A Night in The Vineyard

A Night In The Vineyard

Justin barely remembered being pulled from his car before it exploded. The strange thing was that he remembered a weird strain of a song on what sounded like Jingle Bells being played on a banjo and maybe an accordion. 

Then a man’s voice,  “Awww man, you’re bleeding bad. I gotta get you to the house. There’s no signal out here. We can call 911 and your wife when we get there.”

“I don’t have a wife.” Justin said as he felt along where his leg had been badly injured. His hand came away sticky with blood.

“Your husband?” Asked the man.

“What?”

“Your wedding ring.”

“Oh. I’m a widower,” said Justin, now full conscience.  “My wife Jamie died. Cancer. Uh, four years ago. Is there any phone signal around here?”

“Not out here. At the house. I’ll take you there.”

“Thanks.”

“I went through the same thing,” said the man, helping Justin to his feet. “It is brutal when your spouse dies. Five years ago for me this week.. Car accident almost in the same place you rolled your car. I miss Kendra. My wife. She was my everything and always will be. Sure maybe one day I’ll move on, but you know, it isn’t that easy.” 

“I’m sorry.” 

“Don’t be, but thanks. Put your arm around my shoulder, you’re not going to get far without support. It will be faster if we cut through the vineyard. I do it all the time.” Then he smiled. “Don’t worry. It’s my vineyard. I’m Adam. What’s your name?”

“Justin.”

“Stay close Justin and don’t get more than a few feet from me.” 

“Coyotes?”

“Ghosts.”

“You’re kidding.”

“I wish I was.”

Justin heard the odd music again. Two misty pale shapes of men in mining gear leaned on a fence playing a banjo and concertina. Another man with a long braid, wearing a quilted jacket sang. Justin thought he recognized the song but it was played in a weird old fashioned way like something out of an old fashioned camp sing-along.

“Is that Enter the Sandman?” Justin asked.

“Yeah, they love Metallica,” Adam answered. “Just because they died in the 1850’s doesn’t mean they don’t keep up with music. They kind of adjust it to their own taste. I call them my ghostly cover band.” Adam laughed in a sort of raspy way and smiled. “Look, the ladies are here to check you out.”

In front of them appeared two transparent women in beautiful dresses with bustles and trains. “Mavis, Irma, this is Justin.” The women smiled and one of them coughed into her sleeve.  The air grew cold as they vanished in blue streams of vapor. “They died in a fire and found huddled together in a basement dead of from the smoke. That’s why Irma is always coughing. 1886. What a shame they still haven’t gone to the light.”

Adam glanced down at Justin’s blood soaked pants then up to his arm. “How’s your arm? Still hurting?”

“I think it’s broken,” said Justin, barely able to get the words out through the pain.

“Hold on tight buddy. We’re almost there. Keep your arm close to your body.” Adam adjusted his grip around Justin’s waist, then they both looked up to see a tall dark figure looming in front of them.

The apparition wore a black top hat, long black coat and cape, and held what looked like a clipboard in his hand. Two monstrous gray dogs with snarls on their faces and bloody red eyes stared ahead. The man’s dark hair fell to his shoulders and framed a way too handsome face right out of a fashion magazine, except his eyes were red with a demonic glow. 

“Go away,” yelled Adam. “You can’t have him. Nobody dies tonight.”

The grim dark man stepped forward. The dogs growled and started to salivate.

“I said GO AWAY,” said Adam. “You are not wanted here Reaper.”

“I have a job to do,” said the Reaper.

“Over my dead body,” said Adam.

Pulling Justin close Adam lead him toward the house. Light were on in the two front windows. Justin could see the front porch decorated with pumpkins, and a fall wreath on the door. He started to feel cold as if the temperature had dropped 50 degrees in the last few seconds.

Adam kept going, almost dragging Justin along. “You’re bleeding out man. Oh no. I’m going to run ahead. Don’t go anywhere.”

Adam ran up to the door. A blinding flash of motion lights came on that would chase away any sort of Grim Reaper. Justin could see Adam go through a door. The lights went out. The windows were still lit.  Justin looked behind him to see if the man in the top hat was there. Nothing. 

He heard a dog barking. The front door opened. Two dogs, a German Shepard and a Golden  came running out. 

“Chance, Sadie, come here,” a woman yelled at them. Then she stopped.

“Who’s out there.”

“Justin. My name is Justin. I’m bleeding…a lot.”

“What happened?”

“Car accident. Is Adam here?”

“Adam?”

“He said…”

“Adam is dead.” 

“Dead? I don’t understand.”

“He died five years ago tomorrow, Christmas Eve. Are you a friend of his?”

Justin felt numb. “I uh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know he was dead. I’m so sorry. I am so so sorry. Are you Kendra?”

She came down the porch steps toward Justin. “Yes, I’m Kendra. Let’s get you to the house.”

“Adam loved you so much.”

Kendra smiled. “I know. You are?”

“Justin. I’m glad the dogs saw me. The motion light didn’t come on when I got to the yard.”

“I don’t have a motion light.”

“But…”

“Shhhhhh,” whispered Kendra.  “Come on Justin, put your arm around my shoulder.”

Justin started to turn when Kendra said, “Don’t look back. Not tonight.”

So Justin looked forward, into the warmth of the house with Kendra, never looking back, except to whisper, “Thank you Adam.”

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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