Witching Hour

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The Rest of Them. Thank Gods.

Friday! At last! At long, long last. All that stood in between Samantha and release were the last of the student meetings, then she would be free of that wretched metal box and its horrid, tinny whining. And she wasn’t talking about the actual whine.

Samantha had more than enough reason bounce with each step. In fact, she was trotting, grinding her heels into the steps then steel, as if she was raking and decimating the days before under each bounding, whimsical stride. Her heart fluttered, knowing it, too, shall be freed so soon. It filled her with such bubbling giggles and titters as she approached Peter’s door. Though her eyes were heavy and bloodshot, though the schedule she had in mind was little more than chicken scratch, what was important was she had a plan. She had some idea of what she was going to do after so long, and now? Now, not only did she survive executing that plan, not only did she make it out with only a pair of black eyes, but there were only two left before she could leave for the weekend. She could finally meet others like her, fellow professors, witches- colleagues! And, one day, hopefully soon, she can join them, permanently, above. But, for now, she had to focus on Peter, Lisa...

And Buffy.

Both her heels slapped down on the steel floor. She was but a few more steps away from Peter’s, but her attention was elsewhere, looking at that door a bit further down. It was almost in the middle of the the hall, to its left, just passed Norman’s. Her stomach twisted as she lumbered down the hall to it, feeling guiltier with each step. She “met” her, but what did she know about Buffy? Truly? What did she know aside she was not as quick to give her a door facial as Ayn –yet seemed just as happy to. In fact, if it came down to it, she would blame Ayn. She really did interfere with the entirety of the schedule, s-

The door opened, before Samantha could even knock on it, but she wasn’t sure if it was the harpy known as Buffy that did. The thing’s head was bowed, grumbling, looking down at two tiny screens in a garish purple shell. She grunted, growled (back) as some sort of creature roared through the tinny speakers on either side. The harpy’s blue and red feathers fluttered with it, the plastic case crunching a touch as she cursed under her breath at it. Her grip shook, knuckles coated in sweat, but at least she looked up. Her orange eyes flashed as she took a step back, blinking away the evil thing called light that emanated from the hallway and dared to disturb her and her quarters, but finally looked upon Samantha.

She blinked again... then closed the door.

Samantha was ready to call it there, but as her heels began to turn her away, to return to Peter’s door, lamenting that this was not the smartest idea, Buffy opened her door again. Her head was still bowed over the dual-screened gizmo, but she was able to buy enough time during another roar to wave Samantha in, the best invitation she was going to get it seems. She did, but carefully, gingerly. Far too much stuff already crunched before she even managed to tread through the entrance, where wires and boxes littered the floor. They all culminated, built towards the ceiling in the corners only to spill over and around a desk in the far corner. There was a computer on it. On. Its browser was opened, several of them in fact, but the one Samantha could see was flooded with nine open tabs, most of which bore a distinct orange marker, engraved with a PH.

“One moment,” Buffy croaked, kicking aside the boxes and cords with her feet. Actual feet. They were normal, human, but paler then the vampires. There was not a trace of the talons that signify her species. Her legs, too, were untouched by any down... nor cloth. Her chest, luckily, had some feathering, forming a pseudo corset. It gave some depth to those mosquito bites, making Samantha feel downright blessed by her lovelies. Buffy’s tail flared, and she exclaimed, setting the console to the side as she slumped onto her bed... before pulling out a box from under her. “Dammit! I was fighting that for thirty minutes. Why does it even have that fist combo... Oh. Should I throw some clothes on?”

Were you not going to wherever you were- Samantha shook her head. It really was not best to question anything down here. Not anymore.

“I don’t plan to stay long,” Samantha said, instead, and shrugged, “and we’re both girls. Not like we haven’t seen everything already. Samantha Coffey, your teacher-”

“Whom I already met. I know it wasn’t much, but it really was more than enough. Especially with what you had done after.”

“R-really?”

“Anyone who shows Monique who is boss is awesome in my books. That was enough of a meet-and-greet for me... but I suppose it wasn’t for you.” She patted and checked the bed, wiping away... a chicken tender case. From a famous chicken fast food chain, no less. A single one could still be seen at the bottom, unsettling rigid, held by the grease caked into the white-and-red box, and only was heard rattling away in it as she flung it across the room. Joining the rest of its flock... Buffy sighed, and flicked on the bedside lamp. Only then did all the smell hit, but Samantha kept her composure. Somehow. She sat beside the harpy, thankful she had not noticed any smells during her visit with- better not to remember. And so Samantha simply held her hands together tighter, hoping they kept the green out of her cheeks, waiting for Buffy to look upon her again, scanning the room.

“Wow,” Buffy uttered. “It’s been forever since I’ve seen this place... sort of a dump.”

“Really? I haven’t noticed.”

“You must be a bigger slob, then –I know you were joking.... I suppose I could clean it up over this weekend. A way to welcome some form of modernity again. I only had plans today, to do a meet-up with the other hunters in the Halls.”

“Hunters?”

“Yeah. For the game we’re playing. It’s kind of cool; I thought it was weeb crap when I first saw it. Usually stay to more grounded RPGs, dark fantasy JRPG or even Sci-Fi and such. Or just MOBAs. But this game grew on me. Far better than the MMO’s it took inspiration from. Though my personal favorite genre is still shmups. Roguelites are, also, up there, but no game has really topped the little crying boy in my heart.” She glowered at her handheld. “If only they updated the copy for this blasted thing. Bad enough I still run into invincible bosses and botched seeds. Although my computer could easily run it, I’m not shelling out for yet another copy to be locked because I decided to pay for something online! Seriously? You have any ideas how many games I had on my Steam? Origin- most of them were cheap because of Humb-”

“I hate to cut you off, but I have no idea what half of those terms mean or whatever those things are. I was never a huge... gaming... enthusiast.”

“You mean a gamer?”

“Do you actually use that term?”

“Eh. If it works, it works.” She shook her head, and leaned forward, creasing her hands together. “So what do you want to know? Why I am here? Let me save you the trouble: I was framed. My fiancee was the culprit. I know very little about coding let alone hacking, but they still cracked down on me. Sure, I have no love for normies, but that’s because they already see me as a slut. That’s all harpies are in mythology, after all, so why would one outlier change that for all. Hell, I think even my ex thought I was a huge whore. I was hoping to be a PR spokesperson for harpies, but now that would be a one-way ticket to a six-shell pink sl-”

“So what’s your favorite color?”

“Huh?”

Samantha tittered, and patted Buffy’s shoulder.

“You were saving that this entire time, huh? You wanted this over as quick as possible.”

“I suppose? I mean, I thought about it a long time. Who wouldn’t when they are holed up here for such a retarded reason.”

“I don’t think that word is rig-”

“To hell with being right! When I am pissed, I shall be as crude as I can be. The world already fucked me over, so count it as a giant ‘fuck you’ back to them... Though, if it wasn’t apparent, once I get on a roll, I tend to keep it rolling. It’s always been a bad habit of mine. For the most part, I’m a quiet person, but, once I start to speak, I don’t really want to stop, which can be a right pain in the-”

“So! Favorite color?”

“... Green.”

“Really? I mean, you have these lovely red and blue feathers. Your eyes are a nice shade of orange-”

“That’s exactly why. I’m surrounded by everything else... and... I can’t even remember the last time I’ve even touched grass.”

“You don’t mean pot, do you?”

“Why? You have any?”

“Of course not! Though that doesn’t mean I never used.”

“And I can safely say the same.” They both tittered, and the game started to play music, returned to a... town... thing. Buffy groaned, and picked it up, rolling her eyes as a failure fanfare played. “Oh, come the fuck on! That one was easy. Damn you, Norman!”

“Norman? Wait. Do you, Norman, and Jack all play the same game?”

“Yeah?”

“Because yesterday Norman went to Jack’s to p-”

“They did what? Oh, those fuckers! We promised we would all upgrade together! So they plan to leave me behind, huh? Leave it to the fuck toy and the woman-hating fairy. Then they wonder why I get pissed at them and ruin their gatherings and use traps to drop its time in them so they can’t capture like the prisses that they a-”

“Aside gaming, do you have any other hobby?”

“Huh? Oh, uh, yeah, I guess. I like to read.”

“Read what... Well?”

“I’m thinking... the last thing I read was... was... fuck. I can’t remember the name of it. I liked it, though. It involved absolute insanity. The main character died at the beginning by something that was like the xenomorph from Alien and a Hydralisk from Starcraft had a baby- no! Wait. Definitely more a Hydralisk, but it was far more bony, and turned out to be made of crystal? Then there were oompah-loompah elves with rounded, vibrating nubs for ears, and the author had a real fetish for the majority of the cast being strong women that really weren’t because they fawned over the main character –which I suppose makes sense. He did come from another world and had a ‘special’ aura about him, but I’m still rooting more for the bandit because fuck that white-haired, goodie-two-shoed, hypocritical turncoat bimbo! I will say this, though; the second book was far better, though all of his work is just dark! Depressing as hell. The first wasn’t bad, b-”

“And you don’t remember the title?”

“Nope.... So, I take it this means we’re done?”

“I suppose, if you are really in that big of a hurry to get rid of me-”

“I’m more afraid to launch into another long spiel. Goodness knows what will spill out next. For example, we never touched on the fact that we are all locked down here without contact with others, and, until Monday, we weren’t even able to see each other. We were able to talk to each other, sure, but I’m not supposed to tell you about t- I just did, didn’t I?” She groaned, and rose from her bed, ushering Samantha to the door. Which she was more than happy to be free. The smell had started to accumulate. It seemed to start to molder and fester and grow in her lungs. Every breath she could taste the years of grime and rot, and she had started to piece together the name of the ginger skinwalker, which started to sleek the back of her tongue in a fine sheen of sickly sweetness.

Samantha almost ran out of her room, keeping her pace calm, collected until Buffy could shut her door. Then she ran up to her room. Back before her porcelain prince. She was going to start charging him at this rate. He’s never down on his knees for her, but, once more, here she was... She felt a touch guilty for the sin she had poured into his bowl, but he accepted it regardless, flushing it away.

As she rose again, the fan kicked on overhead, and seemed to fill the room with the scent of soft lavender, gulping it down with each gasping breath. She lavished it, relished each waft of purified grace. Now more than ever she was thankful to be in this steel cube, far and away from Buffy and Ginger. She was grateful for how sterile everything was, and that she was truly going to be gone for the weekend. If flies had gotten through for Ginger’s skin, who knew what had decided to dwell among Buffy’s floor... a thought that put an extra pep in Samantha’s step as she made her way once more to Peter’s, crushing and grinding phantasmal bugs under. Though it didn’t stop the floor from feeling like it was moving.

She arrived at his door with such haste, as if she glided down the stairs and landed before it. With one last, deep breath, she, knocked thrice, prepared for the worst. Now she simply had to play the waiting game- which wasn’t very long. There was a knock on the shield. Samantha blinked... but it came again. Harder. She slid it away and looked in, seeing a peculiar sight: a fang with a tan. She cocked her brow, but waved, smiling at him... feeling a bit stupid as he opened the door.

After all, his eyes were shut tight.

He stood a full head over her. His hair was tied into dreads, dyed deep blue. While his chest was uncovered, his legs were garbed in loose, leather trousers, held up by thick, brown cord.

He bowed, but refused to move from in front of the door, frowning so.

“Hiya,” Samantha said, offering her hand... feeling even dumber as she tapped his hand, goading it into a shake. “You’re Peter, right? I’m your teacher, Samantha Coffey. You could call me Sam, though.”

He simply nodded... and started to close the do-

“Wait. Won’t you at least say hi back? Are you excited for class?”

He... closed the door, waving to her through the shield before he pulled the metal slide half shut, and trudged back through the room back to his bed. He slung himself onto its simple, white cloth, and turned away from the beam of light streaming through that small crack. Samantha... shut it the rest of the way, and was a bit... disappointed wasn’t the word, but it wasn’t irritation either, nor anger. Simply... underwhelmed.

No reason to dwell, though.

There’s one final person, then the weekend was hers! She simply shrugged, and walked to the “final” door. She still wondered who would take quarter in the thirteenth, but for now she knocked on the technical final door, her finale... twenty times over. Then forty, matching with the ticks to her brow. Then another hundred- she slid its cover away, and looked upon a landscape of bright silks and rich, warm light, shimmering through the long ropes. But no one to be seen. Not a single soul in that sea of light.

“H-hello?” Samantha called in. “Lisa? You in here... Lisa?”

She repeated that call several times more, louder, louder, until the metal shrieked with her screech, and, as that last wave dispersed, she heard something moan. Then croak, cough, then wheeze, relenting as something finally stirred on the bed in the back.

Gone as the lights went out.

Fabric shuffled, bones cracked, and a pale figure rose, covered in a red dress. Even in darkness, she seemed to radiate just how... white she was. How pallid. Ghastly.

Deathly.

She was sickly thin, shining in the smallest light allowed through the shield, and her skin so unbelievably pale, yet all was dulled by her silvered hair. It shined like platinum, but was thin, frayed at its edges, barely reaching her shoulders.

The... thing looked to the door, those large orbs of red locked on Samantha, shuffling her way, groaning, gurgling more with each step closer-

Until Samantha slid the shield in place again.

Her heart hammered, seeing that... that corpse, that ghoul of a thing, and it was coming for her.

“Yes?” A soft voice called through the door, gurgling again, making Samantha’s heart sink.

“L... Lisa? Is that you?”

“Yeah. Sorry. I s...sorta dozed off... again... Hold on.” The door creaked, and Lisa heaved, hand over hand, inching it open before falling into the light. Her skin... no, her muscle was pale. Her skin was little more than a veil, pulled so tight against it, scarred, and was already bruising from the force on her wrists. Her eyes were sunken yet bulging, always bloodshot, always red. Though she wore a dress, it seemed the exert was enough for it to give up on her, allowing her “breasts” free from their top. They were little more than two flopping sacks, their tips clashing so much, black as night.

Lisa moaned, looking down at herself, and whined more as she righted herself... only for her dress to fall off completely. Her modesty was thankfully covered on its own, overgrown by a thicket of more platinum hair. A bush that Monica would absolutely be envious of.

“I’m sorry,” Lisa said. “It seems the strings on the back loosed in my slumber.”

“I... it’s alright,” Samantha said, and gently touched her shoulder, having her turn around. The lass did, but Samantha was even afraid to touch any more. For good reason; five bruises rose on her shoulder before her very eyes, where she had grazed her, thankfully hidden by the straps. The dress, though, was of incredibly fine make; it felt like nothing in Samantha’s hands. Even the strings that she had to pull and weave along the back felt softer than satin, but were strong enough to handle her knotting –of which many a shoe had suffered from... and now Lisa. “Sorry. I didn’t pull too hard, did I?”

“N-no. It’s f... fine...” She heaved a huge sigh of relief as Samantha loosed it a touch. She wheeled about, giving Samantha a soft smile. But Samantha could already see the damage she had done, the poor woman’s lips blue. “Thank you.”

“It was no problem... so... what’s, uh, what’s wrong wi-”

“The door? I think the hinges are out of place. It’s been getting harder to push open. I think Lilith will have to adjust them.”

“Y... yeah... So, tell me about yourself, Lisa.”

“Hmm? Not much to tell. I’m here to get an education and some experience so I can return to the outside world.”

In that state? Not bloody likely.

Samantha bit her tongue, smiling wide. “That’s great. Say, do you like music? Math, maybe?”

“Hmm? Math? I suppose... I mean, I know enough to get by... What else did you say? I’m sorry.”

“Music, dear.”

“Oh. Yes. Music. I love music. I always loved the lute, too, but music nowadays is too harsh. Everything is tuned down so low, all one huge thumping mess. No soul.” She yawned again, and her stomach was pulled tight. No, her entire form was. Samantha could see her heart seen under the ribs, pounding away, the second most colorful part of her. “Oh, dear. I think I can use another nap.” She gasped, the force of which knocked her back against the door, frowning. “Ah! My apologies. I forgot to invite you in. Would you like a cup of tea- no, wait. I had to invite you in first... well, would you?”

“That is quite all right. Next time, okay?”

“Okay... so class is on Monday?”

“Y-yeah. Yeah... Anything you can recommend?”

“Me? I’m but a student... though.” She stepped away from the door, her ragged breath stifling, nose flaring as it crept closer to Samantha. “I can’t help but smell you are human... can I have a taste?”

“W-what?”

“You know... of your blood. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten any fresh. Sure, the stuff they stock in the mini fridge is good, but it’s been forever since I had it from the source. May I...”

She tittered, wheezing a little, and leaned against the door again, steeling herself to pull it in. Her muscles were visibly stretching under her arms, blushing a bit from the blood flowing to them.

“You thought I was serious, didn’t you? Should have seen the look on your face... I should warn you I have a bit of a humorous streak now, huh? Heheh... Later, t-te... tea... Can you p- thank you.”

She waved at her through the visor, and Samantha slid it shut, a new hole in her heart, feeling... pity on this Friday... TGIF, at least?

Samantha trudged back to her room... stopping herself, and decided to take a detour to a certain hooker’s room. Monica yawned, opening it, and glowered at Samantha’s hand, still raised.

“You didn’t have to knock that many times, you kn-” She grumbled.

“My thingy back, please.”

“Wha- oh! You mean this?” She reached in between her legs, raising her yellow silk nightie, and Samantha gritted her teeth seeing baby blue. It was thrusting on its own accord into that... thing. Monica giggled, moaned as she removed it, and handed it back. “Sorry. It’s just been forever since I had anything in me. I no like toys, but it did its p-”

Samantha shut her up the only fitting way possible. She stormed off, leaving Monica standing there, baby blue in her mouth. She slammed her room door hard, energy melting it in place, tearing huge chunks from the wall around it to ensure it was sealed, and collapsed on her bed. She looked at the steel ceiling, molding perfectly into the steel walls and steel floor and-

“Fuck this place,” she said, sniffling. “Fuck these people. Fuck Lilith. What have I done to deserve this? All I wanted to do was learn and teach others how to use their magic. Was that so wrong? Why am I being put through the wringer!”

Someone hummed, and she looked down, seeing Minos in the desk chair.

“The fuck are you doing here?”

He looked at the door... No. Samantha followed it better, to the wall behind the desk. Melted into the door and allowing him to lean a bit out into the hall.

“Right, well, I’m here to listen to you bitch and moan, of course,” he said, his fingers crossed before his face, smirking at her. “Please. Continue.”

“No. Fuck you. Get out.”

“How can I do b-”

“Out!”

... He stood, walked over to her, and sat on the edge of the bed.

“How about no?”

“Y-you d-”

“How about you listen for a moment, hmm?” She... she nodded, and he simply chortled, shaking his head. “You saved the worst three for last, you know? Buffy is a ‘geeky tsundere masterrace’, her words of course, which I suspect is just another way of saying lazy slob. Peter doesn’t talk to girls, but he’s genuinely a nice guy. Shame he sucks the mood right out when dealing with women.”

“Why?”

“No idea. He doesn’t talk about it. He doesn’t hate women, though. Not like Jack... Also, I take it you fell for his blind scheme?”

“Blind s- you mean he’s not really blind!”

“Nope! He’s been pretending to be for the last... three years? Why he does, well, you’ll just have to ask him. If he decides to open up, of course.”

“And what about Lisa?”

… He frowned, and lowered his head, shaking it so. “The only woman I never wanted to fuck.”

“How noble of you.”

“I suppose. Mostly because I’m afraid of shattering her.”

“What’s wrong with her? I’ve never seen that happen to any fang.”

“That’s because she’s a broken one,” Norman said, closing the door behind him. The wall was mended as well, all pulsing purple and matching the inch long razor on Samantha’s middle finger.. He looked so nice in his light purple shirt, no pants to be seen this day aside soft boxers. “She doesn’t understand how to feed or hunt like one.”

“That’s... Is that why she’s kept a supply in her fridge?”

“Yes, but the damage was already done. She hadn’t fed at some point for so long that she’s forever doomed to look like that. It’s... heart-breaking, really.”

“Surely there must be something you can do, right? Norman?”

He... shook his head, and settled in the NEW desk chair. Though it didn’t have as plush a seat, Samantha was still proud at its sharp angled back. It almost looked like a shark’s fin.

“I can’t,” he said. “I’ve asked so many times, but, unless she wishes it, I can’t do anything. She’s... content.”

“C-content! With that?”

Minos chortled again, and slapped (and groped) her leg as he stood.

“Looks like you have a side project to do,” he said. “Right now, though, you seem in a better mood. I’ll take my leave.”

“W... what? No sly way of saying to suck your cock or anything?”

“Nah... not this time anyways. Besides, I was waiting here for Norman.”

“Why here?”

“Because I actually did expect you to suck my cock.”

He winked; she rolled her eyes, and the two left, leaving her to smile in the dark room. She succumbed to sleep, the week done and over with, yet the real fun was just about to begin. Orientation was over, after all. The training wheels were off; where would this wild journey go now.

I would say straight to Hell, but I’m already here, she thought, and yawned one last time- before yelping. She sat up, and looked at the hook still on her hand, covered in fresh blood from its meeting with her ear. Yup. Already fucking there.

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