Dark Waters

Dark waters

Behind glass

Dark shapes

Covered in spines

And slime

As cold as death

No pretty tropical pets

Are these creatures

From my nightmares

They tap the glass

Until it breaks

And wakes

Me from my

Cold blooded nightmare.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Fear and Change

Most Vampires get paralyzed by fear and self-doubt. Oh forget the blood taking and seductive ways that helped romanticize us.

You know what I’m talking about. Even the most confident of us feels that way more than we would like.

We jealously guard our own versions of our memories.

Something taken away.

Something given.

Something found.

Something lost.

It is that sense of loss and identity that finds so many climbing into crypts or under floorboards to sleep forever.

It is that inability to know there are others and that there is something to look forward to. Things change but not for better or worse – just different. Hell, things usually change for the better if you want them to be better. If you make them better. I didn’t say it was easy. It isn’t anything you’ll find in a self-help book. There aren’t self-help books for Vampires. There aren’t self-help books for most things that really matter.

Reaching inside where your old soul used to be and pulling up your new self isn’t easy. Your old self is still there – you will never lose that. You will always be yourself – like it or not. But you can change. You can become better. You can refurbish your old self.

You can shine like the full moon on a clear winter night.

Where you miss the warmth of your skin you will find coolness of nerves.

Where you miss those who grew old you will treasure the memories.

Where you miss the innocence of your existence you will find something else.

You aren’t a monster or an outcast – you are just different. Everyone is different. Accept it.

You’ll taste blood, but you’ll give back contentment in your donors – or give nightmares – it is your choice. Nice. You never had that choice before.

You’ll learn how to get blood stains out of anything.

Change or lack of change are both things we want and something that we fear.

Nobody said any of this was going to be easy. Then again, nobody said it wasn’t going to be exciting and wonderful.

Contentment isn’t just something for a few. It is something we can all strive for. Content but still moving forward, never forgetting where we have been or where we are going.

The other day I spoke to my friend Cody who has been a Vampire for almost four years. He never asked for it but he accepted the changes in his life. There will be hardships ahead along with triumphs. He didn’t struggle like some do. He has had a lot of questions and questioned a lot of things. He has learned.

But he told me, “You know that old expression about a door closing and a window opening? The roof came off for me. I can see the whole world of possibilities now. Anything is possible as long as I keep reminding myself of that.”

Yes, Cody, anything is possible.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Morning at the Vineyard

Morning at the Vineyard

Andrew didn’t remember much when the door opened with blinding light waking him from his sleep, much less the voice that said “You aren’t dead.”

“Of course I’m not dead.” Andrew lifted himself up on his elbow and looked around at the bedroom.

“You were so cold. We couldn’t hear your heart.” A slim woman with long slightly graying hair stood near the bed.

“That’s what all the girls say.” No response. “That was a joke.”

“Oh. Ha ha ha. Good one.” Uncomfortable laughing.

There was the taste of blood in his mouth, but not his own. It must have been a Hell of a night. He looked at the woman again. She was pretty but not young, standing there in a flowing sundress and pretty light summer sweater. Nice. This would be fairly easy staying here for a few days, but he would still be cautious. Sometimes the most easy ones turned out to be the most dangerous.

Andrew started to get up and realized he was naked under the sheets.

“Your clothes were soaked and also covered with blood. We thought about calling the police but my husband Ian said to wait until morning. My husband Dennis said the same. I don’t agree with them. We should have called the police as soon as we found you.”

“Where was I?”

“In the vineyard, face down in the dirt. Your car was in a ditch with four flats and the front end smashed in. We pulled it out.”

The Tesla. Quiet and fast and expensive. Then he thought about what she said. “Husbands? You mentioned two husbands.”

“We practice polyandry. Two husbands, one wife, one family. It isn’t legal or common or accepted by most people but…”

“I don’t have a problem with it. As long as it works for you.”

“It does.”

She took a stack of clothing, jeans, a shirt, etc, from the top of the dresser and gave it to Andrew. “Clean clothing. Breakfast will be ready in about a half hour. And we’ll discuss who you are and why you’re here and where all the blood came from.” Then she turned and left the room.

What a night. The fog started to clear from Andrew’s brain. He staggered up out of the bed and closed the window shades. Damn sunlight. Looking in the mirror the reflection looked back showing a well built man with alabaster skin, long chestnut curls flowing down his back, a classically handsome face and hazel eyes the color of the blue green southern seas. His mouth twitched showing fangs. He quickly gained his composure and hid the teeth and rubbed his tired eyes.

“Shit. What the crap happened to you Andrew,” he said to himself. There was wine, a lot of wine. There were women. There was a guy named Brant and his friend Chet. There was the girl Ginger…she had AB + blood, Chet had O. Oh no. Why didn’t he remember? And how’d he end up face down in the middle of a vineyard? Zinfandel. He knew what kind of grapes they were.

Taking a 3 minute shower, he towel dried his long locks, pulled on the clothes the woman had left him and went down the stairs. He could smell food cooking and coffee. He gripped the banister to prevent himself from throwing up everything inside of his stomach. He’d over done it for sure, blood and wine. Wine and blood. Sex too but that was a blur. Food might do him some good.

In the kitchen were two men and the woman, along with half a dozen kids in who ranged from about 8 to 17.

He looked at the men. A large blonde man who looked like a former football player introduced himself as Ian. Dennis was shorter with the look of a History Professor or some sort of thing like that. They called the woman Carrie. One big happy family.

Ian poured Andrew coffee and welcomed him. They all welcomed him. This was getting creepy. Then again, Andrew was the Vampire, but he was sitting in the home of a farmer and wine maker and her two husbands and six kids. It was weird. But hey, he decided to make the best of it.

They made small talk. He thanked them for taking him in. Carrie put plates of eggs and fried tofu and toast and fruit and bacon and mushrooms on the table.

The teenage girls thought Andrew’s hair was great and asked him if he was in a band. He smiled minus fangs. He must have had at least five cups of coffee.

“Last night I thought you had some nasty scratches on your face,” mentioned Ian.

“I, uh, heal fast.” Andrew said that then wished he’d kept his mouth shut. He healed fast because he wasn’t like them. He took the blood and energy of regular normal people and in return, he made them feel good – like a rush that would last at least a week. Well, if he liked them and made a connection.

“Where’d all the blood come from? Except for the scratch on your face you didn’t have a mark on you.” As Carrie said that she gave him a long cold look.

“Blood? On me? I guess I drank too much. Too much of everything and threw up. I don’t know. My friends drank a lot and someone was doing some sort of recreational drugs or maybe prescription pain killers, I’m not sure, but I over did it. Listen, I’m so sorry about this and I really appreciate your hospitality. I’ve imposed on you. I wish there was something I could do to pay you back. Let me know.”

Ian gave him a pat on the arm. “We know what it is like to be different.”

“You’re a Vampire aren’t you?” Dennis asked as the kids all looked on.

Andrew brushed a damp lock of hair out of his face and suddenly felt a little warm. “Yes, but…”

“How long have you been a Vampire?” Carrie was asking now.

“I’ve always been one. My parents were Vampires. Um, I was born just down the road from here. October 22, 1851.”

The children were transfixed.

“We don’t have a problem with Vampires. Some food might settle your stomach Andrew,” said Carrie. “And you’re welcome to stay as long as you like. We found your phone and called your sister. She’ll be here in a couple of hours.”

This was all too strange for Andrew. He’d spent the past 100 years or thereabouts avoiding families and any kind of normal human lives. Years had passed traveling, and performing and enjoying wine and women and wild nights. But now he sat with a nice family with no pretenses. And rarely had he ever met humans who knew or even knew about real Vampires. It was so unusually weird.

“I sing opera,” he said to the kids. “Mainly opera but I can sing just about anything. Just got back from Patagonia and learned a bunch of folk songs. I can do metal too. That comes naturally.”

“I can imagine you do a great power ballad,” Carrie said with a smile, then she told the children to leave the room.

Andrew had to smile. This as so weird but he could get used to this. He looked at Carrie’s golden brown eyes. A positive blood, just like his. She’d make a good Vampire, or even just a snack.

He thought about his sister. It had been forever since he’d seen her or her children. It would be nice. More than nice. Maybe she’d get another husband too. He might suggest it. He smiled. That would be funny.

“What happened to my friends? Did you see any of them?” Andrew looked from Dennis to Ian then to Carrie. “Did they say where they went?”

Carrie looked him in the eye as Dennis and Ian flanked her side. “We buried them in the garden behind the carriage house.”

“Don’t worry,” said Dennis “Nobody ever found the other bodies we’ve buried, so they won’t find your friends.”

Andrew took another gulp of coffee and hoped his sister would arrive soon.

And that was the entire truth just as my brother Andrew told it to me

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Note: This story has been posted several times before and was the inspiration for my short story collection.

 

Morning at the Vineyard

Fear and the Creative Soul

I opened the door and imagined I was on the coast.

This morning brought in cool air and overcast skies. It was one of those “at the ocean” days. Granted I’m more by a lake and a river, but the ugly mood the drought has brought was lifted for a few hours.

Today I was also feeling inspired then had a boost from my muse. Yes I have a muse, in the form of a dear friend who has encouraged my creative endeavors for the past 140 years.

Yes, there are friendships that endure and last. Now I feel guilty for letting so many years of fear and confusion hold me back when she and others have told me to keep going and to never hold back. Sometimes I wish their gentle encouragements would have been hard swift kicks.

Yes, I have had wonderful and lucrative success in the past as a creative professional but now it is time for a new chapter. It is time for everything to finally come together and for me to be where I want to be. Where I need to be.

So yes, my dear friend I heard you loud and clear. I am listening. Finally. I mean, I listened before but now I’m DOING.

I’m the Princess of saying I’m going to do something and then not coming through. Fear. Yes, Vampires do sense fear. Not fear of the dark or of things that go bump in the night or a terror in a dark alley or crypt. It is the fear that all creative creatures have. You know what I’m talking about. I dare not express it.

It isn’t just rejection. I can handle that. I’m an expert at rejection. It is much much much more. It is terror deep down inside of every cold icy pore of your existence.

Orchids

The Orchid Show (with Vampires)

The past weekend my teenage daughter Clara and I took the elders, Eleora and Tellias to an orchid show. Yes, a garden show.

From time to time we take the ancient pair out in public, least they sit around at home getting into trouble, or worse, wandering off on their own. They don’t look much older than my own teens (15 and 19) but they were born before the birth of Christ.

A young girl, college age, with long blonde hair and cheerleader looks was pushing an old woman in a wheel chair up and down the isles of flowers. They would pause and discuss the plants, heads close with smiles on their faces. The girl would take the older woman’s knotted arthritic hands in hers as they discussed the plants and took notes. Another woman, the girl’s mother walked ahead, then walked back to the other two, obviously glad for her few moments alone. Three generations of women all together, but one a little apart, by choice.

Orchid Orchids are amazing flowers. They come in every shape and size. Some look like they have fallen from the gowns of angels, while others look like deadly spiders of the night. I love them all, as do those who grow them. My own mother grows them and I’ve only started to collect (I have two.) Eleora and Tellias have grown orchids in their greenhouse at least a hundred years.

Like I said before, Tellias and Eleora look young. Tellias with his white blonde hair pulled back in a pony tail and Eleora with her brown waist long curls and 1950’s wiggle dress looked like just another hip young couple. They were cute and exceptionally well-behaved. I’d warned Eleora that she was not to take anyone to back rooms of the Masonic temple where the orchid show took lace. She was not to act like the Vampire she is. We were here for flowers and flowers only. We would have lunch later, with someone else.

Orchids

Tellias turned and looked at the three women I mentioned early. He took my arm.

“I know her Juliette. She was just a child, but would know her anywhere.” He let go and went to the old woman in the wheel chair.

They spoke, then hugged, then he kissed her cheek. They held hands and went to a quiet corner of the hall. The young woman, her granddaughter went with them. At first the women thought Tellias was the grandson or great grandson of someone she once knew. Then she realized that it was her parent’s old friend, the man who had given her drawing lessons during a summer at a beach house during the 1930’s when she was a child. He and his wife (Eleora) had the house next door. He’d spend a lot of time with the children, telling them fantastic stories – stories that only she knew where real. The last time she saw him she was only twelve but they recognized each other right away. She never questioned that he still looked the same because she obviously knew. Some people just know.

She had been an artist and still painted when she could. Now she said her art was her flowers. The younger women, her daughter and granddaughter were also her flowers in a way. She’d nurtured them until they both blossomed into beauties and thrived.

Eleora, in her sometimes shy way, went over and said hello as well. It was a sweet moment.

I stood back, not to make things uncomfortable. Too many Vampires can do that to people, even people who know what we are. As you know very few people do know we’re different (as in Vampires.)

My eye met the eyes of the middle-aged daughter. We both knew that bond of once being the child and now being the adult – but still in a way, always the child.

Back at the farmhouse of Tellias and Eleora we brought the new orchid plants to the greenhouse. It was a good day. A rare daytime outing for the ancient Vampires.

I thought about all of the stories I have yet to pry out of those two. I’ve yet to find the secrets of their origins and centuries of … centuries of everything they have done and seen. In the meantime I just enjoy them for the silly old Vampires they are and for their weird wisdom and the joy they bring.

And I can appreciate the way they nurtured me the way they nurture their orchids – with care and love.

Sure we’re Vampires, but sometimes we come out of the shadows and bloom and grow and remember.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Orchid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orchid Show, Sacramento 2015

Dark Dreams of the Hunted

Short Story Sunday: Dark Dreams of the Hunted

Sharp pain then exquisite pleasure unlike anything he’d every imagined. Teeth sinking into his neck, the idea so repulsive, as to make him jerk away, but he welcomed her fangs, her lips her mind on his mind, her heart on his… her cold unbeating heart on his going so fast he thought it would burst out of his chest.

Then he woke in a cold sweat.

“I have a date with a Vampire,” he said aloud as he stared up at the ceiling in his bedroom. The clock said 2:49 am. She’d be wide awake. Their date was for 8:00 pm the next evening, at dusk. Maybe he’d surprise her and show up early.

Then again surprising a vampire wasn’t always a good idea. As a Vampire Hunter Austin had learned how temperamental and jumpy the creatures could get.

With his gun in a holster under his jacket and a knife strapped to his leg he drove to the house of the vampire. She was his vampire. He smiled at the thought.

Elizabeth wasn’t like the musty creepy creatures he found in the basements and attics of the old buildings he restored. She was alive and living in the real world – his world. Smart, stylish and successful is how he’d describe her – almost charming and quaint in her quiet way. Yes, there was still that sense of unease knowing she was a predator and he was the hunter. Either one of them could become prey at any moment but he doubted that would happen. Well, sort of doubted in a wishful thinking sort of way.

It could turn into a love affair, a science experiment or a fight to the death. He was up for any of the three options but as hoping for the first. He’d never been involved with a Vampire in any sort of social situation, much less having one in his bed. What a rush. No matter what happened he’d make sure he was on top of and in full control.

He stood in front of the arts and crafts house knowing she was inside. Her car, an unassuming Ford Fusion was in the driveway. A faint light came through the living room curtains. Sure she could see in the dark but the soft glow of artificial light was always welcome.

 

The front door opened. She stood in shorts and a sweater. An average girl. That is if an average girl was around 180 years old.

“Austin, what are you doing here?” 

“You could smell me couldn’t you.”

“I sensed you were out here. You should be in bed.”

“Yes we should be.”

 

Then he snapped out of his brain fart fantasy and continued to look at her front door wondering what she was doing inside. A light came on in another room. He could see her with another woman and a man. He recognized both as Vampires. No dark shadowy creatures were here. They were the hippest of the hip. Modern Vampires who had no intention of sleeping in basements or lurking around in shadows.

Walking back down the block to his car Austin thought about the weirdness of it all. He was sure they despised the Vampires he exterminated as much as he did.

There was something about Elizabeth that was so human and alive. He remembered her cold hands and lips then thought of how hot she was. He thought about how afraid she was of him, but then again how… no, just don’t even go there tonight. In a few hours the sun would come up, then the dusk would come again and he’d put on a suit and pick her up for their first official date.

It isn’t everyday one dates a Vampire. It isn’t everyday one dates a Vampire Hunter.

 

Vampire Maman

 

For the first part of this story of Austin and Elizabeth click here for The Hunter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It turns us numb

Our children go off into the world,

We’ve given them the tools,

They know about good,

And evil,

They know that they need to beware

Be smart

Be aware

Be alert

And yet,

Even in the light of day,

Away from the familiar shadows,

A bright day

Brings unexpected

Tragedy.

It turns us numb

And feeling helpless

Because we can’t live in fear

But we can’t stop it.

 

v_swirl

 

My heart breaks today for everyone near UCSB. Wishing peace and healing.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman