Originally published 12/12/14
The young woman found herself waking up. Her head hurt and she wasn’t sure where she was. Or who she was for that matter. It was all blank and confusing for her as she stood and looked around. She was in an alley behind some buildings. She could hear the sounds of traffic close by and hear the noise of people nearby, making their way to and fro.
“Where am I?”, she asked herself. She looked down at herself and was noticed she was wearing a dress that she didn’t recognize.
Confused and more than a little frightened, she pulled herself together and walked, stepping out of the alley on to a busy sidewalk full of people making their way in both directions.
“Excuse me”, she stopped a woman as she walked by. “Where am I?”, she asked.
“Get a job”, the woman muttered as she brushed the young woman aside.
She stood there for a few moments, collecting her thoughts. “I think my best option would be to figure out where I am… and maybe find a police officer.”
She began to walk, looking for a police officer and maybe some clue as to where she was. Finally, she spotted an officer standing on the corner.
“Excuse me… sir”, the young woman spoke as she approached the officer. “I need help!”
The officer turned and glared at the young woman as she approached. “Yeah… whaddya want?”, he snapped.
“Where… I… I don’t know w..where I am”, she said. “I can’t remember!”
“Oh great… a freakin’ crazy”, the cop said as he looked the young woman over. “Probably on drugs!”
“I just need to… I don’t know!”, the woman said, tears starting to flow down her face.
“Up against the wall”, the cop snapped as he reached over and shoved the woman against the wall of the building behind him. “I don’t have the patience for this and some stupid crazy bitch!”
“What?”, she cried as the man shoved her once more and reached for her arms.
“Stop resisting and shut up”, the cop snarled. “You’re under arrest for vagrancy and creating a disturbance.”
“No… I”, the woman said as she began to back away. “I just wanted help… I just…”
Her world went dark as she felt two small prongs go into her chest and thousands of volts of electricity slammed into her body. The cop had pulled out his taser and shot her. She fell to the ground as her body jerked around.
“Stupid crazy”, the cop said as he reached down and snapped the handcuffs on the woman’s prone form. “Now I’m gonna have to do a report!”
Jerking the prone body up by the now handcuffed arms, the cop dragged her form towards his police car which was sitting parked a few yards away. “Add assault and resisting arrest to her charges too. Dumb broad is causing me to miss lunch!”
(Six Months Later – New York State Mental Health Institution… )
The woman woke from her small bed, one of twelve in a small room shared with eleven other women. Moving quickly, she rose from the bed and shook her head in weariness, trying to drive the shadows of the nightmares of the nights before away from her memory.
“Bad night Tanya?”, one of the other women, a fellow patient named Robin asked her as she walked by. “More nightmares?”
“Tanya”, thought the woman. “That’s what they called her here since she couldn’t remember her name or identity.
“Yes”, the woman admitted. “It was pretty bad.”
“Hang in there, chickie”, Robin said as she walked away.
Tara turned and noticed one of the guards, Officer Jackson coming towards her.
“Hey Tanya”, the guard said, “Understand you had a restless night. Those crazy nightmares again?”
“Y.. yes”, the woman admitted.
“I’ll let the Doc know and maybe they can up your meds or something”, Officer Jackson said, sympathy in his voice. “When you finish breakfast, go by the Doc’s office. He’s got some big-shot guest meeting with him this morning… some super-hero shrink here to evaluate one of the crazies in lock-up. That probably won’t take long though.”
“I don’t want to bother Dr. Lee”, she said quietly.
“If you don’t bother him, he can’t help you and get you out of this hole”, the guard said. “It’ll be okay and I’ll tell him you’re coming by.”
“Okay, thanks!”, the woman replied.
“So go get some breakfast and then head on to the doctor’s office”, Officer Jackson said. “Be there in say… about 45 minutes?”
The woman nodded to show that she understood and then shivered as the guard walked away.
“He setting you up an appointment with the Doc? Then you better get a move on if you want to get any breakfast”, the other woman, Robin, who had spoke to her earlier spoke up. “Maybe they finally got some clue as to who you are and your real identity or at least help you these crazy nightmares. What was it about this time?”
“Some demon goddess trying to suck my life essence from my mind and killing my friends.”
“Any names coming with those dreams? Recognize any people?”, Robin asked.
“Nope, just faces and a nagging familiarity like I should know them and all of this really happened, but that’s about it!”
“For a woman so sweet and normal, you a messed up soul”, Robin noted. “Maybe that super-hero guy can help.”
“Yeah, who was the guard talking about?”, the woman asked.
“Guy is named Dr. Druid or something like that. He’s supposed to be a sorcerer or psychic or something like that. He’s also one of the Avengers and occasionally comes down to do evaluations of some of the really whacked-out patients for the courts.”
“A super hero?”, the woman asked. “And a sorcerer?”
“Yeah, something like that”, Robin clarified. “Supposed to have mind powers and magic powers… all of that! I’ll bet he could help you get back your lost memories.”
“I don’t know”, the woman sighed. “After all… magic?”
“It’s real! I’ve seen it… saw that guy, Brother Voodoo one time when I was down in New Orleans. It was crazy, but real!”
“I don’t know… “, the woman repeated.
“Well, I know we need to go get breakfast”, Robin said. “Let’s go before it gets too late!”
“O… okay”, she sighed.
As the two women walked away to go get breakfast, a thought kept echoing through her confused mind.
After breakfast, the woman known as Tanya quickly made her way to Dr. Lee’s office. The aide sitting outside the office pointed at a chair and told her to sit down and wait for the doctor. She quickly complied and sat down, waiting for the Doctor to call her into his office. After about twenty minutes, the door to the Doctor’s office opened and Dr. Lee came walking out.
“Our Jane Doe”, he smiled. “Good morning Tanya. Please, come into my office.”
She rose and followed the Doctor into his office. As they walked into the office, she noticed another man sitting in a chair, studying her as she entered the room.
“Tanya”, Dr. Lee spoke to her. “I’d like you to meet an associate of mine, Dr. Anthony Druid.”
Druid smiled at the woman and she could feel her face turning red, blushing slightly as she gave a small smile.
Dr. Lee continued. “Dr. Druid thinks that he may be able to help you. You don’t know where you come from or who you are. Anthony may be able to claims he had a precognition of some sort about you?
“A pregognition?”, she asked.
“Somewhat”, Druid smiled. “I don’t know if you’ve heard of me, but I possess certain powers of the mind.”
“Robin… one of my room-mates, said something about that this morning when we were talking about you being here at the Institute”, the woman said quietly.
“For the past few weeks, I’ve had a… the strangest feelings and… I guess you can call them visions”, Druid explained. “And I kept seeing this place, the Institute, and a compulsion… a feeling that I needed to come here. That someone was here that needed my aid.”
“I don’t understand”, the woman exclaimed. “What does that have to do with me?”
“This is where I come in”, Dr. Lee stepped in. “I’ve known Anthony for several years, before he became the so-called ‘Master of the Unknown’, and we’ve used him many times in helping to evaluate and diagnose some of our more complex patients.
“Dr. Lee also is my own personal therapist”, Druid revealed. “He allows me to use him as a confident and sounding board. When I spoke to Lee as to my visions, he noted that what I was describing reminded him of a patient he was treating… you. I understand that you essentially appeared out of nowhere in the middle of New York City with no memory of your identity or knowledge of your surroundings. Is that correct?”
“Y… yes”, the lady replied.
“And all attempts to discover who you are, through traditional methods such as fingerprints or facial recognition scans have failed?”, Druid asked.
“Y… yes”, she replied once more. “It’s as if I don’t exist… but I do!”
“Yes, you do”, Druid said. “And today, if you’ll allow me to help you, I think we should find out who you are.”
“Do you really think you can?”, the woman asked the odd man sitting across from her.
“I do”, Druid smiled once more. “Please, come sit here, next to me on the couch and let’s talk.”
She reluctantly got up from her chair and sat down on the couch across from the odd man with the intensity riveting from his eyes.
“Do you need me to stay Anthony?”, Dr. Lee asked.
“I don’t think so”, Druid smiled. “We should get along quite well, I believe.”
“Then I have rounds to make”, Dr. Lee smiled at the two. “If you need anything, just have my aide call.”
“We will”, Druid said.
And with that, Dr. Lee exited the room and Dr. Druid turned to the young woman.
“Young lady, Tanya is it, do you believe in magic?”, Druid asked the brown haired woman.
“I.. don’t know!”, she replied. “And y… yes, Tanya is the name they gave me when I was brought here.”
“I’m asking because I sense a great deal of magical power inside of you. You either were at one time or currently are a person of great magical skills.”
“W..what? I’m a… w..witch?”, the woman asked.
“Not necessarily, but you do have a strong magical aura and presence about you and it’s quite possible. And you don’t remember any of this?”
“N.. no”, the woman known as Tanya replied. “I just remember waking up in an alley and… that officer… I was so scared. I don’t know how I got there and everything was just so… overwhelming.”
Druid reached over and put his hand on the woman’s shoulder, as a sign of compassion and support.
“If you’ll allow me, I think that I can help you regain your memories… and together we can solve these mysteries. I’ll have to do a telepathic scan and probe of your mind. Is that okay?”
“Use your powers to read my mind?”, she asked.
“Yes”, Druid replied.
After a long silence, the woman finally nodded. “If that’s what we have to do?”
Druid gave her a small smile before placing his hands on both sides of her head. “Just relax and listen to my voice. I want you to listen to my voice and relax. Think of the things that make you happy. Just relax… Relax.”
Druid quickly found himself inside the mind of the woman known as Tanya. In her memories, he saw a young child being abused and worked to take care of her family, taking refuge in the art of magic, as taught to her by her mother. The mother gets sick and passes away and the girl flees to a new world, college. He sees a new family including a red-headed woman who appears to be a lover and friend. More friends – the blond haired warrior, the black haired man, the young pre-teen girl, the Billy Idol looking man with the trench coat. And then an assault by a demon goddess. Vampires and werewolves. Betrayal by the red haired woman. Reconciliation.A life of both love and horror in a place called Sunnydale. And then finally…
Tara stood by the window as she looked over at her lover, Willow. She could feel her heart beating strongly as she felt the love and passion for the red headed witch who stood there before her.
Suddenly, without warning, the sounds of a gunshot rang out and the window behind Tara shattered. She felt a sharp spasm of pain and looked at Willow once more, a look of shock and despair covering her face.
Tara looked down and saw the blood pouring from her own chest. She looked at Willow again and saw the blouse her lover was wearing was also splattered and covered in blood.
“Oh… your shirt”, Tara said before being overcome by blackness and collapsing into Willow’s arms.
Druid opened his eyes and saw the woman across from him, wide awake and eyes wide opened.
“I remember… I remember”, she was crying.
“Yes, you do!”, Druid said. “Tell me… what do you remember?”
“I remember Willow… and living in Sunnydale. My friends, Buffy, Anya, Xander, Spike… well, he’s not really a friend but… and Dawnie…”
“Do you know who you are?”, Druid asked.
“My name is… I’m Tara. Tara Maclay”, the woman smiled. “I’m Tara!”
“Yes… yes, you are!”, Druid smiled.
“And I feel… power”, Tara said, first a smile and then a fearful look forming on her face.
“That’s the magic you control”, Druid said. “Just relax… take some deep breaths. Relax…”
Tara focused on Druid’s voice and began to calm down, relaxing…
After a few moments, Druid spoke again. “How do you feel?”
“Better”, Tara said. “But alone.. and frightened. How did I end up here… and why? I remember a noise… a loud bang… and this sharp pain. I was looking at Willow… and her blouse was covered in something… blood. And then… and then…”
“Shhh…”, Druid said as he used his powers of the mind to calm Tara before she could start getting excited or scared again.
“What happened to Willow? How did I get here? How am I even alive?”
“That’s what we’re going to find out”, Druid told the young woman. “We will find out… together.”
As Tara collapsed in Druid’s arms, both from relief and exhaustion, the Doctor embraced her in a hug. Using his telepathic powers, he reached out to his friend, Dr. Lee, and told the Doctor to come immediately and bring a sedative that would allow Tara to sleep without dreams.
“Everything will be okay”, Druid told the distraught young woman who still lay in his arms, sobbing quietly. “It will all be okay.”
The door then opened and Dr. Lee quietly entered the room. Druid telepathically spoke to the Doctor and told him to give Tara an injection with the needle that Dr. Lee carried.
“What…?”, Tara asked as she felt the slight prick when Dr. Lee gave her the shot.
“That will help you sleep Tara”, Druid said quietly to the young woman. “And when you wake up, this nightmare you’ve been living will be over!”
As Tara lost conciousness due to the medication, Druid lifted her up in his arms before laying her on the couch.
“She can rest here, Lee”, Druid told his associate and friend. “We have made a breakthrough and we know now who she is. Her name is Tara Maclay.”
“Tara?”, Dr. Lee said. “A beautiful name. And what else have you discovered Anthony?”
“She’s a person of power… a witch, I believe. And I don’t think she’s of this world. I’m not sure where she’s from exactly, but I could see it in her memories a place like our Earth, but not quite.”
“A parallel world?”, Dr. Lee asked. “Is that even possible?”
“More possible than I think you even realize”, Druid said. “My belief right now is that she was part of a band of heroes on that world, warriors against the forces of darkness. Something happened and she was either injured or possibly even died, but instead of moving or passing on as one would expect, she ended up here instead on our world.”
“You’ve lost me Anthony”, Dr. Lee noted. “But that’s not really what matters here. My concern is with…Tara and what do you think we should do now? What should we do next to best help her… if we can?”
“I think the first step would be to get her out of here”, Druid said. “She doesn’t belong in this place.”
“I agree, but where…?”, Dr. Lee inquired.
“I think I may have a solution”, Druid said thoughtfully.
Tara woke up with a start. She wasn’t in her room that she shared with the other patients. She was on a couch… in Dr. Lee’s office. As she woke and the fog began to lift from her head, she began to remember. That man with the strange eyes. He talked to her and consoled her and… she remembered. Her name is Tara Maclay and the memories began to flood her mind. Willow… and Buffy. Xander, Anya, Giles, Spike, Dawn, Sunnydale, etc. It has all come back to her. And power. She was a witch. Tara started to feel the power within her. She began to rise up, glowing.
“Tara”, a voice filled the air and disrupted her revelations and moment of rediscovery. Tara looked over and saw that man, Dr. Druid sitting in the corner of the room.
“Dr. Druid?”, Tara said quietly as she powered down and settled once more on the couch.
“Yes”, Druid said. “How do you feel?”
“Weary.. but better… almost like I’ve had a heavy load removed and I’ve been reborn”, Tara said.
“Interesting choice of words”, Druid said as he stood up and walked over towards Tara. “Because I believe that’s exactly what has happened.”
“Wh.. what do you mean?”, Tara asked as Druid sat down on the couch next to her.
“Well, based on the memories and what I was able to… read from your mind, I believe you passed away… or were killed. And then, instead of passing on to the next world or level, you somehow ended up here, in this world instead.”
“Is that even possible?”, Tara asked. “Duh, of course it is. I’m here, right?”
“I’m not sure how it happened… or why, but I would like to find out”, Druid said. “And help you as well.”
“H…how can we find out?”, Tara asked. “It makes sense though.”
“What makes sense?”, Druid asked.
“Buffy died.. and went to heaven until we brought her back. Angel died and went to a hell dimension until he came back. And Dawnie… she was the key… It makes sense that all of us have been changed and affected.”
“I don’t understand”, Druid said. “All of you?”
“All of us who lived on the Hellmouth. There’s a group of higher entities called the ‘powers that be’ and they supposedly like to interfere with our lives and destinies to suit their own desires and purposes. It has something to do with Buffy’s legacy as the Slayer and all of the magic that surrounds the Hellmouth. Damn, I wish Willow was here… or Giles. They could explain all of this so much better.”
“You’re doing fine”, Druid said. “I think I understand. So there are beings of great powers who over-see and occasionally interfere with your lives and being here, instead of passing on, may be their doing. Does that sound correct?”
“Pretty much”, Tara sighed.
“Well, that will give us something to work with”, Druid smiled. “Now, are you ready to get out of here?”
“Out of here? Out of the Institution?”, Tara asked. “Really?”
“Yes”, Druid said. “Really. You don’t belong here and you have your memories and identity back. I’ve arranged with Dr. Lee to have you released tonight.”
“Tonight? So quickly… but where will I go… What do I…?”
“Don’t worry”, Druid said. “If you’re amicable to it, I have a proposal for you. How would you like to work as my personal assistant, helping to oversee my business affairs and looking after my family home.”
“What?… I don’t know. I can’t…”, Tara started to say, but Druid cut her off.
“I need someone to help and from what I’ve been able to discern, you’re definitely an intelligent and knowledgable young woman. I would also need help with researching magic and spells and from what I saw in your memories, you’re quite familiar with that type of things as well. It would also allow me to help you try and discover how to return to your world or if that’s not possible, help you find your purpose on this world. I pay well and you’d have run of my family home.”
“But I’m not even from this world. A… and you don’t know me except for… we just met!”, Tara said.
“It doesn’t matter”, Druid said. “I’ve already arranged for a representative of the Maria Stark Foundation to come meet you and help out so we can establish you a legal identity on this world, have a drivers license, and so forth. The only question is will she be coming to meet you at the Ludgate Family Estate or will she be meeting you at a motel while you decide what you’d like to do? I’d really like to have you come work for me and allow me to help you… we can help each other. Will you?”
Tara sat there for a moment and then smiled.
“Well Dr. Druid… or should I say, Boss, when do we leave?”
Druid smiled. “Is there anything you wish to get from your room here?”
“No… I don’t have anything here”, Tara said sadly.
“Then I’ll call for a car and we shall go out for dinner. And then on to the house.”
“Dinner?”, Tara said. “I c… can’t. I don’t have anything to wear. I’m not ready for crowds or people… I just need to… ”
“Don’t worry about it”, Druid said. “We shall enjoy a meal at the house then and talk… will that be okay?”
“Y… yes”, Tara said. “I don’t want to be a bother… ”
“It’s not a bother dear lady”, Druid said. “I’ve made some major mistakes over the years and have done many things that I’m not proud of. Helping you shall, I believe, be part of my path to redemption. If it is possible, we will get you home. And until that happens, we will work together to make things better for all we encounter. Now, Miss Maclay, are you ready for a new beginning?”
“I… I think so.”, Tara said.
“And so it begins”, Druid smiled as he reached out his hand to help Tara up. “I’ve already summoned a taxi. Let us go home!”