Karen considered herself to be a practical, down-to-earth person. She was a professed skeptic, and never considered 'other' possibilities. Which was why most people did a double take when they met her best friend, Denise Carroll. Denise was a hard-core X-Philer, a Trekkie, and was devoted to Star Wars in all its forms. Her room was fill of various books on vampires, witches, were-wolves, and fantasy novels (mostly by Melanie Rawn). Denise had been taught to read the Tarot by her grandmother, a nice old woman who made sweaters for everyone she met, from her grandchildren to the exterminator. It was just too bad that they lived in Sunnydale, CA, where not too many people wore sweaters. Or long sleeved shirts. Denise's mother was a realter who did astrology on the side. Her father was prone to premonitions, and her brother had joined a cult when he graduated from high school, and now worshiped their rabbit, Mr. Fuzzy.
Karen was a product of an almost stereotypical American family. Her parents both worked boring 9-5 jobs at the cracker factory, her brother was majoring in Engineering, and her grandmother lived in Florida, working as a golf pro, which was the weirdest thing in the whole family. Karen had met Denise in day-care, when Denise had shared her snack with her. They had been best friends since then, and Karen had put up with Denise's weird ideas, and Denise had put up with Karen's skepticism.
Karen wondered how that simple act of being thankful for half a chocolate cupcake had brought her to the point where she was perched on top of a stone mausoleum in the graveyard, at almost one in the morning, listening to Denise babble that the guys who had chased them there were vampires.
"I told you not to dance with strange guys." Denise said, but her usual enthusiasm for being right seemed a bit supressed, possibly due to the fact that she had a rather nasty bruise on her shoulder from where the guy in the brown jacket had tried to bite her. Karen was just thankful that she had remembered her pepper spray that evening when getting ready to leave.
Ignoring Denise, Karen peeked over the edge, where the two guys (who she had mentally tagged as Brown Jacket and Blondie) were still just standing around, snarling. There was something *really* wrong with their faces, and their teeth were a dentist's worst nightmare.
-And ours-, her brain reminded her.
"Hey, Karen, are you still with me here?" Karen realized that Denise had been trying to get her attention for some time now.
"Come on, Karen, take a look at these guys and tell me that they aren't vampires."
"Those are not vampires. Vampires do not exist, and they definitely do not live in Sunnydale."
"Then how do you explain the fact that they chased us from the parking lot of the Bronze to the cemetery, and currently have us stuck on top of this crypt, or whatever the hell you called this thing."
"Mausoleum, and they probably want our wallets."
"How do you explain their faces, and those rather impressive incisors?"
"Maybe they just need the help of a dentist and a good plastic surgeon."
"They looked fine in the Bronze."
"And the fact that they freaked out when they saw my cross?"
"They might be Born Again Christians, or Jehovah's Witnesses, or just *really* supersticious."
"Karen, one of them *bit* me, and right now they're *snarling* and *drooling*."
"He was just trying to keep you from getting away."
"And the snarling and drooling part?"
"So are a whole lot of the guys in school, but *they* don't act like this."
"How about Larry?"
Unable to argue this last point, Denise gave up, and peeked over the edge. And watched as Blondie exploded into dust. With a muffled yelp, she yanked Karen forward, and said: "See? See? Normal guys don't explode into dust after having a stake shoved through their chest by.......Buffy Summers?" This last part came out in a squeak of surprise as she spotted their classmate.
Karen looked sadly at her friend, resolving to keep her away from caffeine when she was under pressure, after all, midterms were next week. She accepted Buffy's help in getting down, and slapped a hand over Denise's mouth before she could embarrass herself any further. Buffy gave them an odd look, and offered to walk them home.
"No thanks, we should be fine. But thanks a lot for running those guys off. They almost got our wallets there."
Denise was making strangled noises.
Karen elbowed her gently in the side, and said: "I'll just get you home, and you can sleep it off. You were just seeing things." Lowering her voice to a confidential murmur, she said to Buffy: "Those guys must have really scared her, she actually thought they were *vampires*." Rolling her eyes, she put a supporting arm around her friend's shoulders, and with a last nod to Buffy, began to slowly lead Denise home.
Buffy shook her head in amazement, that Denise could have actually guessed the truth, and even her best friend (who had been with her the whole time) just put it off as too much coffee and lack of sleep. The slim blond retrieved her stake, which she had tossed behind a tombstone, and continued her patrol.
In the distance, but getting fainter, she could still here cries of: "It was vampires, I tell you!"