October 30th, 2030
Alexander “Xander” Harris hit the warehouse door running.
His black leather, military steel toe, oil resistant, jungle boots pounds against the pavement, as his thighs burn with exertion from his steady pace. Blood drips down the side of his face from a gash that runs from the middle of his forehead to his left temple, smearing his cheek, forehead, temple, and neck in red and staining his collar and eye patch with blood. His ribs are broken, as the far too familiar sharp ridges of the broken ribs press against his lungs. Dirt, mud, and various other contaminants stain his tanned skin.
Xander’s form is covered in black form fitting cargo pants, a black v-neck shirt, that is beneath a military army SWAT vests for men, with a waistcoat protective magazine pouch in black, and a black beanie that covers his thick head of black hair for protection. The clothes are dusty and covered in grime, blood, and other adulterants from his most recent skirmish with today's adversary. The dark clothing easily allows him to slip in and out of the shadows that are contained inside the abandoned derelict buildings.
An array of hellish fire in colors of ruby red, bright orange, and dark yellow splash off the burnt out ruins of what once was a department store, pulling Xander from his thoughts and back to the present. The triumphant howls and crackling of the Baazalanan increase in volume as they follow after Xander’s running form. It is all a sport to these particular creatures, which acte more like an animal than humanoid.
From Xander’s right peripheral is the shadow of a tall, nine foot, humanoid body that is thin as a spindle, with arms and legs jointed in too many places. There is white bone protruding in lumps through flesh, as blue as azure ink. Its neck is no wider than Xander’s wrist, its head more akin to a wolf than anything else. The wolf head stretches long and the mouth cuts at the corners to fit in more serrated teeth. It's eyes are like the darkest shadow, a void of nothing, just empty and dreary.
Xander curses under his breath at the sight. With the Baazalanan having caught his scent, it was only a matter of time before other demonic species came about because of the noise the Baazalanan were creating . He can only hope that they don’t. He doesn’t think he has the energy to fight off more than one kind of demon at a time.
Xander barely pays any attention to the destruction and decimation of life that surrounds him. It went as far as the eye can see, in the once prosperous city. Now, it is nothing but ruins and remnants of what a civilization used to be. Throughout the world it is like this. Quiet and desolate locations that once were full of life. More often than not, in the city ruins, one could easily stumble across some species of demon looking for an easy meal. It’s a free for all, now that humanity has been nearly made extinct, and food being sparse.
Partially melted rebar lay contorted amongst crushed concrete, a cage of metal bones, poised to ensnare the impudent in its spiny jagged grasp. Xander stumbles over the debris that is scattered amongst the ruins of decaying buildings and torn asphalt. The opening maws of buildings invite wariness for their darkened and despondent depths. Xander misjudges his steps as he makes his way through the oil and waste that is hidden beneath the debris, barely holding onto his balance as he slips and slides through the mess.
Concrete snags at Xander’s shins as his foot plunges through a puddle, that is deeper than he had originally thought. Unaware of the dangers lurking beneath the surface, Xander’s leg is caught on a hidden chunk of jagged steel and momentum carries him downward, sending Xander sprawling across the pavement with a thud. His right knee strikes the rubble with an echoing crack.
The snarls and growls of the Baazalanan ring in his ears.
Pain blinds him for a brief moment as he attempts to gain his bearings. Xander is panting for breath as he tries to stand on shaky and weak limbed arms, but can only lay there as he tries to gain his bearings. There is a coppery taste of blood that sits thick and heavy in his mouth and at the back of his throat. He can feel panic creeping up into his mind as he fights to continue to breathe against the pressure of his broken ribs. The pain isn’t helping him. He can feel the air cutting off, his throat closing tight.
Darkness threatens to consume him. The menacing and sinister growls and hisses of the Baazalanan rattle in his skull, but it is too close for comfort, and another overwhelming sense of panic trembles through him. Xander fights viciously to keep himself conscious, as the danger nears closer.
“Get up off your ass and move Harris!” Xander hoarsely scowls to himself as he forces himself to stand, leaving smears of blood across the surface of the asphalt beneath him. His legs nearly give out beneath his shaky and weakened body. Booted feet step over broken marble and glass that glisten in the dim lighting of a heavy overcast sky, of what used to be a corporate office building. Thick fog obscures anything further than a couple of feet. It’s compacted mist hovers just a foot above the ground, encasing any who dare to walk through it’s hold. There is no sound of life heard for miles, most animals having disappeared into the wild, or been killed off long ago.
Black dots obscure his vision as his eyesight blurs and the world around him spins and sways beneath his feet. Fear and rage threatens to overcome the supernatural hunter as another burst of hellish fire sprays past him, leaving the scent of acrid air behind it. Pieces of stone fall to the floor, rumbling with the sounds of concrete vibrating beneath his feet, as the Baazalanan comes ever closer.
Xander barres blood stained teeth in anger and irritation as he moves further away from the Baazalanan. He carefully adjusts the grip of his single-shot M203, 40mm grenade launcher that is attached to his M16 assault rifle, that hangs from a strap over his shoulder. Holsters for knives and semi-automatics clung to his thighs, lower back, and in his boot holster. A battle axe also hangs from his back, beneath the assault rifle, but it is easily accessible should he need it. His vest contains additional ammunition and grenades for times like this.
Pulling an EMP grenade from one of the pockets in his vest, he presses the side of the metal circular bomb and tosses it over to the group of Baazalanan. The EMP grenade clatters to the ground, until it rolls to a stop right before the ever approaching horde of Baazalanan . A steady beeping noise, like one might have heard from a timer, raises in volume until it reaches its limit. Then with a burst of bluish white light, it explodes outward in a force field that spreads like a fence. It will delay the Baazalanan’s ability to move forward momentarily, while trapping them behind the shield. With another square shaped mechanism pulled from the pockets of his cargo pants, Xander presses a sequence of buttons, before tossing it towards the shield.
The mechanism hits the group with a rattle and begins to emit a high toned frequency that causes the Baazalanan to screech in pain. The noise is at a frequency only animals, such as dogs or wolves can hear, which works appropriately for a demonic species like the Baazalanan.
“Hope you treasure this, you pieces of shit,” he growls with a sneer at the demonic species continues to howl and screech in pain as the high pitched frequency raises in volume and the EMP shield burns any Baazalanan that attempt to past.
Xander turns on his heel and stalks down the ruined street at a limping, but steady, pace. His steel dark brown eyes scan the area as he walks, wary of any surprise attacks, as he makes his way back to the current base of the last of humanity.
A National State Park
There is an electric feeling in the air, a thickness that sits heavy on the tongue like molasses. The buzzy feeling sits just beneath the skin, like the sensation of ants crawling over them. Xander Harris adjusts his weight, standing at the outer rim of a circle, where Willow, Tara, Dawn, Cordelia, Anya, and Illyria, sit as they work the ritual that will save them all. Xander adjusts the battle axe in his hand as he watches and searches for any demons that might make an appearance.
This is their last stand. The world has become overrun by the demons that have been released from Hellmouths all over the world. As far as the eye can see, the world is a ruin of destruction. Anywhere one turns, they come across crumbled and decaying buildings. There is no such thing as home anymore, the demons had ensured that. Rarely did they ever stay in one place anymore. It wasn’t safe. It was only a matter of time before they were found, scented like prey to beasts far worse than the greatest of predators.
In the outer circle, standing to his left and right side, is Buffy and Faith. Both women hold their one preferred weapons, as they remain silent and alert for an ambush. Further down on the right side after Faith, stands Angel, Connor, Oz, Riley Finn, Andrew Wells, Winifred “Fred” Burkle, and Connor. On the left side after Buffy, stands Spike, Giles, Allen Doyle, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, Gwen Raiden, Lindsey McDonald, and Lorne.
It still surprises Xander that they have all survived the horrors of the world being overrun so far. There have been numerous close calls, but they have always come out on top of whatever situation they found themselves in. Now, it is just another confrontation against the demons of the day. It is too quiet, besides the occasional murmur of the five within the inner circle as they finished the spell that would open the portal.
“I have a bad feeling about this.” Xander murmurs as his eye scans the horizon again.
Buffy and Faith glance at their White Knight, eyebrows raising as an unsettling feeling curls in the pit of their stomach. Xander has never been wrong about his “feelings”. Whenever he senses something, it generally comes true. The fact that he has a bad feeling about what they’re doing? That leaves them concerned.
“Like what?” Buffy asks. Her green eyes alertly scan their surroundings, looking for any signs of danger.
Xander shrugs, “I don’t know,” he murmurs with a frown. “But whatever it is...it feels like something is going to happen soon.”
The other’s standing in a circle, around those participating in the spell, adjust their weights and grip their weapons tighter. With how quiet it is, they had all heard Xander’s warning. They knew to take it seriously. Too many times he has been right with his “feelings”.
“I see something.” Connor murmurs from his position. “It looks like it’s coming from the direction of the horizon.”
The group of seventeen, who guard the inner six, turn their eyes to the horizon. From the distance, they could all see a swarm of dark moving shapes running towards their location. The setting sun makes it difficult for them to see anything else, but they didn’t need to worry about what it is. They could all feel the evil taint that came with demons.
“Wills, you ladies need to pick up the pace.” Even without Xander’s warning, the six within the magic circle are already quickly moving and getting the ingredients ready. A heavy dread settles in Xander’s stomach as he watches the approaching army.
“Don’t let the barrier break,” he knows he doesn’t have to warn the sixteen that stood guarding those participating in the spell, but it made him feel better. They have to ensure the spell completes and allows them an escape for the world they failed to save. Otherwise, it won’t be long before they’re dead to.
“We can do this.” Xander says as optimistically as he can. The unsaid “I hope” remains locked behind his clenched teeth. He doesn’t need his doubts souring this. With one last exhale, he readies his weapon for the ever closer demonic army.