Author's note: A short story for Halloween, I do hope that you enjoy it, and all feedback and all votes would be very much appreciated.
The vampire towered over the old witch and looked down on her haggard old face with distaste.
"I wouldn't want to drink your blood old woman so don't fuss," he declared coldly.
"I never said that you would want to, I just said keep your long fangs away from me." She scowled up at him irritably as she tugged her grey shawl tighter against her.
Her beady black eyes narrowed suddenly over her large bulbous nose. "What are you doing at this event any way?" she asked sourly.
He smiled his toothy smile as his nostrils flared. He really was a good looking vampire the old which admitted silently. But then what vampire wasn't attractive? It was after all part of their hunting equipment.
"This is the best time for our type to be out with the humans; isn't that why you are here as well?"
The old witch gave a dismissive little grunt as she looked around at the masses of people.
There were all kinds here tonight, all in fancy dress, each trying to look more hideous than the last.
The decrepit old witch was positively stunning in such a crowd.
There was music playing loudly on one side of the room and a group of ghouls, goblins and gremlins were all dancing energetically.
She gave a little sniff and looked up at the brooding vampire who continued to hover over her; staring down at her with his dark enigmatic gaze.
"There must be plenty here to tempt you, so please don't let me keep you." She observed touchily.
He gave her another cold smile. "I'm not quite ready to feed yet, and I'm curious as to why you are here, and what you hope to gain from such an occasion."
She frowned across the room and didn't bother to turn back to him as she spoke quietly. "I spend all of my time alone; people only come to visit me because they have a need."
There was an emptiness and desolation in her voice that he could only empathise with.
"Vampires aren't much for socialising either," he murmured softly. "Competition for the food source and that sort of thing." He shrugged with a distant smile.
Before she could respond, a big fat pumpkin suddenly staggered up to the old witch.
"Hello there old bag, de ya fancy a dance?" he asked in a drunken slur.
He didn't give her a chance to respond, but merely swept her up and across to the dance floor where he swirled her around enthusiastically.
The old witch had no choice but to hang on to her pumpkin helplessly, as the room spun with dizzying speed.
The music was a lively tune, and the creatures around them jostled them about, uncaring of the tiny old witch.
The music stopped abruptly and for a second all went still and silent. Then a slow romantic song came on and the pumpkin pulled her close and leaned heavily on her.
The lights had also lowered to help set the mood, and the pumpkin suddenly turned into an octopus, with hands everywhere; and none of them where the witch wanted them to be.
He groped and squeezed at her breast and clutched at her bottom and tried to find the flesh concealed under all her layers of garments.
"Stop that!" she hissed at him savagely.
"Awww come on! You know that you want it darling!"
He'd been holding on to her tightly and the old witch suddenly realised that he'd been manoeuvring her toward the fire escape, that stood open to one side and led out to a darkened alleyway.
"What do you think you are doing?"
She was so unaccustomed to being treated like this that her voice raised in alarm, another emotion she was unfamiliar with.
Despite her struggles, he managed to get her out into the alleyway, and after hooking his foot around the edge of the door it closed to with a dull thud.
Silence descended on them and all the old witch could hear was the laboured breathing of the pumpkin.
He pushed her roughly against the wall, scraping the skin covering her shoulder blade, and making it bleed; and began to tear roughly at her clothing.
The fabric of her dress and shawl was old, almost as old as the witch. It was faded and rotting and fell away from her with ease.
As her pale, blotchy, and wrinkled old skin became visible the young pumpkin pulled away from her abruptly.
"Ere you!!" he spluttered in disgust.
The old witch had however recovered from her shock at being treated like this, and now felt a sense of outrage at the destruction of her treasured old garment.
"Ere YOU!" she roared out; summoning up her power and loving the feel as it crackled through her blood.
The pumpkin's hair stood on end as he fell further away from her. His eyes bulged in terror as he sobered up rapidly.
"What are you?" he cried out.
"I'm justice for all the girls you treat this way!" the old hag cackled manically. "I'm vengeance and retribution."
"I'm sorry!" he spluttered. "I've never treated anyone like this! I swear it! Oh please I'm sorry!"
He backed away into a dark silent figure standing behind him, and spun around sobbing hysterically.
"She's real!" he cried. "She's a real witch!"
"Then you'd better run!" the vampire suggested with a toothy grin and a glint in his eye as he sidestepped the young pumpkin, giving him the space to do just that.
The pumpkin didn't need telling twice. With one last terrified look back at the half naked wrinkled old witch, he turned and bolted.
The old hag glared at the vampire. "Why did you let him go? I wasn't finished with him yet!" she scowled. "And what are you doing out here anyway?"
The vampire grinned across at her. "I saw him pull you in the alleyway, and when he closed that door I thought that I'd better check that you weren't doing anything foolish."
"Huh!" she exclaimed. "You mean like feeding on humans and leaving their corpses hanging around for other people to find?"
"And how long has it been since you've heard anything like that?" he challenged lightly.
Her scowl deepened, more with annoyance at herself, since she knew well the vampire laws on feeding and leaving evidence of their existence.
She felt her shoulders slump and gave a little sigh of regret.
"You know something; it's been a long time since anyone has found me attractive enough to – what do they say these days? Try to get it on with me."
The vampire looked at her in surprise.
"I wouldn't have thought you would tolerate that sort of thing anyway."
She shrugged awkwardly. "I'm still just a woman."
He laughed shortly. "Hardly, JUST a woman."
She pulled at her dress and muttered a few words under her breath.
The dress joined itself back together, and she straightened her shoulders in resignation.
"Oh well, it was nice for a little while."
The vampire was watching her quizzically. "Just how powerful are you old woman?" he asked softly.
It was her turn to give a short laugh.
"What? on a scale of one to ten?" she suggested dryly.
He shook his head impatiently as his eyes studied her shapeless form.
"You're old, aren't you witch?"
So he realised that her age and her power were the same thing! She eyed him warily.
"Very old." She admitted with a nod.
He stepped towards her suddenly, and the witch stepped back in fear as she felt HIS power washing over her.
"What would you say to a partnership?"
She stiffened. "What kind of partnership?"
"You could be beautiful," he suggested seductively.
"Ere now! What are you playing at?" she shook her head violently to remove the fog she felt clouding her senses.
"I could be your sire, make you beautiful and seductive, - like me."
"And what would you get in return?"
"The use of your power. You'd be loyal to me ... Only to me!"
He smirked in a kind of self satisfaction, and the old witch gave him another irritated glance.
"I never said that I wanted to be beautiful."
"You mean that you like looking the way that you do?" he laughed in disbelief.
"Don't you think I could have changed the way I look? – if I'd really wanted to?" she challenged softly. "Maybe how I look is also a part of my power?"
The vampire frowned down at her and she felt his power fizzle out.
She grinned up at him with a hint of malice. "You claim to want my power, but how badly? Would you be prepared to become like me to gain access to it?"
His frown deepened and he stepped away from her. "What do you mean?"
The old witch stepped towards him.
"You could become MY apprentice, but the price for my kind of power is your youth and vitality. You would become withered and ugly, - like me."
"But how I look is part of how I feed. I'd starve." He protested as he stepped back again.
"Maybe you would." The witch shrugged indifferently. "Maybe you wouldn't."
"You could sound a little more concerned for my welfare." The vampire advised dryly.
"The whole process of becoming a witch's apprentice is full of risk." She informed him loftily. Her eyes narrowed suddenly. "But then so is that of being turned. Doesn't the person have to die to be reborn as a vampire, and don't things sometimes go wrong?"
"I've never yet lost one." The vampire was all indignant at the accusation.
The old witch gave a low cackle and the vampire frowned. "So what's so funny?" he demanded.
Before the witch could reply however, the security door was suddenly pushed open and people came spilling out.
"I tell you they were out here, and they were real!"
Both witch and vampire recognised the whining voice of the pumpkin, and both reacted instinctively to the threat of discovery.
The vampire moved with lightening speed to leave the alleyway, and the witch muttered a few words to cast a glimmer.
She moved slowly, and unseen through the crowd of people; who were all now laughing and jeering at the pumpkin.
"Guess you drank too much again Nate!"
"Always the one for a good story aren't you Nate!"
"I'm telling you they were here, and they were going to kill me!" he cried out petulantly.
She reached the road and the sound of the crowd began to die down as she picked up speed.
Not until she'd left the city entirely, did she dare to drop her spell of concealment; and by this time she was more than a little fatigued from the effort of having to concentrate so hard for so long.
She felt the glimmer fall away from her and gave a sigh of relief.
As she walked down the dirt track she thought of the handsome vampire.
"Oh well!" she whispered softly. "Perhaps it's for the best."
She entered the forest and began to sing in a low, gravelly tone; and her voice once more held a note of power.
In the centre of the forest was a massive, and very old, oak tree; and the witch walked up to it and patted the trunk gently.
"Hello old friend; did you miss me?"
The tree gave a long shudder, and its branches opened up, as if preparing to embrace the hag.
"Yes I had a good time." She laughed shortly. "I met a pumpkin who wanted to have its wicked way with me." Her laugh increased although it held a note of bitterness now. "And a vampire who wanted to turn me into something like him."
The tree shuddered again, and her laughter became more jovial.
"Ah yes, I guess you could say that I was the bell of the ball!"
The tree shivered.
"Yes he was interesting." She admitted softly. "I would have liked to have talked to him some more."
The branches swayed back.
"We were interrupted and I had to leave suddenly." She told the tree regretfully. "Everything happened so fast there was no time to put a tracer spell on him, or anything."
The tree began a strange shuddering motion that started deep underground; building in strength, as it travelled up its roots.
As the roots came spilling from the ground, the tree leaned back as though it were about to fall, and a huge hole appeared.
As the witch continued to watch this display, a set of steps became visible, each one appearing after the one above it; travelling down into the darkness.
"Oh well!" she sighed again as she stepped towards the opening. "It's good to be home I guess."
She had reached the top step when the shuddering of the tree suddenly stopped.
The witch looked around her as all became silent and still.
"Who's there?" she cried out, injecting power into the call.
For a moment nothing moved, and the witch opened her mouth to call again, adding strength to the spell of summoning.
The vampire stepped from behind a tree, his eyes glinting and his fangs shinning white.
The witch scowled trying to cover her sudden fear.
"What are you doing here?" she demanded aggressively. "How did you know where I was?"
He stood towering over her, and gave a long pointed sniff.
"You were injured." He told her calmly. "Even with your spell of concealment, I could still smell your blood."
She looked at him blankly for a moment and then reached back to put a hand to her shoulder blade. Sure enough she could feel the warm damp patch that was still seeping through the material.
"Stupid!" she snapped under her breath. She glared up him. "Why did you follow me?"
He smiled his toothy smile down at her and his eyes glinted more.
"We didn't finish our discussion."
"What's to discuss?" she shrugged defiantly. "You like the way you are, and I like the way I am; and neither of us wants to change."
"Oh I don't know..." the vampire murmured thoughtfully.
The witch looked up at him sharply. A feeling of hope welling through her body at such a shocking force and speed, that it left her speechless for a moment.
"You want to become my apprentice?" she finally croaked out.
"No, I want to become your sire."
The witch licked her lips nervously, as another unfamiliar emotion swept through her.
To be young again, to be eternally beautiful; to be desired and lusted after. She had never yearned to be any of those things before tonight. Before that pumpkin had put his hands on her.
"Is that where you live?" he asked her suddenly as her silence dragged on.
The witch looked behind her to the opening in the ground.
"Yes it is," she admitted softly. She looked back at him and then past him with a little frown.
"Dawn is almost breaking." He acknowledged calmly.
"You should leave then." She told him worriedly.
"It's too late for that."
She looked into his eyes in alarm. "Why? Why would you do that?" she whispered.
"Only you can save me now old witch. But I must warn you. If you save me, then know that I WILL claim you!"
The old witch stood frozen.
He couldn't enter her home unless she invited him. She could run into her tree and have it swallow her up, leaving him on the surface to disintegrate under the glare of the morning sun.
Why didn't she move? Why couldn't she condemn him to death?
The first rays of the sun began to peep though the thickness of the trees and as the old witch looked up at him, she could see the shadow of a pain in the vampire's eyes.