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A Tragic Death at Cleveland Zoo
By Rebecca Ashling


Despite standing right next to Kennedy, despite Buffy's own superhumanly swift reflexes, Buffy failed to grab her as she fell into the hippo enclosure. Kennedy did not have a butterfly's chance in a tornado. She was stronger and faster than mere humans. The hippopotamus was faster and stronger than a mere Slayer. Buffy heard the cracking of Kennedy's bones as they were bitten through to the very marrow, the softer, meaty, pulpy sound as her innards were ruptured, felt the spray of blood and the spatter of chyme. Finally, a wavering, bubbling, ragged scream forced through rib-punctured lungs. Then silence save for the frantic, frenzied, thrashing of the dying pachyderm as it choked to death. Maybe Kennedy had become lodged in its throat, maybe it found dead Slayers to be highly toxic, like nerve gas. Who knew? Maybe it was just Kennedy. Buffy felt a twinge of pity.

Poor hippo! Buffy tore her appalled, fascinated gaze from the sight of Kennedy's gory and gruesome grave, looking at Willow. Her mouth was agape, her face as white as a flag of surrender, starkly framed by her red hair, her eyes as huge as a wounded kitten's. Thankfully green not black, thought Buffy in a detached way, so definitely not as grief struck as she was at Tara's death. Not even as upset as she was about Oz leaving. Buffy took the distraught redhead in her arms, murmuring words of comfort and insincere apology. Mine at last, thought Buffy fiercely.

The End

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