DISASTER VICTIMS REBUILD
LIVES IN WHISPERING PINES
Rupert: Well, I...as much
as I might like to...really I only stayed this long to help my friends
Dawn: We're not that settled, Giles.
Willow: We don't even have a place of our own, yet.
Buffy: Guys, let's not do this now, okay?
WPG: What do you plan to do here in town?
Willow: It's too late to get in right now, and our
college transcripts got screwed up temporarily after the town sank,
but I'd like to go back to school. Maybe next semester. Buffy's
talking about going back, too.
Buffy: For the first time in a very long time, I've
got the money, I've got people to help me look after Dawn -
Dawn: I'm seventeen. I don't need a babysitter. I
could be a babysitter.
Buffy: Great. That's one more income. Claire, tell
your readers we've got a babysitter for them. Anyway, even with
disaster relief funds, insurance, and everything, I guess most of
us will need jobs.
WPG: What sort of work would you all like?
Buffy: I've been working in the vegetable gardens
out at the commune. At first, I grumbled a lot because it was hell
on my nails and I didn't see any point in growing beets since I
won't eat them. But now...for a long time, there's been a lot of
death in my life. I'm sick of death. I want to make something live,
y'know? I don't know what it'll be yet, but I want a job that helps
something live. Plants, people, puppies; it doesn't matter what.
As long as I go home at the end of the day without having watched
There is a moment of silence.
Xander: Then she'll kill us all with her cooking.
(the others laugh) No, really, Buffy's a great cook. But seriously,
I don't know. Carpentry was what I was good at. Now with the eye
thing, I'm not so good with the depth perception, and that's not
so safe around power tools. I'd still like to be involved with construction.
Maybe I could work in the office, or learn to design stuff. In the
meantime, I dig a mean ditch and I deliver a fast pizza. I'll take
what I can get, until I can get something I want more.
Willow: When I go back to school, I'll probably find
some sort of work study program, or get a job on campus. I'm not
Dawn: Buffy probably won't let me get a real job.
So, I guess I'll just have to sponge off her and maybe take the
occasional babysitting or dog walking job.
Rupert: I have every faith in my friends. In the
time I've known them, I've watched them face trials that would have
made older, supposedly wiser people lose all hope. In every case,
they've shown remarkable courage. Whatever they choose to do with
their lives, I feel sure they will do well. They knew disaster was
looming in Sunnydale, yet each made the conscious decision to stay
and do their best to help others.
Buffy: You stayed, too.
Rupert: Yes, well, I couldn't sit back and let you
all get yourselves killed, could I?
Buffy: Careful, Giles. Someone might think you're
not just being modest if you keep being all self-deprecating like
Willow: We still don't know exactly what we're going
to do, here, but we know we like it. We're just waiting to see what
sort of adventures happen here.
Buffy: Will, what did I just say about adventure?
Willow: Quiet adventures, Buffy. Ones where nobody
gets hurt and everything's okay. That's the only kind of adventures
we want now.
Xander: Amen to that. Bring on the quiet life.
Dawn: And what could be quieter than a town
where "whispering" is part of the name?
It's clear that all of these people have lost
a great deal - possibly even more than they're willing to
say. It is equally clear that these young people would be
an asset to any community. Their courage in the face of adversity,
their loyalty to one another, and their commitment to helping
others is exemplary. I ask all my readers to join me in welcoming
them to our community.
Oh, and if anyone's looking for a babysitter, you
might think of Dawn Summers.
Courage of the
by Claire Olney
The world was shocked last May when a sinkhole literally
swallowed the small town of Sunnydale, California. Many of our residents
sent generous donations to disaster relief programs that sprang
up overnight to aid the victims of this terrible tragedy.
But what has become of the people who lived to tell
Five of them have moved here, to Whispering Pines,
to rebuild their lives.
Rupert Giles, 49, is originally from Bath, England.
He lived in Sunnydale for several years, serving for three of them
as librarian at Sunnydale High School. He then opened a New Age
store, but eventually returned to Bath. He was visiting with some
former students when the city fell into the very Earth.
|Buffy and Dawn
He was staying with Buffy Summers, 22, and her sister
Dawn, 17. Buffy was working as a guidance counselor at Sunnydale
High, where her sister attended school. Mr. Giles had been giving
the girls occasional help and advice since their mother died two
years ago, and was a frequent guest in their home.
Willow Rosenberg, 22, was a student at UC Sunnydale.
She and Buffy have been close friends since the Summers family moved
to Sunnydale in 1997.
Xander Harris, 22, is another close friend. He worked
as a carpenter until an accident that resulted in the loss of his
left eye forced him to quit.
This reporter recently had a chance to sit down and
talk to these five people whose lives changed forever on a sunny
day in May. This is what they had to say about the sinkhole, losing
everything, and starting over so far from home.
WPG: It must have been a terrible shock when the
Buffy: Yeah, it was, but...we made it. Town didn't,
but a lot of people sort of had a feeling something was coming and
got out before the end. It could have been a lot worse. As it was...let's
just say it was plenty bad. A lot of good people didn't make it.
WPG: Did any of you lose family or friends in the
Willow: Xander lost the most, I think.
Xander: It's okay, though.
Willow: No, it isn't. His parents wouldn't leave.
And Anya -
Xander: I wasn't with Anya, anymore. That was over.
Buffy: Anya Jenkins. His ex-fiancée. She died
helping someone else make it out alive. He said she was amazing.
WPG: What about the rest of you? Did you lose parents?
Dawn: I still don't know what happened to my friends,
Kit and Carlos. Or Janice. Or Melinda. I never heard anything. I
hope they got out okay. But Buffy's ex-boyfriend, Spike, died.
WPG: How do you feel about
Buffy: It was...it's complicated. I don't really
want to talk about it.
Rupert: Luckily, though, Willow's parents were out
of town at a psychiatric conference when disaster struck.
WPG: If your parents are still alive, why did you
decide to come with the others, Willow?
Willow: I couldn't leave Buffy and Xander and Dawn.
They needed me, and I needed them. They're...it's not like they're
family. They're more than family. My mom and dad are both psychologists,
and they keep trying to figure out what group I am. These guys know
me. They don't care how normal or abnormal I am. Besides, I'm grown
up now. It's time to move out and be on my own...except that I'm
with them. But you know what I mean, right?
WPG: Buffy, I know your mother passed on some time
ago, but what about your father? Did he survive the disaster?
Buffy: He wasn't there.
Rupert: Buffy and Dawn's parents had been divorced
for some time. For most of that time, their father has chosen to
absent himself from their lives. I really don't understand why.
We haven't been able to contact him. He doesn't seem to care at
Buffy: Giles, it's okay. Don't sweat it.
WPG: Well, let's get back to the sinkhole. I understand
that when you left Sunnydale, you weren't alone.
Xander: No, there were a lot of people with us. Some
pretty badly hurt. We found the closest town, whereupon the bus
broke down and the driver had to be sort of carried to the nearest
hospital, which, since we broke down about a block away, wasn't
that hard to do. We dropped off the injured ones and walked to the
nearest motel. That took a little longer. It was about a mile and
a half. Then Giles and I repaired the bus.
Willow: The rest of us checked in and took long showers,
'cause nothing leaves you as grungy as the Apocalypse.
Buffy: We started calling it that. As a joke. Survivor's
WPG: I see. How did you decide to come here? And
what happened to the others?
Rupert: After they were released from hospital, or
found family and friends who'd survived, most of the people we left
with...left. Some went to Cleveland, some Las Vegas, some...well,
you get the idea. At last, it was just the five of us and we had
to go somewhere.
WPG: Yes, but why Whispering Pines?
Buffy: That was Giles. He knew some people in England
who knew some people here, just outside town.
WPG: The commune?
Buffy: Yeah, that's right. So, we're here on the
invite of a friend of a friend of Giles'. But it looks like a quiet
town, and I think quiet's what we all need right now. Now we're
thinking of finding a place of our own. Not that the commune hasn't
been great. It has. Deborah and Elspeth and everyone have just been
Dawn: But we want some privacy.
Xander: And junk food.
WPG: What about you, Rupert? Are you staying, too?
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