounting of all students. He added that since he had become principal, average daily attendance
had risen to 55%, the highest percentage in Sunnydale history. I tired of hearing him yammer on and on.
“I don’t see how
this concerns me,” I said, closing the door.
The little man stuck his foot
in the door and said in a voice filled with contempt, “It concerns you, Miss Jenkins, because if you fail to accompany
me to school today and fulfill your state-mandated learning requirements, I will have you jailed for truancy.”