Visit from a stranger…

It was raining, we were out in the rain, at a mall, in the dark. The kids needed jeans. They always need jeans. Teens eat jeans. Plus we decided to have a little fun and do some Christmas shopping. We ran to the car because we had too many bags to carry umbrellas, our hoods flying back, rain in our faces.

There stood a Vampire by my car. I didn’t know him but instinctively knew he was a Vampire.

“Mrs. Kings” he addressed me in a slightly old fashioned accent.

I looked at my children. “Get in the car” I told them.  Being the Vampire teens they are, my children stayed put in the rain.

It isn’t often (never) we’re approached by strange Vampires. We’re a close knit community and know just about everyone in the area. I’d never seen this man before. He was dressed in casual but expensive black. I wore jeans and a green hoodie. My hair was damp from the rain and a mess. He carried a large umbrella.

“Can I help you?” I asked trying to keep my upper lip from twitching (a bad habit of mine when I’m ready to go into full Vampire mode).

“I didn’t mean to startle you, or your children,” he said in an elegant quiet voice.

To everyone else he would look to be in his late 30’s. He was handsome in a familiar leading man sort of way with black hair brushing his collar and ice blue eyes. I pegged him as a 17th century Vampire. Call it a gut feeling.

“I need help.” He reached out and put his hand on my arm.

“Who are you?”

“Thomas Kent is my real name but you might know me as….”

He told me a familiar name and I recognized him. My water logged kids made exclamations. I’d seen him in a dozen movies, his blue eyes covered with brown contacts, his hair shorter, and his skin less pale. His movie voice was also different, more modern, and more American.

“Get in the car” I said. The kids put the bags into the trunk and piled in the back. Thomas Kent got into the passenger seat.

“What do you want?” I asked.

“I’m looking for Lavender Ice.”

That was a name I hadn’t heard in 30 years.

I remember the night I met her. I was at a stylish LA club wearing a red leather Claude Montana dress. She was in something tight, low cut and black with outrageous should pads and a sparkling lavender page boy cut wig.

She whispered in my ear “We need to talk.”

Lavender Ice was from a long line of Vampire Hunters. She’d gone against the family tradition and found compassion and admiration for modern Vampires. Now her goal was to help and protect Vampires and “others” who were ruthlessly hunted. She knew I was a Vampire and she knew all about me. I’d also heard about Lavender Ice.

Her real name was Katrina Hodges. She was 24 years old and recently out of graduate school in film making at UCLA. She wanted to know if I’d like to be a part of an art film, an erotic costume drama with real Vampires. Intriguing as it was I turned her down (for so many reasons).

And for so many other reasons we became unlikely friends. She became one of my best friends.

Lavender Ice made the movie. It was spectacularly romantic and beautiful and erotic. There was also blood and Vampires feeding in a sensuous erotic way that only Vampires can do. It wasn’t anything I’d ever want my kids to be involved in or even see.  But it was the most beautiful film I’d ever seen.

Shortly after the filming all copies of the film vanished (this was before Video, the Internet, DVDs) along with the cast, including the two Vampire stars.

I didn’t know the Vampires involved. They were young and sort of on the fringe, not members of the Circle. But they had never been involved in any trouble before.  In fact they were quiet types and maybe that was their downfall.

Lavender Ice now goes by the name of Kitty Jackson. Gone are the shoulder pads and lavender hair. She is 54 and still trendy and attractive and successful in film and entertainment business.

I looked hard at the Vampire sitting in my car. “Were you in the film?” He’d know what I was talking about.

“No. I told her not to make it but she never listened to anyone. I need to know where she is.”

“Why?” I asked.

He glanced back to where my kids were. Of course they were listening to every single word, mesmerized by it all.

“The young ones. They can keep secrets?” He asked.

“Of course they can.” I said. “They’re Vampires. Their lives are nothing but secrets from the day they’re born. And they’re my children. I raised them to be cautious.”

That said I looked at my kids and said “If you text anyone, tell any of your friends or family about ANYTHING you’ve heard tonight you are grounded until you’re 100. Do you understand?”

I heard them both say “OK mom.”

Thomas Kent told me his story. “I met Kitty years ago when she was a teen and turning away from her parents and away from Vampire Hunting. Over the years we continued to meet, until about a year ago…” He fell silent.

“She told me about you but she never told me your name. She said she couldn’t. I had no idea it was you” I told him.

“I fell in love. So did she. But she’s 54 and if I don’t turn her now I’ll lose her forever.” His voice was urgent and filled with grief.

“This is nuts. You don’t even know where she is. Does she love you? Does she want to be a Vampire? Does she know the risk?” I know I was talking like a mom, but this was serious stuff.

Of course Kitty knew the risk. She’d grown up knowing the risks.

Thomas Kent continued. “She knows. But I need to make a new start. I’ve been in the public eye too long. And she is getting older as regular humans do. Then she vanished leaving a note saying she wanted to be with me but it was too dangerous for me. It isn’t. She’s wrong.”

At this point the mom sense in my picked up even more and I wondered if I had put my own children at risk. At the same time I wanted to help.

I decided to help him. “Kitty is down on the Central Coast. She went down there to hide out for a while. I saw her a few weeks ago.” I took out my phone and made a call, then handed the phone to the love lorn Vampire.

They talked. It was like something out of a romance novel. It was sweet and filled with longing and love. I wondered what my children were thinking.

He handed me back the phone “Thank you. Thank you so much. I’ll be in touch.”

We chatted a little bit about and then he said he had to go.

As he opened the door to the car he put his black gloved hand in his pocket and pulled out a gold box. He handed it to me.

“This is a gift of love. A gift of the future. A gift of hope. Merry Christmas Juliette. Merry Christmas to my fine young Vampires. Make your parents proud.”

And he vanished into the damp night.

When we got home we opened the box. Inside was a gold key and a map.

We looked at it, my children, my husband and I. What an amazing gift he’d given us. The adventure had only begun.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Avenue

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