This is one of what I consider my top five favorites. It was first published here in 2012. Enjoy.
Morning at the Vineyard
A twisted tale by Juliette Kings
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.”
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