Blood and Shadows.

A/N: I was seriously debating whether I should post anything up for Halloween since I do have my finals coming up and am swamped with the incessant studyload. But...I needed a break so I thought why the hell not? And why not enter the Halloween Challenge by RowanRawr and Amela333 at a go? So here I am, with my miserable excuse of a Halloween piece solely concocted for the deprived authors of fandom. Enjoy!

P.S. I've already done Chapter 5 – E, for my DS fic series Alphabets, but haven't done Chapter 4, D, yet. Yeah, I'm working in reverse...and sorry to put a damper on things, but I'll get cracking on Chapter 4 right after my finals, which ends on Nov 11. So toodles till then! :D

- X-

Glancing up at the ethereal sphere of the full moon hovering amidst the pregnant grey clouds above, Steve Leonard tentatively sniffed the cool crisp air, hissing when the putrid stench of another tantalized his nostrils. Not really an unpleasant odor since it carried the familiar saccharine smell of rust and salt that he'd grown accustomed to over months of feeding upon innocents in notorious back alleys, but not a very welcoming one either. He was being shadowed by one of his own men, and frankly speaking, he was terribly fed up of it.

Halloween was the only night he could prowl the streets in his full glory as a dangerous denizen of the night, and his private pleasure to roam about freely was the one thing he treasured the most.

Dodging quickly into a small cramped alleyway leading towards the mouth of a proper suburbia, he noticed with annoyance that the stench had magnified in volume. Stiffening, he growled into the oppressing darkness closing in from all sides.

"You're getting careless, Gannen...I thought you said you were going to leave me alone tonight," he whispered haughtily.

A small sigh of discontent pierced the night. And just as he'd expected, a lone figure stepped out from the shadows dancing across the graffiti-laden walls, looking severely bedraggled.

Steve froze at the sight of the drabby boy covered head to toe in dirt, his weathered grey suit jacket torn and frayed around the edges. Haunted blue eyes bored into piercing green with mechanical stillness, issuing a silent challenge. Matted dark hair clustered on a pallid skull with sunken cheeks, complimenting the cracked pink lips that were barely discernible under a thick smattering of red liquid that was definitely not corn syrup.

The Vampaneze Lord felt his heart hammer for once, not quite sure what to make out of the familiar face staring petulantly at him, or the steady drips of scarlet teardrops rolling down the boy's chin and splattering against the cracked pavement below.

"D-Darren...?" he finally voiced, running a hand through his silver hair.

Darren's lips stretched upwards in a lop-sided smile, exposing sharp fangs. Steve recoiled back warily. Vampires don't have fangs, his mind spluttered, trying to comprehend the sight before him. And Vampaneze don't either...Which means-

It's not Darren, you idiot, another mocking voice interrupted his inner babbles. It's something else. Something that looks like him and wants to kill you. Might I suggest you run? Like, now, my Lord?

True to its warning, the boy in front of him begin to stride forward, his eyes taking on a shimmering red haze that could rival a full grown vampaneze's mad gleam.

"I'm hungry, Steve," the thing looking like Darren hissed, cocking its head in a child-like manner. "Won't you feed me?"

It opened his mouth, exposing a double row of serrated teeth with bits of flesh and blood caught between the gaps and an oily black tongue that smelt distinctively of sulphur.

"Shit," he muttered through gritted teeth.

And that is when Steve Leonard, fearless Lord of the Vampaneze and all around dangerous predator of the dark that could quell the monsters crawling under his coffin every night with a single glare, bolted for his life.

Although he was only a half-vampaneze, he deftly leapt over the crumpled trashcans littering the alleyway, not stopping to look back and watch if that thing was following him. But he needn't have bothered. Like a silent ghost gliding across the wind, the shadowy spectre loomed after him in a taunting wisp of black swirls and leering red eyes, its tongue lapping against the sweat staining his neck. Letting out a deranged cry, Steve whipped out a six inch srad he'd taken that evening as a precaution, and cursed himself when he realized he had no idea how to use it.

The shadow gave a mad cackle, before compressing on itself to take on the corporeal form of another which he'd been dreaming to get his hands on fifteen years ago – in this case, Creepy Crepsley himself.

"Oh hell," Steve muttered, noticing with an alarming sense of horror that the orange-haired vampire was blocking his only way towards freedom.

"Come on, My lord," Crepsley jeered, licking the inky black talons that curved downwards from his fingertips. "Don't you want to play with us?"

Steve hissed at him. "What are you? What do you want?" he growled, deciding that going out without his bodyguards on a Halloween night might not have been the wisest choice after all.

A single finger waggled in reprimand at his impatient questions. "Tsk tsk...That would be telling now, wouldn't it?"

With a move too quick for the young half-vampaneze to see coming, Steve felt himself pinned against the wall like a hapless moth waiting for its wings to be yanked out, sharp nails digging into the pale flesh of his throat.

"You can't scream if you don't have a voice, can you?" the demon holding him tittered, baring its sharp fangs in a single heart-jarring snarl.

Screw this, Steve thought angrily, unwilling to die by the hands of some maniac hellbeast that decided to impersonate his best friend and arch nemesis, and then eat him. Now that was just wrong in all seven levels of hell. The Vampaneze were the top predators in the food chain, the beasts that were truly feared in scary stories – the true rulers of the Dark and Unholy. Not shapeshifting shadows with a disturbed sense of humor and bad choice in snack items.

Bringing his knee up, he hit the vampire-demon right in the groin, eliciting a single hiss of contempt that promised a lot of broken bones in a fit of utmost revenge. The hold around his throat loosened and Steve slammed both his legs into the chest of the demon, before back-flipping and lashing out against the wall he was pressed into, before propelling himself in mid-air. A furious swipe of talons slashed across his waist, laying open the front of his shirt. Ugly red scratches blossomed across his abdominal muscles, threatening to drip with blood.

Ignoring the pain stabbing at his side, he crash landed into a pile of rank garbage in the corner, rolled to his feet and hit the ground running. As soon as he tore out into the adjoining streets that led to a plush suburban area crowded with parents ferrying little children in all manners of costumes, he slowed down, clutching a stitch by his side.

"Hey mister, are you okay?"

He looked up to greet the sight of a petite blonde girl enveloped in a classic witch outfit, her pointy hat askew and her gray eyes curious.

"I'm fine," he growled, anger boiling deep within himself with the night's earlier events.

What in the world was that – that thing?

The girl stepped back hesitantly, nibbling her bottom lip as if contemplating something. She brightened up and immediately fished out a tiny wrapper from the plastic coffin-shaped basket she gripped in a pudgy hand.

"Here, have a chocolate!" Without further ado, she tossed the treat at him before scooting off.

Steve's eyes widened in surprise as the infinitesimal thing hit him squarely in the jaw. Scowling, he bent over to pick it up and shoot a nasty glare at the brat – but not before his eyes caught sight of a fat orange pumpkin propped under the mailbox, a sinister smile carved on the front. A tiny trail of blood dribbled down its mouth, and the Vampaneze Lord recoiled from it, wincing.

Straightening, he glowered at the ghastly lawn in front of him that was peppered with makeshift cardboard tombstones in a bid to resemble an authentic graveyard.

He swivelled around, eager to head back to the sewers and spend the next few years of his life rotting in the company of the much safer vampaneze, when the little snotty brat he'd talked to not long ago watched him silently from across the street, her eyes glimmering red.

"Until next time then, Steve..." her lilting whisper flew across the genteel wind.

Face drained of all color, Steve Leonard took off into the night, vowing never again to roam around on Halloween nights alone.


Desmond Tiny grinned wickedly as he cupped his heart-shaped pocket watch, immersing himself in the evil candescent red glow that filtered through the pores of his skin in tingles of dark ecstasy. He watched his precious pawn dart across the street like a frightened cat, running into several rubber spider webs and plastic skeletons along the way.

To his credit, the man did not unleash a single scream throughout the night's events as Desmond had originally hoped. But that did not stop Destiny from messing around with his toy – after all, the idiot was no use to him if he ran into the vampires around the bend and had died earlier than expected, laying to waste all his careful years of plotting and scheming.

"Better run now and be terrified, Lord Leonard," the Little man of Horrors spoke quietly to himself, beaming at the watch. "After all, there are greater monsters in the dark than you."


A/N: Not really my best work, but I did it for fun. I know the Shadow Demon might seem as an OC – but I just wanted to convey that it was the work of Desmond Tiny, so you can pretty much interpret the ending whichever way you like...Was that thing a pet of Destiny, or was it Destiny himself masquerading around at night on Halloween? You pick. Hope you enjoyed it! :)