Off Kilter and Out of Sorts

I’ve been insanely busy lately. I’ve also been run down and insanely sick.

Yes, even Vampires get under the weather, along with just about everything except Ghosts and Zombies.

Unfortunately Zombies are always under the weather in their own putrid rotting way. Ghost tend to be sad all of the time.

So needless to say it isn’t any fun around here.

I’ll see you all later and to my three regular readers thank you for hanging in with me.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Ocean View

Aside from too many Murphy’s Law moments I’m having a wonderful time visiting my daughter in Southern California.

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Yesterday we were in Laguna Beach. It was raining but still exceptionally beautiful. On Friday, after I almost missed my flight, we went to the dog beach. If you ever feel like crap go to a dog beach. You’ll immediately feel better.

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Laguna Beach, CA

I’m a bit tired and my old Vampire brain is full right now.

So here are a few more photos of Laguna Beach and the Art Museum there.

xoxox
Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Short Story Sunday: Old Bones

From Dr. Shawna Green
February, 2020
Wales

Many believe Neanderthals believed in a spiritual world. Their graves are found with pollen, which is seen as proof of flowers put in with the buried dead.

In Wales, while on a dig for a 5th Century princess, we found a cave containing an unprecedented burial of five Neanderthal skeletons and three smaller Homo sapiens.

Not only was there pollen, but we also found shells, assorted stones arranged in spiral patterns, and stone tools.

My colleague Dr. Henry Evans carefully pulled out a small bit that looked like metal.

“That is an early Totenkopf skull and bones pin,” said Henry.

“The Nazis weren’t here.” I said. “Or were they?”

“This dirt hasn’t been moved for at least 50,000 years.”

I examined the smaller skulls.

“Henry, two of the skulls have dental work. It looks fairy modern.”

“20th Century. Looks like pre-1950,” said Henry.

“I don’t understand.”

“Shawna, please keep quiet on this for a while until we have these analyzed.”

The bones were around 49,000 years old. All of the bones. The Neanderthal group consisted of three males and two females. Their smaller friends were also a mixed group of two male and one female. All were eight adults.

Then we did DNA analysis.

The man was an SS officer named Franz Meyer.  He vanished in 1937.

The other two came back as Fred Noonan and Amelia Earhart. They had a also vanished in 1937. Even more surprising was that their bones, along with Meyer’s carbon dated to 49,000 years give or take a few.

Henry shared more startling findings with me. “There were rumors that Meyer had been working on time travel technology. I always thought Meyer’s work was part of Hitler’s spiritualism and insane technological obsessions. When Meyer vanished so did all of his notes. Some assumed he died when his lab burned down. Shawna, this is huge.”

“But how did they all get at the same place. Earhart and Noonan went down in the South Pacific. Meyer was last seen in German.”

“I don’t know.”

“Now what?”

“I don’t know Shawna. I just don’t know.”

“This is big Henry.”

“I know.”

“Can you imagine flying your plane across the Pacific Ocean then finding yourself in the Ice Ages?”

“How horrifying,” said Henry.

“They were buried with respect.”

Henry looked at me with large blue eyes, then a tear rolled down his face.

For a moment I thought of a bit of trivia.

“Henry, I’ve heard there is a possibility that everyone with blue, or blueish eyes has a bit of Neanderthal in them.”

Henry wiped his eyes. “Neanderthals made rope too. Meyer had traces of hemp at his neck.”

“He wasn’t a nice person.” I said, suddenly feeling the weight of it all on my shoulders.

“Well, let’s give it a rest. We’ll make a plan tomorrow.”

“Yes, we can regroup in the morning,” I said, imagining a blue eyed man swinging by a tree with rope made by his distant ancestors.

~ end

Tangled Tales

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Vlad’s Vampire Diary: Murphy and Snafu walk into a bar

Dear Diary,

It has not been a good day.

My cat was crying a pitiful cry the way cats do. She sounded like a wailing infant who had been damned to eternal suffering. Ever so gently I picked her up and could feel a swelling on her neck.

An abscess. I remember back when I was King of the Vampires when mortal men who were among my subjects would shuffle like the living dead after being bitten by nasty dirty rogue Vampires. Responsible and civilized Vampires such as myself, and those in my court were always clean, knowing that if they took care of their food it would be there for them again when they were hungry. The rouge Vampire who lived in foul caves and holes in the ground smelled like death and putrid rotting flesh. Their fangs were yellow and black.

When they would bite a man, if they did not kill him, the man would become infected with every sort of germ imaginable. Of course we did not know of germs back then. That did not stop the wounds from becoming horrible neck abscesses that had to be lanced and then cleaned with flame and gallons of alcohol. I had seen heads fall off from such vile poisoned Vampire abscesses. It is not a pretty sight.

The last night of the foul rogue Vampire attack I chased them down through the woods. My hounds ran in front of me. My men rode behind me. As I went ahead it started to rain. Lightning flashed and the tree in front of m exploded. A branch fell on me. My horse ran away, as I lay on the ground with a broken arm and a broken fang. As I stood up one of my men ran over me with his horse. He never even saw me and continued to ride. As I limped back to my castle, soaking wet, I wondered what else could go wrong.

My friend Randolpho was waiting for me at the front gate.

“Vlad, you won’t believe this but…guess what I just found out.” he started.

“What?” I snapped at him.

“Guess,” Randolpho said.

“Tell me,” I said ready to tear his throat out. I had no time for his games and riddles.

“Your wife is cheating on you,” my friend said. “Can you believe it? I knew something was up with that bitch.”

Four hundred years later I will not heal my cat with flames.  I did not want her head to fall off so I called the Veterinarian, otherwise known as an animal doctor.

Knowing that my cat would not willingly ride in the car I put a cat carrier cage box on the kitchen table. I attempted to put the cat within the box. She growled and jumped. I fell backwards against a chair. The chair hit the window. The window shattered. My head hit the window sill. Broken glass slashed across my cheek. I was not wearing shoes and stepped on a large shard of glass cutting my foot.

My Vampire lover Gillian came into the room while still drying her hair with a towel.

“Vlad. What happened?” Gillian asked.

“Nothing,” I said.

“You’re going to bleed out. Oh my God, your face.” She grabbed a roll of paper towel and then grabbed me, and then pushed me into a chair. She took the towel from her hair and pressed it to my face. Then she yanked the glass out of my foot. “What happened here?”

It told her. “Everything that could have go wrong did go wrong.”

“Murphy’s Law,” she said. “I’m going to have to stitch up your foot and put a butterfly on your face. You’ll heal fast but it will go quicker if I stitch it.

“Who is this Murphy and what is his law?”

“If anything can go wrong it will.  Murphy’s Law.”

“Who allowed Murphy to do this? Surely he was not elected into office.” Then again it seems like anything that is not either dead or a possum can be elected for a job.

She ignored my question about Murphy. “Do you want me to take the cat to the Vet?”

“I will do it.”

“Fine. I’ll call the handyman and have the window fixed.”

Apparently Gillian does not consider me handy.

“Why do you want to put an insect on my face?” I asked.

“A butterfly bandage. It is a type of bandage not an insect.”

“I did not know,” I told her. “I was locked in a crypt for three hundred years. Do not expect me to know all things that that are modern, especially bandages.”

When she had finished with me Gillian managed to get the cat into the box. She put the cat box on the passenger side of my car, handed me the keys, and told me to be careful.

I arrived at the animal hospital. I could hear the women working there whispering, “He is so cute. Look how adorable he is.”

“My cat is female.” I said to them.

They all started to giggle. I do not understand what make women act in such strange ways when I come into a room.

Another woman who was a doctor to animals looked at my cat. My cat purred. I was still not over joyed by the situation no matter what the cat thought of it. The Animal Doctor gave my cat drugs to heal her and told me to call if the cat did not get better.

At least that went as it should have.

I drove about a mile when I heard a loud noise. My car started to bounce. It was difficult to steer. After pulling over I found that one of my tires had exploded.

I did as I have been advised to by Gillian and my friend Randolpho, who are both well versed in automobiles, and called the number on my towing service card.

After a long wait on the side of the road with my cat, a large tow truck showed up.

A man got out of the truck and looked me up and down as if he was sizing me up. I am quite muscular so I am assuming he thought I might push my car home.

He asked me, “Do you have a spare?”

“Spare what?” I asked.

“A spare tire?”

“I do not know. Should I have one?”

“Pop the trunk,” he asked.

“It is not inflated. The trunk of this car is hard metal,” I said.

“Open the trunk so I can look for a spare tire,” said the man.

The man found a spare tire hidden under a flap in the carpeting in the trunk.

“You’ve never changed a tire,” said the man. It was not a question.

“I know nothing about cars. I never even drove one until about five years ago.”

“What about your dad? Did he drive?”

“No. We used horses. My father never learned to drive.” My father died in 1460. I did not tell the tire changing man that interesting fact.

“What are you Amish or something?”

I do not know what Amish is but I answered, “Something like that.”

“Makes sense by your accent. Nice car. How do you like having an electric car?”

“It is quiet,” I said. Vampires need quiet cars. “I like it.”

As I stood watching the man change my tire, I stood in the sun feeling sick. This was not good. I could imagine my skin starting to blister. I can take a small amount of sun but not this heat which seemed to seer me like a pig on a spit over a bonfire. I thought I was going to vomit but my stomach was empty of all blood or food of any kind.

I could hear the radio of a car driving by blasting the song Sweater Weather. It was indeed sweater weather for anyone who was not a Vampire. That just, what it the term, added insult to injury.

I heard the cat meow sadly from the box on the front seat. Then my stomach started to tell me that I was in dire need of blood. My head was light and all I could do was look at the veins on the man’s neck and forearm.

After getting a spare tire put on my car, and sucking about a pint of blood out of the arm of the AAA man, I left him sleeping on the front seat of his truck with a $50 bill.

I got into my car and noticed a large blood stain on my shirt as if I were some amateur Vampire. Then I noticed my shoe was soaked with blood where the stitches had come out of my foot. I was sunburned. My head throbbed. My hair was a mess.

I need to find this Murphy and kill him.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

After the events of yesterday, my Vampire lover Gillian greeted me with kisses and promises of passion.

After a few minutes of passion she fell asleep.

She fell asleep.

SHE FELL ASLEEP.

I was tempted to look underneath the bed to see if Murphy was there. I am sure I heard laughing.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Tonight I went out find blood and perhaps some sanity.

I went to a bar I often go to. This particular establishment is frequented by college students, young working people, and those who believe themselves to be, as my friend Randolpho says, bougie.

Two attractive young women approached me. They introduced themselves as Emily and Sammie. I find it odd that at least half of young women I meet are named Emily.

This Emily was tall with long blonde hair and a dazzling long neck. Sammie had red hair of an unusual shade.

“You’re so cute,” Emily said to me.

“Gorgeous,” said Sammie. “So are you up for a little fun? Wanna play with us tonight?”

I was taken aback by their forwardness, but I was also extremely hungry. Yet, something did not seem quite right. Before I could turn down their offer a large man accidentally bumped Sammie and an entire glass of red wine was dumped on my white shirt.

“Oh no,” the young women said in unison.

“Our apartment is just across the street,” said Sammie. “We can rinse the wine out of your shirt before it is perminately stained.”

So I went across the street to the home of the two young women.

They quickly stripped my shirt off of me, leaving me standing bare chested. Both of the women were quick to run their hands over my chest while making purring noises. Then they both kissed me and vanished into another room. Within two minutes they both returned completely naked. I have to admit they were a double vision of perfect female beauty.

I could feel their warmth, and hear the blood pumping through their veins. I could smell it.

Suddenly, as I was ready to take both to the nearby couch they grabbed a handle from the wall and pulled down a hidden bed.

“What is this?” I asked, having never seen such a contraption.

“A Murphy Bed,” said Emily.

May the ancient Gods protect me. I could not stay.

As the women cried after me to come back, I left, with only my jacket, leaving my shirt behind.

When I arrived at my car I took my keys out of my coat pocket. Suddenly something crashed into me. I could smell the stench of dirty human. I turned barring my fangs pushing the foul creature off of me.

It took a look at me and screamed, the grabbed my keys off of the ground and ran into a nearby alley. I ran after it. All of the sudden the dirty human came flying through the air and back at me. It hit me and I fell flat on my back. Something picked up the dirty human and threw it again. I could hear it scuttling off.

A face looked down at me, fangs barred. Then a smile.

“Vlad. Is that you? I thought you were dead!”

“Constantine. My old friend. How long has it been? Wow, the last time I saw you was 1680.”

“It has been a while,” I said, taking my old friend’s hand as he offered to help me up.

He gave me now what I know is called a bro hug.  “Vlad, oh Vlad. Where have you been?”

“I was kidnapped and locked in a crypt for three hundred years. I have only been out for these past six years.”

“Dude. Who did that to you?”

“I do not know,” I told him. “Randolpho and Gillian rescued me.”

Constantine looked me up and down and smiled. “Damn, you’re still the best looking Vampire anywhere, but why no shirt? You look like something off of a bodice ripper romance cover.”

A bodice ripper romance cover. I will have to look that up. “Murphy’s Law,” I said.  “I have an extra shirt in my car. One never knows when stains will occur.”

Now, as in the past, Constantine was always the best dressed Vampire. He was impeccaple tonight in a black suit, with a dark plum colored shirt and a plum colored silk tie. As we walked back to my car I saw that shadows were closing in. Constantine also noticed. We heard foot steps.

My friend and I were surrounded by Vampire Hunters.

Back when I was King of the Vampires, and Constantine was my dandy friend we could just take out our swords.

“Look in their eyes. Capture their souls,” I said quietly to my friend.

He smiled, then showed his fangs.

There were five Vampire Hunters. Two had guns. One had a whip. Two had wooden stakes.

“Oh look, someone is getting ready to plant their spring garden,” said Constantine, mocking the Vampire hunters and their stakes.

“Put down your weapons,” I said quietly. “Look at me. You are in the presence of the King of Vampires.” I caught the eyes of three of them. They put down their weapons. “Sit down. Stay still.”

“Don’t look at their faces. Don’t listen to them,” yelled one of the two left standing. Constantine approached them. A gun went off. I saw a dark shining stain start to swell on his shoulder.

“Damn. That was one of my favorite suits,” said my friend. He jumped on the man with the gun and slammed him to the ground. What happened next I will pass on describing. I will just say a good tailor and dry cleaner will be needed to fix that suit. I took on the second man still standing. After showing him my fangs he dropped the whip he held and ran.

When we were done, I said, “Murphy’s law.”

“That was more of a SNAFU,” said Constantine.

“SNAFU?” I asked. I had never heard of a SNAFU.

“Situation Normal: All Fucked Up.”

“I see,” I said. “That makes sense in a confusing sort of way.”

“Listen Vlad, you’re doing great considering how much catching up you’ve had to do.”

I dropped my friend off at his house, and I went home to my cats.

The first thing I did was look up Bodice Ripper on the Internet.

That was interesting.

The next thing I did was take a shower. While I closed my eyes under the cold water I heard a door open. My eyes flew open. I was ready for a fight. Fortunately it was Gillian. She took off her clothes and got in with me.

“Turn up the heat,” she said.

“I will definitely turn up the heat,” I said.

The rest of the evening went splendidly without any interference from Murphy. There were no interruptions. No SNAFU. No broken glass, stray possums, Vampire Hunters, or stains of any kind. We slept the deep sleep of lovers entangled in each other’s arms and legs. It was the peaceful dreamless and quiet sleep of the undead. It was a rare blessing, something Vampires savor and prize.

Then tomorrow…tomorrow I will find this Murphy and I will kill him. I am Vlad, former King of the Vampires. The cats came in and curled up at our feet, as if to say, we will keep you safe tonight, for we are cats, and we are the ones who now rule all.

~ Vlad

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

 

This has been 55th installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary.

It is also a lame entry into the 7th Annual Contest of Whatever at the Evil Squirrel’s Nest. And if you’re out driving in your car watch for urban wildlife. Possums are our pals.

The Seventh Annual Contest Of Whatever!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Juliette’s Book Club: Last night I dreamt…

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again.”
Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca

Last night I dreamt I went to a rock concert in an old 1940’s movie theater. I paid for it with a credit card I found at an unknown location, and I took my cat with me. The cat ran off in the theater. Later after the show, which included several costume changes and fireworks I found the cat in a field next to the theater. I couldn’t find my car so we took a raised monorail home through a city that looked like it was right out of the Fritz Lang movie Metropolis. I never did figure out who the band was. Needless to say I do not steal credit cards or  take my cat to concerts. However I will always love the movie Metropolis and the book Rebecca.

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Daphne Du Maurier is one of my favorite authors. Her books are always mysterious, well written, and timeless.

Her villains are horrible. Her characters are vibrant. Her story lines will leave you on the edge of your seat, or glued to your book.

So today, while I write this still in a sleep haze of weird dreams and high winds trying to blow down my house, I recommend you read ANY books plays or stories by the amazing Daphne Du Maurier.

I’ve read that Du Maurier was somewhat cold, often called frosty when it came to other people. She was distant from her children. As an introvert she rarely gave interviews and disliked social gatherings. I would have thought she’d be the life of the party and had many many friends, and been a lovely mother. Go figure. Read the book and don’t worry about the author.

By the way, the move “The Birds”, you know Hitchcock “The Birds, was based on one of her stories.

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My favorites are Jamaica, Rebecca, and My Cousin Rachael.

  • Gerald: A Portrait (1934)
  • The du Mauriers (1937)
  • The Young George du Maurier: a selection of his letters 1860–67 (1951)
  • The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë (1960)
  • Vanishing Cornwall (includes photographs by her son Christian, 1967)
  • Golden Lads: Sir Francis Bacon, Anthony Bacon and their Friends (1975)
  • The Winding Stair: Francis Bacon, His Rise and Fall (1976)
  • Growing Pains – the Shaping of a Writer (a.k.a. Myself When Young – the Shaping of a Writer, 1977)
  • Enchanted Cornwall (1989)

 

I’ll see you next Monday for another Juliette’s Book Club.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Sam Judge

Sam Judge

 

Part 1: The Apocalypse

My grandparent’s crazy is the new normal.

Normal is still pretty crazy, well, because it isn’t normal. We don’t want it to be normal, but unfortunately that is what normal is to me.

Does any of that make sense?

My grandmother and I talk a lot about that. I’m so glad she’s still around. She’s the one who encouraged me to go into reporting and photojournalism.  She is also the one who encouraged me never to color my hair. But enough about me.

The crazy stuff started to happen when my parents were in college. First were the pandemics in China that spread through most of Asia wiping out millions of people in most of the large urban centers. To this day most people of Chinese descent live outside of China.

After that happened, along with a shit load of political fall out, there was another plague of a sorts. Radioactive and other unidentified debris started falling from the sky. The governments of the world claimed they didn’t know where it came from. From the sky was all they could say. From the fucking sky.

Shortly after the first zombies showed up in Australia. They were already dealing with the aftermath of the third big wave of fires when the population started to die, but not die. Roaming packs of shuffling virus infested humans with rotting flesh attacked the normal living. When bullets ran out flamethrowers were used, and even more fires started. Entire cities burned.

From Australia the zombies moved slowly across all continents gnawing and rotting along the way. In the United States the Midwest and the Chicago area were hit especially hard. It is estimated that almost forty percent of the population between the ages of fifteen and seventy became zombies before the epidemic died down. The zombie attacks were compounded by an never ending Midwestern winter.

Governments continued to crumble. Strange deadly disease continued to pop up, and then vanish after massive causalities.

After the first wave of zombies someone in what was once known as North Korea shot off a nuclear warhead claiming the USA had caused most of their population to die of the Black Crow flu. The bomb landed on Tokyo, Japan. That started yet another war and more tolls on the already weak human populations and wild life.

By the time I was born the Southern Hemisphere was for the most part totally uninhabitable. A few brave souls still lived there but not many outside of the research stations and military posts.

After that all hell broke loose again for a short time, then things got really bazar. Some yahoos from the rogue Canadian Space Frontshot the alien research station out of the sky thinking it was a Chinese space station shooting zombie virus bombs down over rural Alberta.

The alien space station landed in the middle of Nevada. Seriously, as if Nevada didn’t already have their share of alien based urban legends and whack jobs crawling all over the desert. Unfortunately all but two of the twenty-four aliens on board were killed. The two who survived managed to say that they’d been watching us for a while and were frankly shocked at what they’d seen. Then they too died. We never did find out where they were from. The funny thing is that they looked like us except their skin was kind of a baby blue, and their eyes were slightly larger like anime characters. When I was a kid I wanted to go visit the site but my parents would never take me.

After the proof of life outside of our planet was proved, religious groups and cults started to pop up preaching the end of days, and other crazy ass biblical prophecies. I remember my mom telling me that she didn’t think things could get any stranger, but she was wrong. Things did get stranger, right in her own home. In her own womb in fact.

Around the time of my birth another new and unique phenomenon began to happen. PAM otherwise known as  Post Apocolypitic Mutations. I know all about that one personally because I’m a PAM baby.

I was born with dark hair, but by the time I was a year old my hair had turned steel gray. By the time I was in college white and silver highlights grew in.  My eyes are the same steel gray color as my hair. My most unique feature, one that I rarely share with others, is the ability to conceal lies from others, including PAM babies who have the ability to catch lies. And if you’re asking, why yes, it does come in handy.

Other PAM cases were more extreme than mine. There were kids with seven fingers, tails, and odd multicolored eyes, but those weren’t the really interesting cases. Some children displayed traits that came right out of the old super hero comics. There were people with extrodinary hearing, or could see miles away. Every kind of physical strength and endurance you could think of was showing up with PAM kids.

One girl known as Emily Seventeen could read minds. Every government and nut job religious organization wanted her. She died of a brain hemorrhage the day she turned twenty-one. Her brain was studied but nobody could ever figure out how it worked.

After much study it was discovered that all of these people with extraordinary strengths had their weakness that would make then “normal.” They all had their proverbial kryptonite. The most famous example of this was my friend Harriet O’Malley who could disjoint her entire body, every single bone, and creep around like a giant ameba, as flat as a pancake. She was tired of the mess, the sloppy rejointing, and the general discomfort of her particular skill set.

After a lot of trial and error Harriet accidentally found a fix to put an end to being ameba girl. When her younger brother died in a car accident Harriet had a large memorial tattoo in his honor put on her upper back and across her shoulders. It was a play on words because when she we feeling depressed he always told her “I have your back Harriet.”  The ink on her back was absolutely beautiful and in full color. When the tattoo was done and completely healed she was asked to go flat. She couldn’t do it. The tattoo held her together. Her brother did indeed have her back. A simple tattoo was her kryptonite. Who would have guessed? Or maybe it was simply giving over to grief and love. It always seemed far-fetched to me, but she was my friend so I believed her.

 

Part 2: The Assignment

So that brings us to now. I’m a science and political reporter for TCN, I might add, the largest and most prestigious news agency around. TCN is unique in that it is not associated with any political party, religion, or even region. It is completely neutral (like Switzerland before the zombies ate everyone there.)

One day I was sitting in my home office in Laguna Beach, drinking coffee, and working on the possibilities of more alien visitations, when I received an assignment to interview Sam Judge. Yes, the over the top ultra famous famous Sam Judge.

Like me, Sam Judge is also a PAM baby. Unlike me, his unique features were more along the lines of my friend Harriet O’Malley – high on the super hero scale.

I caught a flight out the next morning with Harriet, who by the way is my photographer, and our sound/camera guy Phil Steen. At security our I.D.s were checked showing Harriet and I were PAMs.

“Do you have any special powers we should know about?” I was asked by the security woman.

“No,” I told her. “Just my funny hair color.” What I didn’t tell her is that I can lie and nobody, not even a PAM with special lie detecting powers, can detect my lies.

Harriet told the security officer that she could liquefy at one time but wouldn’t do it on the plane. Phil isn’t a PAM so he went right through despite his shaggy un-kept beard, tacky pink and green plaid pants, and orange jacket.

On the flight to Chicago Harriet and Phil talked about taking making some side trips to interview famous zombie hunters old, and slept. I read up on Sam Judge.

At the time Sam Judge was a twenty eight year old PAM. His birthday was three days before mine. That was interesting.

His powers are extraordinary physical strength, and the ability to read lies. He also possesses well-honed leadership skills.

People love Sam Judge. As a war hero he’d single handedly slain entire armies of remaining zombies, unsavory cannibalistic humans, and took on monster mutant lizards, dogs, and elk. Sam Judge never lost a battle. That didn’t mean that he never lost at love.

Same Judge was left at the alter when his bride ran off with his best man. He didn’t take it to well and exacted revenge upon everyone she knew by digging into their rather unsavory business practices. Both of her parents, her brothers, and the ex best friend were now in prison. That was interesting.

He mentioned later that she never told him that she loved him. He would have known it was a lie. Nobody can keep a lie from Sam Judge if he wants to hear it. If Sam Judge doesn’t like what he hears he will be one badass vindictive bastard. I know if he’d known me than I could have told him she was trouble and saved him a lot of grief.

Since then no other woman had captured Sam’s heart. He was not dating anyone seriously. There were no prospects for serious relationships. Handsome Sam Judge does not give his heart away.

Sam was born into what I would consider a cult, called Chosen Followers. They are a hybrid of Catholic and fundamental evangelical beliefs mixed with doomsday prophesy weirdness. Just for kicks and grins add in some crazy stories about visions of the Virgin Mary.

Sam Judge’s mother, Isabelle McCarthy Judge, said that Sam was chosen by God, and that it was God who gave Sam his powers. She refused to call him a PAM or use the termPost Apocalyptic Mutations when describing her son. Mrs. Judge went all the way to the Supreme Court of the Untied States to get the title removed from all of her precious Sam’s paperwork.

Most interesting of all was that with all of the attention on Sam Judge over the past ten years nobody had ever figured out what his kryptonite was. Nobody. Well, nobody so far. I intended to find out exactly what made Sam Judge tick.

 

Part Three: The Interview

As usual Chicago was freezing. I’m surprised the plane was able to land due to the current snowstorm. Current snowstorm is an understatement. They had below zero winters that lasted for nine months out of the year.

I wanted to be professional but in no way frumpy. A black skirt, pared with a bright sapphire blue sweater, black tights and flat black boots. I didn’t put any clips in my chin length gray hair. Because this would be filmed I had on the full face make-up.

Gabrielle dressed similar in a forest green wool wrap dress, tights and flat over the knee boots. Phil showed up in all black save for a purple and yellow tie. He’d shaved off his shaggy beard that night and showed of a handsome face that I’d never seen before. He’d also pulled his shoulder length hair up into a neat man bun. Phil actually looked really good for a change. I had to compliment him on making the effort.

It took us about a year, ok maybe an hour, to go though security at the Judge mansion. Not only were we patted down, and all of our belongings checked, we were also asked detailed questions that we’d already answered in a preliminary email.

A pale young man who introduced himself as Timothy Ryan led us to a large living room filled with artwork, comfortable furniture and flowers. One side of the wall was all windows overlooking the new Chicago skyline. Harriet made a beeline to the huge stone fireplace and thawed out her hands. Timothy showed us where an antique sterling silver coffee, tea and water service had been set up, then left the room.

“Modern Prairie mansion overkill,” said Phil looking around.

“I like it,” I said. “I could live in a place like this, you know, if it was back home. I wonder when Sam is going to show up?”

“Right now,” said a voice, followed by a laugh.

There he was, Sam Judge in all his glory, looking better in person than in any video or photograph. Despite his impressive body builder physique, the first thing I noticed was his eyes. Bright hazel, the color of the winter waves, with genuine happiness showing through. Those eyes were in a gorgeous, handsome, beautiful male face. His famous hair, a glossy caramel color, fell down his back and to his waist.

“Welcome. I’m so glad you made it. I’m Sam Judge.” He approached me and held out his hand.

As I took his right hand he put his left hand over it in almost a protective way. I looked right up into those beautiful hazel eyes. “I’m Lilah Wolfe. Good to meet you Mr. Judge.”

“Call me Sam.”

I introduced Harriet and Phil, and then noticed nobody else had joined us. Usually men like Sam Judge had an entourage or at least a few minions hanging about, but it was just Sam.

“You’re known for your strength and speed. What else do you want people to know about you?” I asked.

Sam gave me the answer I was looking for. “I never enjoyed the things I had to do. Dealing with zombies, violence, mutant insects, isn’t fun for anyone.”

“You dug a classroom of children and their teachers out of the rubble of a building. You got to them faster than any machinery could have.”

“Lilah, I just went on auto pilot. When I found them.” He paused to compose himself. “The children were so small. The only thing I could think of was getting them back to their parents. When I saw the teachers all I could think of was getting them back to their own children.”

We talked a while longer about Sam Judge’s heroic achievements. Then I asked the question that nobody dared ask before.

“Your mother claims you’re not a PAM baby.  She even went so far to have a hint of post apocalyptic mutations removed from all of your medical records. How do you explain your strength and speed? How do you explain the fact that nothing injures you?”

He turned on the charm all the sudden and almost threw me off of my game. “I’m not immune heartbreak.”

“You wouldn’t be human if you weren’t immune to the entanglements of romantic love. You also can detect whether someone is telling a lie or the truth. You’re 100% correct all of the time. Sam, how do you explain that?”

“I can’t. My mother always said my gifts are from God. She had a vision when she was pregnant that said I would be infallible and a seeker of the truth.”

“She was also in Las Vegas at she got pregnant with you, the same weekend the alien research vessel was shot down. She was exposed to cosmic fall out when she was pregnant with you.”

“A lot of women were exposed to fall out from space, and nuclear fall out from wars, and more toxic crap than we can count. Their children all turned out fine. Let me ask you something Lilah. You’re a PAM baby. Where was your mother when she became pregnant with you?”

“San Francisco. Safe in San Francisco. You have a point. So you honestly believe your powers are from God?”

“I don’t even speculate on where my unique abilities come from. I accept who I am and what I can do. I try to make the world a better place with my gifts.”

“What’s your kryptonite?”

Sam smiled another dazzling smile that made my heart skip a beat. This was so unexpected. Was there something he wasn’t telling me?

He laughed and put his hand on mine. “I don’t know. I don’t even know if there is something that will break my spell.”

“A kiss maybe?”

“Is that an offer?”

“No. I was just kidding. So tell me about your work with the arts?”

The interview went on as expected. I asked a lot of questions. Sam was charming and engaging. I knew he’d capture every single heart of every single person who saw the interview. I’d done my job.

 

Part Four: Off the Record

Harriet and Phil went shopping on the Miracle Mile. Sam and I went to lunch at O’Joys, the best deep dish pizza in New Chicago.

Over a bottle of Chianti and pizza we talked off the record.

“I know you’re a PAM baby. Sam you can’t believe that you’re part of a biblical prophecy like your mother tells everyone.”

He smiled and took my hand, “I have to keep her happy. Frankly the belief has become more of a detriment. I’m starting to look like a fool.”

“What about your dad?”

“He goes along with whatever my mother says.”

The proliferation of religious extremists since the big break down of society due to wars, pandemics and the existence of aliens, had always disturbed me. The very idea that the man sitting across from me seemed totally immune to what was going on seemed the height of hypocrisy. Phil had once told me Sam’s kryptonite was probably women. What I saw in Sam was a man who, contrary to his own worldly views and sophistication, was letting himself be used as a symbol of strength by a group that many considered to be a religious cult.

I changed the subject and we talked about other things. After lunch Sam’s driver took us to the Art Institute of Chicago where we wandered the halls getting to know each other better. I couldn’t believe how much Sam Judge and I had in common. We both loved the same art and music. We both loved dogs but neither one of us had time for one right now. We both wanted to have families one day but worried about being PAM kids. We both had our secrets that we never told anyone else. I found myself telling him things that I don’t share with other people. And he shared with me. I promised him I wouldn’t put any of it in the press. He believed me. I didn’t exactly tell the truth. I kept the idea of using some of his secrets in the back of my mind.

From a wonderful lunch, to a somewhat romantic afternoon in the museum, we ended up back at Sam’s house. From there we had dinner in his kitchen. Aside from security on the parameter of the building, no other staff was present. Sam cooked. I drank wine and listened to him tell funny stories about growing up with a mother who thought she was in charge of the strong boy who saw right through her. I told him stories of my work, and my life in California, growing up as a PAM child. Sure we talked about ourselves but we talked about everything else too. We discovered we both liked the same books, the same music, and laughed at the same silly jokes. Our lives were so different but we clicked as if we’d been friends for years.

As we finished cleaning up Sam put his arm around my waist and gently pulled me close.

“Lilah,” he said. Just my name. That was all it took. I kissed Sam Judge before he could kiss me. But oh how he kissed back.

The next morning I woke in Sam’s bed wondering if I’d done the right thing. It felt so right in my heart, and with every cell in my body (OMG did it ever) but logically I knew it was wrong. I’d crossed the professional line.

Sam brought in coffee, but it went cold as we made love again.

As we lay in the afterglow I whispered, “What makes you so strong Sam Judge?”

Sam laughed. “Don’t tell a soul, but my mother always said it was my hair.”

I knew he was telling the truth.

“I can’t imagine anything so crazy,” I said, knowing he wouldn’t catch my lie. I could imagine it was his hair. Damn, it I needed to know, and the story would make me millions. On the other hand, how could I even think of harming this beautiful man who was so sweet and trusting?

 

Chapter 5: The Attack

I had lunch in the famous Olde Pope’s Bar and Grill with Harriet and Phil. We talked over stuffed potatoes and beer. They teased me about spending the night with Sam. I told them that I could easily fall in love with him, them I laughed it off. I didn’t want them to know that I was falling hard for Sam Judge.

“Did you find out what would take his strength away?” Harriet asked.

I should have said anything, but these were my two best friends. “He said his mother told him that it was his hair. That’s why he won’t cut it. I doubt that but you never know.” As soon as the words came out of my mouth I regretted it. Harriet and Phil glanced at each and smiled. That wasn’t a good sign. “Don’t even think about it,” I said, but I knew they already were.

That night the sky had cleared. Sam took me out to his roof to see a sky full of trillions of stars, more than I’d ever seen. While I gaped in wonder, he pointed out constellations and galaxies.

“Sam, where do you think the blue aliens came from?”

“I’ve always thought they were from the heart of the Milky Way,” he said. “I’ve imagined they sent research ships out to the far ends of the spirals of the galaxy to find like minded civilizations. When you think about it, they must have had families and friends they left behind. You have to wonder if they fell in love, or suffered heartbreak.”

“You’re such a romantic.”

“Maybe. To be honest, and don’t tell me I’m crazy, but Lilah I think I’m falling in love with you. This is more than an infatuation. I don’t mean to sound like a cliché but…” He held me close. “Do you believe in love at first sight?”

I rested my head on his chest. “Yes, I do. Sam, I absolutely believe it,” and that was no lie.

Savor those perfect moments in life, because in today’s world they never seem to last, especially in the freezing war torn Midwest.

Later that night, as we finished dinner at one of Sam’s favorite places on the edge of Lake Michigan we held hands and talked. I told Sam that the lake looked like a frozen ocean. The only difference was that I couldn’t smell the salt in the air.

Just as Sam was about to speak, a loud voice shouted “WHORE WHORE. Stay away from him. She’s nothing but a harlot sent here to seduce you and take you from us.”

Obviously they must have seen the interview that had been aired the day before.

“Ladies,” said Sam, as he stood. “Please stop.”

“Whore, whore, whore,” a group of a dozen women yelled as they ran towards us.

Then the unthinkable happened. Hell, it seems like everything is unthinkable these days, but this was personal. One of the women came at me with a knife. Sam stepped in her way and I can still hear myself screaming as she plunged it into his heart.

The poisoned tipped knife that was meant for me went into Sam’s chest. The women continued to scream at me. They pushed me down and started kicking me and clawing at me. Suddenly I was pulled up by Sam’s strong arm. The knife wound barely fazed him. I’d never seen anything like it.

“Leave her alone,” he growled at the women. “Be gone.”

Sam indeed did have super strength. The press showed up and he told them how he’d saved the woman he loved, and gave a stern warning to anyone who would come between us. I was in in a world of hurt, but overwhelmed with emotion when I heard his words. I started to cry, not because of the pain but because my heart was breaking. I didn’t know what to think. I was falling in love but there was no way I could stay in crazy land with Sam Judge.

Medical crews on the scene put a butterfly bandage on a cut on my forehead. Sam’s wound was stitched up. They said the knife had been tipped with Zom-bee poison. It would have killed me, but it didn’t even seem to faze Sam.

The women were arrested. Sure I thought my nightmare was over, but it had just started.

Sam took me back to his house where, after a few strong painkillers, we fell asleep in each other’s arms.

I woke to a sound of something like water sloshing. I looked over to see a glint of metal by Sam’s head. There in her ameba form, slithering up the side of the bed was Harriet with a pair of scissors. Phil was by the door. Before I could say WTF Harriet had cut off Sam’s hair right at the bottom of his neck. I screamed. Phil screamed. Harriet dropped the hair on the floor and took her own shape.

Sam sat up in the bed. “I feel sick. Lilah, I can’t see. I feel so weak.” Then he passed out.

I’ve never been so angry in my life. All I can remember is screaming at Harriet and Phil.

“You told me you couldn’t transformed anymore,” I screamed Harriet.

“I lied, and you didn’t even catch it,” she said to me her eyes smoldering red. “You’re not even a real mutant you gray haired freak.” Then she grabbed up Sam’s hair off the floor, and ran from the room. That was the last time I ever spoke to Harriet.

After the paramedics showed up I kissed Sam and told him that I loved him. He opened his eyes and said, “I love you Lilah. Oh shit, what happened to my hair?”

Like the coward I am, I left Chicago leaving Sam and any romantic thoughts behind. His mother said I took his strength. I was branded as a whore and a horrible person. Screw them. I didn’t care. My only concern was about Sam.

Sam told everyone it wasn’t my fault. But it was. I knew it was all my fault. I should have never been involved with him. I should have never had told his secret to Harriet and Phil.

 

Chapter 6. Revelations

About a month later, as I was sitting on the beach drinking coffee and feeling sorry for myself Phil came up and sat next to me. I hadn’t seen him since that night in Chicago.

“What are you doing here Phil?”

He gave me a weak smile. “I’m sorry. I tried to stop her, Harriet. She just liquefied and I couldn’t stop her. I am so sorry.”

“Screw you Phil,” I knew he was telling me the truth but I was still angry with him. “Harriet sold Sam’s hair on eBay. Can you believe that? I will NEVER forgive her. Never.”

“Listen, Lilah, I have some news about Sam.”

“I know, he is doing better. Sam is better than ever. Blah blah blah. But he’ll never trust me again.”

“You’re wrong. It wasn’t his hair. What took his strength and eyesight was the Zom-bee poison on the knife. With your kiss you gave him the enzymes he needed to survive.”

“But Phil, I’d kissed him before that.”

“Your enzymes your body produced were activated by fear. When you thought Sam was going to die your body chemistry kicked in. There are others like you who also created these healing enzymes. Scientists are calling the enzymes the love bugs.”

I went home and tried to process the information Phil had told me. I didn’t know if I’d ever forgive Harriet. People were still calling me a whore and blaming me for taking away their hero. I didn’t take anything away from anyone. I saved Sam but the truth never mattered. Jeeze, if the truth ever mattered mankind wouldn’t be in such a fucked up mess.

Sam contacted me about once every week or so just to see how I was doing. I was cordial but embarrassed. He was friendly but never romantic. I couldn’t bring myself to even think of going out to see him. I wasn’t part of his weird culture. The thought of seeing his mother terrified me. My heart broke every time I saw one of texts or emails.

Everything seemed to be a mess, but I pulled myself up, ignored the hate mail and moved on. I landed a new job as the Host for the 62ndseason of  The Bachelor.  As far as I was concerned, personally I was done with love, but at least I could help some other poor fool try their hand at it. The good reviews knocked me off my feet. They were THAT GOOD. Fans loved me.

I also redecorated my house and adopted a medium-sized six-legged rescue dog named Muffin. My mom, who’d been my rock through this whole ordeal, told me that happiness would be mine to have. I hoped she was right. Oh, and she took in Muffin’s five legged, three tailed sister Cookie.

On morning, of my 30th birthday I heard that Sam Judge was starting a foundation for the advancement of research on PAM babies. He had also donated millions of dollars to research into combatting harmful and deadly viruses and poisons that proliferated after the last biological warfare cluster right before Sam and I were born.  There was something else I found out. Sam Judge had a PhD in Biochemistry. Who would have known? I sure didn’t and it wasn’t anything he advertised.

Sam Judge was strong without his superpowers. He was strong with his compassion and his mind. And here I was hosting a dating show. Hey, I guess somebody had to do it.

I heard a knock on the door. I almost didn’t get it. Seriously, I never answered my door these days. Half the time it was a bag of dog shit, or something equally nasty. To my surprise Sam stood on my front porch.

His hair had grown out to his shoulders. The addition of glasses made him look even sexier than he already was.

I hardly got the words out, “Sam what are you doing here?”

“I got tired of the cold. Are you going to invite me in?”

It turns out The PAM Center for Biological Research was being built just down the road from me at University of California, Irvine. Sam was also going to be teaching there.

We got married six months later and I’m expecting our baby. Yes, we had all the tests done and the baby has no mutations.

Yesterday as we walked along the beach a giant fireball came from the sky and landed about a quarter mile from us. We ran to see what it was. Another alien spacecraft. Yes, I finally got to see the aliens. I hugged Sam and told him I loved him more than all the stars in the sky. Yes, my grandparent’s crazy was the new normal, but life is good, and I know it will only get better.

~ end

 

Tangled Tales

 

You may have seen this story about a week ago under the title “Mutations.” This is the final edited version. 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman