But is it Really Art?

Chapter 5

Inside the Magic Box, the time was around 9 PM. Dawn Summers sat between Xander and Anya, at the round table in the rear of the selling floor. She slowly reached into her handbag that lay on the table in front of her, and took out her cellphone.

She tapped out her home phone number, while keeping a cautious eye on Faith, who stood beside Giles, with her arms folded, just inside the entrance of the shop. The foot long stake was firmly gripped in her right hand. The "Closed" sign hung in the door behind this Slayer, facing the street.

Dawn put the phone to her ear and waited.

Then she said, "Hello. Oh hi Willow. This is Dawn."

"Listen." There was a nervous tone in her voice. "I'm in the Magic Box, with Anya and Xander; and you'll never guess who's just shown up. Faith is here, and Giles is with her..."

The high school girl waited. Then she spoke again.

"Hi Buffy." She said, "That's right. She's armed with a stake, and she wants you here in 15 minutes, or she's gonna start using it. What? Okay."

Dawn looked out across the floor.

"Faith." She said, "Buffy wants to talk to you."

The dark haired Slayer remained where she was, with the same hard expression on her face.

She said, "Not 'til she gets here, and she now has 12 minutes."

"Right." Dawn spoke into the cellphone again. "Buffy! You'd better get here fast as possible!"

Now Giles said, "Dawn." There was also a tone of nervousness in his voice. "I'd like to speak with her myself."

"She's on her way."

Faith said, "I can wait Rupert. So can you."

Dawn was still on the phone. "Oh hi again Willow. Listen. Did you know that Anya and Xander are planning another wedding again? She wants you, Buffy and me to be her bridesmaids again. Oh yeah. I wish them well too, but you see, there's something about the choice of gowns, that we're gonna have to discuss with Anya."

Dawn switched off her phone, and put it back inside her handbag.

"Dawn." Giles asked, "Do you want to come over here beside Faith and me, where you'll be safe from those bloodthirsty vampires."

"Sorry Giles," the girl shook her head, "but I'm a lot safer here, beside these bloodthirsty vampires, than I'd be with that bloodthirsty vampire slayer."

Faith said, "Fine with me. Rupert." She spoke to Giles, "Want to go and collect the others."

"Yes Faith. Right away."

Then Giles stepped out of the shop, shutting the door behind himself.

Faith checked her watch. "Ten minutes."

Anya asked, "Just who are these 'others', who you've just sent Giles to go fetch?"

"Other Slayers;" Faith told them, "Or Potential Slayers."

Dawn was troubled, "You mean Amanda and Cassie, who I go to school with? You'll be getting them both killed."

Anya repeated, "'From beneath them it devours' Dawn."

Faith said, "Your classmates aren't the only Potentials there are girl. There are still some who already know how to fight, and how to avoid getting devoured by any kind of 'It'."

Now Dawn was horrified. "The 'Charmed Ones'? The Halliwell sisters, or that teenage detective from Neptune, what's her name?"

Anya said, "Veronica Mars?"

"Could be any of them," Faith smirked, "Or all of them, or more. Like I said, those are gals who know how to fight."

Xander tried to sound calm. "You know it doesn't have to be this way Faith. We don't have to fight. As a matter of fact, we'd rather have you join us at our wedding."

"That's right Faith." Anya's voice was not calm. "Don't you wish you could attend our wedding, instead of trying to kill us?"

"What do you think I'm an idiot?" Faith told her, "I'm not agreeing with any wish, that's spoken by any Wish Granting Vengeance Demon."

Anya shrugged. "Well, it's worth a shot."

Now Xander said, "Then I wish that Faith could attend, just like we were talking about."

"Thank you, my love." Anya smirked, "So you have wished it; so shall it be done."

Dawn was startled. "What did you do Xander? Anya! What's gonna happen?"

Anya continued smirking. "Instead of Faith killing us, Xander and I will be getting married, and she'll be attending the Ceremony."

Faith said, "I'd like to see just how you're gonna pull that off, girl."

Xander's fiancee told her. "Oh no you won't." Then she clapped her hands once.

At that moment, the door behind Faith flew open. A horde of tiny black creatures, swarmed through the open doorway, and surged across the floor into the shop.

Faith stood there horrified. Anya, Xander and Dawn, stood up behind the table, just as horrified, and ready to run out the back.

Dawn cried out, "Anya! What have you done?"

Faith howled. "Spiders!"

The horde of black, hairy, two inch long spiders surrounded Faith. In a moment they were climbing her legs, both inside and outside her slacks. They swarmed all over her body, out along her arms, up her neck, onto her face and on top of her head, while spinning out threads of glistening silk, tightening them all over her.

Faith was screaming in horror; as were Dawn and Anya. She flailed around with her stake, trying to knock the creatures away. She folded her arms in front of her face, while she screamed.

"Get 'em off of me! Get 'em off!"

Her dark leather jacket was swarming with spiders. She reached up, unzipped the jacket, and pulled it off, knocking some of the creatures away. That revealed more spiders crawling all over her blouse, and under her blouse. They were ripping her top garment to shreds, along with her bra, while continuing to spin out thick chords of silk, wrapping them tightly around her.

Her dark leather slacks were also being ripped into shreds, while her legs were wrapped in more thick, tight chords of silk.

The howling woman collapsed to the floor, being quickly covered, from head to foot, with tightly woven sticky, shiny webs of silk, that were hidden beneath the hairy, crawling layer of swarming spiders.

Back behind the table, Anya, Dawn and Xander were all frozen in horror at the sight.

Dawn asked Anya with a trembling voice "Is that the type of gown, you were talking about us wearing?"

"It wouldn't be anywhere near as bad as this, if you start out naked and just stand still. Halfreck said that it just kind of tickles."

Inside the silk shroud, Faith was trying with great difficulty, to push the thick, sticky fabric away from her face with her bare hands. She was gasping for breath as she tried to clear it out of her hair, in which it was entangled.

Dawn called out, "Anya! You have to stop this now!"

Anya shook herself. Then she said, "Right."

The Vengeance Demon called out, "Raid's here!"

Xander asked, "'Raid's here'?"

Anya shrugged. "Well it's worth a shot."

The spiders continued swarming all over Faith, totally hiding her from view.

Anya called out again. "The Spell is ended!" She clapped her hands once.

Then as quickly as they'd arrived, the horde of spiders came off of Faith's body. They swarmed out through the open doorway, 'til not one of them was left inside the shop. Then the door shut behind them.

Faith lay naked, silent and unmoving on the floor, tightly bound from head to foot, in a mass of glistening webs.

Anya, Xander and Dawn all ran out from behind the table, and hurried over to Faith. They knelt down beside the enveloped Slayer. Dawn picked up the Slayer's stake.

Xander reached out stuck his fingers into the fabric, gripped the tight, sticky threads with his fingers, and began to pull. Faith still didn't move or make a sound.

Xander stopped tugging, and let go of the shroud.

"I have to stop." He told them. "I'm ripping her skin off! The threads are embedded in her skin."

Anya, who also knelt beside him smiled. "Ripping her skin off?"

Dawn asked nervously. "You're not thinking about it as a bridesmaid's outfit, are you?"

Anya nodded. "Along with the head of my rival. Things are beginning to fall into place."

"Forget it!" Dawn said, "That's one place I'm not falling into! Forget it Anya! There's no way I'm gonna be wearing anybody's flayed skin, and I'm not having any of those spiders crawling all over me! Buffy won't, and I'm sure Willow won't either!"

Now the door opened again. Dawn gasped.

This time there were no spiders. Buffy stood in the doorway, along with Spike.

The blonde haired Slayer-Vampire stepped over from the doorway and stood beside the others. Spike came over to Buffy's side, looking at her tightly wrapped rival's body.

Buffy asked, "Is she dead?"

Anya said, "Looks that way. I can't imagine how anyone could survive this. 'From beneath her it devoured'."

Now Spike asked, "What do you mean by 'it'? How'd she get devoured this way? I didn't think that any of you blokes here would be powerful enough."

Dawn said with a whimpery voice, "One of us was."

Anya raised her hand. "All we needed was one wish, one vengeance demon, and lots and lots of spiders; and wah-lah! One dead Slayer."

"Spiders?" Spike said, "You mean that big swarm of what looked like a tarantula parade, that we passed while we were driving down Main Street? I'm glad we had the windows closed."

Now Buffy asked, "So where's Giles?"

Xander said, "Faith sent him out to go fetch. She said that he was gonna be coming back here with other potential slayers."

Buffy's voice became tense. "Have other potentials arrived in Sunnydale?"

"If they have," Anya assured her, "then from beneath them they'll be devoured, by those big, hairy spiders."

"Anya!" Dawn shrieked. "That means the spiders'll be coming after Amanda, and Cassie!" She thought for a moment. Then she spoke quietly, "And me."

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