Short Story Sunday: Warmth

Warmth
(an Austin and Elizabeth Story)

“Your hand is cold.”

Austin always said that. He couldn’t help it. It was a reflex from years of holding hands with women who had warm hands. Warm hands and cold hearts.

Elizabeth smiled and lifted his hand to her cool lips. “I love you,” she said quietly, almost a whisper.

“Love you too,” he said. Then he his lips found hers. Suddenly a thought his his brain. She’d been alive for almost two hundred years. She’d been dead for almost that long. Well, sort of dead. Kind of dead and then alive again. Loving a Vampire was weird to say the least.

She’d started to wear socks to bed when Austin spent the night least she wake him with cold feet. But then he told her no. He wanted her to be who she was.

Still, he couldn’t help but check his neck in the mirror in the mornings for marks, or his wrists. He couldn’t help but overhear her on the phone with her friends, with a sweet laugh as she talked about meeting up for a hunt. She’d turn away or take her phone outside.

She’d once asked him, “Why do you hunt us. We don’t hurt anyone.”

He couldn’t answer honestly. He hunted the ones who could hurt, would hurt, or did hurt. Austin let the other alone. In this age of being away of the differences of others he had learned, that even when dealing with Vampires and god only knows what other kind of weird things were out there he had to take everyone on an individual basis. Well, almost everyone.

They cuddled on the couch under a blanket, with a bottle of wine, as they watched Crazy Rich Asians. 

He kissed her cheek. It seemed a little warm. Maybe. Sort of. It didn’t matter.

~ end

 

Click here for more Austin and Elizabeth Stories (The Hunter Series.)

 

 

 

Krampus Claus

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“This is the deal with bad children. Bad kids are either spoiled and have total control of their adoring parents, or they are abused and neglected by their parents, or there is something wrong with their genetic make-up and they are bound for a life of failure.

I spent a career scaring kids straight, but I never bagged one up. Not once. A few bad adults maybe, or abusive parents, but never the children. Alright, there have been a few children who were truly the spawn of our old friend Satan, so to speak, but not many. In the end they will be their own worst enemies. Well, at least most of them. The rest of them go into politics. So what shall I do with you Max?”

Over the decades Max had encountered Demons, Werewolves, Fallen Angels, Goblins, Vampire Hunters, Banshees, Ghosts, and all sorts of unsavory creatures, including warm blooded humans, but this was his first encounter with Krampus.

Max looked hard at the hairy horned man creature, with a voice like gravel and too many cigarettes, who sat on the closed toilet of his downstairs bathroom.

“Why are you in my bathroom Krampus?”

“Cause the world is full of shit so I feel more comfortable here,” said St. Nick’s Demon. Krampus rolled out his long tongue and opened the window across the bathroom.

“Stop it,” said Max. “Close the window, put your tongue back in your mouth.”

“What’s the matter Vampire man? Afraid I’ll leave coal in your stocking, or better yet drag you down to Hell?”

“I’m afraid you’ll never get out of my bathroom,” said Max.

Krampus stood up and stomped around stretching is knobby legs. “Do Vampires pee? Seriously man, do you ever take a shit like normal people?”

“Why’s your tongue so long?”

“Oh that. When I was a kid, just a small hairy thing with tiny horns, kids made fun of me. You know, other Demon kids. Some asshole said I was saying shit about him so he and his friends tried to pull my tongue out. Rather than rip out of my head, my tongue stretched, and stretched, and stretched, and when they were just about to give up I wrapped my tongue around them and choked them out until they turned to a puddle of green gray slime.

About that time St. Nick, only he wasn’t a saint yet, came strolling by. I could see the light bulb going off in his head. There weren’t light bulbs back then, but he had a great idea. He asked me if I wanted to help him with bad kids. And the rest is Christmas history. So what about you? Have you always been a Vampire?”

“I was born a Vampire. What are you doing here, in my house, bugging me?”

“You’re a Vampire. Look at you all handsome and healthy looking. You should look dead,” said Krampus said he flopped down in a black vintage Eames chair. “Do you have any coffee?”

Max was about to say something when he looked up and saw his girlfriend, sometimes girlfriend, friends with benefits, Mehitabel coming down the stairs in a fuzzy pink robe. She was also a Vampire, and so many other things that Max could never explain or even understand.

“Krampus,” she said as she saw the Demon sitting in Max’s favorite chair. “I didn’t know you and Max knew each other.”

“We don’t but I was passing through town, you know, and I was overwhelmed with the emotion of this time of year, and I didn’t want to be alone. St. Nick doesn’t want anything to do with me outside of Christmas and the big birthday party his wife throws for him every year. Everyone else fears me. The other Demons are assholes. I needed a place to chill and rest my tongue,” said Krampus.

“Poor baby, nobody should be alone this time of year.” said Mehitabel. Then she walked over to Max and gave him a kiss. “I’ll make some coffee.” Her hand went around and over his butt, then she slipped into the kitchen.

“Nice gig you have here Max. Beautiful home, beautiful woman, nothing for me to be mad about. Mind if I just hang for a few hours. You know, the girls don’t like me much, even with my amazing tongue. Now Mehitabel there, she is one fine piece of…”

“Stop right there. Where do you know her from? You and she haven’t…”

“No, no, no. We’ve crossed paths a few times in the past. No hanky panky. Aside from your amazing body and great head of hair, what the Hell is she doing with you?”

Max turned without answering and went into the kitchen. Mehitabel was sipping a mug of warmed blood with a shake of cinnamon. “Hey Max,” she said, kissing him lightly on the lips.

“What should I do with him?”

“Give him some coffee and he’ll be on his way. You’ve shown charity and compassion. That is all he wants. That is all anyone wants.”

Krampus came into the kitchen and laughed. “You’re so sweet. Well, I’m going to leave you two love birds alone. Be good to her Max or I’ll come back for you, and not in a good way. Thanks for letting me chill here for a bit.”

Then he put his clawed hand into his pocket and pulled out two lumps of coal and set them on the table. “If you squeeze these tight enough they’ll turn into diamonds. OK now, enough of sentimental shit, I have to go kick some bad kid ass. See you next year.”

Then he turned an went out the front door with the slight smell of sulphur and nutmeg.

Max and Mehitabel looked at each other and smiled. They each picked up a piece of coal and squeezed as hard as they could.

Mehitabel opened her hands and found a playing card. It was the Queen of Diamonds.

Max opened his hands and found a baby diamond back rattle snake. He threw the snake out the window. Right as he did that a hawk flew by, grabbed the snake, and flew away.

“Not the kind of diamonds we expected,” said Max. “Let’s go upstairs.” Then he took her hand and led her to his bedroom.

Later, after they’d made love, as they watched the setting sun from his bedroom window, Max kissed Mehitabel again and reached into the drawer of his nightstand.

“I have something for you,” he said, and then slipped a diamond ring on her hand. “I love you. Marry me.”

“OK,” she said, her eyes tearing up. “I love you too.”

Somewhere in the city Krampus walked down an alley looking for trouble. He stopped and laughed. “Good boy Max,” he said. “Good boy Max.”

~ End

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Halloween Creepy Countdown: A Man Should Have What He Wants

Creepy Countdown!
It’s Almost Halloween.

A Man Should Have What He Wants

A Nasty Little Vampire Story from Juliette aka Vampire Maman  

A house full of books and the ghosts of what could have been.

What can be. Oliver Thomas thought as he sat on the edge of the bed.

He never let himself get close to those he visited over the years. It was easy to become detached just as one could be detached to an apple or a head of lettuce.

She slept quietly. On the nightstand were books, earrings, a clock set for 5:00 a.m., and her glasses. Her husband was snoring and slept in another room. Her children were tucked into their dreams. Oliver made sure of that. They’d all be asleep.

Oliver Thomas kept coming back to her. She was different, by her own accord. Amanda had always been different – the type who saw the world in visions and possibilities. Someone who overcame obstacles.  If she grew to be old she’d be a sweet eccentric with her window boxes full of exotic flowers and vast knowledge of the obscure and unusual.

She had a hard time making friends due to her shyness and reluctance to follow up. Her fear of rejection paralyzed her in some areas of her life. Most of life was paralyzing but she seemed to thrive and succeed.

Yet, the woman could light up a room with her wit and charm. She was a success despite her low opinion of herself.

But he’d fallen in love with her in a strange way that someone falls in love with an idea of perfection and the ideal person to share life’s adventures with.

Her teenage kids still hung all over her like toddlers, leaning on her even now. They were taller than she was, dressed in their black band shirts with trendy long hair and black painted nails.  Oliver had seen Amanda once, her son with his lanky arm around her shoulder, her daughter with an arm around her waist. How many women, he wondered, envied her for the closeness she had with her children.

If it wasn’t for her children she might have checked out and left the world a long time ago. Since childhood Amanda had been uncomfortable with life and the tremendous effort it took for her to live with herself and her failures.

Oliver saw that Amanda had failed to see her success, except with her children. He didn’t want to think of her marriage with Craig. It worked better than most. In fact, for the most part, her marriage to Craig was an uncommon success.

Craig, the handsome and successful husband, was the love of her life. Even in her dreams Amanda couldn’t cheat on Craig. They’d built a life together. For her that was enough. More than enough she told herself.

But Oliver knew it wasn’t enough. Amanda found her life in others but kept her secret soul and passions locked up, bound in shadows and secrets.

At one time, Oliver and Amanda had been lovers. The memory of her warm skin, her lips on his own, her hands in his hair and her passion haunted him. He’d come and gone from her life assuming she’d always be there.

Now he was only with her in the dream world of the night.  She’d remember him in another time and place in long lost memories of centuries past. She’d think she’d had a life in another time with him, a past life of possibilities and promise and passion.

An unlikely candidate this middle aged working mom, too tired and busy  to think of herself except when she let her imagination fly as she commuted to school and work in her car each morning, or when she dozed off at night in her own secret places.

The passions were still in her, as it had been when she was young. How could that be?  He kissed her then buried his face into her neck and when he’d had enough of her he silently left her with dreams of passion and desire.

The following evening Oliver looked up from his desk and there she was, standing in the doorway. Black dress, apple green sweater, black heels. The blue Coach bag, a 50th birthday present from her husband was slung over her shoulder. She looked she owned the world, but she still didn’t think she was beautiful.

How did she find me here? I never told her where I live?

“Amanda.” He said her name as if in a dream.

“Don’t Amanda me Oliver. I want you to leave me alone.”

He stood and approached her with his hands held out. “It was always the wrong time or place for us.”

She stepped back ignoring his open arms. “Don’t even start with me Oliver. It would have never worked. You always said I was too independent. Then you turned around and called me needy.”

“I never said any of those things.” He was shocked by her accusations.

“You didn’t have to say it. You made it obvious you were thinking it.”

He didn’t respond. This wasn’t the time for the witty dialog they’d shared in the past, the long talks through the night or the sweet lover’s words.

“Amanda, you can’t stand there before me and say that with a straight face.”

She looked at the floor then looked up straight into his eyes. “You never told me you loved me.”

“I didn’t have to.”

“Bull shit. You just expected me to hang around and wait for you to come in and out of my life. It got old Oliver. But it doesn’t matter. I’m married to a man who loves me the way I am.  I’m successful, happy and I love my life.”

“I doubt if Craig realizes what a fortunate man he is.”

“He knows.”

“Did you ever tell him about me?” Oliver took a step forward. Amanda folded her arms as if to shut him out.

“I haven’t told anyone about you. They’d all think I was nuts. Just like my Aunt Margaret when she talked about her Vampire.”

“You still love me Amanda.” Oliver said those words quietly with such passion that almost no woman would be able to resist. No woman except Amanda.

She turned and left, slamming the door behind her.

Oliver watched from the window as she got in her car and drove away. The slightest hint of regret surged through his dark thoughts. He’d never meet another who captured his heart and his passions like she had.  He’d never meet anyone who made him laugh or feel the joy of being like Amanda had.

Oliver heard the steps behind him but didn’t turn around. A warm hand caressed his shoulder.

“Is she gone?” The speaker was obviously annoyed.

“Yes.”

“Does she have any idea I’m here?”

“No.”

Craig looked out the window. “Good. Where do we go from here?”

“Are you absolutely sure you want to do this?”

“My son is an Emo freak who acts in plays and writes poetry for fun. My daughter won’t talk to anyone unless it’s a text. My wife is never going to lose the baby fat or stop telling stupid jokes or snoring or complaining how hard she works. It wasn’t what I signed up for.”

“I understand.”

“Just for once I want what I want. I don’t want to go home to a woman who is tired all the time and can’t even comprehend my needs.”

“What about your children? You must care about them on some level.”

“They’ll be fine without me. Amanda will have two million dollars in life insurance to get the kids through college. There’s another 10 million in assets she can sell off if she has to. She’ll make sure her children have wonderful memories of me.”

“The news of your death will break her heart.”

Craig scowled at Oliver. “Amanda is already so miserable she won’t even notice. She’ll be happy to be the unfortunate widow and bask in the glow of her own sorrow. I’m doing her a favor by dying rather than divorcing her.”

“And your girlfriends?” Asked Oliver.

“They’re whores who think they can get ahead by sleeping with the CEO. They’ll both get their pink slips next week. So now what?”

Oliver went back around to his desk and sat in the antique leather chair. “Your car will be found in the river and it will be assumed your body was washed away with the currents. Your wallet and a few clothing items will be found washed up on a beach. It will be assumed that you died.”

“So when do I change?”

“Change?”

“When do I become like you? A Vampire.” Craig asked this impatiently almost sounding like a spoilt teen.

Oliver took a deep breath and answered him. “Tonight if you want, but I’d rather wait until tomorrow.”

Craig leaned on the desk close to the Vampire. “I want this Oliver. I want my freedom.”

“You’ll get what you want Craig.”

“Oliver, I’m telling you…”

Craig started to speak but Oliver held up his hand. “We’ll take my jet to Rome in the morning. By the time we get there you’ll be a different man. The old Craig will be gone forever. In the meantime, you need to see your children one last time.”

Amanda sat in the high school auditorium waiting for the play to start. A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Her son played Lysander and her daughter was playing Puck.

Craig had called earlier to tell her he was working late. He’d been sorry to miss the play but said he’d see it on closing night next weekend. She thought she was going to throw up. She pulled out her phone and listened to the message she’d received right after she’d seen Oliver.

A sing song girlish voice said “Mandy, I mean Amanda, this is Trinity, Craig’s assistant. I wanted to let you know that I’ve been sleeping with your husband for about two years. He said I did all those nasty fetish things you wouldn’t do and I believed him. I really really loved him and would have done anything but he dumped me for Tara Hall. She’s like the VP of Marketing.  They’ve been doing it since October so he was two timing on me too. Stupid puke. So when he says he is gone on business he’s really with her. I just thought you’d want to know because you seem like a nice lady.”

It was the fifth time she’d listened to it. Each time she’d hoped she’d heard it wrong but that wasn’t the case.

A text came in from Craig saying he had a change of plans and was on his way.

Concentrate. Don’t think about him. It isn’t true. He’ll be here any minute. Don’t cry.

The house lights went down and the play started.

Oliver Thomas stood on the side of the river and watched the emergency crews on the opposite shore drag out a sliver convertible, the headless body of the driver still strapped in the seat. Some unfortunate member of the police department would find sightless eyes attached to a severed head staring up at him from the floor of the passenger seat.

Witnesses said another car had forced him off the road. The convertible rolled and went into the water. It had been too dark to get any plate numbers or a good description of the other car.

Craig wanted to be free of his wife and children. A man should have what he wants after all.

Now Oliver would do it right. He’d wait a few months, he had time and he’d be there for Amanda and her children, like he should have been all along.

 

~ end

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Headless (a romantic Halloween poem… sort of)

jakc shaving

Headless

He stood in front of me

his neck a stump

without a head.

In his hand was a note

on expensive stationary

scrawled in rough cursive.

It said

I need

a HEAD.

 

 

To his delight

I took a gourd,

a pumpkin really,

and with a knife

carved a face

with eyes fierce

with pride

and a mouth

that smiled

not with joy

but with spite.

 

 

I put the pumpkin on his neck

then lit the candle within

and told him

“Go find another. I’m tired of loving a man who is always losing his head over nothing.”

 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Had You Stayed The Way You Were

Had You Stayed The Way You Were

Had you stayed the way you were

The night would have seemed brighter

The day would have seemed longer

The stars dimmer

_______________

Had you stayed the way you were

Another would have loved you

As tradition required

Married and content

Yearning for more

_____________________

Had you stayed the way you were

I would have loved

Someone in the shadows

Who could never have kept

My passion alive

_____________________

Had you stayed the way your were

You would just be a memory

An old photo for me to treasure

A dried carnation wrapped in lace

_____________________

Had you stayed the way you were

I would have loved you

A hundred years ago

And now you’d be a ghost

In my heart alone

___________________

Had you stayed the way you were

I wouldn’t feel

Your kiss so cold

With the passion of ice

And fire blazing

With your dazzling fanged smile

My Vampire love.

__________________

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Vampire Love

 

 

Vlad’s Vampire Diary: You Can’t Go Home Again

Dear Diary,

Going home is no longer an option.

This morning I went to Google Maps. There are cameras in space, up in the sky, in the heavens taking photographs of the Earth. Everything can be seen. I dare say unseen is what I wish today.

This thing called technology, baffles me. It amazes me. What amazes me the most is that all of this, which would have once been considered black magic is now not magic at all, AND it has almost all happened in the past one hundred years. It has happened in the past fifty years.

After being imprisoned in a crypt for three hundred years, I am still overwhelmed. The past four years… I can not even describe them.

This morning at dawn I stood out on my deck and looked at the sun coming up over the dark night sky. I thought about my old home where I was King of Vampires and all I could see. This morning I saw a flock of turkeys. Alas I am not even King of Turkeys now.

So inside I went to my MacBook Pro and to Google Maps and to my castle.

It was gone. My castle was not there. GONE. Not a trace. Just forest and meadows and NOTHING. All traces of my existence was gone. I looked up my name. Nothing but some Russian fool who rides horses and other animals without a shirt, and ridiculous laughable horror movies, and bad fan fiction. There is no trace or memory of me.

I picked up my phone (another unbelievable marvel of technology) and called my friend Randolpho. He said I had to look on the Dark Web to find information about real Vampires. I do not understand. I know that by web he does not mean a spider web but something of course we can not see. This new world and the language is confusing. Everything is called by a name that is indeed a tangled web of language. He said I needed a special server and spoke of other things I do not understand. Who is that special server and where do I find him? Will he serve only me or others as well? I did not risk asking Randolpho and seeing his eyes roll.

Yes, that is something people do now. They roll their eyes around in their heads as if to say, “you are ridiculous and have the mind of a child.” I have recently learned the term, “bless his heart,” means the same thing. Eye rolling. Bah.

I am forgotten. I am lost. I am new. I am frustrated.

I expressed this feeling to my love Gillian.

She said, “You’re so cute Vlad.” Then she kissed me. That is something no amount of technology can improve on.

So apparently I am cute as well. I do not understand this cute, but I will take her word for it. My advice to any male is to take a woman’s word on it, no matter what she says.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I still mourn the loss of my former home and kingdom, but on the other hand I am glad it is gone and nobody else is living there in my place.

Tonight I walked around my new home. It is a 3,500 square foot home with what is called a good sized yard. There is plenty of room for me, the cats, Jane the coyote dog, and Gillian when she is here.

Gillian has claimed her own bathroom (there are four of them. FOUR.) With all of the tools and cosmetics at her disposal there is no need of a maid for her. When I first met her it took two hours for her to get ready in the morning. She had layers and layers of clothing. She had layers of hair. Cosmetics were complex and questionable. Now she jumps in the shower, blows her hair with hot air and lets it flow down her back, then she pulls on six items. Only six. Bra, panties, jeans, shirt, two shoes. That is all. Sometimes she wears a dress, but it is tiny and no slip, corset, underskirts, hoops, or pads are needed. It is just my beautiful Gillian’s natural shape that shows. She sometimes laughs and says it is easier to be a Vampire with fewer clothes.

Gillian also has taught me how to get blood stains out using magical chemicals and a machine that actually washes clothing. In my castle there were five women who washed my clothing, and only my clothing. There were a dozen more to do the job for the rest of the castle.

Yes, I can now wash clothing in secret, with my own private machine, without anyone knowing what I have been doing the night before. That is always a good thing.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I was out tonight at my favorite night spot, where Vampires can sit among the crowd without anyone suspecting they are only there looking for a bit to eat in peace.

The bartender and owner, a lovely woman named Cassie, has become, shall I say, a friend.

Tonight she leaned against the bar facing me and asked me, “Where are you from Vlad? Originally? I can’t place your accent? Europe? South Africa?”

I smiled and took her hand, “Dear Cassie, where I come from no longer exists. Even if I could go home those who live there would not welcome me. I have found a home here, with those who are like me, in a new home with strangers. But strangers no more. I have you and others friends who are far better people than I knew before.”

“You can’t go home again. Sort of like the Thomas Wolfe novel. Have you read it?”

“No. Write it down. I will read it.”

“You seem sad,” she said.

“No, I am not sad. I am just feeling, what do you say, retrospective.” Then I smiled at her in a way that charms all who have warm blood in their veins. “I come from a place in Europe where the mountains are high and eagles still fly above the towering trees. I do not even know what country it is now. It does not matter. I am here in California. I will learn to ride a board on the waves. What is it called? Smurfing?”

“Surfing. It is surfing. Smurfs are small blue French people. Like annoying little dwarves and there’s only one girl.”

I had no idea what she was talking about. I just smiled and then scanned the room for someone with a nice neck and a healthy pulse.

Later with my veins full of fresh blood and my mind clear I went back to see Cassie. I gave her a kiss on her cheek and a hug. I closed my eyes feeling her heart beat.

“Thank you my dear Cassie for giving comfort to an old man.”

“Love you Vlad. HA! Old man my ass. What are you? Thirty-two, thirty-four?”

“Something like that,” I said as I kissed her cheek again. I would never tell her that I am 675 years old. I would never tell. It always confuses people, more than any technology can confuse an old Vampire like me.

As I left I could hear her tell the other bartender, “Damn, he is cute.”

I do not understand this cute. That I will never understand, but I will take it as a compliment from a friend.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I woke in a cold sweat. I am a Vampire so I only have cold sweat. I had a nightmare about small blue Frenchmen. They smelled of garlic and blueberries. They sang songs in deep throaty voices about ripping out the heart of Vlad the Vampire King.

The door to my bedroom opened. My love Gillian came in. She was wearing an extremely small black dress. The dress fell to the floor, along with her bra and panties. That was three pieces of clothing. She had no shoes. Now she wore nothing but diamond studs in her ears.

She crawled into bed with me, putting her smooth cold arms around me. I put my arms around her and pulled her close as she skimmed her fangs across my neck, then put her lips to mine.

I closed my eyes, and saw blue men, screaming as the large waves covered them while the great white sharks ate them like teenage children eat Hot Cheetos.

Gillian took my face in her hands. “Are you ok Vlad?”

OK. That is another one of those words I do not understand. It means someone  or something is good, or not bad, or it could mean anything, or nothing.

“I am fine,” I said. “Just take my mind off of my mind. Make me forget.”

As always she did. And then some.

~ Vlad

 

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

You’ve just read the 40th entry of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To start from the beginning, or read your favorites again click here. 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman