(The First Episode of the New Season,
Before the Opening Credits.)

- - -

Buffy is upstairs sharpening her large collection of stakes
when her mother comes upstairs and says, “Would it be bad,
just this once, not to go out staking vampires again tonight?”
After all—she had just defeated an apocalyptic force! Time
for a break? Buffy never has time for a break. Angel gone,
her stakes sharp, she kisses her mom and hops out the window

into the backyard. Buffy is familiar with this small window
at the beginning of every season (school year), when her stakes
are enough to fight her battles, and whatever the big coming
evil will be—it hasn’t started to build yet. What big bad
will it be this season? She pulls her coat against the night
and there’s Willow! Her best friend! She certainly has time

for Willow! They walk, explicate the summer, say, “Time
to go back to school.” Suddenly, a vampire seizes this window
of relaxed defenses, and grabs off-guard Willow. Oh this night-
ly threat! Willow screams and resists. Buffy turns, her stake
at the ready. “Meet my friend, Mr. Pointy!” she says. Bad
bloodsucker, he lets Willow go. He wants to fight. He goes

at Buffy with everything, and Buffy (blue coat, boots) comes
back at him hard. The fight is oddly even. For a long time
(40 seconds, say), he gets in good blows. He hurts her bad,
she looks finished. She isn’t getting back up again. A doe
leaps into the cemetery. All are distracted. Willow makes a stake
from a broken bench piece and the vampire tries to run into the night.

But Xander arrives, blocks the exit with his own stake. This night
is going terribly now (for the vampire)! The vampire goes
around to a crypt and tries to run inside, but it takes time
to pry open the gates. Too much time; Xander almost stakes
the vamp, but he stops to quip, and the effort goes bad.
The vampire throws him hard into the boarded-up window

of the crypt. Willow runs over, pulls a board from the window
for a new stake. Buffy’s back up. Oh, what a luxury this night
is! Forever to fight just one, lone vampire. Xander’s bad-
inage soundtracks the fight. Willow lunges and misses, coming
close, but too far left. Buffy kicks the vampire in face, stake
brandished. He goes down, and she’s on top of him this time.

Buffy stakes the vampire. He’s dust. Whew! Wait. Bad. Crypts
don’t have windows. The night is heavy and dark. That took a long time!
What’s coming begins to come. Let’s unboard that window.