Btvs.png The canonicity of this article's subject remains dubious. Though it doesn't contradict official continuity, it has not been referenced in any confirmed canonical material.

Back to the Garden is a prose short story of Tales of the Slayer book series. Written by Robert Joseph Levy, it was originally published on November 1, 2004 by Simon Pulse.

Summary[edit | edit source]

It's 1969 and 17 year old Beryl McKenzie is a Potential Slayer living in Halifax with her Watcher, Miranda Valance. She has spent the last 12 years training to become the Slayer, having been placed in the care of her Watcher by her parents at the age of 5. One day, while running around the city, Beryl happens upon a demonstration taking place to protest the Vietnam War. The police show up and throws tear gas into the crowd of protestors, Beryl is slightly injured but manages to escape the melee, but not before having a neighborhood boy die in her arms. When this happens, a part of Beryl, the part that believed the endurance of mankind, died with him and she lost hope in the human race.

A week after the demonstration, with her Watcher in England at a retreat, Beryl makes a trip to the boys parents store to offer her condolences; the boys father, believing her to be a friend from a commune in the mountains called Moonstone, begins telling Beryl about the joys of communal living and it sparks something in Beryl. Beryl then rushes home to pack a bag and hitchhikes to Moonstone. Upon arrival, Beryl meets Anna Maloney, the grocers daughter and the boys sister, she gives Beryl a guided tour and through their conversations Beryl discovers Anna is a witch and is part of the commune circle who practice natural magic in accordance with the spirits of nature. In her first day she also meets Lennox, an American draft dodger with whom Beryl develops an attraction to.

About week into her new life at Moonstone, Beryl has a vivid dream about the death of a Slayer at the hands of a group of vampires; she awakens the next morning significantly stronger and realizes she dreamt the death of the then current Slayer and that as she died in the dream, Beryl received her Slayer powers. Mortified at the idea of becoming the Slayer now after dedicating her life to peace, Beryl vows to ignore the call and continue her life at Moonstone, asking Anna to have the coven to use magic to remove her power.

It took a week for Miranda to track Beryl at the commune; she insists Beryl returns to Halifax and take up her duties as the Slayer immediately, but Beryl refuses, stating she has committed her life to non-violence and peace. Miranda relents, stating she knows of a way to render Beryl mortal, it involves ingesting a mystical elixir that must be ingested in stages over a few days leading up to the Slayer's eighteenth birthday. Beryl agrees to take the elixir, but Anna is weary of Miranda's true motives and refuses to trust the woman. Over the next few days, Beryl begins to gradually weaken and believes the elixir is doing exactly as Miranda stated it would. The night before her eighteenth birthday, she awakens and looks for Lennox and Miranda tells her she sent him on a mission to retrieve one last ingredient for the plan to reverse her Slayer powers; Beryl knows where he went based on Miranda's descriptions and choose to follow after him.

After Beryl leaves, Anna comes upon Miranda and upon touching her, Anna has a vivid vision of what's to come-a plan to reawaken Beryl's bloodlust through a test called the Cruciamentum by entrapping her with a vampire in the sea caves nearby. Miranda and Anna fight briefly before Anna leaves to warn Lennox and save Beryl.

In the sea caves, Beryl gets lost but eventually comes upon a man whom she believes to be trapped and she tries to help him. He reveals himself to be a vampire and as she tries to escape, she happens upon Lennox's dead body and runs to escape. The vampire follows, chasing her into the frigid water where he tries to drown her. Beryl grabs a piece of driftwood and stakes the vampire. As she emerges from the water victorious, she comes to the heart-wrenching realization she was never meant to know love or a normal life and vows to be the Slayer as long as the Council keeps finding her things to kill.

Continuity[edit | edit source]

  • The events of this story take place in the year of 1969 in Nova Scotia.
  • Beryl McKenzie's birthdate is stated to be on a Tuesday the 21st of the month; the only 2 months with a 21st that fell on a Tuesday in 1969 were January and October. Given that in the beginning of the story Beryl is wearing running shorts it is likely her Cruciamentum/18th birthday fell on Tuesday, October 21, 1969-placing the beginning of the story in August-September.

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