I swear people are stupid. On my way out today I saw so many people at the park I pass on the way to the freeway. A State Park ranger was driving down the street so I knew by the time I got home they’d all have warnings to keep their distance.
On April 1 my brother Aaron
dragged me convinced me to go with him to visit the Vampire Hunter Austin Durant. One of Aaron’s Vampire friends had an old house out in the middle of nowhere up in the foothills near the town Murphy’s that he wanted to restore. Unfortunately the place was infested with a group of Shadow Creeping Ghouls, that is Vampires who have no souls, no couth, and are pretty much worthless disgusting predatory vermin.
They aren’t like us.
This group of Shadow Creepers had been slinking out at night and going to Stockton to attack people in their sleep, especially in homeless camps and other areas of more concentrated transient populations. They had to be stopped.
It isn’t unusual for Aaron to drag me along on these adventures, and I use the term adventures lightly. I am small and can fit into tight spaces. I know how to deal with old dried up rogue Vampires who aren’t Shadow Creepers, and have a pretty good track record. More often than not just using my mom voice does the trick. But you know, I hate it. I hate the work. I hate the smells. I hate the way the fumes and dust makes me cough for days on end.
So back on April first we talked to Austin. Then I went home and forgot about it. Yesterday Aaron called me. After I did my best not to use multiple bad words on the phone I agreed to help out.
After a ninety minute drive through the hills of the California Gold Rush Country, which is more or less most of Northern California, I arrived at the old ranch. I have to admit it was beautiful out there. Lupins and California Poppies covered large swatches of fields and hills. New green leaves had sprouted out on the oak trees. Hawks and Turkey Vultures dotted the sky.
The gate at the end of a gravel drive was already open. I blew past a No Trespassing sign and drove about half a mile until I could see a large farmhouse in the distance, next to a large barn and a couple of other outbuildings. At one time it must have been a beautiful home with a large veranda circling the lower half and gables on the top windows.
My brother Aaron stood in front of the house next to Austin. I noticed both were wearing bandanas around their faces.
Over to the side, were everyone had parked, next to a black truck was a big brown eyed guy wearing a face mask. He had on jeans, and a gray unzipped hoodie with a San Francisco Giants tee shirt underneath. Like most guys these days his hair was sort of shaggy and pretty close to almost pony tail length.
I got out of my car.
“Are you Juliette?” He didn’t hold out a hand or step forward. Good man.
“You with Austin?” I asked.
“Yes. My name’s William.”
“You’re a Vampire Hunter?”
“Where’d you come in from?” I asked.
“Are you the back-up?”
“The infestation was worse than Austin thought it would be. Why’d they call you in?”
“Same thing. I told them not to call me.”
“I don’t blame you.”
“I told Austin that if this went sideways I’d turn him into a Vampire.”
William laughed a big hearty laugh right from his belly.
“So, William, what do you do when you’re not hunting down ghouls?”
“Wine. We grow grapes. We’ve been growing for years. My sister and I took over from our grandparents and now we’re starting a winery. We don’t have a name yet and the first batch is in barrels now. We started with a red mostly Zin mix and a Chardonnay.
“Wow. That is so cool.”
“Your brother told me you’re a graphic designer. Maybe we can talk about labels when this is all over.”
“Sure, that would be fun.” Seriously. It would be fun.
“So how long have you been a Vampire?” I knew William would ask. They all ask.
“Forever,” I said. He gave me a sideway look. “One hundred and sixty years. Aaron and I were born like this.”
“No shit. That’s pretty rare.”
“It is. I have three other brothers too. Anyone else coming?”
“No. We’re it. No large groups allowed these days.” He laughed again and adjusted his mask.
At least he didn’t tell me you don’t look like a Vampire. He knew most of us look like everyone else. Just like I knew he wouldn’t be dressed head to toe in black, wearing a huge leather duster, with a knife strapped to his leg and a squirt gun full of holy water. He might have had a carry permit for a gun or a knife, but I didn’t see it.
Aaron came up to me and elbow bumped, not like we need to do it. He gave me a mask.
“There is some nasty stuff in there. You’ll definitely need this.”
To make a story that might make a great horror flick short, we cleaned the place out. It was nasty and dirty work. It’s a good thing we all brought a change of clothes and bags for the dirty ones. I swear if the brush/forest fire threat wasn’t a real thing I would have suggested we just burn the house down.
Aaron and I don’t know if we could get any kind of Covert-19 virus but we don’t know if we can carry it on us either. Even if you aren’t sick you still have to social distance. You don’t know what might be on you.
- Keep social distancing
- Wear a mask
- Wash your hands
- Hug your dog
- Text, call, Zoom, FaceTime, email, and otherwise stay in contact with others. Stay in touch with your kids, your family, your friends, and anyone you know who might be alone or in need.
- Stay positive
- Stay creative
- Watch birds
- Read a book
- Stay safe
We’re all in this together. We really are.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman