Christmas Orphans (a short random tale)

Christmas Orphans (a short random tale)

“Why do I have eyes of different colors? The brown eye is my own. The blue eye is a different story. I plucked it from the freshly dead body of a young Irish nun. She’d killed herself because she had a vision that the child she was carrying, the child of the handsome young priest, was the Antichrist.”

“Why were you there Uncle Jeff?” A young voice in a hushed whisper asked.

“Because, my dear, I was the handsome young priest. That was before the life I live now. But I still see visions of angels and of a family in a warm embrace of love, then the fires of Hell with dancing devils and…”

“JEFF. STOP IT,” I yelled. “You’re going to give them nightmares.”

I know better than to ask my crazy brother to tell Christmas stories to my children and their young cousins.

“But, Simon, the stories are true,” my brother said as if he believed what he was saying.

“Kids, don’t listen to him. He’s blowing stories out of his…out of his ears.”

“Did I tell you about the time I met Santa Claus?”

“Jeff, no more storytelling.”

“It was the winter of 1969.”

“Jeff you were a toddler in 1969.”

“You have no idea how old I really am. Brother I have secrets that will make your head explode. Now children, the rest of the researchers on the Arctic research station had died of a mysterious illness. Then the giant polar two ton bears came. I’ll never forget the sound of them crunching on the bones of my friends.”

“Giant two ton polar bears?”

My brother and the children ignored me as he continued his tale. “I wouldn’t let them eat the dogs so we took off with the sled north, following the stars. Frozen and hungry, my body could take no more. Out of my blue eye I could see my angel Bernadette, the nun I’d loved. Her visions…”

“Jeff!”

“Then I heard bells. Not big bells like the Liberty Bell, but small happy bells. A lot of bells. I thought I was in a dream. My dogs huddled close. Then we saw them. The Zombies…”

I went to the kitchen for a beer. My wife and Jeff’s weird Goth girlfriend were talking about how to make the perfect prime rib.

Spotting my sister Libby out on the deck I went out to join her.

“It’s cold out.”

“Cold but not as weird as it is inside.”

“Do you think there is any truth to his stories.”

“I don’t know. He has memories of before we were found. All the records still say we were abandoned at the rest stop outside of Barstow. Nobody came forward to claim us. We’re related for sure, the DNA tests prove that, and we look like each other  but…”

My sister shrugged. “I did more research but didn’t find anything. Nothing. It is like we were dropped by aliens.”

“Or Santa Claus.” I said.

We were found on Christmas Day, three toddlers. Our dad was the highway patrolman who found us. Jeff was the oldest, then Libby and I was just a baby. The doctors figured Jeff was around three, Libby maybe two and I was a newborn. We were all wearing hand knitted Christmas sweaters and red Santa hats.

Our life was happy and normal with our new parents. They loved us unconditionally. They still do.

I never thought about who might have left us at the rest stop with typed notes saying “Merry Christmas. Please keep us together,” pinned on our sweaters.

Libby and I went back inside to catch the end of Jeff’s story.

“In the morning Santa and I sat on the beach listening to the crashing waves. I passed him the bottle of whiskey we were sharing and he put his hand on back and said “Good job son, good job.”

~ End

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Tangled Tales: May Your Days be Foggy and Bite – OR – Hark the Herald Vampires Sing

 

Just before Christmas. She’d broken up with him. Why? Did it matter? Of course it did and she’d made a list of a dozen items, written out in fountain pen no less.

  1. Too young
  2. Too immature
  3. Too happy
  4. Too cute
  5. Too much of a comedian
  6. Blonde
  7. Not serious enough
  8. Likes dogs too much
  9. Dresses funny
  10. Laughs weird
  11. Glass always half full completely full.
  12. Vanilla sex

The last one hurt. The fact that he didn’t like being hog tied or bitten didn’t make it vanilla. It was normal and nice.

And WTF? How could anyone like dogs too much. He didn’t have his own dog. Sure, he’d pet and make cute talk with almost every dog he met but who didn’t do that?

She never seem to have any problems with his age. Randy had just turned twenty three. That wasn’t too young. She was fifty, but that was also young for a Vampire. Since he was also a Vampire he didn’t think it would make that much of a difference. Apparently it did. To her.

Randy walked along the beach, his blond hair hanging in his face, and pulled his bright red and green Christmas cardigan closed. His jeans were black. At least she couldn’t say that was weird.

As he stood in the fog looking out over the waves breaking on the beach he thought about his now ex-girlfriend. She was gorgeous and elegant and serious. She was an extremely serious Vampire. On the other hand he was starting to feel like that writer in Sunset Boulevard, Joe Gillis. She, Karen, his girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, had been his Norma Desmond. Oh boy, she was always ready for her close up. Crazy controlling yesteryear bitch.

Damn, Karen was gorgeous and smart, and fascinating. He watched the waves and tried to talk his heart out of grieving for what he thought he had with her.

No wonder all of the memes were about Karen. Ugh.

He was shaken out of his reveries by a voice.

“Hey Randy. What are you doing here?”

There stood the odd girl Alexis he’d met two years before when they were going to UCB. She had been in his Organic Chemistry class. She was really weird. But she was also a Vampire, and in a world where Vampires are few between he could put up with weird every once in a while. They had coffee together from time to time then both graduated and lost touch.

She was wearing a big oversized cream colored sweater with black leggings, black work boots, and a black scarf. She had a headband over her black hair. It plastered her bangs against her forehead so that they made a straight dark line across her eyebrows. On her lips was burgundy colored lip gloss and on her nails was matching burgundy polish. She was one of the strangest girls he’d ever met but he liked her, as a friend.

“Alexis. Wow,” he gave her a hug. “I’m at Long Beach, graduate school. Getting my MFA in writing. What are you’d doing here?”

She smiled. “I’m getting my MFA at CSU Long Beach in Art. I paint, you know, like on canvas. What’s going on? I mean, you know, you’re standing here in the fog? Did you break up with someone or something? You’re looking kind of lost.”

“You can tell?”

“Dude. Really? Of course I can tell. It seems like overtime I see you you’ve broken up with someone, or more likely she has broken up with you. You’re standing there looking like you lost your last friend. You have a death grip on your sweater, and your shoe is untied.”

“Oh.” Randy bent down and tied his shoe. “Um, you just taking a walk on the beach?”

“Yeah. I love the fog. It’s kind of mysterious. Like the holidays.”

“What makes the holidays mysterious?”

“I never know what’s going to happen. Last year I went home to my parent’s house and nobody was home. I waited for three days and found out they were trapped in a castle in Germany. A bunch of monks were forcing them to make fruit cakes and…”

“Are you making this up?”

“It’s the truth. Cross my heart and swear on a bat. The year before last I got home and my parents were dead. Vampire hunters had gotten to them. My parents even had presents under the tree for me. Damn, I pulled stakes from their hearts and brought them back. It was hecka scary. I’m an only child so they’re all I’ve got. I mean, my parent, they’re really old fashioned Vampires, like some film noir, or even worse, think Boris Karloff or Vincent Price, but I love them. You know I was bullied as a kid, but I worked it out. I did OK. They did their best.”

“Alexis. I am so sorry.”

“After I found them, and got the stakes out of their hearts, and got them some help, I had to do something. Some friends helped me go after them, the Vampire hunters. We dumped the bodies in the desert near Joshua Tree National Park.”

“Oh. That’s brutal.”

“You know, it wasn’t that bad. I was with my friends Olaf, yeah, like Frozen but not Frozen. Olaf is a hecka hot Vampire. And my friend Collette. She is at UCI going to Med school right now. Collette is sooooo smart. She knows how to, well, get rid of people. It wasn’t a big guilt trip. The Vampire hunters were hired organized thugs from Las Vegas,  or at least that is the last place they lived. You know, organized crime and icky shit like that. So, we just buried the bodies, three of them, in kind of shallow graves and piled rocks on the top of them. We used those little folding camp shovels, but that was fine. The coyotes were going to get them anyway so I wasn’t too worried about it.

But we’re walking back to the car and I look up. Oh Randy, there were a million stars in the sky. We just stood there and all started to smile. Then there was this one really bright star. Olaf said hey it’s just like Christmas. Damned if it wasn’t. It was just like Christmas.

We all broke out in a chorus of Hark the Herald . Oh it was wonderful. Then somebody started to clap and we turned around and saw a couple of park rangers. They said we sounded like angels singing under the Christmas star. It was so special. So special.”

“Wow,” said Randy, honestly not knowing what else to say.

“It was great. We sang a few more songs, then we got some blood from the rangers. Don’t worry, they didn’t know. We left them chocolates and wine. Always have chocolate and wine in your car this time of year for people you get blood for. The chocolate helps them recover from the blood loss and the wine is just nice. Make sure it is good chocolate and good wine.”

“So your parents, are they OK now?”

“They’re doing great. I’m headed over to see them tonight.”

“I’ve never had anything like that happen to me. Wow. That is frightening.”

“You’re lucky. My mom and dad are so old fashioned. I keep telling them to stop living like old Hollywood Vampires. Then my dad will say,  but honey we live in Beverley Hills. He is so weird. But he’s my dad so I gotta love him.”

Alexis traced a V in the sand with the tip of her boot. “It was weird growing up as a Vampire. How about you?”

“We lived in the suburbs so it was OK. Nobody knew. Nobody bothered us. My parents were pretty cool.”

“So what’s up with your girlfriend?”

Randy showed Alexis the list.

“What a bitch. You’re better off without her. Seriously dude, you don’t need someone like that. You need people in your life who appreciate you for who you are, not for who they want you to be.”

“Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind,” said Randy.

“Hey, you wanna get coffee or something. There is a great little place just up the street. No pressure. Olaf and I are an item so I’m not looking to take advantage, but I like you. It’s good to see you again.”

As they walked up to the street he put on his sunglasses against the morning sun that was starting to show through the fog. Well, stranger things had happened. Thank goodness for that.

~ End

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Tangled Tales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spirit of Christmas

My nephew Logan, my brother Aaron’s eldest child, just moved into town. Logan is a mere 28, a baby by Vampire standards. I’ve been making up for lost time and taking him everywhere with me. Yesterday we visited the elders Eleora and Tellias.

As I drove into the drive up road the Victorian house Logan spotted someone by the dock. Garbage was strewn around by the boat house.

My ninety pound German Shepard Alice, the goofy vacuum fearing dog in the back seat, started to growl and bark. She was in full professional mode now with her fur up and teeth out. I was already to go into full Vampire mode with my fangs out as well.

I got out of the car, Alice jumped over the seat, fur up and teeth on full display. I held her collar as she began to bark. Logan exited the passenger side and stood next to me.

Hollow eyes from faces that looked years older than their real age looked at us in fear. Large German Shepard Dogs in attack mode tend to bring out the fear in just about anything.

Human kind are barraged by temptations from the day they are born. Unfortunately some seek their solace and escape in the most heinous of temptations and fall into the trap of soul sucking drug addictions.

It had been a few years since anyone had tried to camp on this property. You know, I usually don’t deal wth this kind of thing. I don’t deal with a lot of shit. I just move on and mind my own business, but they were too close and doing too much damage. Tellias couldn’t risk losing his certified organic status on this orchard, or whatever else damage was done to the ecosystem of the river.

“Get off this property. You have one day and you will be removed by force,” said Logan.

“You can’t make us.”

“Too bad,” I said. “It would be a shame to find you in shallow graves by the edge of the river.” I was bluffing. I wasn’t about to go out into the mud and dig graves, much less drag bodies around or clean up their dirty camp.

“Let’s get his over with Logan,” I said to my nephew as I let the dog go. Alice barked and growled at close range. Logan and I bared our fangs and darkened our eyes. Cheap parlor tricks as far as I was concerned but it did the trick.

The tweekers look upon us with fear. Of course they did. They crouched down trying to fend off the dog who continued to growl and bark at them.

“Look at me,” I said. “How old are you? In your twenties? You look fucking dead. Get to a shelter. Get into a program. Start living like humans.”

Their eyes locked on mine. I had them. I reached into what they had left of their souls and tried to find a rare shred of a good memory or hope for anything other than the next fix.

“You have an hour. Go to the shelter and ask for Larry. Before you go ALL of this garbage needs to be picked up. Do you understand?”

They shook their heads in agreement. Nobody told me that I couldn’t make them do it. Nobody said a word. I snarled at them with my fangs and called the dog back. “If you come back here I will fucking hunt you down and kill you. I expect to hear from Larry. If I don’t then you’d better be at least five hundred miles from here by this time tomorrow.”

“See Larry,” Logan said in a voice straight out of Hell. I knew they’d go see Larry.

We got in the car and continued up to the house. I told Logan to call Larry and tell him what was going on. It is always heart breaking, even if I’ve seen it for a hundred years, to find people in such hopeless conditions.

As we drove up the drive to the house we could see a man in a red flannel shirt and green and black striped pants up on a ladder.

Tellias, who looked nineteen but was older than the first Christmas, was hanging Christmas lights on the front of the house.

He pushed a strand of white blonde hair out of his eyes and climbed down off of the ladder. Eleora ran from the house, wearing a red circle skirt and a green sweater, and wrapped her thin arms around us. They both started to sing an old song about St. Nicholas and covered our faces with light kisses.

Eleora, who also looks nineteen or twenty, is older of Christmas as well, and like Tellias, Logan, and me, is a Vampire. Being a Vampire doesn’t exclude us from any holidays, especially Halloween and Christmas.

Logan noticed a motor home parked by the guest house. “Who is here?”

“They broke down,” said Eleora.

“Yes, they broke down on their way from Seattle to Los Angeles. They’re moving,” said Tellias.

“They broke down taking the scenic route along the river,” said Eleora

“A young family. It will take a few days together the part they need,” said Tellias.

“A few days,” said Eleora.

Yes, Eleora and Tellias look young but sometimes they sound extremely old. That’s OK.

“That was kind of you,” I said. “Are you sure this is a good idea?”

“They’re harmless. They needed our help. The children are darling,” said Tellias.

“Precious,” said Eleora.

“Do they know you’re Vampires. Just asking,” said Logan.

Tellias smiled. “Not yet.”

“We saw some homeless camps coming in,” Logan told them.

“I’ll call Larry,” said Tellias.

“Larry knows what to do,” said Eleora.

Eleora led Logan off to the back of the house to show him the Christmas decorations she was making. Tellias poured a couple of goblets of blood mixed with wine and led me to the front parlor.

“I’m glad you brought Logan. It has been almost a year since I’ve seen him. Sit while he spends time with Eleora. I have a story to tell you. We sat and I let him talk.

“You know I never knew who my parents were. I was raised in Rome, what you now call Ancient Rome, by people who were not like us. I grew up in a temple, then was sent to live with powerful people who kept me as both a pet and a demigod. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I came to England with the Roman army and met Eleora.

Years passed, the Roman Empire fell, and Eleora and I were still together. We were in what people now call the Dark Ages, that weird time between the Roman times and the Middle Ages. We didn’t hear much from the outside world back then. Most people didn’t even know there was much outside of their own villages. However, one day Eleora received a letter, a rare thing in a time when most people were illiterate, saying that they’d heard rumors of where my parents were. There was no signature on the letter, and the person who delivered it said it came from a dark haired stranger dressed in black. We had no idea who that could have been. Sometimes it seems like I’ve never known who anyone has been.

With the letter came a map of places east of where we lived, and north of Rome. It was in the northern lands of Vikings, and the rumored Vampires of the eastern regions of what is now Europe. So, to make a long story slightly less long, Eleora said we had to go.

So we went, alone, just the two of us on our horses, following the map. I asked her if she thought we should go, and leave the only home she’d ever known.

Three weeks into the journey we’d arrived on the continent. I wondered if this journey had been a trap. It wasn’t as if I’d never traveled before. I’d traveled from Rome to Britain, to Greece, and then up to where the Gauls lived and back to Rome, then back to Britain. We only had our feet or our horses for transportation. Now Eleora and I found ourselves in a land that was considered The Holy Roman Empire, but there was nothing holy, Roman, or empire like about it.

Eleora and I never tired of each other’s company so the trip wasn’t that bad. Then she became ill. I didn’t know. I did not know. I did not know that she was pregnant. I didn’t realize she was losing the child until it was lost.

You know how rare children can be among us. I didn’t know we could have children because we’d been together over three centuries by this time.

That didn’t matter. She was losing blood and there wasn’t any blood to be had. We were in the middle of a great forest on a desolate road in the Darkest of the Dark Ages. I had to find human blood.

In the distance I could hear horses. As far as I knew they could be farmers, bandits, crusaders, or just travelers like us. I took out my knife and was ready to use my fangs.

Two figures, which I assumed were men, came along in horses. Both wore the robes of the clergy, like monks. I spoke to them in Latin, assuming that was a language they would understand. Mass was said in Latin so they had to know it at least a bit.

“Hello,” I said, ready for both an attack or a friendly greeting.

“Good day my friends. You look weary from the road,” said one of the men as he took off his hood. He had a pleasant face with bright gold brown eyes and a short white beard. He had a slight accent.

“You sound Greek,” I said.

“You sound Roman. What brings you here?”

“Family matters.”

“I am Nicholas of Myra. We are seeking passage north to continue our good works.”

“If that is the case you’ve been dead for centuries.”

“But I am not dead now am I?”

“Your bones are said to be in the city of Myra, or as we speak being carried back in bits to Jerusalem by Crusaders.” You see, back then bones of people thought to be saints were often parted out because people believed those bones had magical powers. It is akin to the illegal wildlife trades going on today. Of course people dug up bodies and sold the bones as those of saints. No surprises there.

Nicholas laughed a laugh of a man without a care in the world. It was rich and deep and, well, jolly. “So who is dead now my undead Roman friend?”

I was in such a panic over Eleora, and surprised he knew we were Vampires that I didn’t have a comeback. I stepped back to my horse.

“Tellias,”

“You know my name.”

“I know when you are asleep. I know when you are awake.”

The figure behind him stepped forward and threw off his hood. A pointed face made of all sharp angles cooked out in a raspy voice like gravel and strong booze, “Oh come on Rome boy you can’t be that stupid.”

I looked at the gravel voiced man then looked down at his feet. He had hooves. He noticed that I’d noticed.

“I’m no Demon, and even if you look like an angel we know you and your woman are blood sucking…”

“Krampus, quiet,” said the man called Nicholas. “Tellias, your woman lost her child. Let me go to her. I’ll give her what she needs.” He rolled up his sleeve and showed me his arm.

I didn’t know if I should run or take up his offer. My head spun. All the hopes of a child was lost. I wanted to rip his throat out. I wanted to hug him. I wanted to run. He then put his arm around my shoulder and led me to where I’d made a shelter for Eleora.

He gave her blood. He gave her life.

Tellias stopped talking and closed his eyes. I took his hand. “Tellias I am so sorry. I had no idea. I had no idea you lost a baby.”

“I didn’t want to make you sad,” he said as he gave my hand a squeeze.

I gave him a hug. He wiped a tear from my eye. “It was a long long time ago. I love you.”

Tellias continued his story.

Nicholas and Krampus led us to a house in a small village where they were staying for the week. They made a warm soft bed for Eleora. As we sat around the fire we learned each other’s stories.

Nicholas had been born in Greece to a wealthy family. Early in life he’d given money to three sisters to prevent them from being sold into prostitution. The money was supposed to be for dowries. He told them to either marry for love or go to Mother Hope’s convent rather than marry a men they did not love. Love would carry them through most of life’s troubles. In the convent Mother Hope would treat them with respect and make sure they had an education. Two married. One went with Mother Hope and in turn became a great leader among holy women and spent her life helping other women escape from the horrors of prostitution and loveless marriages. From then on he decided to dedicate his life to helping others.

“How did you and Krampus hook up?” I asked Nicholas.

They both laughed. Krampus spoke. “Old Nick here doesn’t like to deal with bad things or bad people. Fortunately I do. You see, when I was a kid life wasn’t too good for me. So now I get back at all of the bad kids who hurt others. I can’t get all of the bullies but I can get to enough of them. If they use sticks, stones, or words to hurt then into my big bag they go. When I’m done with them they’re spineless as worms and completely harmless. But it’s a lot of work so I made a deal with Nick here to only help him out once a year. In exchange he keeps the fucking angels off my ass the rest of the year.”

That night I held Eleora as we wiped away the silent tears of grief from each other’s faces.

The next morning Nicholas looked at my map. “This map doesn’t lead anywhere. It takes you to the path of Crusaders who will be lost to slavers. You’ve lived many years as a virtual slave my friend. You do not want to do that again. Go home.”

“What about my parents?”

“You won’t find them there.”

“Will I ever find them?”

“I can’t answer that. If I see them along the way I’ll tell them that you’re looking for them.”

“Where are you going?”

“North. We’re going to raise reindeer. I hear there is a big abondoned castle up for grabs and a bunch of elves who need protection.”

“Dwarves, Nick. They’re fucking Dwarves,” said Krampus.

“Elves. The Dwarves live south of where we’re going.”

“Whatever.”

“Let us come with you,” said Eleora.

Nicholas took her pretty face in his hands and kissed her cheeks. “No my cold precious friend. You have another road to take. It is a road where you will meet people who need you. You will meet people of your own kind. But don’t shed any tears. Our paths will cross again.”

I looked at Nicholas who had been alive far longer than the life span of men. He’d been living over four hundred years.

“Why are you still alive?” I asked him.

He said, “I am a Spirit. I am the spirit of giving”

“How’s that working out for you?” I asked.

“I haven’t always been able to do the job as well as I want but I keep trying,” said Nicholas.

A long time ago, under a bright star,  I was at the birth of a child. Not my child, but the child who grew into the man who’s words you follow. You should make his birthday your night of giving.” Juliette, I have no idea why I even suggested that. It just seemed like a good idea at the time.

Then Eleora made a suggestion you’ll recognize even now. “You can decorate trees like the local folk do when the first snows start. Mix the old traditions with new. I like the sound of that. A new tradition. If you make people smile they too will think of giving to others. It will remind them that even as winter comes there will always be love.”

Nicholas smiled. “I will do it in honor of your lost child as well, and all of those who feel loss or without hope.” He looked me in the eye knowing my feelings about everything in my heart.

Krampus just snorted. “Of course you’d pick the coldest day of the year. You’re Vampires. Holy crap. I can’t win.”

Eleora and I stayed on for a few more days then headed beck to England. As Vampires we are well suited for a life on the road, but as you know, most of us prefer the comforts and familiarity of home.

We are said to be creatures of the night, which I will accept as a compliment when I look at the night sky full of shining stars, and hear the call of the owl. I know that it is in the night that Nicholas does many of his good deeds, unseen, without credit.

Logan and Eleora came back into the room and joined us with garlands made from pine boughs and red ribbons around their necks. It was good to see them smiling, fangs out, and without a care. Eleora had talked Logan into singing a loud rendition of Deck the Halls with her. My dog, who had been sleeping at my feet jumped up to bark and jump along to the festivities.

There are times when I am in awe of Tellias and his tales of history and wonder. Maybe not so much wonder, as his stories, to him at least, are just his life. They are his experiences to share.

Later that day someone came out to fix the motorhome, and we bid the visitors a good trip to their new home. Then late at night, after we’d said our farewells with hugs and kisses, Logan and I drove home. We noticed that the camp by the dock was gone. Logan said Larry had texted him saying there were rumors of Vampires down by the camps on the river banks.

Logan and I spoke of our own lives and events that shaped us. As we get closer to Christmas I will think more about Nicholas and wish him luck on his quest. We should all have such thoughts in our hearts, dare we end up being bagged by Krampus.

A Happy December to all and wishes for love, hope, and finding whatever you are searching for.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

tree2019

Juliette’s Christmas Tree 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Gotta Believe (a silly little story for Christmas Eve)

“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 Claus?”

“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 Claus.”

“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 Claus?”

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 Claus. 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.

~ End

~ Merry Christmas. Love, Juliette aka Vampire Maman

As Bright As A Star In An Ancient Sky.

As Bright As A Star In An Ancient Sky.

The voice on the phone whispered, “are you coming over today?”

Why Tellias always whispers on the phone I will never know.

“I’m on my way,” I said. “I’m stuck in the never-ending construction, but I’m on my way.”

“Good,” he said in a papery thin voice. “I have a lot to tell you.” Then he hung up.

A 2054 year old Vampire can have a lot to say, so I picked up a case of Poet’s Blood at Dave’s Bottle Shop.

When I arrived at the Queen Ann style farmhouse Tellias and Eleora were waiting for me on the front porch. Tellias was wearing tuxedo pants, a slate blue workshirt with the name Jose stitched on the pocket, and yellow flip flops. His pale blonde hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Elena was wearing  white Go Go boots, a red mini skirt, a black fake fur vest, and an orange and pink polyester double knit blouse with bell sleeves. She also had a Santa hat on her head, with masses of reddish brown curls falling down her back. They look like a couple of teenagers who’ve been shopping at the local vintage flea markets, but they’re ancient. They’re old people.

They both danced around me, giving me kisses and singing Christmas songs. On the door was a giant wreath covered with holly, red apples, and black spiders Eleora had made years ago from ribbons and pipe cleaners.

They took my hands and brought me into the house. We sat by the window with a view of the orchards draped in fog.

Eleora busied herself with making Christmas animals out of ribbons and pipe cleaners, while Tellias told me a curious tale I’d never heard before.

“Juliette, when I was young, you know I grew up without parents of my own. I’ve never been sure of where I was from. The Roman’s took me in. I grew up in a temple, treated like a magical demigod. I’ve been called the child of Jupiter, or Mercury, or Apollo. Usually Apollo. It doesn’t matter now. When I grew older I went along with the military because I could heal, and they didn’t think I could die, and I was a magical being, at least according to them. Life was good. Lap of luxury. 

I went to Britain and met Eleora, as she stood on the edge of a cliff dancing by herself and singing. But I had to go back. It was a difficult time. A difficult time for me. Interesting too.

That time, all I could think about was her. She wasn’t the first of my kind I’d met. The other Vampires weren’t like me. They were dark without joy.  Eleora was nothing but joy. I met other beings too. Not Roman gods, but others… demons, angels, werewolves, others. 

I had to go back to Rome. I’ve told you I saw the star. You know the one they call the Christmas star. I was traveling with my freeman Felix, and a couple of slaves. We couldn’t find a place to stay. I could have but I wanted to keep my people with me. 

There was a barn where there appeared to be a party. Inside were a couple of boys with their sheep. A young couple with a baby were huddled in a corner. Three rich guys in garish clothing were hanging out with their servants. All of the animals, from my horses, to camels, to dogs, and sheep. A few others were there as well. It was cold that night. In the 40’s I think. I greeted the others, and got a lot of stares. Here I was, pale and blonde, with a white and gold fur lined cape. Even my people were dressed better than anyone else.

We settled in next to the young couple. The child was only a day or two old. The girl, the mother, who was only fifteen, was ill. You see, it was a horrible time to be a woman, evenmore horrible than when you were a girl Juliette. She was full of fever and infection. I put my hand on her forehead and took the illness away from her. It took me an hour to recover. The rich party guys gave me wine thinking it might help. The girl smiled and thanked me, as did her teenage husband. 

I took off my cape and put it around her shoulders. From my packs I took other blankets and warm furs and gave them to the husband and baby, then gave some to the Shepard boys. 

It was like it had been so many times and would be so many times in the future. Help was needed and I needed to help. 

I heard a noise on the roof, then looked to the doorway where another person had just arrived. He was tall and muscular with a face almost as handsome as mine. I knew him. He’d checked in on me since I was a child, but not always as a friend.

“Why’d you help them?” He asked me that without so much as a greeting.

“I didn’t have parents and there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about it,” I said. 

“You lived in luxury. You have everything you wanted.”

“I was a pet.”

“They think you’re a demigod,” he said with a laugh at the end of his words.

“I am not a demigod. I see this family, this tiny young family…” I suddenly didn’t want to talk about it. “Gabe, you can go away now. I’m done with you. You can’t tell me what to do or how to feel. You can’t take my soul because it is mine. You could kill me if you wanted to, but I know you won’t. 

I am not like them, but I am not like you. I am not like a demon. I am… I am of this place, of this Earth, and only now do I feel I am of someplace. I am in love, something so rare in this world. I see this young couple and their child, so in love. It isn’t arranged. It wasn’t make by someone else…”

“It was made by someone else Tellias,” said Gabe. “It was something beyond either one of us.”

“I don’t believe in the Roman Gods,” I said. 

“I’m aware of that. It wasn’t some guy who turns himself into a swan to get laid,” he said getting a little bit testy. 

“I don’t care Gabe.” I told him,  “The girl is going to live and raise her son with his father. They will grow old in their love. They will thrive in this stinking, horrible, loveless world.”

“We’ll see,” he said.

“Yes, we will. I have to get some food. Unlike you I’m not make of some sort of etherial dust. I’ll be back here in an hour,” I told him. I half expected him to follow but he hung out on the roof of the barn making sure nobody would bother the occupants. Everything with Gabe is always vague. 

When I got back, my belly full of blood, and my arms full of food for the others, and I mean everyone who was there that night, Gabe was waiting for me.

“Tellias you know you aren’t like the others. You weren’t created by…”

“What moulded from mud or dust, or out of a random body part like all of your bedtime stories? No Gabe, I’m of this Earth. Yes, THIS EARTH. I don’t fit into your mold because I’m not like them. I’m not like you either. I’m not an angel or a demon, or a warm blooded human. I don’t follow your rules. I’m not motivated by vengeance or power.”

“What are you motivated by Tellias?”

I didn’t answer him. Once inside I passed out the food. I held the tiny infant while his parents ate. 

“Fill the world with love and wisdom. Understand the value of peace and of life,” I whispered to him as he wrapped his tiny finger around my thumb. Then I whispered, “An angel is on the roof watching over you. I don’t know what that means, but don’t let him down. He’s a son of a bitch you don’t want to mess with. But on the other hand he’ll have your back. And kid, be good for your parents. You can’t even imagine how much they love you.”

Gabe put his hand on my shoulder. “I’ll watch over them now.” 

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” I told him.

The next day I left with my man Felix, and my two slaves. I gave a few coins to the shepard boys, and gave my contact information with the rich guys who were keeping us laughing with their puns and trivia games. 

For the young couple with the baby I hugged them and told them that their child was special. I told them to keep tight, and to hold onto love, no matter what anyone told them. The World was a changing place and I told them their generation would be right in the center of it. I told you the same thing when you were young Juliette. I told it to your children. God knows, it is changing for your kids.”

Then he leaned back in the chair and rubbed his eyes, and said nothing for a while.

I kissed his cheek then helped Eleora hang the funny Christmas animals on the Christmas tree.

After a while Tellias came over and put his arms around Eleora and me. “Dear Juliette, will you be here for Christmas Eve? I invited Gabe.”

Eleora took my face in her hands and kissed my cheeks. “You all must come! Especially your wonderful children.” And she danced around the room humming a long lost Christmas song.

Wishing you all peace and love, no matter who or what you are. And in small ways of kindness and caring we can make the world, or at least our own small corners of the world,  as bright as a star in the ancient sky.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

For more about Eleora and Tellias (Taking Care of our Elders) please Click Here.

Short Story Sunday: Krampus Clause

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“This is the deal with bad children. Bad kids are either spoiled and have total control of their adoring parents, or they are abused and neglected by their parents, or there is something wrong with their genetic make-up and they are bound for a life of failure.

I spent a career scaring kids straight, but I never bagged one up. Not once. A few bad adults maybe, or abusive parents, but never the children. Alright, there have been a few children who were truly the spawn of our old friend Satan, so to speak, but not many. In the end they will be their own worst enemies. Well, at least most of them. The rest of them go into politics. So what shall I do with you Max?”

Over the decades Max had encountered Demons, Werewolves, Fallen Angels, Goblins, Vampire Hunters, Banshees, Ghosts, and all sorts of unsavory creatures, including warm blooded humans, but this was his first encounter with Krampus.

Max looked hard at the hairy horned man creature, with a voice like gravel and too many cigarettes, who sat on the closed toilet of his downstairs bathroom.

“Why are you in my bathroom Krampus?”

“Cause the world is full of shit so I feel more comfortable here,” said St. Nick’s Demon. Krampus rolled out his long tongue and opened the window across the bathroom.

“Stop it,” said Max. “Close the window, put your tongue back in your mouth.”

“What’s the matter Vampire man? Afraid I’ll leave coal in your stocking, or better yet drag you down to Hell?”

“I’m afraid you’ll never get out of my bathroom,” said Max.

Krampus stood up and stomped around stretching is knobby legs. “Do Vampires pee? Seriously man, do you ever take a shit like normal people?”

“Why’s your tongue so long?”

“Oh that. When I was a kid, just a small hairy thing with tiny horns, kids made fun of me. You know, other Demon kids. Some asshole said I was saying shit about him so he and his friends tried to pull my tongue out. Rather than rip out of my head, my tongue stretched, and stretched, and stretched, and when they were just about to give up I wrapped my tongue around them and choked them out until they turned to a puddle of green gray slime.

About that time St. Nick, only he wasn’t a saint yet, came strolling by. I could see the light bulb going off in his head. There weren’t light bulbs back then, but he had a great idea. He asked me if I wanted to help him with bad kids. And the rest is Christmas history. So what about you? Have you always been a Vampire?”

“I was born a Vampire. What are you doing here, in my house, bugging me?”

“You’re a Vampire. Look at you all handsome and healthy looking. You should look dead,” said Krampus said he flopped down in a black vintage Eames chair. “Do you have any coffee?”

Max was about to say something when he looked up and saw his girlfriend, sometimes girlfriend, friends with benefits, Mehitabel coming down the stairs in a fuzzy pink robe. She was also a Vampire, and so many other things that Max could never explain or even understand.

“Krampus,” she said as she saw the Demon sitting in Max’s favorite chair. “I didn’t know you and Max knew each other.”

“We don’t but I was passing through town, you know, and I was overwhelmed with the emotion of this time of year, and I didn’t want to be alone. St. Nick doesn’t want anything to do with me outside of Christmas and the big birthday party his wife throws for him every year. Everyone else fears me. The other Demons are assholes. I needed a place to chill and rest my tongue,” said Krampus.

“Poor baby, nobody should be alone this time of year.” said Mehitabel. Then she walked over to Max and gave him a kiss. “I’ll make some coffee.” Her hand went around and over his butt, then she slipped into the kitchen.

“Nice gig you have here Max. Beautiful home, beautiful woman, nothing for me to be mad about. Mind if I just hang for a few hours. You know, the girls don’t like me much, even with my amazing tongue. Now Mehitabel there, she is one fine piece of…”

“Stop right there. Where do you know her from? You and she haven’t…”

“No, no, no. We’ve crossed paths a few times in the past. No hanky panky. Aside from your amazing body and great head of hair, what the Hell is she doing with you?”

Max turned without answering and went into the kitchen. Mehitabel was sipping a mug of warmed blood with a shake of cinnamon. “Hey Max,” she said, kissing him lightly on the lips.

“What should I do with him?”

“Give him some coffee and he’ll be on his way. You’ve shown charity and compassion. That is all he wants. That is all anyone wants.”

Krampus came into the kitchen and laughed. “You’re so sweet. Well, I’m going to leave you two love birds alone. Be good to her Max or I’ll come back for you, and not in a good way. Thanks for letting me chill here for a bit.”

Then he put his clawed hand into his pocket and pulled out two lumps of coal and set them on the table. “If you squeeze these tight enough they’ll turn into diamonds. OK now, enought of sentamental shit, I have to go kick some bad kid ass. See you next year.”

Then he turned an went out the front door with the slight smell of sulphur and nutmeg.

Max and Mehitabel looked at each other and smiled. They each picked up a piece of coal and squeezed as hard as they could.

Mehitabel opened her hands and found a playing card. It was the Queen of Diamonds.

Max opened his hands and found a baby diamond back rattle snake. He threw the snake out the window. Right as he did that a hawk flew by, grabbed the snake, and flew away.

“Not the kind of diamonds we expected,” said Max. “Let’s go upstairs.” Then he took her hand and led her to his bedroom.

Later, after they’d made love, as they watched the setting sun from his bedroom window, Max kissed Mehatibel again and reached into the drawer of his nightstand.

“I have something for you,” he said, and then slipped a diamond ring on her hand. “I love you. Marry me.”

“OK,” she said, her eyes tearing up. “I love you too.”

Somewhere in the city Krampus walked down an alley looking for trouble. He stopped and laughed. “Good boy Max,” he said. “Good boy Max.”

~ End

 

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