Happy Halloween 2012
A Bloodspell Halloween Treat
“Ugh, I’m not in the mood to go to a Halloween Dance,” Victoria said, staring out the window. “It’s so lame.”
“Why?” Christian sat in the armchair across his study. He’d just come back from one of his Council visits in Paris, and Victoria wanted to spend time—as in alone time—with him instead of having to go to some dance that Charla was dragging them all to. Even worse, a Halloween dance where she’d have to pretend to be something that wasn’t natural. Not that that wasn’t her life already or anything.
“Really?” Victoria said glaring at him. “You want to get dressed up as a supernatural character and go trick-or-treating? Get some candy? Let me guess, you want to be a vampire?”
Christian flashed his very white teeth, lounging backward in his chair, his book forgotten for the moment. “What’s wrong with that? Vampires need love too. And Halloween’s prime vampire love time, just in case you didn’t know.”
Victoria stood and flounced her way over to where Christian was sitting. “Some vampires have more love than they can handle.”
“Really?” Christian murmured, watching her little show with a distinctly distracted look in his eye. “And exactly which vampires would that be?”
Victoria tossed herself in his lap and threw her arms around his neck. “You know exactly which vampire,” she whispered against his throat. She could feel his sharp intake of breath beneath her lips and smiled.
“Fine, I concede,” Christian said as she trailed kisses up the column of his neck to his earlobe. But before she could move any further, he grasped her around the waist, and pulled her around to face him. “Not that I don’t love your kisses, but why the aversion to Halloween?”
Victoria avoided Christian’s eyes. “It’s just so fake. Everyone pretends to be things they aren’t when in reality, if they knew any of us existed, they’d try to kill us without breaking a sweat. We are the obscure … the invisible.” She stood, flirtation forgotten, and walked over to his desk to lean against it. She held her palm up and whispered a spell to make her hand disappear, finger by finger, erasing it from sight until there was nothing there but a shimmer of movement.
“Unseen,” she murmured, flexing her fingers, her hand once more becoming visible. “It just rubs me the wrong way because we are alive … we are as real as they are, and the only time we can come out to pretend to belong to this world is during Halloween. I can be a hideous witch and you can be a terrifying vampire. It’s pigeonholing.” She turned to face Christian, who hadn’t said a word but just sat watching her intently. “Don’t you feel that way at all?”
“Tori, it’s just a holiday,” he said gently. “And I don’t think you’re hideous. Quite the opposite, actually.”
“You know what I mean. To you, it’s just any old day.”
Christian shook his head, raking a hand through his dark blond hair, his eyes taking on a faraway look. “No, my love, it’s not just any day.”
Struck by an odd note in his voice, Victoria studied his face. “What do you mean?”
“In the old world, before the modern advent of Halloween, this was a day that many believed that the natural and supernatural came together, or when the dead could interact with the living. As a child, I never believed that but after … I was turned, my beliefs grew a little less trapped by the beliefs of humanity. All Hallows Eve was the one day that I was able to speak with my mother.”
“Your mother?” Victoria whispered, her attention riveted. “After she died?”
“It was years after we were turned. I was confused and angry and desperate. I couldn’t understand the hunger, the dark desire for blood that drove my every waking minute. I went to fortune tellers, shamans, diviners, anyone who had any connection with the supernatural, searching for answers.” Christian paused, staring into space. “I never found what I was looking for. Lucian, my brother, had no such compulsion. He embraced the life of a vampire as if he had been born to it. He told me I was foolish to seek answers to unnecessary questions.” Christian sighed, trailing off as if the thought of his estranged brother was painful. “But I persisted, needing to understand what I was … what I’d become.”
“And then what happened?” Victoria prodded gently.
Christian crooked a finger, and she walked forward. “Perhaps it’s better if you saw for yourself. It’s difficult to explain.” He stood, placing his hands on either side of her face and resting his forehead against hers. “Ready?” he whispered. She nodded.
In a flash, Victoria was transported to another place, another time. They stood in a dark forest around a blistering bonfire. She could see through Christian’s eyes, but at the same time she could see his face, almost as if she were floating outside of his memory. Her heart constricted. Christian’s face was haggard, his mouth drawn tight as if he were hungry. He looked like he was being torn apart from the inside out, the rawness of every emotion etched across his brow. She longed to comfort him but knew there was nothing she could do—she was only experiencing his memory.
She turned her attention to the fire. It was the Festival of the Dead, Christian told her via his memory, one that was celebrated to honor those who had died. It was during a time when the veil between the mortal world and the immortal world was at its thinnest … when the voices of those gone could be heard.
The young Christian crept forward and several people around the fire screamed aloud. But the strapping woman in the center with the blazing eyes beckoned him forward. “He is not here to hurt you,” she told her people in their language. “He is here for something else. Let him pass.” When Christian reached the center, he kneeled before her and she stroked his forehead. “What do you seek, child?”
“Answers,” he choked. “What am I?”
“You are the walker of the world between the living and the dead,” she answered. “But what do you seek?”
From Victoria’s vantage point, the young Christian looked confused at the question. His face contorted, and tears leached out of his eyes. He grabbed the woman’s skirts, burying his face in her hem. “My mother. I seek my mother.”
“Then your mother you shall find,” the woman said.
Before Victoria’s eyes, the fire blazed twice as high as villagers jumped backward out of reach. The woman chanted something in an indistinguishable language, throwing bits of apple skin and seeds into the fire. The fire flared brighter, impossibly hot, and Victoria almost had to turn away from the visceral memory until something materialized in the flames.
Dressed in an empire-style white full-skirted gown with puffed sleeves, she stepped from the embers to stand in front of Christian. Her golden hair was parted in the middle and clustered in curls on the sides of her temples. She looked regal and beautiful. She looked so much like him that Victoria gasped aloud.
“Mother,” he said.
“My son, why have you summoned me?” the woman said, her voice a musical whisper on the wind.
“I … I want to be where you are. I should be where you are, in the next life,” he said. His voice was plaintive. “Not this. Not the monster I’ve become … the monster they made me.”
“You are not a monster, Christian,” she said with a benevolent smile. “You are my son, and you will always be my son. Take the gift you have been given and use it.”
“It’s not a gift. It’s a curse. Evil!”
“It is however you choose to view it,” his mother said simply. “Evil is wielded in the hands—and heart—of its wielder.”
“But the blood …”
“Take what you need to live. Give something back in return. Peace to the ravaged, love to the heartbroken.” She smiled, an ethereal hand caressing his temple. “And help your brother. He needs you more than anyone else right now because he is lost.” Her voice faded as she stepped back into the flames that had begotten her. “He will be lost forever without you. Do not forsake him.”
“He wants to be lost, Mother,” he cried. “I can’t help him.”
“Try,” she said. “I love you, son.”
And then she was gone.
Victoria jerked out of the memory, her face soaked with tears. She grasped Christian’s shoulders. His own face was broken from reliving the memory of what had to be the last vision of his mother.
“So that’s why you won’t give up on Lucian,” she whispered.
He nodded. “That’s why I can never give up on him.”
“And Halloween … I mean All Hallows Eve was the last time you saw your mother, the last time she spoke to you.”
Christian smiled. “What they say about All Hallows Eve is true. The legends are real. The physical and spiritual worlds are intertwined. Just because it has become a commercialized holiday about candy and trick-or-treating doesn’t make that any less true.” He paused to take Victoria in his arms. “And every Halloween, I feel a little bit closer to my mother.”
“You think I’ll be able to sense my parents?” Victoria said.
“Anything is possible.”
Christian kissed her nose and Victoria forced a smile to her face, trying to lighten the mood. “Ok, fine, we’ll go to the stupid dance. You’ll be a fearsome vampire, and I can be a—”
“You can be my vampire concubine.”
“Hardly,” she said with a grin, despite the thrill spreading in her belly at the thought of being Christian’s anything. “I can be a powerful witch and you can be my minion. I think that’s more appropriate.”
Christian grabbed her around the waist, taking her lips in a scorching kiss that she felt in her toenails. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders, plastering herself to him and returning the kiss with enough zeal to match his. He was the first to break away, his eyes silvery and feral. If possible, the wild changes in his face made her more excited. She stepped closer, brushing her fingers against his cheek, her thumb sliding to the points of his incisors just visible beneath his lip.
“Fine,” she agreed with a delicious shiver. “I’ll be your little vampire concubine. Consider it my Halloween gift to you.”
“I can still be your minion,” he said, lifting her into his arms with a wicked smile. “Now do something useful, witch, and turn all these lights off.”Victoria complied with a blush, the spell hardly a thought in her head before they were shrouded in sweet, welcoming darkness.
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