As Bright As A Star In An Ancient Sky

As Bright As A Star In An Ancient Sky

The voice on the phone whispered, “are you coming over today?”

Why Tellias always whispers on the phone I will never know.

“I’m on my way,” I said. “I’m stuck in the never-ending construction, but I’m on my way.”

“Good,” he said in a papery thin voice. “I have a lot to tell you.” Then he hung up.

A 2054 year old Vampire can have a lot to say, so I picked up a case of Poet’s Blood at Dave’s Bottle Shop.

When I arrived at the Queen Ann style farmhouse Tellias and Eleora were waiting for me on the front porch. Tellias was wearing tuxedo pants, a slate blue workshirt with the name Jose stitched on the pocket, and yellow flip flops. His pale blonde hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Elena was wearing  white Go Go boots, a red mini skirt, a black fake fur vest, and an orange and pink polyester double knit blouse with bell sleeves. She also had a Santa hat on her head, with masses of reddish brown curls falling down her back. They look like a couple of teenagers who’ve been shopping at the local vintage flea markets, but they’re ancient. They’re old people.

They both danced around me, giving me kisses and singing Christmas songs. On the door was a giant wreath covered with holly, red apples, and black spiders Eleora had made years ago from ribbons and pipe cleaners.

They took my hands and brought me into the house. We sat by the window with a view of the orchards draped in fog.

Eleora busied herself with making Christmas animals out of ribbons and pipe cleaners, while Tellias told me a curious tale I’d never heard before.

“Juliette, when I was young, you know I grew up without parents of my own. I’ve never been sure of where I was from. The Roman’s took me in. I grew up in a temple, treated like a magical demigod. I’ve been called the child of Jupiter, or Mercury, or Apollo. Usually Apollo. It doesn’t matter now. When I grew older I went along with the military because I could heal, and they didn’t think I could die, and I was a magical being, at least according to them. Life was good. Lap of luxury. 

I went to Britain and met Eleora, as she stood on the edge of a cliff dancing by herself and singing. But I had to go back. It was a difficult time. A difficult time for me. Interesting too.

That time, all I could think about was her. She wasn’t the first of my kind I’d met. The other Vampires weren’t like me. They were dark without joy.  Eleora was nothing but joy. I met other beings too. Not Roman gods, but others… demons, angels, werewolves, others. 

I had to go back to Rome. I’ve told you I saw the star. You know the one they call the Christmas star. I was traveling with my freeman Felix, and a couple of slaves. We couldn’t find a place to stay. I could have but I wanted to keep my people with me. 

There was a barn where there appeared to be a party. Inside were a couple of boys with their sheep. A young couple with a baby were huddled in a corner. Three rich guys in garish clothing were hanging out with their servants. All of the animals, from my horses, to camels, to dogs, and sheep. A few others were there as well. It was cold that night. In the 40’s I think. I greeted the others, and got a lot of stares. Here I was, pale and blonde, with a white and gold fur lined cape. Even my people were dressed better than anyone else.

We settled in next to the young couple. The child was only a day or two old. The girl, the mother, who was only fifteen, was ill. You see, it was a horrible time to be a woman, evenmore horrible than when you were a girl Juliette. She was full of fever and infection. I put my hand on her forehead and took the illness away from her. It took me an hour to recover. The rich party guys gave me wine thinking it might help. The girl smiled and thanked me, as did her teenage husband. 

I took off my cape and put it around her shoulders. From my packs I took other blankets and warm furs and gave them to the husband and baby, then gave some to the Shepard boys. 

It was like it had been so many times and would be so many times in the future. Help was needed and I needed to help. 

I heard a noise on the roof, then looked to the doorway where another person had just arrived. He was tall and muscular with a face almost as handsome as mine. I knew him. He’d checked in on me since I was a child, but not always as a friend.

“Why’d you help them?” He asked me that without so much as a greeting.

“I didn’t have parents and there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about it,” I said. 

“You lived in luxury. You have everything you wanted.”

“I was a pet.”

“They think you’re a demigod,” he said with a laugh at the end of his words.

“I am not a demigod. I see this family, this tiny young family…” I suddenly didn’t want to talk about it. “Gabe, you can go away now. I’m done with you. You can’t tell me what to do or how to feel. You can’t take my soul because it is mine. You could kill me if you wanted to, but I know you won’t. 

I am not like them, but I am not like you. I am not like a demon. I am… I am of this place, of this Earth, and only now do I feel I am of someplace. I am in love, something so rare in this world. I see this young couple and their child, so in love. It isn’t arranged. It wasn’t make by someone else…”

“It was made by someone else Tellias,” said Gabe. “It was something beyond either one of us.”

“I don’t believe in the Roman Gods,” I said. 

“I’m aware of that. It wasn’t some guy who turns himself into a swan to get laid,” he said getting a little bit testy. 

“I don’t care Gabe.” I told him,  “The girl is going to live and raise her son with his father. They will grow old in their love. They will thrive in this stinking, horrible, loveless world.”

“We’ll see,” he said.

“Yes, we will. I have to get some food. Unlike you I’m not make of some sort of etherial dust. I’ll be back here in an hour,” I told him. I half expected him to follow but he hung out on the roof of the barn making sure nobody would bother the occupants. Everything with Gabe is always vague. 

When I got back, my belly full of blood, and my arms full of food for the others, and I mean everyone who was there that night, Gabe was waiting for me.

“Tellias you know you aren’t like the others. You weren’t created by…”

“What molded from mud or dust, or out of a random body part like all of your bedtime stories? No Gabe, I’m of this Earth. Yes, THIS EARTH. I don’t fit into your mold because I’m not like them. I’m not like you either. I’m not an angel or a demon, or a warm blooded human. I don’t follow your rules. I’m not motivated by vengeance or power.”

“What are you motivated by Tellias?”

I didn’t answer him. Once inside I passed out the food. I held the tiny infant while his parents ate. 

“Fill the world with love and wisdom. Understand the value of peace and of life,” I whispered to him as he wrapped his tiny finger around my thumb. Then I whispered, “An angel is on the roof watching over you. I don’t know what that means, but don’t let him down. He’s a son of a bitch you don’t want to mess with. But on the other hand he’ll have your back. And kid, be good for your parents. You can’t even imagine how much they love you.”

Gabe put his hand on my shoulder. “I’ll watch over them now.” 

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” I told him.

The next day I left with my man Felix, and my two slaves. I gave a few coins to the shepard boys, and gave my contact information with the rich guys who were keeping us laughing with their puns and trivia games. 

For the young couple with the baby I hugged them and told them that their child was special. I told them to keep tight, and to hold onto love, no matter what anyone told them. The World was a changing place and I told them their generation would be right in the center of it. I told you the same thing when you were young Juliette. I told it to your children. God knows, it is changing for your kids.”

Then he leaned back in the chair and rubbed his eyes, and said nothing for a while.

I kissed his cheek then helped Eleora hang the funny Christmas animals on the Christmas tree.

After a while Tellias came over and put his arms around Eleora and me. “Dear Juliette, will you be here for Christmas Eve? I invited Gabe.”

Eleora took my face in her hands and kissed my cheeks. “You all must come! Especially your wonderful children.” And she danced around the room humming a long lost Christmas song.

Wishing you all peace and love, no matter who or what you are. And in small ways of kindness and caring we can make the world, or at least our own small corners of the world,  as bright as a star in the ancient sky.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Maman Holiday Traditions.

For more about Eleora and Tellias (Taking Care of our Elders) please Click Here.

A Christmas Journey (with Vampires, a cat, a train ride and a fight)

A Christmas Journey (with Vampires, a cat, a train ride and a fight)

People don’t know who or what we are. We’ve kept it that way for centuries, as stories and myths over ride any sense of reality in the minds of men.

In December of 1875 tragedy came into our lives. My best friend Isabelle fell under the spell of rogue Vampires and almost killed my brother Max’s best friend, who was the son of my parent’s closest regular human friends. You see, for those of you who are new here, we’re Vampires. As part of the Modern Vampire movement, we go by the rule that nobody is ever turned into a Vampire without consent.

Anyway, scandal was the only word for it. My parents were upset at the prospect of Isabella or any of her rogue friends contacting, or corrupting my brother Valentine or me so we were to be sent away for a few months to keep us out of trouble. The plan was to send us to New York to say with my Grandmama Lola for Christmas. I was sixteen and Val was seventeen, and the prospect of the big city was more exciting than anything we’d ever experienced. Best of all it got us away from the eyes of our parents.

Yet, Val and I were also angry that my parents had so little trust in us that they thought it necessary to ship us off clear across the country. After all, we were practically adults. In fact, in most circles at that time we would have been considered adults who could get employment, get married or live independently.

My father’s friend Nathaniel Chase agreed to take Val and I from California to New York City on the train. Nathaniel had his own private luxury car so nobody thought there would be any problems. Nathaniel was the very image of the sophisticated and charming Modern Vampire. He was also cunning and dangerous in his own ways – enough to take care of two over active Vampire teens. What trouble could a couple of teens get into when watched over by a four hundred year old Vampire?

On the first night Val and I explored the train. There were dining cars, first class, second class, other private luxury cars and all sorts of interesting people. Nathaniel was busy with “business.” Unfortunately that didn’t last for long. He was scolding us for getting too friendly with people, running, sticking our heads out the window and laughing too loud. That was just the short list.

On the second night he caught Val in an embrace with an attractive woman from San Francisco. That didn’t go over too well either. Val used the excuse he was just being a Vampire. Nathaniel knew better.

On the third night there was a party in another private car in which there were plates full of beautiful treats. I had my first eclaire. It was huge – the size of a man’s hand. That with a stomach full of warm blood (from a handsome nineteen year old who claimed to be the son of a famous minister), a bottle of sparkling pink wine (which I wasn’t supposed to have) and sugar (which makes Vampires absolutely ill) had me throwing up most of the night.

By the time we got to our first stay over in Chicago, Nathaniel Chase was ready to lock the both of us up for good. But he didn’t.

We stayed in a large new mansion built after the great fire of 1871. It was there for Vampires of our rank. Val and I were in heaven. Off of the train with Nathaniel gone most of the time!

Nathaniel had given us a full set of rules and warnings. Bite only on the wrist, not the neck. Don’t go into questionable parts of town (he supplied coordinates.) Do not talk to Vampires you don’t know. Don’t be turned by a pretty face. Watch for Vampire Hunters. Stay close to the house. Shop, have fun, act normal. Under no circumstance let anyone suspect you are different. Don’t act like children.

Val and I did all that and more. We were the perfect little citizens. At parties everyone commented on how charming young well-mannered people we were. I’m sure that warmed the cold heart of the old Vampire Nathaniel Chase.

On our fourth day in Chicago Val and I were walking along at dusk when we heard a great commotion coming from a warehouse. And you would be right if you guessed we were in a part of town we shouldn’t have been in.

Inside of the building a large group of men were standing in an impromptu arena yelling and cheering. We thought it might be a boxing match until we realized it was a dog fight. Beasts of all sizes had been brought in to tear each other apart. We could smell the blood and the fear in the dogs. We could also smell the excitement and blood lust in the men who watched the fights. I held Val’s arm, utterly appalled by what I saw. Ears were torn off, bowels were torn open and dogs howled and whimpered in pain.

Then just as I thought I’d seen enough a large man held something out to five growling dogs.

“I present you Lucifer. Tonight you will see before your very eyes these dogs devour the devil.” And he held up a black kitten of about 5 months who cried with pitiful mews of fear. My cold blood boiled.

Hiking up my skirts I climbed the ropes around the arena and entered the ring. I yelled at the man to put down the cat. He laughed. Then I growled at him showing my fangs. In horror the man lashed out striking me across the face. His large ring made a gash across my cheek. Val jumped the ropes and came to my rescue. Knocking them man down he was about to tear his arm off when someone grabbed us up by our collars and threw both of us out into the snow.

Nathaniel Chase and two other Vampires stood there looking at us in disgust. We could hear the commotion inside of the warehouse grow louder.

Nathaniel pulled me to him and yanked me into a waiting carriage. “You could have had us all killed.” His coat smelled slightly of patchouli and roses. I saw a long light brown hair against the black of his jacket. He’d been visiting a woman. I should have known.

“You were with a woman weren’t you?” I glared at him with the triumph of someone too stupid to know what I was saying.

His eyes lit up with a fire and he pulled me around in front of his face holding both of my arms like vices. “It isn’t just small animals that they kill. They kill what they do not know or understand. They kill what they fear. They kill anything they see as evil.”

“But they’re evil themselves,” I stammered back, unable to move or remove myself from his glare.

“No, it is their world, so be it if it is ruled by ignorance and superstition. You must NEVER show yourself for what you are. Never. So help me God Juliette, if you ever do anything like this again I will make sure you will spend the rest of your days drinking rancid blood out of a gourd, in a dungeon so deep you’ll forget there are stars in the sky.”

He let me go and turned to my brother. “As for you Valentine. I have no words to express my disappointment in you.”

One of the other Vampires, an elegant looking man called Joseph pulled a small black kitten out of his coat pocket and handed it to me. “I believe this is yours. Do not forget the price you paid for his freedom.”

All the way back Nathaniel lectured us on responsibility and stupidity. When we returned to the house he vanished into the study with the two men. We were told to go to our rooms and stay there until midnight.

I lay on my bed and cried my heart out. Val came in and sat quietly next to me. We were utter failures.

When the large clock at the end of the hall struck midnight we left the room and went in search of Nathaniel Chase.

On the balcony he stood cradling the sleeping kitten in his arms. He quietly sang to himself in Welsh the old song “All Through the Night.”

All the stars’ twinkles say

All through the night

“This is the way to the realm of glory,”

All through the night.

Darkness is another light

That exposes true beauty

The Heavenly family in peace

All through the night.

“You have Lucifer,” I said stroking the purring kitten under his chin.

Nathaniel gave me a rare smile. “His name is Gabrielle now. He’ll go where I go. Do you know who Gabrielle was.”

“I believe an arch angel,” said Val.

“Gabrielle was a messenger. So is this little beast in my arms, brought to us in order to teach the two of you humility. But also to teach me what good hearts you have. Compassion is a rare and wonderful thing. It can also be a danger if you react in fear and by letting your heart lead the way.” He held up a hand knowing what I was going to say. “Your heart and the feelings of your heart are important. But you must be smart. You must not be like your friend Isabelle who turned a man into a Vampire, almost killing him and committing his soul to Hell. She claimed it was romantic but it was cruel and selfish.” He handed me the cat now called Gabriel. “Take care of this cat until we get to your Grandmama’s, then he is mine. And Juliette, remember that we are like dark angels who inhabit the night. No matter how much good we may do we are still to be feared by those who are not our kind.”

Gabrielle lived for another twenty two years and went everywhere with Nathaniel Chase.

Val and I got to our Grandmama Lola’s house in New York City by Christmas Eve night.

Nathaniel Chase still doesn’t have much confidence in me. I made mistakes with my heart over the years, as did Val. But we learned that we must keep our hearts to ourselves and take action with our brains and with conviction and with deliberate action.

A few weeks ago I visited Nathaniel, along with my brother Val and my husband Teddy. He still looked the same as he did in 1875. He still has a black cat. The current one is named Michael. They’re all named after angels. Small dark angels of hope and love.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas from all of the Vampires and their cats.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

This story was first posted December, 2013

God Rest Ye Merry Werewolves, and Ghosts and Vampires too. With muffins. We can’t forget the muffins.

Today I stopped by my friend (dare I say friend) Austin’s house to drop off muffins for his Grammy. She loves muffins, especially the ones I make. Austin and Grammy are Vampire Hunters, but they only go after the bad ones. I’m not a bad one. In fact I’ve had them help me out a time or two but that is a different post.

I know you might think it odd that I’m making muffins, being a Vampire and all, but I DO make the best muffins. I don’t eat them but I love the smell and I love the joy they bring. Just like my husband Teddy becomes the cookie baking king this time of year.

When Teddy was a child, a long long long time ago, he would make cookies with his mother and their cook. Now that he is a Vampire (since 1875) he still bakes cookies this time of year. Hey, we’re spreading the joy.

Next I stopped by my friend Adam’s house to drop off muffins for his 88 year old mother. She loves a good muffin. Aside from being a scary talented photographer, Adam is also a Werewolf. Sure were friends. Why not. You know all the peace on earth goodwill to all thing. Why shouldn’t we be friends.

While I was baking my kitchen filled with Ghosts who just wanted to smell the muffins as they came out of the oven. I put a few on the plate so they could sit next to it and bask in the goodness, imagining what it would be like to eat one. Always let Ghosts smell your cooking, and your coffee. That keeps them from throwing stuff around and haunting you in the middle of the night. Good cook are never bothered by Ghosts.

God rest ye merry Werewolves
Let no howling in the fray
Remember I made muffins
For now and Christmas Day
To save us all from growling
And that you won’t be a stray
Oh tidings of Vampires and joy
Vampires and joy
Oh tidings of Vampires and joy.

Blueberry Lemon Muffins
Best Muffins You Have Ever Had

Juliette’s Recipe
Makes 10 muffins

Ingredients

Muffin

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar (this is just regular white sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (don’t be tempted to be overly healthy and use olive oil – do not use olive oil – use some sort of vegetable, canola, or corn oil)
  • 1 egg (chicken egg – do not be tempted to use an emu egg or a dragon egg, or fish eggs) If you want to go vegan or whatever substitute a 1/3 cup of smashed banana or apple sauce for the egg.
  • 1/3 cup milk. I’ve used almond milk and it works just fine.
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Topping (Optional)

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (add nutmeg too if you feel so inclined)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners. In fact, seriously folks, don’t even bother with greasing the muffin tin, just use muffin/cupcake papers.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Don’t over mix – just make sure it is all mixed in nicely then STOP.
  3. Gently fold in blueberries.
  4.  Fill muffin cups a little bit over the top (nobody likes flat muffins), and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  5. Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup COLD butter (chopped up in squares), and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork (or your hands), and sprinkle over muffins before baking. You should end up with small peas sized bits of butter covered in flour/sugar mixture.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

I usually fill 10 muffin cups.

Variations: If you don’t have blueberries, or don’t feel like blueberries chop up an apple (no peel) or pear (no peel), or add fresh cranberries. You can also add chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and nuts if you feel like it. I’ve even made these with well drained finely chopped fresh nectarines and strawberries. Add anything you want (I don’t recommend meat or beans.) You can also use frozen berries but make sure they are room temperature and well drained. You may also exchange the lemon zest for orange zest.

Wishing you all comfort and joy,
And muffins!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Red Muffin Tin

Krampus Claus

Krampus Claus (a Tangled Tale)

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“This is the deal with bad children. Bad kids are either spoiled and have total control of their adoring parents, or they are abused and neglected by their parents, or there is something wrong with their genetic make-up and they are bound for a life of failure.

I spent a career scaring kids straight, but I never bagged one up. Not once. A few bad adults maybe, or abusive parents, but never the children. Alright, there have been a few children who were truly the spawn of our old friend Satan, so to speak, but not many. In the end they will be their own worst enemies. Well, at least most of them. The rest of them go into politics. So what shall I do with you Max?”

Over the decades Max had encountered Demons, Werewolves, Fallen Angels, Goblins, Vampire Hunters, Banshees, Ghosts, and all sorts of unsavory creatures, including warm blooded humans, but this was his first encounter with Krampus.

Max looked hard at the hairy horned man creature, with a voice like gravel and too many cigarettes, who sat on the closed toilet of his downstairs bathroom.

“Why are you in my bathroom Krampus?”

“Cause the world is full of shit so I feel more comfortable here,” said St. Nick’s Demon. Krampus rolled out his long tongue and opened the window across the bathroom.

“Stop it,” said Max. “Close the window, put your tongue back in your mouth.”

“What’s the matter Vampire man? Afraid I’ll leave coal in your stocking, or better yet drag you down to Hell?”

“I’m afraid you’ll never get out of my bathroom,” said Max.

Krampus stood up and stomped around stretching is knobby legs. “Do Vampires pee? Seriously man, do you ever take a shit like normal people?”

“Why’s your tongue so long?”

“Oh that. When I was a kid, just a small hairy thing with tiny horns, kids made fun of me. You know, other Demon kids. Some asshole said I was saying shit about him so he and his friends tried to pull my tongue out. Rather than rip out of my head, my tongue stretched, and stretched, and stretched, and when they were just about to give up I wrapped my tongue around them and choked them out until they turned to a puddle of green gray slime.

About that time St. Nick, only he wasn’t a saint yet, came strolling by. I could see the light bulb going off in his head. There weren’t light bulbs back then, but he had a great idea. He asked me if I wanted to help him with bad kids. And the rest is Christmas history. So what about you? Have you always been a Vampire?”

“I was born a Vampire. What are you doing here, in my house, bugging me?”

“You’re a Vampire. Look at you all handsome and healthy looking. You should look dead,” said Krampus said he flopped down in a black vintage Eames chair. “Do you have any coffee?”

Max was about to say something when he looked up and saw his girlfriend, sometimes girlfriend, friends with benefits, Mehitabel coming down the stairs in a fuzzy pink robe. She was also a Vampire, and so many other things that Max could never explain or even understand.

“Krampus,” she said as she saw the Demon sitting in Max’s favorite chair. “I didn’t know you and Max knew each other.”

“We don’t but I was passing through town, you know, and I was overwhelmed with the emotion of this time of year, and I didn’t want to be alone. St. Nick doesn’t want anything to do with me outside of Christmas and the big birthday party his wife throws for him every year. Everyone else fears me. The other Demons are assholes. I needed a place to chill and rest my tongue,” said Krampus.

“Poor baby, nobody should be alone this time of year.” said Mehitabel. Then she walked over to Max and gave him a kiss. “I’ll make some coffee.” Her hand went around and over his butt, then she slipped into the kitchen.

“Nice gig you have here Max. Beautiful home, beautiful woman, nothing for me to be mad about. Mind if I just hang for a few hours. You know, the girls don’t like me much, even with my amazing tongue. Now Mehitabel there, she is one fine piece of…”

“Stop right there. Where do you know her from? You and she haven’t…”

“No, no, no. We’ve crossed paths a few times in the past. No hanky panky. Aside from your amazing body and great head of hair, what the Hell is she doing with you?”

Max turned without answering and went into the kitchen. Mehitabel was sipping a mug of warmed blood with a shake of cinnamon. “Hey Max,” she said, kissing him lightly on the lips.

“What should I do with him?”

“Give him some coffee and he’ll be on his way. You’ve shown charity and compassion. That is all he wants. That is all anyone wants.”

Krampus came into the kitchen and laughed. “You’re so sweet. Well, I’m going to leave you two love birds alone. Be good to her Max or I’ll come back for you, and not in a good way. Thanks for letting me chill here for a bit.”

Then he put his clawed hand into his pocket and pulled out two lumps of coal and set them on the table. “If you squeeze these tight enough they’ll turn into diamonds. OK now, enough of sentimental shit, I have to go kick some bad kid ass. See you next year.”

Then he turned an went out the front door with the slight smell of sulphur and nutmeg.

Max and Mehitabel looked at each other and smiled. They each picked up a piece of coal and squeezed as hard as they could.

Mehitabel opened her hands and found a playing card. It was the Queen of Diamonds.

Max opened his hands and found a baby diamond back rattle snake. He threw the snake out the window. Right as he did that a hawk flew by, grabbed the snake, and flew away.

“Not the kind of diamonds we expected,” said Max. “Let’s go upstairs.” Then he took her hand and led her to his bedroom.

Later, after they’d made love, as they watched the setting sun from his bedroom window, Max kissed Mehitabel again and reached into the drawer of his nightstand.

“I have something for you,” he said, and then slipped a diamond ring on her hand. “I love you. Marry me.”

“OK,” she said, her eyes tearing up. “I love you too.”

Somewhere in the city Krampus walked down an alley looking for trouble. He stopped and laughed. “Good boy Max,” he said. “Good boy Max.”

~ End

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Spirit of Christmas

My nephew Logan, my brother Aaron’s eldest child, just moved into town. Logan is a mere 28, a baby by Vampire standards. I’ve been making up for lost time and taking him everywhere with me. Yesterday we visited the elders Eleora and Tellias.

As I drove into the drive up road the Victorian house Logan spotted someone by the dock. Garbage was strewn around by the boat house.

My ninety pound German Shepard Alice, the goofy vacuum fearing dog in the back seat, started to growl and bark. She was in full professional mode now with her fur up and teeth out. I was already to go into full Vampire mode with my fangs out as well.

I got out of the car, Alice jumped over the seat, fur up and teeth on full display. I held her collar as she began to bark. Logan exited the passenger side and stood next to me.

Hollow eyes from faces that looked years older than their real age looked at us in fear. Large German Shepard Dogs in attack mode tend to bring out the fear in just about anything.

Human kind are barraged by temptations from the day they are born. Unfortunately some seek their solace and escape in the most heinous of temptations and fall into the trap of soul sucking drug addictions.

It had been a few years since anyone had tried to camp on this property. You know, I usually don’t deal wth this kind of thing. I don’t deal with a lot of shit. I just move on and mind my own business, but they were too close and doing too much damage. Tellias couldn’t risk losing his certified organic status on this orchard, or whatever else damage was done to the ecosystem of the river.

“Get off this property. You have one day and you will be removed by force,” said Logan.

“You can’t make us.”

“Too bad,” I said. “It would be a shame to find you in shallow graves by the edge of the river.” I was bluffing. I wasn’t about to go out into the mud and dig graves, much less drag bodies around or clean up their dirty camp.

“Let’s get his over with Logan,” I said to my nephew as I let the dog go. Alice barked and growled at close range. Logan and I bared our fangs and darkened our eyes. Cheap parlor tricks as far as I was concerned but it did the trick.

The tweekers look upon us with fear. Of course they did. They crouched down trying to fend off the dog who continued to growl and bark at them.

“Look at me,” I said. “How old are you? In your twenties? You look fucking dead. Get to a shelter. Get into a program. Start living like humans.”

Their eyes locked on mine. I had them. I reached into what they had left of their souls and tried to find a rare shred of a good memory or hope for anything other than the next fix.

“You have an hour. Go to the shelter and ask for Larry. Before you go ALL of this garbage needs to be picked up. Do you understand?”

They shook their heads in agreement. Nobody told me that I couldn’t make them do it. Nobody said a word. I snarled at them with my fangs and called the dog back. “If you come back here I will fucking hunt you down and kill you. I expect to hear from Larry. If I don’t then you’d better be at least five hundred miles from here by this time tomorrow.”

“See Larry,” Logan said in a voice straight out of Hell. I knew they’d go see Larry.

We got in the car and continued up to the house. I told Logan to call Larry and tell him what was going on. It is always heart breaking, even if I’ve seen it for a hundred years, to find people in such hopeless conditions.

As we drove up the drive to the house we could see a man in a red flannel shirt and green and black striped pants up on a ladder.

Tellias, who looked nineteen but was older than the first Christmas, was hanging Christmas lights on the front of the house.

He pushed a strand of white blonde hair out of his eyes and climbed down off of the ladder. Eleora ran from the house, wearing a red circle skirt and a green sweater, and wrapped her thin arms around us. They both started to sing an old song about St. Nicholas and covered our faces with light kisses.

Eleora, who also looks nineteen or twenty, is older of Christmas as well, and like Tellias, Logan, and me, is a Vampire. Being a Vampire doesn’t exclude us from any holidays, especially Halloween and Christmas.

Logan noticed a motor home parked by the guest house. “Who is here?”

“They broke down,” said Eleora.

“Yes, they broke down on their way from Seattle to Los Angeles. They’re moving,” said Tellias.

“They broke down taking the scenic route along the river,” said Eleora

“A young family. It will take a few days together the part they need,” said Tellias.

“A few days,” said Eleora.

Yes, Eleora and Tellias look young but sometimes they sound extremely old. That’s OK.

“That was kind of you,” I said. “Are you sure this is a good idea?”

“They’re harmless. They needed our help. The children are darling,” said Tellias.

“Precious,” said Eleora.

“Do they know you’re Vampires. Just asking,” said Logan.

Tellias smiled. “Not yet.”

“We saw some homeless camps coming in,” Logan told them.

“I’ll call Larry,” said Tellias.

“Larry knows what to do,” said Eleora.

Eleora led Logan off to the back of the house to show him the Christmas decorations she was making. Tellias poured a couple of goblets of blood mixed with wine and led me to the front parlor.

“I’m glad you brought Logan. It has been almost a year since I’ve seen him. Sit while he spends time with Eleora. I have a story to tell you. We sat and I let him talk.

“You know I never knew who my parents were. I was raised in Rome, what you now call Ancient Rome, by people who were not like us. I grew up in a temple, then was sent to live with powerful people who kept me as both a pet and a demigod. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I came to England with the Roman army and met Eleora.

Years passed, the Roman Empire fell, and Eleora and I were still together. We were in what people now call the Dark Ages, that weird time between the Roman times and the Middle Ages. We didn’t hear much from the outside world back then. Most people didn’t even know there was much outside of their own villages. However, one day Eleora received a letter, a rare thing in a time when most people were illiterate, saying that they’d heard rumors of where my parents were. There was no signature on the letter, and the person who delivered it said it came from a dark haired stranger dressed in black. We had no idea who that could have been. Sometimes it seems like I’ve never known who anyone has been.

With the letter came a map of places east of where we lived, and north of Rome. It was in the northern lands of Vikings, and the rumored Vampires of the eastern regions of what is now Europe. So, to make a long story slightly less long, Eleora said we had to go.

So we went, alone, just the two of us on our horses, following the map. I asked her if she thought we should go, and leave the only home she’d ever known.

Three weeks into the journey we’d arrived on the continent. I wondered if this journey had been a trap. It wasn’t as if I’d never traveled before. I’d traveled from Rome to Britain, to Greece, and then up to where the Gauls lived and back to Rome, then back to Britain. We only had our feet or our horses for transportation. Now Eleora and I found ourselves in a land that was considered The Holy Roman Empire, but there was nothing holy, Roman, or empire like about it.

Eleora and I never tired of each other’s company so the trip wasn’t that bad. Then she became ill. I didn’t know. I did not know. I did not know that she was pregnant. I didn’t realize she was losing the child until it was lost.

You know how rare children can be among us. I didn’t know we could have children because we’d been together over three centuries by this time.

That didn’t matter. She was losing blood and there wasn’t any blood to be had. We were in the middle of a great forest on a desolate road in the Darkest of the Dark Ages. I had to find human blood.

In the distance I could hear horses. As far as I knew they could be farmers, bandits, crusaders, or just travelers like us. I took out my knife and was ready to use my fangs.

Two figures, which I assumed were men, came along in horses. Both wore the robes of the clergy, like monks. I spoke to them in Latin, assuming that was a language they would understand. Mass was said in Latin so they had to know it at least a bit.

“Hello,” I said, ready for both an attack or a friendly greeting.

“Good day my friends. You look weary from the road,” said one of the men as he took off his hood. He had a pleasant face with bright gold brown eyes and a short white beard. He had a slight accent.

“You sound Greek,” I said.

“You sound Roman. What brings you here?”

“Family matters.”

“I am Nicholas of Myra. We are seeking passage north to continue our good works.”

“If that is the case you’ve been dead for centuries.”

“But I am not dead now am I?”

“Your bones are said to be in the city of Myra, or as we speak being carried back in bits to Jerusalem by Crusaders.” You see, back then bones of people thought to be saints were often parted out because people believed those bones had magical powers. It is akin to the illegal wildlife trades going on today. Of course people dug up bodies and sold the bones as those of saints. No surprises there.

Nicholas laughed a laugh of a man without a care in the world. It was rich and deep and, well, jolly. “So who is dead now my undead Roman friend?”

I was in such a panic over Eleora, and surprised he knew we were Vampires that I didn’t have a comeback. I stepped back to my horse.

“Tellias,”

“You know my name.”

“I know when you are asleep. I know when you are awake.”

The figure behind him stepped forward and threw off his hood. A pointed face made of all sharp angles cooked out in a raspy voice like gravel and strong booze, “Oh come on Rome boy you can’t be that stupid.”

I looked at the gravel voiced man then looked down at his feet. He had hooves. He noticed that I’d noticed.

“I’m no Demon, and even if you look like an angel we know you and your woman are blood sucking…”

“Krampus, quiet,” said the man called Nicholas. “Tellias, your woman lost her child. Let me go to her. I’ll give her what she needs.” He rolled up his sleeve and showed me his arm.

I didn’t know if I should run or take up his offer. My head spun. All the hopes of a child was lost. I wanted to rip his throat out. I wanted to hug him. I wanted to run. He then put his arm around my shoulder and led me to where I’d made a shelter for Eleora.

He gave her blood. He gave her life.

Tellias stopped talking and closed his eyes. I took his hand. “Tellias I am so sorry. I had no idea. I had no idea you lost a baby.”

“I didn’t want to make you sad,” he said as he gave my hand a squeeze.

I gave him a hug. He wiped a tear from my eye. “It was a long long time ago. I love you.”

Tellias continued his story.

Nicholas and Krampus led us to a house in a small village where they were staying for the week. They made a warm soft bed for Eleora. As we sat around the fire we learned each other’s stories.

Nicholas had been born in Greece to a wealthy family. Early in life he’d given money to three sisters to prevent them from being sold into prostitution. The money was supposed to be for dowries. He told them to either marry for love or go to Mother Hope’s convent rather than marry a men they did not love. Love would carry them through most of life’s troubles. In the convent Mother Hope would treat them with respect and make sure they had an education. Two married. One went with Mother Hope and in turn became a great leader among holy women and spent her life helping other women escape from the horrors of prostitution and loveless marriages. From then on he decided to dedicate his life to helping others.

“How did you and Krampus hook up?” I asked Nicholas.

They both laughed. Krampus spoke. “Old Nick here doesn’t like to deal with bad things or bad people. Fortunately I do. You see, when I was a kid life wasn’t too good for me. So now I get back at all of the bad kids who hurt others. I can’t get all of the bullies but I can get to enough of them. If they use sticks, stones, or words to hurt then into my big bag they go. When I’m done with them they’re spineless as worms and completely harmless. But it’s a lot of work so I made a deal with Nick here to only help him out once a year. In exchange he keeps the fucking angels off my ass the rest of the year.”

That night I held Eleora as we wiped away the silent tears of grief from each other’s faces.

The next morning Nicholas looked at my map. “This map doesn’t lead anywhere. It takes you to the path of Crusaders who will be lost to slavers. You’ve lived many years as a virtual slave my friend. You do not want to do that again. Go home.”

“What about my parents?”

“You won’t find them there.”

“Will I ever find them?”

“I can’t answer that. If I see them along the way I’ll tell them that you’re looking for them.”

“Where are you going?”

“North. We’re going to raise reindeer. I hear there is a big abondoned castle up for grabs and a bunch of elves who need protection.”

“Dwarves, Nick. They’re fucking Dwarves,” said Krampus.

“Elves. The Dwarves live south of where we’re going.”

“Whatever.”

“Let us come with you,” said Eleora.

Nicholas took her pretty face in his hands and kissed her cheeks. “No my cold precious friend. You have another road to take. It is a road where you will meet people who need you. You will meet people of your own kind. But don’t shed any tears. Our paths will cross again.”

I looked at Nicholas who had been alive far longer than the life span of men. He’d been living over four hundred years.

“Why are you still alive?” I asked him.

He said, “I am a Spirit. I am the spirit of giving”

“How’s that working out for you?” I asked.

“I haven’t always been able to do the job as well as I want but I keep trying,” said Nicholas.

A long time ago, under a bright star,  I was at the birth of a child. Not my child, but the child who grew into the man who’s words you follow. You should make his birthday your night of giving.” Juliette, I have no idea why I even suggested that. It just seemed like a good idea at the time.

Then Eleora made a suggestion you’ll recognize even now. “You can decorate trees like the local folk do when the first snows start. Mix the old traditions with new. I like the sound of that. A new tradition. If you make people smile they too will think of giving to others. It will remind them that even as winter comes there will always be love.”

Nicholas smiled. “I will do it in honor of your lost child as well, and all of those who feel loss or without hope.” He looked me in the eye knowing my feelings about everything in my heart.

Krampus just snorted. “Of course you’d pick the coldest day of the year. You’re Vampires. Holy crap. I can’t win.”

Eleora and I stayed on for a few more days then headed beck to England. As Vampires we are well suited for a life on the road, but as you know, most of us prefer the comforts and familiarity of home.

We are said to be creatures of the night, which I will accept as a compliment when I look at the night sky full of shining stars, and hear the call of the owl. I know that it is in the night that Nicholas does many of his good deeds, unseen, without credit.

Logan and Eleora came back into the room and joined us with garlands made from pine boughs and red ribbons around their necks. It was good to see them smiling, fangs out, and without a care. Eleora had talked Logan into singing a loud rendition of Deck the Halls with her. My dog, who had been sleeping at my feet jumped up to bark and jump along to the festivities.

There are times when I am in awe of Tellias and his tales of history and wonder. Maybe not so much wonder, as his stories, to him at least, are just his life. They are his experiences to share.

Later that day someone came out to fix the motorhome, and we bid the visitors a good trip to their new home. Then late at night, after we’d said our farewells with hugs and kisses, Logan and I drove home. We noticed that the camp by the dock was gone. Logan said Larry had texted him saying there were rumors of Vampires down by the camps on the river banks.

Logan and I spoke of our own lives and events that shaped us. As we get closer to Christmas I will think more about Nicholas and wish him luck on his quest. We should all have such thoughts in our hearts, dare we end up being bagged by Krampus.

A Happy December to all and wishes for love, hope, and finding whatever you are searching for.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Juliette’s Christmas Tree 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Krampus Clause

“This is the deal with bad children. Bad kids are either spoiled and have total control of their adoring parents, or they are abused and neglected by their parents, or there is something wrong with their genetic make-up and they are bound for a life of failure.

I spent a career scaring kids straight, but I never bagged one up. Not once. A few bad adults maybe, or abusive parents, but never the children. Alright, there have been a few children who were truly the spawn of our old friend Satan, so to speak, but not many. In the end they will be their own worst enemies. Well, at least most of them. The rest of them go into politics. So what shall I do with you Max?”

Over the decades Max had encountered Demons, Werewolves, Fallen Angels, Goblins, Vampire Hunters, Banshees, Ghosts, and all sorts of unsavory creatures, including warm blooded humans, but this was his first encounter with Krampus.

Max looked hard at the hairy horned man creature, with a voice like gravel and too many cigarettes, who sat on the closed toilet of his downstairs bathroom.

“Why are you in my bathroom Krampus?”

“Cause the world is full of shit so I feel more comfortable here,” said St. Nick’s Demon. Krampus rolled out his long tongue and opened the window across the bathroom.

“Stop it,” said Max. “Close the window, put your tongue back in your mouth.”

“What’s the matter Vampire man? Afraid I’ll leave coal in your stocking, or better yet drag you down to Hell?”

“I’m afraid you’ll never get out of my bathroom,” said Max.

Krampus stood up and stomped around stretching is knobby legs. “Do Vampires pee? Seriously man, do you ever take a shit like normal people?”

“Why’s your tongue so long?”

“Oh that. When I was a kid, just a small hairy thing with tiny horns, kids made fun of me. You know, other Demon kids. Some asshole said I was saying shit about him so he and his friends tried to pull my tongue out. Rather than rip out of my head, my tongue stretched, and stretched, and stretched, and when they were just about to give up I wrapped my tongue around them and choked them out until they turned to a puddle of green gray slime.

About that time St. Nick, only he wasn’t a saint yet, came strolling by. I could see the light bulb going off in his head. There weren’t light bulbs back then, but he had a great idea. He asked me if I wanted to help him with bad kids. And the rest is Christmas history. So what about you? Have you always been a Vampire?”

“I was born a Vampire. What are you doing here, in my house, bugging me?”

“You’re a Vampire. Look at you all handsome and healthy looking. You should look dead,” said Krampus said he flopped down in a black vintage Eames chair. “Do you have any coffee?”

Max was about to say something when he looked up and saw his girlfriend, sometimes girlfriend, friends with benefits, Mehitabel coming down the stairs in a fuzzy pink robe. She was also a Vampire, and so many other things that Max could never explain or even understand.

“Krampus,” she said as she saw the Demon sitting in Max’s favorite chair. “I didn’t know you and Max knew each other.”

“We don’t but I was passing through town, you know, and I was overwhelmed with the emotion of this time of year, and I didn’t want to be alone. St. Nick doesn’t want anything to do with me outside of Christmas and the big birthday party his wife throws for him every year. Everyone else fears me. The other Demons are assholes. I needed a place to chill and rest my tongue,” said Krampus.

“Poor baby, nobody should be alone this time of year.” said Mehitabel. Then she walked over to Max and gave him a kiss. “I’ll make some coffee.” Her hand went around and over his butt, then she slipped into the kitchen.

“Nice gig you have here Max. Beautiful home, beautiful woman, nothing for me to be mad about. Mind if I just hang for a few hours. You know, the girls don’t like me much, even with my amazing tongue. Now Mehitabel there, she is one fine piece of…”

“Stop right there. Where do you know her from? You and she haven’t…”

“No, no, no. We’ve crossed paths a few times in the past. No hanky panky. Aside from your amazing body and great head of hair, what the Hell is she doing with you?”

Max turned without answering and went into the kitchen. Mehitabel was sipping a mug of warmed blood with a shake of cinnamon. “Hey Max,” she said, kissing him lightly on the lips.

“What should I do with him?”

“Give him some coffee and he’ll be on his way. You’ve shown charity and compassion. That is all he wants. That is all anyone wants.”

Krampus came into the kitchen and laughed. “You’re so sweet. Well, I’m going to leave you two love birds alone. Be good to her Max or I’ll come back for you, and not in a good way. Thanks for letting me chill here for a bit.”

Then he put his clawed hand into his pocket and pulled out two lumps of coal and set them on the table. “If you squeeze these tight enough they’ll turn into diamonds. OK now, enough of sentimental shit, I have to go kick some bad kid ass. See you next year.”

Then he turned an went out the front door with the slight smell of sulphur and nutmeg.

Max and Mehitabel looked at each other and smiled. They each picked up a piece of coal and squeezed as hard as they could.

Mehitabel opened her hands and found a playing card. It was the Queen of Diamonds.

Max opened his hands and found a baby diamond back rattle snake. He threw the snake out the window. Right as he did that a hawk flew by, grabbed the snake, and flew away.

“Not the kind of diamonds we expected,” said Max. “Let’s go upstairs.” Then he took her hand and led her to his bedroom.

Later, after they’d made love, as they watched the setting sun from his bedroom window, Max kissed Mehitabel again and reached into the drawer of his nightstand.

“I have something for you,” he said, and then slipped a diamond ring on her hand. “I love you. Marry me.”

“OK,” she said, her eyes tearing up. “I love you too.”

Somewhere in the city Krampus walked down an alley looking for trouble. He stopped and laughed. “Good boy Max,” he said. “Good boy Max.”

~ End

 

First published in December 2017 and no they still haven’t set a wedding date. ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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