If you need something done ask a busy person.
I’m glad summer is coming because it will mean not having to drag my nocturnal teens out of bed. I swear, not all teens are Vampires, but all teens are nocturnal. They sleep. They sleep like rocks (if rocks sleep). They don’t wake up. Their ears shut down. On the other hand, a lot of teens shut off their ears most of the time with the exception of other teens and music…but that isn’t the point here.
I will be happy when summer comes in a few weeks and I won’t have to do the morning scene. The morning scene means gently waking the angels then it finally escalates to yelling and threats to ground them for weeks.
So like most moms I’m in a perpetual state of motion. I have my kids, my work, my marriage, my home, my pets, other family members to take care of – so I guess that means I have it ALL. Sure. We all have it all. And we do it without high priced nannies; housekeepers, personal assistants and most moms do it on a tight budget. Anyway…
So, with so little time I get a call. One of THOSE calls from my brother Max. He is at home, 90 miles away in San Francisco. He says there is trouble out my way and needs me to take care of it RIGHT NOW.
I’m home alone with my 17-year-old son. My brother Max is in Enforcement, which means his job is to keep Vampire Hunters, Rogue Vampires and other unsavory character in check. But sometimes, when things are busy, he needs a little help. And that is why he called me.
“Isn’t there someone else who can do this?” I was perplexed. Next I rattled off a list of names of other Vampires who were far more suited (in my opinion) for the enforcement task than a 5’4” inch Vampire mom and her inexperienced 17 year old son.
No of course not. Everyone else was busy. Really? They were ALL busy? Every large hard-bodied Vampire male in the area was busy (this includes two of my other brothers and my husband (on a field trip with our daughter.)
“But you’re trained at this kind of thing.” That is the excuse my brother used. I’m trained. Sure, but I don’t do this sort of thing for a living.
I yelled up the stairs at Garrett (aged 17 and acts like it). I yelled again. I yelled a third time. I went up to his room where he had the music blasting, computer up, phone going with three conversations and hunkered down on the bed with a cat. Only the dog who sat in the middle of the floor looked up when I came in the room. I flicked the lights on and off.
“Put on your shoes. We’re going out.”
He looked confused. “Where.”
“Hunting for your Uncle Max.”
“Enforcement. And I’m taking you with me. How about that?”
“Cool. Um, mom?”
“You have a button missing from your shirt.”
Crap. One more thing. It is always one more thing. About 20 one more things make me late every single day to just about everywhere.
OK. Change shirt. Find keys. Grab purse. Grab phone. Throw a few basic supplies in the trunk and away we go. Thank goodness I filled the tank up with gas last night.
We’re driving towards the designated location. I ask my son, “Did you get all your homework done?”
“I did it at school,” he answers wanting to roll his eyes but not daring to do so. “So mom, what’s this about?”
“A rogue Vampire. Maybe a Ren. I didn’t have many details.”
“What are we going to do?”
“I don’t know. We have to check it out.”
“Is it safe?”
“I don’t know. I doubt it.” I sort of shrugged, the way mothers know how to do.
“Of course it isn’t safe,” said a voice from the back seat. It was the Ghost. Nigel who haunts me and drives me nuts was in my car. “You’re going after a dangerous soulless creatures with no morals, no values and no fear. So needless to say I had to come along to help.”
I stopped to pick up my sister-in-law Verity (my brother Aaron’s wife). She looks like Botticelli’s Venus only wearing a pink sweater set and jeans.
“You have a ghost in your car.” She said that as she got into the front, and Garrett climbed into the back.
“No shit,” said Nigel, not taken in by her beauty. “Are all Vampires this rude?”
Verity gave Nigel a fanged hiss. He just rolled his eyes back at her.
I explained that it was ok to have a ghost along and that it wasn’t all a bad thing. Well, except for the fact that Nigel didn’t shut up the entire time there.
Just about the only thing that can shut up a ghost is music so I turned up the volume and opened the sunroof for a view of the stars (for mood and some fresh air.)
Three Vampires and the ghost driving into the night on our way to kill Rogue Vampires singing along with the soundtrack of Across the Universe.
We get to our location, an abandoned industrial area. You know, the kind with old buildings with small blocked or broken windows along the roof line, cut chain link fences, overgrown weeds, no lights, broken bottles and rats scattering unseen to most eyes. This is so stupid that I just want to scream.
I go to the largest building as instructed. There are large roll up doors in 5 bays and one regular door with a regular knob. I go there first and listen. Garrett follows like my shadow. I can sense excitement in him and a good dose of fear. This is a first for him – finding a real rogue Vampire.
The door is locked. I concentrate and break the lock (yes, I can do that. Pretty neat trick.
I open the door and smell the stench of old blood and unwashed bodies and that horrible rotten meat smell that makes just about any creature, except scavengers want to puke.
A couple of figures are lounging on some beat up furniture they’ve collected in a corner. A nasty looking couch and a couple of armchairs – the kind you find on the side of the road with “FREE” signs on them. No Gothic Vampire chic here. This is a dumpster dive.
One stands. The other just cranes a pale face around and stares. The standing one approaches. Oh for God’s sake, why did my brother send me here? I know this guy. On a slime scale of 1-10 he is a 25.
He gives me a fang filled smile and grins at me. “Jewels! Long time no see.”
I’m looking at a Vampire, about 5’7″ dressed in black, dark hair pulled back, sauntering towards me. He might have once been handsome by now he looked like a meth head from Hell. He walked up to me and put his hand to my face.
I motioned for Garrett to stay back. Verity comes and stands next to me, blonde hair flowing behind her like she’s in a photo shoot for Victoria’s Secret. Nigel is nowhere to be seen.
I knew this Rogue creature, once upon a time, when he had a soul. His name was Tad. He’d once been human but those days were long gone. He’d once been a decent Vampire until he turned rogue. OK he’d never been a decent Vampire. He was scum to start with and it was a shame, but I was beyond feeling sorry for him or even caring. As far as I was concerned he was already dead – and for all practical purposes he was dead.
His dead flat eyes looked me up and down like some sort of demonic pervert. “Let me drink you in Jewels. Do you know how long it has been since I’ve been with a respectable Vampire female? Too long. And you brought your lovely friends. How nice of you.”
I didn’t have time for this. “Listen Tad, I have a million things to do and it’s a school night so I don’t have time for your bull shit. Either you turn yourself in or I’m taking you down. Do you understand?”
“You’re so cute when you talk like that Jewels. Thirsty?” He motioned over to a couple of what looked like teenagers huddled in a corner. Holy crap, I had no idea he had regular humans in here.
Then he grabbed me by the waist and pulled me close. His claw like nails grabbed my skin under my shirt. His eyes were dead. No soul.
“Souls are cheap and keeping them is expensive,” he hissed in my ear with nasty wake-the-dead breath.
He had me tight in his grip. I twisted around and slammed him to the ground. I might be small but I’m well trained. There was no Matrix style theatrics with us jumping in the air or super fast Vampire leaps and bounds. That only happens in the movies.
Garrett came running and blasted his foot into Tad’s head then grabbed him by the hair and continued to slam. I heard him yelling, “don’t touch my mom.”
I climbed to my feet and grabbed the can of lighter fluid I had in my supplies bag. I doused Tad, then grabbed an ancient sword out of my bag.
I stood with a sword in my right hand and a lit BBQ lighter in my left waiting for Tad to react.
Tad looks at me with a fang filled grin. “Come on Jewels, I wasn’t going to kill them.”
I glared at him and waited to see if he’d give me an excuse to torch him.
“You think you’re better than us. You’ve sold out. You’ve gotten soft. You don’t know what it is like to be a real Vampire anymore.” Tad snarled at me, his fangs gleaming, with dried blood in the corners of his mouth.
I was ready to take off his head when from out of the corner came six more figures, fangs out, along with the one who was sitting on the couch, ready to attack. Eight Rogues? Really Max? What in the world made you think Verity and I, plus a teenager could take them down? My mind raced a hundred miles an hour. I could tell Verity was doing the same. She slid a long dagger out of her boot and took my back. Garrett stood behind up with the lighter fluid and lighter. This wasn’t good at all.
There are always those moments in life when just the right thing happens at the right time – just when you need it. You know, like that unexpected bonus check from work or an upgrade to first class or you find a home for that stray cat you really don’t want to keep. Now was just one of those moments.
Over our heads was a gust of freezing air and a scream so horrifying and loud that Verity, Garret and I all hit the ground.
A black swirling shadow formed around the Rogue Vampires. A large mouth filled with sharp teeth opened up and sucked them all in. That was followed by a loud belching noise and then…and then, it spit out an assortment of bones, cleaned of any flesh. The bones scattered on the ground then in a flash of light turned to ashes.
We all looked up in shock.
“What the…” said Garrett, grabbing my arm.
Then Nigel the ghost appeared, looking none the worse in a beautifully tailored black suit with a black shirt and tie. “That my darling Vampires was my friend Elizabeth the Banshee.”
A wild looking woman with wilder black hair and glacier blue eyes appeared next to Nigel. She belched again and then said “Well, that was fun. Thanks Nigel for the invitation. Gotta go.” And with another piercing scream she turned into swirling smoke and vanished into the dark.
“What? I told you I’d help you,” said our Ghost.
In the corner of the old dark warehouse we found a young couple chained and huddled together. Their necks were clawed and bruised, their wrists chewed. They were still wearing their dirty and torn prom clothes. They’d vanished from their Southern California Prom night – 700 miles south of us – a week ago. In a small dirty bathroom we found two other teens. One had vanished, also last week while walking home from a guitar lesson, his guitar and his backpack still with him. The other was a girl who’d been taken only a few days ago while walking her dog. They were all frightened and weak.
Verity, Garrett and I all did our best to calm them and with our special Vampire touch we sucked some of the fear from their souls along with most of the horrible memories of the nightmare they’d been through
“Help will come soon.” I told them that in my best mom voice I said as I pulled out a burner phone and called 911. I left the phone with the guitar kid in case they needed to call anyone else. I told Garrett to get the water I’d put in my car, along with some snacks I’d packed, just in case. Finally, Verity and I tended to their wounds and covered them with blankets.
We got out of the building and headed home in silence.
Verity was the first to speak. “He was bad to the core. Freakin serial killer as far as I’m concerned. He would have killed those kids.”
“They could have been from my school.” Garrett said somberly as he looked out the window. At that point I wondered if I should have brought him along.
Nigel appeared in the back seat next to Garrett. “I didn’t know there were really Banshees,” said Verity.
“I didn’t know there were Vampires or Ghosts until I died,” said Nigel. “Hey, your son is at UCLA isn’t he?”
“UCLA School of Law,” answered Verity looking surprised.
“Great school. I graduated from there in 1982. Art.” Nigel smiled. “I’m sure you’ve seen my work. I became quite famous after I died.” And with that, Nigel vanished, leaving only Vampires in the car.
So as we drove home we spoke of quiet things, of life and art and of living in a world that is stranger than anyone can imagine.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman