The pumpkin was as creepy as the shop where he had bought it and as ugly as Frigga, the shop-keeper. Frigga looked like the evil witches in fairy tales.
He would avoid even passing out of the shop if only his family were not so poor. They couldn’t afford the beautiful pumpkins bought by other families; only Frigga would give him a pumpkin for free. Mom was a witch like Frigga the shop- keeper. She earned some money by telling fortunes, mainly by tarot cards.
Sometimes she made love potions and cast spells.
This was why Frigga gave him the pumpkin for free. Witches never give each other money to buy magic. They had to buy a pumpkin, said mom. A witch’s house had to be decorated for Halloween. Even though they were both witches, Frigga looked nothing like mom. There was something creepy in her; she was like the evil witches in fairy tales. “Do you care for a few sugar worms, darling? They’ll give you awesome nightmares, I promise you this!”
Actually, he was more likely to see Frigga in his nightmares.
He refused politely and left the shop.
This pumpkin was terrifying, he thought as he walked back home. It could be an excellent decoration for the house of the Boogeyman.
He hastened his pace and tried to avoid looking at the pumpkin as much as possible.
All of a sudden the pumpkin was illuminated and orange smoke came out of it. The smoke slowly transformed into an ethereal woman. She probably was a ghost. Or a fairy. Beautiful and fearsome. She was malevolent – that was for sure. The boy child was about to drop the pumpkin and run away.
Then the fairy talked. “Please don’t go! I am the prisoner of the pumpkin. I can do things for you. I can make your wishes come true.”
The boy was confused. “My wishes? You mean- you are something like the genie in Aladdin’s lamp?”
“This genie was just a fairy tale,” she answered with a curious smile. “I can really make your wishes come true; I just have to know what you want.”
The little boy remained silent. When she saw him so reluctant, the fairy talked again.
“You have to ask for something,” she said. “I MUST do something for you; I have no choice. You see, long ago, my sisters and I were assigned to protect the dreams of little children.
We had to prevent monsters and other nightmarish creatures from troubling their sleep. But on a Halloween night, my sisters and I decided to have fun. We allowed all sorts of nightmarish creatures to enter the dreams of the children and have a feast there. On that night, all sorts of monsters difficult to describe entered the dreams of innocent children and fed on their terror. The first dream intruders were frightening creatures out of the fairy tales the children loved most. When they saw we did nothing to prevent them, others arrived. Soon the worst possible monstrous creatures tortured the minds of the sleeping children. My sisters and I tried to stop all the freaks, but it was too late. They were too many; we could do nothing against them. What happened was so bad for the children! Some of them went insane; others had night terrors for years. And all was our fault!
The Dream Guardians caught us, but too much harm had been done. We were judged. The tribunal of the Fairies and Dream Protectors decided that we would be imprisoned into magic pumpkins. Every year, on Halloween, we are compelled to grant three wishes to the children who buy the magic pumpkins. This is our punishment for all the damage we caused on that Halloween night.
So please tell me what you’d like me to do for you.”
The boy stared thoughtfully at her. His mother had taught him that he must never trust a magic creature that pretends to fulfill wishes. Also, he was sorry for her. Being imprisoned in this ugly pumpkin must be terrible, especially to a rebellious creature such as a fairy.
“I wish you to be free,” he said finally. He felt that this was the only right thing to do.
The fairy locked her strange eyes upon his. “Are you serious? Is this really what you wish?”
The boy nodded.
“But think of all what I can do for you…
“No, I don’t want an imprisoned spirit to make my wishes come true. It is wrong. Also, probably nothing good would come out of this….”
The fairy slowly changed. She was shining. “Are you sure?”
Maybe it was stupid to free her. Maybe she would harm him. Nevertheless, he decided to follow his intuition.
“I am sure. And please don’t ask me this question anymore. Just get out of your jail and go,” repeated the boy in a firm voice.
There was a powerful red flash. Before he knew what happened, the fairy was standing opposite to him. The pumpkin had exploded, only some shining orange bits were scattered on the ground. The fairy was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen.
“Thank you, child. We have to perform this ghastly task of realizing wishes for one thousand years before we are judged again and freed. Except if a child does what you did right now – which has never happened before I met you. I must avow that the way we realized the wishes was sometimes mischievous. You see, they told us we had to grant wishes. They are not demanding when it comes to the way we achieve this…”
The boy stared at her. He was puzzled and a little bit scared too.
“Don’t be afraid. I will not harm you. We are not ungrateful people. I will offer you three gifts. No mischief, I give you my word on this. Please accept them.”
The boy sighed. He had no choice; he had to accept the present or the fairy could be offended.
“My first gift is shadow-walk. You can meld into the shadows and hide in nightmares.”
Awesome, thought the boy. That was a rather useless gift, but he thanked the fairy.
“My second gift is that you will turn into the most powerful creature of the night.”
Powerful was good. He thanked her again.
“My third gift is that you will never die.”
Now, that was really great! He had always been scared of Death. That was probably the reason why he hated Halloween, although he had never avowed this to anybody.
Before he had time to thank her once more, the fairy vanished into thin air.
He never saw her again.
A thousand years passed.
He had almost forgotten that he had been human a long time ago. He could scarcely remember what it was like; every time he thought of this his memories were fogged, as though they belonged to someone else. There was a memory of him being a small human child. His mother sent him to buy a pumpkin. Then he did not know what happened. Maybe this event was connected to the dream he had every year the night before Halloween.
He dreamed that he was at a masked party in a dark castle.
All of the shadow people nobility was there, but they wore masks, so you could not tell who or what they were. Of a sudden, a woman with a bird-mask came out of one of the freak-pumpkins that illuminated the room. It seemed as though the woman had something important to tell him. Or she was somebody important. But he could never guess who she was. When she took off her mask, it was only to let appear another mask instead of her face. She was lost among the other masks of the party. He would never know who she was; it was as though the masks mocked him for this weakness.
He would always wake up and would be upset by the dream for a while. He was puzzled; he wondered what it meant. He hoped that one day he would be able to defy the masks that mocked him.
But this state of confusion never lasted for too long. He was quickly pulling himself together – he had more serious business than thinking of his dreams.
After all, he was and he would always be the Vampire King – the most powerful dark creature in the realms of shadows.