The Travelers: A Tale of Mystery, Love and Hope

A Christmas Tradition at Vampire Maman

The Travelers

A Christmas Tale of Mystery, Love and Hope
from Juliette Kings

The night was falling on the travelers, Daniel and his son Tad and daughter Ada. They had to stop before the dark of night and freezing snowfalls. The father and his children were finally going home, from the broken dreams of gold to the city where Daniel had found a job in his profession of typesetter and reporter. When his wife had passed on he followed his dream to the California gold fields taking his teenage children with him. For good or bad they’d made the new state their home.

As the snow began to fall they came upon a cabin, the door boarded up from the outside, the windows shuttered. It looked deserted and like shelter for the night. Dan and his son pried the nails off of the boards, which secured the door and went into the two-room structure. Inside was a cozy room with a fireplace, comfortable chairs and a wall full of books. Dan sent Tad out to bring in firewood.

Ada went to the bedroom and called her father. On the bed was a man, still as the night, cold and pale as the snow. In his arms, wrapped in blanket was a tiny girl in a red velvet hat, a scarf covered up most of her small face. She was also still and pale.

Ada’s heart sank. The poor souls in the bed looked to have passed on. But why were they trapped in the cabin? Had they been sick? Why were they not buried with a prayer and the proper respect? The man’s coat was obviously expensive and of the finest materials. His boots were of the most beautiful leather and style. His face was handsome and refined. Ada took off her glove and touched the back of her hand to the man’s face. He was indeed cold as ice and still as death. She called in her father.

“I know this man.” He said. “A fine man. A poet. I heard him read when I was in San Francisco. What a tragic pity to find him here with his child.”

The looked upon the bodies of the father and child when they saw the slightest movement and the man opened his eyes.

“My daughter, please help her,” whispered the man on the bed.

Ada took the girl in her arms. She weighed almost nothing. The child let out a sigh. Ada brought the girl into the other room and sat in a rocking chair by the fire Tad had built. The girl started to move and put her face against Ada’s warm neck. Ada soon fell asleep with dreams of flowers and all things good.

In the morning the poet and child were gone.

The travelers found box covered with red paper. In the box was a golden heart and a note to Ada.

 

Dearest Ada,

This heart belonged to my dear wife who was murdered by villains of the vilest kind. Please wear it knowing that you will always be loved and you will always be a part of us.

TK

 

On the table in the front room was a bounty of food. Where had it come from? There were fresh baked goods, milk and juice, exotic fruits, sausages and chocolates. Under small quilted cozies were pots with fragrant tea and coffee. Another note was slipped under the teapot.

Daniel read the note aloud to his children.

 

My heart thanks you for your generosity.

You saved our lives.

You never questioned who had trapped us or hurt us.

You never judged us.

You never feared us.

The love between parent and his children is burned into your heart like the fires that burn in the heavenly stars.

My daughter and I will never forget you.

Your children and their children and their children will always be safe and watched over and kept from the harm of wicked men. I owe and promise you that.

Never fear the night or the darkness for we will always be watching your back.

Wishing you a Happy Christmas.

~ Thomas Kent

 

As the travelers ate they talked of the sweet dreams they’d had the night before, along with stiff necks they had that morning. Daniel and his children  spoke of Mr. Kent and his precious daughter and wondered why they’d been trapped in the cabin.

Many many years later after a long and wonderful life full of romance and adventure, Ada fingered the heart, which she still wore. As she took her last breath she said, “I have never known fear, only love”.

An ocean away Thomas Kent felt an icy wind, then hope and gratitude in his cold Vampire heart.

 

 

~ 2012 JK

parrish snow

 

Today is the 6th time I’ve published it here. It is also featured in the WPaD holiday story collection Tinsel Tales.

This story is near and dear to my heart. It is my gift to you. I hope you enjoyed it, and paused to think about the mysteries, acts of kindness, and love in your own life.

Merry Christmas everyone and may all of your mysteries be good ones.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

The Travelers: A Tale of Mystery, Love and Hope

The Travelers

A Christmas Tale of Mystery, Love and Hope
from Juliette Kings

The night was falling on the travelers, Daniel and his son Tad and daughter Ada. They had to stop before the dark of night and freezing snowfalls. The father and his children were finally going home, from the broken dreams of gold to the city where Daniel had found a job in his profession of typesetter and reporter. When his wife had passed on he followed his dream to the California gold fields taking his teenage children with him. For good or bad they’d made the new state their home.

As the snow began to fall they came upon a cabin, the door boarded up from the outside, the windows shuttered. It looked deserted and like shelter for the night. Dan and his son pried the nails off of the boards, which secured the door and went into the two-room structure. Inside was a cozy room with a fireplace, comfortable chairs and a wall full of books. Dan sent Tad out to bring in firewood.

Ada went to the bedroom and called her father. On the bed was a man, still as the night, cold and pale as the snow. In his arms, wrapped in blanket was a tiny girl in a red velvet hat, a scarf covered up most of her small face. She was also still and pale.

Ada’s heart sank. The poor souls in the bed looked to have passed on. But why were they trapped in the cabin? Had they been sick? Why were they not buried with a prayer and the proper respect? The man’s coat was obviously expensive and of the finest materials. His boots were of the most beautiful leather and style. His face was handsome and refined. Ada took off her glove and touched the back of her hand to the man’s face. He was indeed cold as ice and still as death. She called in her father.

“I know this man.” He said. “A fine man. A poet. I heard him read when I was in San Francisco. What a tragic pity to find him here with his child.”

The looked upon the bodies of the father and child when they saw the slightest movement and the man opened his eyes.

“My daughter, please help her,” whispered the man on the bed.

Ada took the girl in her arms. She weighed almost nothing. The child let out a sigh. Ada brought the girl into the other room and sat in a rocking chair by the fire Tad had built. The girl started to move and put her face against Ada’s warm neck. Ada soon fell asleep with dreams of flowers and all things good.

In the morning the poet and child were gone.

The travelers found box covered with red paper. In the box was a golden heart and a note to Ada.

 

Dearest Ada,

This heart belonged to my dear wife who was murdered by villains of the vilest kind. Please wear it knowing that you will always be loved and you will always be a part of us.

TK

 

On the table in the front room was a bounty of food. Where had it come from? There were fresh baked goods, milk and juice, exotic fruits, sausages and chocolates. Under small quilted cozies were pots with fragrant tea and coffee. Another note was slipped under the teapot.

Daniel read the note aloud to his children.

 

My heart thanks you for your generosity.

You saved our lives.

You never questioned who had trapped us or hurt us.

You never judged us.

You never feared us.

The love between parent and his children is burned into your heart like the fires that burn in the heavenly stars.

My daughter and I will never forget you.

Your children and their children and their children will always be safe and watched over and kept from the harm of wicked men. I owe and promise you that.

Never fear the night or the darkness for we will always be watching your back.

Wishing you a Happy Christmas.

~ Thomas Kent

 

As the travelers ate they talked of the sweet dreams they’d had the night before, along with stiff necks they had that morning. Daniel and his children  spoke of Mr. Kent and his precious daughter and wondered why they’d been trapped in the cabin.

Many many years later after a long and wonderful life full of romance and adventure, Ada fingered the heart, which she still wore. As she took her last breath she said, “I have never known fear, only love”.

An ocean away Thomas Kent felt an icy wind, then hope and gratitude in his cold Vampire heart.

 

 

~ 2012 JK

victorian christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love this story.

Today is the 5th time I’ve published it here. It is also featured in the WPaD holiday story collection Tinsel Tales.

This story is near and dear to my heart. It is my gift to you. I hope you enjoyed it, and paused to think about the mysteries in your own life.

Merry Christmas everyone and may all of your mysteries be good ones.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Short Story Sunday: Conversion

“Durant, we found something.”

“What do you mean you found something?”

“Live dead bodies.”

“Vampires?”

“Yes, vampires. Happy fucking holidays.”

“I’ll be right there.”

Austin Durant had planned on spending the morning grading papers. When he wasn’t teaching history at the local state college he was a contractor specializing in restoring historic buildings. When he wasn’t doing that he was a vampire hunter. The vampire hunter part wasn’t planned. It just happened.

Now a call from his construction site foreman Matt changed his Sunday morning plans. Damn. He made a call and headed out.

His attorney and friend (the term friend was sometimes questionable) Aaron Todd stood on the front porch. How could anyone always look so elegant, even in jeans and a fleece jacket?

“Why don’t you people take care of your own?”

“You people? Really Austin. You sound almost racist.”

“You’re a vampire.”

“The ones in the walls are not my people.”

Aaron had a point. He was an attorney and lived in a beautiful modern house, with a beautiful wife who looked like she was right out of a Botticelli painting.  Aaron had nothing in common with the dried up husks with long yellow teeth and claw like fingers who were hibernating in the old walls.

Aaron was holding a pink box. “I brought donuts and coffee for your guys. It was the least I could do.”

“Thank you. The good kind,” said Austin, looking at the beautiful assortment of donuts, sweet rolls and bear claws. “Do you ever eat these things?”

“No. They make me sick.”

They waked back to the small bricked in room where the vampires had been found. The 8 x 8 foot space had been bricked in from the inside.

Aaron looked down at the still dead looking forms. “I know those two. I’d wondered what had happened to them. Not that I cared. I was glad to see them gone. The last time I saw them was this time of year. My wife Verity and I were downtown late at night and spotted these two on the steps of the new Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.”

“New?”

“It was 1890.” Aaron smiled and sipped his coffee. “They watched us with empty eyes coveting our existence. These two in the walls are creatures with no souls. They exist with nothing but longing for blood. They have no idea what the empty void is that fills them. That is why they wall themselves up to sleep for years. They know no torment. They feel no longing. They exist and that is all.

These two had come out to California to seek their fortunes right after the Civil war, like so many uneducated dullards. They were both pretty enough and young enough that they made a living selling their bodies. They were stupid enough to be seduced by evil. They forfeited their souls for eternal life. Either that or the idiots who converted them botched the job and only brought them back after their bodies were empty of any life at all. It doesnt matter. They might not even have had souls to begin with. They were the kind of people who just survive and nothing else. Their lives have no meaning.”

“You’re harsh.”

“I am realistic.”

“You saw them on the cathedral steps. You were going to tell me something about them.”

“It was two days before Christmas, they sat on the steps huddled together. I was going to approach them and tell them to leave town, when a priest came out into the dark and sat with them. We could hear what he said. I’ll never forget.”

Aaron took a deep breath as if he was almost human. “It was obvious they had been there before. The priest made a sign of the cross then put his hands on their shoulders and said, those who are loved will earn their souls. It is not in the scripture but I believe it. I know it. You are loved. Believe me. Believe my brother and sister.

Austin was amazed at what the vampire told him. “Do you believe that Aaron?”

“I want to, but no, I do not believe it.”

Austin knew vampires were cold hearted but he assumed that maybe… then again, when it came to the heart of a vampire assumptions were dangerous.

“By the way,” said Aaron, “the good priest was found dead a week later. His body had been drained of all blood. Funny how things work out that way.”

They looked down at the corpse-like vampires who lay on an ancient cot, huddled together in a cold embrace. Their old fashioned clothes still showed some color through the dusty and faded threads.

Austin raised the chain saw and was about to start it up when the male opened his eyes. It sounded like paper shredding. The woman did the same.

“Do it now,” hissed Aaron.

Austin started the chainsaw and cut off their heads.

He looked up and saw writing on the wall scrawled in what could have been blood above the cot.

We no not wat we do

“We know not what we do,” Austin read out loud.

In the curled up clawed hand of the woman Austin found a small carved figure of a baby in a manger. The paint looked almost new.

In the hand of the man was a holly branch.

“Those were gifts from the priest,” said Aaron.

The bodies turned to dust before their eyes.

“Aaron, what do you want to do with the ashes?”

“You have a shop vac don’t you?”

“Man, you’re cold. No pun intended.”

Aaron shrugged. Austin put the baby in his pocket and gave the dried holly branch to Aaron.

“Maybe I should believe,” said Aaron.

Austin put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Maybe you should.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tangled Tales

 

Austin and Elizabeth Stories

What happens when a History Professor/Restoration Expert/Player turns into a Vampire Hunter? He discovers basements full of undead creatures, a thriving community of hip and trendy Modern Vampires and the maybe love of his life (or maybe the cause of his death.)

For the complete story of Austin and Elizabeth (from the beginning) check the links below.

Part 1: The Hunter

Part 2:  Memory of Distant Love

Part 3: Dark Dreams of the Hunted

Part 4: About Those Pesky Undead Folks

Park 5: The Hunt Continues

Part 6: Cold and Warm

Part 7: Date with a Vampire

Part 8: Crawl Space

Part 9: Dust and Desire

Part 10: One of Those Days…

Part 11: Even Vampire Hunters Get the Blues

Part 12: Back to the Past

Part 13: Nowhere in Time

Part 14: Father Paul

Part 15: The Bat

Part 16: Conversion

Short Story Sunday: You Gotta Believe

“Where’s that friend of yours, the Welsh Corgi?”

“Brad?”

“Yeah Brad, the little guy.”

“He went north to the Pole. Seasonal help with the fat man.”

“No shit. With Santa?”

“His third year. He makes enough money to last the rest of the year. In fact in five years he’ll be able to retire.”

“No shit.”

“I shit you not.”

I was sitting in the booth next to a couple of Werewolves, nursing my coffee until Steve showed up.  I pride myself on the number of conversations I’m able to overhear everyday. Then again, I’m always listening. It is my nature to listen and know everything that everybody is saying and feeling. It has nothing to do with being naughty or nice and everything to do with being a Vampire.

Steve slid into the booth and faced me. I mouthed the words, “Werewolves behind me.”

He smiled then took my hand. “You look sexy tonight.”

If I’d had enough blood in my veins I would have blushed.

After coffee and cherry pie we walked the streets, in and out of art galleries and glancing into bars and restaurants. Christmas lights twinkled in some of the windows. Other windows were painted with holly and Christmas tree designs.

Outside of a trendy club we saw a couple of Vampires we knew talking to a group of attractive young women. They nodded at us. We nodded at them.

I kept thinking about the Werewolves in the cafe. “Steve, do you believe in Santa Clause?”

“Why are you asking?”

“One of the Werewolves was saying a small friend of theirs was going up to the North Pole to work for Santa Clause.”

“I didn’t believe in Vampires until, you know, until I became one.”

He had a point there.

We ducked into a bar full of happy people, all talking and catching up on the last Saturday of the Thanksgiving break. It was warm and collars became undone and scarves were loosened. It was a beautiful sight for a couple of Vampires.

After a moment in a dark corner in a dark corner with a sweet young man named Kyle I glanced up to see the Werewolves at the bar.

For the next half hour I’d be warm so I knew they might not suspect I was different from the rest of the bar patrons. I sat on the bar stool next to them. The large one glanced over at me.

“You were in the diner. You’re a Vampire.”

“Busted,” I said. “Hey, I don’t mean to be rude but while I was waiting for my friend I overheard you talking about your friend going to the North Pole.”

“Sure, no problem. Seriously I love the dude, we’ve been friends forever, but I’m worried he’ll end up being part of some sled team or eaten by bears on the way up.”

“Is there really a Santa Clause?”

He smiled. “We’re here aren’t we? I mean, it isn’t so much as him making toys and all. It is more of a fairy dust sort of thing if you know what I mean.”

I never thought I’d hear a Werewolf talking about fairy dust and Santa, but I’ve come not to be too surprised by anything. It was sort of nice.

A warm hand slid into mine. Steve was next to me, also warm for a short time. We spent the rest of the evening talking with the Werewolves about living like Santa Clause. You know, living in a world where everyone says they believe in you but you know they don’t.

As we went back out into the street I saw a couple walking a tan and white Corgi dog. I looked up into the sky and saw a shining star above the light of the city. Maybe Brad made it to the North Pole. You have to believe. After all, it is beginning to look like Christmas. You gotta believe.

 

 

 

Please Santa bring me some fangs...

Please Santa bring me some fangs…

 

Permission to succeed

“You’ve given yourself permission not to fail. Now, my dear, you need to give yourself permission to succeed.”

My father brushed a cool hand over my hair and gave me a knowing look with his dark stormy sea blue eyes. “Everyone believes in you except you.”

“I don’t…” I tried to speak.

“No. You do. YOU DO.”

A pathetic yelp entered the air. We looked over to where my kids were brushing burrs out of the dog.

“They believe in you,” said my dad. He went over to his grandkids and left me lingering. I took a smallish blue Grueby pot that my husband had left on the table into my hands. We both love arts and crafts pottery, even after all these years. It was plain yet beautiful. Classic and smooth. Maybe I am like that pot, classic, smooth, simplicity with beauty. Or I can try.

Dear old Dad came back. “Sweet child of mine,” he said with just a hint of an accent of far off England.

“I’m fine Dad. Really.”

“Tonight is a full moon. I know how the Werewolves seem to be attracted to you. You need to watch yourself.”

“I don’t plan on going out. But I know how to handle them. Remember, you taught your children well.”

“As well as a Vampire can.”

“As well as any parent can. You’re the best.”

He smiled and gave me a hug.

That was all I needed to be sure.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

vampire_dad_daughter_werewolf_2

 

 

Trying to Believe

Oh what is this water falling from the sky? Rain maybe?

——————

“Do you remember Douglas and Cassandra?”

“Vaguely,” I said to my husband. “What did they do this time?” They were famous for pulling stunts and living dangerously close to being found out.

“They left.”

“Left? Oh. When?”

Doug and Cassie had been Vampires since the early 1930’s. The last of their children has passed away from old age so they decided to end it. From time to time it happens. Maybe more than any of us would like to admit. It didn’t surprise me. They’d never been happy with their choice. No kidding. They’d been party animals who decided to become Vampires after (yes after) their kids were born. Bad choice. They had no idea what they were getting into. Kids change people. Becoming a Vampire with three children at home at the same time is not a good idea.

I barely knew them, but it was still a shock, but then again it wasn’t. After sitting in the back of the memorial service for their 89-year-old son, their youngest child, they decided to move on too. Doug and Cassie crawled into a crypt they’d purchased decades before and sealed the door.

I won’t say that I started to think of my own choices. These days I’m beyond thinking about any choices I’ve ever made in the past. One can only think of those sorts of things so much before feeling rather stupid.

What I was thinking about was how to write the transition pages that would tie a book I’m writing all together. I was thinking of bringing my old dog to the vet for a bad leg. Down under the basement of an empty Victorian building my brother and I own I was looking for some of my old drawings I thought I’d left there about a century ago.

My friend Adam (a Werewolf and brilliant photographer) dropped by. I’d told him I’d be there.

“What do Werewolves do when they get depressed or feel regret for being what they are?” I don’t even know why I asked him that. I guess just the mood of the night.

“We howl at the moon. I don’t know, drink, pick up women, chase cats…take drugs, sleep, rip flesh, you know, the usual. What brought that on?”

I shrugged. Adam stepped closer. “What do you do when you get depressed Juliette?”

“I have no idea. I don’t get depressed.”

We ended that conversation as quickly as it started and moved on to general gossip about people we know.

I pulled out a file of sketches and spread them out on the table. Adam looked them over a bit. Then he edged closer, his shoulder touching mine.

“Remember how we were before I knew you were a Vampire?”

“Before I knew you were a Werewolf,” I said. I didn’t add before you almost ripped my throat out.

“Do you believe things happen for a reason?”

“Not really. I mean sometimes. Right now I’m trying to believe it. I’m trying to believe in the impossible.”

“What is the impossible?”

“I am. Everything.”

He put his arm around my shoulder and gave it a squeeze. “I believe.”

“Good.”

We went to breakfast, more for him than me. Then I took my daughter to school. On the way we talked about a boy in her school who’d come from Africa. His parents were wildlife naturalists. His mom passed away. They lived here now. Then we talked about the world economy and endangered species and phone chargers and roller skating.

Conversations are like rain the way they just fall. Crap, that was a line out of a really bad movie. I can’t believe I even wrote that.

In a bit I’m taking the dog to the vet for a limp, then for a few hours I am on my own, and trying to believe.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman 

 

 

Vampire Maman