Note #1: While it features no direct depiction of sexual activity, this hypnofetish scene does contain examples of fictional characters doing illegal, immoral and/or impossible things to other fictional characters. If you are under the age of consent in your community, are disturbed by such concepts, or want graphic sex in your pornography, please stop reading now.
Permission granted to repost for free to any electronic medium, as long as no one's being charged to view it, and this disclaimer and e-mail address (HYPNOVOYER@HOTMAIL.COM) are not removed. It would also be nice if you told me you were posting it.
Copyright me, 1999.
Note #2: Happy Halloween.
Billy wheeled the stock cart around the corner into the vegetable section, peering over the top of the sloppily-stacked cartons. Even so, he almost ran into the thin, somewhat stooped man standing in front of the pumpkin display. Billy squealed his wheeled charge to a stop.
“Oh! Sorry about that, sir.”
“Hmm?” The man looked up at him, seeming to come out of a trance. “Oh. That’s all right.” He moved so the cart could fit through.
“Thank you, sir.” Billy glanced at the large display and the equally big sign hanging above it: ‘Pumpkins, 42¢/lb.’ He continued cheerfully. “Getting ready for tonight?”
“Yes. Have to be careful about such things. I wouldn’t want Stingy Jack or any of his friends visiting my home.”
The man gave a tiny sigh. “It’s not important.” A thought obviously occurred to him. “But since we’re on the subject, could you tell me where the candles are?”
“Aisle 23, sir. Party supplies.”
“Thank you. Happy Halloween.”
“You too, sir.”
Billy resumed pushing the cart, idly whistling ‘The Monster Mash’ through his teeth and wondering about the strangeness that was other people.
The man watched him go, his expression unreadable. Then he turned back to studying the pumpkins.
She stood in the shadows, in the alleyway, looking out onto the street. The groups of figures hurried back and forth, laughing and yelling. Blood flowed. Axes and swords were waved. Antennas and fairy wings and spacesuits sparkled silver under the streetlights.
She watched the passing scene with an expression that crossed back and forth between distaste and desire. Her hands clenched inside her flowing garments then deliberately straightened themselves out, long invisible fingers spread wide under the cloth.
Her gaze was drawn upward, towards the building across the way. Towards a certain balcony and a certain window. She stared unblinking at the square of light then slid back, deeper into the shadows.
He pushed the door open with his shoulder and stepped into the darkened apartment, lugging the bulging cloth bags. He used a bony elbow to flick on the lights. The revealed room was tasteful and elegant. Expensive-looking leather-bound books lined most of the walls, slotted carefully into place on well-crafted shelves. A few pieces of comfortable leather furniture were scattered around the carpet, with a sprinkling of glass-topped tables added as well. In between two of the shelves a large clock kept a sliver of time pinned in the span of its swinging pendulum. At right angles to the wall with the clock stretched a wide stone fireplace, currently cold and dark.
In spite of all these things, the room seemed very empty.
He crossed the room to the wide stone-topped counter which separated the living room from the functional white and chrome of the kitchen. He placed the bags on the divider with care and returned to close and lock the front door. His long tan coat went into the closet beside the door, followed by his ankle-high leather boots. There was a pair of slippers waiting for him in the closet and he stuck his feet into them.
Back to the counter, around it so he was in the kitchen. The sacks were opened to reveal groceries: a long bumpy carton festooned with the large words ‘Price Farm Eggs’. A bunch of carrots strapped together with a piece of green twist-tie. Cans of green beans, cans of corn. A box of Kleenex. Two brown and orange bags of candy, both with the label ‘Fun Size’ stamped in large letters in one corner. Three thick stubby white candles wrapped in clear plastic.
In the last sack, all by itself, was a pumpkin. He rolled it gently off to one side and folded up all the sacks, stashing them away in a nearby drawer, one on top of each other in a neat pile.
She was waiting for him when he slid open the door and stepped out onto the balcony, standing with her back to the railing, her long cloak and her long hair both sheer and blacker than the night sky behind her. He paused and looked at her carefully, his lanky body framed by the metal rims of the door, yellow light spilling out from the living room.
The last of the children had disappeared from the street several hours ago, and the night was cool and still. The silence passed between then. Finally she formed a smile and spoke, her voice sweetness and music and ice.
He said nothing for a moment, swirling the glass he held in one hand, clinking his own pieces of ice together. Then he raised an eyebrow and spoke.
“Hello yourself. I’m afraid that you have me at a disadvantage. Have we met?”
“We haven’t been formally introduced, no.” Her lips were very red, her skin very white, drawn tight like parchment but still somehow smooth . “But I feel as if we know each other very well. I’ve been... studying you for some time now. Almost a month. Learning about you.”
“Oh. I see. To what end?”
“I think you can guess.” She swirled forward a few steps, moving as if her feet did not touch the balcony’s concrete floor. “You’re the sort of man who could appreciate it. I could tell. That’s why I picked you. That’s why I was... drawn to you.”
“Should I be flattered?”
“Oh yes. I’m very selective about such things. It’s been so long since I’ve found someone truly suitable. So long.” She licked her upper lip, her pointed tongue slow in its movements.
“And do I have any say in this?”
“Not really, no.”
He tugged the sash of his robe a little tighter and pursed his lips.
“I see.” He stepped back from the door, so his leather slippers were once again on the brown carpet. “Don’t I have to formally invite you in, or something?”
She laughed, a sound of frostbitten roses bending in a winter breeze.
“What a quaint notion.”
She followed him across the threshold, bringing the night’s darkness and chill with her.
He spread out the newspapers, being careful to both overlap them and leave a fringe hanging off the edges of the counter. This done, he dropped various items into position on the papers. A large metal bowl, two steel knives (one large, one small), a large metal spoon, a clean white dishcloth, and a long freshly-sharpened pencil. The result brought to mind a table of sterilized surgical implements just before an operation. On the counter by the sink, he placed a large metal cookie tray, positioning it so its edges were aligned with the sides of the countertop.
He picked up the pumpkin with both hands and placed it on the center of the newspapers. He had chosen well, getting one that was large and round and nicely symmetrical. Even so, he turned it this way and that, looked at all of the various sides before settling on one and positioning it so that it faced him. He stood for a moment, examining the scene before him, his hands rubbing themselves on his slacks. Finally, he picked up the pencil and began to draw, making a neat circle that ran around the bulbous gourd’s green stem, leaving an inch or two of orange.
The room was tasteful and elegant. Expensive-looking books lined most of the walls, slotted carefully into place on well-crafted shelves. A few pieces of comfortable leather furniture were scattered around the carpet, with a sprinkling of glass-topped tables added as well. In between two of the shelves a large clock kept a sliver of time pinned in the span of its swinging pendulum. At right angles to the wall with the clock stretched a wide stone fireplace, currently cold and dark.
Even with the two of them in it, the room seemed very large and very empty.
She looked around, took in everything with a glance.
“You live here alone.” It wasn’t a question.
“Yes. At the moment, at least.”
“All of the time. We are kindred spirits, you and I. We travel alone in the world.”
“Is that a proposition?”
She smiled with amusement, wider this time, her teeth glittering.
“You think that I am offering you eternal life? To be my mate, or some similar foolishness? No, my dear Richard. We are kindred spirits in that we stand apart from society, from the throb and swirl of humanity. We share nothing with anyone. Certainly not our lives.”
“I will take you and suck you dry and leave you here. Then I will find another like you, if I can.”
“Then we will share something. If only briefly.”
“Perhaps.” She tilted her head slightly to one side and studied him. “Odd. There is no fear in you. None at all. I have seen such things before. I remember that some of my partners wished to die and accepted my embrace gratefully. Others think that they can stop me, that they have some... ace up their sleeves. I think you fall into the latter category.” She smiled again, definitely wider this time. “Very well, Richard. Show me your ace. Stop me if you can.”
He put the glass down on one of the tables.
“I suppose you’re right. I do have an ace. Of sorts.”
He pointed at the wide stone-topped counter which separated the living room from the functional white and chrome of the kitchen.
He chopped the last clinging strands off of the underside of the ‘lanterns lid, whacked out a wedge-shaped air vent with two quick cuts and set the top piece to one side, his motions looking as if someone had drawn another circle on the newspapers with an arrow pointing to it- “PLACE TOP HERE”. The stem now looked like the lone palm tree on a stereotypical cartoon island, floating in a black and white sea. He put down the knife, back into the exact position from which he taken it. The severed pumpkin pieces splatted their way into the bowl.
The metal of the spoon’s long handle was cold and slick under his fingers. He dug into the seedy guts and scooped out a large glop, which went into the bowl as well. The stands of goo running across the highly polished surface seemed almost a sacrilege. He dug in again, deeper this time.
He was sweating. He paused to mop his brow with the cloth.
There were two items sitting side by side on the counter. They seemed out of place in the apartment, clashing with everything around them. The first was a cheap green plastic bowl half-filled with small orange and brown candy bars. Second, a large jack o’lantern sporting a triangular nose, matching eyes and pupils and a wide grin of fangs. A thick white dwarf of a candle burned inside the hollowed-out sphere, dim thanks to the overhead lights. But somehow at the same time brighter than it had been a moment ago, as if the lights were slowly failing.
She looked at the pumpkin, then back at him, her head still tilted. She smiled once again, her expression unpleasantly resembling the one hacked out of orange flesh.
“I don’t see how that’s going to help you.”
His reply seemed on the surface to be the same as his comments before, but there was a faint undercurrent, perhaps of nervousness.
“Well, wasn’t that his job, originally? Keeping things... like you... at bay? Scaring them off so they went away and bothered someone else?”
“I suppose.” She gracefully moved her cloak around her body. “And who knows? Maybe it once worked. If the person who had created it actually believed in such things. But you don’t, now do you? And belief is all that matters.”
She took a step closer towards him, and the lights grew dimmer still.
The last of the innards had been extracted and the bowl set to one side. He put the spoon down, back into position, and wiped off the pumpkin’s shell with the other side of the cloth, sweeping off any last stubborn bits of orange string. He washed his hands in the sink. This task completed, his picked up the pencil once again and began tracing new patterns on his lumpy orange canvas, a collection of careful triangles, some floating free, others as overlapping and interconnected as the pieces of newspaper on the counter.
Finally, he put the pencil down and tilted the pumpkin up into the light, looking at his work with his head cocked to one side. He gave a satisfied nod.
He took a small step backwards and passed an absent hand through his fine brown hair.
“Belief? It’s your opinion that everything is a matter of belief?”
“Maybe not everything.” The cloak fell away and the exposed skin of her arms and throat glowed pale white. Her black eyes caught the orange light from the jack o’lantern and reflected it. “90% of it, I’d say.”
The lights were out now, only the candle burning on as brightly as ever, a tiny island of light in a black sea.
“But if that was true...” He trailed off as she took another step towards him.
He speared the last chunk with the tip of the knife and pulled it slowly free. It was the jack o’lantern’s left eye, a vaguely A-shaped piece with the ‘pupil’ remaining behind. The completed face grinned up at him slyly and he stared back, his own face unsmiling. With a flick of his wrist, the chunk joined the others in the bowl, resting on top of the insides. He put down the knife, again wiped the pumpkin off with the cloth, and stepped back to examine his handiwork from a distance. No nod this time; he just turned and picked up the bowl, carrying it to the sink, pausing for a moment to turn on the oven. The chunks went down the drain, into the garbage disposal. The innards were sorted, a gloppy handful at a time. The pulp followed the chunks, while the seeds went on the cookie tray. You just can’t methodically organize slippery pumpkin seeds, but he came as close as is possible.
Once the seeds were in the oven, he pulled open a new drawer and extracted two new items. A matchbook with the word ‘Flint’s’ slashed across it in large red letters, and a small cardboard box of bandages. He put them on the counter next to the candles.
They were only a few feet apart now. Her eyes were very orange. This time, he was the one who took a step towards her, moving as if dragged. He spoke doggedly.
“If that is true... what about your.. condition...?”
Her arms wrapped languorously into place around him, moving like two pale white constrictor snakes.
“What about my... condition?”
“Wouldn’t... wouldn’t it mean that... you are... you are only the way you are because you... believe that you are?” He was almost whispering.
She didn’t answer. Her lips moved into position and parted. Just enough to for the matching slivers of white to show, somehow white even in that light.
He cleaned up all of the tools, washing them in the sink, rubbing them completely dry and placing them back in their proper drawers and cupboards. Soon only the jack o’lantern and the top piece remained, the former still grinning from his place on the newspaper.
The man left the room and returned a moment later carrying a wooden box which he set on the counter next to the ‘lantern. The container was flat-topped and fairly low, constructed out of some dark wood and covered with more triangles, hundreds of them meticulously carved in overlapping profusion. He flipped open the tiny silver latch and lifted the hinged lid.
Inside, the box was velvet-lined. In the front squatted a row of small glass vials, each stoppered cube filled with a different colored substance, some powdered, some liquid. Behind them in three specially-shaped holes were a small wicked looking knife and a mortar and a pestle, all made of silver and chased with more of the triangles. He took the mortar from its slot, set it on the counter and began adding things from each of the vials, just a drop or a sprinkle apiece. After each addition, he meticulously pounded with the pestle, mashing them all together.
Finished, he picked up the package of candles and sliced it open with the knife. Two of the candles went into a nearby drawer which already had several others of various shapes and sizes. The third he held in one hand, rolling it thoughtfully between his fingertips for several moments.
Then he went to work with the knife, carving deeply into the candle, peeling away strips of wax. Making triangle after triangle.
“And that you could...”
She bit down and his words slowly faded off into a groan of pain and pleasure.
There was silence.
Then... a final set of words, less than whispered, breathed with a last thread of breath
“...that... that you could walk again... walk free... under the bright and yellow sun?”
No more words, but there wasn’t silence. Sounds filled the room, ugly compelling sounds.
And then another sound, from the direction of the counter. Not ugly, but strange and swelling.
Suddenly, sharply, she snapped her head away and looked at him. Her expression was a mixture of desire and confusion, triumph and puzzlement. She blinked, the effect being like clouds flickering across some malignant black sun. She opened her mouth, to bite back down again and froze, her long talons scratching patterns of tears into his robe.
She spoke, hissing into his ear.
“Under the what?”
His voice was weak and choked.
“Walk free. Under the bright and yellow sun.”
She slowly, slowly turned her head so she was looking at the jack o’lantern.
The sound there had grown very loud.
The candle was finished, now resembling an over-enthusiastic tattoo devotee. The wax was swept off into a garbage can. The seeds were done roasting as well, so he pulled them from the oven with a mitt and set the tray on a hotpad. Using the tip of the knife, he sorted through the seeds, pushing each aside, one at a time. Finally, he found five or six, large and smooth and unbroken, that met his approval and he flicked them into the mortar. He flicked two of three others into his mouth and chewed absently.
The chosen seeds were mashed up with the rest of the concoction, leaving a black crumble that resembled the leavings from five minute’s hard work with an pink eraser.
He put the mortar and the box to one side, and began cleaning up the newspapers, folding them up and placing them in the same drawer with the bags. Finally only the pumpkin remained and he carefully positioned it so that it was grinning out into the room, the eyes looking into the blackness of the fireplace. The top lay nearby, along with the mutilated candle. He walked to the refrigerator and opened the door. Tucked into a discrete corner on one of the shelves in the door was a final vial, identical to the others. He slid it in his hand, holding it with excruciating care. The red liquid within sloshed as if alive and trying to escape.
The vial uncorked with a small pop. He set it on the counter, next to the mortar. Taking the knife in one hand, he pricked the forefinger on the other and dripped some blood into the mess. At the same time, he dumped in the contents of the vial.
The result was a semi-liquid paste. Once he had bandaged his finger and everything was thoroughly mixed, he took hold of the mortar. He moved now truly like a surgeon, a millimeter at a time, his eyes a pair of laser-sights, his hand that of a factory robot following exact coding and instructions.
The paste formed a neat red-black ring around the jack o’lantern.
The match flared, loud and stinking.
The candle wick burned.
He touched the flame to the ring, and there was a quick bright flash, a circle of light.
The colors of pumpkin and sun and blood and bone and love, all at once, all overlapping. A faint ring of ash was all that remained.
He dripped a little wax in the proper place, deftly put the candle inside the pumpkin without singeing his hand and put on the lid. The orange light flickered.
Just as he had finished everything cleaning up and dumping the sacks of candy into the cheap plastic bowl, the first of the trick-or-treaters rang the doorbell. Smiling for the first time since entering the apartment, he went to answer the summons.
The candle was glowing like an arclight. A most appropriate metaphor, really. The connection had been made.
Glowing like an arclight and getting stronger every second. The sound whistled and howled through the eyes and nose of the jack o’lantern, the face finally getting a voice.
She stared, unmoving, unblinking.
There was an explosion. The colors of pumpkin and sun and blood and bone and love, all at once, all overlapping.
A squeal of pain in the after-darkness, some vicious animal with its leg caught in a trap.
The lights were back on.
She lowered her head and looked at him. She blinked. It was an ordinary blink.
She looked around the apartment then back at him. Her expression grew concerned and her healthy pink hands came up to rest on the sides of his head.
“You look terrible! Is something wrong? Are you sick?”
“No. I’m fine. Really.”
“Well... I am feeling a little... drained.”
“Men. I can’t go away and leave you alone for five minutes. And I left you for a whole month! What was I thinking? You’re going straight to bed!”
“Yes, really. Let’s-” She broke off and sniffed the air. “And what is that awful stench?” She turned and gave a little outraged squeal. Not of an animal, but that special noise a woman makes when she catches her husband doing something monumentally stupid. “What is that?!”
“A jack o’lantern.” He spoke the words mildly.
“You can’t even make a jack o’lantern without my help! What in the world did you use in it, kerosene?”
The jack o’lantern lay in ruins, slowly cooling pieces of pumpkin and wax scattered across the countertop. The lower half still remained, looking something like a blackened tulip. A single defeated thread of white smoke rose from where the candle had been.
“I did the usual things. I don’t know-”
She turned back and silenced him with a kiss.
“Oh, never mind. I’ll clean it up in the morning. At least you didn’t set off the smoke alarm. Right now, I feel about how you look. I just want to get some sleep.” She looked inward for a minute then refocused on him. “Richard... why did I go away for a month? It’s... it’s strange... but I can’t remember...”
He lifted his hand and snapped his fingers in front of her face. Her expression went blank.
“You went because you needed to walk under the pale and white moon.”
“Yes. I needed to walk under the pale and white moon.” She parroted the words in a flat tone.
“And in the morning, under the bright and yellow sun, you won’t worry or think about it at all.”
“And in the morning, under the bright and yellow sun, I won’t worry or think about it at all.” Her expression did not change, but she spoke these words with a note of dreaminess. He snapped his fingers a second time. She blinked again and smiled more widely. Her teeth were neither bloody nor pointed. “Let’s go to bed.” They started towards the bedroom. “Richard?” She snuggled next to him, her expression again slightly puzzled.
“Yes, my dearest?”
“A minute ago... we were talking about... vampires... weren’t we?”
“Well. Among other things. Yes.”
“What did you mean... about it being a matter of belief?”
He slid his arm around her shoulder.
“What I meant was... if such a thing as a vampire were to actually exist, I think that would be mostly a state of mind. That a vampire could be a normal human being again, if he really wanted to. With a little help, both modern and ancient...” He hesitated. “At least most of the time. There would always be a physical part to it as well... lurking down underneath somewhere... and... maybe... once in a while... maybe every year... that nature would come back to the surface. And the vampire would need to...”
“Get his humanity booster shots.” They were in the bedroom. She gave an impish smile and peeled off her top.
“Yes. Something like that.”
They kissed again, this time with more passion, working their way up onto the bed. A time later, they fell asleep in each other’s arms.
The last group of trick-or-treaters came and went. When he was sure there would be no more, he locked the front door once again and went into the bedroom. He changed into his robe and stepped back into his slippers. Returning to the living room, he fixed himself a drink and took a small sip.
He looked at his watch and sighed, a long ragged sound that drained his lungs.
He walked to the balcony door and slid it open.
He stepped out into the night.
In the morning, after cleaning up the mess, they sat on the balcony together in their robes and slippers and watched the cool and white November sun rise into the fresh blue sky over the eastern suburbs of the city.As they did so, they pigged out on the leftover Halloween candy.
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story pageAll contents © Voyer, 1999