The stench of trash and the enticing odor of fried food wafted through the air to Twilight Sparkle's nostrils as she walked down the busy Manehattan streets, taking in the sights and smells of all that was a night in the city. She stopped abruptly upon reaching a break in the sidewalk, standing amongst the crowd of businessponies and costumed troublemakers as they waited in unison for the traffic lights to change from green to red. A white silhouette of a pony flashed upon the light display and signified the opportunity for the group to walk across the street. They moved as one, parallel to the carriages that had just begun wheeling through the intersection. Everypony involved silently agreed to forgo all eye contact as they walked, lost in their own thoughts.

Twilight crossed with them, her hooffalls joining the chorus of those around her and mixing in with the carriage horns and shouts of vendors hawking their wares. She smiled, broke from the crowd, and walked down a side street, away from the main drag and toward a more shadowed part of the city. Though Celestia had raised her to be cautious and safe, Halloween was nearing, and Twilight had decided that just for one night, away from the eyes of her friends, she would indulge her curiosity and see an underground show. The prospect of the unknown excited her, and she had picked a random performance in a theater far removed from the most populated parts of town to entertain herself with.

A grey stallion wearing skeleton makeup and a black tophat jumped out from an alleyway and stopped in front of Twilight, yelling with his hooves up. The violet mare backed away and gasped before falling onto her rump and grazing her flanks on the sidewalk. She began to laugh with the stallion as he helped her up and clopped a hoof against her shoulder.

"Happy Halloween!"

Twilight giggled in response. "You got me good! You as well!"

She gave him a warm smile before continuing to walk onward, toward a new district of the city. Black and orange streamers hanging from the street lights billowed in the chilling wind, and various decorations of ponies in witch costumes and paper ghosts hung here and there from windowsills and balconies. The happy, innocently creepy vibe excited Twilight, as she was not used to such things occurring in Canterlot. She had always loved the study of culture, and the thrill of going somewhere she would normally never venture to caused her heart to race and her body to warm.

This is all so interesting! I've… I've never seen an entire town done up like this for such an occasion! I'll be sure to write all about it in my journal once I get home! Maybe I'll even send a report to the Princess about being unafraid to try new things. I'm sure she would love to hear that I'm trying to come out of my shell and… what was it that Dash called it? 'Live it up'?

As she rounded the street corner, the muted glow of the street lamps was drowned out by the overpowering golden aura coming from the building at the far end of the alley. The neon sign atop the building depicted a mare dressed in stockings and a corset, heavily done up in makeup and winking coquettishly at the streets below as the sign blinked between its two preprogrammed patterns. Twilight's heart stopped as she read the name of the establishment, and suddenly began to think she had made a mistake.

The… Spiked Crop? Is… is this the place that I bought a ticket for?

A lavender glow surrounded her saddlebags as the one hanging over her right side opened, its latch coming loose and the covering flap raising up. A red and black ticket floated from the bag, swirling around to Twilight's eye level. She checked and double-checked the writing, wondering just what she had gotten herself into.

The Spiked Crop's Annual Halloween Horrorshow!

Come and see the ghoulish sights and hear the scary sounds of our Halloween celebration! Spooky and sizzling, sleazy and scary, our annual variety show never ceases to amaze and arouse the senses! Come alone, or bring your friends, either way, the fun never ends!

Twilight looked back up at the building several hundred feet ahead of her, where she could see scruffy looking stallions standing upon the balcony, smoking and drinking. The wrought iron platform atop which they stood looked ready to collapse, and the spooky decorations hanging from its front almost seemed to be pulling it down to the ground. Red spotlights washed beams of crimson light across the front of the building, crossing and uncrossing in an 'X' formation and intersecting over the doorway. The entire place had a distinctly trashy feel, and Twilight couldn't shake the feeling that she was no longer in her usual environment.

Oh my… I… I've never seen a theater like this before! And… and why are almost all of the ponies here stallions… am I… missing something…

She continued to walk down the street toward the building, against her better judgment. Several stallions in business suits gave her lustful looks, and she did her best to give them each a friendly smile.

I wish I had brought somepony with me! What if I end up in trouble! Stupid! I don't know the first thing about city nightlife! What was I thinking?

Twilight stopped just in front of the building and took a deep breath before holding out her ticket to the bouncer. Nopony else appeared to be in line, and the large black earth pony inspected the ticket carefully before tearing off the bottom half and handing it back to Twilight.

"You sure you're in the right place, babe? Auditions are on Tuesdays, this is an actual show tonight."

Twilight blinked nervously as the bouncer eyed her up and gave her a small smirk. "Uh… u-um… I… I can't really act… I'm… I'm here for the show…"

The stallion gave a small chuckle. "A clean-cut type like you, into this sort of thing? I would never have guessed. Well, head on in and enjoy yourself. Drinks are half price for the next half hour, so hurry up and get to the bar before the fun begins."

Twilight gave a small gasp and covered her mouth with a hoof. "B-but! I… I don't drink! I'm just here for the show! I wanted to see some Manehattan culture!"

The bouncer raised a brow, and began to laugh heartily. "Oh, you'll see some culture, alright. I have a feeling you're in way over your head, but go right on in and find a seat. This should be entertaining."

Twilight blushed and thanked the stallion as he held open the door for her. She stepped inside to the coat room, and immediately realized that she was not in the sort of establishment she thought she would be. Fake plants topped with synthetic black spiders decorated the entranceway, and gaudy golden skulls lined the walkup into the main room. Large, plush, semicircular booths surrounded tables near to the stage, and the entire environment was much more intimate than it appeared to be from outside.

Her eyes wandered around the room, taking in the giant spiderwebs, coffins, and other accents, as well as the large bar up against one of the walls. Several ponies were dressed in costume, though more still appeared to be stallions that had just arrived from work, talking and drinking with their friends. Twilight walked over to a booth near the stage, and stared nervously at the bright red curtain cutting off her view from whatever might be lurking behind it.

This… this isn't what I expected at all! Perhaps it's just… different than most theaters! I should be okay here! There's lots of security, and… and it's… pretty clean… it can't be too bad…

Suddenly, the lights dimmed, and all attention turned to the stage. Several stallions moved to sit down, and those near to the stage began to take out paper bits, holding them at the ready. Twilight was unsure of what was going on, but watched the spotlight upon the curtain with great interest as a voice came over the loudspeaker system.

Gentlecolts and whatever fillies may have been dragged here by their asshole coltfriends! Are you ready for a sexy show of unspeakable horror?

Several of the stallions raised their drinks and voiced their approval, while Twilight shrank back into the plush couch.

S-sexy! O-oh dear! What kind of variety show is this?

Looooooooooong ago... a sultry witch was disgraced in Ponyville, and she cursed the one who had dared cross her with her eeeeeevil black magic! With her career in shambles and her life in ruins, she struck a deal with the demon ponies of the blackest Hells to get another chance to perform, and tonight, The Spiked Crop is proud to present its first entertainer… The Sleek and Sexy Xitrie!

Wild clopping of hooves against the floor filled the room as the curtains pulled back and Twilight stared at the recoiling fabric in horror. The stage was covered in rolling mist that began to seep over the lip of the platform and into the audience as multicolored lights lit up the background. A painting of a graveyard spanned the entire back wall, and several tombstone and skull props poked up from the floor of the stage. However, Twilight's attention was drawn to the middle of the floor, where a long, silver metal rod stretched from floor to ceiling.

Oh… oh, no… oh, Celestia! This is… THIS IS…

Twilight's breathing quickened as she realized where she was. She moved to stand and run from the building, but another voice, seemingly recorded from an old film, caused her to freeze midway through rising.

Who is this irresistible creature who has an insatiable love for the dead? Living Dead Maaaaaaaaare…

Loud music poured forth from the grime-encrusted speakers at either side of the stage, enveloping the room with loud guitar and a bass-heavy backbeat. The silhouette of a unicorn mare was cast onto the background up on stage, and several stallions roared in approval as a light blue pony with a dark red mane and tail walked out onto the stage, wearing nothing but a black thong decorated with small metal spikes and matching, knee-high, spiked leather boots on her hind legs. Despite the dye job, Twilight recognized her instantly, and gasped in shock.


Sudden, ethereal chanting drowned out Twilight's words as Xitrie moved to the front of the stage and gave the crowd a sultry glare. Her face was painted with white and black skeletal makeup and a large red 'X' on her forehead, while her body was painted with various bones and blackness as well. She licked her ebony-painted lips as she stood on her hind legs and spun seductively, letting her long, straightened red mane wrap around her as the music began to pick up.

Twilight stared, mouth completely agape as a raspy male voice began to sing. Xitire walked over to the pole, placing a hoof against it and slowly sliding her foreleg down it while pushing her rump out to cheers of approval. Twilight's own rump fell back into her seat and she found herself unable to move, completely transfixed upon the gyrating mare before her.

Xitrie slowly climbed the pole as the song continued, tilting her hair back and letting her mane hang upside down like a curtain of falling blood. She wrapped her hind legs around the metal, and let her front hooves hang sideways in the air as she spun around using only her leg muscles. Twilight gasped and covered her mouth with a hoof, finding herself becoming more and more interested in the show.

How can she… the amount of strength! Her… her legs are just… so… nice…

A furious blush spread across Twilight's cheeks as she watched the painted mare twist herself around the pole, ending up with her body upside down and her hind legs in a split with her backside in full display to the enthusiastic crowd. A tingling sensation unlike any she had felt before spread across her lower body, and Twilight felt a sudden urge to do things she had previously never even considered doing to herself. She quickly banished such thoughts from her mind, knowing that such a thing was not an act that was acceptable in public, or in her mind, at all. The strange pulling sensation began to make her mouth dry, and she quickly reached for the glass of water on the table before her, downing it in one go and slamming it back into the circular wooden surface.

Xitrie pushed her hind legs out, placing the pole between them and grasping the metal higher up with her front hooves. She slowly slid down while spinning before she dismounted completely and walked to the edge of the stage. Twilight's heart skipped a beat as Xitrie stepped off of the platform and onto a table surrounded by stallions, meeting with their reaching hooves and cheering voices. The playful unicorn dipped low and let her mane fall into the face of a shouting pony, grinning cheerfully as he stuffed paper money into the side of her thong. She grabbed the sides of his face and stared into his eyes while swaying back and forth, moving her hips side to side in time with the thundering bass.

She quickly hopped off the table and stepped back up onto the stage to spin once again, ending up next to the pole. She stood on her hind legs and placed a hoof above her head and against the metal before sliding her back down it, landing in a deep squat while looking directly at the blushing purple mare. She mouthed a line of lyrics in time with the song as she pushed off from the pole and began to walk slowly toward Twilight.

"What are you thinking about?"

Twilight pushed herself into the plush, velvety cushioning of her seat's backboard as Xitrie leapt up onto her own table, giving her a devious grin. Surely she had recognized Twilight, and had decided to have a little fun with the pony responsible for wrecking her showpony career. Xitrie's horn gave a quick flash, puncturing the blood capsule she had hidden under the front of her mane. The manufactured liquid poured slowly down her face, and Twilight gasped at the sight, flinching as a few of the crimson droplets splashed forward and landed upon her cheek.

Xitrie didn't miss a beat and leaned forward, slowly running her tongue up the side of Twilight's face and cleaning the substance off of her. The stallions looked on in awe, and even more cheered as Xitrie stepped down to straddle the frozen mare. Twilight tried to stammer out a response, but Xitrie brought a hoof up to her lips and fixed her with lusty purple eyes. Xitrie gave Twilight a quick kiss upon the lips and a teasing caress before mouthing 'thank you' and turning to ascend back to the table.

As the song began drawing to a conclusion, Twilight began to sweat and pant. Her heart felt like it was ready to explode, and her mind was completely unable to process what had just happened. She watched as Xitrie once again climbed up onto the pole and spun around it, posing sexily as the final notes were played and the curtain closed. More cheering and shouting came from the audience as the announcer once again began to speak, but Twilight wasn't paying attention.

She rose from her seat, jumped onto the table, and galloped across to the stage and into the curtain to the yells of encouragement of all those around her. Her mind was a complete blank, and she ran off into the dark areas behind the background in search of the magical mare.

She passed several other ponies who gave her flirty looks, all dressed for the occasion, but could not seem to find Trixie among them. She continued to canter down the darkened hallway, looking left and right as the passage got narrower. Finally, she reached a dressing room on the left hand side of the corridor, and craned her head around the corner.

Trixie sat upon a stool in front of a mirror with lights surrounding it, slowly removing her makeup and the fake blood with a dampened poof. She smeared the paint softly, and hummed a tune happily as she worked. Upon seeing Twilight Sparkle's reflection standing in the doorway in the mirror, she stopped her song, and stared straight back at her.

"Well? Are you coming in, or not? Trixie does not like to be kept waiting."

Twilight hesitantly stepped into the room and regarded Trixie with accusatory eyes. "Just… just what the hay was all of that? Trixie… you're… you're a pole dancer?"

Trixie gave a haughty laugh, and stepped down from her stool. She walked slowly over to Twilight and gave the mare an affectionate nuzzle. Twilight backed up, looking disgusted and shocked.

"Trixie! That… that's not a good thing! I can't believe you… you're doing this!"

Trixie raised her brow and smiled. The effect of her face being half skeletal and half its normal blue shade unnerved Twilight, and she shuddered. "Who says it's not a good thing? Trixie is happier than she has ever been before!"

Twilight balked, completely unable to understand. "What? You're HAPPY with this? Happy to dance around like… like a…"

"A whore, Twilight? Is that what you think of Trixie?"

Twilight quickly waved a hoof, eyes wide. "No no no! Not like… I don't think…"

Trixie rolled her eyes and turned away, giving an airy laugh. "It is quite alright. You know, Trixie really must thank you. Without Twilight ruining her career, Trixie would never have found her true calling. Trixie loves to perform, and nowhere else would she get such reactions as she does here!"

Twilight's brain completely shut down at the words. "You… you don't even care what… what ponies might think of you?"

Trixie turned again, and closed the distance between herself and Twilight. "No. Trixie is unconcerned with others. Trixie does what makes her happy, and right now, Trixie is happy with staying here."

As Trixie kissed Twilight on the cheek, Twilight raised a hoof and pushed the advancing mare back away from her. "D-don't do that! I'm not… I'm not interested in that sort of thing!"

"Oh? Trixie saw your face during her performance…"

Twilight looked to the floor and blushed yet again. "Trixie, stop. Just… stop. I-I didn't even mean to end up here! You're… you're really… talented, but… please, don't take this any further. I-I need to leave."

Trixie pouted and sighed. "Very well. The door to the street is just outside in the hallway. Trixie was sincere, though. She is happy here! And... she is no longer angry about… about… what happened in Ponyville."

The violet unicorn hesitated. "It… it wasn't your fault. I mean, not really… and for what it's worth, I'm sorry for what happened to you… even if you are happier here. I guess I… shouldn't judge. Well… goodbye, Trixie."

She turned and stepped into the hallway, heading for the exit and shaking her head. The sound of hooffalls behind her gained her attention, and she stopped with a hoof pressed into the exit door.

"Could you… could you come and visit Trixie again? She would like to see more of you…"

Twilight gave a heavy sigh and closed her eyes. "I… alright. I'll… I'll come back sometime, and maybe we can talk when things aren't so… awkward."

Trixie smiled, and turned to walk back into her room to finish rubbing off her makeup.

"Uh… Trixie?"

Trixie turned her head as she moved back through the doorway. "Yes?"

"…Happy Halloween."

"And to you as well."

Twilight pushed the door open, and stepped out into the back alley. She let the door close behind her, and breathed in the stale Manehattan air before letting out a heavy sigh. The mare walked down the alleyway silently, lost in thought, both about her own body and what she was feeling, and Trixie's situation. Superseding those musings, another thought came to her mind, and she could not help but smile to herself in the darkness.

Well… Princess Celestia certainly won't be getting a letter about this.

Author's Note: Uh… yep. I know this doesn't really go anywhere other than making Twilight feel really awkward, but… whatever.

The song used here is Living Dead Girl by Rob Zombie, who has been a musician that I have respected for years and years, and grew up listening to. He's great for campy, stupid fun, and his music is very appropriate for October. Living Dead Girl is the best pole dancing song ever, and this was recently proven as fact by a research team at Hoofvard University (citation needed). The title of this story comes from another of his songs from the same album, and though it isn't quite as sexy, it fits Trixie really well.

All lyrics used in this story belong to Rob Zombie, and are used without any intent to make a profit. Consider this story dedicated to him, my childhood hero and the man who really got me into music to begin with. Here's to years and years of more horror-themed ridiculousness!

...and as a final note, before I get any shit for Twilight jumping to conclusions: I respect pole dancers, quite a bit. I think pole dancing is an art form, and takes a ton of skill and athleticism to do, and pole dancing does not automatically make you a whore. So... please don't accuse me of pigeonholing anyone who does. Happy Halloween!