The slayer was pleased with himself. He’d read it in some spy novel or other: when walking up or down stairs keep to the sides of each step; they’re less likely to squeak. These didn’t. Now he stood in the open doorway of what was obviously intended as a guest bedroom. The vampire sat on the far edge of a queen-sized bed staring down towards the floor. What was she looking at? Not important. This was his chance. He gauged the distance. Could he rush her? Could he cover the distance and burn her with the cross before she turned around and…he didn’t want to think about the “and.” He took a tentative step. What the hell was down there? Another step…and another. The cross extended his reach by…damnit, he was so close! He stretched the tip toward the exposed flesh at the top of her back just below a curled fringe of blonde hair. Closer… closer… shit! He was over-extended! He would have to commit to a lunge or fall on his face. He gathered what momentum he could and launched himself off his front foot, just as she bent forward! The tip of the cross brushed the back of her black leather vest as he fell across the mattress, and she screamed “Shit!” and dove forward onto the floor!

The slayer scrambled to right himself before she could get to him. Through his own muttered curses he heard a muffled “Ow, fudge!” as he regained his feet and stood, cross held out in front of him on the side of the bed closest to the door. The vampire rose to her feet on the other side, wincing slightly. He could now see that there was perhaps another four feet of room behind her. To dive at her across the bed would be to give her an opportunity to counterattack. On the other hand, there were only two feet between the foot of the bed and the wall. He could cover her escape with his cross. Stalemate. They stared at each other for a few seconds before he asked, a little breathlessly, “Did I get you?”

“Maybe the back of the vest, but clothes don’t count, right?”


State was a good school: academically rigorous across a wide range of departments with a strong placement rate particularly in top law and business schools. But it was huge, and public, and Division 1, with an extensive Greek system. Its national reputation was solid, but…

Over the past few years there’d been the ubiquitous scandals, one involving a trio of football players and another an assistant track coach. The NCAA threw the usual stones from the foyer of its glass house, and tried to shove blame onto the handful of fraternities to which the athletes in question belonged. Nobody at State was fooled, but some of the dirt stuck in the local and national media. The university responded with a press campaign of their own, including an excellent article in one of the big city papers detailing the activities of some of the more socially conscious fraternities and sororities. Mentioned prominently in the piece was “The Blood Drive.”

The name was a mistake. Everybody knew it, but once the endeavor had been praised in print, nobody felt inclined to change it. The event–as members of both the Ep Sigs and the Kappa Kaps were soon heartily sick of explaining–was not an actual blood drive…

“Then why did you call it the…”

“I didn’t name the damn thing! Okay?”

What it was: a Halloween-themed charity…thing. Part of the PR problem was that the origins of the Drive were a little murky. At some point, back in the mists of time (maybe the late ’80’s or early ’90’s,) the Eps and the Kaps had thrown a joint Halloween party. Less than a week later, the two houses had tried to donate around two thousand dollars apiece to a local food bank. Nobody knew how the cash had been raised; or at least nobody copped to knowing. When questions were asked–for tax purposes–about the source of the money, the donation quickly became a private gift from one of the Kaps whose family had made a boodle in local real estate. The following spring, the two houses registered the Drive with the university, and it became an official event, raising anywhere from $2-10 K annually for causes running the gamut from cancer research to a building campaign for a local high school athletic complex.

The nature of the event itself changed from year to year; which helped to make it difficult to describe in a sound byte. It might be an incredibly elaborate haunted house, or a masquerade auction with provocative and inventive costumes for sale to the highest bidder. Some years, the two houses would host trick-or-treat-a-thons, taking local disadvantaged children (and their parents, of course) to ring doorbells in wealthy neighborhoods where the residents had agreed to give out cash instead of candy. And some years the Drive honored whatever the hell the founders of the thing had done to raise money at that first party by keeping the entire operation in-house.


They stared at each other across the width of the bed. He raised the cross protectively, and watched her eyes as she assessed her situation. If she moved around the foot of the bed, he could reach her with the cross, but he could also block that particular escape route by standing in front of it with the cross held up. If she could get him to do that, she might be able to vault the bed, and then what? Attack? Escape? She met his eyes; noticed him studying her. Was he…checking her out? Seriously? Then she remembered what she was wearing. Not much on top–it was warm for October. Okay, Handsome, go ahead and look. Wait, handsome? Well he was, kind of. Thick dark hair–almost black–cut short off a high forehead. Big brown eyes with long lashes, a…prominent nose, which she decided she liked, after a little consideration. A short neck, broad shoulders, a short-ish guy altogether, really. Maybe 5′ 9″ or 10″. She thought she recognized him, but couldn’t immediately work out…oh, of course!

Confident of being able to counter any moves she made, he allowed himself to…he wondered if there was some kind of military term for what he was doing. If there was, it was probably bullshit anyway. What he was doing was checking her out. She was…very pretty: honey-blonde hair, curling in at the shoulders, a slightly triangular face with large blue eyes; liner and shadow to make the eyes look bigger, but all the vamps were doing that. They were all doing the deep red lipstick thing too, and it looked really good on her. She had a small mouth, but full lips, and the red made him think of those kiss-prints on Valentines Day cards. She was wearing a black leather vest, and a black bra. No shirt, so he could see the straps. The combination pushed her breasts–she had…really great breasts–into a pair of pale half moons bisected by a deep cleavage. Remembering his manners, he looked up into her eyes. She was looking back into his. Busted…as it were. Oh well, Halloween, right? People, and vampires, dressed to impressed. Still…he didn’t recognize her, unless…no, except…no. He was thinking of a character in a movie, an animated movie he’d taken his little sister to. Which didn’t help…


The two houses planned the event together, and the result could be innovative or conventional depending on the energy of the planning committee. This year’s Drive was out there. For the first time in memory, the event was to be a competition with an individual winner, and the money raised would go to a single charity of the winner’s choosing. Each participant paid an entrance fee–as low as $10.00 for students on a full ride or as high as some of the trust-fund folks wanted to go–and each potential charity was submitted to the planning committee two weeks in advance of the day. Some of the submissions could be considered controversial–candidates from both sides of the political spectrum were potential recipients, as were both the DAR and Greenpeace; but–as the committee had decided in their wisdom–fuck it. It wasn’t likely to be a lot of cash anyway. Drives which raised exclusively in-house money tended to raise less of it. Do the experiment, and see what happens.

A wealthy local alum had authorized the use of an untenanted property; a place which had begun as a farm, but had been neither competitive with nor of particular interest to the local agricultural conglomerate. The two-story farmhouse and outbuildings had then spent a few years as an artists’ colony before that venture had–unfortunately, but to nobody’s surprise–run out of money, and the alum in question had picked it up for pocket change. There was a caretaker, but he’d been payed to stay away on Halloween weekend, so provided the Eps and Kaps didn’t absolutely trash the place…

The event itself was to be a Halloween-themed, souped-up mish-mash of “Freeze Tag” and “Capture the Flag.” The conceit involved a nest of vampires and a roving brotherhood (the Eps won the coin toss and elected to “slay;” it might just have easily been a sisterhood) of vampire hunters. Each participant carried a dollar coin representing their “life.” Vamps killed slayers by tagging them, but the vamps were unarmed. The slayers carried styrofoam crosses mounted on two-foot long wooden dowels. To kill a vamp, a slayer had to touch the vamp with the cross on exposed skin or on a leg (which could be covered because it was October, fer chrissakes!) The longer reach was offset by the need to find actual flesh, and the vamps were required to go sleeveless, although they could wear capes. Once killed, slayer or vamp gave up his or her coin to their killer, and then headed back to the Eps’ house for the after-party. Unless…

Each side also appointed a leader; a Master Slayer and a Vampire Queen, who could make themselves known to their enemies by code phrases exchanged before the game began. The death of either ended the game, with the player who had the most coins declared the winner. Because the Master and the Queen would likely move around less, they were allowed to take an additional coin from their victims (provided the victim in question had made a kill,) and they were permitted to either “turn” a single slayer or…well, nobody could come up with a satisfactory verb for what a slayer did to “cure” a vampire. Only one “turn” per side. And the vamp or slayer so converted surrendered all his coins to the Master or the Queen. A potential windfall, depending upon how well the slayer or vamp in question had done up to that point.

Also: the turned vamp or slayer became a de-facto member of the other side, competing on behalf of the enemy. The Master and the Queen would mark whoever they turned with makeup: a black cross on a cheek for a vamp, and blood on the throat for a slayer. Once turned, the player in question would proceed to a gardening shed at the back of the property to inform a committee member of their new status, and, in the case of a turned vamp, be issued a cross.

There were no “safe” areas, although there were eight port-o-potties brought in for the duration, and of course there were bathrooms in both the farmhouse and what had been a bunk house. Both sides more or less agreed not to go after anybody in the can. Finally there were three arbiters seated under a tent just outside the playing area to rule on any disputes.

And of course, you had to be in costume.


“So…” His eyes were drawn to her mouth as she spoke. “What’s the next move, Mr. Slayer?” Was she wearing fangs?

“Well, I’ve pretty much got you, don’t you think? You can’t get around the bed with me here, and I’ll have time to nail you on the leg if you scramble over it, so…you could just let me stake you.” That sounded… “Sorry, I mean, you could just…”

She laughed. Yup, fangs. The kind that you stuck onto your incisors with that dental adhesive, probably. Some of the Kaps had gone with those; others had opted for the plastic. “That’s a line I haven’t heard before.” Wait a minute; was she flirting? “And I get what you’re saying. Still…I don’t know if I’m ready to go down without a fight…or…”

It was her turn to blush. She bit her lower lip, and the disconnect between the fangs and the pretty shade of pink she was turning made her look really cute, and somehow very sexy. Then she said: “Anyway, you’re mostly a catcher and a first baseman, right? Not where they usually put the speedsters.”

“Wait, how do you know…?”

She feinted towards the foot of the bed, and then dove for the head. The cross was in his right hand, and he swung wildly across his body, just missing the top of her head. She gasped and rolled back off the far side of the bed, just beyond the reach of an overhand blow which struck the coverlet three inches from where her arm had been half a second earlier. The roll put her on her hands and knees, but she was back on her feet facing him before he could commit to either a dash around the bed or a dive over it. Her laugh was a little breathless.

“I’m impressed.”

“Yeah, well, catchers may not be fast, but we do tend to have quick hands. Nice try, though. You’re pretty quick yourself.”

“Yeah, I ran a little in high school, and did some gymnastics before my…”


She’d been about to say “…before my boobs got too big, but she decided there’d been enough flirting for the time being. Or…she reconsidered. Maybe there hadn’t been enough.


He’d known what she’d been about to say. She was pretty sure of that. And he was making a creditable attempt to wipe the shit-eating grin that most guys get whenever boobs come to mind off his face. Meh. E for effort.

He said: “I’m really sorry, but I’m afraid I don’t recognize you, which is weird for a bunch of reasons. Do we know each other? Because if we don’t, maybe you really are a vampire, or you can read minds or something?”

She grinned at that, and ran the tip of her tongue along her fangs. “Maybe I am.” she teased. Then after a pause: “Or maybe I saw that walk-off double you hit to beat Arizona toward the end of last season?”

“And you remembered? That’s…pretty cool, actually.” Then he chuckled. “Guess I’m lucky that you caught that one. It’s pretty much the only game I was in for more than an inning last year.”

“Well, be fair: Glazer was a four-alarm fire. The only thing he couldn’t do was run. He’s starting next season at Double-A in Amarillo, right? Maybe you’ll get a little more playing time.”

“Hope so. So are you…?”

She interrupted him: “Give me one reason.”


“You said it was weird that you didn’t recognize me for a bunch of reasons. What’s one?”

Um…I guess the big one is that we don’t actually know each other, but…what I meant was…I’m pretty sure I’d have remembered you.”

She smiled at his discomfort. “Why?”

He took a deep breath. “I’m going to answer that, but just so you know, I’m not an idiot. I’m watching you, so if you’re thinking about another little move…” He switched the cross to his left hand so that it would cover the top of the bed. Then he took a step to his right, closer to the gap at the foot. Then he grinned. “I’m a switch-hitter.”

“Well, aren’t you just full of hidden talents? So…?”

“So why should I remember you?” The grin stayed in place. “Because you’re really pretty. Actually, you’re gorgeous.”

She grinned back at him. “Just gorgeous?”

“Well…” his grin widened, “I guess you’re kind of insecure if you need to fish for compliments like that!”


“And sexy! You’re also very sexy. Particularly in your…um…costume.”

She laughed, then she stopped abruptly, and gave him what she hoped was a smouldering glare. When she spoke, she made sure to expose her fangs. “Careful, Slayer. Teasing vampires can be dangerous.” Then she reached down, and holding his eyes with hers, she undid the top button on her vest.


“What are you doing?”

“I’m hot.”

“Agreed, but what are you doing?”

She giggled. Then: “I like your costume too.” He was wearing loose fitting brown pants tucked into what looked like soft boots, a blue band-collared shirt, and a long… “Um…is that a sweater vest?”

“I suppose. Sort of a cardigan/cape arrangement. I mean it’s woven from wool, and it doesn’t have sleeves.”

“Hmm, it is long. Like a duster, almost?”

“I think my Dad brought it back from Germany when he was in the service. Anyhow: mine now.”

“Well, it makes a nice change. All my other…uh…victims this evening have been rocking the camo. It’s amazing how many people that looks really bad on.”

She’d apparently managed to get him off-topic. “Wait a minute. How many of us have you gotten?”

She put her hands behind her back–which put some strain on her remaining vest buttons–looked down and cocked a knee, pivoting her leg back and forth on a toe: faux-bashful. “Oh, a lady doesn’t like to discuss the gentlemen whose throats she’s ripped out…”–he laughed out loud–“Perhaps we should say that I’ve had…plenty to drink.”


Okay, this was turning out to be a lot of fun. She was definitely flirting with him, and for once he felt he was giving almost as good as he got. There was chemistry here. He’d had girlfriends and the occasional hook up, but never with someone like her. At the same time, she might just be winding him up. She was gutsy and resourceful, and she likely wanted to win as much as he did. It sounded like she’d done pretty well so far too. And now he had her cornered. Still, best to be careful…

“Well, you know how guys hate to brag…” She snorted, then looked embarrassed, which made him grin. “Especially jocks…”

She laughed outright at that one. “Ok, What’s your point?”

“I’m just saying that I haven’t done so badly myself this evening…”



“So how many of my s…my kind have you…?”

“Oh, we don’t have to go into the numbers, but I have…thrust my stake into a few of you bloodsuckers tonight.” He watched her face register that not particularly subtle double entendre, and then his eyes dropped to the front of her vest, and watched as her long fingers–nails painted to match the lips; he hadn’t noticed that before–undid another button.


“So, you never answered my question.”

“Which question was that?”

“Why are you unbuttoning your vest?”

“Are you complaining? You seemed to be enjoying the view before…”

“Sorry about that…”

She smiled at him. “No worries. It’s Halloween, people…”

“Dress to impress.” They’d said it together.

“So about that question…”

“Right…well, maybe I’m exposing some skin in the spirit of fair play. One they guys I got was bitching about how hard it was to tag us with the crosses.”

A wry smile crossed his face. “I don’t know you that well yet,”–she liked the ‘yet’–“but you don’t seem to me like somebody who makes things easier for the competition.”

“Fair enough. Okay, maybe…” Then in a slightly lower voice: “Maybe I find you attractive, and I want to kind of…show off a little…”

She crawled onto the bed and knelt at the edge. He raised his cross, pointing the tip of it at the center of her chest, and noticing how her breasts rose and fell with her breath inside the cups of her now almost fully-exposed black bra.

“You want me to stop?”

“Not at all.”

“You don’t have to do that yet, do you?”

“I don’t know…”

“Cause if you do, I’m dead, and then I have to pack it in and head back to Ep Sig for the after-party. Why don’t you go with this for a sec? It’s not like I’m in a position to run.”

She’d undone two buttons as she was talking. He lowered the cross, as the last one came undone. She shrugged the vest off her shoulders and looked up at him, wearing nothing on top but a lacy black bra. The lace was too dense to reveal much, but he thought he could make out where pale skin darkened to the deep pink of her areolas, but that could have been a fancy born of association. Her nipples were creating distinct bumps behind the material.

And this was another position he’d never found himself in. By the time his previous girlfriends and sex partners were down to their bras, nobody had been doing much talking. How was he supposed to respond to a pretty, articulate young woman who’d taken off her top…why? He still wasn’t sure. Nevertheless, he had to say something, and something more… complimentary than just “Nice rack!’ Although she did have an awfully nice rack.