My brother Max is having not dreams, but memories of places and events that aren’t his.
At the same time he can feel others thinking about him. He is a receiver. So am I.
It is one of those odd things that we don’t tell anyone else about.
The memories are a mystery. We’ve compared notes and we can’t figure it out. Who sends us memories from places we’ve never been or memories of things we’ve never done.
The other types of thoughts are straight from a known source.
Max and I stood out on the deck the other night looking into the fog. “She is thinking about me right now. I haven’t seen her in years but she has been thinking about me a lot lately.”
I didn’t tell him to call her or drop by her house. It wasn’t the right time. It wasn’t his call to make. But when she thinks of him he knows it. He never wonders if she loves him or really even cares. It just is what it is. He is flattered and charmed if nothing else. That is it.
I told him about the bridge again. It was a large bridge that fell during rush hour 50 years ago. I wasn’t there but I remember it from the eyes of a young man who was in a blue car. He was in the water. A woman helped him out. His wife was frantically calling on the phone to see if anyone knew where he was. That is all I remember. I thought it might have been from a book or a movie, but the memory was like my own.
Max dreams of maps and lying as still as death on the bottom of the ocean. I dream of cars falling off of narrow mountain roads and big ugly fish.
We don’t talk much to others about our dreams and phantom thoughts and rogue memories.
I’m sure you have things like that too – another life built on fog and emotion and strange things that fly by like ghost ships or long forgotten songs.
No matter what it is always good to have someone to talk to, who doesn’t think you’re nuts.
Max left this morning before the sun came up. I will miss him, but he’ll know when I’m thinking about him.
The headache was real. He opened his eyes and squinted at the sun coming through the window and tried to remember what had happened the night before.
“Oh you’re up. Look at the sunlight. Tell me how you feel.”
“Like I’ve been hit by a truck.”
“Do you feel alive?”
He looked at her sitting in a navy blue wingback chair wearing nothing but a smile and black silk stockings held up by red garters. He thought of her as a girl, not from her age but by the way she acted. She had been cute for a while but the cuteness became annoying and practiced.
He got out of bed and looked for his robe. She watched him with a smile on her face that was part wonder and part greed. Memories started to come back. Against his better judgement he’d taken her home and to his bed. Then she’d poured something she said was wine, but it obviously wasn’t.
“What did we drink last night?”
“What did you drink Andrew darling. I gave you an elixir to life. I gave you a tonic of love. I gave you light and love?”
He didn’t even respond. The sooner he got her out of his house and made coffee the better. Finding his robe he headed to the kitchen.
“Do you feel different?” She got up and followed him down the stairs.
“Other than feeling like shit?”
“Today is your new birthday. You’re mortal again.”
It suddenly occurred that she’d given him some sort of potion. “Jen, I can’t be cured. There was nothing wrong with me.”
“You were a Vampire.”
“I’m still a Vampire.”
“You’re walking in the sunlight. See it comes through the windows and you aren’t burning.”
“I’ve always been able to walk in the sunlight. Whatever you gave me didn’t work. It never works anymore than me giving you something that would turn you into a dog.”
“Give me a chance and I’ll take care of you Andrew,” she said clutching at his arms.
He pried off her hands and whispered under his breath, “Yes, and I’ll make sure to take care of you.”
Escorting her to the door, the Vampire told her to not come back – but he knew she’d try. Jen never took no for an answer. He compared her to a bad rash, that is if he’d ever had a bad rash.
Nobody would believe her tall tales of dating a Vampire. She was a groupie, a fan, a follower who didn’t know how to be an adult or find real love. It wasn’t like he always knew how to find real love, but at least he wasn’t going to let anyone change him for it.
Picking up the phone he made a call. “You know, I really don’t have the stomach for killing her right now. Any suggestions?”
His friend paused on the other end of the line then said, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of her.”
After getting off the phone Andrew made a blood and strawberry smoothie hoping it would clear out some of the toxic effects of whatever the Hell Jen had given him.
Jen told everyone her family had always been around Vampires, kind of sort of, but she’d just discovered her ability to pick them out about 10 years ago. She’d clamped onto Andrew about a year back after seeing him sing with one of her favorite bands at a local club. She’d spotted him and found out all of the details about his life through mutual friends. Her immaturity was charming at first and kind of cute but now it just grated on Andrew. He ran his hands through his hair and wondered why he’d brought her home last night. Oh right, blood and sex. That always does it.
Then again, Jen thought life should be a cross between a Doris Day/Rock Hudson movie and Twilight. Holy crap. The woman was delusional.
Jen sat alone in her San Francisco apartment and thought about her beautiful Vampire lover. Giggling at the thought of his cool skin and hot kisses and wonderful techniques as a lover. He knew all the tricks. She imagined living with him in his beautiful St. Francis Woods home.
Last night she’d offered him not just her body but her blood as well. Last of all she offered her heart. As far as she was concerned that was a sealed deal. She was part of him now. He’d never get rid of her.
A year passed and Andrew had all but forgotten about that night with Jen. Occasionally one of his friends would bring up the story of the toxic brew and laugh about it.
“Don’t laugh, it could have ruined my voice,” Andrew would tell them half serious and half joking.
“What ever happened to her?” They would always ask. Andrew would just shrug.
A hundred miles away, locked in a room with no sharp objects Jen sat rocking on the bed speaking of her Vampire lover and how he’d return for her. Andrew said something under his breath about taking care of her. So she waited not knowing that he already taken care of her, quite nicely.
“What a bunch of idiots,” Jamie said to himself as he watched a mob of men run down the road brandishing knives and guns they didn’t even know how to use. They wouldn’t dare use them. Well, maybe they would – that is why Jamie had to hide. Now he was all dressed up with no place to go.
Now what? Maybe a trip to his favorite opium den for an easy meal or a trip to Madam Rosanna’s for a drink with one of her girls. At least the girls were clean and pretty, but the rush of opium infused blood sounded good right now.
Jamie ended up back home to change his bloody shirt. He knew his housekeeper would be able to get the stains out but it still annoyed him.
As he grabbed a new shirt out of the wardrobe the smell of jasmine and roses gently made him smile. He turned around.
“Belinda. What a delight.” She was indeed a delight but he didn’t expect to see her, not here in his house, much less in his bedroom.
The delicious sight in a silk green dress smiled and sat on his bed. “Your housekeeper let me in. I don’t think she approves but then again…” she didn’t finish her sentence but just laughed.
James brushed his lips across hers then slid his fangs across the side of her neck. “She doesn’t approve of you because she doesn’t know you.” His mouth went to Belinda’s again.
“You taste like blood,” she whispered.
“You taste like death darling Belinda.” Jamie took her hand and pulled her up. “I’m getting dressed. Let’s go out.”
They passed into the darkness outside, arm in arm, laughing quietly at their private jokes.
Maybe they’d go to the whore house or the opium den. Maybe they’d go to a musical revue or drop by and see friends. Anything was possible. Together, Jamie and Belinda always had a way of making everything fun – at least fun for them.
They decided on the theater but stopped in front of one of the larger churches in the center of the city. A bride and groom happily rode in their carriage to start a new life together. The bride was dressed in innocent white. The groom was happy and handsome.
Jamie and Belinda stood, arm in arm, and looked upon the happy couple.
“That could have been us,” said Belinda.
“We don’t deserve that kind of happiness,” said Jamie, giving her hand a squeeze.
“Why not? We could get married. We could be happy Jamie.”
“Oh darling, you’d drive me crazy. I’d have to kill you.”
“I’m already dead. Well, sort of dead.”
And under the gaslights by the church Jamie kissed Belinda. “Dead or alive, I love you Belinda. I always have. I always will.”
A cold tear ran down Belinda’s cheek. Jamie led her into the empty church and up to the alter. “Belinda, will you love me and stay with me always?”
“Jamie, will you love me and stay with me always?”
“I suppose. Aren’t we supposed to talk about till death do us part?”
“I didn’t think about that,” said Jamie.
“You wouldn’t now James would you?” She called him by his proper name, the way she thought a wife would.
They left the church and headed back to Jamie’s place. Over a glass of wine they made uncomfortable small talk.
“Will you stay the night Belinda?” He had to ask.
“If you’ll have me. Oh Jamie, we’re so awful. We really are. There has to be more.”
He thought about it for about a second. “Not really. We are what we are. We are who we are.”
Then he took her hand and led her back up to his room.
In the morning the world came alive, but they continued their sleep, wrapped in each other’s cold dead arms, as alive as they knew how to be.
The sky is red with smoke and fire. There is a demon wind blowing as if it wants to take the roof off of the house.
“There are too many fires,” I told my friend Randolpho. “It is like Hell has come up from the bowels of the Earth.”
“This is 2020. Welcome to the new normal. I hear there is a big fire by the airport and on some of the river levies. Add those to the fires already going on including that fire started by those fools having a gender reveal party.”
“Gender reveal party?” I asked. “What do you mean by gender reveal and why is there a party?”
“Before babies are born some people get overly excited and throw a gender reveal party. You know, to announce if they are having a boy or a girl.”
“That is ridiculous. How do they know if it is a boy or a girl? Even a witch will not be able to tell you that with a hundred percent certainty.”
“Ultra sound, or amnio. Oh my God. You don’t know about those things. Let me show you.”
Randolpho pulled out his phone and went on the Internet, where almost all information can be found.
“Ultra sound is a way to see a baby before it is born to make sure it is developing right. ”
I looked at a photo of a tiny human being. There was a face and this one was obviously male.
“But how is this done? The baby is inside of the mother. It would die if they cut her open.”
“They don’t cut her open. Get a clue Vlad. The technician takes sort a wand and rubs it over the mother’s pregnant belly. Then an image of the baby appears on a computer screen. Then the image can be printed out.
“This is amazing. If I had not seen it for myself I would not have believed it. Then what is amnio?”
“Amniocentesis is a procedure in which amniotic fluid is removed from the uterus for testing or treatment. Amniotic fluid is the fluid that surrounds and protects a baby during pregnancy.
A large needle is inserted into the mother amniotic fluid around the baby is extracted. One can tell then not only the gender but if there are any genetic issues the parents should be aware of.”
“For example if a child will have Down’s Syndrome.”
“What is that?”
“Remember Maria? The small girl who liked to wear crowns of flowers and always had a song and a smile. She had Down’s Syndrome.”
I remembered the young Vampire maiden. She was one of my mother’s ladies. Once a cocky young Vampire called Vink called Maria an idiot and belittled her in front of the entire Vampire court because she did not understand his stories. He thought the stories were humorous. They were not.
My mother had Vink thrown into the dungeon for a week for his meanness.
Even being a Vampire Maria passed on the next winter. We were all sad. Everyone loved Maria. Vink continued to be a fool and was banished from the court.
“Now there are people like Maria who graduate from High School and some even graduate from college.”
I thought about this for a while. There is so much I need to learn.
“Do you ever want to have kids Vlad?” Randolpho asked. I thought that was odd. We have known each other for over 670 years and we have never discussed it.
The subject made me feel somewhat uncomfortable. I told Randolpho he needed to change the subject.
Later I tried to sleep but could only think of babies crying and keeping me awake. I thought about a baby laughing and broke out in a cold sweat, then coughed from the smoke.
The smoke is thicker today. My mind is still on children. I am in Hell.
I poured a glass of chilled blood and put a piece of fresh mint on top of it. Mint is something we did not have when I was Vampire King. After being locked in a crypt for three hundred years I have discovered many new things such as mint, chilled drinks, and viewing babies inside of their mothers. I might have missed the 18th, 19th, and 20thCenturies, but here I am in 2020.
Once when I was much younger, when I was Vampire King I went on a journey to being a group of young orphan Vampire children back to my castle. My wife had just abandoned me and I had the need to, what term do they use so often now, get away. I had to get away.
After riding for a week with some of my finest Vampire soldiers, I met my contact at an ancient castle by the edge of a large lake. The Vampire in charge approached me. He was slightly taller than I am, making him around six feet tall. His appearance was striking, not just because of his height but also because of his fashion. He was dressed all in black with dark glossy brown hair about his shoulders. He wore no wig as many men did at that time but like me, he wore his own hair. His eyes were deep golden brown surrounded by thick lashes, and a face spotted with light facial hair on his jaw line and a hint of a mustache growing in. His clothing and boots were all black except for a purple sash around his waist and a green feather in his hat.
He introduced himself as Toby Rose, the Captain of the group, and the Captain of the ship that had brought the children from England. I immediately liked him.
Toby Rose spoke the old Vampire language with an English accent. The women at the castle thought he was charming. Their attentions lingered more on him that on me – which was something new for I was always the one woman kept their eyes on.
Later as we walked along the edge of the lake Toby told me he had heard my wife had left. We looked towards the castle and saw a group of women walking along the road.
“They are beautiful,” said Toby Rose.
“Yes, they are,” I replied. They were beautiful but I was not in mood for strange women.
“I love women. I love the way they feel with their warm skin, and soft lips. I love knowing how easy it is for me to please them. The are always surprised by me in the best of ways. I also love men. I do believe I love being with a man the best. I love their strong arms, and the way a man moves and smells. I love the feel of a chest covered with hair, and the brush of stubble on my neck when he kisses me.” Then he laughed a low quiet laugh. “I love to feel their stubble everywhere if you know what I mean.”
Toby Rose was quite forward. I was curious and asked him, “When did you know you desired both men and women.”
“I have always liked everyone,” he said with a laugh. “My father always told me you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. He was a wise man, my father was.”
I was somewhat surprised Toby Rose was so open with me in a time when those who expressed their sexuality so openly were often hung or burned alive. On the other hand we were Vampires, open to all desires and all ways of life. We rarely judged.
In fact, when my sister was born a cousin mocked my parents because my mother had given birth to a girl. We had no gender reveal at the time. My father became angry, pinned his cousin down and cut one of his balls off. Then he put it into a jar and placed it in my sister’s nursery.
“Now my daughter has as many balls as you do,” my father said to his cousin.
My father would do things like that. I did not tell Toby Rose about that memory.
As we walked along the riverbank we spoke of the children we had rescued. We spoke of our lives and what we wanted. Toby gave me gentle words about the departure of my cheating whore of a wife, which made me feel better.
“You hungry?” Toby Rose asked.
So we went for a hunt. After we were full of warm blood and the thrill of hunting together we joined the rest of our party along with our hosts in the castle.
Everyone spoke of Toby Rose. All of the women wanted him. All of the men wanted to be like him. He was a fierce fighter, and a lover who never shared secrets. He was a leader. He was a mentor and a teacher. Toby Rose was an amazing man and an amazing Vampire.
I noticed women, as always would look at me with longing, but they boldly approached Toby Rose to let him know that they wanted him to come to them later.
Later as I was alone in my chamber, getting ready to retire, there was a knock on my door. I opened it and let in Toby Rose, who was wearing nothing but an oversized robe.
“I want you Vlad,” Toby Rose whispered, as he put his hand on my hip and stepped close.
“Toby, I am not ready for this. I do not know if I will ever be ready,” I told him.
Toby Rose kissed my neck scraping fangs across it making me close my eyes and wonder what indeed was happening. Then Toby Rose took my hand and put it under his robe. “I’m ready. I have never been more ready.”
“Toby Rose!” I said.
Toby Rose’s robe dropped to the ground and I found out that Toby Rose was a woman.
I have to admit it was one of the best nights of my life.
That is my gender reveal story.
About a year ago I tried to find out what happened to Toby Rose. Nobody knows. She might be an old Vampire content living a quiet life. She might be dead. Or she might be locked in a crypt somewhere, a prisoner of the dark. I do not know.
My love Gillian is now sleeping in my bed as I write this. I have never told her of Toby Rose, or about any of my other lovers, nor has she told me about hers.
Even after hundreds of years some things never change. Like all self respecting Vampires we never kiss and tell.
It felt like 250°F inside because the air conditioning had gone out the day before. It was Sunday and nobody could come out and fix it until Tuesday or maybe even Wednesday.
Elizabeth looked in the closet and grabbed a blue and yellow sundress. Screw wearing any kind of bra. It was too hot for that. She slipped on a pair of black flip flops and small diamond posts. It was even too hot for dangling earrings or hoops. Earrings in this weather tended to get hot and burn her neck.
She threw some extra clothes, her laptop, the book she was reading, and whatever else she’d need for the next few days in a backpack.
In the kitchen two dogs were laying on the tile, which was still cooler than anything else in the house. Sage, an extremely large black and tan German Shepard was snoring. Jack, an old yellow Lab mix with a black tail and white feet was wagging his tail as he hoped his cuteness would bring treats.
After packing up dog bowls, toys, treats and kibble she called the dogs out to the car.
When she opened the car door the blast of hit air was like a friggin furnace. The dogs jumped in the backseat. Elizabeth turned on the air conditioner and headed out.
Damn it was hot. The radio played some Fleetwood Mac song. Damn she hated Fleetwood Mac. How could anyone listen to that crap. She flipped through the stations and got an awful live version of Jimmy Buffet singing Boat Drinks in front of an obviously stoned crowd, then she got some whiny girl singing about her boyfriend. She’d had enough with annoying female vocalists. She turned on the classical station but someone had decided it was a good day to play brass band music. It reminded her of Monty Python. Finally she stopped at Oh My My by Blue October. Finally something that she could sing along to and wouldn’t make her want to scream every cuss word she knew.
At a stop light both of the dogs started baking at a car with three barking dogs. All tails were wagging. It was just a hey hey hey we’re all riding today.
The dogs had been fed before they left but Elizabeth’s stomach growled. It was so hot lately that food wasn’t a priority and frankly it was a hassle. She’d eaten the day before when she went to her friend Jax’s house. He’d cut her hair for her and she’d had lunch there. Nine inches off. She shook her head and let the new layered bob swing against her cheeks. She loved it. It had been a long time since she’d had sort hair. This was fun and sort of messy and perfect.
Passing the cemetary Elizabeth glanced over at the crypts under the trees. Even in the shade it would be over 120 inside those things. She could almost hear bones cracking and dried flesh splitting underneath suits and lace dresses. How could anyone think Vampires lived in crypts. Not only was it too hot in the summer but there wouldn’t be anyplace to put your books or clothes, or anything else. There’d be no guarantee of any Internet connections. It would be nasty and uncomfortable even in a large family size crypt. Where did people get the ideas about Vampires living in crypts. The ghosts alone would drive anyone mad.
Arriving at her boyfriend Austin’s house Elizabeth hearded the dogs through the front door. She looked into the large family room where two college aged girls were watching a movie. Since the pandemic Austin were letting them stay there. They’d been kicked out of their campus housing. He was a professor living alone in a rambling old Arts and Crafts style house so he had room for the girls and a male graduate student.
Austin was in the kitchen cutting up vegetables.
“It is soooooo hot,” she said, kissing him. She didn’t bother with social distancing. This was a safe spot.
“Oh wow,” said Austin. “I love your hair like that.” He ran his hands through it and kissed her again.
“Thanks. Damn it is hot today. My air conditioning is out. I’ll be here a few days if you don’t mind.”
She opened the freezer and pulled out an ice tray. Then she filled a tall glass with red frozen cubes and topped it with ginger ale and rum.
“That looks disgusting,” said Austin. He let her keep frozen human blood in his freezer. When a man is in love with a Vampire he’ll let her keep just about anything in his freezer.
“It is lovely. You should try it sometime,” she said.
The dogs danced all around Austin.
“Where’d the dogs come from?”
Elizabeth smiled. “Sage and Jack. Their owner died. They’re Covid Orphans. They would have gone to a shelter so I took them. What? Don’t look at me like that. I’ve had dogs before.”
“When was the last time you had a dog?”
“I don’t know. 1937. It was 1937. I had a beautiful sweet Afghan Hound named Bosco.”
Elizabeth filled a plastic bag with ice. “I’m going up to your room for a nap. I didn’t get any sleep last night. Do you think the girls will mind if the dogs hang out with them?” She didn’t wait for an answer. Austin had said something about waking her when dinner was ready but she hardly heard him. That would be in about three hours.
Austin’s bedroom was cool and dark. She dropped her dress to the floor lay on top of the comforter with the ice under her neck.
Oh my my. She closed her eyes and slept dreaming of a good foggy beach and a warm handsome man.
I’m hosting a marathon featuring my brother Max. As you’ll see today, if you don’t already know, he has all kinds of interesting adventures with women, demons, and just about everything else. These stories are in the order in which they first appeared on Vampiremaman.com
“Oh man, I wish we could turn into bats like in the movies. That would make things a lot easier.”
Max leaned against the kitchen counter listening to his friend Pierce. It had been a rough night for the hunters of shadows – the Vampires who were dedicated to keeping their world safe for both Vampires and those they lived among.
“Do you think she’ll be alright? I didn’t say anything in the car. You know how sensitive she is.”
Max poured himself another glass of wine. “She’ll be fine, eventually. I’ve seen her through worse. Mehitabel has seen herself through worse.”
“Mehitabel won’t tell you if anything is wrong. Come on Max, she took on…” Peirce paused.
“A fallen angel. Sure, and some people call us fallen angels. They have no idea. We’re just physically different. The fallen angels are pure evil.”
“So is the poison that entered our friend, your lover.”
“We’re just friends.”
“Bullshit Max. That is total and complete bullshit.”
The sound of the shower upstairs turned off. Max put down his glass and went to check on his friend.
Mehitabel sat on his bed, her hair dark and wet around her shoulders. She wore one of his robes, a burgundy colored brushed silk.
“Hey, how do you feel,” he said stepping close putting his hand on her cool cheek.
“Not good. Sort of weird, like someone broke my heart, but I don’t know how or why or who. It wasn’t him.”
Max started to pull the robe open.
“Not tonight Max. Please I don’t want to have sex with you or anyone right now, alright.”
“Mehitabel, I don’t want to… I… just let me look.” He pulled open the robe to see the large gash going from the top of her left shoulder down her arm almost to her elbow. The ugly wound had sealed but it was far from being healed. She winced as he touched it. An ugly blackness outlined the edges of the tear.
He put his hand over the wound. At first she tried to pull away but as he whispered words in an ancient language of their people the pain started to leave her arm. Then he bent over and kissed her shoulder. The blackness turned to a pale red. “I came to give, not to take.”
Tears filled her eyes as she lay back on the bed. Max lay next to her and put his arms around her. “Sleep. It is the best thing you can do. I’ll be up later. Nothing can hurt you here, not while Pierce and I are with you.”
Downstairs Pierce had turned on the TV. “Giants lost today but the Warriors are winning. How is she?”
“Not good. I’m going to sleep with her tonight. Just sleep and be there.”
Max and Pierce stayed up to watch the rest of the game to get their minds off of the past 48 hours.
Mehitabel lay in bed, her fangs ready as she looked out at the creature standing on the window ledge. “You cannot hurt me here. You cannot have me.”
It looked like a man, but she could see the flicker of the forked tail in the dark and the fold of leathery wings above his shoulders.
He smiled an angelic smile of pure bliss and beauty, then mouthed the words, “You’re mine. You. Are. Mine.”
At the sound of the door opening the dark being vanished. Max crawled under the covers bedside her. “Just because, just because we’re the way we are, and because I can’t… it doesn’t mean I don’t love you.”
She didn’t respond. She was too busy watching and waiting as she looked into the darkness outside the window.