Halloween Ball at Dracula’s Castle
It was Halloween night at Dracula’s Castle, the most important night of the year for the dead. For on this night, they would rise from their tombs and feast on the living.
The ever impossible became possible as the locked doors to fire and hell swung open, and time mysteriously stopped. On this ghoulish night, screams were the norm; blood the drink and death the stench that perfumed the air. Frightful creatures, large and small, drooled and snapped their wicked jaws. They lurked in the shadows impatiently waiting for their turn to feast.
At the castle’s main entrance, buses packed with party goers dressed in bright costumes parked and unloaded. Inside the castle’s walls, a buffet made for a king, packed with delicious steaks, chops and seafood, awaited them. To wash the good food down, free drinks of every variety were served. Dozens of contests planned throughout the evening guaranteed everyone a chance to win big prizes. With some prizes running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the level of excitement and anticipation ran high among the specially invited guests. The night’s main event, which offered the largest prize of all, was reserved for the live bite scene between Count Dracula and the lucky winner of the best tasting neck contest. This person would not only take home a one million dollar prize, but would be invited to appear on the Count’s top rated vampire soap opera.
Revelers exited their buses and formed lines along the long dark winding path to the castle. The asphalt walkway, lined with a hundred orange candle pumpkins, lit the way. Bats screeched overhead as bolts of white-blue lightning crackled and struck the castle’s tall steeple, leaving trails of red sparks down the roof. Deep claps of thunder rumbled in the distance causing the ground to shake. A witch with skinny green legs and big black boots crutched on a broomstick and silhouetted across the full moon. Her eyes glowed orange under her black pointed hat.
She had a thick crooked nose that twitched with her evil laugh. Mummies wrapped in torn white linen rose from the fog covered ground; their eyes dark as coal. Packs of large grey wolves trotted outside the main gates and took seats on top of parked cars, lifting their heads in unison to howl, while black cats gathered and sat along the side of the walkway. Zombies, grey and expressionless moaned with mouths agape and arms hung low, bumped into each other on the front lawn. In the graveyard behind the castle walls, vampires crawled out of their coffins and slithered their way to the basement door. Frankenstein and Wolfman stood guard outside the main entrance and collected invitations.
After surrendering their special invitations, guests were invited inside where they immediately became immersed in the spirit of the dead. Orange and black streamers hung from a dozen chandeliers against a background of hundreds of orange and purple Italian lights. Ghosts glowing in color from black to white darted between them. Six foot Black Widow spiders with their four beady red eyes and eight pointed legs crawled across thick webs of steel covered the windows awaiting a fresh meal. The old pipe organ played a mixture of Halloween and classical music in the main ballroom where people gathered and skeletons danced. The room smelled like a musty old basement in need of an air transfusion. In the center, the Count danced with one young lady after another, dipping them at the end of each dance as he studied and tasted their beautiful necks. Each contestant received a score and was then entered into the biggest contest.
As the next bus pulled up to the castle, young Vickie and Jill hurried off and followed the crowd through the tall black iron gates and up the pumpkin lit path. Both girls were college cheerleaders and dressed themselves proudly in their official blue and white uniforms. The heels of their shiny white boots thudded on the asphalt as they walked.
“I can’t believe I let you talk me into coming here with you,” Vickie said as she looked up and watched bats circling the castle’s steeple.
Jill laughed as she bent to pet a black cat that rubbed against her boot. “Excuse me? Talk you into coming? Huh! People would die to be here tonight. Do you know who we’ll meet tonight? The Count, from the soap, “The Vampire Who Lives Next Door” is here in the flesh tonight, straight from Hollywood. This is so exciting!”
“That’s your favorite show.”
“Well, that’s true. Then I guess the only reason you’re here is because you lost our bet.”
“Yeah, some bet. I’m here because I’m your friend. I want to make sure you don’t disappear and end up on some missing person’s report. “
Jill giggled. “Missing person’s report? Please. You just won’t admit I won the bet and got the A+ in Calculus can you? How quick we forget certain things.”
She turned toward Jill. “I didn’t forget. Just because I failed the class doesn’t mean you’re any smarter. If I slept with old man Writhers, I bet I could get an A+ in his class too! The rumor I heard is that’s the only way to get an A+ in his class. Heck, that old man should have retired a hundred years ago.” She looked around and laughed. “Speaking of that old geezer, he would fit right in here, don’t you think?”
Jill laughed. “Leave the old fart alone.” She stopped and grabbed Vickie’s arm. “Wait, isn’t that him over there on the front lawn talking to those zombies? “
“What do you mean talking to those zombies? He is one!”
They both laughed as they followed behind the stream of people up to the main door. The closer they came to the castle, the more they noticed the lawn covered with old tombstones. In the background they heard muffled screams from under the shaking tombstones, a witch’s laughter above and deep moans from the zombies on the lawn.
Vickie noticed people pulling out their invitations as they approached the door. “Can you tell me again how you received this invitation?”
She pulled out a letter from her small white purse. “I told you. Three months ago the Count held a contest awarding free tickets to his annual Halloween Ball. Some prizes even included an all expense paid trip for two to Transylvania, which I won.”
“And how did you learn of this?”
She stepped closer to the door. “It was advertised in a couple magazines and on his vampire TV show. I sent in a few entries and of course figured there was no way I’d win. But after the drawing I was contacted and informed I was one of the lucky winners!”
“Well, I don’t know about being lucky. If you won a million dollars, maybe I could agree. Transylvania is not the same as Disney World.”
Jill laughed. “Disney World? Listen, we’re here for one reason, to win some serious cash. The contests run throughout the night and offer prizes into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The one I really want to win is the contest the Count runs. A million bucks can buy a lot!”
“Do you really think either of us have a chance?”
Jill looked up at Frankenstein as he collected tickets from the couple in front of her. “Of course, or I wouldn’t be here. I’ve become pen pals with the actor that plays Count Dracula over the past couple months and he assured me if I came tonight and dressed in my cheerleader uniform he would make sure that I not only had a good shot at winning the top prize, but he would personally get me a cameo appearance on his cable TV show. Maybe I can ask him to get you on the show too.”
“Oh, Jill, you can be so gullible sometimes. Are you even sure it was him that replied and not some secretary?”
Jill smiled as she handed the tall green monster her two tickets. “Relax. I’m positive it was him. Besides, look around. Do you honestly think there’s anyone here that can compete against us? We’re tanned, tall, and blonde dressed like cheerleaders with tight firm bodies and looks to die for. Once I bat my baby blues at this Count, he’ll be putty in my hands, you watch. I actually feel sorry for the poor zombie that competes against us. This will be the easiest money we’ll ever make, trust me.”
Frankenstein grabbed each of their hands as Wolfman stamped their wrists with the image of a black widow spider. Wolfman lifted his head, howled and then said, “Welcome to our special party.”
Jill flashed her pearly whites and replied, “Thank you.”
The girls stepped inside and were quickly struck by the loud music emanating from the pipe organ. In the middle of the room they watched as the Count danced and spun on the floor with a young female dressed like Cinderella. His black cape flew open and revealed its shiny red inner lining. His eyes focused on her neck. He had the white collar of his cape turned up. His greasy black hair made a v shape leading from the front middle to the back.
Vickie grabbed Jill’s arm while watching the Count dance. “You don’t really think he is a vampire, do you?”
She watched as he dipped the young Cinderella and ran his tongue up and down her throat. She shook her head. “No, of course not. He’s just an actor playing the part.”
The girls each grabbed a tall drink from a hostess walking by with a tray of orange juice and vodkas. Jill dipped her finger in her drink then wiped the juice across her neck.
Vickie turned toward Jill. “What are you doing?”
She giggled. “Making my neck taste good.”
“You should try it sometime.”
Vickie shook her head. “I’ll stick with my Chanel, thank you.”
“It’s your loss.”
They walked to the counter at one end of the dance floor and registered for their first contest; the best tasting neck. When the ballad ended, the Count walked up to the girls and flashed his saber tooth fangs. He bowed then looked each in the eye. “Good evening.”
Jill held out her hand for him to kiss while batting her eyes. “Good evening, Count.”
He looked over her contest entry then looked up and smiled. In a deep Romanian accent he said, “Jill? The cheerleader? It’s so nice to finally meet you in person.”
She smiled as warmth spread across her cheeks. She leaned her head back then stared into his dark eyes. “I just love your show. Vampires are so sexy, especially when they bite. Your scenes look so real on TV.”
He smiled as he studied her toned legs; firm breasts then stared for a moment at her thin neck while wetting his lips. “It comes to me … naturally, Jill. I must admit, you look more delicious than I could have ever imagined.” He turned his gaze to Vickie and her throat. “And who is this, your beautiful twin sister?”
Jill laughed. “This is my roommate, Vickie.”
Vickie smiled as she held out her hand for him to kiss. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
He smiled and kissed her hand while studying her figure, stopping at her tanned neck. “I assure you, the pleasure is … all mine.” He turned to Jill and reached for her hand. “Shall we?”
As the two walked out to the center of the room, the song, ‘Werewolves of London’ began playing. Jill’s eyes locked with his as she suddenly danced like she was under his control. She tossed her head violently from side to side, then from front to back with her long blonde hair flying through the air. When the song ended, he kept her out for another dance, a classical tune, all the while nibbling across her throat like it was corn on the cob. When the second song ended, Jill and the Count walked up to Vickie. Jill’s face was beet red and her body dripping in sweat.
The Count reached for Vickie’s hand as Jill collapsed into a chair to catch her breath. Suddenly, Vickie was now throwing her head violently from side to side and forward and back as the two danced. When the first song ended, he kept Vickie for another and kept her dancing like she’d never danced before. When the second song ended, Vickie joined Jill at the table and fell into a chair as the Count escorted another woman to the floor.
Jill laughed. “Your face is so red. Here, drink this, it will cool you down.”
Vickie picked up the frosted glass and looked at the purple concoction. “What is it?”
“It’s called a Purple Zombie.”
She laughed. “Perfect. Just what I need after dancing with Count Dracula, a Purple Zombie. ”
Jill picked up her glass and clanked it into Vickie’s. “Here’s to winning this damned contest!”
Jill sipped her purple beverage through a pink curly straw. “So, what do you think of the Count as a dancer?”
“He’s amazing. I tell you, he sure knows how to get the blood pumping. My heart hasn’t pounded this hard since the Dallas 15K run last year. Whew, and I used to think I was in pretty good shape.” She tipped her head back and rubbed the side of her neck. “I’m a little ticklish on my neck, but at one point I swear your Count bit me. Can you take a look and tell me if you see any bite marks here?”
Jill studied her neck. “Hmm, I don’t see anything.”
Vickie pointed to the exact spot she felt the sting of his bite with a finger. “I could swear he bit me right here. Maybe it’s just my overactive imagination.”
Jill leaned closer. “Wait, there is something. It’s either two tiny pin pricks along your jugular or they are freckles.”
Vickie rubbed her neck. “Are you sure he’s not the real thing?”
Jill laughed. “He’s an actor. Boy, you really do have an overactive imagination. When you’re ready, let’s go enter another contest and try and win us some more money.”
Vickie grabbed her drink and the two started their tour around the castle. When they passed the first room outside of the ballroom, the smell of the delicious buffet drew them in. After sampling some of the BBQ ribs, chicken, tender steaks and Cajun shrimp, they refilled their drinks and continued their walk to the contest for best sports costume.
The line for the contest wound around the hall, but moved pretty fast. Every sport or sport’s team appeared to be represented, some better than others. After Jill and Vickie registered, they performed their dance routine as if they were out on the football field. They jumped, flipped, spun and clapped their hands to music only they heard. At the end they bowed and thanked the judges before sitting down in the audience. The five judge panel dressed as skeletons with bald heads and painted white faces raised their scorecards giving the girls high nines and tens across the board. Everyone in the audience clapped and cheered. The next contestant then appeared up front dressed as a baseball player.
Vickie turned to Jill. “That’s a good score they gave us, don’t you think? Maybe we’ll actually win something tonight.”
Jill looked around the packed room at the competition. “I don’t know, but I think we have at least a shot for third place. Ten grand would be nice. I’m so excited!”
When the contest ended the judges deliberated. After what seemed like hours, one judge pushed out his chair and stood. He walked in front of everyone holding three gold colored envelopes. He cleared his throat then spoke into the microphone in a deep European accent. “I’d like to thank all of you for being a part of this annual event. Every sports costume here tonight looked truly exceptional. Before leaving, please stop by so we can give each of you a bottle of your favorite drink to take home. I will now announce the winners for the best sports uniform contest.” The room became very quiet.
“Our third place winner and recipient of ten thousand dollars is … John, the Transylvanian soccer player.” The crowd clapped as John jogged up in his red and white uniform and claimed his prize then bowed to everyone.
“Our second place winner and recipient of fifty thousand dollars is … Elena, the Wimbledon tennis pro.” Dressed in a yellow and green costume swinging a tennis racket, Elena walked up to him and claimed her prize.
Jill and Vickie held each other’s hand tight. Jill turned to Vickie. “This is it. Cross your fingers!”
A hush came over the room as the judge opened the last envelope. He looked up. “This was a very difficult decision for the committee to make. For the first time in the history of doing these contests, we have a tie. The judges have decided to award each person the one hundred thousand dollar prize. The winners of this year’s best sports costume are …” He raised his voice almost to the point of yelling. “Jill and Vickie as the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders! Congratulations girls!”
Jill and Vickie screamed and hugged. Still screaming they ran up to him and kissed his cheek. He handed each a check. The other winners joined them up front while the room erupted in loud applause and whistling. Tears of joy ran down Jill’s and Vickie’s cheeks as they looked around the room in disbelief.
Jill looked at her watch. “Damned, look at the time!”
“It’s just before eleven. So?”
“The contest for the one million dollars starts at eleven-thirty. I wanted to tease the Count one last time before he announced the winner.” Jill walked up to one of the judges as he packed papers into his folder from the table. “Excuse me.”
Looking up he smiled. “Congratulations!”
“Thank you. Can you tell me where the announcement will be made for the best tasting neck contest?”
“Sure, it’s downstairs in the main auditorium. Just take a left out this door and take the stairs down, or just follow the crowd.”
“Thanks!” Jill turned to Vickie. “Let’s hurry!” They rushed to the staircase.
The stairwell was packed with people heading to the same place and moving very slow. After twenty minutes in line, they finally arrived at the auditorium’s entrance where they heard various Halloween themed music play through the speakers. A green zombie met them at the door and escorted them to their seats.
Jill looked at the zombie. “Thank you. Say, do you think I can run out for a few minutes? I need to speak to the Count. It’s important.”
“Sorry ma’am, he’s already backstage preparing for the show. No one is allowed to see him at this time. Please, take your seat.”
Jill sat next to Vickie and folded her arms. “Well, there goes that.”
Vickie turned to her. “Ah, don’t be so negative, Jill. Combined, we just won two hundred thousand bucks. Not bad for an afternoon’s work.”
“I know, but this is the contest I really wanted to win. I just wanted to remind the Count of his earlier promise and maybe flash my eyes one more time.”
The lights dimmed as the doors closed and steel bolts locked into place. The room became pitch black. Through the speakers they heard the sound of a heart beating slow at first, then faster and faster. The sound of an animal growling, the sound of a woman’s heels running on cement, and the heartbeat getting faster. Suddenly they heard the woman scream and the thrashing of a struggle with the growl. The heartbeat sounded more like an engine running as it beat so fast, and then they heard a final scream, a last gasp for air and then silence as the heartbeat stopped.
The sound of a wolf howling grew louder, giving the feeling that the beast was near. From above came the sounds of windows breaking, doors being knocked down and loud footsteps. The horrible sounds echoed throughout the auditorium. The footsteps reached the stairs that led to the auditorium. Surrounding the seated guests were dozens of doors. All of a sudden, the door knobs turned. Sounds of growls, hisses and moans outside the doors were heard. The doors were pounded on, kicked and scratched as beasts tried to get in. The audience gasped.
Vickie grabbed Jill’s arm. “Oh, my God. Are we safe in here? I feel a bad chill running down my spine.”
Jill swallowed hard as the hairs on the back of her neck rose. “Sure, it’s all part of the Halloween show.” Then in a softer voice, she continued, “I hope.” I spotlight was turned on and pointed toward the stage. Jill gazed at the burgundy curtains in front with the gold lettering, ‘Castle Dracula Theater’.
Ground shaking thunder crackled above them. The banging on the doors suddenly stopped and the curtain on the small stage slowly opened. The spotlight now focused on Wolfman who was lying on his back on top of a black shiny coffin. His head hung off the edge. The audience clapped as he rolled off landing on his hind claws. He bowed to everyone.
“Welcome to our Halloween party and thank you all for coming. I trust everyone has had a great time here tonight and has had plenty to eat and drink. I promise you tonight’s show will be unlike anything you’ve ever seen. For those of you who might feel … a little left out, I assure you that we offer one hundred percent audience participation. This is the party of parties. The one you’ll never forget.”
The crowd clapped and cheered.
“Please allow me to introduce you to some of tonight’s special guests.” Michael Jackson’s song, ‘ Thriller’ began playing. From both sides of the stage various monsters, werewolves, skeletons, zombies, vampires, ghosts, mummies, witches and Frankenstein slowly walked or floated out filling the floor waving and bowing. Everyone stood and clapped.
“And now the host of tonight’s ceremony and star of “The Vampire Who Lives Next Door”, Count Dracula!”
The monsters parted to either side of the stage as bright flashes of red light reflected across the fog, now drifting across the stage floor. Loud claps of thunder echoed through the auditorium. Suddenly, a black caped Count Dracula appeared at the rear of the stage and walked up the middle. In his white gloved hand he held the gold envelope with the name of the night’s million dollar winner. The audience cheered and clapped.
His black boots stopped at the leading edge of the stage. He smiled and waved at the crowd as the music softened. In a strong Romanian accent he addressed the audience. “Thank you and thank you for being with us on this special occasion. As you know, Halloween night is our favorite time of year. Well, it’s certainly mine. After I award the prize for best tasting neck, I will immediately perform a live bite scene for you. For those who might feel a little squeamish, please close you eyes — for everyone else, dig in and enjoy the show. Then after our human sacrifice succumbs to the darkness, the doors to hell will swing open and the real party will begin. This will be your opportunity to share yourselves with all the creatures of the night. I guarantee you will party like never before.” His laughter echoed through the speakers in a most evil tone.
The audience clapped and yelled.
Vickie turned toward Jill. “The hair on the back of my neck is rising. He scares the hell out of me.”
“Calm down. It’s all part of the show. You’re supposed to feel scared. Just sit back and enjoy.”
“Enjoy? I can barely breathe. He scares me. Can we just leave?”
“What? No! Don’t be crazy! We could win this thing. We’ll leave after the awards, ok?”
The Count continued, “And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The winner tonight will win in addition to a million dollars in cash, a one year contract to appear on my weekly show valued at up to another million dollars.” He opened the envelope. “The winner of the best tasting neck contest is … a tie!” He looked through the audience. “Jill and Vickie come up here! You’re our new winners!”
Jill screamed. “Oh, my God! We did it! A million dollars, Vickie!”
“I don’t know about this. I’m getting a bad feeling.”
“What? Are you crazy?”
“Is he really going to bite us now?”
Jill grabbed Vickie’s arms and shook her. “Relax, will you? It’s just a skit. Will you at least act as if you’re happy? We just won a million dollars, girl! Now let’s go up there and collect our check.”
The Count continued. “For tonight’s show, we’ve brought in a second coffin. My wife, Lilith, will assist us. Come out here, honey.” The lid to the second coffin squeaked open. A tall woman pale as a ghost dressed all in black silk with long black hair and long white sharp fingernails crawled out. She bowed as the audience yelled and clapped.
Jill and Vickie joined them on stage. Lilith slithered up behind Vickie and sniffed her neck. She whispered softly behind her ear. “Why are you so afraid, dear? You just won a million dollars. You should be excited.”
She turned to face the Countess. “I’m sorry. I think I might have drunk too much.”
“I doubt drinking was your problem. You fear my husband, don’t you?”
“Maybe a little. How do you know?”
“The way you smell when you look at him.”
Jill hit her arm. “Vickie! Don’t be rude.”
Lilith smiled as she brushed Vickie’s soft brown hair away from her neck. Her eyes studied it as if looking for something. “No, that’s perfectly understandable. I tell you what, why don’t you be my partner for the night. Would that make you feel a little better?”
Vickie smiled and nodded her head.
Halloween music played. The Count stared deep into Jill’s eyes. “Are you ready?”
Jill smiled. “Can’t wait.”
“Look deep into my eyes. Deeper. Deeper … He took her hand and danced with her across the stage. The Countess took Vickie’s hand and followed. Jill and Vickie fell into a dizzying spell for each song as their heads swung violently forward and back and side to side. At the end of the fourth song, the Count and Countess raised their hands like casting a new spell over them and led each to their respective coffins. There, Jill and Vickie climbed on top and scooted their butts on the shiny surface backwards to the edge. The Count and Countess lifted each girl’s butt and placed pillows under them, then shackled their ankles to the coffins to keep the girls from sliding off. Jill and Vickie slowly closed their eyes and leaned back as if doing a sit-up, but this was unlike any sit-up they knew as their heads continued to arch further and further back. Soon their heads hung off the edge completely upside down.
Their faces radiated and glowed with life as gravity forced blood to rush to their heads. Their long hair and thin fingers fell back toward the floor as their crimson faces remained emotionless under their vampire’s spell. The Count and Countess climbed on top of their human sacrifices and pressed their cobra-like fangs against the strong rapid beats of their victims’ carotid pulses. The girl’s rich, warm blood pulsed and rushed just under their soft skin. The audience gasped at the frightful sight, but soon chanted, “Bite! Bite! Bite! Bite!” Some of them screamed in anticipation and stamped their feet on the floor while banging their fists into the seats in front of them.
In sync, the Count and Countess turned the girl’s heads to the side and struck, jabbing their fangs deep into the cheerleader’s hardened jugulars. The sudden shock from each bite quickly catapulted the girls out of the spell. Jill and Vickie opened their eyes and screamed as their blood spurt out across the stage floor. The girls moaned, raising their arms to fight off their blood suckers’ attack, but it was too late. They quickly succumbed to the weakness that accompanied a rapid blood loss. Their arms once again fell limp over their heads as darkness enveloped them.
Blood dripped from their chins as the Count and Countess climbed off their victims’ bodies. They slid their arms under the girls’ limp form and lifted them off the coffins. Two streams of crimson still flowed from the deep puncture wounds on the sides of Jill’s and Vickie’s necks and pooled on the floor. The Count and Countess pushed a button on the sides of their caskets to open the tops. The old hinges squeaked as the lids rose. They laid their girls down inside their respective coffins then switched places before they climbed in and lay on top of them. While the lids slowly closed, the Count reached up and held his open briefly and laughed in his usual evil tone looking up at the audience with blood still dripping down his chin. “Now it’s your turn. Enjoy the show.” The curtain slowly closed as the Count and Countess dropped down on their victims in one final bite as the coffins’ lids closed and sealed Jill’s and Vickie’s fate forever. The Count would now taste the last of Vickie as the Countess tasted the last of Jill.
The audience rose to their feet and clapped and whistled. Some yelled, “Encore! Encore!” A loud click echoed through the auditorium as the doors surrounding them unlocked. The crowd became silent as all eyes turned to focus on the doors. Suddenly, all around them, every door swung open. Zombies, werewolves and vampires rushed into the room and attacked. The audience screamed in panic as the monsters swooped in for the kill. Werewolves jumped on peoples’ backs as they sunk massive fangs into human flesh while zombies reached for and grabbed peoples’ arms and legs to feed on. Vampires jerked heads back and ripped into human throats. Blood spilled, body’s fell and flesh devoured as everyone panicked — yelling and screaming in utter horror. People struggled to get to an exit, but the monsters outnumbered them ten to one. There would be no escape for this was Halloween night, the night when the dead feasted on the living.