Death and Taxes

Our new Constitution is now established and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.

—Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Le Roy, 1789

“I should have known,” my brother Val said as he poured another glass of wine. “You want more?”

“Maybe in a minute,” I said. My glass was halfway full. Valentine’s story was just getting started.

“She was perfect, or at least just wonderful to be with, but then…” His words trailed off. My calm cool and usually collected brother was visibly upset. That is rare, considering he is usually unflappable and the coolest Vampire I know. 

I was sitting with my brother on the back porch of his downtown Victorian house. He’d purchased it new and was glad that the neighborhood was still residential and hadn’t gone downhill over the years. 

“So, what happened?” I asked. 

“I could have avoided all of it if I’d just been more observant, but she was so sweet.”

“You mentioned she was involved in politics.”

“Yes, I had to meet someone at the State Capitol. There I stood under the rotunda admiring the architecture when she approached. I smiled. Of course I did. She was lovely. Brown hair curled around her shoulders and wearing a sleeveless blue dress with strappy heels. Big brown eyes were framed by impossibly long natural lashes. After smiling back, she introduced herself as Lydia. Then she placed a cool hand on my arm, and I immediately knew she too was a Vampire. But it was odd, because I should have known before then. I should have been able to tell. Maybe I’d had too much coffee that morning, or too much to drink the night before, but that wasn’t it.

We talked about the building a bit, then Lydia asked me why I was there. I told her I was meeting with someone on personal business. I was helping an assemblywoman with some financial matters, personal matters, and also well, you know, a little bloodletting behind closed doors. 

Lydia told me that she was a political analyst working for a few of the political campaigns. 

We continued to walk and talk and ended up walking and talking to my house and right up to my bedroom. I know it was impulsive, but I was so drawn to her.”

“So, what happened next?”

“We were just laying on my bed in each other’s arms, you know, after the fact. It had been great, but something seemed off. I can usually read people, you know, get into their heads, but she blocked me out. Then she started to nuzzle my neck. It was nice until she sunk her fangs into me. I pushed her away. It was then I realized she had no soul.”

“A Shadow Creeper,” I said. My darling brother had brought a Vampire without a soul not only into his home but into his bed. There are two kinds of Vampires. Those with two souls, and those without souls at all. Those without souls are ghouls who only exist to feed and covet the souls and lives of others. 

Val continued his story. “Lydia started to laugh. The she said I should be shocked. She worked for politicians who had long forfeited their souls for all sorts of vile things. They sold their souls for power, the ability to influence others, and the ability to make their lies sound like the truth. But their blood didn’t give her what she needed. She couldn’t get the energy from them that she got from people with souls, or especially from Vampires like me. She said she liked the way these politicians, mere mortals, would twist the truth, and act so self riotous and godly. She love the way they claimed they supported families and small businesses because it was all a lie. Then she told me her goal was to tax them in her own way by taking their blood. She smiled sweetly and told me she didn’t care because like her, they were already dead.

I asked her who she was before she became a Vampire. I asked her who she was before the soul left the body she inhabited. Her answer was surprising. She’d been a bored mother of three young children, taken in by the charms of handsome Vampire ghoul. It was 1921. The woman’s husband was in politics. The Vampire seduced her and after a few weeks turned her, and as a result she died and her soul moved on, only to leave her body and her hunger for blood and emotional energy she couldn’t produce on her own. Lately she had been preying on drug addicts leaving them drained of most of their blood, only to be found alone and dead with, courtesy of Lydia, a needle in their arm. She said they were so emotional, and she loved the rush of desperation and hopelessness, plus the ecstasy of the high.”

“Val that is horrible.” I said. “What did you do?”

“I asked her if she wanted to take a drive along the river with me and stop by a winery for some tasting. She was charmed and somewhat surprised. I never let on my real plan. As we drove I stopped by an isolated beach where cut out her heart and dumped her in the water. Her body will never be found.”

“I’m so sorry Val,” I said.

“Don’t be. Just be sorry that a bunch of ghouls are running for office and nobody has a clue.”

So I guess the moral of this tale is:

  • Do your research before you vote.
  • Be careful who you bring home.
  • If something feels off, it usually is off. Trust your instincts.

Stay safe.  

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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