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Just A Little Bit of Hocus Pocus

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I looked into the mirror in front of me and adjusted the horns that sat perched upon my head.  I had to admit that Endana had been right, the costume did look good but even so I had to question her choice.  Looking back at me from the mirror was a succubus with piercing eyes rimmed in kohl and glitter.  Sclera contacts covered the familiar steely blue of my eyes with solid crimson irises before a black background.  I had to admit, with the heavy emphasis on my eyes as well as the vivid red of the lip color Endana had given me, I looked good.  My housemate had even taken the time to style my pale tresses in loose waves with accents of crimson and black and culminated with the onyx horns that arched back along my parietals.

My housemate must have had connections with the design department on campus or something, because she had not only secured the horns for my costume but a pair of wings with iridescent black feathers and a pair of digitigrade boots in black with silver hooves.  She had found a red and black corset with silver buckles while browsing a campus costume sale and paired it with a far too short black skirt she had had in her wardrobe from last year.  It was quite the riske combination, and one that shouldn't have worked but the woman was a miracle worker and managed to pull it together.

"See Val, you are a sexy bitch in that outfit.  You'll have guys falling over you left and right.  I just wish you would take more time to look hot more frequently when we go out.  You have a gorgeous figure, even if you insist on hiding it away."  Speak of the devil, Endana walked into my room to evaluate her work with a smirk.  She was a vision herself in blues and golds with white accents.  Small wings arched from her temples and her face was framed by an elaborate Norse helm.  I return her smirk, a Valkyrie suited her perfectly.  I noticed that she held two props in her hands, what appeared to be a false sword in a fur lined scabbard and a grimoire in a hip holster of sorts.  I raise my eyebrow at her choices and she shakes her head, "They'll be fine, and I mean they look so authentic."  I almost interject that was because they were, but her glare silences me.  "They will make the costumes, and come on, what's a demoness without her hidebound spell book?"

"Since when do succubi need spells?"  She snorts at my response but hands me the book anyway.  I secure it at my hip, I couldn't deny it did give the outfit a rather creepy vibe.  Seeing the book sparks something in my memory and I grab a pair of silver earrings dotted with red gems from my vanity.  Endana nods her approval.  "Let's go Val, we are going to be late to the bonfire.  It's time to celebrate.  And I don't want to hear about classes in the morning, you'll be fine."  I roll my eyes but allow her to drag me out of the house and into her car.  I open my mouth to protest but she shakes her head, "You are riding with me, there is no way I am letting you ride your death trap to this party.  It's also freezing, so don't even try it."  I frown because it also meant that there was no bailing early on the party either.  My housemate gave me a wicked little smile as she realized what I was thinking.  "No running away tonight."  Her eyes go soft after a moment though, "Val I really do want you to enjoy yourself tonight.  You've become so closed off since... it happened.  I promise I won't let anything to happen to you but I'm concerned, you haven't connected with anyone since him and you weren't even great about letting people into your world before that.  If it gets too bad then we can leave but please try.  For me?" 

I hadn't realized how much my recent reclusiveness had worried her.  The concern in her eyes made me feel guilty, I had been wallowing for months.  I give a sigh and try to smile, "Fine but only for you.  Now let's go, time to see if this party of yours is worth my time.  I really hope your standards haven't fallen since we last hit one."  As I later found out they didn't, as Endana had somehow managed to get us into the most talked about party on campus.  We arrived when it was just starting to hit its stride.  I was nervous about being around so many people in such an uninhibited environment but I also had a promise to keep.  I would give the party a chance.  Endana lead me inside, I could tell already that she wasn't planning on straying far all night.  I shook my head at her.  "Go, I'll be fine.  Enjoy your night.  I'll find you if I need you, you have other friends here."  I nod in the direction of a group trying to flag the woman down.  She gives me a stern look and I mouth 'go' again.  This time she huffs but nods.  She really was a good friend and I didn't want her to fail to enjoy her night because she felt obligated to babysit me.

 After Endana goes off with her friends, I decide to wander through the party.  Quickly I notice that while most of the theme is generic Halloween that some local flair is incorporated in as well.  Over all it was a very surprisingly witch dominated atmosphere for what was basically a glorified frat party.  Granted many of the guys who lived in this house were dressed as warlocks or wizards but it was still an effort.  Featured prominantly in the main room was a large candle.  I didn't even have to guess what its significance was.  Everyone in Salem had heard of the Black Flame Candle and those it was supposed to bring back.  The Sanderson Sisters were the favorite boogyman of many of Salem's residents and still a pretty popular Halloween costume among its populace.  I had already seen multitudes of each sister at this party.

Beside the candle stood two of the residents of this house.  They appeared to be trying to flirt with a young woman who shot me a pleading look as I entered the room.  As I walked over I could hear snippets of their conversation.  "Come on, tell us what you are.  It obviously isn't a very good costume if no one get it," the first pries and winks at his friend.  "We've got a few upstairs if you want to change.  Or better yet, ditch the costume period."  He cackles and the girl blushes.  His friend jumps in, "Before you take her upstairs, have her light the candle.  See how bashful this one really is."  I see red and stride up behind the boys.  The poor girl looks near tears.

I plant a hand on both their shoulders and bend down so I can speak directly in their ears, "If you don't get the costume boys, you can't flirt with the girl inside of it."  Both jump and turn, startled by the sudden appearance of another human apparently.  I give a wicked smile, "Why don't you boys go and run along.  I'm sure there's a keg stand waiting for you somewhere.  Go drink, it seems that's what you are good at.  You clearly aren't here for intelligent conversation."  Both of the boys bristle at the insult but I'm still a good head taller than them in my heels and am pretty good at intimidation when I need to be.  A glare shuts up any protest and they exit the room with their tails between their legs.  "Assholes," I mutter as I turn and help the girl to her feet.  "You ok there?  Most of the boys here are harmless but some can be real tools once they get a few drinks in."  I look her over, a bit of running mascara from where tears welled out of her eyes and some dishevelment of her dark hair were the only things that seemed out of place but I knew that looks weren't everything.  The girl nods and I let my scrutiny relax.  As I do, she seems to relax as well.  I resist the urge to frown.  She was still on edge.

"I'm Valeriya," I say with a gentle smile.  There was no need to further startle the girl.  "And for the record, your costume is clever.  A bit more in depth than this party was going for but a welcome change from all the witches."  And it was, she was wearing a full slip covered with words like 'ego', 'id', and 'oedipal complex'.  I give a chuckle as I read through them.  "Freudian slip right?"

The girl smiles and nods, "Veda.  You are the first person here to get it.  I was really rethinking my choice of coming out tonight.  This party isn't really my scene but it was Halloween you know?"

"I can understand, I came out for many of the same reasons.  I luckily have a friend who I can rely on here though."  A crash from the other room makes us both jump, "Why don't you hang out with use until you want to go home."  Her eyes brighten at the thought of company.  I turn to go but then notice the candle and grimace.  "I'm also going to end the boys' game."  I snatch the lighter from the table, if the candle was already burning they really couldn't make the virgin joke anymore.  Even if they blew it out, the joke only really worked on the first light of the night and plenty of people would see me do thing.  The flame bursts into existence with a twist of my thumb and I bring it close to the wick.  There was a moment of hesitation before I light it.  Instantly, the room goes quiet.  What was once a bright yellow flame was now black.  "Shit," was all I could breathe out before the room erupts into child like 'ooohs' and cries of 'virgin'.  I silence a few with a glare and exit towing Veda behind.

We had barely made it out the door when I ran head first into a trio of witches.  More Sanderson Sisters, this party was littered with them.  I huff, "Pardon us, trying to get through."  Instead of moving however, they just surround us further.  I quickly found myself separated from Veda and I hiss.  It had only taken me minutes to lose the charge I had taken under my wing and these women were partially responsible.  I turned to give them my mind, but found them a touch too close for comfort.

The blonde stepped further into my space, and her very presence was intoxicating.  “What is thy name little succubus?  Give it to me and thou shalt be mine forever.”  I feel weak looking into her eyes, silvery blue and so similar to mine.  I can hear some of the male students behind us commenting about their excitement.  An undercurrent of ‘make out’ barely reached my brain through the fog this woman cast on me.  I start to open my mouth to give her my name.  For some reason all my fears about losing Veda disappeared.  I could even ignore the jeers of the other party goers.  Because I really did want to kiss this woman, to do whatever she wished.  But then I felt a hand on my waist and a bolt of fear went through me, slicing through the haze.  Panic replaced the fog.  I didn’t have protection this time, he couldn’t save me if I got into a situation I didn’t like.  And this woman didn’t fear me, she didn’t even know me.  I couldn’t rely on my reputation to remain untouched, not here where I had insisted on keeping my secrets.  And then panic turned to anger, how dare this woman touch me without my consent.  How dare she get into my head.  I am conscious of the two women accompanying her as I smack the hand away with a snarl.  “I’m not anyone’s.  Get away from me witch.”

I bolt away while the blonde is distracted, the brunette consoling her while the redhead looks in my direction curiously.  I quickly find Endana, "We need to leave.  Now.  I want to go home."  Endana hears the panic in my tone and nods, wrapping me in a hug before escorting me out towards the front of the house.  We were going home.  Along the way I notice a familiar face.  "Veda.  Come on, we are leaving.  This party isn't what it should have been and I'm not letting you stay here alone."  I don't know if it was the hardness and edge to my voice or the fact that she was feeling out of place but the girl follows us out.

As we left the house, I couldn't help but shiver.  I could still feel the eyes of the three mysterious women clad as witches.  Endana took it to be discomfort at the attention from the other party goers, and while that may have been a reasonable conclusion any other time I was still unnerved more by the women.  I still couldn't place them, nor could I figure out why they had been watching me.  The blonde had had a look in her eyes that I was very familiar with, a predatory hunger that I had seen on many faces.  It was the desire to possess the being before them, make a person theirs and only theirs.  The others had hungers that I was less familiar with but unnerved me all the same.