Short Story Sunday: A unicorn, a squirrel and a possum go into a bar…

It is that time again for the Evil Squirrel’s Contest of Whatever.

And since I didn’t finish my short story for today I’m reposting a Contest of Whatever story.

Below was my entry for the first one. The rules were to do something creative that included a unicorn, a squirrel and a possum. No problem.
The third Contest of Whatever rules CLICK HERE NOW.
Click here for the second one. everybody loves my entry for the second one. Vlad is in it.

Now on to the story…

A unicorn, a squirrel and a possum go into a bar…

When you belong to a Vampire family the dynamics with other people, creatures, living things in general can get complicated.

My brother Andrew is staying at our house for a few days. He’ll be performing at one of the larger clubs with a semi-well known band (they get some radio play) later this week. Andy is an opera singer but he’ll sing anything in any style with just about anyone if asked.

Last night was a lovely clear evening so we (Andy, my husband Teddy and I) went out on the deck for a glass of wine. Aside from Andy being my brother he is also close friends with my husband. They grew up together back in the days before Teddy even knew what a Vampire was (but that is another story.)

I always had to smile at Andy and his personal sense of style. He was in a velvet vest, white shirt with french cuffs and jeans. His chestnut colored hair fell straight to his shoulders. Of all of us siblings (all 5 of us) Andy was the one who held on to the 19th century we all grew up in more. But that wasn’t always a bad thing.

To make a short story even longer… it is February so the conversation turned to romance. Well sort of.

I wondered how he was getting along with his new girlfriend Shawna. He’d met her when he’d stumbled upon her camp in Patagonia (yes, THAT Patagonia.) She was digging for dinosaurs. I’m not exactly sure what he was doing there. Andy tends to just wander the world at times when he feels, well, like he needs to. By the way, Shawna isn’t a Vampire. Yes, it is complicated. And yes, she has met our mother which makes it even more complicated.

I asked about Shawna so Andy vented.

“Shawna knew why I’d gone out. It really wasn’t any of her concern. But when I got home she wouldn’t touch me. I assumed she’d understand that I can’t live off of kale and tofu. I need human blood to survive. She couldn’t get past the idea of me drinking blood then kissing her. For God’s sake by then I’d brushed my teeth and we’d had a couple of glasses of wine.”

He looked at us expecting a response but we let him continue to vent. “It isn’t as if I’d had blood dripping down my chin.”

“Give her time,” I gently told him then thought how stupid that sounded.

“I even had a baby unicorn but that ended badly as well,” said Andy.

“What were you doing with a unicorn? Oh my goodness Andy.” It has been years since I’ve seen a unicorn.

“Keeping it for James.” Andy said. James is a friend of Andrew’s. James is sort of nuts but he does lead an interesting life.

I have to admit that one of the cutest things in the universe is a baby unicorn. They’re like tiny iridescent donkeys or maybe a cross between a fawn and a pony, with all of that tiny baby sweetness. Their little hooves look like white mother of pearl. And there are few things as soft as a baby unicorn nose. Oh my goodness they’re precious. Best of all they smell good – like jasmine and roses.

Andrew continued his sad story. “As soon as Shawna walked in the room the unicorn started to cry. I’d forgotten that they’re afraid of humans. And forget the bull crap about being pure at heart. It doesn’t matter. There she was standing in the room with this baby screaming at the sight of her. It was a disaster.”

Yes, love is rare, but not as rare as a screaming baby unicorn. Sigh.

“I can understand Shawna’s fears,” said Teddy. “I know how repulsive we seem to humans.”

Andy gave Teddy a glare. “Repulsed? How could she be repulsed? I’ve been nothing but wonderful to her. I’ve literally swept her off her feet. I’ve made her feel things she thought she’d never feel.”

Teddy patted Andy on the shoulder. “You’ve made her feel fear. Remember I used to be like her. It took me weeks, actually years to accept the reality of Vampires and the fact that we’re not completely evil or completely dead. The very idea of a Vampire is more terrifying than, well, than she was to that baby unicorn. Maybe even more so because humans know we’re on the top of the food chain over them. It puts fear and disgust in them like cannibals or serial killers.”

“But if they tried to understand…” said Andy.

“What we do is morbid and disgusting,” said Teddy.

“They drink coffee that has been pooped out of a cat. What can be more disgusting than that?”

“Civets. The coffee is expelled by civets.”

“Whatever Theodore. Humans don’t know anything about us or what we do,” said Andy.

“And we need to keep it that way. I don’t know why you let her know you were a Vampire in the first place. It was a bad move on your part Andy.”

“But…”

Teddy gave Andy one of those looks. The kind that teenagers dread. “Andy, you can’t expect someone to suddenly embrace something they’ve feared their entire life. I don’t care how many times you tell her that you love her. We’re the undead evil, just above zombies and ghosts.”

“Not to mention ticks and werewolves,” I added in.

The soft sound of moving branches distracted us. Climbing up the Italian Cypress to the deck rail came another nocturnal creature. It was Teddy’s possum. For the past year the possum had been making nightly visits and Teddy had decided to make friends with it. He spoke quietly to the soft gray creature and handed him a few raw peanuts he’d put in his pocket earlier. The Possum sat still while Teddy brushed its beautiful coat. She looked at us with her black possum eyes and showed a little bit of primitive sharp toothed possum grin.

Possums are gentle and often misunderstood creatures. Nobody ever hears of a possum attack but people still fear them. Sure sometimes they might have rabies or fleas but for the most part they’re harmless. I wouldn’t recommend you try to pet one or pick one up, but Teddy has a gift with animals and he is a Vampire. And like our possum friends we (Vampires) are also misunderstood.

“You can’t keep a possum as a pet Andy, just like you can’t keep a human as a pet,” I told my brother.

“Shawna isn’t a pet,” Andy said. He scratched the possum between it’s ears as it sat quietly.

“Maybe not, but she isn’t a Vampire. I know you lived with Aurora for almost 50 years, but that was the exception. That was something extraordinary. She never feared us. She never saw us as unnatural,” I said.

Andy looked out at the night sky as if he was looking for Aurora, a woman he’d lived with until her death from old age. She stayed with her until the end, never pressuring her to become a Vampire, never leaving her side. We all loved Aurora. Maybe too much. Despite the heartbreak she was a gift, like all of our dear human friends. We’re sad for her passing but we wouldn’t trade the sadness because of the love.

We all knew Shawna was warming up to the idea that she was living in a world populated by bizarre creatures and strangeness that she could never have imagined. Then again, she studied dinosaurs so she knew about strange creatures that defied imagination, logic and all reason. Time would tell.

I said good night (good morning to us) around 4:00 am to Teddy and Andy. The kids were sleeping due to school and their daytime schedules.

Around 7:00 am, just as the sun came up I was in my dining room, laptop open, glancing out through the windows at the trees. The Possum had gone to her bed, but on the deck rail was a squirrel. This particular squirrel is always out in the morning doing a little dance with jerky movements while his squirrel friends jump through the oak trees like circus acrobats. He stands in the sun and eats from the window box and from the bowl of nuts and seeds I leave for him. He’ll turn his head and look at me but he isn’t afraid – at least not unless I open the door for a closer look or try to take his photo. When I go outside sometimes he barks at me with his odd almost unearthly squirrel voice. I call him my friend, but he’ll never consider me to be in his inner circle. But that’s OK. He’s a squirrel. That is all I need him to be. And he never needs to know I’m a Vampire.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

everybodylovesapossum

Fog

Today is perfect. Thick fog blankets the oaks. Small birds dance among the branches. Rain is supposed to come later today, but this morning I will enjoy the cold, damp, beautiful, and mysterious fog.

Out on the deck, in his usual spot, I could see the Ghost talking to my calico cat. Even in the fog, even in his semi-transparent state his black hair shines, and his blue eyes stand out like a Caribbean lagoon.

“I know you’re watching me. I know you’re writing about me,” he yells making the glass of my dining room windows shake.

I went outside, trying not to trip over the cats who are trying to get out and in at the same time. The calico hissed at the younger gray cat. He backed off, then pushed himself around her. They always get so pissy with each other. It is even worse now that the dog is gone.

Last night I was wondering why the area around the cat food bowls is so messy these days. Ahhh. There is no dog to clean up the floor. Damn. I miss my dog so much I can’t even say it out loud.

I make it out to the deck feeling the wonderful cool damp air on my face.

“Do dogs ever become ghosts?” I had to ask.

The Ghost gives me one of those are you stupid or what looks. “No, dogs don’t become ghosts.” Then he looked away, over the trees, then back to me. “I miss her too. She was the best dog I ever met.” Yes, dogs can see ghosts and they love people even when they’re not alive.

We stood together, a Ghost and a Vampire watching the tiny finches and sparrows in the trees.

“When I was in high school, back in the late 70’s we had official smoking areas in school but we couldn’t eat in class. That was so stupid. A kid could take a smoking break but if he was hungry he couldn’t have a snack. Now there aren’t smoking areas but kids can eat in class. Some things change for the better. A lot of things about high school are better now. Where your kids go, went, still go, teachers aren’t having sex with students anymore. Kids have more options on what classes they want to take. There aren’t elite classes reserved for the so called smart kids. Everybody gets a chance to excel. If I hadn’t died so young I bet I would have worked with teens. Fuck that, I would have been a parent with teens right now. I would have had a dog too. And a wife.” Then he smiled. “At least I do have a girlfriend. She is a ghost but I love her as if she was alive. She likes your kids. I like your kids. You did a great job with them, considering you’re a Vampire. My parents were total assholes.”

“Where are your parents Nigel? Are they still alive?”

He smiled a bitter smile. “My dad is in Hell as far as I know. I don’t know where my mother is. She didn’t even go to my funeral. She has never visited my grave. Stupid bitch. I’m thankful I didn’t spend my formidable teen years with either one of them.”

That is all he’d say about his family. His memories of his past are full of memories he doesn’t want to say out loud, and the rest of his memories are filled with holes. I let him ramble on for a while. He’ll talk for hours. I don’t know if he is making up for lost time or if he has always been an extreme talker. I stopped listening when he started to talk about economic theories, and why the Gold Rush era ghosts who hang out by the lake are so annoying and creepy. I’ll have to agree with him on that one. The Gold Rush ghosts are exceptionally annoying and creepy.

It started to rain and we came inside until it was time to pick Clara up from school.

Then Nigel smiled. “It is nice to talk to a real person, even if you are a Vampire.”

“You know I’m always here,” I told him.

Then he laughed and vanished.

 

Have a good weekend everyone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girl In The Woods: Meadow Creek (Part 7)

Serial Novel Girl in the Woods is a regular Friday feature for 2016.
For previous installments please CLICK HERE.

Part Seven: Meadow Creek

The day had been too long for the president of Universal Technologies. Olivia Snowhawk had left the capitol early in the morning, traveled all day, only to spend the entire evening in meetings and presentations.   It was almost midnight when she arrived home. The day was long, but it was good to be home, away from the politics of The Capitol. It was a relief to be back at her home office, around people who loved what they did and were good at it. The amount of talent she was able to recruit was impressive by anyone’s standards. She was proud of her business.

She lived alone in a big house on the edge of Greenwood, a 30 minute ride from the Universal Technologies headquarters in Meadow Creek. No domestics, family or friends lived full time in the magnificent house with her. She liked it that way.

Throwing her purse on the table, Olivia left her usual trail of her coat, bags, and jewelry. She reached for her earrings. One was gone. Damn it she thought. It had been one of her favorite pairs.

She thumbed through the mail. There was a note from an old boyfriend in Riverbend that made her laugh. “Daisy dumped me in a very public way. I admit I deserved it. She came to my office right in the middle of the weekly directors meeting, called me a cheating dog and slapped my face, then told me she never wanted to see me again. By the end of the business day, everyone, and I mean everyone, in Riverbend knew about it. You were right. I am a first class asshole.”

She finished his letter then picked up a magazine. There was her face, along with Simon and Annie on the cover – the power triangle behind Universal Technologies International. It was a formal portrait of the three. Blonde, brunette and a redhead. She looked pretty enough and Annie beautiful, which was sometimes hard next to Simon’s unearthly good looks. She took a breath and questioned her judgment on appearing at all. She liked being the center of attention, but until recently she’d made a point of keeping her picture out of the public eye.

Making her way to the kitchen Olivia scooped up a large black cat in her arms. He purred and drooled until she had to put him down. “Ink darling, you’re ruining my sweater,” she scolded. In the kitchen she uncorked a bottle of red wine and poked around for something to eat.

From there she went upstairs to her bedroom with Ink at her heels and a glass of wine in one hand and the wine bottle, a newspaper and the magazine under her arm. Dropping her load on the bed, she unstrapped her dagger from her belt and put it on her night stand. She dropped her clothes on a chair. A knee length wool jacket with a moss green on forest green fern pattern, over a lightweight black sweater and black leather pants with low heeled black boots that reached up over her knees She wrapped herself in her favorite robe, a soft cotton and silk blend of blue, embroidered with soft green ferns.

 

Rummaging back through her coat pocket she found her reading glasses and settled in an overstuffed chair by the window. It had started to rain, but the house was warm and a fire was blazing. Ink curled up in her lap.

Scanning through the local newspaper she was always aware of how she used the press to her full advantage, keeping them happy with information and invitations. She thought of the owner of the Meadow Creek Recorder. That was someone in the local press she’d gotten too close to. He’d romanced her and played with her emotions to get what he wanted.

“Stupid self-serving bastard.” She said aloud, and then downed her glass of wine. It was a good night to indulge in the rare luxury of feeling sorry for herself. She’d thought of revenge on the man but gave it up realizing at her age she’d been a fool to be taken in by his sweet talk and handsome face. She still had years of use out of her professional relationship with him – something she couldn’t afford to loose.

She opened the magazine and read the article about the leaders of Universal Technologies International in full. To no surprise it rang favorable. She’d met with the author, a man named Geo Goodnight, in her Meadow Creek office. She had told him that she’d come to this country because of the opportunities and because she loved the people. He flirted, she flirted back.

She showed Mr. Goodnight the latest and most amazing developments at Universal Technologies. He was thoroughly impressed beyond his wildest imagination. When she gave him a tour of her home he was equally amazed.

She refused to give much personal information, aside from the fact she and Simon had the same birthday and the fact that she usually met him at his house for coffee before work each morning. She refused to show him the upstairs portions of the house, including her bedroom, but kept him amused at the thought of one day seeing it. It would be a cold day in hell before she let him into her private lair.

There was some mention in the article of her appearance during the interview; every detail of what she wore down to her jewelry and shoes was mentioned. Of course there was great detail, maybe too much, about her hair, a dramatic new style for the so-called queen of fashion. A normal style, she thought, brushing a strand out of her face.

There were flattering images of her and flattering words. She was now entrenched as both a business and cultural icon in her new country. It was good to be respected for who she was now, not who she was suppose to be, not for who she was born to be.

The reporter had also asked her about her past. She told him little aside from the fact that she had grown up during the war, being shuttled from safe house to safe house. She mentioned that she and Alaric Shadowford had been childhood friends and that her twin brother Justin Snowhawk was most certain to be the next president of the Crystal Mountain Republic. Of course no interview would be complete without mention of her father, a war hero, and the eccentric and brilliant mind behind Universal Technologies. The reporter pressed for more details but she gave none. Like all expatiates from the Crystal Mountains she rarely spoke of home. It was a closed country and the plan was to keep it that way.

Twelve years ago today she decided to leave the Crystal Mountains forever. It had nothing to do with business or the war or family. She stared out into the dark window, into the rain. Her thoughts went back twelve years to the place she had escaped.

She had gone to meet a friend on an isolated hilltop to view the stars. Her friend wasn’t there. Instead her worst nightmare was waiting for her, escaped from the self imposed exile where he had been gone years earlier for raping and torturing her. He was there with a group of his followers, waiting for her.

She tried to protect herself but her own powerful magic failed her. She was beaten until she couldn’t stand. She thought they were going to kill her. Then it happened. Something she could have never imagined.

Alone with her captor, his beautiful face was close to hers, she looked in his hazel eyes that were almost reflection of her own. As he bent over her, his hair made a curtain around her face. He caressed her battered body, then lightly kissed her eyes and her lips as he whispered that he loved her and would never leave her. He gently undressed her and healed her injuries with his magic. “You are mine,” he whispered as he took her. She tried to fight back but he blocked her magic with his own and overpowered her with his physical strength.

Next he filled the room with yellow light and enchanted her with four spells binding them together forever with his obsession and love.

It seemed so simple and final the way he explained it to her. They would start a new empire together. They would live with passion and power. She would be his alone. Their children would be heirs to a new world.

A vision entered her mind. She was on the shores of a foreign lake, far away where a warm breeze kissed her skin. A tower stood in the distance, lights shone from the windows of a near by cottage, a beautiful palace was behind her. The dark haired stranger held her close to him, under the starlight on the shores of a distant lake and vowed his love to her.

“ I vow to you, here and now, that I will always love you. You are my heart and my soul. I will never love another. Nothing will ever come between us. I will always be here for you, now and forever. Nothing will make me leave you Olivia, not even death itself”.

The vision faded and she was back in the cold. She looked into the eyes of her captor and said, “I vow to hate you with all my heart and soul. I vow to hate you now and forever.” She hung on the edge of consciousness, trying to stay awake, starting at the man who had just enchanted her. Every cell in her body ached. Every emotion ran raw.

He saw her vision of the other man. Too stunned to respond he sat in silence wondering who would dare break his enchantments. But it was true. The unknown stranger, the imposter, was out there waiting for her.

He kissed her tenderly. “He can’t have you.”  

“You can’t do anything him or me.” She whispered.

Something inside him snapped. In a rage plunged his knife deep into her chest. “You can die if you think any other man will have you.” Leaving the knife in her chest, he left her to die, alone in the dark.

She heard his friend, someone she’d once known well say “Don’t leave her here. We can bring her with us.” Then her hearing failed and her mind went into a dark cold blackness.

As she lay close to death, feeling the heat drain from her body, she thought of her friends far away. If she lived, she would join them in their country and leave the Crystal Mountains forever.

Six weeks later, still recovering from her injuries, Simon was waiting for her at the border of her new country.

 

Olivia Starfire Snowhawk was now alone in her house in Meadow Creek. The only sounds were the beating of the rain on the windows and Ink’s soft purring. It was twelve years ago that day that she had almost died at the hand of a mad man. Twelve long years of exile and fear. Before she left her old home she’d told her father that she’d be fine, but she had lied. She would never be fine.

She lit a blue light in the small blue lamp by her bed. The blue lamp helped keep away the nightmares and the phantom that visited her at night. She glanced out the window and attempted to clear her mind.

Her twin brother Justin would be there in 3 weeks. She couldn’t wait. It had been hard living so far away from him. She’d finally meet Logan. She laughed thinking of what fun that might be. The man was a notorious flirt and so was she. She was also going to meet Prince Alexander for the first time, and no doubt Kitti’s idiot of a daughter as well. How was it that so many powerful and smart men like Alexander were such fools when it came to women? Anger rose in her as she thought about Kitti coming into her office the day before, demanding she sell her Lockford Mill. With any luck Candi would dump Alexander just like 3 other real princesses before her.

She could have been at Prince Alexander’s that night, making a scene in an eye popping dress and dazzling charm, but she wasn’t up to celebrating anything with Kitti’s daughter or Prince Alexander. “The poor bastard doesn’t know what he’s getting into.” She thought.

She’d stopped asking Simon why he didn’t do anything to stop it. There was nothing anyone could do about it. Alexander was a romantic but wasn’t the type to easily fall in love, at least not anymore from what she’d heard. From Ellie’s reports he wasn’t in love with Candi but resigned to the fact that he’d have to eventually marry her.   He had told Ellie that maybe one day he’d wake up to find himself content with Princess Candi. With any luck he’d find himself in love with someone else before the wedding.

Looking out the window she noticed a light in the woods. Her closest neighbors, Annie Hawthorne and Simon Oliver were still in The Capitol. Simon and Ellie had stayed to attend the party at Prince Alexander’s house. Annie was being the good daughter at yet another dysfunctional Hawthorn family gathering. She mentally checked the locks on her doors and windows. Under her breath she muttered a spell. She grabbed her dagger.

It was almost midnight. From the front library window she could see two men in dark clothing coming towards the house. They wouldn’t get in. When locked up the house was a fortress with unbreakable glass windows and impenetrable locks and security. They’d have to have her genetic code to get inside. Still, the house could be burned or vandalized.

She ran to call the sheriff, her friend Sean Crow, but the door of the library door slammed shut. She could hear them now at the front door, trying to get at the lock. They checked the outside of the house and attempted to break the windows. Without luck they tried to break the impenetrable windows again. She frantically tried to open the library door. She worked the knob, she tried spells. The door was shut solid.

The dark room lit up with a soft glowing light. She turned from the window and there he was, the wizard himself, the one who enchanted her, with his hands on his hips, smiling.

The sounds from outside stopped. The only noise was of her own heartbeat.

“Who are they? Are they yours?” she asked.

“They’re spies from Allegory or maybe the Lavender Forest. They’ve been taken care of.”

“Did you kill them?”

“You could have. Why didn’t you. Oh right. You don’t do that sort of thing anymore. No, but they’ll wish they were dead. Don’t worry about it.”

She looked at the wizard in front of her not taking her eyes off of him. She tried a spell to get him to go away but her magic failed her.

“Happy Anniversary darling. I brought you a little gift.” He put a magnificent necklace of diamonds and emeralds around her neck. He put his arms around her and kissed her in a slow lingering kiss.

“I hate you.” She whispered at him, her voice full of venom.

The necklace vanished, he pulled her robe open and traced his finger over the R shaped scar on her right shoulder, then cupped her breast in his hand. “I came here for a night of passion with the woman I love.” He leaned over and kissed her neck. She backed away. He grabbed her wrists.

“Come back to me.”

“Never.” She said.

“You’ve put a knife right through my heart. You know you shouldn’t do that.”

She said nothing then took a breath and braced herself for the punishment that was to come.

Dear Juliette: Hairy Dating Issues

Dear Juliette – Ask A Vampire – Advice for Everyone!

Dear Juliette (Ask A Vampire) is a regular Thursday feature on Vampiremaman.com

These are real questions from real readers. If you need advice or just have an interesting question send it to: juliettevampiremom@gmail.com

 

true love with heart small

Dear Juliette,

Is it appropriate for Vampires to date Werewolves?

~ Hairy Situation

 

Dear Hairy,

Not really but it happens. Just figuring out the lifestyle issues can be daunting. You know, the whole full moon thing, the hair clogging up the bathtub drain, the fleas, the dirt, and all of those peeing contests.

Then again there is that whole hot forbidden love thing that can be a lot of fun.

Like I said it is just impractical. And if you want to have kids, forget it. It won’t happen.

All joking aside, if you are considering dating a Werewolf, Regular Human, or even a Vampire of a different kind, there will always be those who are going to get in your face about it. Those close to you may be reacting negatively out of practical reasons, or even their own past histories. Those who don’t know you will react out of bigotry, ignorance, and hate.

Who you love is your business. If it is true love you’ll work it out.

~ Juliette

 

vswirl2

Dear Juliette,

Where did the idea come from that vampire turn into bats? What kind of magic is included with a real vampire?

~ Flying High

 

Dear Flying,

Blame Mr. Bram Stoker for that one, at least in popular culture. Dracula didn’t just transform himself into a bat, he could also change himself into a wolf. When you’re writing fiction a Vampire can do just about anything.

Over the centuries there have been quiet a few stories of creatures with leathery wings that claw, fangs that bite, and who haunt and kill humans. They aren’t especially Vampires but a variety of demons, fallen angels, shape shifters, time warping dinosaurs, and other freaks of paranormal nature.

So what can Vampires do along the paranormal lines of thinking? And this isn’t magic or rocket science. It just is what it is.

  • We can suck your blood right out of your body.
  • We can kill you, and then bring you back to life.
  • We can steal your soul, but we won’t keep it, so you will likely never get it back.
  • We can make you think we’ve changed our shape.
  • We can make your forget.
  • We can give you nightmares that will last for years.
  • We can give you sweet dreams and make you feel content.
  • We can make you feel warm and fuzzy.
  • We can make you not fall in love with us.
  • We heal quickly and live for centuries.
  • We do not appear to age.
  • We rarely succumb to illness.
  • We can make you believe you’ve been in love with us, and made love to one of us, even if you haven’t.
  • We can be invisible, or at least make you not see us. We call it hiding in the shadows.
  • We can see in the dark.
  • We’re pretty no-nonsense.
  • We like bats but we don’t turn into them.
  • We can haunt you.
  • We can heal you.
  • We can be your best friend, or your worst nightmare. That is up to you. Well, sometimes.

This is the short list. I really don’t feel completely comfortable going into all of the attributes of Vampires. Of course talents vary from Vampire to Vampire. But thanks for asking.

~ Juliette

 

crowletter

 

Do you have a hot question? A cold one? Then Ask Juliette.

Dear Juliette (Ask A Vampire) is a regular Thursday feature on Vampiremaman.com

These are real questions from real readers. If you need advice or just have an interesting question send it to: juliettevampiremom@gmail.com

 

 

 

Pick and Poll

I was talking to my son Garrett today. He is off at college.

Big sigh.

Anyway, always the flirt, he said he doesn’t have a girlfriend right now. I told him that at his age (19 almost 20) he doesn’t need a girlfriend. He said he’d like a girlfriend. I told him that I’d like my just finished novel to be on the NYT best seller list too. OK I didn’t tell him that. I told him just to have fun. I mean, isn’t that what being a young Vampire is all about?

Both of my kids are “single.” They’re teens. They don’t need the complications of steady relationships. Garrett had high school girlfriends, but nobody serious in college.

He said he liked a girl but their politics were so different that no matter how pretty she was he had a difficult time listening to her. Plus he just doesn’t want to talk about politics. Can you blame him right now?

When it comes to love you don’t always have to pick someone. Sometimes you can just let things play out and let the choice be made by the fates. Especially if you’re only nineteen.

Pick and Poll. Back in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s I had a Fiat 124 Sport Coupe. When it ran it was a blast. Unfortunately it rarely ran. Fiat stands for Fix It Again Tomorrow. Anyway, I used to go down to the Pick-and-Pull auto wreckers for cheap parts. I found that if I wore a cute fuzzy baby blue or peach colored sweater with a low neckline and low back the guys would give me parts for free. No, I’m not going to advise that kind of behavior to my kids.

Oh, on that thought,  you have a choice. Vote and vote often.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Why yes, this is exactly what I wear when I pick the kids up from school.

Why yes, this is exactly what I wear when I pick the kids up from school.

Short Story Sunday: Ode to a Greek God

This is one of my favorites, and my schedule and brain are both full today.  Some of you might have read this one before.

 

vm_on the water

Ode to a Greek God

A story by Marla Todd

 

I’ve been 6000 years at the top of my game. I knew it was too good to last.

I’m having breakfast on my deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean with the perfect amount of salty warm breeze drifting over me. A beautiful redheaded woman is still in my bed and I can still feel the warmth of her skin against mine. Fortunately she’ll be gone in an hour.

Anyway, I’m having coffee and some amazing cheese and apple pastries my son dropped off this morning. I’m also checking out a box Pan had dropped off with the pastries. That’s my son Pan, the famous happy-go-lucky satyr who dances through the woods making merry. That’s over. He settled down about 150 years ago with a wood nymph named Gloria and they’ve been keeping domestic bliss ever since. I never thought I’d see the day. Anyway, they were cleaning out some closets and found some stuff I’d swiped a few years ago. Thirty-four years ago to be exact.

It looked like I’d gone into the backpack of a college girl. I’d been in college mode that year for a change of pace. I was young, buffed and blue eyed and a killer smile. Female heads all turned in my direction.

In the box was a silver hair clip in the shape of a flowering tree branch, a delicate sexy lacy cream-colored underwire bra size 32C, a sea shell and a folded up piece of college ruled notebook paper. I unfolded the paper and read the words that would change my life.

It was a poem. It was in a round girlish script written in blue felt tip pen. No name identified the writer. I started to read, expecting the usually silly girlish babble about the meaning of life, teen angst and the horrible nature of never being understood. What I read was something else entirely.

As I stood upon the steps,

Halfway between the land and sea

The messenger god Hermes

Came to me,

Swift footed and bright

But somewhat overtaken

By his cousin Dionysus’ last visit

He brought me a message

And I read it through his blue eyes

“I bring you myself” he said.

No answer came from my lips

Except a kiss,

Which spoke very clear.

Oh happy was I,

When hand in hand

Under the stars we ran

For my mythical Hermes

Turned into a man

I took a gulp of coffee and stared at the poem. A poem about me? People had written poems about me, of course, but this was personal. It was a poem about ME, not a god of tales and lore but about ME, Hermes. It was about ME.

This girl knew me. I mean she KNEW me. She knew who I was. How? I never let on to any mortal to who or what I am. Never.

She wrote me a poem. It wasn’t a great poem. It wasn’t even a good poem. It wasn’t epic. But by my father Zeus, it was tender and sweet, full of the promise of love. It was happy. It was from her heart. A heart that considered me more than just a good body and maybe a great fuck, if I did indeed fuck her. I know I must have kissed her. I must have made love to her, because a girl who wrote the poem would never just fuck a guy. She’d have made love to me in a way I should have remembered, but damn it I couldn’t remember a thing.

A kiss. I tried to recall it. Such a kiss I should have remembered. It should have burned on my lips. It should have taken my immortal breath away. I sat going through all of the dusty file drawers in my brain trying to remember, but NOTHING came to mind.

Don’t get me wrong. I am usually NOT the romantic type. I love women but I refuse to be the kind of guy or god who is going to turn into a jellied mass of so much romantic bullshit over just any female. Or am I? My stomach knotted up. My head spun. My heart started to beat fast. I thought I was going to throw up.

By the way, I am Hermes, the messenger God. I go by a lot of names but my friends and family and people who worship me call me Hermes. The Romans called me Mercury, but that is a completely different story, one I’d like not to bring up right at this moment.

So I close my eyes and THINK. 34 years. I’m trying to get a face. A location. Who the hell wrote that poem? There was a ski trip to Aspen and another to Tahoe. An uneventful week in Miami brought back no memories. Of course there were trips to Greece and Paris. The summer was spent in San Francisco and a little north of there was the beach house. Fall brought on New York and Boston. I was in Vermont for the holidays with my family (I know what you’re thinking and yes, we do get together for the holidays just like any other large dysfunctional family).

I heard a car start and looked back to the side of the house. The redhead drove away in her red BMW. I wouldn’t see her again. She got what she wanted and was happy. Fine with me.

Up the drive walks my cousin Dionysus, who happens to be staying at my brother Apollo’s place next door. There again, he was the PARTY GOD. Now he turned into Mr. Bottle Shock. Always going up to Napa, Sonoma, Amador or jetting over to France, Australia, and all corners of the Earth for wine tastings. The guy has been going on about Lodi wines lately so much that I wanted to smack him until I tried them. He was right; it was the nectar of the God’s. But really – Lodi? Have you been to Lodi? Despite all of that he’s still my best friend.

He read the poem. “Halfway between the land and the sea. She was at the beach house you dork.”

“Do you remember her?”

“Yes I remember her.”

“Who was she?”

“Miranda. Quiet girl with the pretty blue-green eyes. She was cute enough.”

“I’m trying but I don’t have a face yet.”

Dionysus poured himself a cup of coffee, added about a gallon of milk to it and half a cup of sugar before sitting down. “She drove a beat up old MG Midget. You talked cars. She was impressed by your Porsche. The two of you hung out all weekend making small talk. Saturday night you went for a walk on the beach and she had sex with you. You thought she was sweet. Remember, she was getting ready to go off to UCLA for the fall. You told her you were going to Harvard.”

Pictures, smells, sound and feelings started to flood my brain.

“She’d been there for several weekends. We always ended up talking on the porch.” I said as images started to come back into my brain.

“Right. She liked you a lot but she didn’t come out and hunt you like the other chicks always did. It wasn’t until that last weekend that you acted on it.”

I remembered. She was a cute, somewhat pretty 17 year old girl with long brown hair and aqua marine eyes. At a party she wouldn’t have been the girl all the guys were after, but I noticed her. Well, she noticed me first. She started out talking to me about cars. From cars we talked about the tides and the ocean and movies and music and school. She wanted to travel to Nepal and spend time in Europe. Most of her friends were moving on to different colleges but she seemed all right with it. Her mind was set towards the future. I liked her company but she didn’t indicate at all that she wanted true love or a lasting relationship.

We’d walked on the beach. I’d made a few jokes and she’d laughed. She said a few things that were so funny it surprised me. I kissed her and a few hours later we made love by the base of a cliff in a private isolated area of the beach. She didn’t howl at the moon or put on a show. She wasn’t a virgin either.

Miranda let me take the lead but followed with quiet perfection. She lost herself quietly in the moment (which by the way lasted a good hour) and in me and didn’t ask for more. She could kiss too and had an amazing body. What more could a young man want?

We walked back to the house with all of our friends and she never said a word about it. The next morning she gave me her number and said, “Call me”, knowing full well the chances of me doing that were slim to none.

I never called her back.

Now I sat alone in my anguished romantic hell. She’d written a poem that morning and I’d stolen it along with a few other items to remember my lovely weekend. The god of thieves had taken a token of love she dared not share with me and for 34 years I had no idea what she’d written on that piece of folded up note paper.

“Where is she now?” I asked Dionysius, knowing if he didn’t know he’d find out.

He pulled out a large wine glass; the big kind used for reds and filled it with water.

“Take a look Hermes. But you might not like what you find. I guarantee you that one like her isn’t sitting around pining for the boy who got away.”

Images and information started to swirl in the glass. And I guarantee you, it sounds primitive, but you get a lot better information in a wine glass than you’ll ever get on Google.

Miranda had earned a doctorate degree in Genetics from UCLA and an MBA from Stanford. She was currently the Director of Development for a biotech firm in Northern California. The husband was an advocate for foster youth and has been a public defender for 20 years. They’d produced two lovely children, one of each. 11 year old girl and 13 year old boy. Both in swim club, good students, get along, popular, no problems. Lots’ of friends with kids, vacations and barbeques. Her home is in a fairly upscale neighborhood but not too pretentious. They go wine tasting a lot and like to cook. My kind of mortals if you don’t mind me saying. The husband even built sort of a wine cellar in the basement. She also likes to build garden sculptures but the visuals were blurred.

“Like whirly gigs?” I asked, thinking of pink flamingos with wildly spinning wings and little figures of men chopping wood. The idea was too weird to digest.

“Kinetic yes, but more large found items, tiles, wood, paint.” Answered my cousin.

“Like the Watt Towers?”

“Not that extreme. More like something out of Sunset Magazine. Understated with a touch of rustic charm.”

Enough of the garden shit. “What’s the relationship like with the husband? What is he? Some middle-aged Viagra popper?”

Dion gave me a smile, like the kind you’d give someone who just said something incredibly stupid. “Hermes, I’m surprise in you. The husband doesn’t need Viagra. He functions quite well on his own.”

“I didn’t need to know that. Did she ever write HIM a poem?”

“The husband? No. You’re the only one she has ever written about.”

“Does she still write anything?”

“She just finished a novel. It’s a mystery romance sort of deal.”

“Can you get me a copy?”

“Sure. I’ll call her up tonight and ask her to email it to me.” He said with a slight touch of sarcasm in his voice.

“Am I in it?” I asked too urgently, hoping the answer would be a definite YES.

“I have no idea but I seriously doubt it.”

“Is she looking to publish it?”

“As we speak. This is her dream Herm. She wants to be published before her kids get into high school so she can be home more with them.”

How could any woman with such a romantic soul, who wrote a poem to a god end up where she was I wondered? “What the fuck is she doing in Biotech?” I asked my cousin.

Dionysus shrugged. “A growing and diverse field with fulfilling opportunities to make the world a better place. She loves it but after 25 years of it she is ready to move on, maybe be a consultant but her family is everything to her.”

I looked into the glass again and saw her as she is now. The brown hair was a little shorter falling slightly below her shoulders, now lighter with blonde highlights. She was dressed stylishly in one of those cute little sweater sets all the women are wearing with a slim skirt and flats with bows. She wore bows on her shoes, a fact that turned my body to so much more jelly. I remember she always wore some bit of fluff or frill along with her Levis and rag wool sweaters. The aqua marine eyes sparkled with little signs of aging. She laughed out loud filling the room with joy. How could someone be so happy working in a science lab? How could someone be so happy without me?

The glass told me that she is known for her humor and mirth. I hardly saw any of it 34 years ago. How could I have been so blind?

To make matters worse was the fact that she was lovely. Fifty one years of lovely female bliss aged to perfection – like the most exquisite and complex wine ever made. She was something to be savored. She was something to be lingered over and enjoyed slowly with great appreciation. I wanted her so bad I ached.

I’m not the kind of guy, or god for that matter, who turns himself into an animal (like dear old dad) to trick a woman. I’m not going to do anything to hurt or use a woman. If a woman wants to use me, then fine, I’ll let her, but that doesn’t make me a bad guy. But I guess I was the perfect asshole to Dr. Miranda Wilkenson Hobbs. She wrote me a poem and I never called her.

I looked up at my cousin. “What was it like before she met the perfect husband?

He shrugged. “She traveled a bit. Worked a lot. Dated a lot. Had a couple of serious relationships but nothing she couldn’t walk away from. She met her husband 16 years ago at a party.”

“Did she write him a poem?” I asked.

“No. Nothing.”

“Nothing. Any hang ups with old boyfriends?”

“None. She’s still friends with a few. They’re all married with kids. Nothing unusual. She didn’t write them any poetry either.”

I conjured up an image of the husband in the glass. Average to nice looking middle-aged man. Full head of black hair, sparkling bright blue eyes, slightly crooked nose but with one of those warm and fuzzy charm filled smiles that women love. Nice slightly better than average guy who could in no way compare to me. No way. Not enough for her to write him poetry. Asshole bastard.

During the following weeks I pulled strings and called in favors that sent Miranda’s book right into the waiting hands of Bryan Woods, literary agent extraordinaire. By the way, Bryan Woods was the name I went by when I spent those weekends at the beach house 34 years ago.

When she received my call I couldn’t believe how good it was to hear that lovely voice. Why of course she could meet me. Where? I made arrangements in San Francisco. She’d have to drive to the big city which was A) always a treat for her and, B) a few hours from her home and away any distractions, C) a most romantic spot for seduction.

It was a beautiful day in the city with clear skies and a high of 68 degrees F. I wore gray Armani and my Rolex Daytona (yellow gold), and of course a Hermes tie. The blonde highlights in my hair were perfect and natural. The smile was a zillion watts. The eyes sparkled blue as a Maxfield Parrish sky.

I picked a restaurant with impeccable service and food, an excellent wine list and a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Exactly at noon Miranda showed up. She scanned the room and saw me with a slight hint of recognition. She’d dressed carefully with thought as women do. A flattering and pretty pink tweed suit over a pink silk blouse with high t-strap shoes that was so classic and sexy I nearly laughed out loud with joy.

She smiled and took my outstretched hand. I took her back to our table. There was the usual required small talk about the drive over, the weather, etc etc etc.

We ordered wine and food. I told her how impressed I was with her book. By the way, I was impressed. The woman could write a story. We spoke of publishing and possible options and contracts. I told her I could see a movie deal coming out of all of it. No lies there. After a flurry of animated conversation we suddenly stopped.

Then she looked at me with slightly squinted eyes and asked “Have we met before?”

I said “The beach house.”

“Oh my goodness. That is you.” She said looking slightly embarrassed.

“We made love on the beach.”

She glanced down unable to meet my eyes for a moment then took a sip of wine and looked up at me again. “We were just kids. Wow that was a long time ago. Small world. Um, it’s good to see you again. You’ve obviously done well for yourself”.

“So have you dear Miranda.” I put the piece of notepaper with the poem in front of her. “Read it.”

She read it but her reaction wasn’t what I thought it would be.

“Where did you get this?” she demanded.

“I took it from your backpack.”

“It wasn’t yours to take.”

“You wrote it about me.”

“Just because we…Bryan, this was private. You betrayed my trust in the absolute worst way.”

“It’s Hermes.”

“It wasn’t yours to take.”

“I’m Hermes. My real name is Hermes, not Bryan. On some level you had to know. Tell me you knew.”

It was as if she didn’t hear a word I said. “Yes, it was about you but the poem was mine,” she said. “You were not supposed to see it.” She was clearly upset, not in a crying angry way but in a calm and collected rage.

“How did you know?” I asked calmly trying to sooth and comfort her.

“Because you shrugged it of the next day like nothing ever happened. I really liked you a lot but oh well. Shit happens.”

I took her hand. “But it did happen Miranda. You and me. You wrote a poem about us.”

“Guess what? It happened a long time ago. I’m not that girl anymore.” She said obviously not following my lead as she pulled her hand away from mine.

“Obviously. How did you know that I am Hermes?”

“You were cute and light on your feet. You made me think of Hermes. Jeeze Bryan. Is that why I’m here? If this isn’t about my book…”

I put my hand on hers again. “I didn’t mean to upset you. But yes, Miranda, I am the messenger god Hermes. Hear me out. I only use the name Bryan Woods when I mix with mortals. Your poem touched me to the very soul and to my bones in a way that nothing else has ever touched me. Nobody has ever written anything so personal to me or about me before. I’m sorry I over looked you. I am sorry I never called back. I’m sorry that it has taken so long for me to tell you that I love you.”

“I should go.” She said trying to pull her hand away and starting to stand up.

“No” I said still holding her hand as I transported her to another time and place.

I took her to a beach. The air was cool and breezy not too cold. She wore a sweeping filmy dress of lavender and white that highlighted her curves. Her hair was slightly blown by an ocean breeze. She was bare footed. I wore a romantic poet’s shirt, sleeves rolled up, half way open to show my spectacular chest.

Against the cliff was a bed piled high with romantic white on white pillows and flowing curtains off of high bedposts. Pink garlands of fresh roses wound around the bedposts. It was one of her dream sort of things.

Miranda looked around 360 at her surroundings, completely ignoring me. Her eyes squinted at the sight of the bed. She turned to me with a total lack of expression on her lovely face except for an angry fire in her aqua marine eyes.

I put my arm around her waist and pulled her close then buried my face in her hair. “It’s been too long”. I said.

She pushed herself away. “What the hell is going on? Did you put something in my drink?”

“I told you I’m Hermes. You’re in my world now.” I said.

I grabbed her wrists. I would have her and she would submit and enjoy ever bit of it and then be glad that she was mine. Or so I thought. She twisted to get away and stomped on my foot. We lost balance and went down to the sand. I was still holding her wrists as I landed on top of her. I could have taken her then and there as I lay between her legs, but I didn’t. Not with Miranda.

“Let’s move it to the bed.” I said gently, my lips meeting hers.

“No, I’m not going to do this. Please. Don’t make me do this.” Tears welled in her eyes. I felt a knot in my stomach and then a wave of nausea swept over me. I rolled over onto my back letting her go. The day was not going as planned.

She got up and walked down the beach a ways then stopped dead in her tracks. She stared at the surf. The sea serpents were out there wrestling. They’re as big as humpback whales with all the teeth, big eyes and claws one expects from them. She froze, and then looked back at me.

“Sea serpents.” I said catching up with her. “Listen Miranda, I’m really sorry. Yes, I’m an arrogant son of a bitch. When I read the poem I thought just for a moment that, no it was more than a moment. Nobody has ever cared like that.”

She didn’t hear a word I said as she stood transfixed on the sea serpents. They roared and crashed into each other in kitten-like play. Green, blue and gold scales sparkled in the sunlight.

I put my arm around her shoulders. “Pretty magnificent creatures aren’t they?”

“Will they come after us?”

“No. They pretty much stay to themselves.”

“This is amazing. Are they real?”

I turned her around and looked into her face. “Yes, they’re as real as I am.” Taking her face in my hands I kissed her. She didn’t fight me, but didn’t exactly jump in my arms either.

“We’re at that point between the earth and the sea.” I kissed her again. She stepped back and crossed her arms. This was going to be more difficult than I thought.

“You’re Hermes, the god Hermes.”

“Yes. I am Hermes.”

“You’re real.”

“I am.”

I expected her to kiss me or something now that she realized who and what I was. She turned away from me and looked at the sea serpents again then looked back at me.

“I wish my kids could see this.”

“My children always loved it when I took them to see the sea serpents. They still do.” I said suddenly thinking that I’d done well by my children and their mothers. In these modern times we’d be a typical blended family. Go figure. Miranda didn’t say anything but kept looking out to the sea.

“This could all be part of your life Miranda. Few mortals ever see this. I’m willing to make you part of this.”

“I can’t.”

“You’d give up immortality?”

She gave me a look that would have killed any red blooded mortal. I watched her take off again down the beach.

I suddenly understood that she’d never love me in the way I wanted her too. Honestly I did. Of course understanding and acceptance are two different things. I ran after her and caught her by the arm spinning her around to face me.

“Miranda stop.” I said trying to reason with her.

“What about my book?” She demanded.

“What about it?” I spat back at her.

“Did you like it or were you just saying that to get me here?”

“It could be a best seller.”

She glared at me. “I won’t sleep with you to get it published.”

I was slightly offended but saw her point. “That isn’t good business Miranda, you should know that. Your book is good enough to publish without sex.”

“I know it is. But as my agent can you get me a good deal and top posting on Amazon and book and posters in the window of Barnes and Noble? Can you get me on the best seller lists? Can you get me an interview with the New York Times and NPR?”

“I’m your agent now?” I asked.

“Yes, I mean don’t you want to be?” She asked looking at me like I was stupid or something.

“What about your biotech job?”

“I’ll keep working until the royalty checks start coming in,” she snapped.

I put my hand on her shoulder, ever so gently. “I’ll get you a six figure advance. You can quit your job tomorrow if you want.”

Her face softened. I could feel her shoulders relaxing. “Really? You’d do that?”

“Of course I would. I’ll be your agent but you have to do something for me.” If I couldn’t have her love, I’d get something almost as good out of her.

She squinted her eyes up at me. “What?”

“You have to write about me.”

“Poetry?”

“Books. The modern adventures of an ancient god.”

“I can do that.”

“I’ll have the contracts drawn up. I believe you’ll like the terms.”

“I’m sure I will.”

“One day I will make love to you again.”

She finally smiled. “Don’t count on it.”

“Let’s go back.” I closed my eyes and when they were open we were back in San Francisco. The restaurant (which by the way I own) was empty of any other customers and fresh blackberry pie and fresh made vanilla ice cream was on the table along with coffee. The sun was starting to set over the San Francisco Bay. We talked about our lives and our kids for about another hour or two. It was so easy with the elder Miranda.

“You’re going to get caught in some pretty nasty traffic.” I told her in my most concerned and caring voice. “You can stay the night here with me.”

“It’s ok,” she said,”I have a couple of audio books in the car.”

I walked her out to her car, a blue 2010 Mustang convertible. I should have known she’d still have a convertible.

I didn’t want to let her go. “Miranda, I’m sorry I was a jerk. I didn’t know how you felt about me. Another time and place and we could have…”

She put her finger to her lips as if telling a child to be quiet. “Listen, Bryan, I mean Hermes, I’m sorry it didn’t work out the way you imagined it but I have a good feeling about this, about us. I really do and we’ll make a good partnership and maybe even become friends. I take that back. We will become friends. Okay?”

Friends usually means the kiss of death in a relationship but not this one.

“You’ll write about me.” I said, not as a question.

“I will write about you Hermes.” She put her hand on my waist, stood on her toes and kissed me. “I will write wonderful things about you that everyone will want to read.”

I opened the car door for her. “I’ll fax over the contracts in the morning. Drive safe Miranda.”

Late into the wee hours of the morning I sat on the balcony overlooking the Bay and thought of her kiss that lingered on my lips. The messenger god Hermes had indeed turned into a man.

 

Sea Monster