Nea loved her life with the Coven. Five days earlier, Tabby knocked on the door of her small apartment with a warning about the end of the world. The same Tabby who laid beside Nea, legs entwined and dick pressed against Nea's naked thigh. On Tabby's other side, Conach slept, body curved against Tabby's plush form while his tail draped across both women, the end of it hugging Nea close. It was a delightful way to wake up, but duty called. She climbed free of the tangle of limbs, dressed with a thought, and went to make the rounds with Grimbough.
She considered her first few days as mistress of the Coven of Samhain a success. The Ritual of the Hunt went well. They took time to follow up with Micah and Sasha. The young lovers did get into a spot of trouble from waking up naked in a city park, but a few charms from Nea set things right. For good measure, Conach and Grimbough installed a magic door in the closet, in case the werewolves needed checking on at some point. With the initial changes out of the way, Tabby thought the two wolves would settle into a normal moon cycle, the next occurrence happily falling on Samhain.
The Coven house came to life rapidly under Grimbough's supervision. The front rooms were renovated into a chic gray with comfortable couches and chairs, a television, and other banal items which would be found in a normal household. Upon Nea's insistence, the decor also incorporated sexual themes wherever possible. The art displayed abstracts of the naked male or female body. The fixtures had a distinctly sexual shape. The curves of the room resembled hips or breasts or asses. If a census worker dropped by, they wouldn't notice anything out of the ordinary, but they would have a subconscious feeling of seeing sex everywhere. And, Nea hoped, leave a little hornier than when they arrived.
Other bizarre creatures appeared as well. Grimbough introduced the majority of them as goblins. They were short, barely three feet tall, and pudgy with little useless wings that flapped seemingly at random. They performed their duties earnestly, so far as the Coven could tell, but when not otherwise occupied the little things squirreled away in cupboards to fuck like rats in heat. The males had sizable dicks for their stature, and the females had little round butts which even the witches thought looked attractive. The creatures only wore small loin cloths over their green or red skin, often flashing one another with hairy genitals throughout the day.
While the goblins communicated primarily with Grimbough and usually only in a grunting, clicking noise that Grimbough barely seemed to understand, other denizens of the Coven house who appeared tended to offer scraping bows to Nea calling her Mistress or Faebound. Grimbough introduced her to a minotaur who kept the house's armory in order. Nea was surprised to learn a witch's house maintained an armory at all, but Berenike the Minotaur relished the opportunity to show her all the different weapons he'd collected over centuries. Berenike also wore a loin cloth, and Nea left wondering if she would have to enchant her nethers to take all of Berenike's size.
Grimbough took Nea through one door that led to a small lagoon which opened to a vast, blue sea. There she was introduced to Callisto, a mermaid, who offered her services in enchanting and drowning sailors, which Nea didn't think she would need, but promised to keep in mind.
In another room, she met a massive, ancient tree of gnarled gray wood who called himself Gennadios. Grimbough referred to him as Grandfather with more deference than the steward gave to even Nea. The tree was delighted to meet a young witch and swore fealty to her in a long, whistling sound.
She also met a few less elegant creatures like the Pumpkin Man. "He preceded me by some years," Grimbough explained. "The house mistress at the time was young, lonely, and somewhat misguided in her understanding of her role. At least, that's the story as explained to me. I've requested several times for Pumpkin Man's...dismissal, but I doubt you would consider it either."
Nea did consider it. The Pumpkin Man was largely worthy of his name. He seemed to be a pumpkin grown into the shape of a man with stems for fingers and toes and a jack-o-lantern type head. The more alarming feature was the pumpkin cock which his hands continually jerked off to emit a stream of pumpkin innards as cum. "No, I don't think disenchanting him would be...kind. At least not yet. Surely there's something he can do?"
Grimbough frowned and shrugged. "He's surprisingly useful in the gardens. You wouldn't believe the number of pumpkins we go through in a year, and they all have to come from somewhere. It's always unseemly though. Watching him hand over one of the things grown from that...emission."
Grimbough had a long list of things the mistress of the coven was meant to oversee. Magic, it seemed, couldn't solve all their problems. For example, while enchanting shops into believing something had been bought was possible, it wasn't always practical. Money worked better. They had plenty, but all in the form of ancient gold coins which did them little good. Nea gave Grimbough permission to melt them down, figuring someone could trade in the metal itself for cash.
She managed to get away from Grimbough by lunch, heading to the ritual room and beginning to understand why her predecessors forbade the steward from certain areas. Tabby huddled over the small workstation she'd set up on one side practicing her charms and thumbing through books. Conach hovered over the Witcheye watching porn or some people having sex somewhere at least. His eyes brightened as Nea entered the room, "Another busy morning with the stick man?"
"Shouldn't you have some of the responsibilities of running the house?" she asked, walking up to the basin.
"Tragically, you love me for my body alone. I am a kept fae, as they say." His tail slid under her skirt and rubbed against the bare ass underneath. With a flick of his tail, the skirt fluttered up before disappearing altogether. Within seconds, he had Nea on the lip of the basin with her legs spread and his cock halfway inside of her. Tabby noticed the other two rutting, magicked away her own clothes, and gave them a show of her spread legs and naked tits.
Conach didn't dally. Tabby apparently didn't give him the chance to relive himself yet that morning. He pumped into her until Nea squealed, pulling him deep inside. With a pleased sigh, he came, emptying his balls into his mistress until cum oozed out and dripped onto the cold stone beneath them. They parted, a little breathless, as Tabby brought herself to orgasm a few feet away.
Quicky done, Nea returned their clothes and went to look at the next tablet. "Ritual of Blood," she read. While the first tablet gave them a small rhyme and the Witcheye gave them a small demonstration, the second tablet offered no such assistance, and the Witcheye remained obstinately silent on the subject. "Anyone had an idea yet?"
Tabby held up a book, "I found this. It seems to be a record of one year of the rituals from some time around the year 800. They're...unsavory at best. The hunt was done by hunting a group of captured soldiers. The ones they caught were then sacrificed by draining their blood with thousands of cuts. It keeps going, too. The spirits of the soldiers were then bound into the corpses of other soldiers and used to generally scare the shit out people. Possessed zombies if I'm interpreting correctly. The spirits were then released into something that roughly translates as 'a dark and endless prison filled with the between worlds kin'. That sounds bad. And for consumption someone, the witches I think, ate the remaining bodies."
Conach blanched at the story, "They were efficient, I suppose."
"Different time," Tabby agreed. "One phrase sticks out though, 'draining blood'. Seems obvious now."
"Shit," Nea said. "Vampires."
"Are vampires a problem?" Conach asked. "I've never met one, but I know others who spoke rather fondly of them."
Tabby dropped her book and walked over to join them around the Witcheye. "They became a problem in the 13th century. Lots of bloody wars going on, as usual, but a few vampires got it in their heads that they were the true masters of humanity. They started breeding like rabbits so the covens of the age had to intervene. Led to the downfall of the supernatural powers altogether in the end."
Nea continued the story, "The covens won. Culled the vampires down to a few who they bound to coven magic. Made them work as assassins or impostors for centuries before arbitrarily forcing them to make new vampires and killing off the old crop. Last time it happened was during World War I. The August Coven decided the whole system should go along with the imperialists, but they decided to keep Priscilla in case...well, I guess in case of something like this. So far as we know, she's the only vampire left in the realm."
"And she's probably not the biggest fan of witches," Tabby added. "A hundred years of drinking goat blood and not having friends doesn't engender a lot of good will."
"She doesn't know us, though," Nea said. "Or the Coven of Samhain in general. She might be on board. Vampires get the same bad rap as blood witches. If we juice her up with nymphomancy and send her out to get a boyfriend, maybe she'll be on board."
"Fuck yes," Priscilla said.
The three witches sat across from the vampire in the creature's New York City apartment. Priscilla was rail thin with skin as white as milk. Long strands of silvery hair were tied back in a loose pony tail. She wore glasses, obscuring a pair of cerulean eyes with small, white pupils. She moved gracefully, though little, rarely moving from her prim position poised on the edge of the couch. Her dress, little more than a grey slip, clung to her body, displaying the skeletal frame underneath. In one hand, she held an archaic goblet filled with blood.
"To be honest, when I received your message, I thought this was it. The hog finally coming in for the slaughter," she said. "I thought about trying to kill you. Not that I can, but I could try at least. Get back a little dignity. Then, of course, I realized it wasn't those old bitties who were calling. You three, the Coven of Samhain, are a breath of fresh air in these old, dead lungs." She paused to sip her blood. A little flourish of color pulsed through her body before fading back to the serene white. "Still, I expected to get one last fling. Sire someone to take over my leash. But this is all much more exciting. A real fae sitting right in my parlor. I wonder what you taste like."
Conach shifted. He'd been unusually quiet since they arrived. Nea didn't think he cared much for the darker side of the magical world. "We're glad you're open to the idea, Priscilla. We thought you might be resistant."
She pursed her bloodless lips, "I didn't get much of a choice in becoming a vampire. Still, I thought it all very romantic. The vampire who sired me was debonair. They still let them drink human blood back then, you see. He had these dark, magical eyes that you could almost fall into. The witches sent him to save me from a fever ward. The process seemed medical in my delirious state. I thought he was a doctor and his blood was a medicine. When I woke up as a vampire, I filled my head with Victorian stories about being brooding and mysterious. The witches knocked that out quickly. Never even learned my sire's name. They burned him from the inside out. Horrible thing to see. One little purge later, I'm their wilting flower of a pet vampire with all the extra enchantments to keep me tame."
Tabby crossed her arms. "The restrictions aren't changing all that much. Vampires are too entropic."
"You don't have to tell me," Priscilla said. "I spent fifty years trying to work up an argument as to why I should be able to make more of my kind. Couldn't find any that didn't ultimately end with the world plunged into chaos. Even your little plan needs some thinking through. Is this ritual a yearly ordeal? Do I get to make another one every year? Do they? Exponential growth is a damnable thing if you're not careful."
Nea shook her head, "We don't know, yet."
"With the doors between worlds open," Conach said, "we have other options. There are realms where vampires aren't so confined. We thought you might like to retire one day."
"Retirement?" Priscilla said. "Seeing the cosmos? As an alternative to being burned? How generous." She flashed them a smile showing two long fangs. "That's a long ways off, though, isn't it? The fae might have a concept of longevity, but you two have barely even bloomed. It'll be a century before you consider the idea of wilting." She took another sip of her drink. Priscilla crinkled her nose. "It sours so quickly outside of the body. Potable, yes, but it loses all the proper taste, like drinking a glass of dull copper."
Nea cleared her throat nervously. "We've taken the liberty of picking out your...the person who you'll turn."
"Is he handsome? With a good diet? You do want the metals in the blood, iron and such, to have the taste be proper."
The women exchanged glances, but Conach answered. "He's cute. We'll try to work some spinach in with the other hex ingredients."
"Hex?" Priscilla hissed at the word.
"Not the bad kind," Nea explained. "Well, not bad per se. It's something of my own design. A nymphomantic hex. His blood will be supercharged with it. If things go as they should, you'll be pleased with the result."
"A nymphomantic vampire?" Priscilla said. "Not worried about that?"
"We still have the usual ways of dulling your appetites," Tabby said.
"Very well," the vampire sighed. "When do I get my treat?"
"His name is Lucas Talbot. Tomorrow night, he'll be at the Goose and Gander bar."
"Anything else? Do I have to chant or something when I do the deed? Say a prayer to some witch god?"
Nea shook her head. "No. We handle all of that on our end."
Priscilla smiled again. "Are you naughty girls going to be watching?" She drained the rest of the glass. "Then I look forward to putting on a show."
Lucas drained the last of his scotch. The past few days had him on edge. He'd been seeing things. Things in the corners of mirrors, shadows moving in ways they shouldn't, and objects moving around his house. Even on his way to work, he'd felt eyes watching him. Shadowy figures waited at the end of subway cars, conveniently getting off at his stop and disappearing whenever he walked toward them.
He blamed work. Stress. He told himself he was too young to be worried about having a mental breakdown. That's dumb, he thought. No one's too young. Half the damn world is on medication for fucking stress. — Maybe I'm schizophrenic. Is that woman looking at me? It's nearly dark in here. Who wears sunglasses in a place like this?
The strange woman sat at the corner of the bar. Her face looked pale, almost albino. The rest of her looked like some kind of flapper era glam girl. She wore a short, close fitted black dress complete with sequins and tassels. The glasses broke the image. They looked like the kind of thing Lucas would see in a fashion magazine in a lobby. Probably a doctor's office when they have me committed. Her eyes look fucking blue. Solid fucking blue.
The bartender asked if he wanted another, but Lucas declined. As much as he wanted to black out, he still had work in the morning. The less hungover he showed up the better. He paid his tab and nodded to the strange woman on his way out. She smiled at him, giving him half a second's pause. Up close, she seemed about his age, not the older variety of desperate woman he expected. Too much effort, he concluded, fumbling through the bar door and into the street.
The sour smell of garbage greeted him. He wrinkled his nose and headed up the block toward his apartment. The city was for some people and not for others. Lucas grew up thinking he was in the first category only to discover he belonged soundly in the second. It broke him down a little more every day. The noise, the smell, the people — all of it crawled under his skin and prodded around, taking a little bit of him back whenever it pulled away.
He wanted something else for his life, something with a lot less spreadsheets and pointless meetings. Maybe that's what's wrong with me. My old imagination acting up again after all these years. Stop being foolish, Lucas. Get your head out of the clouds, Lucas. Sure ma, will do dad. No problem sticking to this shitty reality. I should write, clear the cobwebs off my brain. I should leave the city, burn my savings on a cabin for a year, and really live for once. Ugh, fuck. I should just get laid.
Lucas passed the diner at the end of his block. He cut into the alley, stepping over a puddle of sludge as he left the street lights behind. He came to a cold stop when he saw someone standing at the far end of the cut-through. It wasn't fear that stopped him, not exactly. The figure looked half his size and alone, not exactly a threat. But it could be a problem. Some lost chick needing money for a ride home. A junkie who would become his responsibility with one rash act of desperation. It made him grit his teeth.
A little light glittered off the shadowy figure. Sequins. A little black dress. And cold, solid blue eyes. Fuck me. The woman didn't walk, she glided. He'd have seen ripples in the standing water or heard the tap of her feet on the pavement. No, she hovered a little above the ground as she closed the distance between them. The blue eyes stared up into his. Lucas felt calm, like looking into the waters of an eternally deep, perfectly blue sea. He swallowed a hard knot in his throat. "Can...can I help you?"
Priscilla smiled, careful to keep her lips close. "I saw you at the bar. I wondered if you'd like to go back to my place, but since we're close to yours..."
This isn't right. "Sure, that could be fun," he answered, lost in her eyes. "I live up ahead. Name's Lucas. Are you, uh, what's your name?"
"Priscilla. Come, let's walk."
She took his arm in hers, a strangely powerful grip for such a small, scrawny thing. Lucas thought the woman seemed wrong. He couldn't exactly figure out how or why at first, but as they walked, he noticed a few things. Despite watching her feet move as he fumbled forward on his own, they made no sound and didn't seem to disturb the ground beneath them. Second, she didn't have a scent. She smelled of nothingness, no perfume or sweat on her skin. Perhaps a faintly metal odor, but he couldn't distinguish it from the normal aromas of the world around him. And she didn't breath. He wasn't certain until the elevator took them up to his apartment. Standing in that metal box with only the hum of the surrounding machinery, he listened intently for the heave and flow of two breaths, but heard only one.
They made the short walk through the hall to his apartment door. He unlocked it and stepped inside. She didn't follow. "May I come in?"
Lucas was not a fool. In all his life, he'd never dreamed something like a vampire might actually exist. Yet, if it did — an all evidence before him said it did — he would accept it at face value. Priscilla is a vampire. If I invite her in, she'll drink my blood and possibly kill me. I should shut the door in her face, grab the closest religious thing I own, and huddle in my bed until morning. But that's not how the story goes, is it? The hero is mesmerized, lulled in by her innocence, and gullible until the moment her fangs sink into my neck. Shut the door, and the story ends. Lucas is crazy, isn't it a shame? Or, I invite her in and... "Come in, please," he said.