But is it Really Art?

Chapter 9

On the front porch of the Summer's house, the black, hairy, eight legged creatures were beginning to close in on Dawn.

She again called out, "Buffy!" Then she shouted, "It's the spiders!"

The swarm of creatures had her completely surrounded.

"Dawn!" Buffy called out behind her.

The trembling girl turned around slowly. She faced the open doorway, where her sister now stood behind the screen door with Spike. Dawn didn't move. Both vampires looked horrified.

"Dawn." Buffy spoke nervously. "You're standing out there in the daylight. If Spike or I came out there, we'd burn up into dust and cinders. We can't do a thing to save you."

Spike said, "Sorry Niblet."

Dawn looked at the narrowing circler of spiders that moved between her and the door.

"Open the door!" She said, "I think I can leap over them!"

The screen door creaked open a crack.

Then the spiders swarmed.

In a moment they were climbing the screaming girl's legs, going up under her skirt, and over her skirt; climbing over her blouse, and under her blouse, ripping her garments to shreds. Then they covered her body, totally hiding her beneath a thick, swarming layer of their dark, hairy selves.

Buffy shouted "Keep still Dawn! Don't move your arms or legs! Stay still!"

The nervously sobbing girl kept still, trying not to move, as the swarm sprayed out sticky webs all over her body, wrapping her in a crude white layer of silk, from just below her knees, all the way up to her neck, and halfway down her upper arms. They did not touch her neck, or climb on her head. They did not touch her face.

Her sister and Spike remained behind the screen door, unable to do anything to help her.

Then Buffy said, "Get the Raid, Spike! Get the Raid! It's in the kitchen, in the cabinet under the sink!"

Spike was gone from behind the screen door.

At that moment, the swarm of spiders stopped spinning their webs. They came rushing down Dawn's torso, along her legs to her feet. They rushed away from her body, off the porch, down the front steps, and away from the front lawn. The dark, hairy creatures hurried down Robello Drive, and were gone from sight.

Now Dawn, who stood there shaking, cried out a loud bellowing sob.

"Buffy! I don't want any more of this! I don't want any more of this! I don't want to be the Slayer!"

Buffy opened the screen door for her sister, who hurried inside. Buffy shut the front door, shutting out the light of late afternoon.

The two women stood in the foyer, while Spike hurried out of the kitchen, with his fingers gripped around a can of insecticide.

He said lamely, "Raid's here."

"Thank you Spike," Buffy told him, "but that's no longer necessary."

"How are you Niblet?" he asked.

"I wasn't killed?" The trembling girl sobbed, "They didn't kill me. I didn't try to fight them off, and they didn't kill me."

Spike said, "Excuse me for saying so Dawn, but I think you ought to put on more than these spider webs. Right now you're dressed just like the dead women, in that magazine you don't care for. The difference is that right now you're no work of art, but I can still see everything."

"'Undead Life'?" Dawn sobbed. "Yeah right. I...I'll put more on."

"Wait." Buffy told her, "Let me get a scissors and cut you out of that first."

"Scissors?" He sister said, "Right. Just be careful how you cut it."

"Careful?"

"That's right. The Spiders didn't kill me, so that means I'm not the new Slayer. Amanda'll still have to be vamped, unless the spiders get to her first."

"But if you're not the new Slayer," Spike asked, "Why were you attacked?"

"I think," Dawn told them both, "that the spiders might have been preparing me for Xander's and Anya's wedding."

"Their wedding?" Now Buffy trembled a little. "You mean that Willow and me are..."

Dawn nodded, "The spiders have just presented me with my bridesmaid's outfit."

Her sister said nervously, "Then Willow and I should expect to have our outfits delivered the same way?"

"It'll be okay," the girl told her, "as long as you don't move. 'It just kind of tickles'."


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