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Survivors is a prose short story of Tales of the Slayer book series. Written by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, it was originally published on November 1, 2004 by Simon Pulse.

Summary

Chicago-June 30,1919

Prohibition is on the horizon in the United States; also on this sweltering summer day falls the Slayer's eighteenth birthday-which means she must undergo the test of the Cruciamentum. Two Council operatives wait in the warehouse district of the city to oversee the test, but grow concerned when the Slayer and Watcher fail to report at the appointed location at midnight.

Dorothy Singers, "Dot" to her friends and the current Slayer, spends her eighteenth birthday riding a streetcar around the city, taking in the sights of Chicago to remind herself why she fights and what she has to live for. Despite the excitement of it being her birthday, Dot doesn't feel like her normal self-she feels weaker and sick.

Across town, Reginald Hill, Dot's Watcher, arrives home and calls out to his wife, Lillian and grows concerned when she doesn't answer. He journeys through the house and it shows no signs of life. His panic over his wife is made much worse as Dot wasn't home this morning when he went to see her and he had no idea where his charge was, worried something happened to her in her weakened state. As he searched the house, he finds a note from individuals who claim to have Lillian hostage and keep her for a ransom of $500,000.00 to be delivered that evening to the Palm House Hotel.

As Dot made her way through the city, she came upon a vampire operating in the daytime stocking cases of alcohol. Fighting the vampire was difficult, but she manages to destroy him and through talking with his human lackeys, deduces that he was part of a vampire ring setting up to illegally distribute alcohol after the onset of Prohibition and rushes to Reginald to figure out a plan and find out why she was so physically weak. Dot arrives at Reginald's house and sees him in a state of panic and he shows her the note and explains what happened to Lillian and rambles on about the drugs he gave her and about the test and not being able to find her this morning. Dot calmly reveals to Reginald that Lillian is dead and had been for a year-a victim of the influenza pandemic of 1918. Reginald refuses to believe her, showing her the ransom note-but Dot shows him its a blank piece of paper. It is revealed that due to exposure to toxic gas during his time serving in World War I, Reginald has shell-shock and certain events trigger him to have episodes where he hallucinates. Reginald is able to come out of his paranoia enough to explain the Cruciamentum to Dot.

Dot leaves Reginald and seeks out his caretaker, Mr. Keegan, at a local saloon and asks him to go sit with Reginald while she goes to her test; Keegan doesn't know Dot is the Slayer and chalks up Reginald's talk of vampires as a side effect of his mental instability. Keegan states to Dot that there is only so much they can do to help him and eventually he won't come out of his episodes and will require placement in a facility. Dot vows to him that Reginald will remain where he is as long as she is alive. She leaves the saloon and thinks back to the time Reginald left her to serve in World War I; the Council had appointed her a temporary Watcher with whom she had a tumultuous relationship and vowed nothing would ever take Reginald from her again. She knew if the Council knew the truth about his condition, they would lock Reginald away and send a new Watcher.

By dusk, Dot arrives at the warehouse and meets with the Council operatives. They use a ruse to get her to go into the warehouse and lock her in the darkness with the vampire. Dot tries to stake the vampire but loses her weapon in the darkness of the warehouse. She manages to stake the vampire with the heel of her boot. She emerges triumphant from the warehouse and goes home.

Continuity

  • The events of this story take place on June 30, 1919 in Chicago, which is the day the Wartime Prohibition Act took effect. This act prohibited beverages with an alcohol content greater than 2.75% in the United States.
  • The Influenza Pandemic of 1918, more commonly known as the Spanish Flu, was a worldwide pandemic that killed a large number of the world's population between the initial outbreak in January 1918 until it ended in December of 1920.

Appearances

Individuals

Behind the scenes

Collections

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