Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Willow Files, Vol. 1 -- An Excerpt

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The Willow Files, Vol. 1

(An Excerpt)

The Willow Files, Vol. 1



      Sometimes it so isn't easy to remember that I'm supposed to be me.

      Things have always been... weird in Sunnydale, and at least now that Buffy's here I can find some logic behind the weirdness. Well, if you can call it logic to discover that your town hides the entrance to Hell and is a haven for vampires and... all kinds of other monsters. Every now and then I wake up wondering if I've gone crazy and I just don't know it-- maybe this is just an insane story playing inside my head. You know, the first time I saw Buffy at the water fountain with Cordelia, I kind of thought she was just another one of Cordy's followers. Instead, she turns out to be The Slayer, like the one person in the world who can save Sunnydale and everyone in it from total doom. Which makes her far cooler than Cordelia or any homecoming queen will ever be. And the best part? It's me, Willow Rosenberg... the school's biggest bookworm and the invisible girl next door, who's somehow ended up with a superhero for a best friend!

      I mean, who would've guessed that Rupert Giles would turn out to be anything more than a cool librarian-- how rare is that to begin with? There he is, this old guy with a British accent... and a bizarre collection of antique books about strange monsters. I still thought he was just the librarian-- like I thought Buffy was just the new girl from Los Angeles.

      Oh... and I thought we'd all live forever.

      I don't tell anyone, but I spend a lot of time thinking about Jesse and... well... wondering how afraid he was when the vampires took him underground. I guess I'm lucky I didn't have to, you know, see him after he was changed? I know Buffy tried her best to save him, even though it was her first day at school and everything. I could tell she was as surprised to find out about Sunnydale as Xander and I were. Poor Xander-- I get to remember Jesse as the same goofy guy he always was. Thank goodness I didn't run into him at the Bronze the night of the Harvest! Still, while it's a... challenge to get used to some of the stuff, I think I've handled the truth about the Hellmouth well-- and it beats the daily dull-o-rama that was my life before Buffy.

      But... well, sometimes that's the problem.

      Don't get me wrong. I mean, Buffy is my best girlfriend and Xander is my best boyfriend. Well, not boyfriend boyfriend-- we're not dating or anything. I don't think Xander would even notice me unless I looked like the Barbie doll he stole from me when I was five. But in Life Before Buffy... at least I felt I had a chance with Xander. You know, that maybe someday he'd stop fooling around long enough to realize that, duh, I'm actually an air-breathing human girl instead of Pal Willow? Now... shoot. All he thinks, breathes and speaks: Buffy. I'm just the one he and everyone else can run to... when they have to write an English paper or cram for a biology test.

      But that's okay-- I mean, I don't mind it. I guess. That's a part of who I am, too. Willow Rosenberg, red-haired A+ student, okay sense of humor (I try, anyway). The Net Girl, okay, kind of a bookworm but with a taste for cool clothes from the sixties. Caffeine-free. That's not so bad, is it? I mean, it's just part of life when the boy you like has a thing for your best friend. Happens all the time on television... why should it be any different for me?

      Because this is Sunnydale, darn it-- everything is different here. Buffy has her own calling-- The Slayer-- and Xander is just... Xander. Mr. Perpetually Goofy with a comeback for nearly every sentence on the face of the earth-- he can even hold his own with Cordelia Chase. Well, most of the time. Speaking of which, Cordelia has her own following-- those hang-on-her-every-word Cordettes that trail after her like puppies slobbering after Biscuit Girl. I should have something, too, don't you think? I mean, besides good grades and a computer and lots of books. Which I love and would never give up for anything in the whole world.

      See, this is high school, doggone it. All the other girls have boyfriends... or at least guys like Xander tagging after them and who would be boyfriendly if they could just find the right how-to manual. Some of them have been going steady with the same person since seventh or eighth grade-- or earlier! And here's me, still so stuck on Xander after all these years. I mean, why can't I get him to realize that I wasn't really that angry at him for taking that stupid doll when we were in kindergarten?

      You know what would be so awesome? If I found a boyfriend of my own-- a "significant other" who wasn't Xander Harris. Not that I'd be trying to make Xander jealous... but it sure would show him a thing or two, wouldn't it?

      Maybe the boyfriend problem is just that: a problem that needs to be solved. And darn it-- I'm good with schoolwork and math and, well, problem solving. This whole one-on-one, boy-meets-girl thing-- it's like... an equation. Yeah, but just a little more complicated. If I put a little effort into it, I could figure it out just fine. Sure I could-- it's not really so hard. Is it?

      One plus one equals two.

      Girl meets boy.

      Boy meets girl.

      And... voila.

      Problem solved.

                              / Press Enter To Save File /



Italy: The Middle Ages

      The walls were made of stone and rough-hewn wooden planks, unadorned and damp, heavy with the smell of the night and the men in the room. The scattered candles and glow of the flames in the fireplace did little to break the darkness. When a brown-haired young man stepped forward and took his place in front of his three companions, all four raised their faces reverently toward the creature seated on the over-sized wooden chair a few feet away. Hushed and smiling, his face filled with youthful innocence, the first of the young men dropped slowly to his knees and clasped his hands, his gaze never wavering.

      On the chair, Moloch the Corruptor smiled upon his worshiper and reached out. "Carlo, my dear one..." Moloch's enormous charred-black fingers were twisted and long, each ending in a claw that tapered to a knife-sharp point. As gently as a mother stroking her child, Moloch nodded his great, horned head as he rested his hand upon the young man's hair. At his touch, the boy's trusting smile widened to one of rapture.

      "Do you love me?" Moloch asked. His eyes gleamed redly in the firelight, like rubies amid the creases of his leathery face. "I will give you everything. All I want is your love."

      The young man's eyes were still alight with devotion as Moloch's grip tightened. Then the demon's wrist twisted, snapping his disciple's neck.


      In a monastery a few miles away, a dozen monks gathered. Young and old, but the length of one's life mattered little in this most secret of rooms deep within the holy building. Here, it was belief that set them apart from the others of their order, and age gave only the knowledge of what must be done and the responsibility to see it through.

      Brother Thelonius, his own face lined with years and worry beneath the fringe of his thinning hair, cradled a heavy book with an ornate cover in his arms as he moved to the center of the room. "It is Moloch," he told the rest of his brethren. "The Corruptor. He walks again. More and more of our people have fallen under his mesmerizing power."

      Faces knotted in fear, the others stared at him. Still, he saw determination in their expressions.

      "We must form the circle," Brother Thelonius instructed. "Now-- there is still time to bind him!"

      The monks obeyed without question, moving instinctively until Thelonius became the center of their group, his thin but strong form like the spoke of a mystical wheel. His fingers stroked the hideous engraving on the book's cover once, then he opened it. The light of the room's lamps and fire shone golden on the utterly blank pages, and the assembled monks began to chant in Latin.

      On the hearth, the fire leapt and danced as a sudden chilly wind swept along the chamber floor. In the room's far corners, the candles barely held their small flames as the monks' chanting swelled and filled the air.

      "By the power of the Circle of Kayless, I command you, demon-- come!" Brother Thelonius paused for a beat, then smiled fiercely as he realized victory would, indeed, be theirs.

      "I command you," he bellowed. "COME!"


      Smiling with contentment, Moloch opened his fingers and let his young victim's body drop to the stone floor. His fire-filled eyes sought those of the next young man's, but before Moloch could beckon him forward, a sound filled the room, heating up the dank drafts surrounding him.

      "No," he hissed, and started to rise as his remaining three worshipers looked around in confusion. "No!" He heard the words then, faint at first but finally clear enough to be understood--

      "I command you... COME!"

      --and Moloch the Corruptor began to scream and claw at the air around him. As his followers cowered in mortal terror, his massive and once-terrifying figure dissolved into bits of golden light and simply...

      Swirled away.


      Despite the wind screaming through the room, Brother Thelonius felt the book vibrate within his grasp. When he looked down, he saw heavy, dark writing splash across the once-pristine pages, true evidence of their triumph. As the monks' chanting ended, he closed the heavy cover of the book with a final thud.

      Within the hour, Thelonius and the others had built a crate to hold the volume, then chosen a hiding place for it within the darkest, deepest vault of the monastery. As he sealed the crate and his brethren looked on, his weathered face seemed even more lined, marked by weariness and ongoing fear.

      "Pray," he told them all solemnly, "that this accursed book shall never again be read, lest the demon Moloch be loosed upon the world."

      And with the last of his strength, Brother Thelonius lifted in place the weighty top of the crate and firmly sealed it.

* * *

Published by Pocket Books -- December, 1999
ISBN 0-671-03918-0
Now out of print, but a loose leaf version
is available on Amazon.com.

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All text copyright © 1999-2004 by Yvonne Navarro and Pocket Books. Don't be naughty-- no reprinting or use in any form whatsoever without prior written permission of the starving author. We mean it. We know lots of lawyers. And we ain't afraid to use them.