Fear, Itself

(October 8, 1999)

Written by: David Fury

Teaser

INT. XANDER'S BASEMENT - NIGHT

We see Xander sticking a knife directly at camera. Pull back through the eye-hole of a pumpkin to watch from inside the pumpkin face as Xander carves at it, framed in the pumpkin's sorry face.

XANDER
I dunno, I was going for ferocious scary,
but it's coming out more dryly sardonic.

CUT OUT to Xander, WILLOW and OZ, sitting on a blanket spread across the floor, carving pumpkins. We immediately realize our view has been through the "eyes" of Xander's lamely sculpted JACK-O'-LANTERN, which the three scrutinize.

WILLOW
It does appear to be mocking
you with its eye-holes.

OZ
Yet its nose-hole seems sad and
full of self-loathing.

XANDER
What do you think, Buff?

ON BUFFY, pensive, lying on her side. Her hand is feeling around in the bowl of PUMPKIN PULP.

BUFFY
Just thinking about the life of
a pumpkin. Grow up in the sun,
happily entwined with others…
Then somebody comes along,
cuts you open and rips your guts out.

She pulls out a handful. The others warily share a look.

XANDER
O-kay. And on that happy note…
Got a treat for tomorrow night's
second annual Halloween screening, people:
(grabs video box)
Prepare to have your spines tingled
and your gooses bumped by the terrifying…
(reading box spine)
"Fantasia?!"

OZ
You know, maybe it's 'cause
of all the horrific things we've
seen, but hippos wearing tutus just don't
unnerve me like they used to.

XANDER
Phantasm! This was supposed
to be Phantasm. Stupid video store.

WILLOW
But anyway I thought we were
doing the Alpha Delt thing.

XANDER
What thing?

BUFFY
The scary house? It sounds a little lame.

OZ
It actually borders on fun. You have
to go through the whole scary house
maze to get to the party and it's usually
worth getting to. Those guys go all out.

BUFFY
As witnessed last Friday.

WILLOW
Yeah…

XANDER
Yeah? What? There's a party?

WILLOW
Didn't we tell you?

XANDER
(defensive)
It's cool. You guys have a little
college thing. Hey, fine by me.
I got better things to do than tag
along to some fraternity-

WILLOW
You can come.

XANDER
'kay.
(qualifying)
But only because I lied about having
better things to do.

ON BUFFY, pensive.

OZ (O.S.)
A blast will be had by all.

Buffy gets up.

BUFFY
I'm gonna get going.

XANDER
Now? The night's…
(checks his watch)
Okay, a little mature, but still…

BUFFY
I'm sleepy. But you guys have fun.

WILLOW
You want me to come with?

BUFFY
(shaking her head)
I'm cool.

She exits. The others share a concerned look.

XANDER
Sad Buffy.

WILLOW
She didn't even touch her pumpkin.
(eyeing it, disturbed)
It's a freak with no face.

OZ
Our girl's still suffering from
a little post-Parker depression.

XANDER
Bailing on the Buff. Does anyone
else wanna smack that guy?

A show of hands.

EXT. SUNNYDALE STREET - NIGHT

Buffy walks casually along the quiet suburban street, lost in thought. A gentle WIND blows, rustling the shrubbery, allowing just the right touch of schmuck bait.

TWIG SNAPS and Buffy raises her eyes on alert. She scans her surroundings, listening. From out of the bushes springs--

A DEMON. Buffy steps back, startled, and PALMS HIM HARD in the face. He staggers back.

DEMON
Ow! Geez, that hurts!

The demon reaches up and RIPS OFF his face. It's a rubber mask and underneath a young TEENAGE BOY, cupping his nose.

TEENAGE BOY
What the hell is wrong with you?

Before Buffy can explain or apologize, he runs off.

BUFFY
(under her breath)
That's what I'd like to know.

BLACK OUT.

END OF TEASER
Act One

INT. ROCKET CAFÉ/HALLWAY - DAY

PANNING ACROSS the mid-morning bustle of students, we find Buffy and Willow, on line, loading up on edibles.

WILLOW
I've got the basics down: levitation,
charms, glamours… I just feel like
I've plateaued, wicca-wise.

BUFFY
What's the next level?

WILLOW
Transmutation, conjuring
Bringing forth something
from nothing… It gets you
pretty close to the primal
forces. A little scary…

BUFFY
Nobody's pushing, Will.
If it's too much, don't do it.

WILLOW
"Don't do it?" What kind
of encouragement is that?

BUFFY
This an "encourage me" talk?
I thought it was a "share my pain."

Oz joins them, overhearing.

WILLOW
I don't know. Then again,
what's college for if not
experimenting? Maybe
I can handle it. I'll know
when I've reached my limit.

OZ
Wine coolers?

BUFFY
Magic.

OZ
Oh. Didn't encourage her, did you?

WILLOW
Where's supportive boyfriend guy?

OZ
Picking up your dry-cleaning.
But he told me to tell you he's
afraid you're going to get hurt.

WILLOW
Okay, Brutus.
(beat)
Brutus. Caesar, betrayal,
trusted friend, backstabby…

OZ
No, I'm with you on the reference,
but I'm not gonna lie about the fact
that I worry. I know what it's like to
have power you can't control. Every
time I start to wolf out I touch something
deep dark… it's not fun. But whatever
you decide, you know I'll back your play.

There is a hugly moment between them. Buffy smiles.

BUFFY
See? Concerned boy is sweet boy.

WILLOW
I know. I kinda like him worrying anyway…

As they talk, Buffy hears LAUGHTER. She turns to see

PARKER, entering the dining hall with a few friends, having a good time. Nothing weighing heavy on that conscience.

BUFFY, anxious and uncomfortable, turns to Willow and Oz.

BUFFY
You know, I'm… I forgot to… be hungry…

The hell with it. She abruptly bails, abandoning her tray.

Willow looks at Oz, then follows Buffy outside the café.

WILLOW
Buffy, don't let jerky Parker chase you away…

BUFFY
He didn't. Just don't want to deal right now. Taking
a little holiday from dealing, happily vacationing
in the land of not coping.

WILLOW
Know what? You're gonna feel better after the
party tonight. Maybe you'll even meet someone.

BUFFY
Willow, I don't want to meet someone.
I've reached my quota on someones.
Anyway, I think I should probably patrol.

WILLOW
Tonight? But, it's Halloween.

BUFFY
I'll double-check with Giles, but I'm pretty
sure he'll want me on active Slayer duty.
He doesn't really care about the whole
"Halloween" thing.

EXT./INT. GILES' APARTMENT - DAY

Buffy's on the front porch as the door opens revealing

GILES, holding a bowl of candy, and wearing a huge SOMBRERO.

GILES
Happy Hal-lo, Buffy.

BUFFY
(mortified)
Oh. My. God.

An awkward beat.

GILES
It's a sombrero.

BUFFY
And it's on your head.

GILES
It seemed festive. Come in.

She enters and discovers some cheap Halloween decorations in his foyer. She looks at him and he holds out the bowl.

GILES
Candy?

BUFFY
Giles, what is going on here?
You hate Halloween.

GILES
I've never said any such thing.
As my watcher duties took
precedence, I simply hadn't
taken the time to embrace its
inherent charms. Until now. Look!

He turns on his shaking Frankenstein doll. The doll immediately starts to DANCE as TINNY MUSIC ("Monster Mash") emanates from it.

GILES
It's alive!

Buffy stares.

GILES
Heh heh… see how he… shakes…
(turns it off)
Right, is there something you wanted?

BUFFY
Thinking I should patrol tonight.
Maybe stake out the cemetery,
or some of the more inviting-
(re: his hat)
Could you please take that off?

Giles complies.

GILES
I see. Is there some specific
danger you're sensing?

BUFFY
No. But then we were caught
off guard when your pal Ethan
turned everyone into their costumes.

GILES
True. But what happened then
was anomalous. Creatures of the
night shy away from Halloween.
They find it all much too crass.

BUFFY
(re: decorations)
Hard to believe.

GILES
I promise you, there's little chance
of any supernatural activity tonight.

Buffy looks disappointed.

EXT. ALPHA DELT FRAT HOUSE - DAY

To establish.

INT. FRAT HOUSE - FRONT HALL - DAY

Boys are decorating. Two move a keg through the hall. Josh is setting up the skeleton. A frat brother, EDWARD, comes up bearing spiders in plastic bags and an old book.

EDWARD
I come bearing spiders.

JOSH
The sound system's not gonna
cut it. It's nothing but lame.

EDWARD
You want me to call Oz?
He can probably hook us up.

JOSH
Do it. If we cannot scare the
young women, they will not fall
into our arms. We'll have womanless
arms. Halloween is not about thrills
and chills and funny costumes. It's
about getting laid.

EDWARD
Is there any holiday that's not about getting laid?

JOSH
(without hesitation)
Arbor day. Call Oz.

EDWARD
Done. And, oh - hey. You wanted a
symbol to paint upstairs? Something mystical?
(opens book to large depiction of the Symbol of Gachnar)
Check this out.

INT. XANDER'S BASEMENT - DAY

CLOSE ON KEYS getting snatched up. PULL OUT to find Xander throwing on a jacket, pocketing his keys. He turns to the stairs and comes face to face with

ANYA, standing over him. Xander gasps with surprise.

XANDER
(catching his breath)
Anya. You really gotta get this
knocking thing down. How did you-?

ANYA
Your Uncle Roary let me in. Does he
always smell like peppermint?

XANDER
The man likes his schnapps.
What are you doing here?

ANYA
You haven't called. Not once.

XANDER
You said you were over me.

ANYA
And you just accepted that? I only
said what I thought you wanted to hear.

XANDER
Well, that's the funny thing about me:
I tend to hear the actual words people
say and accept them at face value.

ANYA
That's stupid.

XANDER
I accept that.
(with some affection)
I can't say seeing you falls into
the realm of a bad thing.

ANYA
(smiling)
Really?
(off his nod)
I thought we could go out tonight for our anniversary.

XANDER
Anniversary.

ANYA
It's been exactly one week
since we copulated.
(her eyes narrow)
Did you forget?

XANDER
No! Of course not. It's just
that I already have plans
with Buffy, Willow and Oz.
It's Halloween, you know.

ANYA
I don't understand.

XANDER
Well, every October 31st, we mortals
dress up in masks and-

ANYA
No, I understand that inane ritual. It's those people -
you continue to associate with them though you
share little in common.

XANDER
(becoming agitated)
What are you talking about?

ANYA
I mean, they go to college, you don't.
They no longer live at home, you do…

XANDER
(defensive)
Hey, those things… The bonds of true
friendship transcend any…
(trailing off)
Could we just change the subject?

ANYA
Okay, okay. Don't get upset with me.
I just wondered.

Xander softens.

XANDER
If you want, you can come with
me tonight to this party. You could
observe healthy human relationships
and catch a rare glimpse of the ever
elusive frat guy throwing up on himself.

ANYA
You mean, like, a date? Is that what
this is? Are we dating?

XANDER
There are definitely date-like qualities at work here.

She smiles, pleased. He escorts her up the stairs.

XANDER
You'll need a costume.

ANYA
A costume?

XANDER
Dress up. You know, something scary.

ANYA
Scary. Scary how?

XANDER
Anya, you - ex-demon - terrorized mankind for
centuries. I'm sure you'll come up with something.

INT. LECTURE HALL/HALLWAY - DAY

Post-class. RILEY confers with PROF WALSH at the podium. As a few students straggle out, Buffy enters, tentatively.

BUFFY
Excuse me, Professor Walsh…

Riley and Prof Walsh look over.

BUFFY
I came to pick up today's assignment.
I wasn't able to get to class because
of some personal-

PROF WALSH
Right.
(looks her over)
I count four limbs, a head, no visible
scarring so I assume your personal issue
was not a life threatening accident of any
kind and am therefore uninterested. You got
problems, solve them on your own time.

Prof Walsh gathers some papers, and moves to the exit.

PROF WALSH
Miss another class and you're out.

She's gone.

BUFFY stops holding her breath.

RILEY
She means it, you know.

BUFFY
Yeah, I got the impression she wasn't
saying it to make me laugh.

RILEY
You've got to be aware your work's
taken a little downturn lately. I can't
remember the last time I saw your hand up.

BUFFY
(joking weakly)
Does stretching count?

He smiles slightly.

RILEY
Things get pretty intense freshman year,
as I dimly recall. Too much fun? Or not enough.

BUFFY
Both, actually.

RILEY
Well, you just gotta keep your priorities.
Professor Walsh is worth your time.

BUFFY
I'll do this stuff tonight.

RILEY
It's Halloween. You're not gonna dress up and party?

BUFFY
I just have a lot of -

RILEY
Look, I may be out of line here; it's not my business,
but you seem like the kind of person who makes things
hard on themselves. Halloween ain't a night for responsibility.
It's when the ghosts and goblins come out.

BUFFY
That's actually a misnomer -

RILEY
Well, I didn't mean real ones. But there's
some good scary fun to be had on campus tonight.

BUFFY
What are you doing?

RILEY
I'm gonna sit here and grade papers.

BUFFY
Scary.

RILEY
Very.

BUFFY
Well, thanks for the pep talk… coach.

RILEY
Don't make fun. I worked long
and hard to get this pompous.

BUFFY
No. I mean it.

RILEY
Welcome.

She goes. He sits behind the desk, looks out at the door a moment, then gets to work.

INT. FRAT HOUSE - ATTIC "GOAT ROOM" - DAY

SHOOTING DOWN on a dark floor, then PULL UP to reveal

An occult-ish SYMBOL, freshly painted on the wooden slatted floor, Chaz putting the finishing touches on it with a small brush; the occult book next to him, lying open.

ON OZ and XANDER as they enter, carrying a large AMP.

CHAZ
Watch where you're walking, guys.
Paint's still wet in spots.

Oz and Xander carefully step over the symbol and cross past

JOSH unwrapping plastic spiders on the floor.

JOSH
Thanks for the loan, man. Our sound system sucks.

OZ
Mi Casio es su Casio.

They put down the amp. As Oz goes to work hooking up wires, Xander's attention is drawn to the icon.

XANDER
Interesting little design. What's it mean?

CHAZ
No clue. Got it from that book.
(indicates a tome nearby)
Lotta cool stuff in there about -

XANDER
(noticing)
Oo, grapes!

Distracted, he goes to the bowl of grapes and picks one up.

XANDER
Wow. Peeled. You guys know
how to spoil your guests.

JOSH
Eyeballs, man. You blindfold chicks,
have 'em put their hands in the bowl,
then tell 'em it's eyeballs. They love that.

XANDER
And here I was wasting time buying 'em flowers
and complimenting them on their shoes.
(looking around)
So you go through the whole house of
horrors downstairs and end up here.
Sweet. You fratly guys have a nice set up.

JOSH
Hey, mighty mighty Alpha Delts.
You should think about pledging.

Before Xander can answer…

OZ
Xander's a civilian.

JOSH
(pitying)
Ohh. Townie, huh? Didn't know.
He looked so normal.
(funnin')
Sure we should let him come to the party, Oz?

Xander's irritation has mounted.

XANDER
Hey, standing right here!

Josh laughs. Xander forces a bitter chuckle. Oz smiles, tries the sound system. We hear ambient spooky noises: THUNDER, GHOSTLY MOANS, SCREAMS, etc.

JOSH
(appreciatively)
Crankin'.

Oz cocks his head. Xander notices.

XANDER
Sensing a disturbance in the Force, Master?

OZ
Left speaker's sputtering a little.

He takes out a pocket knife, unfolds it and moves behind the offending piece of equipment.

XANDER
And you think stabbing it is the proper response.

OZ
I'm trimming the wire. There
might be a short-
(sharply)
Ah!

He sticks the side of his hand in his mouth.

XANDER
Oz?

OZ
Cut myself. It's okay.

CLOSE ON his smarting hand as he waves it, in pain.

SLO-MO as droplets of his blood are flung through the air, splashing down upon the painted floor. After a moment, BLUE SPARKS flare up at the points of the impact…

SHOOTING DOWN again on the symbol, as this BLUISH energy radiates throughout the symbol like an electrical charge. This time, as we PULL BACK, the CAMERA TURNS, skewing the image, as the spooky sound effects CD plays on.

CHAZ
Oz, you bleed to death,
I got dibs on your equipment.

PAN DOWN to the fallen TARANTULA, lying on the edge of the symbol. Unseen by anyone, a BLUE SPARK touches it. A beat. The spider MORPHS into a real tarantula and skitters away.

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT ONE
Act Two

INT. BUFFY'S DINING ROOM - DUSK (PREVIOUSLY SCENE A)

EXTREME CLOSE-UP - BLOOD-RED. WIDEN to see it's red felt being pushed through a sewing machine as a NEEDLE pistons through it.

CUT OUT to find JOYCE sitting at the sewing machine. Buffy sits at the dining room table, wearing a simple off-white peasant dress.

BUFFY
Thanks again for doing this at the last minute.

JOYCE
I'm just glad I could find it.

She holds up a red, hooded cape.

JOYCE
Try it now. I let down the hem
and loosened it a little around the neck.

Buffy puts it on.

BUFFY
Better.

Joyce just looks at her, smiling wistfully. Buff notices.

BUFFY
Somebody's getting nostalgic face.

JOYCE
I'm sorry. You look just like that
little girl who wore this, what is it,
five, six years ago.

BUFFY
When Little Red Riding Hood
was the cutting edge in costumes.

JOYCE
Your father used to love taking you out.

BUFFY
Oh, he was such a pain! Twelve years old
and I can't go trick-or-treating by myself.

They're both laughing now.

JOYCE
He wanted to keep you safe.

BUFFY
Nuh-uh, he wanted the candy.
I was only the beard.

JOYCE
Not true. The candy was for me.
Your father loved spending time with you.

Buffy sobers a bit.

BUFFY
Not enough, I guess.

The lightness of the shared moment melts away as Joyce looks at her; Buffy suddenly self-conscious.

JOYCE
Buffy…

BUFFY
Boy, that just paved over
Memory Lane, didn't it?

JOYCE
You know the divorce had
nothing to do with you.

Buffy sits.

BUFFY
I don't know… I just kinda feel like
there's a pattern here. Open your heart
to someone and he… he bails on you.
Maybe it would be easier to just not let
anyone in anymore.

Joyce joins her.

JOYCE
I thought it would be easier.
(off her look)
You must have noticed I'm not
the social butterfly I was when
I was with your father. I don't
think I made one friend the year
we moved to Sunnydale.

BUFFY
Why was that?

JOYCE
Fear. I didn't believe I could trust
anyone again. It's taken time and
a lot of effort, but I've got a nice
circle of friends now. Don't get me
wrong, I'm still a little gun shy.
(an aside)
Certainly didn't help that my last
boyfriend turned out to be a homicidal robot.

This makes Buffy smile. Joyce takes her hand and gives it a reassuring squeeze.

JOYCE
But I'll always be here for you.
And you have Mr. Giles. And
your friends. You'll see. There's
nothing to be afraid of.

PUSH IN on Buffy, not entirely convinced.

EXT. CAMPUS GROUNDS - NIGHT

PANNING across the lighted paths, amide the happy SQUEALS and HOWLS of college kids having fun, we see

POCKETS OF HALLOWEEN REVELERS on their way to various parties and plans. Some of the trees have t.p. in them.

The PAN comes to rest on Buffy and Willow's dorm.

INT. BUFFY AND WILLOW'S DORM ROOM - NIGHT

Willow is on the phone, finishing putting on her costume.

WILLOW
No, I'll meet you at your place…
Yeah, Buffy said she was coming
but I haven't seen her. We have to
make sure she has fun. We have to
force fun upon her… yeah, and if
Parker shows up, we'll just, you know,
axe murder him! That's halloweeny.
'Kay. See you in a bit.

She hangs up, puts her hood up and enters into the

INT. BUFFY AND WILLOW'S DORM HALL - NIGHT

Closing the door as a male HALLMATE in drag approaches.

HALLMATE
Willow! You gotta stop by the room.

WILLOW
Oh, the lord told me to lead the French
army in battle or I would…I love your
outfit though.

She walks down the hall, where everyone is going from room to room, excited, costumed. She passes a couple in a typical public college fight. He's a giant lobster, she's a big present.

PRESENT GIRL
(crying)
I know you were flirting with her!

LOBSTER BOY
Do we have to do this every time?
I love you, you know that…

Willow exits the hall.

EXT. FRAT HOUSE - NIGHT - ESTABLISHING

The house is decked out in various holiday trappings. Candles burn along the walkway and in some windows. All the while, the pre-recorded SPOOKY NOISES emanate from within, as does the faint sound of some eerie ALTERNATIVE ROCK SONG…

INT. FRAT HOUSE - GOAT ROOM - NIGHT

…which now plays louder in Party Central, which is in three-quarter swing. A STROBE LIGHT flashes. MOVING THROUGH the party-goers, JOSH escorts RACHEL, who wears a blindfold. She is moving from bowl (spaghetti, a cauliflower head) to bowl (grapes). They're both giddy.

JOSH
Okay, Rach. What's in the next one?

RACHEL
You guys are sick. This is so gross!!

JOSH
Here. Give me your hand.

He takes her hand and directs it to the bowl of peeled grapes.

JOSH
They're eyeballs, Rachel! Eyeballs! Ahhahaha!

They SHRIEK playfully as she lifts her blindfold and brings up a fistful. She looks at it for a beat and her smile melts.

RACHEL'S P.O.V. - A fistful of… EYEBALLS. REAL EYEBALLS.

ON RACHEL as her eyes go wide and she SCREAMS…

EXT.STREET - NIGHT

Blending into the SQUEALS of excited, young, Trick-or-treaters, making their way down the street. PANNING with them, we come to rest

ON BUFFY, in her full "Red-Riding Hood" attire and carrying a basket, waiting at a street corner.

XANDER (O.S.)
Hey, Red.

Xander, wearing a classic black tuxedo, joins her.

XANDER
(quite the wolf)
Whatchya got in that basket, little girl?

BUFFY
Weapons.

XANDER
Oh.

BUFFY
Just in case. Like the tux, Xander.

XANDER
(correcting her)
Bond. James Bond. Insurance, you know -
in case we all turn into our costumes again,
I'm going for cool secret agent guy.

BUFFY
Hate to break it to you, but you'll probably
end up cool head waiter guy.

XANDER
As long as I'm cool and I wield some kind of power.

Willow and Oz arrive. She's dressed as "Joan of Arc." Oz appears to be in his street clothes.

BUFFY
Will… Medieval Will.

XANDER
Hail, ye olde…varletty… thou.

WILLOW
I'm Joan of Arc. I figured we had a lot in common,
seeing as how I was almost burned at the stake. Plus
she had that close relationship with God.

XANDER
(to Oz)
And you are… ?

Oz places a sticky tag on his chest. A single word is written on it in black magic marker: "God."

XANDER
Of course.

They start walking up the street.

XANDER
Wish I'd thought of that before I put
my deposit down. I could've been God.

OZ
Blasphemer.

As they come to another corner, which goes off into a slightly wooded area, they almost collide with

TWO COMMANDOS, night-goggled and ski-masked. The two groups stare at each other for a moment.

BUFFY
Like your outfits. Very stealthy.

The commandos look at each other, then drip back into the shadows. As our gang continues on…

WILLOW
What were they supposed to be?

OZ
(shrugging)
NATO?

ON XANDER, walking with the others.

XANDER
Oh, yeah. I invited Anya to join us, but
she's having some trouble finding a scary
costume, so she's going to meet us there.

BUFFY
Perfect. Everybody's got a date
but third-wheel Buffy.

WILLOW
Buffy, you're not a third-wheel.

XANDER
Technically speaking, you're a fifth wheel.

Willow elbows him, then takes Buffy's arm.

WILLOW
We're gonna have the best time.

INT. FRAT HOUSE - GOAT ROOM - NIGHT

PANDEMONIUM. Music from the CD player inexplicably blares BACKWARDS. A STROBE LIGHT provides the only illumination. Over everything, we hear a booming VOICE coming from nowhere - and everywhere.

VOICE
REELEEASE MEEE!

FLASHES OF IMAGES:

-- People fleeing in terror. A few, including Josh and Chaz, make it out before the doors SLAM shut, trapping the rest.

-- A student lies dead in the corner, blood on her face.

-- Two sobbing COEDS, clinging to each other, cowering.

-- A FRAT GUY falls over a table, tipping it. Bowls of very real guts and brains fly off, spill everywhere. Now on the ground, he looks up as a SHADOW envelopes him and he SCREAMS.

-- the dead student's eyes snap open and she starts to giggle.

INT. FRAT HOUSE - HALL 1A - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

The strobe lights are going here as well for some reason.

Chaz runs, frantic - the camera CHASING him from behind, some ten feet or so off the ground.

INT. FRAT HOUSE - HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

Lights still strobing, a terrified Josh comes careening TOWARD CAMERA, throwing scared, startled, glances at the morbid Halloween dressings he passes, as if expecting them to attack. He rips the rasta wig and hat from his head.

JOSH
Help me!! Oh God, help m-

Suddenly, with a YELP, he STUMBLES out of frame.

INT. FRAT HOUSE - FRONT HALL - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

(Strobe here as well). Josh trips over his own feet, and stumbles to the bottom, BREAKING HIS NECK.

EXT. FRAT HOUSE - NIGHT

Buffy, Oz, Willow and Xander arrive at the front door.

OZ
Let the horrors begin…

As the others enter, Buffy glances down at her feet.

BUFFY'S P.O.V. - A novelty RUBBER WELCOME MAT. The mat features the image of a drooling ghoul and reads: "HELL COME."

BUFFY
Cute.

INT. FRAT HOUSE - FRONT HALL - NIGHT

They slowly make their way in. Except for the pre-recorded SPOOKY NOISES, it's quiet (as in no living soul). COBWEBS abound; as do ANIMAL BONE MOBILES. LIT CANDELABRAS cast long shadows across the walls and a fire burns in the FIREPLACE. There is no strobe, and no dead Josh.

XANDER
The joint's not jumpin'. Where is everybody?

Oz indicates a large CANVAS draped in front of the staircase. Attached is a sign: "STAIRS OUT! DETOUR" with an arrow pointing down a hallway.

OZ
Follow the signs.

They move to the right, entering:

INT. FRAT HOUSE - HALL #1 - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

They cross toward the hallway, taking in all the "spooky" props, including a creepy dummy's head. Buffy smiles at the hokiness.

BUFFY
Terrifying. If I were Abbott and Costello,
this would be fairly traumatic.

WILLOW
Fnyew! Cobweb.

She is caught in a cobweb, waves it off her.

WILLOW
That part was realistic.

OZ
Well, frat boys not obsessive with the cleaning.
That might not be decoration per se.

Out of the darkness…

THE SKELETON races toward them. Freaked, Xander staggers back just as it suddenly comes to a stop at the end of its track.

XANDER
I wasn't scared. I was in the spirit.

WILLOW
We'll all back you up on that story, Xander.
Even if they question us separately -

Everyone else notices the tarantula crawling on her shoulder before she does. Various reactions cause her to look and SCREAM and shoo it off her. It scuttles away. She spins and dances in full spaz attack, looking to see if there are more on her.

WILLOW
Is it gone? Are there more? Is it off?

OZ
It's gone.

BUFFY
You're clean.

WILLOW
Okay, that is NOT sanitary.

BUFFY
Why don't we get to the party part of the party.

WILLOW
Yeah.
(as they go)
Are you sure they're off me?

INT. FRAT HOUSE - HALL #2 - A BIT LATER (NIGHT)

They turn a corner into here. Oz looks puzzled.

OZ
I thought this led…

He can't remember exactly. The group keeps moving till Buffy stops. Kneels. Touches the carpet.

XANDER
What is it?

She looks at her hand.

BUFFY
Blood.
(sniffs it)
Real blood.

XANDER
Okay, actual creeps have been given.
Bravo frat boys -

BUFFY
(listening)
Shh. Do you hear that? Sounds like "squeaking."

XANDER
It's these rented shoes. Patent leather.
I asked the guy to break them in for me-

WILLOW
No. I hear it, too. Something else. Something like…

She slowly looks up. They all do. Hanging about three feet above their heads are a cluster of bats.

A moment of silence, and the bats DESCEND.

We hear HIGH-PITCHED SQUEAKS as the kids are set upon. Everyone swats at them, trying to beat them away. One flies into Buffy's hair, she pulls it off and throws it to the ground as the rest fly off. Oz looks at the downed bat, then picks it up.

WILLOW
Oz, don't. It might be-

OZ
Rubber. It's made of rubber.

They all share a look.

BUFFY
What the hell's going on?

XANDER
Look, maybe it's nothing. Maybe it's
just a neat trick. Something done with wires or-

Amidst the pre-recorded NOISES, the BOOMING VOICE bellows:

VOICE
REELEEEASE MEEE!

Everyone looks around, then at each other.

XANDER
Or it might be something else.

EXT. FRAT HOUSE - NIGHT

CLOSE ON big, pink, floppy feet, going up the walkway to the house. TRAVEL UP to discover

ANYA wearing a big, pink, floppy BUNNY SUIT. She arrives on the front porch and stops. She looks around, quizzically.

ANYA'S P.O.V. - the FRONT DOOR'S GONE. No doorway, no molding, just wall.

TILT DOWN to the "HELL COME" MAT, in front of solid wall.

ON ANYA. Not sure what to do, she pounds on the wall.

ANYA
Hey! Hello!

She moves around the side of the house, looking for some way in. She rounds the corner and hears… BANGING and YELLING. She steps back, looks up at the second floor and sees:

RACHEL, terrified, struggling to get the window open. She looks over her shoulder at some approaching evil and SCREAMS.

RACHEL
Help me! Somebody please help m-

Without warning, the window SHRINKS to nothing, swallowing up the screaming coed, leaving nothing but wall.

ON ANYA, stunned, and with only one burning concern.

ANYA
Xander.

She hurries off, with purpose.

INT. FRAT HOUSE - HALL #3/STAIRS/FRONT HALL - NIGHT

The kids come in through the opposite side they left from, stop to look.

REVERSE ANGLE - The staircase is gone. Only wall.

XANDER
Where's the stairs?

WILLOW
Where's the door?

BUFFY
This is the way we came in, right?
We just went in a circle.

The SPOOKY SOUND EFFECTS shut off to everyone's relief.

BUFFY
Thank the Lord.

ON OZ, standing on a chair by a speaker - its wires torn out.

OZ
You're welcome.

WILLOW
Hey, I have a neat idea.
Let's get out of here.

BUFFY
And you were so anxious for me to come.

WILLOW
I'm serious, Buffy. We don't know what
we're dealing with.

XANDER
(listening)
My turn, did anyone hear that?

BUFFY
Well, once I start dealing with it,
I'll get a good idea what it is I'm dealing…
(cocks an ear)
Do you hear something?

XANDER
Like I said.

They hear a faint HISSING. Buffy searches for its source.

XANDER
Sounds like a hissing.

BUFFY
It's like a "sss" noise.

XANDER
(a little annoyed)
Thought the word "hissing"
kinda covered that nicely.

Buffy comes to a door and opens it. Inside, sits…

CHAZ, cowering in a fetal position, rocking back and forth.

CHAZ
… I'm s-sorry, I d-didn't know…
didn't know, I'm s-so sorry…

OZ
Chaz. What's happening?

CHAZ
It…

BUFFY
What is it?

CHAZ
It's alive…

INT. FRAT HOUSE - HALL #1 - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

ANGLE: THE SKELETON

We dolly in at its head as the kids talk, then pan down to the knife in its hand.

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT TWO
Act Three

INT. FRAT HOUSE - FRONT HALL - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

Everyone's still huddled around the murmuring Chaz.

BUFFY
Chaz, what's alive? What happened here?

XANDER
He's in shock.

BUFFY
All right, we get him out of here.

She stands as she says it - and the skeleton is right behind her, knife raised. It STABS HER in the back.

BUFFY
AAHHGH!

WILLOW
Buffy!

She turns as it raises the knife again and slams the heel of her hand into its face. It staggers back. She kicks it viciously in the face and it falls in a heap -

-- landing as the same crappy plastic skeleton they encountered before.

Buffy pulls off her cape.

XANDER
Let me see.

He moves to her, but Oz gets there first, examines the cut in her back. (We mostly see a ripped dress with some blood.)

BUFFY
I think the cape got most of it.

OZ
Could need stitches.
We need a bandage or something.

BLOOD CURDLING SCREAMS. They look around, but they can't tell from which direction.

Chaz grabs the door and shuts himself back in the closet. They all turn at the slam.

OZ
Cowering in the closet is starting
to seem like a reasonable plan.

BUFFY
What closet?

They all look. There is just wall where the door was.

Buffy reaches down and opens her basket. Pulls out a crossbow.

BUFFY
I'm gonna find my way upstairs,
see if there's people there. You guys
find a way out of the house and use it.

WILLOW
You're telling us to run away?
And leave you behind?

PUSH IN on Buffy.

BUFFY
We need help. We need the only person
who can make sense of what's happening.

INT. GILES' APARTMENT - NIGHT

Giles sits dejectedly in a chair - the sombrero resting beside him, the bowl of candy in his lap. It's apparent he hasn't had a single trick-or-treater. One by one, he unwraps and eats little bars of chocolate.

Suddenly, KNOCKING at his door. Excitedly, Giles springs up, brushes the wrappings off himself and throws on his sombrero.

GILES
(mouth full)
Jush mo-munt… Comeng…

He swallows and opens the door.

GILES
Happy Ha-

Anya burst in.

ANYA
Xander's in trouble! You've got
to do something! Right now!

GILES
Anya?

ANYA
Are you listening? Xander's trapped!

GILES
Where are Buffy and the others?

ANYA
(casually)
Oh. They're trapped too.
(with import)
But we've got to save Xander.

GILES
Slow down. I need you to be more specific.

ANYA
We were supposed to meet at this house.
I get there, but there's no door where a
door should be. Then I see a girl in a
window. Then - pffft - she's gone.

GILES
She vanished from the window?

ANYA
Window vanished from the house.

GILES
(thinking, to himself)
Hmm. Reality and matter distortion…
Like a summoning spell's temporal flux.

ANYA
What?

GILES
Nevermind. Let me get my supplies.

He starts grabbing BOOKS, TALISMANS and the like. Anya eyes him, impatiently.

GILES
I shouldn't worry too much about Xander.
At least he's among friends.

INT. FRAT HOUSE - FRONT HALL - NIGHT

ON BUFFY and WILLOW, bickering, their voices overlapping. Xander and Oz stand by.

BUFFY
Will, I'm telling you-

WILLOW
Telling me? You're TELLING me?-

BUFFY
I can't do my job if I'm worrying
about each of your safety-

WILLOW
It's not your decision-

BUFFY
Gotta disagree with you there-

WILLOW
Of course, you do-

XANDER
Let's all take a breath. Buffy, maybe we-

WILLOW
(not hearing him)
Being the Slayer doesn't automatically
make you boss. You're as lost as the rest of us-

OZ
(to Willow)
So what are we talking about?

WILLOW
It's a simple incantation. A guiding spell.
For travelers when they become lost or disoriented.

BUFFY
And how's it work?

Willow hesitates, then…

WILLOW
It conjures an emissary from the
beyond that… lights the way.

BUFFY
Conjuring? Let's be honest, Will,
your basic spells are usually
about fifty-fifty.

That's it! Willow's seeing red.

WILLOW
Oh, yeah? Well, so's your face.

She takes off down the long hall, beginning to take off her costume. Buffy follows, as do the others.

INT. FRAT HOUSE - FRONT HALL/HALL #1 - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

BUFFY
What? What does that mean?

Willow turns back to her, angry.

WILLOW
I'm not your sidekick.

Then continues on. Oz goes after her.

OZ
Will, hang on.

Buffy stands, dejected and irked. Xander comes over to her.

XANDER
Well, that was a bunch of laughs.
Look, Buff, we're all tired and a
little on edge. Maybe Willow's
overreacting. I'm sure part of it's
'cause of how you've been pushing-
away girl lately. But now's not the
time to let that stuff tear us apart.

Buffy looks in his direction.

XANDER
What I'm saying is, I'm still with you.
Right by your side, all the-

BUFFY
(eyes darting around)
Xander?!

XANDER
Funny. Nice to see you haven't
lost your sense of inappropriate humor.

BUFFY
(calling)
Xander! Where are you?

XANDER
Okay, cut it out, Buffy!
Skit over. I'm right here.
(growing worried)
Here!
(yelling)
BUFFY!

Buffy walks right past him, muttering.

BUFFY
This is so typical of him.

XANDER
Typical?

BUFFY
(calling)
Xander?

She enters another hallway, momentarily out of Xander's sight.

ON XANDER, as he desperately looks at his hands, touches his chest and face as if to make sure he's still there. Then he moves to follow her. As he enters the hallway…

INT. FRAT HOUSE - SHORT HALL - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

He turns a corner…

XANDER
Buff--?

… and finds it empty. No Buffy.

ON XANDER, his fear growing as he realizes he's alone.

INT. FRAT HOUSE - HALL #3 - A BIT LATER

Willow and Oz make their way down a hallway. Willow is throwing off her chain-mail and pulling off her helmet, leaving them on the ground.

WILLOW
She thinks I'm not ready to be a full blown
witch. I can control dark forces just as good
as anyone. It's not that hard, a guiding spell…
I'm careful and all…

OZ
This floor used to have windows…

They enter:

INT. FRAT HOUSE - FRONT HALL/STAIRS - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

To find the stairs back in place.

WILLOW
Stairs! Look, we found stairs.

He's distracted, rubbing his hand as they head up the dark stairs.

WILLOW
Buffy didn't find the stairs. No sir.

OZ
I don't think you guys are thinking clearly…

They reach the top as he holds up his hand to take a look at it.

ON OZ' HAND - Dark, matted hair covers it. His fingernails are yellowed and sharp, almost claw-like.

INT. FRAT HOUSE - HALL #3A - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

They turn a corner.

WILLOW
Okay, we should go up to the
Goat room and see if -

OZ
Will.

She stops and looks at him, a shadow masking his face.

OZ
Something's happening.

WILLOW
(hopefully)
Something… good?

He turns his face into the light. She gasps.

ON OZ - Hair has sprouted all over his brow and face, his teeth have taken on a jagged quality.

WILLOW
Oh. Not good.

OZ
I'm changing.

WILLOW
B-but, you can't be.
There's no moon tonight.

OZ
I have to get away.

He starts off. Willow grabs his arm.

WILLOW
No. We need to just find something
to restrain you… A rope or some kind of chain…

OZ
No time.

WILLOW
Or… or… I can do the guiding spell.
I know I can make it work.

OZ
Will, please…

WILLOW
We can get out of here and…
and find Giles. He can help-

OZ
(snapping)
No!

He pushed her away - his sharp nails, accidentally, tearing her forearm, causing her to wince.

ON OZ - The feral look in his eyes giving way to something else… dread.

ON WILLOW'S ARM, as a tiny trickle of blood appears below the hand holding it.

NEW ANGLE - They look at each other for a moment, stunned. Then Oz takes off down one hall.

WILLOW
Oz! Oz!!! Don't leave me!

He's gone. Her voice ECHOES throughout the deserted hallway: "…leave me…leave…me…"

INT. FRAT HOUSE - HALLWAY - NIGHT

Xander enters a hall, hears Will:

WILLOW (O.S.)
Oz…

XANDER
Will!

She appears, moving down the hall.

XANDER
We got trouble. There's something
terribly wrong with Buffy. She can't
even tell that I'm -

WILLOW
(calling out)
Oz!

Xander stops, defeated. She can't see him either. She looks around, upset.

WILLOW
Oh God… Okay, guiding spell.
Okay. Yeah. I can do it.

She takes off. Xander turns back and, with mounting frustration, knocks a small pumpkin off a side table. Exits at a good clip.

INT. FRAT HOUSE - HALL #1A - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

Xander wanders through, aimlessly. He comes to a wall mirror and stares at himself.

XANDER
There I am. Didn't go anywhere.
Great. Just have to live with the
fact that no one else can see me!

He suddenly notices the reflection of the DUMMY HEAD on the wall behind him. It speaks.

DUMMY HEAD
I can see you.

Blood starts pouring out of its mouth and eye sockets.

Xander wigs and runs as the Dummy Head cackles.

INT. FRAT HOUSE - BATHROOM - NIGHT

We creep along a wall to find Oz crouched against it, head in his hands, trying to get though the mother of all bad trips.

OZ
Not gonna change, not gonna change,
not gonna change…

INT. FRAT HOUSE - HALL #3A - MEANWHILE (NIGHT)

ON WILLOW, her eyes closed, concentrating, mid-incantation.

WILLOW
Aradia, goddess of the lost.
The path is murky. The woods
are dense. Darkness pervades.
I beseech thee… Bring the light.

A small GLOW appears in mid-air, in front of Willow. It burns more intently. Willow watches it, her anxiety growing.

Then - FLASH - a firefly appears, hovering in front of her.

WILLOW
Whoa. Hey. I did it.
(to firefly)
I did you. Hi.

The firefly seems to wait expectantly.

WILLOW
Right. You're waiting for
instructions. Lead me to Oz.

The fly starts off toward the doorway. She follows for a moment, then, reconsidering, stops.

WILLOW
(reconsidering)
Wait. I should try to find those people
trapped upstairs first.

Lost in thought, she doesn't notice the firefly suddenly SPLIT into TWO FIREFLIES.

WILLOW
(still contemplating)
Even if I get them, we still need
to find a way out of the house.
(turning back to fly)
Okay, here's what I think we-

She turns in time to see the TWO FIREFLIES SPLIT into FOUR.

WILLOW
Hey. What's going…

The fireflies continue to multiply at an alarming rate.

WILLOW
Stop!

She's immersed in the swarm. She swats them away from her face, her eyes, as her terror mounts.

WILLOW
Stop it! Get off!
(screaming now)
Oz!!! Hel-

A few fireflies fly into her mouth. She gags, coughing, choking on them. Terrified, she flees, trying to escape the growing swarm. She SCREAMS.

INT. FRAT HOUSE - SHORT HALL - NIGHT

Buffy freezes. Was that…

BUFFY
Willow?!

Another SCREAM, which seems to Buffy to be coming from a room down the hall. She sprints to the door, goes through and

INT. FRAT HOUSE - BASEMENT - NIGHT

Comes out at the top of a staircase that is no longer there. She falls…

… hitting the ground HARD and dropping her crossbow. Winded and hurting, she becomes vaguely aware of something next to her and looks over at it.

WIDEN to reveal a PLASTIC NOVELTY GRAVESTONE, its "engraving" reads: "I.M. DEDD, R.I.P."

Unnerved, she looks around her and discovers she's in a dimly lit room with concrete walls.

WIDEN FURTHER to see other faux headstones staggered about the floor, with various gag inscriptions: "HERE LIES ROD. N. CORPSE," and "DEACON POSING, DIED WHILE DOZING," etc.

BUFFY
(dawning realization)
Basement. I'm in the basement.

She gasps as a RASPY VOICE from the shadows adds:

RASPY VOICE
All alone.

Still on the ground, Buffy looks around toward the shadows, wincing in pain as she does, but sees nothing.

BUFFY
Who's there?

Dead Josh steps shakily out of the shadows, head at an unpleasant angle. Corpse colored, with a bruise around his neck.

JOSH
They all ran away from you. They always will.
Open your heart to someone and…

He laughs, raspingly. Buffy says nothing, just glares at him, the truth of it stinging.

JOSH
But don't fret, little girl.
You're not alone…

And HANDS shoot up out of the ground all around her.

JOSH
… anymore.

BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT THREE
Act Four

INT. FRAT HOUSE - BASEMENT - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

Hands grab Buffy, pinning her down as zombies pull themselves out of their "graves". She struggles with them, tries to get up, but can't break free.

EXT. FRAT HOUSE - MEANWHILE (NIGHT)

GILES is one the front porch, feeling around the featureless wall where the front door once was. He refers to a musty reference book in his hands. A large duffle bag at his feet.

WIDEN to see ANYA, watching him.

ANYA
Well…?

GILES
We're going to have to create a door.

He bends down to the duffle, and digs in it for something, pulling out a few items in the process: books, crystals, etc.

ON ANYA, fascinated.

ANYA
Create a door. You can do that?

GILES
I can.

He brings up into frame a CHAINSAW, gunning it.

GILES
You may want to step back.

CLOSE ON THE SAW making contact with the wall, emitting a HIGH SQUEAL. Sawdust flies.

INT. FRAT HOUSE - BASEMENT - MEANWHILE (NIGHT)

BUFFY SCREAMS in frustration and terror, still battling the zombie onslaught. All five of them are out of their graves now, piling on her, trying to pull her limbs off, bite her - zombie stuff.

She pushes them off long enough to get to her feet.

JOSH (O.S.)
No matter how hard you fight,
you just end up in the same place.

She's tiring as they keep coming back for more. They won't stay down.

JOSH
I don't see why you bother.

She gets knocked down. Looks and sees a small door in the dark under the entrance. Crawls to it as the zombies grab at her heels. The space gets more and more cramped, darker and darker, but she makes it to the door and tries to open it, throws her weight into forcing it, once, again -

INT. FRAT HOUSE - GOAT ROOM - CONTINUOUS (NIGHT)

ON DOOR

As Buffy tumbles in, kicking the door shut behind her. She is wild eyed, breathing hard, at her wit's end. She looks around her, sees:

BUFFY'S P.O.V. - Pockets of pale, terrified students, cowering in corners, hiding behind overturned tables, shaking, rocking back and forth, mad with fear.

BUFFY
(to herself)
The Goat Room.

OZ, crouched on the floor, his head buried in his hands.

BUFFY
Oz?

Willow bursts in from ANOTHER DOOR, slamming it shut behind her. She's hysterical, slapping and scratching at her body. Buffy goes and tries to hold her, but Willow resists.

WILLOW
Get them off me! Get them off!!!

OZ (O.S.)
Will.

Buffy looks up to see Oz - normal, not a werewolf - taking Willow's arm. She looks at him, shaking, eyes, unblinking.

WILLOW
(hysterical)
C-couldn't… get them… off. F-f-fireflies.
T-too many! And they flew… in my mouth…
And my eyes… and I… couldn't breath and…

OZ
It's okay. We're okay.

BUFFY
We're not okay. We have to get out of here.

NEW ANGLE - XANDER, standing off by himself.

XANDER
I'd offer my opinion, but you jerks
aren't going to hear it anyway. Not
that "didn't go to college boy" is worth
listening to, might as well just hang out
with my new best friend, "Bleeding
Dummy Head" for all you dorks care.

Buffy crosses to him and gives him a sharp shove.

BUFFY
What is wrong with you?

XANDER
(shocked)
Y-you heard that? You can see me?
(shakily)
Good. Oh God, that's good.

OZ
The house separated us. It wanted to scare us.

WILLOW
But we… we got away.

BUFFY
No, it brought us here. We got so
scared we ended up… here. Why here?

She looks down at the floor. The others follow suit.

HIGH ANGLE as they all slowly back away, revealing and surrounding the occult-ish SYMBOL painted on the floor.

XANDER
I saw them painting it.
They were copying it out of…
(scanning the room)
That.

He crosses to the OCCULT BOOK, lying atop a table. She looks at the opened page. She studies the page for a moment.

WILLOW
I think this is Gaelic.

BUFFY
Can you translate?

VOICE
REEELEEEASE MEEE!!!

BAM! BAM! BAM! Loud BANGING and POUNDING fills the room coming from all around them. Things SCURRY within the walls, SCRATCH at the doors.

BUFFY
Will. Give me something.

WILLOW
Okay. Um um um, the icon's
called the Mark of Gachnar. I
think this is a summoning spell
for something called…

She hesitates as she struggles to translate.

XANDER
Gachnar?

WILLOW
Yes! Somehow the beginning
of the spell was accidentally
triggered. Gachnar's trying to
manifest itself. To come into being.

BUFFY
How?

WILLOW
It feeds on… fear.

BUFFY
Our fears are manifesting.
We're feeding it. We have to stop.

XANDER
Well if we close our eyes and say
it's all just a dream it'll stab us to
death
. These things are real.

Buffy tries to think.

BUFFY
It's feeding on us…
if we can get everyone out…

The bolted doors suddenly SLAM, nearly buckle as something behind them tries to get in.

XANDER
Great plan! Let's go!

He runs over and yanks open the other door, revealing a

CHAINSAW WIELDING MANIAC! Xander SCREAMS (as do others), then looks closer.

XANDER
Giles? Look, it's Giles!
(then, surprised)
With a chainsaw.

Anya enters behind Giles and runs to Xander.

ANYA
Xander.

XANDER
Glad you could make it…

GILES
The walls closed up behind us.

He crosses to Willow, takes the book.

GILES
Gachnar, of course. Its presence infects
the reality of the house, but it hasn't
achieved full manifestation. We can't
allow it to come into being.

BUFFY
(weakly)
But… if it did, I could fight…

GILES
Buffy, this is Gachnar.

He shows her an illustration. Her eyes widen in horror.

INSERT - PICTURE of Gachnar. A horrific, powerful-looking, visage. Underneath, a few Gaelic words.

BUFFY
Okay, let's shut it down.

XANDER
Whatever we're doing, let's do it fast.

GILES
(referencing book)
I have it: "The summoning spell for
Gachnar can be shut down in one of
two ways. Destroying the Mark of Gachnar…"

Without warning, Buffy gets down on one knee, punches through the floor, and pries up the splintered floorboards, bisecting the icon, destroying it.

The SOUNDS abruptly stop. Buffy smiles smugly, pleased with herself. Giles' tone becomes quite peevish.

GILES
"… is not one of them and will,
in fact, immediately bring forth
the Fear Demon, itself."

He looks at the desecrated symbol and glares at Buffy.

A DEEP RUMBLING begins…

WILLOW
(turning)
Look!

They turn and step back.

CLOSE ON GACHNAR, the Fear Demon, rising into frame, manifesting itself. It's grotesque, horrifying as it flexes its muscles, feels the power that course through-

Suddenly, it hesitates and looks high above him.

GACHNAR'S P.O.V. - BUFFY standing over it, dwarfing the TINY demon. Giles, Willow, Oz, Xander and Anya join her.

BUFFY
This… is Gachnar?

ON BUFFY AND OTHERS

XANDER
Big overture, little show.

BUFFY'S P.O.V. - GACHNAR, ranting and shaking his fist.

GACHNAR
(shaking his fist)
I am the Dark Lord of nightmares,
the bringer of terror… Tremble
before me! Fear me!

WILLOW
He's so cute.

XANDER
(baby-talk)
Who's a little fear demon?
C'mon, who's a lit-tle fear demon?

GILES
Don't taunt the fear demon.

XANDER
Why? Can he hurt me?

GILES
No, it's just… tacky. Be that as it may,
Buffy, when it comes to slaying…

BUFFY
Size doesn't matter?

GACHNAR
They're all going to abandon you, you know.

BUFFY
Yeah, yeah.

GACHNAR'S P.O.V. - BUFFY'S FOOT as she brings it down, SQUASHING him (accompanied by appropriately SQUISHY SFX), and sending us into

BLACK OUT.

INT. GILES APARTMENT - NIGHT

The gang's all there, filling up on Giles' leftover candy. Giles is pouring over books.

OZ
Quality treats here, Giles.

GILES
(reading)
Please, finish them.

BUFFY
This is much better. There is no problem
that cannot be solved by chocolate.

WILLOW
I think I'm gonna barf.

BUFFY
'Cept that.

Xander is looking at Anya.

ANYA
What?

XANDER
That's your scary costume?

ANYA
Bunnies frighten me.

GILES (O.S.)
Oh, bloody Hell - The inscription!

BUFFY
What's the matter?

GILES
I should have translated -
(showing her book)
The Gaelic inscription under
the illustration of Gachnar.

BUFFY
What's it say?

GILES
Actual size.

Off their mild reaction -

BLACK OUT.

END OF SHOW