the pearl

Sister Midnight

"Calling Sister Midnight...what can I do about my dreams..."

Falling asleep in Chowchilla was like falling asleep in any other prison. You laid on your bed, staring up at either the ceiling or your cellmate's bunk, and waited for the shout and the sudden flick of "Lights out!" In the empty darkness, you slowly drifted off to sleep, trying to ignore the occasional scream from across the block, or the quickened breaths and bit-back moans from your cellmate, unobtrusively attempting to get herself off.

Another night in Chowchilla and I closed my eyes, ignoring the soft rhythmic squeaks of the bunk springs as my cellmate humped her pillow, and promptly crashed into unconsciousness, asleep before Martiza came. And unlike every other night since I woke up from that awful eternal dream-state, I dreamed.

I was walking through the desert in the moonlight, the world silver-white and alien, flat, empty and barren, save that fat full moon, looming in the sky. I heard a howl, flat and vicious, like the howl of a tortured animal, or a tortured man, or a tortured man/animal, could it be the sound of a werewolf in the distance?

And then closer, oh so closer, gasps of pained breath, whispering in my ear. I whirl around, my body tensing and he's there, the blood still fresh on his lips, staining his crisp Arrow shirt and the stake deep in his chest. He's dead he's dead he's dead but he's risen again, just to look at me. His hands reach out, he touches me with the cold angry touch of the dead and coughs, swears, and strokes my lips. "You killed me," he growled. "I'm dead and gone." He leans in, his blue lips next to my ear, and I can feel how cold they are, oh God, they're so cold and there's no breath at all. "The fish are nibbling at my toes. Can you feel them?"

I'm in water, up to my waist and sweet Jesus, I can. They swim between my legs, swimming around the corpse, licking off the blood on my hands. And when I look down at my hands, the blood is black and rotting, the stench rising off of it, and he's gone. I'm alone in the water, washing my hands over and over and over, trying to get clean. I walk through the water, as I wash, the water getting deeper and deeper, getting my t-shirt soaked. The water's cold, my nipples hardening as the water hits them, my breath catching as the cold starts to seep in, shivering. My lips must be blue now, I look like I'm dead, I look like Allen, and the blood still isn't off my fucking hands. "Out out damn spot," a voice shrieks and I realize it's me.

The water's up to my neck, jesus, I'm going to drown, and when it strokes my cheek like Allen's caress, I slide under, floating in the cold water, my face freezing into form and shape, perfectly beautiful, perfectly still, never revealing emotion or life. I'm a doll, I'm a robot, floating in the cold cold water.

Then the water recedes, leaving me on a cold stone floor, dripping and coughing, shivering against the cold. I'm in a dungeon, at least it looks like a dungeon, and instead of a stone floor, I'm on a stone slab, I'm tied down, leather straps on my wrists and ankles, and naked, christ, when did I get naked? My stomach is on the cold stone slab and I'm scared. Oh my God, I'm scared. I don't know what the hell is going to happen and for once, I'm scared.

I hear footsteps on the stone, thick heavy boots, and I hear a voice. "Faith, Faith, Faith," she says. It's my mother. Mom stares at me with her heavy bloodshot junkie eyes, and her look is of contempt. She hates me, she's always hated me. "You were supposed to be good, Faith. You were supposed to behave." She has a whip in her hand, it's thick and mean and I know it's for me. It's all for me.

But it's not Mom standing up in front of me, it's Buffy. "You need to be punished," Buffy says, her voice angry.

"You're a bad girl, Faith," Mom says, appearing in Buffy's place. The whip goes up, her hand sure, and it slams against my skin.

Oh fuck, it hurts, it hurts, and I'm already whimpering, but I won't cry, I won't cry, not in front of her. I'm not crying, I'm not crying, I'm not. I'm not crying as I sting and tear and bleed all over; hot blood on cool stone; and she — or is it they? — keeps on hitting me, tearing me apart.

Every time the whip goes up, it's my mother, and every time it slaps my skin, it's Buffy. Righteous fury and drunken anger beating on my skin.

And I deserve every fucking bit of it.

I know I've been bad, I know I'm gone wrong, I've fucked up, B, I've fucked up, Mom. They told me to be good, to do my job and I fucked it all up, I turned into a bad girl, and I'm sorry, I'm sorry, sweet Jesus, I'm sorry, I'll do whatever you want, just...please....stop.

It stops, oh God, it stops, and I'm snot-covered and sobbing as I look up in gratitude, willing to do whatever they want of me — I'm reborn, I'm saved.

But they didn't stop because they wanted to. Buffy's face (Mom's face) is twisted in anger, glaring at the shimmering figure in front of her, holding her arms above me, preventing her from hitting me.

Mary, Mother of God, Mater Dolorosa, stands before me, glowing white robes flowing from her, and her face — Cordelia's face — looking down at me, those wise dark eyes peering at me. She's come to save me, come to save me from my troubles, come to save me from myself, and I close my eyes tightly, weeping in delight and salvation.

"She wants you to join her..." Cordelia's voice echoes in the now silent room. I look up at the woman, and she's not my mother anymore, she's not Buffy either, she's just a girl smaller than me, dark-skinned and angry, mud streaked across her face in warpaint. I stare at this girl, and I know who she is. She is me and I am her and we are the same, despite the years of civilization between us — the lone woman warrior, the solitary creature, The Slayer.

The chains are off of my body and I'm clothed again, no welts or blood or scars, just soft denim and cotton against my skin. I stand, my stance mirroring the other girl, both of us primed for battle as Our Lady Cordelia stands between.

"I...I can't stay here long..." Cordelia whispers, and suddenly, I can see her — the real Cordelia — strapped to a hospital bed and shrieking as another doctor slides another needle into her. "The...the sedatives are wearing off...." says this version of Cordelia, rendered holy by her drawn-out martyrdom. She straightens, her halo following, and looks directly at me with those wise-beyond-years eyes. "Buffy and the others did...something...and they broke the rules...all of them joining together to fight...but the Slayer must be alone..." She reaches out with a pale hand and strokes my cheek. "She wants you...she wants you to do what Buffy refuses to do...she wants you to be hers..."

The warmth and softness of her hand makes me cry out in need — it's been so long since I was touched and it's been so long since I was loved and the urge to fall into this goddess's arms is rising, oh sweet Cordelia, oh sweet mother, forgive me of my trespasses — but the touch reminds me of who I am, and what I've done, and, ashamed, I look away.

My eyes catch the Slayer's, her coal-black beady eyes shining under mud, and I slowly shake my head. "I'm not yours..." I say softly, apologetically, wistfully. I want to be hers. I want to have a goal in my life, a plan, a desire, instead of curled up on a prison bunk for five to twelve. But I can't, and I won't, and I did the crime, I'll do the time, and I lean over and kiss her — mud and blood and death staining my lips, iron under my tongue. "I have to find my own way now..." I whisper to her.

She nods, and disappears in a slow fog of aged glory. Sweet Cordelia, my goddess, the good daughter, turns back to me, and slowly touches my cheek again.

I move towards her, to hold her as my own, to trap her and keep her and love her — oh God, how I want to love her — but as my arms wrap around her shimmering body...

I wake up.

This Angel/Buffy the Vampire Slayer story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at