Stop for just a moment…

Children are sensitive souls, even when they are almost grown.

When parents are sorting through their own issues, their teens are stoic for the most part. They turn it all inside. That is when we (parents) need to buck it up and watch and listen.

They need us almost more now than when they were toddlers.

The same goes with marriage. By the time kids are teens life is so crazy and complicated and emotionally turned upside down.

We are all so busy and stressed that it just gets overwhelming.

I always say TALK WITH YOUR KIDS. I still say that. But today I have another chant for you. Talk with your spouse/partner. Talk to the other parent in the house. This is assuming the other parent is in the house. If he or she is make the time for them, as well as for the kids.

I know you know this. We just need reminders.

Yesterday my brother Aaron stopped by. Aaron and I are the only married siblings of my parent’s brood of five. He was happy that his young adult children were home for a few weeks, but they were off in their own world. His wife Verity was either with the children or working on a thousand things that had nothing to do with him.

I thought about my own household where we were all coming and going at 3,000 mph.

Stop. Talk. Hug. Say I love you.

“Maybe we’re meant to be solitary creatures,” said my brother.

“We all need our time alone. Is everything ok?” I asked.

“Sure. I’m around my family but they’re not really there.”

We talked more. They ARE there but everyone just gets so tied up in everything but each other.

Sometimes both Aaron and I feel alone, yet we know we are both part of something extraordinarily special and amazing. We have spouses and children who are there for us no matter what, and we are there for them. In turn, we are siblings who are so different, yet we are always here for each other.

I get lost in my own thoughts and issues and forget everyone around me. I become like a shadow. I become invisible. Sure, we’re Vampires so we should be invisible for the most part, but not when it comes to those we love. Nor should we make anyone feel invisible.

So your assignment for today: Love and show it. Your heart might not be beating but it doesn’t mean you can’t make someone feel they are valued and needed.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

red heart

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Short Story Sunday: Morning at the Vineyard

Morning at the Vineyard

Andrew didn’t remember much when the door opened with blinding light waking him from his sleep, much less the voice that said “You aren’t dead.”

“Of course I’m not dead.” Andrew lifted himself up on his elbow and looked around at the bedroom.

“You were so cold. We couldn’t hear your heart.” A slim woman with long slightly graying hair stood near the bed.

“That’s what all the girls say.” No response. “That was a joke.”

“Oh. Ha ha ha. Good one.” Uncomfortable laughing.

There was the taste of blood in his mouth, but not his own. It must have been a Hell of a night. He looked at the woman again. She was pretty but not young, standing there in a flowing sundress and pretty light summer sweater. Nice. This would be fairly easy staying here for a few days, but he would still be cautious. Sometimes the most easy ones turned out to be the most dangerous.

Andrew started to get up and realized he was naked under the sheets.

“Your clothes were soaked and also covered with blood. We thought about calling the police but my husband Ian said to wait until morning. My husband Dennis said the same. I don’t agree with them. We should have called the police as soon as we found you.”

“Where was I?”

“In the vineyard, face down in the dirt. Your car was in a ditch with four flats and the front end smashed in. We pulled it out.”

The Tesla. Quiet and fast and expensive. Then he thought about what she said. “Husbands? You mentioned two husbands.”

“We practice polyandry. Two husbands, one wife, one family. It isn’t legal or common or accepted by most people but…”

“I don’t have a problem with it. As long as it works for you.”

“It does.”

She took a stack of clothing, jeans, a shirt, etc, from the top of the dresser and gave it to Andrew. “Clean clothing. Breakfast will be ready in about a half hour. And we’ll discuss who you are and why you’re here and where all the blood came from.” Then she turned and left the room.

What a night. The fog started to clear from Andrew’s brain. He staggered up out of the bed and closed the window shades. Damn sunlight. Looking in the mirror the reflection looked back showing a well built man with alabaster skin, long chestnut curls flowing down his back, a classically handsome face and hazel eyes the color of the blue green southern seas. His mouth twitched showing fangs. He quickly gained his composure and hid the teeth and rubbed his tired eyes.

“Shit. What the crap happened to you Andrew,” he said to himself. There was wine, a lot of wine. There were women. There was a guy named Brant and his friend Chet. There was the girl Ginger…she had AB + blood, Chet had O. Oh no. Why didn’t he remember? And how’d he end up face down in the middle of a vineyard? Zinfandel. He knew what kind of grapes they were.

Taking a 3 minute shower, he towel dried his long locks, pulled on the clothes the woman had left him and went down the stairs. He could smell food cooking and coffee. He gripped the banister to prevent himself from throwing up everything inside of his stomach. He’d over done it for sure, blood and wine. Wine and blood. Sex too but that was a blur. Food might do him some good.

In the kitchen were two men and the woman, along with half a dozen kids in who ranged from about 8 to 17.

He looked at the men. A large blonde man who looked like a former football player introduced himself as Ian. Dennis was shorter with the look of a History Professor or some sort of thing like that. They called the woman Carrie. One big happy family.

Ian poured Andrew coffee and welcomed him. They all welcomed him. This was getting creepy. Then again, Andrew was the Vampire, but he was sitting in the home of a farmer and wine maker and her two husbands and six kids. It was weird. But hey, he decided to make the best of it.

They made small talk. He thanked them for taking him in. Carrie put plates of eggs and fried tofu and toast and fruit and bacon and mushrooms on the table.

The teenage girls thought Andrew’s hair was great and asked him if he was in a band. He smiled minus fangs. He must have had at least five cups of coffee.

“Last night I thought you had some nasty scratches on your face,” mentioned Ian.

“I, uh, heal fast.” Andrew said that then wished he’d kept his mouth shut. He healed fast because he wasn’t like them. He took the blood and energy of regular normal people and in return, he made them feel good – like a rush that would last at least a week. Well, if he liked them and made a connection.

“Where’d all the blood come from? Except for the scratch on your face you didn’t have a mark on you.” As Carrie said that she gave him a long cold look.

“Blood? On me? I guess I drank too much. Too much of everything and threw up. I don’t know. My friends drank a lot and someone was doing some sort of recreational drugs or maybe prescription pain killers, I’m not sure, but I over did it. Listen, I’m so sorry about this and I really appreciate your hospitality. I’ve imposed on you. I wish there was something I could do to pay you back. Let me know.”

Ian gave him a pat on the arm. “We know what it is like to be different.”

“You’re a Vampire aren’t you?” Dennis asked as the kids all looked on.

Andrew brushed a damp lock of hair out of his face and suddenly felt a little warm. “Yes, but…”

“How long have you been a Vampire?” Carrie was asking now.

“I’ve always been one. My parents were Vampires. Um, I was born just down the road from here. October 22, 1851.”

The children were transfixed.

“We don’t have a problem with Vampires. Some food might settle your stomach Andrew,” said Carrie. “And you’re welcome to stay as long as you like. We found your phone and called your sister. She’ll be here in a couple of hours.”

This was all too strange for Andrew. He’d spent the past 100 years or thereabouts avoiding families and any kind of normal human lives. Years had passed traveling, and performing and enjoying wine and women and wild nights. But now he sat with a nice family with no pretenses. And rarely had he ever met humans who knew or even knew about real Vampires. It was so unusually weird.

“I sing opera,” he said to the kids. “Mainly opera but I can sing just about anything. Just got back from Patagonia and learned a bunch of folk songs. I can do metal too. That comes naturally.”

“I can imagine you do a great power ballad,” Carrie said with a smile, then she told the children to leave the room.

Andrew had to smile. This as so weird but he could get used to this. He looked at Carrie’s golden brown eyes. A positive blood, just like his. She’d make a good Vampire, or even just a snack.

He thought about his sister. It had been forever since he’d seen her or her children. It would be nice. More than nice. Maybe she’d get another husband too. He might suggest it. He smiled. That would be funny.

“What happened to my friends? Did you see any of them?” Andrew looked from Dennis to Ian then to Carrie. “Did they say where they went?”

Carrie looked him in the eye as Dennis and Ian flanked her side. “We buried them in the garden behind the carriage house.”

“Don’t worry,” said Dennis “Nobody ever found the other bodies we’ve buried, so they won’t find your friends.”

Andrew took another gulp of coffee and hoped his sister would arrive soon.

And that was the entire truth just as my brother Andrew told it to me

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Note: This story has been posted several times before and was the inspiration for my short story collection.

 

Morning at the Vineyard

Report from home on a dog and four cats.

We are still on the road.

Last night I received a call from my husband Teddy.

He said, “I can’t make it down there. I can’t leave the animals alone. Since you’ve been gone they’ve all flipped out. Jasmine (the dog) won’t listen to anything I say. She won’t eat. She’ll eat peanuts if I throw them in the air. But she won’t do anything. And Oscar (a cat) is running all over the house and won’t stop screaming. He keeps looking for you. I can’t get any sleep. He is so flipped out.”

Then I had to ask, “What about Gloria?” Gloria is the calico cat.

“Gloria is fine. She has birds to kill. And I’m watching the cats next door.”

So much for the glorious alpha Vampire I’m married to.

Teddy continued, “I can’t leave them.”

I told him that was ok. I love him for being such an alpha male and I love him for being so sensitive.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

oscar the cat

 

 

On The Road

I’m on the road this week – a Vampire in a hot strange land with confusing traffic patterns. I discovered great coffee (the best I’ve had in years), a wonderful used record store and a few other hidden gems.

As a Vampire one learns to seek and find entertainments, odd spots, art, natural wonders and interesting people no matter where you go. A wasteland to most can be a place of interest to a Vampire.

Or not.

The Vampire community here is small and somewhat sketchy. Despite that, they are well educated and living out of the gutters and dark sad places that most of the population seems to dwell in. They are college professors and musicians and farmers. They hold on tight to their small community and don’t readily let in new members. By that I mean they don’t make new Vampires here. Their numbers never grow.

I met them out on a farm, in the middle of a vineyard, in a new and luxurious home. Old friends. Old stories. Older memories. Yet, there was an exchange of new stories as well.

Iced blood flowed out of bottles into frosted goblets. We put aside our usual hushed tones and laughed out loud.

My friend Judith and I made our way down to the wine cellar where she showed me her latest vintage from her winery a few miles north of the main house.

“We own this place. We always have. Always will,” she said to me. “I hear you’ve been having issues up North.”

“What have you heard?” I asked.

“Rogue Vampires, problems with Shadow Creepers and Vampire Hunters to start.”

“Add an abundance of new Vampires to that mix,” I added. “The fun never ends.”

We talked and solved the problems of the world. We laughed as old friends do and then went back up to the heat with the others.

Everyplace you go has its shares of worries and woes. Everyplace also has its own traditions and charms. Almost. I guess there is  no place like home… even if you’re a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Diary: Something I Do Understand

Dear Diary,

The cat has gone missing. I looked everywhere. Damn me to Hell I can hear or smell any prey but I cannot find a cat. My cat. The cat of the damned. My frustration increases by the hour. I haven’t given her a name. She has not told me what she wishes to be called. I don’t know how to call her.

~ Vlad

—————————————–

Dear Diary,

Last night. A woman as beautiful and seductive as Helen of Troy held me in her embrace and let me into her trust. I drank her blood then sat as she slept and thought about my cat.

The woman woke and asked me why I looked so sad. I told her I’d lost my cat. She told me to put up a sign.

I didn’t understand. She smiled and called me a dumb blonde. I am so confused. I don’t understand modern women or why I have such feelings for a cat. I am not dumb.

I put up a sign then waited. The cat is still gone.

~ Vlad

———————————-

Dear Diary,

The cat has not returned. I am not sure she has even seen the sign.

My neighbor told me the sign is cute. Everything is cute to people around here. I am cute. My cat is cute. The sign is cute. Children are cute. I do not understand all this cute.

~ Vlad

—————————————

Dear Diary,

Today I received an invitation to a black tie event. That means formal. I can do formal. I am the prince of formal. Nobody can do formal like a Vampire.

Everyone thinks a Vampire must be dark-haired and gaunt. I am fair and according to my neighbors I am also cute, hot and sexy. Is there a single word for all of this confusing flattery? I have learned to accept it, whatever it is.

The cat has not returned.

~ Vlad

————————————–

Dear Diary,

Tonight is the event. It is to make funds for a charity. An admirable cause for art. Art is one thing I do understand, or at least I can feel.

Since coming to this place far from my ancient home, I have found that there is much I do not understand. The most strange thing of all is that I am feeling emotions that have been dead since I was alive. Alive. That was centuries ago.

In the large closet I found the correct suit. Tonight I will be stunning. I will be seductive. I will be charming. I will be handsome. I will not be cute.

~ Vlad

———————————–

Dear Diary,

Upon returning home tonight I found my home dark without joy. For many Vampires that would be a blessing. For me it was not. The cat was not there.

Despite an evening filled with success and conquest my heart remains cold and still. I hold power over so many, yet the disappearance of a cat has made me feel helpless and empty.

The thought of bringing a woman home, and there were so many I could have desired, was far from my mind. It would have been a distraction but a hollow one.

I went into my bedroom to rest and think alone. But I was not alone. I heard a noise. Small noises. Voices. I quickly pulled out a drawer of the dresser and there she was.

There was the cat with four tiny kittens. They were so tiny I could have put them all in the palm of my hand. I looked on in wonder as my cat purred and sang to me a joyful song.

I found my cat.

I do not know who the father is so I will take his place to protect this tiny brood.

Do I dare say that they are cute?  Yes, they are exceptionally cute. That is something I do understand.

~ Vlad

blue cat

For the rest of the Vampire Diary Series (featuring Vlad and the Cat) do a search on this blog using the words “Vampire Diary” or “Vlad”

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

My Vampire Dad

This is an old post, one of the first on this blog, but it is filling for today. It is Father’s Day so I won’t have time to write a short story for “Short Story Sunday.” I’ll make it up to you later. xoxo

Vampire Maman

It ran after me through the woods. We’re not invincible like regular humans try to make us out to be. We’re a lot more fragile and vulnerable than anyone knows. The brush scraped my bare arms, I couldn’t breathe. The wound in my neck had reopened. Falling to my knees I held my throat…

I bolted up on my bed. My daughter was curled asleep against my side in a coma like state (like most kids her age, she sleeps like a log). My son Garret was in the window seat reading.

“You ok mom?”

“I don’t know.” I told him, putting my hand to my neck. It was hot to the touch. I felt like someone had hit me across the neck and head with a baseball bat.

My eye went to the dresser where a large exquisitely beautiful flower arrangement took over the room. I could smell the…

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