Personal hygiene, Vampire Hunters and Real Friends…and don’t forget the Marx Brothers

Vlad was supposed to come through with a Vampire Diary post today but I couldn’t find him. I’m sure he forgot to charge his phone or got lost somewhere. So anyway, I’m posting this fine tale (and it is ALL TRUE) from 2013.

Personal hygiene, Vampire Hunters and Real Friends…and don’t forget the Marx Brothers

The other day I picked up my kids, then had to stop by my warehouse to pick up some paperwork. 13 year old Clara was talking with her 16 year old brother Garrett (recently ungrounded) about donors. Clara has just recently started taking live donations. Oh yes, and for those of you who aren’t from our community, and new to this blog – we’re Vampires. Modern Vampires. Forget the nasty black capes, the sleeping in coffins, the ripping out of hearts…we don’t do that. We’re just like you…well, maybe a little older, a little colder and a little more forgiving of those who are “different”.

So Garret was telling his sister “If you get greedy and take in too much blood from a donor all at once you get blood breath”.

Clara squinted up her eyes and nose. “What it smells like copper or something?”

“No”, said Garrett, ” it smells like rotting flesh. It’s gross.”

I had to add in “And if you’re not neat your entire house smells like a stockyard.”

“What’s a stock yard?” asked Clara. Which surprised me, but then again, she has no reason to know about stockyards.

“Mom means a slaughter-house. That’s where cows are killed and butchered,” Garrett told his sister.

“Gross.”

“Not to mention the farts.” Garrett had to mention the farts. What is it about boys and farts?

Clara looked at me in disgust. “Mom. Farts? Really?”

I shrugged and smiled, “Nothing worse than being in your most elegant evening gown, fresh from a kill at some grand party and then rip a big one that the entire party can hear. And if you think it is loud just imagine the smell. Like death warmed over.”

“Rotted flesh on a hot summer day, swarming maggots, skin slipping off of bones” added Garrett.

Clara covered her ears. “Stop it. You two are so disgusting.”

“Just trying to get a point across,” I told her.

“I get it,” said my daughter.

“Good hygiene is a key to survival with Vampires.” I added as we came to the end of the long hallway in the Victorian era building and I took out my key to the last door.

“Juliette.” I heard a voice behind me and turned around. It was Jack, my attorney and very human friend.  “I saw the light and thought I’d drop off this paperwork to you.” He greeted the kids and we had some nice small talk. Jack has been a family friend for years, and his kids go to school with my kids. We’re all good. And as long as he doesn’t figure out we’re Vampires it will remain good.

We’re getting ready to leave, talking about maybe a trip to the snow park or maybe the movies (none of us have seen Lincoln yet) when we hear someone else in the warehouse. My senses perk up. The kids can sense something. I feel protective over Jack all of the sudden and even more protective over my two children.

A the end of the hall are three figures all in black.

“I’m sorry, it’s after business hours. You’re going to have to leave.”

They continued forward. I recognized one of them. “Bryan?” I said. My past won’t stop haunting me. Bryan Gould, still handsome but 30 years older than the 24 year old I knew back then,

“Juliette.”” He said this with a deep breath voice that caught even me off guard.

“The Vampires have brought children with them. We’ve caught them feeding?”  Said a woman dressed in head to toe black like she is trying to chanel Emma Peal from the Avengers.

“Oh for Pete’s sake. What are you doing here and why did you bring your crazy girlfriend?” I asked Bryan in a deadpan voice.

“You know why Juliette.” He said

“No, I don’t. Honestly after all this time you’d think I’d get a hello how are you after all this time and considering our past history.” This blog is rated PG-13 so I won’t go into that.

“You drank my blood,” Bryan said.

“Leave now or I’m calling 911.” Said Jack. My dear friend Jack.

I now recognized the three in black, including my old friend as Vampire Hunters. Pretty piss poor Vampire hunters but often they’re the most dangerous. Yes, I could read their minds and they were dressed in black with knives and crucifixes and I’m sure they’d all eaten garlic etc etc etc. Idiots.

“They’re idiots Jack.” I turned to Bryan.

“You need to go, NOW.” I was pretty pissed off by now.

“Give me the children,” Bryan yelled at me.

“Put one hand on my kids and I will fucking rip your heart out of your chest.” It was on. I wasn’t taking any crap from him.

Needless to say my kids looked shocked and so did Jack.

Bryan raised a gun at me.

“Don’t hurt my mom.” Yelled Garrett showing his fangs.

“You turned them into Vampires.” Screamed the woman in black.

“They were born that way. And you know what? There is NOTHING wrong with who they are or what they are. What the hell is wrong with you people?” I wasn’t yelling but I was cold and clear.

Poor Jack. I wanted to keep him in the dark but I had to protect him and my children. I stood my ground. “Bryan, we had a lot of good times. It was fun. I wanted to keep those memories good for both of us.”

“Too late Juliette.” My former friend still pointed the gun at me.

“Fine, have it your way.” I walked close to him motioning for my kids and Jack to stay back. Jack started to come forward. “Stay where you are Jack. I’ve got this.”

Byan’s friends came closer. I snarled at them, fangs and all. The jumped back. Then I looked at Bryan and pulled his free will right out of his brain. He dropped the gun then sank to the floor. I took a breath then turned on the others. The man started to run and then fell screaming holding his head. I walked up to the woman. She was breathing hard. I put my hands on her shoulders and got close to her face “You can’t mess with a Vampire if you have evil in your heart. Bother me or any of my friends or family again and I will eat your soul.” She tried to push me away and I kept her frozen, unable to move.

Yes, but what about Jack. Poor Jack.

“Jack, I didn’t want to tell you this, but we’re Vampires. All of us.” I told him. I finally told him my secret. Damn, I hate it when I have to do that.

“I thought…there is no such thing as Vampires.” Jack looked at me all shocked and confused (I mean, wouldn’t you be shocked and confused if this happened to you?)

“There are Werewolves too.” Said a deep voice. There at the door was my friend Adam, the Werewolf, and best photographer in Northern California.  “I heard Bryan was on his way over. I tried to stop them. I swear I had no idea what he’d gotten himself messed up with.

“What the Hell happened here?” Said a voice I didn’t know. Behind Adam was a small woman in a really cute tweed coat and flaming red (natural color too) hair. “Oh, Juliette, Clara, Garrett, Jack, I’d like to introduce you to my girlfriend Brandy.”

Poor Jack was totally confused by then. He knew Adam. They’d known each other since high school and both went to UCLA together (Adam in Art, Jack in Political Science and Law) and ended back up in their hometown.

“Adam?” Jack stared at his old  friend in shock.

I walked up to Adam. “Do you think you can talk any sense into Bryan or am I going to have to mess with his mind. I’d rather not, but I’m not taking any chances with my kids or Jack.” I turned to Jack. “Jack, I hate for you to have to deal with this but there is a whole big world out there you know nothing about.”

Jack looked at me, still in shock “You’re telling me there are really Vampires?”

Adam answered him. “Yes and I’m a Werewolf, so is Brandy. But don’t flip out on me friend. We’re cool. We don’t hurt people. In fact we help more people than we ever hurt in the past. We’ve got a bad rap.”

“You said you’d rip his heart out?” Jack motioned to the Vampire Hunters on the ground.

I answered him gently. “If he’d touched any of you I would have, but it was mostly a bluff. You know the mother wolf in me, no offense Adam.”

“None taken.” Said the Werewolf.

“Mom”, said Clara “What are you going to do with these people?”

I really didn’t want to tell her what I should do with them. In the old days I wouldn’t have thought twice of draining every drop of blood in their bodies and ripping their hearts out but I just don’t like doing that sort of thing anymore. I never liked it. But then again, I never had children before either. I didn’t want these goons or their leaders to come after them again.

Then I noticed she had been crying. That was it. Nobody makes my child cry.

Garrett spoke up. “It’s like that movie Shallow Grave.”

“When did you see that?” I asked surprised even for a Vampire mom. He wasn’t supposed to see that one yet.

“With Dad.” Said my son.

What goes on when I’m not home I’ll never know.

Jack seemed to be in shock. I’d have to calm him down. Adam and Brandy looked at the Vampire hunters in disgust. They could have well be Werewolf hunters. The door opened again. Who was it this time? I hoped not the police.

There were the elder Vampires Tellias and Eleora . He was dressed in a long black coat, an old fashioned tuxedo shirt and red pants. His pale blonde hair was tied back in a black ribbon. She wore a red mini skirt, high black rubber rain boots and a red coat with huge shoulder pads with a large white fake fur collar. Her red lipstick had sort of a weird uneven outline like one of the girls from Terry and the Pirates. Both had goggles around their necks and snorkels. They were both wearing straw hats, the kind people wear out gardening.

They came in and fussed about in their usual manner, showering my children and I with hugs and kisses. They were so lovely and frail, almost more like Fairies than Vampires.

“What are the goggles for?” I asked.

“We were going to go swimming in the river,” said Tellias.

“That’s nuts” said Jack “you’ll drown. The currents are too strong and the water is too cold this time of year.”

“We won’t die,” said Tellias in almost a whisper.

“We’re undead.” Elora told Jack in a whisper and tone that matched Tellias.

“So Vampires are dead”, Jack asked looking straight at me.

“No, we’re very much alive, meaning we’re undead,” I answered in all truth.

“You’re soulless gouls,” Jack gasped.

“We have souls only unlike you our souls belong to us and us alone.” I tried to get him to understand.

“So my soul isn’t mine?” Jack asked now clearly confused beyond return.

I took a deep breath. “Jack, your soul is yours and you can do what you want with it including selling it. Vampires can’t sell their souls, not to anyone. Needless to say unlike humans we’re impervious to the forces of evil. Of course we can be tempted and we do bad things, but we can’t sell our souls to control fate or whatever.  In turn angels and the like ignore us but it is what it is. They’re the ones missing out if they don’t get to know us.”

The oddly dressed elder Vampires studied over the prone figures in black.

“They’re bad people.” Eleora said as she stepped around them making a circle.

“Bad indeed,” said Tellias.

“Indeed,” said Eleora.

“Who are they? They can’t be over 21.” Jack gasped looking from them to me.

“They’re elders. They’re over 2000 years old.” I answered.

“We were born in BC.” Tellias said stepping towards Jack.

Eleora took Jack’s hand. “Not Canada, Before Christ. A long long time ago.”

Tellias ecoed, “a really long time ago.”

“We just look young,” said Eleora.

“We’ve been around a long long time,” said Tellias.

Jack pulled his hand from Eleora. “How old are you? Juliette?”

“Jack,  you don’t need to know.” He really didn’t.

“Juliette, tell me. Please.” He was begging now, well almost.

I took a deep breath. “I’m 153. Teddy is 163. We’re young as Vampires go.”

“We’re going swimming,” said Eleora.

“And we’re good swimmers and we can see under water” said Tellias.

“We’re very good swimmers,” sad Eleora.

“Yes, very good,” said Tellias.

“Do you have your suits with you?” Garrett asked this question.

“We’re going to go naked,” said Eleora.

“Completely naked,” chimed in Tellias.

I do love my old Vampires. They’re sort of odd, well, sort of is an understatement, but I love them.

 

“So what are we going to do with these three?” Asked Adam.

“We’ll deal with them Werewolf. Don’t worry about a thing. We’ll wipe their memories clean and send them on their merry way,” Tellias said with a lovely white Vampire smile.

“We’ll deal with them.” Eleora said as she kissed Adam on the cheek. Adam smiled then looked slightly uncomfortable at being approached by a Vampire so ancient.

Bryan groaned. Brandy nudged him with her foot. “Shut up or I’ll rip your throat out,” she growled at him.

I wanted to tell her “Good Dog” but stopped myself.

Then the door opened again. In walked a couple dressed in skinny jeans and stylish jackets and of course scarves. One must have  a scarf these days.

The Elders danced over to them and embraced and introduced their friends. Poor Jack was ready to pass out at this point with all the weirdness.

The elders introduced their friends. LeRoy and Jasmine were young and hip.

“We saw your car and thought we’d drop in,” said Jasmine.

“Are you Vampires too?” asked Jack.

“We’re vegans. But we’re cool if you’re a vampire. If you’re born a predator it’s your nature. That’s just the way you are and we accept that. I mean, like, my cat eats meat,” LeRoy answered.

This was starting to remind me of that scene in Night at The Opera (Marx Brothers) when about 100 people crowded into a closet size state room, then someone opened the door. You know what happened. If you don’t see the clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZvugebaT6Q

The Elder Vampires, LeRoy and Jasmine removed the bad people in black. Adam and I made a list of 100 people we needed to track down and find out what happened (or it seemed like 100). He and Brandy also helped me explain to my kids just what happened. We’d talk more on the way home and I’m sure for the coming weeks. Of course I know my children won’t talk about this except maybe to their Vampire friends. Everyone who needs to be informed will be.

Then there was Jack. He was shocked to know that his wife had known we were Vampires for years. She thought it was exciting. Jack still needed convincing. But I let him know that he was always safe and protected as long as he was my friend, which would be for always. That is how Vampires are. Once a friend, always a friend.

So the moral of this story is that you just have to roll with things but first and foremost:

  • Protect your children at all costs.
  • Surround yourself with friends you trust.
  • Keep those friendships strong.
  • Keep your elders in your life.
  • Don’t judge your friends by their eating habits.
  • Don’t put up with jerks.
  • Always bring a towel along if you’re going swimming (well, ok, according to Hitchhikers Guide always have a towel.)
  • And if you haven’t seen them already, make sure you see “A Night At The Opera” and “Duck Soup”. Marx Brothers. Don’t worry, they aren’t communists.

That’s it for now.

Wait… ONE MORE THING…WASH YOUR HANDS.

Have a great week and watch out for Vampire Hunters.

~  Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Community

Community

Alexis was fortunate to have the acceptance and support from her family and community.

She was much taller than most women. She’d had laser hair removal and surgery to soften her face. To soften her voice she’d taken voice lessons, including music lessons from a well known opera coach. She’d taken ballet lessons to help her become more graceful. Since her feet were exceptionally large she had custom made flip flops that she wore rain or shine.

Life was good for Alexis who’d become a best selling romance author, and outdoor wilderness guide.

Today she drove up I-5 towards her small home community in California’s remote Trinity Alps. The Escalade was packed with hard to obtain supplies: a solar generator, books, pens, paper, Simple Green, apples, silver polish, matches, half a dozen burner phones, and fifty tooth brushes among other things.

Her Uncle Dave had been the first to leave the community. A few others followed. It was never easy but the rewards were great for those who no longer wanted to live remotely in the mountains.

She’d be bringing her young cousin Trent back with her. He’d been accepted to UC Irvine in the fall. Trent would live with her first for a few months and learn how to live among those who were so different from them. She’d transform him into a hip and modern young man.

After a thirty mile drive down a rough dirt road Alexis stopped and got out of her car. She stretched her legs and took a deep breath of the clean cold mountain air. Then she let out a long mournful howl.

First she could smell them then out into the clearing they came. It was good to see so many of her family and friends.

No matter where she went she knew she’d always be at home with her Bigfoot family.

~ End

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Taking Care of Our Elders: Cleopatra

Taking Care of Our Elders Marathon

Our elder folks are our treasures. We should all love and take care of those we have, both family and elderly friends who often have no family near. You’re never too old for love, or friends or living life.

From 2017

Cleopatra

“Come quick, come quick,” whispered the voice on my phone.

“What is it? Tell me,” I said trying to get information.

“I can’t find her. Come quick.” The caller hung up.

I was in the park, walking an unruly 12 month old German Shepard. The dog was pulling all over the place. My big pouch of a purse was flipped in front of me making me feel like a contestant on Naked and Afraid (except with clothes.) While my 85 pound girl-dog pup took every opportunity to cover herself with mud, I juggled my phone, the leash, my coffee, and my sanity.

I had texts from my 20-year-old son about his anger over environmental issues. Another text came from my 17-year-old daughter asking if I’d throw some stuff in the wash for her.

When I arrived home the dog walked to the middle of the street and waited? For what? A white van came down the street (a narrow private road with seven houses.) I gently guided Alice the dog to the driveway. The van was from Apple Maps. So next time anyone looks up my street they’ll see a large black German Shepard standing in the middle of the road. Sigh.

After gathering together a few things I drove to the farm by the river where Tellias and Eleora, the ancient ones live. Tellias was waiting for me on the front porch of the Queen Ann style mansion. He wore overalls, a white old fashioned tuxedo shirt, and had put his pale blonde hair up in a man-bun held in place with a couple of No. 2 pencils. As always he wore yellow flip flops.

Tellias took my hands and kissed my cheeks and forehead. His pretty face looks all of nineteen but Tellias is over 2,000 years old. He only looks young.

“I’ve lost her Juliette. I looked all over and I can’t find her,” he told me.

“When did you last see her?” I asked.

“I fell asleep, and when I woke she was gone. Her favorite bag is still here so I know she didn’t run off with another man.”

“Eleora would never run off with another man. Think where she could be. Did she take the car?”

“The cars and truck are here. But he could have picked her up…”

“Stop,” I told him. “No more crazy talk about imaginary lovers. Did you check the basement and all of the out buildings?”

He scowled. “Of course I did. But… she talked about going swimming. The river…”

I drove the truck along the levee as Tellias called out for Eleora.

The song Cleopatra by the Lumineers was on the radio.

Tellias hummed along, then he stopped and just listened. When it was over he looked at me as if he was going to cry. “Juliette,” he said, “that is the saddest song I’ve ever heard.”

“Do you want me to turn it off?” I asked. He didn’t answer and called out the window again.

I saw egrets and hawks fly over the water. My stomach started to cramp up with the thought of Eleora being trapped somewhere in the currents.

“I knew her,” said Tellias.

“Knew who?” I asked.

“Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. I knew her when I was young. I mean young in the same way that you’re young.”

“You knew Cleopatra?”

“Yes, I just said that. It was when I was traveling with Mark Antony, not the singer, but the Roman General. Mark told her that I couldn’t die. She wanted him to prove it. He refused. It was all rather odd, but after that we were great friends, or so they thought,” Tellias told me. “Cleopatra was lovely in a strange sort of way, but I was done with it. It was at that point where I was tired of being the magical pretty boy with skin like ice, and the power to drain a man of his blood, or whatever. I was tired of reading minds and being shown off. She thought if I drank her blood it would give her mystical powers. I told her no. I was tired of it. Tired in sort of the same way I’m tired now. Where is she? There’s a turn around by the old slough, remember you used to go there when you were a child with your brothers. You would play pretend adventures for hours.”

I kept driving and Tellias kept talking.

“I went back to Britain where I’d left Eleora. We were both alone, children of the shadows who danced in both light and dark, without parents, or allegiance to anyone. There were groups of Vampires with Kings, and masters, but Eleora’s spirit was too free to be part of some Vampire court. She wasn’t one to follow rules or bow down to anyone. Some tried over the years but nobody could capture her spirit. We were the first Modern Vampires before the word modern even existed. We were the first. Now we’re just a couple of old fools.”

“You’re not an old fool,” I said.

He rolled his eyes at me. Then he said, “Turn left. I see her.”

Eleora sat on a log overlooking a pond, in a foggy field that was what remained of a long dead pear orchard. She turned and waved. She looked like any other young woman in a short leather skirt, tights, and a black lace bra. Her wet hair fell in loose curls down her back.

Tellias ran to her and held her in his arms, and covered her with kisses.

She’d gone for a walk and left her phone at home. Then she went for a swim and forgot to put her shirt back on. Then she sat and thought about everything she’d done over the centuries. She tried to remember her parents but nothing came into her head. She didn’t remember her brothers or sisters, but she thought she might have some. She wondered if they were still alive. She thought about the days when she and Tellias had great parties at their now silent home. She sat and thought about things and forgot that six hours had passed.

We took her home. Tellias got her cleaned up while I made warm mulled blood with wine and orange peel.

“We’re very old. Very very old,” said Tellias as he walked me to the door.

“Then I will love you all the more,” I said. “You’re not going anywhere. Not you. Not Eleora.”

“I don’t plan on it,” he said and gave me a kiss, and an ice cold hug. Then I drove through the fog, back to my own house, and my large black dog.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Taking Care of Our Elders: Keeping the Fires Alive in Our Cold Vampire Hearts

Taking Care of Our Elders Marathon. More about Eleora, Tellias, and my idiot brother.
From 2014

Keeping the Fires Alive in Our Cold Vampire Hearts

I walked into her bedroom. I’d never met the woman. I’d heard of her, but the details are always the same. She is pretty and smart and fun thirty something woman and not interested in a serious relationship. Perfect for my brother. By the way, my brother is a Vampire. So am I. But you already knew that.

They were on the bed but nothing had happened yet. Her shirt was off. So was his, along with his belt and the top button of his jeans was undone. His mouth was on her neck.

“Val. Valentine you need to come with me.” I almost growled it out. The woman screamed. I thought her name is Courtney but I could have been wrong. It didn’t matter. She screamed again. Val’s eyes glowed red at me.

“Stop with the eye glow. We have to go. Family emergency. Now.”

“Courtney, darling, I’m so sorry. I have to go with my sister,” he said, giving his lady friend a kiss and grabbing his shirt and belt. She covered her chest and stared at me, then looked at Val, then looked back at me. You can tell we’re related. There is a very strong family resemblance. I could see the bite marks on her neck. He’d be back. Val almost always goes back, especially to one this lovely. Plus he owed her some future sweet dreams for my barging into her bedroom. On the good side, in the morning she’ll forget any of this happened. That is one advantage of being a Vampire – we can make them forget.

An hour earlier I’d received a call. “Come now, come now.” The quiet voice almost hissed in my ear. Dealing with the elderly can be both rewarding and heart breaking and sometimes it just pisses me off because I’m the one… I love them, but sometimes it would be nice if I had some help.

“I thought you were staying with them,” I snapped at my brother.

“I can’t be there 24/7. I needed a break. I need my own space sometimes.”

“We saw Wicked tonight. A nice family outing. Why is it that every time I go to the theater or on vacation or have something nice planned someone calls me with an emergency. It could be our parents or Andy or the Elders or… all I ask for is one night. Just one.”

Val mumbled something but I just cranked up the radio.

Old Tellias met us at the door of the Queen Anne style farm-house. His pale hair was around his shoulders making him looking more like a Victorian Angel rather than a Vampire. He wore an open tuxedo shirt and jeans like some college student trying to make a fashion statement. It was just the way he dressed, like he had his eyes closed.

“She isn’t well. She isn’t well at all,” he said in a paper thin whisper.

Eleora was not well. They’d been together for 2,000 years and even now as they slowed down their love  stayed strong. Anyone that old is bound to be fragile and that is exactly what these two are.

Eleora was on the fainting couch wearing a flowered sundress and an old stretched out sweater. Her long dark curls were dull and hanging limp in the heat about her shoulders.

To anyone else she’d be a young woman of maybe 19 or 20. My head spun. Eleora was at least 2,500 years old if not more. We knew Tellias was born before the birth of Christ, but not too long before.

It didn’t matter. She lay still as death wrapped in an old sweater and covered in a quilt, not breathing, or making her heart pump. She wasn’t dead but she wasn’t alive. She just was.

“When was the last time she ate anything?”

Tellias gave me a guilty look. “Maybe last week.”

“Why didn’t you call me or at least called John next door. We could have brought you something. Have you been out of the house at all?”

He shook his head. “We lost the car keys.” Again. They were always misplacing their car keys. Any spares were long gone. “I didn’t want to bother anyone.” he added.  “You’re all so busy.”

It is frustrating to see that pretty face of his and know that the brain behind it isn’t working at full capacity. Maybe it isn’t his brain. Maybe his spirit is just tired.

I reached up to the top of a bookshelf where he kept spare keys in a box. I dragged my brother out to the barn. The old 1955 Ford truck was still out there. After charging the battery (thank goodness for jumper cables) I got it started.

Tellias stood in the barn doorway not saying a word. This Vampire who once took charge of every situation was now so helpless and confused. I still admired him. Unfortunately it wasn’t a night to express those thoughts.

When I returned to the house Eleora was sitting up. I sat next to her and took her cold hand. She curled her fingers around mine.

“Nobody needs us anymore. Most of our close friends are gone.”

It broke my heart to hear her say that. “Oh Eleora, dear Eleora, don’t talk like that.”

“Ginger died.”

I didn’t expect that. Ginger was their old dog, a large yellow lab mix who’d shown up about 10 years ago. Everyone loved Ginger, but nobody more than Eleora and Tellias.

“When? Why didn’t you call me?” I asked still in shock.

“She wouldn’t get up.” said Tellias. “Her legs wouldn’t move.”

“We sat with her all night,” said Eleora.

“All night, until she stopped wagging her tail,” said Tellias.

“Until her heart stopped,” said Eleora.

“Then she was gone,” said Tellias.

“She died.” said Eleora.

“Ginger went to where all good dogs go,” said Tellias.

“Ginger was a good dog,” said Eleora. “A good good dog.”

The old dog seemed fine last time I was over, but that was two weeks ago. Tellias buried her in the orchard under the walnut trees.

That is why Eleora was so sad and out of sorts. Her dear dog friend was gone. It always amazes me how much love dogs and cats have and how their loss is so heavy on our hearts.

Eleora squeezed my hand.  “Tellias shouldn’t be so worried about me. He worries too much. He worries all the time. He worries. It is what he does. I’m glad you’re here. I loved that dog.”

“So did I,” I said trying to blink away the tears. Even Vampires have tears for dogs they love.

Eleora put her hands on my face and kissed me on the forehead and wiped my eyes. “You’ll be fine dear Juliette.  I am glad you’re here. I miss Valentine being around. He had to go to the city he said. Not where you live. He went to the big city. But he said he’d be back all summer. All summer long.”

Val had vanished. I eventually found him in the upstairs bathroom throwing up blood (not his own of course.)  His skin had taken on sort of a greenish tint, which brought me back to Wicked. Anyway, he wasn’t well.

“I don’t know what is wrong with me,” he said, looking as dead as a Vampire can look.

As soon as I entered the room I could tell by the smell what was going on. “Courtney is pregnant.”

Yes, one thing that makes a Vampire male sicker than a dog is blood from a pregnant woman. A look of surprise came over his face. No of course he isn’t the father. He couldn’t be. It turned out she had an on again off again boyfriend of three years. So much for that. I’ll make sure Val gets her a nice gift for the baby – a crib or a rocking chair or a nice fat savings bond.

Val gave me one of his looks. It is kind of a scowl with a bit of fang. “What are we doing? I mean what are we really doing Juliette? We used to travel the world and have grand wild adventures. We were the Vampires of lore. We ruled our world.”

“We were out of control idiots. Remember?”

“But what about now?”

“We’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing. We’re taking care of each other. You never asked me how Wicked was?”

Val put his arm around my shoulder. “How was Wicked dear sister?”

“Amazing! It was so much fun.”

We talked for a bit more until Tellias came up to see what we were up to. I called Pete at the Bottle & Blood store and ordered a delivery of a couple of cases of mixed blood to be delivered to the farm that night.

So where are we?

I guess we’re here we’re supposed to be. We’re where we are right now. We’re keeping the fires alive in our cold Vampire hearts and souls. I guess we can’t ask for anymore than that.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Taking Care of Our Elders: Delivered to Your Door

Taking Care of Our Elders Marathon. You might be able to relate.

From 2013

Delivered to your door…

I looked at the muscular, almost beautiful, naked body on the bed and the folded up sheriffs’ uniform on the chair. The badge seemed to sparkle saying “look at me, look at me.” A white and pink orchid flower was behind his ear.

Holy crap, this wasn’t how I’d planned on starting out my week.

I was three years old and he someone throwing me up in the air and I laughed so hard I could hardly breathe.

His hands are warm and I cling to him to put my ear next to his chest and hear his heart. I hold him tight feeling the heat radiate from his body. I keep laughing. He is so different from everyone else I know.

Thirteen years later, he takes my hands, I laugh. Then my best girlfriend says “He’ll marry me and I’ll be his wife forever.” No way would she get the most handsome man in the world to marry her. I laughed in her face and everyone yelled Happy New Year. Someone lit up lights to spell out 1865. We were in California and in love with men we have silly school girl crushes on. Who cared about the war? We were safe.

I woke in a cold sweat, on the back deck, my book on the ground, the cat staring at me. I heard my son’s voice.

“Mom, Uncle Val is on the phone.” My son Garrett stood at the sliding glass door holding my phone out at arms length.

My brother Valentine, 13 months my senior said I have to come right now. It was an emergency. Nobody else could come. None of our three older brothers could make it. Everyone else had suddenly vanished off the face of the earth.

I arrived at the farm house, my two teens in tow, slamming the door as hard as I could when I got out of the car.

I’m usually pretty calm but I lit into my brother when I saw him walking towards us. “Nobody ever consults with me. I’m the one with the kids and the husband and my own business. I’m on fucking call 24/7 for everyone in this family and nobody ever asks me what I want or need. Nobody.”

“Are you done?” Val asked this in an uncharacteristically sarcastic tone.

“No. What is going on?”

My brother scowled at me and shook his head. “Why are you yelling?”

I went into the house leaving him in the yard. I could hear my son saying “Bad day to mess with my mom.”

Dealing with the sick and elderly is something we do. We do it for love or obligation or family bonds or whatever the reason it is usually on autopilot fueled by guilt and frustration. I’m so saint but sometimes I want to play that saint card so much it hurts.

Eleora stood at the door in a yellow bikini top and a tie-dye skirt, her brown curls done up in red bows. She fluttered around then kissed me on each cheek. Tellias gave me a big hug. He was wearing a green shirt with yellow parrots embroidered on the back. A patch on the front said Dave in large script letters. His white blonde hair was pulled back with a green ribbon.

They look like they’re 19 or 20 years old but they’re ancient – two of the most ancient Vampires known. They were pioneers and founders of the Modern Vampire movement. It is hard to see them like this. It literally breaks my heart.

Steel guitars were hissing away on a scratched up old record playing on a wind up phonograph in the corner.

“We can’t find the car keys,” said Tellias.

“We’re being tropical tonight,” said Eleora as she danced around and put an orchid flower behind my ear.

I was ready to scream. “Again? Where did you last have them?” I asked slowly and calmly.

“If we knew that we’d be driving,” said Tellias, as he took the ribbon out of his hair and shook it out on his shoulders.

“We’d take a road trip to Montana and Maine and Michigan and Maui!” Eleora sang as she danced around again.

“How long have the keys been gone?” I asked.

“Two or three weeks. Val won’t let us use his car,” Tellias said.

“He says we drive too creatively,” Eleora giggled.

“Yes, he said we drive too creatively,” added Tellias.

“Creatively,” said Eleora, this time more seriously.

“Creatively. That was a nice way to put it,” I said more to myself than to the Elders. “What about food? Is Val bringing you food?”

Tellias patted my hand. “Val has been a darling but we like delivery. We call and they come to the house. Amazing. We should have done that a long time ago.”

Delivery? What in the world were they doing? I looked at the hanging chandelier in the entryway. “Nice fixture. Is it new?”

“A couple of nice men came and installed it,” Tellias told me. “It should last for years. The old one was fitted for gas and ugly. Remember?”

“We had them for lunch,” Eleora proudly told me.

“You shouldn’t do that. They’re help,” I told them.

Eleora just smiled. “We liked them Juliette. We wanted them to stay.”

“Are they still here?” I asked not knowing if I wanted to know the answer.

Tellias answered this time. “No, they left. Then we called the County Sheriffs and asked them to come out. We said someone tried to break in. Eleora sounded scared. They sent two good-looking strong young men right to our door.”

“Right to our door. Good looking healthy young men,” Eleora echoed.

I glanced out the window and saw the black and white car on the side of the house. Oh no.

“Where are they?” I asked trying not to panic.

They both looked to the ceiling. I ran up the stairs.

In a bedroom done in high Victorian style, I found a golden haired well-built man face down and naked on the bed. His uniform was neatly folded in a chair. He was alive but in a deep sleep. The name badge was Murphy, as in Officer Murphy.

Another handsome muscular young man was in the next bedroom over, shirtless on his back, asleep. I noticed a wedding ring on his finger. The name badge on his shirt had the name Garcia. His sleeping eyes moved a little under long dark eyelashes.

I called down the stairs. “How long have you had these guys here?”

“Since yesterday. We jammed the GPS on their car.”

I sat down on the top step, almost in tears. They couldn’t find their car keys but they could jam a GPS signal. I thought about the guy with the wedding ring. His wife must be sick wondering where he is.

In most popular novels ancient Vampires are powerful creatures of the night. In my life they are silly creatures that forget all rules about consequences or right and wrong. They act like senile teenagers, with occasional flashes to the wise, powerful leaders they once were.

Tellias sat down next to me. “We thought about keeping them for a while. Then you and Val wouldn’t have to worry about us.”

Eleora slid down on the other side and stroked my face with a cool hand. “Why are you so upset? Everything will be fine. It always is.”

We dressed the nice handsome patrol officers and positioned them in less provocative poses. An hour later another patrol car and an ambulance arrived. Two officers had become ill with an unexplained illness. Not knowing what to do a young couple took them in to their home. All was well. The officers recovered with no memory of what happened. Both mentioned an overwhelming calm and sense of well-being. Imagine that.

Tellias took my hand, like he did when I was a child. “Juliette, my dear child, we weren’t going to turn those young men into Vampires. You know we wouldn’t do that.”

“I just worry about you two,” I told him.

“You care too much for those Regular Humans,” said Eleora. “You have to distance yourself.”

“I’m married to a man who used to be a Regular Human,” I said quietly, but ready to scream.

Tellias squeezed my hand again. “And if it wasn’t for Eleora and me he would be dead.”

I went back to the bedroom where the married officer had been. Years ago my husband lay in that bed, a phantom between two worlds, that of the humans of the light and those of us who favor the dark. An unwanted conversion that had turned those warm hands cold forever, but given me…

“Mom?”

I looked over to kids standing next to me. A 14 year old daughter and a 17 year old son. They shouldn’t have to see all this, but I don’t believe in sheltering them. I never have.

I guess I should do my famous parenting blogger bullet points but there is no point in this story. It is just one of those things, on one of those nights.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Taking Care of Our Elders: Love her for who she is, not who you want her to be.

Often our elders know more about life and love than we ever could.  I’m running a Taking Care of Our Elders Marathon. Please check out the other posts. We’re vampires but maybe you can relate.

From 2013

Love her for who she is, not who you want her to be

Over the long weekend I packed up the family and took them out to the farm on the Delta where the Elders, Eleora and Tellias live.  My brothers were to meet us there for a night of family fun – as much fun as a family of Modern Vampires can have (which is pretty darned fun). Teddy, my husband, looked forward to sharing some new wines. Garrett and Clara, our teens, looked forward to visiting with their uncles and the Elders who never seemed to run out of tall tales. As the only sister it is my job to make sure my brothers are happy and not being stupid.

Upon arrival I noticed my brother Andy had cut his waist long chestnut colored hair to just a few inches below his shoulders. It short of flipped up on the ends but still looked like guy hair. Smart, artistic and sexy guy hair.

“Looks good Andrew. Did you cut it for her?” I asked running my fingers though my brother’s hair.

“Of course not. I wouldn’t change my hair for any woman. I just like this length better.” He gave me a twitchy look, like he does when he is annoyed. “I haven’t seen her for a month. She doesn’t know what to think of me. I can’t change who I am.”

“Did she ask you to change?”

“She hasn’t asked me to do anything. I think I confused her so much that… I know she likes me, and she might be in love with me, but she isn’t like us. She isn’t a Vampire.”

“Then if she loves you she’ll love you for who you are. She’d be crazy not to.”

“She’d be crazy if she did fall in love with me.”

I gave him a hug and sent him off to the back room where the rest of my brothers were.

It was one of those rare nights when all five of us, my four brothers and I, were together.

My husband and my sister in law Verity (my brother Aaron’s wife) were sitting out front on the veranda with the Elders, avoiding the potential drama.

Garrett, my 17 year old came up and put his arm around my shoulder. “What’s up with Uncle Max?”

“A girl rejected him so he can’t stop thinking about her.”

“What about Uncle Andy?”

“A girl he is in love with doesn’t know what to think of him.”

Garrett gave a slight laugh and a snort. “Those guys are so weird. Why don’t they just go with the flow and talk to these women? You know mom, they aren’t talking.”

I knew he was right. Teens sometimes get relationships because they aren’t looking for perfection. They’re looking for someone to go to the next dance or football game with. They’re looking for a study partner who might also like to flirt and hold hands. Sure they make mistakes and get their hearts broken but they don’t brood for 50 years and get all bent out of shape forever due to their own predisposition to jerkdom.

Sure teen love is complex. OK it is simple. But if given the opportunity they can look at a situation and make better sense out of it than a lot of grown ups I know.

I just keep thinking of what my husband Teddy tells all the teenage girls, including his own daughter. “Boys are stupid.” That pretty much says it all.

He didn’t ask about his other two uncles. Aaron is happily married (and I mean that in the most real way) and the other, Val, is happy and always well adjusted enjoying his single state with every woman he meets.

Teens don’t see adult romance the same way they see their own romances and crushes.

Adult romance is based on a lot of things that don’t make sense, due to the fact that adults seem so bad at it.

Max told me the woman he knows, who has frustrated the crap out of him, would be perfect if she just changed. He always expects them to change, but they end up wanting him to change. It never makes any sense to me. I always resented anyone who wanted me to change. I hated it.

If you want someone to change, if that is a qualifying factor for your love then it isn’t love. It is ownership and control. If you need to change someone you might as well find someone else. If someone wants you to change you need to run. That is the world of romance according to Juliette, Modern Vampire, Modern Woman.

We all change and we change together. But if only one is required to change then the relationship will always be off balance.

My 14 year old Clara came in and joined her brother, taking my arm. I hugged them both.

“I have important relationship information,” I told my darlings. “Repeat after me darling children of mine:

  1. I will not change who I am for you.
  2. I will not wear the ugly shirt you don’t like but I will not change my morals, values or core beliefs for you.
  3. I will wear the shirt you gave me because it looks good on me but I will not change my hair for you.
  4. I will hang out with you but I will not drop my friends for you.
  5. I will not do anything for you that degrades me or makes me feel like I am not a whole person.
  6. I will be open to educated change, agree to disagree and discuss differences but I will not be forced to change in exchange for your love.
  7. If you force me into an ultimatum to change, your life will change because I will no longer be in it.
  8. If I change for you it is not love, it is fear that you will not love me.
  9. Love me for who I am, not what you want me to be. “

“We know that mom,” said Garrett. “You’ve already brainwashed us.”

“We love you mom,” added Clara.

I went out to the back porch where my eldest brother Max, the great brooding Vampire was standing. Maxwell the hunter, the fighter, the legend among Vampires, the idiot when it came to women.

Max was thinking about the girl. The woman. The strong smart amusing Vampire woman. The woman he couldn’t figure out. The woman he thought was just a friend. A friend he slept with when he wanted to. And easy friend. Easy. Easy. Easy.

Then he realized that his thoughts went from woman to girl and he suddenly realized that he had never taken her seriously. Why would he?

Now she was gone and he missed her.  Was it her or his ego?  Or was it just the fact that she was always available to scratch his itch in places nobody else could scratch. Or was it the fact that she let him bite her and take her in ways that his other Vampire bitches would not?  I think it was just for the face that she’d pissed him off.  It was the fact that good or bad, he couldn’t stop thinking about her.

“You should call her.” I said to my brother putting a cautious hand on his shoulder.

He glared at me showing his fangs. “To Hell with her.”

“She never played games with you Max. You used her and dumped on her feelings. That’s sick Max.”

“I don’t know why she is so pissed off. I told her I’d never love her. She isn’t the kind of woman I fall in love with.”

“None of the women you ever get involved with mean anything to you unless they use you before you use them.”

I sat down on the porch swing and let him brood in the dark. He knew I was right. Or at least he knew he’d have to change and admit that I’m right.  I wondered if I smacked him hard enough with a 2 x 4 if it would knock any sense into his head.

Tellias sat next to me and put his hand in mine. “Don’t be so hard on your brother. Boys are stupid.”

“What makes you so smart Tellias?” I asked the ancient Vampire.

“One doesn’t change their partner, they grow and change together.”

“How long have you and Eleora been together? Do you remember?”

“Since they started planning Hadrian’s Wall. That was a long time ago. I remember the first time I saw her. She was standing on the edge of a cliff singing some God awful song wearing the ugliest dress I’d ever seen. It was so odd. I just stood there and stared for the longest time until she turned and looked at me with eyes ablaze with fury. I thought she was going to kill me. It was love at first sight.”

“You’re still in love.” I gave his cold hand a gentle squeeze.

“I can’t imagine being with anyone else.”

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman