Dark and Stormy
The castle loomed out of the darkness like a massive brick sentry. Through the heavy deluge of rain, frequent bursts of lightning revealed its vine-covered walls to the vampire stealthily approaching. Just short of the structure, the creature halted for a moment to brush the moisture out of its eyes and pull its cape more tightly around its shivering body. The late October storm made being out on Halloween night a chore and gave Angel Island the ambiance of a cold and wet hell.
The vampire stopped to get his bearings, glancing around nervously.. Man, this place was creepy. What the hell was a *castle* doing in San Francisco anyway? General grumblings turned into swearing as the pounding rain caused the dye in his hair to run, the trickles of black streaming down his face like tears and mingling with the raindrops that had splashed onto his cheeks.
The stinging chemical dye ran into his eyes, causing the vampire further difficulty in seeing where he was going. He was stumbling down the path, rubbing his eyes to no affect, when--WHAM--he ran smack dab into something big and hard.
The vampire looked up into the grotesque face towering above him and almost wet his pants in fright. (Not that anyone would have noticed anyway, he was already so wet.) As it was, he was frozen in fear long enough that his panicked mind finally recognized the strange object in front of him as a statue of a gargoyle. Limp with relief, he sagged against the stone figure to rest and let his heart find its way back into his chest where it belonged.
He was beginning to think that no fraternity was worth this.
It had sounded easy to Harold at first. He'd passed the initial pledge cuts to get into Omega Omega Omega fraternity just fine--it didn't hurt that his dad was a fraternal brother from his own college days. It'd been the old man's idea for him to join anyway. Knowing his dad's old frat brother friends, Harold hadn't been too impressed. Pompous asses, the lot of them. But Dad was paying for his tuition at SF Bay University, so what Dad said was law.
Harold had been relieved to find out that OOOh (as Omega Omega Omega was called) didn't participate in hazing to weed out undesirables. Drinking beer had always left him feeling queasy. Instead, OOOh used the tactic of humiliating its pledges. Harold's assignment had been to dress up as a vampire, go to that notorious castle on Angel Island, and ask for a donation to the blood bank.
That's what Harold'd thought. Now he wasn't so sure. As the young man contemplated his fate, the rain stopped, giving him at least a minor improvement in his situation. He was still cold, though, his teeth chattering so hard that he had a hard time keeping his plastic fangs in his mouth. Best to get this over quickly.
Now that he was close to the castle, it looked even more imposing. Harold stared it for a good while before deciding that the side entrance, with its stone canopy, looked a little less imposing. Girding his loins (what there were of them, anyway), he approached the door.
As the "vampire" got closer, he noticed a car waiting. Good, that meant someone was home and he could finish his task, then get back to the frat house where it was warm and blessedly dry. Harold approached the door, but it opened as he was just about to knock, giving the already jumpy college student another scare.
This time the face that met him was anything but grotesque.
Harold stared at the vision in front of him. The young woman had cascades of curling hair, dark velvet eyes, and smooth skin that was the rich color of coffee with cream.
"Can I help you?"
Oh, yeah, right--had to finish his task. At least this lovely woman hadn't shut the door in his face.
"I vant yoor blud. Vould you care to give blud to the blud bank?" Harold had meant to have a sophisticated accent like Gary Oldman but ended up sounding like Count Chocula.
The polite interest in the beauty's face abruptly changed to disgust. "Been there, done that," she answered in a cold, hard voice.
Unnoticed by Harold, an older woman and a little girl had joined the vision at the door. The older females looked at him as though he were a urine sample and brushed past him on the way to the car. Strike that: a urine sample would have gotten more respect. The little girl giggled and stopped to look at him. Not knowing what else to do, Harold looked back.
"Try the front door, Harold, there's someone there that'll talk to you," the youngest member of the trio suggested before bounding over to the car.
Harold nodded and turned to go around to the front when he realized that the little girl had called him by name. How had she known that? The college student swung back around, but the car was already driving off. The girl had her face pressed up against the window, a big smile plastered on her face, and was waving goodbye to him.
This place was getting creepier by the minute. That kid was weird. In her own way, she was even scarier than the gargoyle! Harold told himself to get a grip on it and went around to the front. His old man would kill him if he didn't get into OOOh. More important, he might cut off Harold's money. Not a cool thing!
Harold reached the imposing front door and shuddered when he saw the emblem there. A fancy letter "L" impaled by a sword. Any other night--on any other door- -and he would have said the design was cheesy. Tonight, however, looking at it made him shudder. Harold braced himself and rang the bell.
In due time, the door was opened by a................apparition. Harold's frozen mind could find no other word for it. Pale hair, even paler skin, frightening eyes, puffy lips. Would the Halloween horrors never end?
Then, it opened its mouth and started to talk. Immediately, an already scary situation got infinitely worse.
"Little old for trick or treating, aren't you?" Was that a voice or fingernails screeching down a chalkboard?
"I-I-I..........." Words failed Harold. His plastic fangs dropped to the flagstone with a barely discernable sound.
"What are you supposed to be, a vampire?" The apparition stepped out of the doorway to move around him. This time, Harold *did* wet his pants in fright. Was the specter measuring him up for some sort of nefarious purpose?
Seemingly not noticing his fright, the creature continued to talk.
"That's a pretty pathetic costume, actually. Real vampires don't dress like that." Her nose wrinkled in disgust. "And they certainly don't need to urinate." Apparently while the fangs had dropped unnoticed, the creature had observed the new puddle on the doorstep. "If you really want to look like a vampire, I can help....."
It was too much for poor Harold. The college student broke and ran in a blind panic. Completely oblivious to the fact that the young man most definitely did not desire her presence, the blonde woman took off after him, totally clueless as usual.
Inside the San Francisco Legacy House, Nick chuckled. He'd been watching Harold's approach the whole time through the security system cameras and was wondering what sort of prank the "vampire" was up to. The local college students thought the Legacy House was the perfect setting for Halloween tricks and tried to make mischief every year. As the House's chief of security, he liked to discourage that kind of thing. And Kristen was the most effective deterrent Nick could think of. The best thing was, he didn't even have to prepare anything. All he had to do was ask his newest colleague to answer the door and she took care of the pest with all of her natural "charm." God, he loved it when a plan came together.
Nick swung around on his chair. Derek had entered the room and did *not* look like a happy camper. The ex-SEAL gulped. It never boded well for him when his lover called him by his full name.
"Yeah," he finally answered cautiously.
Derek strode across the control room, looking--if it were possible--even more foreboding. The taller man reached Nick and bent down so that his hands were on the arms of the chair, his position causing his face to be inches away from Nick's.
"Did you sic Kristen on that unsuspecting college student?"
Nick scooted down a bit in his chair. Damn! Busted again!
".........Yeah," the young man finally admitted.
Much to Nick's surprise, his lover's scowl disappeared and Derek broke out into a huge grin.
"Good. I was wondering how we were going to get rid of her for the night."
"Huh?" Nick looked at Derek in confusion as the Precept lowered himself to his knees in front of him.
"With her gone, now we can play my favorite Halloween game," the larger man explained as he ran his hands lightly up and down Nick's inner thighs.
Derek's grin got bigger as he reached for the button of Nick's jeans. "Bobbing for apples!"
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