Dia de Muertos Overload (and ghosts with banjos in my kitchen)

I swear sometimes it feels like…

Halloween is just around the corner. Day of the Dead. Día de Muertos.

Sometimes the dead get too excited about the Day of the Dead. Sometimes the dead can’t wait.

As a Vampire I can see ghosts. I can see them almost all of the time. They’re everywhere, but they generally respect the space of others – especially those who are on the edge of the shadows.

But not this October.

I’ve got things crawling up my walls. Small hominoid weirdness in the form of shadows crawl up the walls and around the ceilings of my breakfast nook. I have no idea who they were or where they came from.

Then there are the 49ers, not football players but the ghosts of old gold miners camped out in my living room playing guitars and things that look like banjos. My house is built right next to a major gold mining area. People who mined gold tended to die young and away from home. Their ghosts linger around looking for comfort. I just wish they’d find comfort somewhere else.

For anyone else, anyone who can’t see ghosts it isn’t a problem. OK it usually isn’t a problem but I want my space back.

I’ve tried to shoo the gold miners away. They just look at me with sad faces and fade away for an hour or two, then I hear the music again. The music is horrible too. They’re going to make my ears explode.

As for the nasty little crawlers, They disgusted and frustrated me beyond just about everything I have ever known.

For the past week I’ve been seeing every ghost except my ghost. That would be Nigel the Ghost. And I can’t forget his charming girlfriend Mary. Nigel isn’t always that charming. In fact he’s a major asshole most of the time, but he is my asshole ghost.

Nigel didn’t come with the house. Neither did Mary but they’re here. We don’t know why, but look up the old blog posts about them.

Anyway, I’ve got a woman with her head in her hands walking up and down my stairs. I’ve got some musicians from the 1920’s hanging out in the kitchen. More just come and go. It’s a mess.

I was at my wit’s end but I had things to do, places to go, people to meet.

When I came home from a couple of meetings I had today the ghoulish gold miners were still playing their mournful songs.

“You guys are worse than leaf blowers,” I yelled at the. “You need to go away NOW.” I showed them my fangs, like that would do any good.

A small dark shadow sat in my kitchen window watching me with dark mournful eyes. I wondered if ghosts could get pink eye because this guy sure did have it.

The woman on the stairs had put her head back on, and she was now sitting on my stairs alongside another woman who had a huge knife sticking out of her chest. Their large skirts covered about half of the stairwell. I walked right through them on the way up to my bedroom. I thought about changing clothes but I had no idea who would suddenly appear.

This is ridiculous I thought. And it was. I mean, who likes a house full of ghosts? Nobody.

Then just about the time I almost felt like screaming in frustration I smelled a hint of red wine, gardenia, and oil paint. Turning around I saw Nigel, The Ghost.

“They’re all gone,” he said, as he rolled up the sleeves of his white shirt. Then he shook his head and let his shaggy black hair fall into place around his pretty but very male face.

“Thank you,” I said.

“Anything for my favorite vampire,” he said with a slight smile. “They think you’re safe, the ghosts do. They think you’ll like them and blog about them. Like all ghosts they’re just a little confused and posts. They just don’t want to be forgotten.”

“That isn’t my problem,” I said.

“Obviously it IS your problem. But I took care of it Juliette. You owe me.”

“Yes, I do,” I said. I also regretted saying that as soon as the words left my mouth.

Nigel came close and I could feel him put his cold ghostly hands on my cold vampire shoulders. He put his face close to mine and whispered in my ear, “Even the most tormented souls long for a champion. Even those who live in the land of nowhere, in the perpetual hell of a tortured soul, and a fractured reality need love and a sense of safety. That is why they seek you out. Don’t be a bitch Juliette.”

Then he kissed my cheek with lips so warm it surprised me, then he stepped back and vanished with a wisp of blue smoke and the scent of pumpkin spice.

I stood for a minute, my mind full of ghosts, and my meetings, my family coming home in a few hours, and everything I needed to do in the next few hours. But I thought before I left home again that I’d share this.

October is here. As usual my brain is full.

And Nigel, if you’re reading this… don’t get too full of yourself.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Witching

Sophia hated October. The closer Halloween came the more all of the wanna-be witches came out of the woodwork like so many Stevie Nicks fans dancing around in their long flowing black frocks. It made Sophia cringe.

Being a real witch wasn’t always easy these days, especially with all of the misinformation, myths, and stereotypes.

“Thinking about Stevie Nicks again?”

Sophia looked over at her cat. “Unfortunately yes.”

“I know how her music gives you headaches dear. Try not to think about it, or her witchy wanna-be fans,” said Virgil the cat.

“Thanks Virg. It isn’t just the stupid music connection and the flowing black dresses. It is the way they try to do spells and act like we’re all in some goddess infused mania. I’m an individual damn it. I’m not a cliché. I can do magic. I AM magic.”

“They’re just having fun,” said Virgil the cat. “Deep breath Sophia, deep breath.”

That cat licked his forearm rubbed his face then continued. “Just think of cats this time of the year. Every other girl is trying to be a sexy kitty with silly cat ears and tails. And those poor zombies. They’ve got a serious medical condition and people are making fun of them by dressing up in rags and staggering around like drunks. Don’t even get me started on the bull shit vampires have to deal with. The fake blood is enough to make them want to go on a feeding frenzy just to make it stop.”

Sophia rubbed Virgil under his neck. “Thanks sweetie. I know. I know. I shouldn’t be so sensitive. It is all just for fun. It still bugs me.”

“On a good note,” said Virgil, “people are going to dress up as something really scary.”

“What is that?” Sophia couldn’t imagine what the cat would say now.

“Politicians. Big elections coming up right after Halloween.”

Sophia felt a cold chill that gave her the shivers right down to her bones. “You have a point there Virg. Awwww man, I can deal with witches. I don’t even want to imagine those political ghouls.”

Virgil rubbed his head against Sophia’s arm.

“It isn’t easy being different baby,” said Virgil. “But you’re doing great. It’s Halloween. We’ll have fun tonight.”

Sophia poured a big bag of candy into the pumpkin shaped bowl. The neighborhood streets would be full of tiny monsters, princesses, kitties, and witches. That was a good thing. She’d make sure to send them all home with a safety spell and good dreams of a safe world and a future where they could make a difference for good.

~ end

Tangled Tales

Burning Question #32: Send in the Clowns

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Saturday is here and it is time for another Burning Question. No clowning around this time. We have some serious business to deal with.

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Who brings on more visceral emotions than Vampires, Ghosts, Zombies, and Werewolves all put together? Clowns.

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Clowns – love them or hate them, they’ve been part of our culture since time began. There was always that person who could make everyone laugh. In turn there was always that asshole who creeped everyone out. This goes back to the time when we were all sitting around the fire at night chewing on wooly mammoth ribs. In every group there was always a clown.

Who doesn’t like a cute kid dressed up like a clown for Halloween? Awwww, those big buttons are so sweet and cunning. Just wait until you see their sharp little teeth.

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Eventually these clowns found out they could make a lot of money by clowning around, or at least have some fun with it. And the rest is history.

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I once knew a woman who had an entire room built to house her clown collection. She loved clowns THAT MUCH. Remember those Italian glass clowns people had in the 60’s that were sort of like flat plates? She had those. She had Royal Doulton Clowns. She had Red Skelton paintings. She loved her clowns. They made her happy.

When I was a kid I feared adults.  I hated the way they grinned with their big teeth as they looked down at me. I hated that they were always asking questions. I hated that they wouldn’t just leave me alone. It was no surprise I found anything like a clown both annoying and profoundly disturbing. Big grins in my face meant nothing but fear and loathing.

So, ladies and gentlemen step right up and answer Burning Question #32.

 

Burning Question #32: Do you like clowns?

 

 

Do you have any extra special clown stories? A favorite clown book? I read IT in one weekend. Do you remember Emmitt Kelly or Red Skelton? Or do you have a fun, delightful, snarky, rabid, heart warming, surprising, or unique clown story to tell? Share, please. It will be like the trick in trick-or-treat.

Mandy White (my favorite horror writer) this one is for you!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Cut and Color Halloween

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A few years back I featured my own Cut and Color monsters and mythical creature paper dolls for Halloween. Here they are again (the entire set) for those of you who might have missed them the first time around. Have fun!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Space Alien Girl

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Stylish Zombie

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Ghostie

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Ghostie Fashion Paper Doll. Color an Cut Fun.

 

Crawl Space (and Thoughts on Halloween, Parenting, and Vampires)

Crawl Space

I took off my sweater and handed it to my brother Aaron. There was no way I was going to crawl on my stomach under the crawl space of a house with it on.

“So tell me again why you can’t get the bodies out from under the building first?” I had to ask.

“They’re not quite dead yet and they might attack Austin. He’s human, a Regular Human,” my brother told me. Austin by the way is a Regular Human and sometimes Vampire Hunter and usually just a guy who does a great job restoring old buildings that seem to be filled with scary shit like ghosts and old musty Vampires.

And of course Aaron was wearing a $5,000 suit of course he couldn’t crawl under the house.

“You might know them”, added Austin, meaning the creatures under the house.

I almost gave him a fang filled snarl but I just gave him a weak normal girl smile.

Wearing garden gloves I crawled on my  hands and knees over bare dirt.Even in the dark I could see assorted bugs and cobwebs. Rat droppings were scattered around. Why the crap would any Vampire want to sleep under floor boards?

About 20 feet into it I saw the boxes. OK they were coffins.

I thought back of when I was a kid and always the one to crawl under houses and into tight spaces. It wasn’t because I was small. It was because I pretend to be fearless and now it is because I don’t take any bull shit from Shadow Creepers and dusty old Vampires who can’t deal with the modern normal world. We’re not having a Nosferatu and Dracula Hoedown kids, this is the 21st Century.

The lids were on the boxes. I managed to kneel on my knees without banging my head on something and pushed one off. Inside was a male in a pinstripe suit. His face was waxy looking and pale. I noticed sunken cheeks and lips that seemed a little thin. He hadn’t fed in a while. The box next to him contained a female. Skin stretched over her face, a hint of teeth including fangs showed beneath parted lips. Oh come on, all Vampire girls know not to sleep with their fangs exposed. She wore some sort of black dress thing. The scent of rotted roses and cigar smoke came from her box. In the third box…nothing jumped out. It was another male. I recognized the face. His eyes open a bit, yellow green rolls to stare at me. I see recognition in his face; a fact that was once handsome and could be again, but he was so strange, so weirdly in the shadows and cold, not like Vampires I associate with, but like a dead fish.

Then my butt vibrates. My phone. I pull it out. Garrett, my darling son is calling from college. I’m a mom. I must answer.

“Hey mom, what do you call two ducks and a cow?”

“What?”

“Quackers and Milk.”

“Good one. What do you call an Englishman, two ducks and a cow?”

“Graham Quackers and Milk. Love you mom.”

I hear a groan from one of the box. I slap it hard with my hand and hiss at it. The noise stops.

I keep my eyes on the yellow green orbs that watch me as I talk to my son. He rattles on about classes and girls he knows and sings me a song he wrote. He says he goes to the beach almost every day and is going to go surfing on Sunday. He says it is the perfect college for Vampires. He is so excited about school. My heart melts a little.

Then he asks me what I’m up to.

“I’m under a building with three boxes full Shadow Creeping Vampires. You know me, everyday is Halloween.”

“How’d you end up there?”

“Helping your Uncle Aaron and a friend. Long story, but the short version is that I was the only one wearing jeans and I’m smaller than they are so I got elected.”

Old Green Eyes started to sit up. “I gotta go Garrett. I’ll call you back later today.”

“Love you mom.”

“Love you too sweetie pie.” I looked at my old friend. OK he wasn’t a friend. I’d met him before, a long long time ago. “What are you doing here?” I said trying to keep myself from sneering at him.”You look like a fucking Zombie. What is wrong with you people? Have you lost all self respect?”

“Juliette,” he whispered my name in a dry voice, like old coffee grinds and gravel.

“Jasper. That last time I saw you was…1923, New Orleans. What are you doing here?”

He started to tell me something in French that I couldn’t quite make out when I stopped him. “Listen, you have three choices. The first is that you agree to live like Modern Vampires and stop this nonsense of lurking around like you’ve just come out of some creep show. The second is that I leave you to the Vampire Hunters. The third is that you let one of my friends, and I use that term loosely, take you to San Francisco where you can be with others of your kind. But you can’t stay here. We have enough problems in Sacramento without your kind.”

“My kind?” He opened his eyes wide and showed his fangs.

“That is exactly what I mean, you giving me the evil eye and trying to scare me with your ugly mug. You used to be handsome and well, you were never charming but you used to be, well, not THIS.”

I crawled back into the sunlight which was no cup of tea, believe me. I might spend time during the day but the sunshine, especially after the darkness under a house, always comes as a shock. I pulled out my sunglasses put them on then took a deep breath and brushed off my pants. Filling Aaron and Austin in on the situation I told them that I’d let them decide what to do with Jasper and his friends.

I had to go home and take a shower and scrub my skin off with steel wool, or at least that is how I was feeling. The image of his eyes stuck in my brain like Poe’s Tell Tale Heart story.

“It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture –a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees – very gradually –I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.”
― Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings

His eyes will haunt me for sure. Maybe I’ll check on him in a few months time, out of morbid curiosity. That is, if the Vampire Hunters or other creatures don’t get them first. There are Shadow Creepers who seem so vile, but then there are other Vampires who I don’t even dare name or ever seek out for any reason.

Like I’ve said, Halloween is never far from my reality.

I called Garrett back. He listened to my story. I didn’t make it into some cautionary tale or anything like that. We just talked. He told me that I was the most awesome mom ever.

So anyway, that is what I did today.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

What if… questions of history and an alternate reality

Oscar Wilde

I have always adored Oscar Wilde.

What if history had turned out differently? We’ve all thought or read about it. Some of us have even written about it. The more common “what if” questions are: What if the South had won? or What if Germany had won WW2? or What if Kennedy or Lincoln hadn’t been shot?

I was recently thinking about the tragic end of Oscar Wilde, and that got me thinking about a lot of things.

What if Oscar Wilde had stayed in California and never gone back to England after his tour? Would he have lived a happy life and died happy surrounded by friends?

What if cats never did funny things?

What if slavery had been abolished during the Revolutionary War?

What if women had been given the vote in 1787 when the American Constitution was written?

What if Frida Kahlo had never been in the bus accident?

What if Leonardo Di Vinci had been born a woman?

What if Philip K. Dick had decided to go into politics instead of writing?

What if dogs had never been domesticated?

What is Disney never made any princess movies? What if Walt Disney had made erotic Westerns or graphic Horror films?

What if Sylvia Plath had lived and divorced her husband and found happiness?

What if Errol Flynn had been cast as Dracula in the 1931 film?

What if a large group of Bigfoots had rescued the Donner Party in 1846?

What if Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan had never been lost?

What if humans didn’t have finger prints?

What if Vampires were accepted into society?

What if Galahad had found North America on his search for the Holy Grail?

What if people weren’t stupid?

 

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What if? I don’t know. But I did name my cat after Oscar Wilde and he is extremely happy. I also have a beautiful sweet German Shepard named Alice but that isn’t her in the meme above.

What do you wonder about? Let me know. Also feel free to use any of these questions as writing prompts. I’d love to see what you come up with.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Marla Todd _ Oscar Gray

This is Oscar. I love this cat so much. He was named after Oscar Wilde. He is gray like Dorian Gray but unlike Mr. Gray, he doesn’t have a weird painting in the attic, at least not last time I checked.