Smoke River


Saturday before last my husband Teddy and I took our boat out on the Sacramento River.

Nobody else was out there. Hardly anyone else. Despite it being a holiday weekend everyone stayed home due to the smoke.

We just didn’t think about it. It had been so long since just the two of us went on a boat ride for no reason that we just did it.

Several miles up river we stopped at a familiar pier. My brothers and I jumped off this pier, or at least the first pier that was ever here. About ten different piers have been here since, brought down by floods, winter frost, blazing summer heat, errant boats, and age.

Eleora and Tellias stood on the end of the boat dock and waved at us. Eleora, in a full flowers skirt, a yellow blouse and a worn orange sweater danced around with a purple scarf. like Isadore Duncan. Tellias stood smiling with one hand in the pocket of his black tuxedo pants, and waved with the other hand. He wore a lime green tee shirt with a pattern of black roses. They looked like a couple of teenagers or college students. But they’re neither. Nobody knows exactly how old these ancient Vampires are. Over 2,000 years – that we know. They don’t talk about it much.

The helped us tie up the boat and lent us hands. As always they gave us hugs, lots of kisses, and sang us a welcome song. Today is was a strange sort of a haunting gothic punk version of Moon River. I never question their choices. Today I even sang along as they danced around Teddy and me giving me light kisses and taking my hands. Teddy just smiled and unloaded a couple of bags out of the boat of things we’d brought the Ancient ones. We didn’t bring gifts because we had to. We brought them because sometimes those who are older than us forget things, or need things, or need help.

Then they took our hands and led us up the lawn to the path that went through the orchard and to the Queen Anne style Victorian they live in.

Our conversations went away from the smoke and to Thanksgiving plans.

My husband’s mother had a deep set belief that there was something morally wrong with a woman who could not cook. She equated not being able to cook with being a prostitute.

In fact she once said (according to my husband) “If you’re going to marry a woman who can’t cook you might as well marry a whore. At least she’d be good at something.”

Actually I doubt if she ever said that out loud but I know she thought it.

That said, in 1875 Teddy became a Vampire so marrying a woman who could cook became a moot point. I can cook, but then again I do a lot of things one does not expect from a Vampire. We all do. We have to blend in.

Up at the house my brother Val was waiting in the kitchen with a nice chilled bottle of Poet’s Blood, and a bottle of Angel’s Envy Bourbon to wash it down with. We sat on the back porch and talked about the fire, Thanksgiving plans, the rest of my siblings, and my children.

Thanksgiving will be a good day. A day of love. A day to truly be thankful, in a world that seems to be increasingly full of sorrow.

Some things can be fleeting, like the overly wrought emotions of family relations, especially this time of year. It makes one grow weary of the pointlessness of it all. The way people hold grudges and hate – and hold fast to traditions that only make one feel controlled and not loved.

So we gather with friends, those who wish to be with us for no other reason than that they enjoy our company – and we theirs. Family can be like that as well, if they allow it. If they dare.

In the Vampire world we tend not to keep grudges for they last far too long and do far too much damage. No need to fight when the sun comes up each and every single day and gives us a new opportunity to take a deep breath and let go. And in the night we see our light, the beautiful stars that will last on for a billion years after we’re all gone. And it humbles us and makes us realize what really matters is our love and our companionship and our memories – that is the good memories. The others, the bad memories, should be banished from our lives.

So tonight we shall toast our glasses filled full and laugh until our sides hurt. We’ll listen to the stories and funny jokes from the young ones and we will celebrate all that we are truly thankful for.

Including our Regular Human friends.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

I am thankful for all of my readers. xoxoxo

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman


Short Story Sunday: Smoke


The sky is gray with smoke, the same color as the dove sitting on the back deck rail.

I’m not just saying that to be literary. The sky IS the same color as the dove. It isn’t clouds. It’s smoke from the summer fires.

I watched him through the window as he watered the garden. He was doing it all wrong but I wasn’t going to tell him.

My mind wandered to where I would go if I could go somewhere else. It wasn’t like the movies or books where I could go home to some idyllic small town. This was home. There is no extended family. There is no family at all to speak of.

I imagined the winter when we didn’t have to water the garden and everything was green.

A house on the beach where the cool winds blow away the heat and the smoke and the smell of death in the basement.

My husband waved at me.

“Did you put on sunscreen? You need a hat,” I called to him.

“I’m coming inside right now,” he said with a smile.

I saw a bit of fang flash when he smiled. He’d do that when he wanted me to smile back. Smiles had been rare these days.

I remember the fires of long ago. I remember the screams. I remember the cheers as bodies exploded and cracked. I remember the horrible smell. And I remembered to tell my children to never tell anyone who or what they are or they would face the flames.

The sliding glass door opened and he came in with an armful of roses, zinnias, and sunflowers.

“Our harvest today. Get a vase my love. We’ll bring the beauty out of the smoke.”

I smiled and took the flowers and he kissed me.

It wasn’t a smoking hot kiss but that isn’t what I wanted or needed.

All sI needed was a cool kiss from a man who loved me, and maybe eye drops.

Yes, I needed eye drops. Then I closed my eyes and thought of the waves and the cool sand between my cold Vampire toes.


~ end


~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman


Keep those fires burning – VOTE

Last night we had our first fire of the season.

I was going to wax and wane poetically about fires that burn in our hearts with desire for love and freedom and dreams that others would take away. Think about how many times a child says she wants to be an artist or writer or doctor or historian or anything and someone says “that is too hard” or “you’ll fail.” How many times have people come up against all odds and had success. Think about that when you vote tomorrow. And you WILL vote (or I will lose all respect for you if you’re an American citizen.)

Anyway, a lot of people, including ALL women had someone before them fighting for that vote. But I won’t go on. The fires burn for education and knowledge. The fires burn for freedom to love.

Today you need to VOTE because all of the above. In other parts of the world (not my part of the world) people risk their lives for the right to vote. They die for it. People died for it here too.  So remember them and VOTE.

Plus remember… if you don’t vote you can’t complain about the results.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman







More on Voting and Political Stories from Vampire Maman (click on the links):

The Vampire Vote

Dark Politics

Short Story Sunday: The Shadow of Fire

156937831The evening is cool and dry. I smell oak trees and a hint of fire in the dry brush. No smoke or flames but there is always the shadow of fire.

I thought of what Nathaniel had said earlier, “Everyone likes you. You’re the only one who doesn’t like you. You have to start liking yourself.”

He’d lived a charmed life. He’d never known the power of fire or the fear of losing everything or everyone. But he was right. I don’t like who I am, not usually, not when I’m alone. Not when I’m with most people, or Vampires as the case might be. But I don’t care.

Only with the kids do I care, my grandchildren many times over. They don’t bring anything into the conversation except the here and now. No ashes of the past to ruin the moment.

Fire had taken Thomas, my husband and father of my children. He was burned to death, quickly turned to ash when they discovered he was different. It seems so long ago but I can still smell the stench of the wood, the skin of the others. I can still hear the screams. I close my eyes for a second and try not to let my knees fail me.

Fire took my house in the San Francisco earthquake then almost a century later in the Oakland hills. Not a good track record.

Then it almost took me. Two years ago, I was walking to my car, alone. Being alone had never bothered me. After all I’m the predator. I’m the strong one. I’m the one who has watched and protected everyone else for centuries. They were strong and prepared. They knew who I was.  They knew how to prevent me from protecting myself. I can smell the gasoline and hear the strike of the match. That was after they kicked me and cut me and tried to…anyway, they didn’t like me either.

I did get away, but not without causing all sorts of damage to the Vampire Hunters. Don’t underestimate a woman in black boots and short leather skirt and a hounds-tooth check jacket, not to mention my favorite blue Coach bag that they didn’t get a scratch on.

That was almost two years ago, and since then I’ve almost completely recovered, yet I still get lectures from my friends and family. They consider me an ancient Vampire now. A fragile old fangster who needs to be watched like a child.

“Hey beautiful.” He stood in the doorway, just awake from a day of sleep, brushing his hair from his face, wearing nothing but a pair jeans.

My family disapproved. He was younger. He’d been a Vampire for less than two years. He was falling in love with me, a dangerous thing for any man or Vampire.

Cody kissed me in the light of the crescent moon. “Lola, I think I’m falling in love.”

“Me too.” I could feel the tears well up in my eyes. I didn’t tell him that it had been centuries since I’d felt this way. How does one say that, especially since it had been centuries since I’d even liked myself or trusted any of my own feelings. It was a true gift from Cody. I’d never take advantage of him or use him, no matter what anyone else said.

This wasn’t a gut reaction. It wasn’t survival or the survival of someone I loved. It was the survival of my heart. Was it too much to ask? Or had this have to burn out like everything else in my life?

“Serious thoughts Lola?” Cody kissed my forehead and pulled me close. “I will keep you safe, always and forever.”

I held him close and tight. Always and forever I thought. Then I started to wonder where the hose was, just in case.