Zombie Days

It is one thing to lose your keys but when body parts start to vanish life just sucks. That is what Melissa was thinking at the moment. Being a Zombie sucked big time.

When she was 14 she’d read The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Covenant had Leprosy. It was awful. His world was turned upside down and he more or less lost everything. In a weird twist he was transported into a fantasy world where he was whole, at least in body. It wasn’t an easy series to read and it wasn’t happy. It was just weird to Melissa then because she wasn’t a fantasy fan. Now she was a zombie, and not a fan of that either.

It would be nice to blink and be in a fantasy world. Better yet be back in her normal world with her normal job and her normal boyfriend. Unfortunately she was in some sort of fantasy nightmare that was real life. It didn’t make sense. She looked down and then picked a finger nail up off the ground. Crap, even professional nail glue wouldn’t keep them on.

Michael wasn’t her boyfriend back before the Zombie days. He was just a guy who was a friend she’d work with occasionally. Her real boyfriend was… she had to pause to think hard. Memories were fading. She thought of old film archives of disintegrating film. It was like that. Nate. The boyfriend was Nate. He was tall and funny and perfect. He was a brain surgeon. The irony didn’t escape Melissa on that one. Her stomach grumbled. Brains.

Nobody ever expects to go on a simple business trip and at the end of the day becoming a zombie. It was just a simple stop to see what had been caught under that car. They thought it was a tumbleweed. It was Zombies.

Men in Black, Area Z (top-secret Zombie internment camp), an escape, help from some unlikely friends and now they were in a remote cabin in the woods. They could wait it out. They were already dead. The dead can wait forever.

Given the choice she would have chosen to become a Vampire. Even a Werewolf would have been better. She liked dogs. She liked running in the woods. Even a Ghost would be good if you had to be dead. Anything was better than being a Zombie.

Sitting at an old roll top desk, Melissa penned a letter to a friend. She might decide to send it or maybe not. As she wrote her skin made skid marks on the paper in a pinkish gray line. If she squinted she could pretend it was fairy dust. At least she could still hold a pen and write in something that resembled her once beautiful handwriting.

She wrote of Michael, her companion and now Zombie lover.

“I know he is the one. I know it in my heart of hearts that no longer beats. I know it every time he moans and shuffles towards me. I know it when he tries to look presentable and human. He does it just for me. He makes me laugh so I won’t cry. He stuffs the fingers of my gloves where I no longer have my own fingers. He tells me I’m still beautiful.”

A sticky tear of something green trickled down her face. Maybe she’d pick some wild flowers and cheer up their space. She looked out the window at the sound of a truck. She could see two men inside, sitting in the front seat with crisp clean uniforms. They were from the Forest Service. She smiled. Finally lunch had arrived.

Tiny chairs

Ever feel like you’re up against two big guys with little chairs and just want to say “Screw it all. You can’t make me feel bad for not having any big creative ideas today.”

 

The fact that he always brought his brothers and their tiny chairs along on dates should have clued me in on just how weird he was.

The fact that he always brought his brothers and their tiny chairs along on dates should have clued me in on just how weird he was.

 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

A Summer Day – Musings from a Vampire

Early this morning there was an unexpected knock on my door. I say unexpected because my entire family is otherwise engaged this weekend leaving me alone.

My neighbor and friend Kelly stood there with a smile on her pretty face. I smiled back (minus my fangs). She handed me a cup of coffee with a lid on it and said “We’re going to the farmer’s market. Yes, you’re coming with me. Teddy said you were all alone this weekend.”

Damn you Teddy, my loving husband who always manages to interfere with my brooding.

After slathering on spf 4000 sunscreen and grabbing a straw hat and a few reusable bags, Kelly and I headed off to the Certified Organic Farmer’s Market.

Music was in the air in the middle of the booths as an attractive couple played folk songs from the 1960’s on guitars and sang. I could smell the fresh peaches, greens, squash and dozens of other organic “farm to table” treats. I am getting tired of the term “farm-to-table” but this is the real deal we have here. I picked up a rare treat of sage cheddar cheese, huge bunches of kale and chard and a bag of nectarines. The lavender guy was out so I filled a bag with scented oils and sachets. I also got a huge bouquet of summer flowers. Later in the summer there will be more peppers and tomatoes but I did find some huge heirloom tomatoes in a green and deep burgundy color.

I don’t eat much solid food but when I do I make sure it is lovely. But I can guarantee you that there is nothing more out of place than a Vampire strolling through produce stalls on a summer morning.

Kelly mentioned with a smile how dark my glasses had turned in the sun. She knows that my entire family has extreme sun sensitivity issues to different degrees. But we can’t shut ourselves off from the world if we’re to be part of it – plus the vibes from this place is always so good. I might be a Vampire but I’m not opposed to good vibrations on a California summer morning.

After leaving we stopped by The Morning Crow, a small earthy crunchy organic coffee roaster. Their sign features the sun coming up but not with a rooster, but a large black crow. Nevermore is never said here because it is always lovely. Kelly and I lingered over iced coffee in a well air-conditioned shop while sitting on an oversized couch. New age music played in the background. When others try to do this sort of motif it gets annoying but today I was feeling it.

I was almost feeling human when Kelly said, “I know this sounds weird, but sometimes I feel like I have a ghost in my house.”

I gave her a “please go on” calm look but I knew sooner or later she’d figure it out. My ghost, Nigel, THE GHOST was really Kelly’s ghost. He lingered watching over her and her family but never make himself known. She told me of feeling like she was being watched or feeling the presence of someone she’d known who’d died. Considering that it seems like everyone around Kelly has an untimely death she could spend decades guessing who the ghost is.

I told her I was opened minded about ghosts but gave no additional details.

From there we made a quick stop to help out Kelly’s mother. She had broken her arm so Kelly was helping her wash her hair.

The intimate details of human life seem so fragile to me. The way Kelly French braided her mother’s iron gray hair into a beautiful intricate pattern mesmerized me. I thought of memories long ago of women with intricate braids and curls (not all their own) going to parties with gas lights and laughing behind fans. I snapped out of my revelry when Kelly’s mother, Lois, said “You never seem to age Juliette.”

I mumbled something about sunscreen.

Then Lois said, “You reminds me of someone I used to know. He’d be ancient now, but you look so much like him. You have the same eyes. Deep like the color of the sea. It is as if I can see down to your very soul. Such eyes. His name was Val.”

Before I could say anything Kelly said, “Juliette has a brother named Val.”

It is a small world indeed that someone who knew my brother in 1950 would mention now how much I look like him. We all figured it must have been an uncle of mine. I’m quick with answers for those who recognize us but don’t know exactly why.

Lois took my hand in hers. “Your hands are cold like mine, but not all twisted with arthritis. I hope neither one of you get it. There was something timeless about your uncle. You should tell your brother to come see me.” Then she winked giving me one of those all-knowing smiles. Holy shit.

I volunteered to wash dishes for Lois while Kelly spoke with her about medical issues and family concerns. It made me think of a lot of things.

Then they asked me about my parents and if they were still alive. Of course, living in San Francisco near two of my brothers. How time passes and even in human years so much happens. We live so many different lives in just a short time. It is the people who come and go out of our lives and those little things that twist and turn it all around and upside down over and over and over again.

While the news stations rage on about war and violence and horrible things, I see something else in humans. I see a great capacity for love and caring. I see tenderness. I see goodness and hope. I see a lot of humor and more joy. Mostly love. They are so full of love. One wouldn’t think that but they are.

As we arrived home my cats ran over to greet us. One ran up a tree while the other rolled in the dirt and sang a song of cats that begged for someone to pet his tummy.

By then I was fried but it was worth it, to get me out of the dark, even if being in the dark is my natural state.

Going out to my back deck I looked into the oak forest for signs of The Ghost. He was nowhere to be found. Maybe another day, maybe tonight. I never know with him.

The sound of elephants stomping came from the front porch as my son Garrett and his friend Randy came almost crashing through the front door laughing – as always. It is good to be 18, especially if you’re a young Vampire – even if the sun is shining and you feel like you have heat stroke.

I said “Group hug,” and that is exactly what I got.

It is going to be a long hot summer, but like all experienced Vampires, I’ll survive the heat and I think enjoy every minute of it, thanks to my friends. Well, that and air conditioning and really good black-out shades.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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In the Darkest of Places

I am dead tired. No pun intended here.

Even Vampires get the blues.

After a whirl wind couple of months with work, kids, school, the husband, elders, family, friends…and I’m in the middle, the key to it all – suddenly it all stops.

There is nothing to do. Nobody needs me. Not for the next few days.

Of course I have a thousand things I need to do and WANT to do, but I feel nothing for it. I feel frozen up with nothing.

I haven’t been here due to being on the road, but my muse has also abandoned me. I have deadlines that I’m missing because I can’t come up with a story or write on the work that I’ve already done. It is good work that I don’t want to screw up with my melancholia.

I think of writers and artists who write when they’re suffering for their art. Oh please, I don’t do that.

The dog needs me. She always does. We’ll paint our nails. I’ll organize my office. I’ll give her a bath.

I’ll go out to a seedy neighborhood bar and find the neck of a roughly handsome guy who smells of pot and beer and fresh mowed grass. He’ll never know the girl in the short sun dress is a Vampire mom who lives in a neighborhood he’d never live in. He’ll be a nice guy with maybe some nice ink and I’ll chat and give him sweet dreams leaving him less a couple pints of blood. I’ve played that one out before when I’m alone and feeling at a loss of everything. Thank God for neighborhood bars.

I’ll walk home through the dark, hit the parkways with the oak forests and bats who will follow me. I’ll see the deer run through the dark night and the eyes of coyotes and raccoons. Possums will watch along with bobcats. No human will see me, the girl in the sundress who is really a 154 year old Vampire mom.

I’ll watch a movie on TV or read. Maybe I’ll call a friend. Maybe not. Or just watch the sunrise and wonder where my ghost has gone. Even my ghost isn’t around.

My brother Val calls this brain fever when I get like this. I say it sucks (there again, no puns intended.)

I just looked up and hope to see a faint outline of a ghost out the window. No such luck. But a cat just came up and rubbed against my leg. It’s a start. He meows and says “Life is good when I’m around because I have a small brain and I’m cute.”

So I shall try to muse without a muse and shake myself out of my own shadow.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Short Story Sunday: I’ll Take Care of You

The headache was real. He opened his eyes and squinted at the sun coming through the window and tried to remember what had happened the night before.

“Oh you’re up. Look at the sunlight. Tell me how you feel.”

“Like I’ve been hit by a truck.”

“Do you feel alive?”

He looked at her sitting in a navy blue wingback chair wearing nothing but a smile and black silk stockings held up by red garters. He thought of her as a girl, not from her age but by the way she acted. She had been cute for a while but the cuteness became annoying and practiced.

He got out of bed and looked for his robe. She watched him with a smile on her face that was part wonder and part greed. Memories started to come back. Against his better judgement he’d taken her home and to his bed. Then she’d poured something she said was wine, but it obviously wasn’t.

“What did we drink last night?”

“What did you drink Andrew darling. I gave you an elixir to life. I gave you a tonic of love. I gave you light and love?”

He didn’t even respond. The sooner he got her out of his house and made coffee the better. Finding his robe he headed to the kitchen.

“Do you feel different?” She got up and followed him down the stairs.

“Other than feeling like shit?”

“Today is your new birthday. You’re mortal again.”

It suddenly occurred that she’d given him some sort of potion. “Jen, I can’t be cured. There was nothing wrong with me.”

“You were a Vampire.”

“I’m still a Vampire.”

“You’re walking in the sunlight. See it comes through the windows and you aren’t burning.”

“I’ve always been able to walk in the sunlight. Whatever you gave me didn’t work. It never works anymore than me giving you something that would turn you into a dog.”

“Give me a chance and I’ll take care of you Andrew,” she said clutching at his arms.

He pried off her hands and whispered under his breath, “Yes, and I’ll make sure to take care of you.”

Escorting her to the door, the Vampire told her to not come back – but he knew she’d try. Jen never took no for an answer. He compared her to a bad rash, that is if he’d ever had a bad rash.

Nobody would believe her tall tales of dating a Vampire. She was a groupie, a fan, a follower who didn’t know how to be an adult or find real love. It wasn’t like he always knew how to find real love, but at least he wasn’t going to let anyone change him for it.

Picking up the phone he made a call. “You know, I really don’t have the stomach for killing her right now. Any suggestions?”

His friend paused on the other end of the line then said, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of her.”

After getting off the phone Andrew made a blood and strawberry smoothie hoping it would clear out some of the toxic effects of whatever the Hell Jen had given him.

Jen told everyone her family had always been around Vampires, kind of sort of, but she’d just discovered her ability to pick them out about 10 years ago. She’d clamped onto Andrew about a year back after seeing him sing with one of her favorite bands at a local club. She’d spotted him and found out all of the details about his life through mutual friends. Her immaturity was charming at first and kind of cute but now it just grated on Andrew. He ran his hands through his hair and wondered why he’d brought her home last night. Oh right, blood and sex. That always does it.

Then again, Jen thought life should be a cross between a Doris Day/Rock Hudson movie and Twilight. Holy crap. The woman was delusional.

Jen sat alone in her San Francisco apartment and thought about her beautiful Vampire lover. Giggling at the thought of his cool skin and hot kisses and wonderful techniques as a lover. He knew all the tricks. She imagined living with him in his beautiful St. Francis Woods home.

Last night she’d offered him not just her body but her blood as well. Last of all she offered her heart. As far as she was concerned that was a sealed deal. She was part of him now. He’d never get rid of her.

A year passed and Andrew had all but forgotten about that night with Jen. Occasionally one of his friends would bring up the story of the toxic brew and laugh about it.

“Don’t laugh, it could have ruined my voice,” Andrew would tell them half serious and half joking.

“What ever happened to her?” They would always ask. Andrew would just shrug.

A hundred miles away, locked in a room with no sharp objects Jen sat rocking on the bed speaking of her Vampire lover and how he’d return for her. Andrew said something under his breath about taking care of her. So she waited not knowing that he already taken care of her, quite nicely.

I'll return to you

I’ll return to you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vampire Summer

Summer is a double edged sword for Vampires.

The burning heat makes me grouchy and sick. My kids are covered up as if we were i being attacked by chemical weapons or hiding from paparazzi. The sun never seems to set.

On the good side everyone is out and about wearing hardly anything. Not the Vampires, the others. It makes things easy for us. The seduction and conquest are much easier. One the warm summer nights we can expose our own skin. Sometimes it feels good to feel that warm breeze on our cold bodies.

We are attractive because of our coldness. Oh to find a beautiful woman and feel her cool skin when everyone else around you is hot and sweaty. And of course she is beautiful. All Vampires are beautiful when they want to be.

In the evenings we take clandestine swims in the lakes, except for those of us who have pools. In the water we float on our backs and watch the stars and the bats, cool cups of blood mixed with wine or vodka and laugh together in quiet voices.

We walk in the woods at night, the dry grass under our feet, quietly with the ghosts and other spirits that are drawn out by the warm summer air. Even they are warmed by the memories of life.

It is the first day of summer. We don’t celebrate but we do take note and count the days down to fall.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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