Burning Question #31: Twinkle Twinkle WTF?

Fall is here! The scent of pumpkin spice is in the air. Sweater weather is getting started. Halloween is just around the corner. Gourds are weird and wonderful and garnish our tables with colored leaves and mini pumpkins. Little monsters are getting their costumes ready. And we’re all picking out the best candy for our neighborhood kids.

So you go out to the store to find the best pumpkin, get some popcorn and caramels, and Halloween decorations and you hear an all too familiar song.

Then you smell… what is that? Pine and cranberries? Excuse me?

I love Christmas decorations and LOVE Christmas lights. No matter what size my tree is I put up at least 300 ornaments and about 20 strings of lights on my tree. I’ve got the cottages, the wreaths, the lights, the scented candles for the rest of the house. I’ve got it all but…

Burning Question #31: Is October too early to put up Christmas decorations?

 

And to think I was just marveling at the variety of pumpkins that are available now. Pumpkins! And gourds. I love gourds. This is the season of Halloween and harvest and things that go bump in the night. Thanksgiving is in November, and December is for… well, you tell me.

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So plug in your answers and let me know what you thinks. Yes, leave a comment, a poem, a thought, a bitter lamentations, a statement of celebration or whatever you want.

This has been the #31st Burning Question of 50 Burning Questions. I’ll see you next Saturday for Burning Question #32.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

A Christmas Journey (with Vampires, a cat, a train ride and a fight)

A Christmas Journey (with Vampires, a cat, a train ride and a fight)

People don’t know who or what we are. We’ve kept it that way for centuries, as stories and myths over ride any sense of reality in the minds of men.

In December of 1875 tragedy came into our lives. My best friend Isabelle fell under the spell of rogue Vampires and almost killed my brother Max’s best friend, who was the son of my parent’s closest regular human friends. You see, for those of you who are new here, we’re Vampires. As part of the Modern Vampire movement, we go by the rule that nobody is ever turned into a Vampire without consent.

Anyway, scandal was the only word for it. Theodore Kings, my brother’s 26 year old friend was not only the smartest and most handsome regular human any of us had ever met, he was also a kind man who was engaged to be married in February. Isabella decided she wanted the handsome Teddy for herself. We almost lost Teddy, as in death. Not the death one has when turning into a Vampire, but forever death. And when my father did manage to save our beloved friend, dear Teddy was horrified at what he had become…he was horrified at what we all were…but that is another story for another time.

My parents were upset at the prospect of Isabella or any of her rogue friends contacting, or corrupting my brother Valentine or me so we were to be sent away for a few months to keep us out of trouble. The plan was to send us to New York to say with my Grandmama Lola for Christmas. I was 16 and Val was 17 and the prospect of the big city was more exciting than anything we’d ever experienced. Plus it helped us get our minds off of Isabella and Teddy. Most of all it got us away from the eyes of our parents.

Yet, Val and I were also angry that my parents had so little trust in us that they thought it necessary to ship us off clear across the country. After all, we were practically adults. In fact, in most circles at that time we would have been considered adults who could get employment, get married or live independently.

My father’s friend Nathaniel Chase agreed to take Val and I from California to New York City on the train. Nathaniel had his own private luxury car so nobody thought there would be any problems. Nathaniel was the very image of the sophisticated and charming Modern Vampire. He was also cunning and dangerous in his own ways – enough to take care of two over active Vampire teens. What trouble could a couple of teens get into when watched over by a 400 year old Vampire?

On the first night Val and I explored the train. There were dining cars, first class, second class, other private luxury cars and all sorts of interesting people. Nathaniel was busy with “business.” Unfortunately that didn’t last for long. He was scolding us for getting too friendly with people, running, sticking our heads out the window and laughing too loud. That was just the short list.

On the second night he caught Val in an embrace with an attractive woman from San Francisco. That didn’t go over too well either. Val used the excuse he was just being a Vampire. Nathaniel knew better.

On the third night there was a party in another private car in which there were plates full of beautiful treats. I had my first eclaire. It was huge – the size of a man’s hand. That with a stomach full of warm blood (from a handsome 19 year old who claimed to be the son of a famous minister), a bottle of sparkling pink wine (which I wasn’t supposed to have) and sugar (which makes Vampires absolutely ill) had me throwing up most of the night.

By the time we got to our first stay over in Chicago, Nathaniel Chase was ready to lock the both of us up for good. But he didn’t.

We stayed in a large new mansion built after the great fire of 1871. It was there for Vampires of our rank. Val and I were in heaven. Off of the train with Nathaniel gone most of the time!

Nathaniel had given us a full set of rules and warnings. Bite only on the wrist, not the neck. Don’t go into questionable parts of town (he supplied coordinates.) Do not talk to Vampires you don’t know. Don’t be turned by a pretty face. Watch for Vampire Hunters. Stay close to the house. Shop, have fun, act normal. Under no circumstance let anyone suspect you are different. Don’t act like children.

Val and I did all that and more. We were the perfect little citizens. At parties everyone commented on how charming young well-mannered people we were. I’m sure that warmed the cold heart of the old Vampire Nathaniel Chase.

On our fourth day in Chicago Val and I were walking along at dusk when we heard a great commotion coming from a warehouse. And you would be right if you guessed we were in a part of town we shouldn’t have been in.

Inside of the building a large group of men were standing in an impromptu arena yelling and cheering. We thought it might be a boxing match until we realized it was a dog fight. Beasts of all sizes had been brought in to tear each other apart. We could smell the blood and the fear in the dogs. We could also smell the excitement and blood lust in the men who watched the fights. I held Val’s arm, utterly appalled by what I saw. Ears were torn off, bowels were torn open and dogs howled and whimpered in pain.

Then just as I thought I’d seen enough a large man held something out to five growling dogs.

“I present you Lucifer. Tonight you will see before your very eyes these dogs devour the devil.” And he held up a black kitten of about 5 months who cried with pitiful mews of fear. My cold blood boiled.

Hiking up my skirts I climbed the ropes around the arena and entered the ring. I yelled at the man to put down the cat. He laughed. Then I growled at him showing my fangs. In horror the man lashed out striking me across the face. His large ring made a gash across my cheek. Val jumped the ropes and came to my rescue. Knocking them man down he was about to tear his arm off when someone grabbed us up by our collars and threw both of us out into the snow.

Nathaniel Chase and two other Vampires stood there looking at us in disgust. We could hear the commotion inside of the warehouse grow louder.

Nathaniel pulled me to him and yanked me into a waiting carriage. “You could have had us all killed.” His coat smelled slightly of patchouli and roses. I saw a long light brown hair against the black of his jacket. He’d been visiting a woman. I should have known.

“You were with a woman weren’t you?” I glared at him with the triumph of someone too stupid to know what I was saying.

His eyes lit up with a fire and he pulled me around in front of his face holding both of my arms like vices. “It isn’t just small animals that they kill. They kill what they do not know or understand. They kill what they fear. They kill anything they see as evil.”

“But they’re evil themselves,” I stammered back, unable to move or remove myself from his glare.

“No, it is their world, so be it if it is ruled by ignorance and superstition. You must NEVER show yourself for what you are. Never. So help me God Juliette, if you ever do anything like this again I will make sure you will spend the rest of your days drinking rancid blood out of a gourd, in a dungeon so deep you’ll forget there are stars in the sky.”

He let me go and turned to my brother. “As for you Valentine. I have no words to express my disappointment in you.”

One of the other Vampires, an elegant looking man called Joseph pulled a small black kitten out of his coat pocket and handed it to me. “I believe this is yours. Do not forget the price you paid for his freedom.”

All the way back Nathaniel lectured us on responsibility and stupidity. When we returned to the house he vanished into the study with the two men. We were told to go to our rooms and stay there until midnight.

I lay on my bed and cried my heart out. Val came in and sat quietly next to me. We were utter failures.

When the large clock at the end of the hall struck midnight we left the room and went in search of Nathaniel Chase.

On the balcony he stood cradling the sleeping kitten in his arms. He quietly sang to himself in Welsh the old song “All Through the Night.”

All the stars’ twinkles say

All through the night

“This is the way to the realm of glory,”

All through the night.

Darkness is another light

That exposes true beauty

The Heavenly family in peace

All through the night.

“You have Lucifer,” I said stroking the purring kitten under his chin.

Nathaniel gave me a rare smile. “His name is Gabrielle now. He’ll go where I go. Do you know who Gabrielle was.”

“I believe an arch angel,” said Val.

“Gabrielle was a messenger. So is this little beast in my arms, brought to us in order to teach the two of you humility. But also to teach me what good hearts you have. Compassion is a rare and wonderful thing. It can also be a danger if you react in fear and by letting your heart lead the way.” He held up a hand knowing what I was going to say. “Your heart and the feelings of your heart are important. But you must be smart. You must not be like your friend Isabelle who turned a man into a Vampire, almost killing him and committing his soul to Hell. She claimed it was romantic but it was cruel and selfish.” He handed me the cat now called Gabriel. “Take care of this cat until we get to your Grandmama’s, then he is mine. And Juliette, remember that we are like dark angels who inhabit the night. No matter how much good we may do we are still to be feared by those who are not our kind.”

Gabrielle lived for another 22 years and went everywhere with Nathaniel Chase.

Val and I got to our Grandmama Lola’s house in New York City by Christmas Eve night.

Nathaniel Chase still doesn’t have much confidence in me. I made mistakes with my heart over the years, as did Val. But we learned that we must keep our hearts to ourselves and take action with our brains and with conviction and with deliberate action.

A few weeks ago I visited Nathaniel, along with my brother Val and my husband Teddy. He still looked the same as he did in 1875. He still has a black cat. The current one is named Michael. They’re all named after angels. Small dark angels of hope and love.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas from all of the Vampires and their cats.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

This story was first posted December, 2013

Christmas Memories

“I love that story. I wish you’d make it into a book.”

Lola has been telling me that since 2012. She loves that story.

So I printed out a copy of my story The Travelers so that Lola could read it again.

My great great great great grandmother read the first paragraph and said, “This is not the story I read. You changed it.”

“Except for a few edits, spell check, and a rewritten last sentence this is the same story you read in 2012.”

“The man who found Thomas Kent and his little girl didn’t have children.”

“Yes he did.”

“You changed the story.”

“No I did not. I know my stories.”

I had printed out several other stories but I know she won’t read them.

Lola was born in 1343, the same year as Geoffrey Chaucer. Her current lover Cody was born in 1980.

Cody, a young Vampire, and friend, whom I’ve helped since his unexpected entry into my world, never listens to me either. That said, he is always ready with an opinion.

My husband Teddy pulled me aside and started talking family stuff. He goes on about my brother, my parents, and assorted folks I don’t want to talk about. I was seriously thinking my head was going to explode.

Anyway, as we gather with family and friends, you might notice that stories will change. Memories will fade, or morph into something else. The whole space time continuum will just fly out the window.

Somewhere around the table you might find at least one person who shares your memories as you remember them.

In the meantime I’m going to share, again, some Christmas memories from some of my Vampire friends, family, and other friends. I hope 2018 (despite all of the weirdness) brought you many good and treasured memories, and I wish you a Merry Christmas.

Memories from my Modern Vampire Family and Friends

From Andy: One of my fondest memories is walking with her in the snow at night. Her hands were hot, and as hard as she tried, she could never warm up my hands.

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From Matthew: We looked at the stars in the night sky and didn’t feel dead anymore.

From Verity: A nip of brandy and a nip on the neck of my husband under the mistletoe. 

From Lola: A lovely young man all tied up in red ribbons and bows. That isn’t figuratively either. He was all tied up.

From Tellias: We saw a great light in the sky and I knew something had happened that would change the world. That was a long time ago. I was very young.

From Eleora: We never did much for people we took blood from until we started to celebrate the Christmas holiday. Then we started to leave them presents. That is where the Santa Clause tradition came from. And this year I’m going to wear my red dress with the white fur trim and red boots and snowflake earrings. 

From Val: My sister Juliette and I would sneak into churches and sing along to the carols. Everyone said it would kill us but we knew nobody who is damned could be so inspired by the music as we were. 

From Cody: I used to be afraid of Vampires before I became one and found out how much fun they are, especially around the holidays. Well, except for the men in black and the zombies, but hey, you have to respect them for what they are.

From Adam (a Werewolf): Running in the mountain snow until we were so tired we couldn’t go another inch. My mother would be waiting with fresh meat, fruit cake and hot chocolate. We’d turn from wolves to boys and run naked all over the cabin as my parents laughed. It was crazy but, you know, we’re Werewolves.

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From Aaron: We used to act out the Christmas Carol except someone would always tear out Scrooge’s neck before my mom could finish the narration. Oh man, we would laugh so hard.

From Max: Candle light and the long cool kiss of another Vampire.

From Teddy: I’ll never forgot the Christmas I pried my mother’s necklace off of the rotting corpse of the woman who stole it. I knew at that moment that Juliette was the Vampire I would one day marry and would proudly wear the necklace. It was also the night I learned I hadn’t lost my soul, or at least not completely.

From Jayne: I wore a red velvet dress trimmed with flowers and holly. The room was filled with candles and garland. Everyone tasted like cinnamon and whiskey.

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From Ione: I was so excited about seeing Santa that I bit the cat.

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From Elizabeth: Going for angel walks in the cemetery at midnight with Jayne and Mehitabel. The stone angels inspire the singing of the dead. It is quiet lovely and moving if you know what tombs to visit.

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From Nathaniel: After years of spending Christmas protecting my kind from Vampire Hunters, I look forward to spending a quiet Christmas with my wife and child. I think I earned it.

From Thomas Kent: Christmas is a time for us to make frozen hearts warm and inspire peace among all creatures, even those of the night and cold.

To learn more about the individuals above click on their names.

Wishing you all dear readers sweet memories.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Red Dress, White Trim, A Dancing Ghost and the Quiet Musings of a Vampire Mom

Red Dress, White Trim, A Dancing Ghost and the Quiet Musings of a Vampire Mom

She was a shining light in the forest, not a ghost who haunts but a ghost who dances to her own music.

I watched from my window as Mary danced in the woods. She wore not clothing of the 15th century when she lived, but a red mini dress with white fur trim on the hem and bell shaped sleeves. A long Santa had was on her head with a fluffy white ball at the tip. Bells adorned the top of her white over-the-knee boots. Her red-brown hair was braided with gold ribbon. When you’re a ghost you can wear what you want, do what you want, dance and love when you want.

That is if you don’t let your own ghosts get in the way. That was Mary.

Had it been any other ghost she would have annoyed the crap out of me, but since it was Mary I was enchanted. She is like a little elf who haunts my kitchen as she sits in front hot cups of coffee taking in the aroma. We chat about romance and fashion. She is a delightful little spirit.

Sometimes she slips and shows her own bloody and mangled murdered form but today she dances with joy to a long lost Christmas song.

A coyote yipped close by, down in the brush and Mary vanished. Damn coyotes. The cats lifted their heads at the noise. My dog didn’t even acknowledge the existence of her coyote cousins. Had it been a Golden Retriever she would have been all over it’s ass, but she had no time for coyotes.

Just as most Vampires have no time for ghosts.

I stood in front of the window with a glass of red wine in my hand watching the rain. My husband Teddy came up behind me and kissed my neck.

“What color do you want to paint the living room?”

“I don’t know. It depends on what color flooring we get,” I said putting my arms around his neck and kissing him.

I know that has nothing to do with ghosts but it has everything to do with how things go around my house. Just little bits, like a fragment of a song or just a small bite of something good.

His face turned a little bit serious. “Clara said one of her fangs is bothering her.”

Not again I thought. Teens can get sloppy and are always hurting themselves. It isn’t anything anybody would notice, but it IS always something Mom (that means me) has to take care of.

“I’ll take care of it. Did you see the ghost darling?”

He missed her unfortunately. And so we started our evening discussing the news of the day, work, our kids, what color we want to paint the walls, what we’d wear to the next black tie party and other things married people talk about. What? Did you think we talk about spider webs, bats and blood all night? Hardly. We’re no Dracula and Elvira. Nobody we know is that.

Teddy asked me if I was going to tell anymore Christmas stories here. I think I will. I will also repost The Travelers (my favorite Christmas story) soon.

In the meantime, just imagine a tiny young transparent woman dancing in her red mini dress under the canopy of oak trees to the music of Tchaikovsky and Johnny Marks.

Have a lovely Winter,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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.

~ End

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This story was first posted here in 2012. I think of all the stories I’ve published/written this one remains one of the nearest to my heart. 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Alice in Christmas Land

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Joy, and Dogs!

This is my dog Alice in Christmas Land. She will turn two years old on Christmas Day – So Happy Birthday Alice.

Alice is exceptionally sweet, loves to cuddle, smart, playful, and funny. Alice also LOVES the two cats who live with her (not shown – the cat in the photo is doorstop.)

Alice the GSD, VampireMaman

Today’s assignment: Hug your dog, your cat, your Vampire, your child, your mom, or anyone you love or like a whole lot.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman