Willow Holmes moved with grace through the graveyard, stake in one hand and a small oil lamp in the other.
"Buffy are you here... Buffy?" Willow whispered, holding the lamp up to light the way in front of her. Shadows played across the grave stones, as an owl hooted in the distance.
"Over here, Willow."
Willow Holmes moved forward and sighed with relief as Buffy and Xander came into view.
"Sorry Iím late, Inspector Lestrade called a few hours ago and he needed a bit of help."
"Set him on the right track, I hope?" Buffy asked, looking around the gravestones in the dim light, before looking up and giving Willow a warm smile. Willow grinned back before looking more serious on what they were about to do.
"This is the one we want, right?" Xander asked, holding up a couple of shovels.
Buffy knelt on the newly dug earth. She read from the stone: "Mary Stewart, 1865-1888."
Buffy nodded as together they started to dig, Willow holding the light and keeping watch.
The year was 1888 and my name is Dr Tara Watson. I had just finished my degree in London to be a Doctor of Medicine and set up a small but successful practice in the heart of London. It was unusual for the time for a woman alone to be independent and successful and yet my practice was full with the wealthy and not so wealthy Ladies and Dames of the London area. As there years rolled by, however, Ladies and Dames were not the only patients I would have.
My parents had been killed some years earlier and I had been left a small fortune, which I put to good use in my hopes in following in my father's footsteps, into the medical profession. College, although mainly a male domain, had been a wonderful experience; I left with a range of friends that to this day remain in my heart. It was one of these friends, Emily, that had introduced to me one Willow Holmes, and from that day on I was forever in her debt. Although many, I am sure, would have been running for the hills.
Emily had taken up a nurse's duty at a local hospital; we meet once a week at Criterion Bar for dinner and to trade the gossip of the week. I had mentioned that my life was pretty lonely and that I was looking for a new place to live, somewhere a bit livelier then the small rooms above my growing practice. I had plans for the rooms and to do so meant moving out.
My companion looked up from her meal and reached for her glass of red wine in front of her.
"Strange that you should mention it, my dear Tara. Before coming here I was in a lively discussion with a friend about the same subject."
"Really? Who would that be?" I inquired with interest.
"A young lady that spends a great deal of time in the Laboratory up at the hospital. She was just saying this very morning that she had found some lovely rooms, but that were a bit too large for just one; she was wondering if I knew someone that would perhaps share the rooms and the expenses."
"If she really wants someone to share, it would be ideal for me as well. Emily, who is the lady you speak of?"
Emily gave a laugh and had a very wicked grin on her face.
"Then you have to meet Ms Willow Holmes, she is a little strange in her ways, but enthusiastically into science and research although I am not to sure what in."
"A medical student, perhaps?" I pondered.
"Not that I am aware of. She seems well informed in anatomy and by all accounts a first-class chemist, but as far as I am aware is not enrolled in any of the university classes. She is quiet and a bit eccentric, but very knowledgeable in a wide range of subjects. Very beautiful in looks but does not seem to have many friends. The friends I have seen seem a bit odd," Emily remarked to me. Not mentioning that Willow, like myself, tended to run around in men's clothing.
I had to smile to Emily; anything a little unusual was strange to my friend. "Perhaps I could meet her?"
"Why not, I am sure I can arrange for you to meet. In fact, why don't you come back to the labs with me? She is sure to be there at this hour, she has been for the past week, working away for hours at a time."
"That sounds like a plan." The conversation drifted away as other matters came into our discussion.
"Did you read in the paper about that poor woman they found down at the docks?" Emily asked with a bit of excitement in her voice. "They brought the poor dear to the hospital, nothing could be done, she had been dead for hours. The doctors have no idea how she died, scared to death they say. No signs of any injuries other then a couple of bite makes on her neck."
I looked up with interest. "Indeed, I read that the other day; the lady's name was Mary Stewart. That's the sixth death in as many months."
"It's not safe out, Tara, strange things are happening." Emily looked a little scared as she looked around us.
"Emily," I reached for her hand over the table. "It is always dangerous and strange in London, that's nothing new. Just don't go running around the dock, or late at night by yourself. I am sure you'll be fine. Besides, my friend, Paul, meets you every night at the hospital gate. You are as safe as can be," I assured my friend.
Not long after we started back to the hospital.
I was more then looking forward to meeting Willow Holmes she sounded like a very interesting young woman.