Desert Winds

On the edge of the Sandia Mountains, My friends Amelia her husband Raul and I drove down the gravel road to the home of Ximena, an ancient woman who mostly lived in solitude with the company of the birds and the wind.

Ximena’s home was a large old adobe structure rimmed with bells and bushes of purple flowers. She greeted us at the door, as always wearing a long colorful skirt. Her black hair flowed down her back almost to her knees. Dark eyes smiled at us in a welcome greeting, as did her fangs. She is almost as ancient as Tellias and Eleora, and like them Ximena looks like a young college girl.

We came into the main room. Walls lined with books and crystals flanked part of the room with windows on the other side looking towards the mountains. We could smell the dried chiles rastas hanging in the kitchen. A red shouldered hawk perched on a wooden chair. It called out when it saw us.

“Maria, you still sing so sweetly,” I said to the bird. She gave me a cold stair then allowed me to pet her feathered head.

Maria the hawk had been around since I was a young woman, more than a hundred years. I wondered at times how she could live so long, then I stopped wondering and chalked it up to magic, love or pure mystery. It is what it is. That is how things work here in the land of magic.

A youngish man with dark hair and eyes like Ximena, but pale skin, came into the room. He was introduced to us as Kyle. But he wasn’t like us. I could feel his warmth as soon as he walked into the room.

Kyle was a man of many talents. He was a photographer, a teacher, a writer, an engineer and apparently a lover. After talking over wine and a light diner we also discovered Ximena’s young friend was also extremely opened minded.

He was also a young widow. One night left him alone with his dreams dead, but he kept going and kept at least a portion of the dreams and spark alive.

While Raul, Amelia and Ximena went to a back room to examine some old maps or something, Kyle and I went out to the porch. Bats flew about as the sounds of the bells filled the air.

Kyle asks me about my husband Teddy. I smiled shyly and told him how we’d met as kids and fallen in love a hundred years later. I think I’d always been in love with my husband on some level.

Then Kyle spoke of his lost love. “After Kayla, my wife, passed away everyone kept asking me if I’d go back. Over and over they’d ask the old what if question. You know, you can’t go back. I can’t bring her back. I will never forget her. She is part of me, but I live in the world of the living.”

“No ghost?” I had to ask (always thinking of obnoxious Nigel)

“Only a Vampire in the Southwest would ask that,” Kyle answered with a knowing smile.

“A Vampire anywhere would ask that. Don’t get me started on the ghosts I see all the time.”

“No ghost. Kayla moved on the night she died. That is a good thing.”

“Yes it is. You’re a wise man with a loving heart. In some circles that is a rare thing.”

He leaned against the rail. “I don’t know you except by reputation but I want to ask you a few thing, or at least see how you feel about a few things.”

“Okay,” I said.

“I’m in love with Ximena. I know what she is. I know how old she is. It doesn’t matter.”

I shrugged and laughed. “My 500 or so year old Grandmama is in love with a 35 year old. What are you, about 38?”

He smiled. I was correct. He was 38 and absolutely a delight – young, yet years ahead of most men his age.

“Dear Kyle, you also want me to tell you if I think it would be wise if you became a Vampire? Right?”

He smiled an uncomfortable hot blooded smile.

I said to him, “Kyle, you are in love with the cold wind under the moon and the sprint of night. She is an amazing being. I’ve always admired her. If you feel you can make a life out here with her then do it. But don’t lose yourself in her. Always be who you are, even after you become a Vampire. That is the only way it will work. If you try to be too much like her she will leave you, because she fell in love with you, not with herself.”

Raul and Ximena came out to join us with wine for Ryan and spiced blood for the rest of us.

Ximena whistled and Maria the red shouldered hawk came and landed on a table next to her hand. Ximena gave the bird a piece of meat she took from a bag in her pocket.

Into the night we talked until the sun came up and created unbelievably beautiful light and shadows on the mountains.

I could hear the wind whispering to the lovers:

The light

in dark eyes

promises kept

forever and

again

in our hearts

we love

we laugh

and we learn

to do it 

all

over 

again.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Bad Dogs

A few nights ago…

I was camping in the Arizona desert with a few friends under the dark sky with stars unlike what we see at home.

Sleep, as always, was somewhere else. I always figure Sleep is hanging out at a bar somewhere flirting with a beautiful blonde and not thinking of me. He doesn’t care.

But, that said, for a few fleeting moments I fell into a slumber. I dreamed of two men with long brooms sweeping in a world made of blue light. Then the blue changed to black and white, like a vintage cartoon, and I watched a small naked man climb on rocks. He turned from a cave man type character to a Japanese man, then he morphed into a wolf.

I woke and went outside under the stars. In the distance someone was setting off bottle rockets of green and red. If I’d been at home I would have been in fear of fire but not here.

Walking away from the tents I stood listening to the sounds of the night. I could hear trains in the distance and the sound of the wind in the trees.

Four figures approached me from out of almost nowhere.

Oh crap. Werewolves.

Half human, half wolf, they circled me with low growls, showing huge teeth.

“Hey, guys, what’s up?” I said that to them trying to be cool and defuse any potential trouble.

“Vampire you are not wanted here,” growled one of the Werewolves. The voice was hardly human.

“You will be our feast tonight,” said another.

“Really? Stop the dramatics. You have to know Vampires are not worth the effort. If you kill me there is a 80% chance I’ll turn to dust. If I don’t turn to dust I won’t taste good. I haven’t fed on prey in a couple of days so I’m going to be kind of dry. Plus I’m tired and cranky which will add a bitter taste to my flesh like you can’t even imagine.”

The largest wolf man, obviously the leader growled out a response. “We will eat you alive. First we will eat your limbs, then rip open your belly and eat all but your heart, then we will eat off your face. And last we will eat your beating heart before it turns to dust.”

“Right now my heart isn’t beating much… but listen guys, my friends at home raise their own sheep. They have freezers full of good stuff for those night time cravings. There is no reason for this kind of behavior. I mean, can’t you go find some rattlesnakes or something?”

They didn’t back down. I showed them my fangs. The group backed off. I was no longer a woman in jeans, a tank top and flip flops, but a powerful force to be reckoned with. You know, I was just being myself.

And I don’t know why, but I yelled, “BAD DOG.”

All the sudden them all stopped and put back their ears. Their tails tucked. They whimpered and backed off.

“BAD DOG,” I yelled again. Pulling together all of my energy I put feelings of guilt into their canine filled heads. I channeled my own dog (the best dog in the world.) My dog is the Queen of Guild. We never dare say “bad dog” to her.

The Werewolves, uprighted themselves and morphed before my eyes back into humans. Yes, it is an ugly disgusting process. If you ever have to make the choice between becoming a Werewolf or a Vampire, pick the Vampire.

They stood like guilty children. Then they walked away, naked, into the night.

Well, that was exceptionally weird.

Now I’m home. Home sweet home. I’m still recovering from some road born bad blood illness. Exhausted from 24/7 activity and driving. Popular culture is wrong – Vampires DO get tired.

I hear my teenage children moving upstairs. They sleep so much. And I think of future posts for this blog. And drink coffee. Lots of coffee.

I’ll have to call my friend Adam the Werewolf and see what he thinks of my desert friends.

Oh well.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman