September is finally here. What does that mean? It means that OCTOBER is almost here!
At a time when most of us are emotionally drained, and continue to be inodiated with bad news, controversies, and too many things to be outraged about, Halloween will be a welcome respite.
October and December are the two most popular and prolific times on this blog. I haven’t come up with an October theme for 2021 yet, but I will do my best to entertain.
Among the news that isn’t here today is Vlad’s confusion over being called a “man-child,” and reasons why we must be sensitive to the fact that even ghoulish black eyed children have parents.
For the past few weeks my home has been not quite socked in with smoke from the Calder fire. There were two days with ashes falling gently on our cars. My heart is broken that the fire that started in Grizzly Flat, a short drive from here, is now lapping around the Lake Tahoe area. Highway 50, one of the most beautiful and historic highways in the country, if not the world, burned with a fire so furious that nothing could stop it. Homes were lost, people were displaced, and wildlife was devastated. North of the Calder fire the Dixie fire still rages on. Other fires burn across California and other Western states and up into British Columbia.
My home backs up to an area that is extremely vulnerable to fire. I back up to a park that I think is State Park land but it could belong to the county or the Federal Government. Nobody seems to know. At the end of the street is a park that goes down to the American River Parkway. This beautiful bicycle, foot, and horse trail goes for 36 miles along the American River from Folsom, California on through Sacramento. If any of it burns it could take out thousands of homes and businesses. I’m not kidding. I check the air for the smell of smoke, and listen to the unmistakable crackle of a brush fire behind my house.
So, this morning when I was out to drop off books at the little neighborhood book exchange box a fire engine came barreling down the cross street. Then I saw the entire main street of my subdivision was lined with fire engines and other emergency trucks. Across from the park there was a garage fire, and by the looks of it almost a whole house fire.
A few months ago across the ravine from me a house burned down and the owner perished. Fire is real. Don’t think otherwise.
In the meantime I was making coffee, and trying to figure out who the large shadows flying overhead belonged to, and outside on my deck was a figure. It was a pale translucent apparition of a man with dark hair, a white shirt with sleeves rolled up, and dark sunglasses.
Nigel the Ghost stood next to my cat looking out over the field. Then he turned my way, flipped me off, and vanished without so much a whisp of smoke or vapor.
Nigel and I both have October birthdays, though neither one of us ever look any older. Nigel stays 26 forever because he is a Ghost. I look the way I do because, well, you know, I’m a Vampire.
Over the years I’ve discovered bits and pieces about Nigel. He was murdered and the killer was never identified. He was an artist. He doesn’t remember everything like he would like to.
Taking my chances I got on the Internet and looked him up. There were the first images I’d ever seen of him when he was alive. There were blog posts, and articles, and gallery showings of his work. The pieces for sale were quite expensive. His art was beautiful and unique. No wonder he is so angry to be a ghost forever.
He was 5’9” with pale skin, blue eyes, and dark hair that tended to fall in his face. In one photo he was in his studio, in jeans and a sweatshirt, painting. The lighting could have been set up by Caravaggio. In another he was at a party wearing a suit, looking almost as if he had dark kohl around his eyes, his dark hair was expertly messed up and shaggy around his collar. In another photo he was hiking in the mountains, where the fire is burning now. He was smiling, obviously at a friend. In yet another image he stood next to a large portrait of a young woman, both without smiles or any expression to give away a mood.
There he was.
What the hell are you writing Juliette?
“Hi Nigel,” I said. “I could make you some coffee if you like.”
He was sitting across the table from me with a stern look on his face.
“I’ll take yours,” he said. I watched my cup slide over to him without anyone touching it. Then he took a deep breath.
“I need ideas for Halloween,” I said.
“October blog posts?” Nigel asked.
“Yes. Would you like to help me brainstorm?”
“Alright. Let’s do this then. I’m ready. I mean, it isn’t like I have anything else to do and haunting is getting so tedious.”
So, dear readers, I will keep you posted. Happy September, and Happy Halloween. Nigel and I will be back.
Stay safe. Wear your mask. Get vaccinated for everything. Don’t be a dick. Be kind. Talk to your kids. Listen to your kids. Hug your animals. Check in on the elderly and those who might need extra help. Turn off the news. Turn on some music. And kiss a Vampire (you’ll thank me for it later.)
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman